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Aug 3, 2010 11:52 PM

Hound consort seeks two good Portland meals on bleak biz trip

Greetings from up (or is it down?) the Left Coast, Portland Hounds. I come to you on a mission of mercy. My SO has become a Hound by Association, enjoying the fruits of my Chow-research on trips. Alas, this time he is going alone, on a brief business jaunt to your city. I have read back half a year or so on your board and come up with some ideas about places to send him. Have pity on the poor boy and help ensure he eats well at his two lonely meals -- a lunch and a dinner, both on Tuesday, Aug 17.

He’ll be arriving at PDX from Vancouver BC late morning and will have a rental car. He won’t have a ton of time for either meal so nowhere that has massive lines SVP, and probably no more than a ½ hour drive (I expect he’ll be staying downtown). He isn’t interested in high end which is prolly just as well as it looks like mid range or food carts are the way to go here from what I’ve read so far.

His favourite food at the moment is anything Vietnamese, north, south or central, and he loves Thai which is sadly in short supply here. He’d probably pass on Chinese as he will be a solo diner and we do have rather a lot of it in these parts : -). He’s continuing on to LA on Wednesday so will likely hit up some Mexican in SoCal. He’s a true omnivore, way less picky than I am. The only things I can think of he doesn’t like much are dill pickles and stone fruit.

He also really enjoys his java (Vancouver favourite is 49th Parallel), so any other coffee input would be appreciated.

And JillO, where is “Joe’s in Sandy on the way to the mountain”? You said on May 2 that Joe’s has the best ever apple fritters and that is one fried dough my SO would drive out of his way for :-).

TIA for your time and thoughts.

Dinner ideas so far:

Toro Bravo

Pok Pok for northern Thai interpretations (boar collar per Tom from Raleigh) and shrubs (could also be lunch)


Helser's: because we saw it on that PBS breakfast show and thought it looked like the kind of place we would enjoy. And they do signature Scotch eggs, a fave of ex-pat Limey SO.

Mee Sen: for Bangkok style cuisine, maybe take advantage of Tuesday’s all day happy hour offerings, and maybe a few grasshoppers

Bunk: for pork belly Cuban (lunch only)

Olympic Provisions: sandwiches, charcuterie (lunch or dinner)

Bun Bo Hue on SE 82nd: for Vietnamese non-pho

Taste of Jakarta: for ayam goreng, beef rending or jackfruit curries

Bora Bora: Sinaloan street food/chicken (lunch and dinner)

FOOD CARTS (better for lunch or dinner??):

Mississippi Marketplace pod, which has the attraction of being able to eat your street food in the Prost pub and order a sitdown beer to go with it – not clear on which carts serve what yet, though I believe JillO likes Garden State, Big Egg and Sugar Cube (the latter is dessert Nettie said).

Downtown has the Tabor Schnitzelwich at 5th and Stark which sounds like a potential winner for the SO, recco’d by several Hounds here. It is also where Nong and her khao man gai reside, correct (SW 10th and Alder – lunch only and sells out early)? That has been recommended by a local Hound who was recently in Pdx and of course is mentioned many times on your board. Can anyone describe this dish a bit more specifically? Is the chicken poached in the Hainan style?

Coffee ideas: Barista, Ristretto, Extracto, Coffeehouse Northwest, Sterling, Spella, and in a pinch Stumptown (thanks, Nettie)

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  1. Schnitzelwich, lunch. It's at Tabor, the red cart on SW Stark between 4th & 5th. Open 10 AM - 3 PM Monday through Friday, although I've gotten there at 2:30 once or twice and missed out. A horrible thing, believe me. Ruined my weekend once! ;)

    Edit to add - I'd probably say forget Nong's if he's scheduled to arrive late morning all the way up at PDX. I doubt he'd make it there in time. They're open 10 AM 'til gone, and once it's gone it's gone...

    2 Replies
    1. re: JayinPortland

      Thanks Jay -- the schnitzelwich sounds like a winner but I'll warn him to head straight there from the airport :-).

      Still not sure about dinner -- he's fine doing more than one cart (they are in extremely short supply here) so if there is an evening cart recco or two that would be great. Happy to provide any details I may have missed if that helps (though I seem to have rambled on at some length already!)

      1. re: grayelf

        Oh, if a second cart isn't a problem then I'd definitely go with Garden State up in Mississippi Marketplace for dinner. See Nettie's suggestions below. Their burger is excellent, too.

        It might sound kinda like 'sandwich overload', but the Schnitzelwich and either a meatball sub or burger from Garden State are definitely different enough things so that shouldn't be a worry.

        If it wasn't a Tuesday I'd also suggest the sabich (an awesome Iraqi Jewish pita sandwich w/ eggplant, egg, hummus, Israeli salad and amba which until this cart opened here last year I hadn't seen anywhere else outside of Taim in NYC) - at Wolf & Bear's on SE Morrison at 20th, but unfortunately they're closed on Tuesdays. Otherwise, they make for a great lunch / dinner (open 'til 8 PM) as well. An idea to keep in mind for next time!

    2. I was looking at your coffee places and thinking "wow, those are exactly what I'd say." Hah! I would add that Spella is downtown (M-F only, unfortunately for those of us who don't work downtown), and Stumptown has a few downtown locations. Next closest is Coffeehouse Northwest or Barista, then Sterling, all in northwest and walkable from downtown. Ristretto is across the river on the east side, but not too far, and there's now an Extracto on NE 15th and Prescott that's not too much further.

      At Mississippi Marketplace, Garden State has great meatball sandwiches and chickpea fries. There are other things there that look good, but I never get past the meatball sandwiches. I also like Nuevo Mexico at that pod. For nighttime carts, there's always the cartopia pod at SE 12th and Hawthorne, which are open pretty late.

      4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nettie

        Thanks for the additional intel on the carts. As another visiting poster said, the variety is quite overwhelming.

        Geographical placement of coffee options very helpful too. Neither of us know Portland at all, sadly. No point in setting his sights on a coffee place that requires a huge schlep when it's clear there are great choices all over :-).

        Will deffo keep all of this info on file as we have been mulling over a Chow run/vacation to Portland for a while. We've even been taking about a long-distance Chowdown with Vancouver Hounds!

        1. re: grayelf

          A quick note to thank you for your input and report on what the SO ate where. He ended up being super pressed for time so options were even more limited than I'd hoped but he ate very well, which is a testament to the good grub available in Portland.

          Upon arrival, he made a beeline for Helser's and uncharacteristically ordered the eggs benedict (that is usually my department). He loved them here, commenting on the tasty sauce that was not too rich. His appointment was 1.5 hours away so by the time he got back to town, he thought "I'll just go back to Helser's since it was so good and I know where it is" but sadly it closes at three.

          Since he was back on Alberta Street, he cast an eyeball around and spied Tin Shed, which he remembered from a PBS show we had watched recently. Voila, fast and very tasty burger dinner. And one happy Hound consort, making his plane comfortably and with a full tummy.