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5 days in Portland for burntout restaurant folk

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My wife and I are coming to your fair city next week to lie in a big comfy bed, not answer any electronic devices and eat and drink, a lot.

Reservations have been made at Le Pigeon and Beast and our question is where else do the people in Portland who love food love to go? White tablecloth to greasy spoons, Grand dames to buckets of blood.

We have a farm to table restaurant and catering company here in Sacramento. We opened a cafe in the new museum in October and are just finishing a jamming holiday season which will conclude with a couple of big inauguration parties on Monday.

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Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

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  1. Just got back to Sac from Portland just a few hours ago and the thing that we loved that we couldn't get in Sac were the huge plethora of food carts and the variety of them. Unlike in CA, where the food carts move from location to location, these food carts stay in the same place.

    Our faves were Nong's Khao Man Gai for chicken rice, Whiffies for fried pies, and the porchetta sandwich from People's Pig.

    www.foodcartsportland.com is an excellent resource for the food carts and what they serve and their locations. I also did searches on this forum and took notes. Good luck and wear elastic pants.

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    Nong's Khao Man Gai
    SW 10th and Alder, Portland, OR

    1 Reply
    1. re: septocaine_queen

      foodcartsportland.com is great, they also have a facebook page. daily updates and alerts as to what you need to eat NOW.

    2. Yes, Nong's Chicken is delicious. But get there before 2pm, because she can sell out. And it's an outdoor food cart, so dress warmly.

      Breakfast:
      Pine State Biscuits: their biscuits and gravy is delish! but it's a heavy meal!

      Brunch:
      go to Screen Door or Simpatica. both can have long lines, but there's a reason for the wait

      Lunch:
      Bunk sandwich or Bunk Bar: either location will provide you a savory sandwich

      Happy Hour:
      Driftwood Bar in deLuxe Hotel. great early bird/late night happy hour. they take their cocktails very serious.

      Asian:
      Lucky Strike (Chinese), Chef Naoko's (japanese) lunch only gourmet bento, OR PokPok (Thai)

      Pizza:
      Apizza Scholl's (ny style), Ken's artisan (woodfire) pizza with arugula on top OR Dove Vivi (cornmeal crust) corn on corn pizza

      Fast Food:
      Burgerville USA- it's like a NW IN-N-OUT with more options

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      Pok Pok
      3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

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

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

      Apizza Scholls
      4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

      Bunk
      Portland, OR, Portland, OR

      Nong's Khao Man Gai
      SW 10th and Alder, Portland, OR

      Screendoor Restaurant
      2337 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      Ken's Artisan Pizza
      304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

      Chef Naoko Corp
      1237 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201

      Burger USA
      8218 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97220

      Dove Vivi Pizza Deli
      2727 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232

      Lucky Strike
      3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

      5 Replies
      1. re: sarigan

        I like Burgerville, but it is not even CLOSE to In N Out. Sorry, it just isn't.

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        Burgerville
        429 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233

        1. re: starshinesMonet

          After a number of bad experiences I have decided that I actually DO NOT like Burgerville. If you want a really good burger, get the one at Castagne or Bamboo sushi's kobe beef burger. Seriously, it's as good as Burgers n' Brew (in Sacramento - I used to live there).

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          Burgerville
          8218 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97220

          1. re: starshinesMonet

            Well, yeah, almost any burger in a regular restaurant is going to be better than a fast food burger...apples and oranges.

          2. re: starshinesMonet

            Oh wow, just wow... the complete opposite form -- I like In and Out but Burgerville is just so much tastier, so much more interesting, so much healthier, so much better in every way.

            In and Out is a slight step up from the global fast brands in that it has a better customer experience, including a better presentation, especially of the burger.

            But Burgerville is a league all of its own beyond Fast Food and is so much better than In and Out it's ridiculous. Top reasons why:
            - No grey torture meat; all meat comes from the same free range ranch in Eastern Washington state
            - No cow factory dairy products; ice cream and cheese sourced locally from either organic or at lease free range dairies
            - Seasonal, local berries, fish, and cheeses are incorporated into menu (fish and chips is excellent)
            - MUCH BETTER french fries than in and out or any other fast food joint
            - Incredible milkshakes, made with real ingredients.
            - All of the above comes with your basic, fairly priced, non-pretentios, fast food vibe. Easy, clean, and fast place to eat.

            When people come to Portland, I always point them to Burgerville... best burger and fries on earth.

            Sorry, but it's just an insult to put In and Out in the same sentence as Burgerville. And if you seriously think the former is better, you missed something. Go back and try again.

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            Burgerville
            8218 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97220

            1. re: rochowski

              Actually, rochowski, I can't eat either now. After having tried Bamboo in Portland and Burgers N’ Brew in Sacramento, I realize I cannot eat burgers anywhere else because I’ve been far too spoiled.

              However, I do have to defend In N’ Out for one point that you made though. While Burgerville has better ethics, for those of us from California who [still] LOVE In N’ Out there is no comparison. When I moved to the Pacific NW, I found that I was suddenly bombarded by people who wanted to introduce me to “the NW’s version of In N’ Out.” None of which were at all close to the real thing. Some were good, some were better – none were close. There’s just something about In N’ Out that sucks Californian’s in, at least for awhile anyway. But everyone has different tastes, so perhaps Burgerville brings something to the table for you that I miss when eating it. (I recognize that this was sarigan’s argument and not yours, I’m just backing my point up).

              I must say, however, that while I don’t think Burgerville lives up to this pedestal you’ve placed them on, I am a BIG fan of their business practices. It’s great that they have such a fan base in Portland, because I always want those restaurants with great ethics/business practices to succeed and in that respect they will always win my heart over In N’ Out.

              But unfortunately, the taste never did. And I've had multiple opportunities to weigh my options, but they just don't bring anything to the table for me. I am glad that you are such an enthusiastic fan of theirs, but while the meat might be free range, it just doesn't taste good to me (which is odd, considering free-range also usually stands for "tastes awesome").

              Now, Bamboo manages to utilize these same ethical business practices, while giving me a product I can't get enough of. But as JillO pointed out, restaurant vs. fast food = Better.

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              Burgerville
              8218 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97220

        2. Kenny and Zuke's for amazing pastrami. If there's a line, it's worth the wait. If you're not concerned about a heart attack on a plate, get their pastrami cheese fries - I think that's where a lot of the pastrami ends are used up.

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          Kenny & Zuke's Deli
          1038 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

          1. Paley's Place for a nice dinner or a great meal at their bar.
            Metrovino has a great selection of wine by the glass and very good food - the best charcuterie plate in town IMO
            Ping is a stand-out for asian
            Breakfast at the Original Pancake House - be prepared for a long wait, but it is worth it!
            Little Bird - Le Pigeon's other restaurant - my husband and his chef friends went last week and had an amazing lunch.
            Ciao Vito or Nostrana for really good authentic Italian.
            Foti's Greek Deli for gyros and potato wedges
            Oregon Wines on Broadway for wines by the glass
            Jake's Grill for a good stiff drink - martini's preferrably.

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            Nostrana
            1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

            Le Pigeon
            738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

            Foti's Greek Deli
            1740 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

            Paley's Place
            1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

            Ciao Vito Restaurant
            2203 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

            1 Reply
            1. re: ekc

              Jakes has a really good dungeness crab omlette too.

            2. One of the big things in Portland is cocktails, and you might consider trying some of the city's best:

              Clyde Common - One of the most famous bartenders in the nation runs the bar here. He was just recently featured in the New York Times.

              Gilt Club - Very very serious cocktails. I had their Moscow Mule for hapy hour the other day, and it was amazing. A perfect holiday drink AND it has a chameleon affect of being perfect in the summer as well.

              Beaker and Flask - One of the best restaurants in town is also a mecca for cocktails.

              Teardrop Lounge - I haven't been, but it was one of the first intensely serious cocktail lounges to open during Portland's recent cocktail rennaissance.

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              Clyde Common
              , Portland, OR 97201

              Beaker and Flask
              720 SE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

              3 Replies
              1. re: MichaelG

                I'll give a strong thumbs up for Teardrop Lounge and Ken's Artisan Pizza!

                We aren't kidding about Burgerville. They serve fast food, but local in season menu.

                Re carts: beware that most of the downtown carts are weekday lunch. For weekend/late night, hit the east side pods. My recent faves: Mai Pho (lemongrass tofu over rice), Pyro Pizza and Give Pizza a Chance (same owner), and Sugar Cube for desert.

                Have fun. Please report back!

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                Ken's Artisan Pizza
                304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Tanuki
                  The pods at Good Food Here (esp. EuroTrash and Lardo) on SE Belmont/43rd

                  Yes to Nostrana, Gilt Club and Clyde Common (fyi, Gilt Club shows industry folks the love late night - after 10pm they have deep discounts - and they are open late - great cocktails too)

                  Also - Metrovino and Genoa - two of my faves at the high end in town.

                  FYI folks, ten-01 just closed the other day...Tabla still open (and a great other rec)

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                  Nostrana
                  1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

                  Tanuki
                  413 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

                  Clyde Common
                  , Portland, OR 97201

                  1. re: Leonardo

                    Sadly, Sugar Cube is closed for the winter (and to write a cookbook). In the same Mississippi Marketplace pod, though, is Garden State, which has great meatball and porchetta sandwiches that you can take into Prost and enjoy inside with a beer.

                2. Where is your restaurant? I'm originally from Sac and visit often. I've love to eat at your restaurant - I think Sacramento is HUGELY lacking in the farm-to-table restaurant area.

                  My votes for must have Portland food:

                  1. Navarre ($$$ - worth it)

                  2. Pok-Pok - I frequently dream about their drinking vinegars, fish sauce wings and the khao soi kai.

                  3. Pix - must dessert right?

                  4. Since someone already mentioned the food carts and Ken's, I would suggest Bamboo (sushi) next to Ken's Pizza - they have the most INCREDIBLE Kobe beef burger I have ever had. I know, who goes to a sushi restaurant for a burger, right? But seriously, there are only 3 places I would go for a burger in the world:
                  A. Burgers n Brew
                  B. Bamboo
                  C. Cafe Castagne (also good food there)

                  5. Jade Teahouse (Sellwood) - This place was a real surprise, but they serve some pretty fantastic food here. I like their Hum Bao, Beef stew and their electric green Vietnamese wedding cake. Bonus - they also make wonderful macaroons (as good as Pix, but half the price!).

                  Honourable mentions: Biwa (home-style Japanese and shochu master), Kenny's Noodle House (congee/Chinese), ClarkLewis (be prepared to spend $200-400 on dinner), Toro Bravo (tapas - so yummy).

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                  Biwa
                  215 SE 9th Ave Ste 102, Portland, OR 97214

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

                  Noodle House
                  13600 SW Pacific Hwy, Portland, OR 97223

                  Jade Teahouse
                  7912 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97202

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: starshinesMonet

                    I too frequently dream of Pok Pok.

                    There is ALWAYS a line....go across the street to the whiskey bar.

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                    Pok Pok
                    3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

                    1. re: Sharoneonta

                      That's because it's amazing! I DO wish more restaurants would catch on to the cool-ness of drinking vinegars that Pok Pok has established! The world need more drinking vinegars!

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                      Pok Pok
                      3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

                  2. So, mulvaneyp - where's the follow up? I want to know where you went and how it was! Let us know, please!