Portland and around
I'll be making another visit to PDX in October, and while I have, I think, a reasonable idea of the places I want to visit (or revisit) in Portland, I could still do with a bit of help with the following.
I'd like to try Pok Pok but have no idea what to order. Any dinner suggestions would be welcome.
I've always enjoyed Wildwood on previous visits. Is it still good? (hoping to revisit Paley's and BIWA too)
Has anything new opened in the last 12 months that you'd recommend - NW cuisine, not fancy or a "scene" just good food, good value with friendly service
Finally - I'll be making a few trips by car - Mount Hood / Columbia River Gorge and the coast (probably to Cannon Beach and then down the coast past Tillamook) - Any places worth stopping at for a meal or coffee and a snack along the way
Wildwood is probably the first restaurant that really changed my brian in a big way when it comes to thinking about and enjoying food. It made me perk up and pay attention and realize what food could be.
If you're not aware, Cory Schrieber is no longer the chef. This happened in 2007, so you've probably eaten there since than. I've heard mixed things. My own post-cory experience wasn't at all bad but it was sort of disappointing as compared to the meals I'd had before. This was in 2008 I think or possibly even 2007. And the Chef as I understand did train under Schrieber for a very long time.
The menu rotates at Pok Pok so it's really best to check the menu just as you're arriving. My favorite dishes in the past include the Singaporean-style crab curry and the kaeng hung leh pork stew. Also, lunch is a different menu, featuring items like my favorite Thai dish of all, kuaytiao reua "boat noodles". And of course there's the ever popular grilled game hen and fish sauce wings.
Laurelhurst Market is our local representative of the growing butcher shop trend (though really Viande/Simpatica has been doing it for a while now), though it's not just slabs of pork and beef. The mussels frites are excellent, as are all the salads and sandwiches. The deli case is open for lunch, providing sandwiches there too. Top notch bar program as well.
Beaker and Flask gets a lot of deserved praise as a cocktail bar, but I've always said that their secret weapon is the kitchen, veterans of places like Paley's Place, Clyde Common and Ten01. Strange to think, but they've got some of the best seafood going right now, such as the grilled and smoked mackerel with Dungeness crab. In the past they've featured skate wing and sturgeon, and so Beaker and Flask gets a lot of credit for me not only for resisting the urge to have a burger on the menu, but also resisting the urge to have halibut and salmon.
I remember you. Welcome back!
My favorite dishes at PokPok are Khao Soi Kai, sauteed river vegetable (a soup), and Papaya PokPok (green papaya salad).
Big ditto for Tabla, Teardrop, Tanuki, Wildwood, and Pine State (which you'll also find at the Portland Farmers' Mkt at PSU).
Also consider Navarre, al Forno Ferruzza.
Perhaps it's time for you to check out cart culture? There have been many threads lately touching on this. Also see http://foodcartsportland.com/
On the coast in North Rockaway: Karla's Smokehouse for outstanding smoked goodies, especially the oysters. This is a shop, not a restaurant of any sort. Call first to know the hours and what they have 503 355 2362. This is your last chance, as after this season they will be advance orders only with no "open" walk-in shop.
I wouldn't recommend Pacific Oyster. The cracked crab was not at all fresh.
Wildwood is still great, and besides doing a great dinner, they are open for lunch Mon -Saturday.
ten-01 has a new chef and he is doing some very good food. http://www.ten-01.com/
Davis Street Tavern is another great place and they do a fabulous happy hour, great drinks, beer list and wine list too. http://www.davisstreettavern.com/
Laurelhurst Market opened this summer and is doing some absolutely wonderful food. They are open Wed. through Monday (closed on Tuesday). http://www.laurelhurstmarket.com/
For good fried food and crab cocktails Ecola Seafood in Cannon Beach is a good stop, and Pacific Oyster in Bay City is neat (you can watch the professional shuckers go at it!) for oyster burgers, shooters, half shells and crab on a green salad (and a clean bathroom!). These places are NOT fancy.
I have heard that the Tippy Canoe in the gorge (on the Sandy River and historic hwy in Troutdale) is good, but I have not been there, myself. Stay away from Tad's Chicken and Dumplings down the road, it sucks.
re: Pete S
Laurelhurst Market is directly across the street from MM.
If you liked Biwa and were looking for a revisit, I would say to go to Tanuki instead. Better, more inventive food, better value and completely superior atmosphere/vibe(and by better I mean completely hole in the wall/japanese izakaya feel.)
other places I would throw on the list along with what JillO said(which are all solid btw):
Pine State Biscuits
I know that that is a scatter shot of a list, but all are worth it. I also realize that those last two are bars, but both have some amazing food coming out of their kitchens right now. It doesnt hurt that they are 2 of the premier cocktail lounges in PDX