HOME > Chowhound > Metro Portland >

Discussion

Proposed Portland 3.5 day food

I will be visiting Portland for a 3.5 day stint over Labor Day weekend for the first time with my boyfriend. We are committed to finding the best food experience in that short time possible. Any arguments, contributions or suggestions to this first-stab meal itinerary are welcome.

-Thursday late dinner after arrival = food carts, most likely 9th-10th/Adler-Washington pod with Nong's Khao Man Gai as must-hit
-Breakfasts focused on grazing, so many bakeries & such. WILL DOs = Blue Star, Loretta Jean's (for biscuits/pie)
-Lunches at Evoe, Pok Pok (suggestions for best time not to wait?)& Tasty & Son's (this likely happy hour burger after all-morning graze at PSU farmer's market Saturday)
-Dinners at Beast (rez Saturday 8:45 seating), Le Pigeon & Hokusei. Wanted Simpatica but closed Fri & Saturday for private events (is their brunch noteworthy enough to warrant a spot)?
-Other in-between WILL DOs = Salt & Straw, The Meadow, Cacao, PSU Farmer's Market Saturday, more carts

Do any of these trump something above? Apizza Scholls, Ox, Ken's Artisan, Por que No, Tanuki. Most interested in food, not wine/cocktails; we are craft beer addicts and will seek out breweries for imbibing/souvenirs.
More concerned with treatment of ingredients/composition/balance than pretty plating; and want to see what Portland scene is about. We know more $ doesn't always = better tasting. Thanks for the advice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Great list!
    Thursday night you might want to consider - Gruner - get the burger at the bar.
    Breakfast - yum
    Lunch - Evoe, or Lardo or Grassa. Cant recommend PokPok or Tastys. If you are at PSU FM, consider Pine State Biscuits or go out of your way to NE Portland to try them.
    Dinner - Beast (always a winner).
    Simpatica - decent brunch option
    Others - all great.
    Trumps - Ox easily is superior to Tasty and Hokusei and Pigeon and Pok Pok for that matter. Ascholls - not worth the wait. Ken's - great option. Por que No - (not even close to CHI options like Big Star, Eatfatrice and Bayless options you have)

    1. Pine State Biscuits is a good brunch place, and one of their brick and mortar locations is located down the street from Salt N' Straw (which is a must see).

      PokPok though slightly over rated is very tasty, and their wings are a must get.

      1. Nong's is only open till 4 pm or until she runs out -- if you're after cart options, you may want to go to a different, more late-night-oriented one in the SE rather than 10th and Alder for the first night.

        Blue Star (apple fritter!) and Lauretta Jean's (biscuit with butter and jam! ham and cheese hand pie) -- yes yes

        Evoe -- yes yes yes (remember they have limited hours though)

        Make sure you go to the Cacao by Blue Star -- it has much better selection than the one on Salmon; it's also open later on the weekends.

        PSU FM deffo worth the stop (and you can get Lauretta Jean's there too which I officially prefer to Pine State after a back-to-back tasting and a couple of tries of each).

        We liked our pie at Ken's a bit better than the one at Apizza Scholl's, though the latter now takes reservations which is a huge plus.

        Planned to hit Tanuki on our recent trip but it was closed for a few days. Sounds like getting the omakase there is the way to go. I haven't been to either it or Hokusei but Tanuki sounds fairly one of a kind, if that matters.

        Have a wonderful time, and enjoy the craft beer scene, which will manifest in virtually every room, not just breweries/brewpubs. We really enjoyed Horse Brass in June for the selection and the 10 oz pour options but there are dozens of great places, it seems.

        1 Reply
        1. re: grayelf

          Listen to Greyelf.

          You can get Pine State & Lauretta Jean biscuits at Portland Farmers Mkt at PSU Saturday AM. I too prefer the latter. Get there close as possible to 8:30 opening to avoid lines, gawking tourists (LOL), and wilted berries/peaches.

          Also prefer Ken's Pizza.

          NE Alberta is where you will find both Salt & Straw and Pine State. Also some good carts including Cheese Plate.

          The best downtown carts (including Nong's/Tabor Cafe/Give Pizza a Chance) are open only lunchtime weekdays. Otherwise, the east side pods will deliver the goods.

          Blue Star: key lime/Meyer lemon, chocolate crunch.
          Cacao: Luscious Caramel by Sahagun.

          Por que No? NOT! Try Mi Mero Mole instead.

          Evoe is open only Wed-Sun Noon - 7. Def worth it!

          Have fun. Good list. Please report back!

        2. Okay, can you take me with you? That's how good your plans sound!

          All I can add is that, when the hubby and I visited, we went to Ken's Bakery (not his pizza joint) and were so impressed, we bought bread to take home as a treat and, bought sandwiches to go to eat as our lunch on the plane that day.

          One of my best travel lunches ever : )

          1. I see the problem when scouring the food cart site, I can't find a single listing for late night Thursday. Gruner's may be the best bet, although I can't definitively see when the bar/kitchen closes on Thursdays from their site. We'll have to be sure to hit Nong's Friday to catch it.
            Thinking of subbing Ox for Pigeon dinner, we feel like we need to do sushi while not in landlocked Chicago, thus Hokusei. Is Pok Pok really just hype/touristy and long waits (pretty big on not waiting myself)? If so Ken's for pizza may be the way to go; as they don't open until 5; a Nong's Lunch/Ken's early dinner/Ox late dinner as possible combo.
            Also, plan on spending Sunday exploring Washington Park, any good breakfast options to hit on the west side open Sunday am?
            Thanks for the help!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChicagoSharon

              you are right, forgot about sushi, you must try, is better than in chicago

            2. Nong's khao man gai is a must but hours are limited. They are not open for dinner

              pok pok as other's have said is over rated BUT since you are from chicago is worth it. I've lived in jackson park area, and asian food was never chicago's strength. If you do not want to wait just go to their sister bar across the street called the whiskey lounge and order your food there.

              Apizza Scholls is worth it, I personally do not like Ken's their pizza is forgetable. But does it trump your other choices? depends on if you love pizza or americanized thai food.

              Tanuki, not even consider this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ronin223

                Hey ronin, can you expound on why we shouldn't consider Tanuki? I would have gone in June if they hadn't been closed.

              2. Definitely do Ox. I would also give a big shout-out to Roe (to make your choices more difficult)...

                Breakfast on the West side - Tasty & Alder is great, Blue Star for donuts

                There is nothing wrong with Tanuki. It is just unique. But it is dark and bar-like inside. You will get interesting (and good) food combinations and it is just a fun Portland experience. Get the $15 omakase and you will likely not be able to eat everything she cooks for you. If I had a limited number of nights for dinner, though, I would rather do Ox, Roe, Beast, Little Bird, etc. than Tanuki.

                That is the problem...too many things to choose from.