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May 28, 2009 08:04 AM

Portland Oregon 2009

Arriving Portland Friday, May 29th.

We have reservations at McCormick's and have written down: Paley's Place, Park Kitchen, and Pok Pok. We will be there a week so we need help! I also was considering The Chart House. And yes, we'll venture to Voodoo donuts just to laugh. We are staying at the Hilton Executive Towers. We've rented a car and will be traveling to the cost just for a day and will probably make a stop at Tillamonk (however they spell it) cheese/dairy factory. I hear they have an awesome ice cream cone and some wonderful cheeses. It would be nice to find recommended places within walking distance for a few of our meals. Any suggestions appreciated! Thank you in advance - we adore ethnic and probably will hit the Greek place listed in Fodor's unless someone says otherwise.

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  1. dont forget to drive down the columbia gorge and see those wonderful waterfalls upclose!
    i was there recently and my fav places were Toro Bravo and the food carts along adler in downtown. if that hilton is in downtown, you are withing walking distance of the pearl district which has a ton of options!

    1 Reply
    1. re: samtron608

      Thank you Samtron608. We did just that! But wished you would have told us about the lodge restaurant there at the falls! We will return to dine while watching the falls in the evening when we are hungry. We parked @ first available spot - you see a smaller fall first - and then walked the 1/2 mile hike round-trip to the bigger falls where the lodge is. Hike was beautiful! Photos best taken in afternoon/early evening.

    2. You can go to McCormick's or Chart House at 100 locations worldwide. Why would you go to such places in Portland, home of so many unique chef-owned places that source locally?

      Tillamook (that's the spelling) Cheese is just ok not great. There are plenty of small makers that make a far more unique and individual hand-made product. To sample some of them, go to the Farmers' Market Saturday AM.

      On the coast I would suggest smoked fish & oysters at Karla's Krabs in north Rockaway. Just a shop not a restaurant.

      For other ideas I suggest scrolling back a few pages on PAC NW. There are many threads with hints for visitors.

      PS: many of the food carts are on "Alder" street.

      Have fun!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Leonardo

        Please please - give us the names of those chef-owned places! It's not too late for us to cancel our June 1st reservation!

        1. re: TravelCouple

          Here are a couple of blogs I suggest. More credible and reliable than Fodor's, in my humble opinion.

          My chef-owned LOCAL faves: Kenny & Zuke's Deli (near hotel), Paley's, Lauro, Vindalho, Ken's Artisan Pizza, Pok Pok, Wildwood, Biwa, Tanuki, Toro Bravo, Le Pigeon, Higgins (near hotel), Sel Gris.

          Favorite "ethnic" (hate that word; it's racist...all food is ethnic including KFC & McDonald's but sorry I digress!) places: Blue Nile (Ethiopian), Karam (Lebanese), Be Won (Korean), Hiroshi or Murata (Japanese), Pambiche (Cuban).

          If you love chocolate don't miss Sahagun. They make handmade single origin truffles. They have been featured on Splendid Table radio on NPR, NY Times, LA Times etc. It is a five minute walk from Powell's Books. Today they launched (tried it an hour ago!) a new iced chocolate that will change your life!

          1. re: Leonardo

            Thank you for the plethora of information. Ironic how you said you hate the word "ethnic" - as I'm a true strong feeling kind of person about the word "hate". (wink) But I do agree all food is ethnic but my list of what we like would have been too huge to have posted (chuckle).

          2. re: TravelCouple

            Hi Travel Couple. I was going to post this and I saw your inquiry, so I added to your chain. I hope I am not too late for your trip. Enjoy Portland.

            Portland, Oregon - May 2008
            I love Pinot. I just love it. So, for the past couple of years, my friend and I have made an annual pilgrimage to the Willamette Valley to do a ton of Pinot purchasing. Wine Country is only about 45minutes to an hour away from Portland, which happens to be a very pleasant foodie city. Here are a few of my favs in Portland. I’ll come back shortly on the wineries.

            1239 SW Broadway (Broadway & Jefferson)
            It’s a special treat if you visit Portland during the prime of Copper River Salmon season. This place brings salmon to a new level. We had it for dinner and came back the next day to have it again. It was that good. I am still thinking about it. Greg Higgins was one of the first chefs to start the whole organic/locally grown produce movement in the Portland area. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients he uses.

            Henry’s Tavern
            10 NW 12th Ave. (12th & Burnside)
            This place brags of 100+ beers from around the world and specializes in the local breweries – anything from the fruity wheat, to the reds and the stouts - ask for the shooter sized portions (they’ll give you 3 beers to taste for free). They should really consider doing flights, so you can host your own Pepsi Challenge. It would be a huge attraction and the base is already there.

            Dave and Louis’ Oyster Bar
            208 SW Ankeny St. (Ankeny & 2nd)
            East coast vs. west coast is not just about rapping. You can do your own blind taste test of the many west coast oysters (with some east coast) and figure it out for yourself. It’s a little divey, but that’s what makes it special. They also have a few local beers - we enjoyed the Dead Man.

            Clark Lewis
            1001 SE Water Ave. (Water & Taylor)
            With the scant candle light right next to the menu, reading the menu here is a challenge. Is your optometrist appointment is long overdue? However, the half and full sized portions are a great feature, especially for the pasta dishes. You’ll see a rare find here for Portland as people actually abandoned their North Face gear to go out to eat.

            Northwest Coffee Shop
            1951 W. Burnside Blvd. (Burnside & NW Trinity)
            Really great coffee! Everyone seems so happy to be a barista here. I kind of wonder what’s in their mo-Joe. Lots of people park themselves for hours on end with their one cup of coffee in return for free internet connections, so be prepared if you arrive during peak hours. The coffee is so tasty with simple, yet beautiful presentation. I am certain they could even make custom made designs for you in the foam if you wanted.

        2. TravelCouple: "we adore ethnic"

          One of Portland's quirks is that, in addition to the standard varieties of European and Asian ethnic fare, we have a plethora of Ethiopian restaurants.

          1. So far our best meal happens to be our least expensive one @ por que no on S.E. Hawthorne. Best shredded beef taco I've ever had. Margarita was fantastic too! Real mood adjuster and loved the tattooed bartender who let me take a shot of her wonderful body artwork. We'll be going back there again - total cost of meal for 2 with 1 drink each was $16-ish. That included; 2 tacos each (he had the fish and said it was okay but not spicy), small order of guacamole, 2 shredded beef tacos, 1 Mexican beer, and 1 tall margarita. You do have to bus your own stuff and it's served in lined plastic baskets - but amazing flavors! YUM YUM p.s. - order first then get your table - very busy place on Sunday early evening - line out the door we made it right before the rush and sat at the bar so we could watch the kitchen action.

            Breakfast on 6/1/09 was @ St. Honrore Boulangerie where we ordered a quiche to split and chocolate croissants. Coffee was strong and excellent! Quiche was great too but you can tell they serve those mainly for lunch. We'll go back again and try one of the other dishes we can't pronounce for breakfast. The added perk to hitting this place was seeing Keri Russell and her hubby Shane. He dropped her off after he received his to-go order and she sat at the common table with her order and plenty of reading material. We did not bother her @ that early an hour (7:45 AM). She looks fantastic w/o make-up! Bravo!

            Anniversary dinner was @ Feouil. Not recommended for "romantic" seating mainly because of the cranky toddler at a near-by table and loud conversation at table behind us. Even a server made comments regarding the noise. Meal was wonderful (duck breast, rabbit was ordered with side of the truffle fries, appetizer was the lobster), as expected, service was outstanding, but again, do not recommend this place for "intimate" dining. We opted for an intimate walk afterwards back to our hotel.

            Hilton Hotel - Executive tower - I always try the eggs b. The sauce the chef makes here is fantastic! A hint of horseradish! yummmmm

            Equinox on 830 N. Shaver provided a nice meal. We opted for the happy hour menu and we were pleasantly impressed with the various drinks they offered at a discount. Favorite was the blood orange drop. La Pasion was okay, and the Mississippi Cooler (not on happy hour menu) was refreshing! Proscuitto wraped shrimp with pomegranate wasabi dip is a must have - and I'd multiply that by 2 so you don't have to share! Shaver street ceaser has a lovely kick to it thanks to the yummy habenero dressing!

            Alexis = yummy greek food - we ordered gyros that came with a side salad with many yummy olives. The pita bread they use was the best we've ever tasted! Toasted perfectly. We hear they have a food-cart on Adler and will try that today. This was the restaurant we hit on Saturday evening.

            More later -

            7 Replies
            1. re: TravelCouple

              Heading back to Portland in November...I am interested in thoughts on Paley's,Park Place, Wildwood and Heathman - which would you choose if you had to scale back to two?. We love and seldom have Cuban food so Pambiche is a possibility too, and we had a great fun brunch at Blue Hour. We will definitely return to Higgins - hands down THE meal on our last trip - four stars in all aspects - food, wine, and service ans well as ambiance. After Portland we'll be in Willamette Valley so I'd love thoughts on restaurants there too. Thanks!

              1. re: Rusticakane

                Hi Rusticakane - I did two write-ups on my blog on Portland and Willamette - I hope it helps:

                I am right with you on Higgins - I love that place - and if you are lucky enough to be there during the Cooper River Salmon season.... wow -mmmm

                1. re: ChristineBerenger

                  Thanks Christine! Loved your choices and have many of them written down to try. The wineries are a little harder - only a couple days and we've found we really don't want to do more than 3 or 4 a day. Definitely interested in Penner-Ash and Anne Amie and will try them. If you ever get close to Broadley, do stop in - we wen there while visiting my folks in Lebanon and had a great time. The winery is basically in a garage (I believe it used to be a car dealership) and the tour was a blast -we will probably return this time although they are a bit off the beaten path - but worth it! Thanks again.

                  1. re: Rusticakane

                    If you go to Penner-Ash, both Adelsheim and Bergstrom are nearby and require no reservations in their tasting rooms. Adelsheim has some great single vineyard pinots. I don't love the Penner-Ash wines (although the Riesling is pretty tasty and very inexpensive) but the new winery is beautiful and the Penner-Ash's are lovely folks.

                    Also nearby, but requiring reservations, are Beaux Freres and Patricia Green.

                    Anne Amie is a gorgeous property and tasting room (and a great place for a picnic, weather permitting) but I don't think their wines are that fabulous.

                    1. re: JillO

                      I love most the wines mentioned. Patrica Green, Bergstrom and Beaux Freres all make some great wines. Check out Joel Palmer House for a good mushroom dinner this time of year!

                    2. re: Rusticakane

                      It was completely my pleasure. I am adding Broadley to my list next year - they really are super friendly people - thanks for confirming this via recounting your experience.. and I love the garage story. I just love visiting the wineries out there - super chilled.

                  2. re: Rusticakane

                    Jumping in for some tips ... Portland Monthly magazine just came out with Top 2009 Restaurants. I was a little disappointed, but agreed with at least the following - Beast is best/favorite restaurant of the moment: It's not just good food - great service - but dining experience. I am also partial to the Carlyle And if you didn't get to Toro Bravo, check it out - v. good tapas.

                    I've been to Paley's - it's as amazing as they say, Park Kitchen, and Heathman (only for lunch, but always tastey). Of those, I would do Paley's again. Everyone loves Park Kitchen and it gets great reviews - but I haven't been there for about 5 years and didn't love it when I went.

                    I also love wine tasting and try to go once every couple months or so. I would recommend the following: Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin, Soter (you have to make reservation), Carlton Wine Studio (lots of small boutique wines), Anne Amie and Penner-Ash also nice, really enjoyed a recent visit out to Willakenzie. Did you know that Thanksgiving weekend is a huge wine tasting weekend in OR - many wineries are open that usually are not, with special events, food, music, etc. The Dundee Bistro is good lunch - but you can always bring a picnic if you have nice weather, many wineries encourage this. I've never been to any restaurants for dinner but have heard the following are worth a visit: Cuvee and Joel Palmer House. Also, if you're staying in the valley, The Allison Inn just opened - new luxury inn and spa.

                    Have fun!

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Wow, that was like year old SPAM!