Critique My List (Researched)
Ill be visiting Portland from LA for just a few days. I've narrowed down the list of places i'd like to try:
Toro Bravo (dinner)
Ox (for a light dinner)
Le Pigeon (dinner)
Screen Door (brunch)
Pine State Biscuits (brunch)
Tasty and Sons (brunch)
Sugar Cube (snack)
Salt & Straw (snack)
Anyone see any glaring omissions? I didn't include any asian/mexican fare since we've got pretty good coverage in LA. I wanted to also include Country Cat but I couldn't fit it into the list. Should I include it and knock someone else of the list?
Also any tips on visiting any of these restaurants?
Thanks in advance!
This is a bit overdue but I wanted to make sure the experience completely settled in.
Here are my reviews:
Toro Bravo - Wow! Mind blown. The winning dishes were the squid ink pasta and chantrelle toast.
Ox (for a light dinner) - Okay light dinner was impossible but overall a great meal for any meat lover. Skirt Steak was pretty amazing and I would order this again in a heart beat.
Le Pigeon (dinner) - I loved sitting at the counter to watch food being prepared. My favorite dish was the Gnocci. I could eat this all day and the next.
Screen Door (brunch) - I had read that the Fried Chicken and waffles were huge but it was HUGE. It was actually more than enough food for 2 people. Overall it was good but the massive portions make it hard to enjoy every bite. BTW, the sausage gravy is insane especially when combined with the chicken. Word to the wise. Its a heavy meal so don't plan on eating anything else for a few hours.
Country Cat (brunch) - This is fried chicken I can fall in love with. In this case I wish the portions were larger but every bite was delicious. We also ordered a side of bacon. Now I've had my share of bacon but this was unworldly. We got a thick pieces of bacon that belonged on a barbizon runway.
Salt & Straw (snack) - It was okay but I think I was still full from previous meals to really savor the flavors of my salted caramel ice cream.
Cacao (snack) - That coco tasting was no joke. I can't even say I was drinking it because it was so thick and super rich. Its like trying to drink straight melted chocolate.
Stumptown - Loved the lattes. The one in the ACE hotel is a cool spot just to relax and unwind.
Nong's - Went on a whim. Ended up going back for a 2nd lunch within the same hour. I think beauty of the meal is its simplicity and oh yeah the sauce. I wish I had a Nong's where I worked.
There were so many more restaurants I wanted to check out but unfortunately due to time and stomach space I was unable to fully indulge myself. That just means a return visit very soon.
Thank you Portland!
Screen Door always has a line that starts about 15-30 minutes before they open. After the first turn, it is often more than an hour wait. Know before you go... ;o) I like it, but I like dinner better than brunch there.
I don't know if a light dinner at Ox is possible, there are sooooo many good things to eat there, including great grilled meats. Also, be prepared for a wait...though it's worth it, IMO.
Get to Toro Bravo about 15 minutes before they open rather than waiting an hour for a table...or say screw it and put your name on the list and have a drink upstairs at Secret Society. It's worth the wait too.
I'd go to Country Cat or Podnah's for brunch over Pine State Biscuits, personally, but YMMV.
Make reservations wherever they might accept them.
I like Courier and I would also add Heart and Coava to the list of great coffee places in town.
I like Salt & Straw, but I actually like Cool Moon Ice Cream better. And Cool Moon's hot fudge is the best I have ever had.
There is often a wait there too (not usually as long as Screen Door, though), but if you are willing to sit at the bar or chef's counter (comfortable higher chairs with backs), you can often sit down right away. The other bonus to Country Cat is that it gets you out to a different part of town.
If you want a place where there is rarely a line and has a great brunch, I'd suggest Accanto:http://www.accantopdx.com/ (scroll all the way down on the menu page for brunch menu)
I had a steak and eggs plate there a couple of weeks ago that was awesome. GF had the polenta, greens and eggs which was delicious too.
Country Cat & Accanto are great ideas, and without the ridiculous wait.
Make sure to get a baked good at Courier.
At Cacao get the Luscious Caramel by Sahagun. They've been out recently though. Consider yourself blessed if you find it.
Best Pine State tactic is to go to Portland Farmers Mkt at PSU Saturday morning. Be in line ten minutes before the opening bell and you'll be served immediately.
Have fun. Please report!