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Apr 29, 2013 11:31 AM

first trip to portland!

am headed to portland on saturday for 5 nights and cannot wait. i'm a trail runner and craft beer geek, so i won't have a shortage of things to do. that being said, i'm loosely plotting out meals ahead of time and wanted to make sure i was on the right track, or if there's a must do. my girlfriend and i have no dietary restrictions and we're not looking to break the bank outside of one dinner, but anything else is fair game. here's what i had in mind:

screen door
ned ludd
little bird bistro
pok pok

roe (our splurge!)
natural selection
tasty n sons

blue star donuts
voodoo (just so i can say i've been)
pix patisserie
salt & straw

hair of the dog
full sail (day hike/trip to the gorge)
bailey's taproom or apex or amnesia or green dragon (any recs?)

many thanks!

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  1. Just ate at Roe on Friday again. Fabulous! Ask for the chef's counter.
    Your other dinner options - I cannot recommend any of them. If you cannot get into Roe, WAFU at the front is changing up the menu a bunch right now and is really good.
    Treats - great list
    Brunch - consider Beast and Woodsman

    1. I'd forsake Full Sail for Double Mountain.
      I like Amnesia.

      Voodoo is an overly hyped tourist trap but you're going no matter what I say, so enough on that.

      Also seriously consider: Tanuki, Biwa, St Jack.

      Have fun. Please report back!

      1. Portland has great breweries. I agree with others and would not hit full sail. But you could always do a hike in the gorge, and either drink in hood river where pfriem brewery and double mountain are (both amazing and way better than full sail). Or if you didn't want to make the drive all the way out to hood river (as there are plenty of hikes in the gorge before you hit hood river) you could always do a hike (angels rest is amazing) then cross the bridge of the gods into Washington and hit up walking man brewing then head west and hit Amnesia (theres a new one, I think in wasugal) and keep going west and head through Vancouver (Vancouver is not amazing in itself, but there a 3 newer breweries there) and drink your way back to Portland.

        In Portland proper, I would recommend checking out:
        -Apex (good beer selection, but they are not a brewery)
        -Belmont station (same as above, but they have an excellent bottle selection as well)
        -Hopworks has great beer and okay food
        -Lompoc also has good beer and okay food
        -Cascade barrel house (good sour beers)
        -Basecamp brewing
        -upright is fun, but if you want their beer and good food go to Grain and Gristle, upright owns them and they have excellent food.

        That's just a few breweries, head to the Oregon brewers guild website and check out their events section. Also if you can make it to a beer makes dinner while you are here that's a great way to have a good dinner and good beer. East burn has them and they are called beer belly dinners. They are $40 a ticket for a 5 course beer paired meal. There are also fancier ones at other restaurants around town.

        For treats, please don't go to voodoo, I can't think of a worse way to spend your time in Portland. It's really just a doughnut.
        Salt and Straw, or really any of those hand crafted ice cream places are good. Pix patisserie is lovely.

        For dinner, Mextica is amazing, Luce is also good. Andina is $$$ but lovely. I have never been blown away with Tasty and Sons. Podnahs pit BBQ is really good. Lincoln is nice, then you could head over to the box social after for a amazing cocktail. Oh also the Farm is yummy!

        For lunch, our carts are great. Hit the ones on the east side for the most original interesting food for cheap. There is a cluster on Belmont around 45thish, also some on Hawthorn. Seriously make sure to hit the carts!

        As for Brunch, Portland is really known for this meal. Expect to wait in a line for anything that is good. Here is a list of my favorites:
        -Tin shed
        -Pine State biscuits (yum!)
        -screen door

        Hope that helps!

        6 Replies
        1. re: srosing

          just wanted to report back after my 1st ever trip to portland and bend, where my girlfriend and i did some major damage haha. was so glad to get in a few runs at forest park and an amazing hike in the gorge; otherwise, i would have had to buy an extra seat on the plane to fly home. a quick recap:

          screen door - blown away by the praline bacon waffle. salty, sweet decadence. and bacon inside the waffle! get the F out. tables next to us got the chicken & waffles, which would have fed a family of 3...

          blue star donuts - dulce de leche & hazelnut. a slightly more refined version of an old staple, and i appreciated the fact that it wasn't a sugar bomb. very happy.

          roe - 4 course tasting menu and best dinner of the trip. ingredients, attention to detail, the creativity, and a seat at the chef's counter made it a memorable one. still dreaming of the halibut cheek, which is in the top 5 of things i've eaten in my life.

          waffle window - indifferent about the three b's, but my gf's blueberry cheesecake far more impressed. still a bit sweet for my taste, it's more ideal for me to share.

          evoe - the amazing little bo peep and a beet/greens salad. love what this place is all about and it looks so deceptively simple! FYI we cut our time in bend a few hours short in order to have one more meal here before flying home.

          pok pok - vietnamese fish sauce hot wings, papaya salad, khao soi. the wings were off the hook, but the others not as much so. i was actually expecting better (and spicier) from all the great things i had heard.

          full sail - collection of apps during happy hour. standard pub fare, but the deck atop brewery couldn't have a better view. it was a must visit for me, only b/c their amber was one of the OGs in my love of craft beer.

          biwa - biwa burger and ramen. was wary of this place, only b/c where i live there are no less than 5 ramen joints within a half mile. the burger was bomb - strong presence of kalbi and i inhaled it in minutes.

          little bird bistro - daily special of fried oysters w/bacon & pickled veggies. knocked it out of the park with this one, even though everyone around us had the burger.

          salt & straw - almond brittle w/salted ganache. hit the spot in 80 degree weather and similar to the ice cream shop i frequent in LA.

          grain & gristle - another great burger and outstanding beer selection to boot.

          apizza scholls - the apizza amore satisfied on all fronts. nothing groundbreaking here but i couldn't stop eating. 5 slices later, i contemplated the risk of getting sick in exchange for slice #6...

          natural selection - delicious all around, didn't get any of the snooty pretension we had heard about. was able to sample the 4-course tasting menu and somehow all of my choices turned out to be the best haha. neat to see nuts and heartier vegetables used as the "meat" here...

          compared to los angeles, it seems like great food is so much more accessible in portland, both in terms of price (also no sales tax!) as well as the more casual vibe. we had such a great time eating and drinking our way around town, but was bummed to have missed a number of places that were also on my radar. guess that means a return trip is in the cards!

          1. re: mikkel obe

            Nice writeup, enjoyed reading about your adventures. Looks like another Evoe fan is born. We're heading to Portland for five days in June and I'm seriously considering hitting them up twice so we can show it off to our traveling companions.

            1. re: mikkel obe

              Thanks so much for reporting back!

              So glad you enjoyed your is hard to get to everything in one trip here, I am sure. It is an embarrassment of riches I am grateful for everyday.

              1. re: mikkel obe

                Great write up! Thank you for sharing. And glad you liked of my secret favs in Portland.

                1. re: DanielLP

                  daniel - thanks for the recommendation, it seriously couldn't have been any better. even though i would have loved to try noisette or castagna, roe was the perfect place for us.

                  grayelf - dining at evoe feels like stealing and somehow getting away with it. it was a treat to sit at the counter and be able to talk to the chef as he's preparing your meal. even though he's shy and soft-spoken, he's a treasure trove of info and cheerily introduced a lot of new ingredients and flavors to us thru his food. i would frequent here all the time if i lived there...

                  1. re: mikkel obe

                    True that. Though I've loved everything I've eaten there, and had several "best evers" in Evoe over a lamentably small three visits (we didn't know about it for our first trip), a large part of the enjoyment is the setting and the folks doing the cooking. I can't get over that he puts all those great things out with what looks like a regular kitchen stove! And the people who go seem to be of like mind, as we have chatted with our neighbours each time. There's also something cool about being able to go next door and buy many of the ingredients he is using to take home if you are so inclined.

            2. I will also be going there soon. This is very helpful--thanks to all.