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Oct 12, 2009 12:27 PM

Western Canadian Hound spending Thanksgiving in PDX area

This is my first time spending Thanksgiving in the US so I'm not sure whether or not most stores and restaurants are open on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Any ideas?

Also, food-wise I'm not looking for turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day as we've just had our Thanksgiving here this weekend in Canada. And I'm not really travelling all the way to Portland to have turkey. :-)

I'm interested in knowing what are some of the must-try places.. I will be spending a couple 4-5 days the Portland area around Thanksgiving.

Last time I was in town, I tried Toro Bravo... the sauteed yellowfoot mushrooms were to die for.. That dish alone made it one of the most memorable meals I've had... I also tried Screen Door Restaurant.. and Eat: Oyster Bar. The breakfast at Screen Door was very good.. I had the waffle with the fried chicken and the praline bacon... glad I tried it but was a little too much food for me. I'd only go back to Eat again if I wanted oysters. I will definitely be back to Toro and Screen Door this time around. Is Screen Door any good for dinner?

I'm looking for a variety of places "fit for foodies" as I'll be there for about 5 days. It doesn't matter if they are hole-in-wall type of places. I'm not particularly interested in sushi or chinese/thai/east indian food as I will be spending a couple of weeks in Vancouver, Canada before heading down to Portland and there's plenty of sushi and Asian food there.... unless of course, you feel that a particular Asian restaurant is a must-try and beats out what one can find in Vancouver for Asian food.

From perusing this board, yelp and watching food channel, this is what I have come up with so far:

Bbq - Podnah's or Russell St. - Are either of them any good? Should I even bother?
I know Portland is not particuarly known for bbq... but maybe one of them is a hidden gem?

Tapas/Spanish/Mediterranean - Toro Bravo, Navarre, Tabla - Any must try dishes lately at Toro Bravo?

Southern - Screen Door or Delta Cafe

Breakfast - Screen Door, Arleta Library Bakery Cafe, Waffle Window, Pine State Biscuits

Pizza - Ken's Artisan Pizza

Seafood- ?

Please provide any comments/suggestions to these places (ie. whether they are worth going to) or suggest new ones. I'm looking for hidden gems that the locals know about rather than touristy spots.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. BBQ: Russell St is OK. Until Podah's opened I was fine with going there. But if you like BBQ you can skip Russell Street and head directly to Podnah's, which is certainly a gem.

    Seafood: I've always been somewhat disappointed in seafood restaurants in Portland--there's not much focussed on seafood here, and what they have is not worth it. Most of the good places in town have a few seafood options, and those are generally better than what you're going to get at the places dedicated to seafood.

    Pizza: I really like Ken's Artisan as well as Apizza Scholls, but I almost never want to wait as long as either of those requires. I find that I also really like the pizza at Nostrana without so much of a wait, and the menu is more extensive than at the dedicated pizza places.

    I can't tell you much about what will be open on Thanksgiving--it seems like in previous years some places that WERE open put out press releases. A lot of those were posted on, so you might keep an eye on that as we get closer to the US holiday.

    1. Nothing can top the food carts in Portland. Vancouver's street carts (more hot dogs anyone?) are put to shame. Here's a link:

      I stayed with friends in PDX recently and looked through their copies of the food features of Portland Monthly Magazine. Very useful.

      Their Best of the City:

      Best Eats under $25:

      One of the best parts of the trip was the newish direct amtrak service to and from Van. on Spanish trains. Busting out some Oregon cheese, bread, pinot noir, and my trusty Swiss Army knife on the way back home was a great way to end the trip.