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Aug 22, 2010 05:43 PM

NYC Chowhounders headed to Portland-Research Completed, would love your thoughts!

I've posted this on as well so am cross-posting just in case others have thoughts on our food itinerary below!

Hi all,
My husband and I are NYC foodies headed to Portland in October. We'll arrive Saturday afternoon and will be in Portland until Tuesday morning - we're spending a few days on the coast and in the wine region. We'll return the following Friday before we catch a flight back to NYC. I've done EXTENSIVE research but would love some input from locals. Here is how I made my selections: 1) Farm to table restos since Portland was in a pioneer in this 2) We have great ethnic restos in NYC including great Thai which is why Pok Pok is not on the list 3) We are staying at the Nines so any suggestions of nearby places for coffee and drinks would be great

Saturday arrival (around noon)
Lunch: Cafe Castagna for their burger (my husband loves burgers and I've heard good things about their fries)
Dinner: HH at Park Kitchen and then the food carts on SE 12th and Hawthorne

Sunday morning:
Coffee: Spella
Brunch: Simpatica Dining Hall or Arleta Library or Pine State Biscuits? Iam really torn since I love brunch and not sure which is best. We may also go to the Mount Hood/River Gorge area so the earlier the better so we can set out on our day trip.
Lunch: Pick up sandwiches at Laurelhurst Market
Dinner: Toro Bravo - i'm a little hesitant whether we should go here or try some other place since there are decent tapas places in NY.

Coffee: Coffee Northwest
Breakfast: Perhaps just grabbing something at Coffee NW or at Ken's Artisan Bakery
Lunch: The lunch carts! Definitely want to check out Tabor
Brewery: Hopworks or Bailey's Taproom
Dinner: HH @ Clyde Common and Ten01 (if we can make it in time)

1) I'd like to splurge on one last meal the Friday we return to Portland.. was thinking the Beast or Le Pigeon but would love thoughts on this. Don't really want to spend more than $40/person (including wine if possible?)
2) Any suggestions on what foodie items we can bring back? I'm thinking coffee for sure from Stumptown or Ristretto


Clyde Common
1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

Park Kitchen
422 NW 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

Simpatica Dining Hall
828 SE Ash St, Portland, OR 97214

Ken's Artisan Bakery
338 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

Pine State Biscuits
3640 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

Laurelhurst Market
3155 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97232

Cafe Castagna
1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Arleta Library Cafe
5513 SE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97206

Toro Bravo
120 NE Russell St Ste A, Portland, OR 97212

Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205

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  1. Don't avoid Pok Pok or Toro Bravo just because you think you've got equivalents in NYC -- chances are you really don't.

    Sripraphai seems to be the most commonly cited "best Thai" in NYC, and a look at its menu says that Pok Pok will still hold something unique for you.

    Similarly, Toro Bravo far more fits into the "Portland farm to table" category than the "Spanish tapas" category. I think it is THE quintessential Portland restaurant.

    Beast is $60/pp for dinner without wine.

    1. One more thought: by the time you get here, Hair of the Dog Brewery's tasting room will be open, which promises to be a more interesting destination than Hopworks. (Bailey's Taproom is a tavern, not a brewery, if you want to split hairs...)

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeff_pdx

        Jeff, I thought that the HofD tasting room looked open when I happened to drive by one evening last week.

      2. Just so you know, Stumptown is roasting in Red Hook, I just tried Oblique roasters on SE Stark and the coffee is smooth!
        The Frying Scotsman Cart is also amazing.
        I had a sublime dinner @ Castagna...the same type of restaurant in NYC would be 2-3x as much
        Tasty & Sons over Arleta Library Cafe or Pine State or they may be open on Monday
        I recommend wine as a gift.. Oregon wines are delicious. ( That's what I bring to NY)
        Good eatin!

        4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

        Arleta Library Cafe
        5513 SE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97206

        1. Coffee: Spella and Coffeehouse Northwest are good options in and near downtown. You could also get to Coava coffee just across the river from where you're staying--this is my favorite in Portland right now, and would also be a good option to bring home.

          While you're picking up sandwiches at Laurelhurst Market, pick up a jar of foietella, which would be a great food item to bring home (if you like foie gras and chocolate and aren't averse to having them mixed together).

          I'm going to suggest Beaker & Flask for your Friday meal--I think you can do well there for $40/person. You're going to have to wait quite a bit for a meal on Friday night at most popular places in town, but B&F takes reservations so it might be a little easier. Plus the food and drinks are really good.

          Laurelhurst Market
          3155 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97232

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nettie

            For coffee your picks are excellent, but any Stumptown branch (I'm partial to the Ace Hotel one), Barista (two locations) and Albina Press (2 locations, one in Tabor) are also outstanding.

            As for your splurge, both Beast and Le Pigeon are divine but you could possibly get away with under 40/person if you got one of the 4 limited burgers as one of the entrees. Btw, you can now reserve Beast on opentable.

            For brunch, I'm hands down gonna recommend Simpatica. I think they open fairly early and if you arrive before 10:30 or so there's usually not much of a wait and it's gonna be pretty straightforward to get to laurelhurst market (another excellent choice).

            Have fun eating!! Enjoy.

            4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

          2. Layatp --

            You've got an excellent list going. For breweries, I'm in agreement that there are more exciting places than Hopworks, though I love their beer. The HotD tasting room is in a neat neighborhood (SE industrial district) that's growing -- it's right next to clarklewis and the brand new Bunk Bar (which you may also want to check out -- same owners of Bunk Sandwiches). Also, Upright Brewery has a tasting room, and they are doing some wonderfully innovative things with wild yeasts and sour beers.

            For coffee, you can't go wrong with Spella or Coffeehouse NW. But since you'll be hitting up carts anyway, if you want to see a place that's a little more interesting, try Coava on the east side. It's one of the most unique spaces in town (they share a Bamboo design showroom), they limit their offerings to about four coffees at a time -- and they will give you a very personalized walk through their menu if you ask for it. Their space is more of a tasting room than a coffee shop, but they don't get mired in unnecessary details (like cupping). Also, you can try excellents coffees for multiple local roasters at either location of Barista (one in the Pearl, and walking distance from the Nines). You can get Stumptown in NYC, so skip it while you're here in PDX.

            For lunch, I highly, highly recommend Evoe (also in SE, on Hawthorne, right next to the Hawthorne Powells). It's just you, the chef, a wide wood counter, a stack of plates, and bowls of fresh fruit/veggies that he turns into simple, elegant salads and sandwiches right in front of you. One of the most simple and enjoyable food experiences in Portland, IMHO.

            Bring back coffee, yes. The downtown farmers market (near PSU) will still be going in October, and that's a great place to find things like local honeys, jams, etc. It should also be hazelnut (filbert) season by the time of your visit, and Oregon produces 99% of all hazelnuts sold in the US, so that can be a great treat. Chocolate bars by xocolatl de david are worth the $10 price tag (he also makes the Foietella) -- I especially LOVE the salted caramel bar. For where to find him:

            4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

            Bunk Sandwiches
            621 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR