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critique my Portland food itinerary for this weekend

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Weekend is a bit of a misnomer -- we'll be in town all day Friday and Saturday, arriving late-ish on Thursday and leaving early on Sunday. We're on East Coast time so the Thursday night meal might be scrapped.

Thursday night: Biwa
Friday am: quick breakfast -- voodoo donuts?
Friday lunch: food carts -- looking at Chozas and Asian Station
Friday afternoon -- in Pearl District, visit Sahagun and Ten-01 for happy hour
Friday dinner -- Pok pok (a bit distant from our hotel, is it worth it?)
Saturday am: brunch at Screen Door -- if we get there right at 9am can we avoid a wait? We will probably wake up on East Coast time so shouldn't be a problem
post-brunch, walk around Farmers Market
Saturday afternoon -- Silk Pho Van for happy hour if we're downtown (we might be at the Japanese Garden so good to know if it's worthwhile -- we could go instead of Ten 01 on Friday)
Saturday dinner -- reservations at Olea
Sunday early am -- anything worth grabbing at the airport?

Thanks for your hints and advice, Portlanders!

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  1. POK POK is worth it if you are looking for unique/different SE Asian meal than what is tyypically offered at a Thai restaurant. And the neighborhood is fun to walk around, too. East Portland is a different animal than downtown (where I presume you are staying).

    However, PING (run by the same guy who runs POK POK) just opened on NW 4th and Couch - about a 5-min walk from Ten-01. The menus of POK POK and PING are pretty different though. http://www.pingpdx.com/

    Screendoor is good but Simpatica for brunch is more uniquely Portland (whatever that means)...I'd probably try to take an out of towner to Simpatica over Screendoor...

    1. Be the atypical visitor and go to the east side. Pok Pok is well worth it, an easy bus ride. I wouldn't go to Ping just yet, especially with your limited schedule.

      Go to the Farmers' Market as early as possible, even at the opening bell of 8:30. You can have breakfast there at a combo of stalls such as Pine State Biscuits. http://www.portlandfarmersmarket.org/

      Downtown breakfast I'd do Bijou Cafe. Unless you find donuts "breakfast".

      For Pearl, Sahagun a great idea (not technically there but only 5 minute walk west). Other great happy hour there is Teardrop. Here's a happy hour site http://www.urbandrinks.com/happyhour/...

      Japanese Garden is well worthwhile. Weighing it against eating...well, that's your call. I don't know you.

      Thanks for researching first before posting! Please report back.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Leonardo

        Thanks for the advice so far and please keep it coming! You probably know me as well as most people on this board -- eating is a pretty high priority. But I want a meal to be *really* worth it if I design my itinerary around it. I didn't get the sense from other posters that Pho Van was do-or-die, so we will probably keep it as a "maybe" and if we miss it so be it.

        Simpatica's menu looks amazing. But they don't have a brunch menu up. I was already torn on brunch at Screendoor -- I'm a sucker for chicken and waffles and have never had sweet potato waffles. On the other hand, I think we wouldn't really browse and enjoy the farmer's market if we were rushing to get to Screendoor by 9am, so that would be a perfectly acceptable alternative. What's brunch like at Simpatica, do they take reservations, and if not must be we there by 9am to get a table? I'm also thinking about whether to do dinner at Simpatica instead of Olea -- presuming we could even get reservations at this point.

        One last thing: any place with good mocktails? My sister is expecting and I would love for her to be able to enjoy a fun drink, since from my recollection that was certainly the suckiest thing about pregnancy. I plan to enjoy many drinks and many hours of sleep away from the little one.

        Thanks!

        1. re: edub

          Simpatica (no reservations - a line usually forms - but haven't been for a few months) has a changing brunch menu but they have always had Fried Chicken and Waffles on their brunch menu every time I've been there. They usually have a breakfast strata and a breakfast crepe (with changing ingredients) - and I usually end up ordering one of those.

          If you are so inclined, you could go to PokPok one night and then go to PING instead of Pho Van. The Classical Chinese Garden (not too far from PING) is also quite lovely and worth visiting too.

          1. re: edub

            this post is old but gives you an example of simpatica brunch. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?s...

            1. re: edub

              the list of alcohol free drinks on the PING menu looks very exciting..

              1. re: edub

                As someone who recently ate at most of these places, I'd say that Pearl/Pho Van isn't "do or die". It's nice - the food is good - but not amazingly fabulous. And their cocktail list struck me as rather lackluster. (I'm very picky as regards cocktails...)

                On the other hand, I thought that Biwa, Pok Pok, Ten-01, and Sahagun were indeed amazingly fabulous. Definitely get to these places!

                Oh, and I heard that Voodoo Doughnuts isn't all that, unless you're going for the scene. For stellar baked goods, definitely go to Ken's.
                Anne

                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  We're moving to Portland, and when we last visited, we went to Sesame doughnuts (I think that's what it was) Yummy.

                  1. re: jenniegirl

                    Jennie, we'll miss you in Minneapolis, but you're going to a town with great weather and fabulous food. Will you send me some hot chocolate from Sahagun? :-)

                    Seriously, though, please post lots on your food finds so that I know what's great for my next trip.

                    Anne

                    1. re: jenniegirl

                      ah ha! you found one of the best donut shops it town! considerably better than Voodoo.

              2. replace Biwa with Tanuki(NW. 21st & Glisan)
                Voodoo Donuts for Kens Artisan Bakery
                Olea for Lauro
                avoid eating at the Airport if at all possible

                P.S. Pok2 is worth it. Dont think you can exchange Ping for PokPok though...youll not be nearly as happy with Ping.

                3 Replies
                1. re: nkeane

                  Ken's Artisan Bakery I have always used to successfully wow visitors from Tokyo & NY. Tanuki also has done that trick, surprisingly.

                  I persist in steering you away from Ping. It just doesn't make the cut for an "I'm in PDX for 2 days" itinerary.

                  1. re: Leonardo

                    I would also suggest Tanuki over Biwa. Although Biwa is great, I think Tanuki could offer a more unique experience. I might also suggest rethinking Olea. If this is your final dinner meal in PDX, I think you could do better. Perhaps Toro Bravo? I love the Japanese Garden, and I'd pick it over the Chinese garden only because of it's proximity to Washington Park, which is lovely. You might even consider picnicing there (weather permitting) prior to the garden visit. Elephant's Deli (which is close by) has all manner of picnic-lunch options. Have fun!

                    1. re: Kim D

                      I agree with bagging Olea.

                      I'd do Toro Bravo, Sel Gris or ten-01over Olea.