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A taste of Portland - in town one day only!

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Dear Portland Chowhounders – please help me plan an indulgent and beautiful food day.

This is my first visit to Portland and I will be there for (sadly) 1 day only – a Monday in mid-September. I know many restaurants are closed on Mondays, but hopefully there will be two (one lunch place, one dinner place) that can give me a taste of what this city has to offer. Whereas I love exploring divey places when in the comfort of my own city, I’m a woman traveling on my own, so please send me to safe neighborhoods and places where I’d be comfortable sitting by myself.

I LOVE sushi, and figure Portland must have some truly wonderful places. However, please don’t send me somewhere that specializes in shellfish, as I am allergic to any and all things that come from shells. Salmon is my favorite when it comes to raw fish – which I would think would be in abundance in the northwest.

I’m a sucker for foie gras, marrow and sweetbreads – so would love to find a place that has one of those on their menu.

I’m thinking one ethnic meal (Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, etc…just no Ethiopian please) and one more mainstream meal (French, Italian, Continental, New American, etc…)

I wouldn’t say money is not a consideration, but I am choosing to indulge, so I’m willing to splurge a bit – say $60 on lunch and no more than $125 on dinner (including a glass or two of wine). I don’t know what Portland prices are like, I’m used to NYC, and assume that price ceiling gives me a lot of options. I’d rather a casual atmosphere over anything too stuffy, but I do want to be able to relax over my meal and not feel rushed.

Also, any suggestions on where to roam between meals would be greatly appreciated. I love funky neighborhoods and people-watching.

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Lunch: Pok Pok
    Dinner: Le Pigeon

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    Pok Pok
    3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

    Le Pigeon
    738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

    2 Replies
    1. re: MyNextMeal

      I second Le Pigeon. Last time I ate there I had a sweetbread dish that was maybe the best thing I've ever eaten. Definitely worth going too and the prices are very reasonable especially when you are used to NYC.

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      Le Pigeon
      738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      1. re: cbcpapa

        Based on your criteria, Pok Pok and Le Pigeon would be my picks too. If you go to Pok Pok for lunch, you can get the boat noodles, which isn't available on the dinner menu.

        Pok Pok's in a pretty residential neighborhood, but safe and quiet for wandering. People watching would be more plentiful along SE Division and Clinton. There are some cafes that will be open during the day in that area.

        Le Pigeon's neighborhood is a little busier--Burnside is pretty car-centric, but there are some cool shops in that strip. Also, if you're interested in cocktails, check out Beaker & Flask, either before or after dinner. It's not far from Pigeon.

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        Pok Pok
        3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

        Le Pigeon
        738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

    2. if you're by yourself your price targets are very doable. In fact, I would say without copious booze, you would be hard pressed to even approach them.

      Fin is really getting some great press for seafood. They will have plenty of non shellfish options for you.

      as far as an ethnic lunch, I would second Pok Pok but probably send you to Ha&VL instead. best Vietnamese soup I have ever had(albeit limited in scope, but some people I know that have a much greater wealth of experience than I rave about it even more so...), made by the nicest couple you will ever meet. Bonus for the fact that you'll end up closer to $6 than $60.

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      Pok Pok
      3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

      1 Reply
      1. re: nkeane

        Thank you both! These look perfect, my mouth is watering already...

      2. I think if you're looking for marrow, sweetbreads, etc. you should try Red Star Tavern. The chef there is doing some funky things but it's usually delicious...

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        Red Star
        503 SW Alder St., Portland, OR 97204