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Apr 29, 2009 11:22 AM

Portland weekend menu

I'm new to chowhound but have done some serious browsing through this forum to compile my list of restaurants for my upcoming trip to Portland (Sat 5/9-Mon 5/11). This will be my FIRST food-oriented trip to Portland where I've done actual research ahead of time. I'll be going with my partner and staying at The Westin (booked through hotwire and now I'm finding that it's not too close to everything...). We'll have a car, though, and are open to public transportation if it's convenient.

I've checked out all these menus online when available and I'm really excited to try all these places, but please please suggest alternates if there are better options out there!

So far, here are my thoughts:

Saturday 5/9
Breakfast: Byways
Lunch: Bunk
Dinner: Clyde Common
After dinner: Cool Moon? Or is there another must-try dessert/ice cream/gelato place?

Sunday 5/10
Breakfast: Simpatica
Lunch: Asian Station (soup dumplings!!!)
Happy hour: ten-01
*** Dinner: Le Pigeon/Sel Gris/Beast *** Any suggestions for this dinner? Which place is lately (or consistently) the best 'bang for your buck'?
After dinner: Sahagun for hot chocolate

Monday 5/11
Breakfast: Kenny and Zuke's
***Lunch: Any suggestions? Considering Pambiche
Dinner: Toro Bravo

I also considered PokPok for dinner one of the nights, but I decided to leave it out for now because the other places sounded better to me this time around. Is PokPok REALLY a must-try spot? I do like Thai food but I think I'd rather try something else.

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  1. Sahagun is open 10 am - 6 pm Mon - Sat, so "after dinner" on Sunday won't work. But yes, it is a must-go for hot chocolate and hand made single origin truffles.

    Yes Pok2 is a must-try. I doubt you have had this "Thai food". Unless you've been to northern Thailand.

    My favorite for gelato would be Via Delizia or Staccato Gelato. The latter is very close to Pambiche, another great idea.

    What do you mean by Westin? You mean the Benson? Is an easy walk to places such as K & Z, Ten01, Asian Station, and Sahagun.

    Great list.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leonardo

      Yikes, thanks for the tip about Sahagun! I will move that around. I also checked on HH at ten01 and looks like I'll move that to either Mon or Sat as well.

      With all the rave reviews, I probably will attempt to head over to PokPok for at least one dish to share (so we can try another place as well!) . We are staying at the Westin Hotel at 750 SW Alder.

    2. thats an ambitious itinerary, but a good one. The only substitution I would have for you is your Monday Lunch. I would skip Pambiche and hit Eat Oyster Bar on N. Williams! great drinks and really kickin' Creole/Cajun food w/ a rotating selection of fresh oysters available!.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nkeane

        Thanks... with all comments, I may scrap Pambiche in favor of PokPok this time. Eat looks great though, I checked out their menu... jambalaya sounds delicious right now!

        1. re: nkeane

          We ventured into EaT last month, partly because of the glowing reviews we read on and partly because of the proximity of EaT to where we live. As I entered, I thought to myself, "I hope it's great; it's so close to home..." We were greeted by one of the owners, who was shucking oysters; he directed us to sit at any unoccupied table. Easier said than done as all the unoccupied tables were in some sort of disarray: dirty dishes and glasses from previous diners were prevalent; the cleared tables hadn't been wiped clean. No worries, though, we really wanted to sample the fare.

          That they were short-handed was clear. One server on the floor, backed up by the owners- no biggie. However, when we gave a drink order to one person, repeated it to two others and were still cocktail-free after 15 minutes, I settled into whart I believed would be a long haul. When I asked the server how long the resaturant had been open, she replied, "Three months...I'm sorry if it shows." Not exactly a confident upbeat response. She then took our drink order (this would be the 4th time), and went behind the bar to make the drinks. I saw the glass of white wine and the bloody mary I had ordered on the bartop. She had put the Bloody in a fancy big mai tai glass, and then an owner intervened to remake it. It was delivered to me in a tiny juice glass. In my 3 plus decades of consuming alcohol, this was a first, and later when the bill came, I saw that I was charged $7.00 for the privilege. WTF!

          We ordered oysters on the half shell, which were fresh and delicious; oysters rockefeller (the spinach too pureed for my taste, topped by a paltry amount of cheese). Two gumbos arrived, piping hot, but leaving a curious oily residue on our palates after the first bite. We continued to observe the operations, noting the server chewing her own lunch while she delivered plates to other guests and cleared spent dishes from others. We remarked on the hygiene of leaving opened packages of saltines as part of the table-top setting.

          Bottom line: we spent $70.00 for an unappetizing experience, and in retrospect were simply happy that nothing made us sick. Compare that to our Happy Hour experience at Ten01 the previous day, where we spent 10 or 15 dollars more, had several cocktails, a bottle of wine, and several plates of amazingly good food.

          I hope the guys at EaT get their shit together. It's a nice physical space, albeit somewhat dirty with a good amount of storage on the floor behind the bar and in the kitchen. Service issues abound, however. We're willing to give it another try, but I think we'll sit the next few months out.

          1. re: bltfisher

            I haven't been to Eat, so I can't comment on that other than to say it's too bad that you had such a terrible experience.

            I would say that the Ten01 happy hour is an amazingly good deal, so it might be a bit of an unfair comparison.

        2. Ambitious list for sure, but a delicious one as well. Definitely do CC for dinner. Pok Pok really is excellent and *not* your typical Thai food. If you're into pizza, Ken's Artisan is pretty hard to beat. It's "hyped," but in my opinion, really that good. You'll wait for a table there, though. Papa Hayden on NW 23rd has a pretty ridiculous dessert menu. (In a good way.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Amelioration

            WOW to the Papa Hadyn desserts, they look amazing. A friend made Autumn Meringue Cake a few months ago and I still dream about it! I love the combo of textures... I might have to find time to squeeze this place into my food-obsessed weekend.

            1. re: calmossimo

              Papa Hydans is a Portland dessert institution. I don't think Asian Station is open on Sundays... the food cart scene really caters to the downtown lunch crowd, and is pretty dead on the weekends. You may want to consider moving that lunch to Monday.

              1. re: clearskies0810

                Thanks, I'll make note of that for sure.

          2. calmossimo, that is a pretty good itinerary, albeit a generic one. No surprises there. But you have a car. That is an advantage. At some point on that journey, not for a dinner but for a breakfast or lunch, you really need to get to Gravy on N. Mississippi. Gravy IS Portland, as exemplary of local flavor as there is -- and the food is both good and plentiful. Think of Gravy as Byways (which we love and frequent) on steroids.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Politeness

              Hmm... if I could only choose between Gravy and Byways, which would you recommend? I'm already afraid I won't be able to hit up all the spots I listed simply because I don't know if my stomach could handle it!

              1. re: calmossimo

                Between Gravy and Byways, Gravy would be my choice, both for food and ambience. Byways is excellent and close, but it has all the benefits and all of the detriments of its location in the Pearl. For one thing, you may see the same diners you have seen in your other stops, as Pearl habitu├ęs tend to run around in clubby groups. The menu is more extensive and varied at Gravy than at Byways.

                Gravy is in a real neighborhood. Although Gravy is good enough to be a destination, and does attract people from all over the metro area and from outside of it, a substantial portion of its clientele can walk to Gravy from the place they sleep and maybe raise their kids. And it's a really neat neighborhood, too.

                You are much more likely to be annoyed by a diner at the next table having a loud cell phone conversation at Byways than you are at Gravy; you are much more likely to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger on the sidewalk out front while waiting for a table at Gravy than you are at Byways.

                We like Byways, but Gravy would be our choice if choosing only one.

                1. re: Politeness

                  Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I will post updates on my experiences when I get back from the trip in a couple of weeks.

            2. Park Kitchen is wonderful for lunch. I also love Paley's Place for classic, wonderful Pacific Northwest fare. I also had one of the best italian meals of my life at Fratelli.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Tom P

                Thanks for the tip! I'll look into both Park Kitchen and Paley's Place. Both their menus look amazing! As for Fratelli, it looks good to me but I'm not sure if my partner is interested in eating Italian.

                1. re: calmossimo

                  I usually have a hard time picking Italian when I travel, feeling 'I can get that anywhere'. Only because I have been in and out of Portland over and over the last two years did I end up trying it. So if you go a second time... it's a must. So good. But I'd choose some of the others first, just for the regional cuisine, for sure.

                  1. re: calmossimo

                    park Kitchen is amazing. Get their tasting menu and you won't be disappointed!

                  2. re: Tom P

                    I forgot! Loved Toro Bravo as well. That was a great meal. I don't remember all the dishes we ordered (tapas style) as I went with a friend who goes all the time and he ordered everything. We had 7 choices and not one was less than stellar.

                    1. re: Tom P

                      You cannot go wrong with Toro Bravo...stellar food, awesome value...