Final three days of Portland trip and conclusion
Previous two - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862114
The following days had a much more relaxed approach to gastro searching, due in part to an early onset of eating out fatigue and also the need to do some tourist type bits too. That's said we still covered a lot of ground and ate pretty well.
Day three consisted of lunch and dinner only, ok a coffee stop too but.... Potato champion offered up their delights to kick it all off, the poutine and their daily special (lime chicken and sour cream) delivered good flavours and excellent chips. This being my first poutine experience I must say I like the combo, although personally I think I would prefer slightly hotter gravy to allow the curds to melt more, I may experiment back in uk with a few cheese options. The special was great, slow cooked dark meat, citrus and heat, cooling sour cream.
Hiring bikes we set off for mt tabor for views over the city and a sit down in the sun. On route we stopped at rain or shine cafe, a cute little corner cafe with a good iced coffee on hand and a peach smoothie using a homemade peach sauce.
Happy with our bikes we set off on a mammoth, for us, ride across town for BBQ. I must say for me pod has delivered. I know that true BBQ can only be found elsewhere in the states tc, but coming from the uk I liked the full rack and sides they delivered. Pork was soft, sweet, smoky and all good, the sides of chilli mac cheese and BBQ beans great and cornbread with honey a real find. How anyone can finish those ribs on their own I don't know, between two we still had four left, but what a breakfast they'll make!
Day four proved to be much in the same vein as the day before, a much more relaxed approach to visiting picked out spots. The highlight, one of two, for me was a cupping session at stumptown annex. I have been very lucky to be supplied amazing coffee for the last few years from a same day roast and post guy here in the uk, I have also been to many wine tastings, but never have I combined the two. The experience was fantastic, we got to try five different coffees, through the process from whole bean, grind, breaking the crust and final taste, and all for free, a real bargain if ever there was one, kudos to stumptown to putting such a thing on twice a day, the stand out coffee was a Guatemalan, the lowlight the Indonesian, interesting but not my thing really. Following coffee we lunched at miras on Hawthorne, opposite the new season, following recommendation from landlady at the time. We enjoyed the zucchini pancakes with sour cream and the interesting addition of apple sauce a nice contrast to the richness. Not quite fully sated we ventured on to the next highlight of the day, the mortadella and pork loin sandwich at evoe. Finished with dandelion leaves and pont eveque it offered and amazing richness and depth of flavour, initially worried it was too small the sheer impact of the flavours made it more than large enough, the accompanying zucchini salad with mint was also very tasty. The final meal of the day was at bar Avignon, again on recommendation from landlady, this was a nice meal, I did get to try a Kumamoto oyster, which I liked, and my main was nice enough, as was the SOs roast chicken, but again it lacked something to make it better than nice.
Day five was our last before the willamette so we decided to opt for a final food cart session, so back to tenth and alder. A number of things were consumed, the cheese sandwich (grilled cheese grill) was good, the Korean taco tasty (korean twist) the Vietnamese rolls disappointing (mai pho), the winner was the banana pudding from little bit of smoke, like a softer version of banoffee pie, cream, lecce, banana, what can go wrong?
The afternoon meant a drive up the gorge to hood river with an earlyish dinner at double mountain. A surprisingly good last meal in the area, a large, nicely cooked, white pizza with ricotta, mozzarella and portobello with truffle oil, all set off excellently against their seasonal sours, devils oriel I think, lots of cherries and pinot barrels, tasty!
So, that concludes my days of eating and drinking in Portland, my first comment should be a massive thank you toll the people who have posted previously and I have borrowed ideas from, those who responded to questions and those who took the time to read my rants.
In conclusion I think Portland is offering some excellent food, the commitment to local food is massively admirable and the beer accompanying it is very good, but, I must say that I felt a little disappointed at the end of the trip. I must put this in context, I have been building up to the trip for nearly eight months and had huge expectations on what I would be eating and drinking, so it was always likely a little of this may creep in. But, as good as the food was, I often found myself thinking that there was something missing from each dish, be it a nice hit of quality sea salt to lift a piece of meat from good to great, or a splash of citrus to take a vegetable dish up another notch. Now this may be my palate, it maybe that by not applying these things to dishes the chefs are truly honouring the produce they are putting In front of people, but I was left a little wanting.
All that said, I had a fantastic time and would highly recommend Portland to anyone wanting to eat and drink well, I would merely advise the to reign in expectations otherwise they may fall short slightly like mine did.