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Looking for feedback: A quick 24 hrs of eating and beer/chocolate sampling

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Hello! My husband and I are heading to Portland this weekend for just 1 night. I've done a bunch of research on the Portland board (Many thanks to everyone for their great posts!), and I'm hoping for some feedback on my draft picks.

We're staying at the Nines and will be taking the train down (i.e., won't have a car). We are big walkers, so are happy to walk a few miles to get wherever. And of course, public transport & cabs are an option.

We are planning the trip as a comfy, relaxing getaway, so I'm trying to plan places that will be tasty, walkable, and cozy.

That all said, what do you think of the following:

Friday evening: Paley's Place, Park Kitchen, or Toro Bravo
We usually eat pretty early (so I'm hoping we could get in to one of these despite their popularity), and they all have great-looking menus (and nice reviews on the board). Any thoughts or suggestions on how to choose among them in terms of ambience, food, or proximity (not necessarily to the hotel but in terms of being in a nice area to walk around pre/post dinner)

Saturday morning: Screen Door, other suggestions?
We'll probably be up early, walking around. I see Screen Door doesn't open until 9am. We'll probably check out the farmer's mkt, so I'm sure we could satisfy ourselves with snacks there as well / instead. Any other thoughts on earlier breakfast spots -- either for a proper eggs & french toast-type place or a spectacular, can't miss pastry?

Saturday afternoon: Food carts
We're thinking of doing lunch as a grazing through the amazing food carts y'all have around the city before getting back on the train.

Beers: Saraveza, Belmont Station
We'd like to go someplace where we can try a bunch of different local brews. Other thoughts or preferences among those two?

Chocolate: Cacao, Pastaworks, and City Market
Yes, I wrote "and". Ok, that may be ambitious. If you had to pick just one (or two), which would it be? Quality, variety, and (to a lesser extent) location feedback would be appreciated.

If I missed anything crucial, let me know. Thanks very much for your thoughts!

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

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

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

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  1. Regarding food carts, the ones in downtown tend not to be open on Saturdays.

    I would recommend taking a cab Saturday morning (after exploring the farmers market) to the Mississippi Marketplace Cart Pod for brunch. Saraveza is also nearby. Mississippi can provide a fun-half-day of wandering, window-shopping and people watching.


    1. You can usually get into Paley's early on a Friday - also nice for walking around NW 23rd after dinner and the streetcar stops right at their front door. If you eat in the bar you can get their burger (note it is not on the menu). Their charcuterie is really great right now.

      I would just eat the the farmer's market Saturday morning - tons of great stuff there!

      I LOVE City Market and shop there several times a week, but wouldn't go there for chocolate. I would definitely go to Cacao - if you are over on Mississippi go to The Meadow.

      1. Bailey's Taproom is right downtown and has 20 taps, usually all very local and usually a couple rarities.

        Screen Door has MONUMENTAL waits, for slightly better than average brunch. Try Irving Street Kitchen in the Pearl District for brunch. Bonus being if you happen to like a drink or three with your brunch, the bar is excellent there.

        as far as the food carts downtown go, do not miss the Frying Scotsman(9th&Alder pod). I am pretty sure they are open on saturday now(weekends downtown are troublesome for carts since they primarly are patronized by office workers and hence do not open on weekends.). A better bet for carts on the weekend is the 12th&SE Hawthorne pod, take the Yellow line Max up to Killingsworth and walk about 3/4mile west on Killingsworth the the North Station carts at Greeley and Killingsworth. bonus here would be the other direction off the max on Killingsworth a few blocks is Saravesa.

        and as far as your Friday night plans go, definitely Toro Bravo. it opens at 5 so either get there 10 min early or at almost 6(first seating will be clearing and it won't be a terrible wait). if you show up at 7 on a friday you may be there long enough to see if Al Gore is right or not!?;-)

        good luck!

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

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

        1. Agree with breakfast at Portland Farmers Market at Portland State. Pine State Biscuits, TasteBud Farms, coffee, plenty of great food to choose from.

          At Cacao, get the caramel by Sahagun. It will change your life.

          Saraveza, for sure!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Leonardo

            Thanks so much for all the helpful feedback, y'all!

          2. For Friday, I would order my food preference as 1. Toro Bravo (usually a line forms before they open, so you might have to wait a few minutes even if you're early), 2. Park Kitchen, and 3. Paley's Place. For proximity to neighborhoods where it would be fun to wander, I'd reverse the order!

            For chocolate, there is no competition: Cacao.

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

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

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

            1. You can book for two at Park and Paley's; you can't at Toro. They're all good places to eat My pick would be Park. The food is a good mix of creativity and NW locavore and it's never too busy and the bar is excellent. Toro Bravo is great, but on a Friday night will be pretty insane (even early; people go straight from work). Paley's I just don't love the way others do. Park is also by far the closest to you. You could walk through the Pearl afterwards (even stop by Metrovino for a glass of wine or two) then go to Powell's.

              Saturday morning, I would just eat at the market. You can seriously fill up on just samples, but there are several excellent vendors - Pine State Biscuit and Tastebud for savory, Pearl Bakery, Two Tarts and Lauretta Jean's for sweet.

              Kenny and Zuke's is a great nearby place for breakfast and actually tends to not be too busy very early on, but definitely would be by the time you went to the market. Most good brunch places will be. Really, there's so much good food at the market - don't waste the little time you have here in a line.

              Other posters are wrong about the carts: a large number of the carts downtown are now open Saturdays - the 9th/Alder ones, the 5th/Stark ones and some of the 3rd/Stark ones. Many will close around 2pm, though, so don't leave it too late. Most of the Eastside pods - 12th/Hawthorne, Mississippi Market, D street, Belmont/50th - are at their busiest on Saturdays and are open later.

              As other have suggested for beers - Bailey's. It's very close to you and has a great selection. If you're trying to keep things walkable, it's the only place to go.

              For chocolate - definitely Cacao. The other two you've listed are nothing special for chocolate, and Cacao is so close (go to the one on 13th, though, not Broadway - its much bigger). If you want to go to more, Alda on SE 28th is one of the few top chocolatiers not stocked at Cacao and is a lovely shop (though they have a stall at the farmer's market). The Meadow on Mississippi has a great selection of high quality chocolate, not to mention a ridiculous collection of artisan salts, though it's a MAX ride away.

              I wouldn't say there's anything "crucial". It all depends on your tastes.

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

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: chalmers

                re chalmers: Alma not Alda. While Cacao makes no chocolates of their own, they carry the best of the local makers.

              2. This may be too late, but be sure to try Alma's chocolate and Ancient Heritage cheese @ the farmers market