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Short list of MUSTs in Portland

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Portland Chowhounders,

I'm going to be in town next week and am looking for a few MUST stops in your beautiful city. I currently have Le Pigeon, Olympic Provisions, Voodoo Donuts, Tasty & Son, Pok Pok Thai on my 100% lists. On the fence about Beast, Castagna, Bent Brick for dinner. I plan on hitting at least 5-7 spots a day, and am a eating machine. I will eat anything and money is not a major issue. Food carts...don't even know where to start. I will be traveling alone and will have a car. Would love some local advice!

Also looking for coffee suggestions - Stumptown, Barista are definitely on the list.

Thank You!

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Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Castagna
1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

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  1. Stumptown, meh. For coffee go to Heart, Coava, Oblique, Water Avenue, Ristretto - all on the east side.

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    Stumptown
    4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

    6 Replies
    1. re: JillO

      Hey Jill -

      Nice list! Which of those is your favorite? I just recently moved to the east side and haven't settled on a regular yet... hitting my local Stumptown most of the time now as they do make a *decent* macchiato I spose. ;)

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      Stumptown
      4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

      1. re: jonoropeza

        I like them all for different reasons.

        I like to hang out at Oblique - it's my fave for the convergence of awesome coffee (french press vac pot made in small batches!) AND espresso and a great mellow space with work tables and amazing owners. They roast great beans to take home too. And if you get an espresso, you can have a cup of the french press free if you are staying there to drink it - ditto if you buy a bag of their beans.

        I love Coava's espresso and I adore their beans, but it is not a comfy place to spend time. I toss back my espresso, grab my bag of beans and leave. ;o)

        Espresso is amazing too at Heart, although their regular coffee from the vac pot (I just do regular coffee or espresso, don't do fancy coffee drinks) is not as good as at many of the others. Not the homiest of environs to hang out in, but not the worst, either.

        I didn't put Cellar Door on the list, but I like their beans a lot, as well as their pour-overs. Haven't had their espresso or their drip/vac pot stuff.

        Water Ave. I have had at events and restaurants and I really like the pour-overs and cold-brewed stuff I have had made from their beans. Never been to the mothership, though.

        I have gotten to be a serious coffee geek in the last few months or so. I never thought I'd be able to make great stuff at home, but I have found that it is easy starting with fresh great beans and making pour-overs (even using a cheap, plastic Melitta drip thingie!).

        Branch out from Stumptown and you will be well-rewarded jonopreza!

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        Stumptown
        4525 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

        1. re: JillO

          Cool. Think I'll start my exploration with Oblique, since they're pretty close to my place.

          Me too on the coffee geek thing. I lived in San Diego for 10 years prior to moving to Portland. Great city, good food, very weak coffee scene though. 2 years here in Portland and now I'm a complete coffee snob, LOL.

          Working my way through a bag of Water Ave's Sumatra Aceh's beans right now. Big cigar flavors. I usually french press because I like it dirty and strong, will have to try the pour over technique one of these days though -

          1. re: jonoropeza

            See, I switched to get rid of the sludge. Like it strong, but not textured. ;o) Lots of other good places not on my list such as Extracto and Vita (both in NE), Coffeehouse NW and Barista (both in NW) and Public Domain downtown. It's an embarrassment of coffee riches around here!

            1. re: JillO

              Ok Jill, I went to Oblique on Friday, Coava yesterday.

              Oblique: Solid cup of coffee. Big dark chocolate flavors. Not a lot of nuance but very good indeed.

              Coava: Two different roasts. Both knocked my socks off in different ways... one was light and almost fruity, the other rich with caramel notes and an aftertaste that stuck with me for a good half hour. Two of the best cups of coffee I've had anywhere. WOW!

              Funny enough, for me I found the atmosphere at Oblique a tad dull... am just not a fan of that style of coffee shop. Whereas the Coava space is everything I like in a coffee shop... wide open, vibrant, lots of plugs for the technology. Different strokes. :)

              Heart and Cellar Door are next on my list. Thanks again for the ideas! Don't forget Spella downtown for their hand-pulled shots... definitely an embarrassment of coffee riches in this town.

              1. re: jonoropeza

                I think you'll like the atmosphere at Heart, too, then. I never have trouble finding an outlet at Oblique, though...and if you need to spread out with paper in addition to laptop, their tables are great....but I get what you mean, different strokes, indeed.

                Glad you are branching out from Stumptown...too much stuff that is better in this town to get stuck in a Stumptown rut!

    2. food cart musts:
      Tabor, Viking Soul Food, Potato Champion& Whiffies Fried Pie , Sugar Cube
      www.foodcartsportland.org
      my new favorite is the pupusas cart @ ALA carts 102nd and Stark...but that is a bit out of the way for visiting, and coming from LA, you have plenty of pupusas....
      the Alder & 10th st pod on the west side is a wow...1 city block of food carts....what to choose!!!!
      D st Noshery is across from Pok Pok, so you could have a snack while waiting

      not a food cart, Taste Unique for lunch is wonderful...Italian direct from Italy.. charming and delicious

      if you have time, the pod @ NGreely and Killingsworth is fun, and also Mississippi Marketplace...
      Enjoy and let us know what you liked

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      Pok Pok
      3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

      Potato Champion
      SE 12th and Hawthorne, Portland, OR

      Taste Unique
      2134 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

      1. Apizza Scholls, St. Jack, Toro Bravo, Metrovino, Nostrana...

        Other ideas are Wafu, Sunshine Tavern, Tabla, Clyde Common, Ping.

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        Nostrana
        1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

        Clyde Common
        1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

        Apizza Scholls
        4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

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

        1. Your list and everyone else's additions look great.

          For sure don't miss Apizza, Wafu, Bent Brick or St. Jack.

          oh and, Voodoo Donuts.....*sigh*.....go if the marketing has beaten you and all, but don't say no one warned you!;-)

          1. I went alone a few weeks ago. Hit Clyde Common, Kenny and Zuke's, Ken's Artisan Pizza, Pok Pok, Voodoo Donuts, Screen Door. Did a few carts. My opinion:

            clyde common for cocktails. Kenny and Zuke's for Pastrami. Pok Pok - killer green papaya salad.

            carts: nong's khao man gai and viking soul food.

            if you're going during the weekend, visit the farmers markets at Portland State Univ.

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            Clyde Common
            1014 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

            Pok Pok
            3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR

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