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Apr 23, 2013 11:59 AM

Food Trucks and other recommendations - July/August

Hi all,
My husband and I are visiting Portland sometime around the end of July/beginning of August. We'll be in town for 4 days. I'm most interested in the food scene. My husband prefers to eat at places with "ambiance". We're coming from Calgary, Canada, where beef is big. However, I'm from the east coast so I plan to get as much seafood as possible during this trip to Portland (followed by Seattle).

Here are a few places I've singled out. Asterixes by the ones I am most interested in visiting:

• Saint Honore Boulangerie
• Voodoo Doughnuts ***
• Stumptown Coffee ***
• Pok Pok (Asian) ***
• Beast (French/American)
• Beaker & Flask (cocktails)
• Apizza Scholls (pizza)
• Broder (Scandinavian – breakfast/lunch) ***
• Olympic Provisions (charcuterie)
• Le Pigeon (French, fancy) ***
• Tasty n Sons (breakfast)
• Tin Shed (breakfast)

Does anyone have any comments on any of these establishments? Yay/Nay? Any recs of 'must eat' places similiar to these? I should also note that I'm a healthier eater so I'm not up for "Diners, Drive Ins & Dives" type of gluttony, though a well made treat or fatty meat isn't off the table.

Re: food carts: any recommendations? I can't seem to find a good list of what's available & what's served in each one. I know that if I have to choose to eat at one out of twenty carts in front of me, I'd like to be a bit prepared!

One more thing: where is the best area to look for a hotel? On the East or West side of the river? Looking at 3 or 4 stars at $150/night or less.

Thanks in advance. I'm off to read some other posts on this board :)

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  1. Priceline any 4 star in downtown and you'll get a good rate and a good hotel in the heart of the city. If you're not in for that check the Marriott on Broadway rates. It's a newer Marriott and it is quite fine if not exactly incredible.

    There's a million threads on all the restaurants you have asked after. I would say there are large upgrades from Tin Shed and Beaker and Broder to be had. I'm not a Beast guy but others like it a lot. If you're staying downtown a lot of decisions will likely be made by the simple fact that it will be easier to just walk to certain places than drive around.

    2 Replies
    1. re: oregonjim

      Thanks for the Priceline idea. I used it once when we went to Chicago a few years ago & got a great deal but didn't think of it for this trip.

      What do you mean by "large upgrades.... to be had?" As in, there are better options out there when compared to those three restaurants?

      1. re: oregonjim

        Quick note for anyone reading this thread later: Beaker and Flask has since closed.

      2. Not going to comment on hotels as this is a food site and my post will be deleted for being off-topic.

        You're a "healthier eater" so you're going to Voodoo? Seriously? Gross. Truly icky donuts. Genuine tourist trap. A dozen places make FAR better donuts. If you're going to eat unhealthily at least make it worthwhile by going to Blue Star or Coco.

        St Honore? For bakery go to Ken's Artisan Bakery, Little T, and Bakeshop.

        Scroll back, read the thread, you'll find a bazillion high quality reports by visitors and advice for them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Leonardo

          Voodoo was on my list because it pops up on a lot of recommended places to eat in Portland. Based on people's comments on Chowhound and elsewhere, they may not live up to the hype. I was considering it because it looked fun and my husband likes that sort of thing. Perhaps a better choice of indulgence would be found at one of the bakeries you mentioned.

        2. You can do far better than Stumptown. Try Spella downtown, they have the best espresso in Portland, but get none of the hipster hype, no nonsense, no pretense, just great coffee. Sterling in NW is also good, likewise Water Avenue on the inner Eastside. Barista doesn't roast, but they always have at least one decent selection (out of three or so which rotate).
          Tin Shed sucks. Voodoo also. Not a fan of Pok Pok, but that's just me.
          Ken's is great as a traditional bakery...they really do a good job. His pizza joint is just ok, but I'd rather go there any day than Scholls which is just so much hype.
          Food carts: have really never had good food at any of them. Interesting concept(s), mediocre execution, but that's just me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sambamaster

            I'll keep Spella in mind... thanks.

            My city is new to the food truck concept and I feel the same way: good in theory, mediocre in taste for the most part. I had higher hopes for Portland's selection since the carts are more established.

          2. I love PokPok & it is a must do in my opinion. Tasty & Sons is also great. You may also want to look into Salt & Straw for unique ice cream that tastes good (translation not odd just for the sake of being odd). Also, Toro Bravo has great tapas and ambiance. Have a delicious time!!

            6 Replies
            1. re: SweetObsession

              Salt & Straw is on my list for sure. I read about it after I posted and I must try their strawberry balsamic & candycap mushroom ice creams. Looks so good. :)

              1. re: cellophane_star

                Read visitor reviews by greyelf, for one. Then come back with questions.

                If you want to blend in, don't call them food trucks! They are commonly called "food carts" even though they may be carts, trailers, or trucks. There are many excellent carts, IMHO, contrary to what the above poster said.

                HIghlights from Bizarre Foods Portland.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Haha. My city just got food CARTS last year so it's "food truck this and that". Thanks for the tips :)

                  1. re: cellophane_star

                    Kind of you to refer visitors to my reports, Leonardo, but they will have to spell it grayelf with an 'a' to do so :-).

                    I have used boyzoma's rec a lot in looking for good ones to try out. PDX671 is our favourite so far.

                    A bit out of date but useful from the Willamette Weekly:

                    Also found this (though I haven't used it yet)

                2. re: cellophane_star

                  Thanks for the recommendation. Salt & Straw was fantastic. The aroma when you walk through the door is amazing and the ice cream and sorbets were delectable