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Trip Report (Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok, Tasty & Alder, Nong's Khao Man Gai, Clyde Common, Apizza Scholls, Rum Club, Blue Star Doughnuts, Koi Fusion Cart, Screen Door, PDX 671, Nostrana, Bunk Sandwiches, Meat Cheese Bread, and Salt & Straw)

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Thought this might be worth a repost since I was afraid it was getting buried in my original thread...

4 nights and 3 days in Portland from NYC Chowhound

Despite a ton of rain, no car, and being really pressed for time at the conference (talks from 10:30-6, evening events from 7pm), we did alright.

Standout items were the Tasty & Alder breakfast sandwich, blueberry/bourbon/basil doughnut at Blue Star, pizza at Nostrana, and the barrel aged Negroni at Clyde Common.

We also tried 3-4 different food carts (Nong's, PDX 671, Koi, Salt & Straw), and found them to be good and convenient but overall not amazing.

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Ran into friend on our flight who had a rental car reserved in Portland. Groggy and still on East Coast time, headed to Pok Pok for a late dinner around 9pm on a Wednesday. 45 minute wait for 3 people. Waited at Whiskey Soda lounge and snacked on spicy wings. Had a great pineapple drinking vinegar. Liked the wings, too. Big and meaty and spicy. Pok Pok was pretty good as well. Grilled boar neck, papaya Pok Pok, spicy water spinach, wild gulf prawns. Didn't really care for the infused water. Boar neck was the clear standout. Bottom of the papaya salad was too sweet due to the dressing. Water spinach was simple but tasty. Good meal overall.

Next day had breakfast at Tasty & Alder. Really good biscuit sandwich with bacon. Korean fried chicken was pretty good as well, but hard to share. A little too sweet. Great service.

Had Nong's for lunch, wanted to hit it up while the weather was still nice. The sauce really makes the dish. The broth was just kind of there. Overall, tasty and I see why people love it. It ended up being a very light lunch though and we were pretty hungry a little later.

Stopped by Clyde Common for a punch of the day and a barrel aged Negroni. Both excellent. They weren't too slammed around 4-5pm on a Thursday surprisingly.

Early dinner at Apizza Scholls on the recommendation of a friend. Very impressive place. Would be right at home in Brooklyn. Did half margherita and half mushroom/pepper. Great sauce where you can really taste the tomatoes. Excellent cheese as well. The combo they use kind of reminds me of Di Fara. Nice crust (good texture, springyness, good char on bottom) but the toppings felt more like the star. Really enjoyed this place and we have eaten at a lot of good pizza places in NYC.

Afterwards, ended up doing a nightcap at Rum Club. Great little and casual spot. I had what was essentially a cachaca based pina colada. Husband had a take on the Mai Tai. Both were excellent. Very nice, low key bar. Wasn't too busy either.

Quick breakfast this morning at Blue Star. Blueberry, bourbon, basil was amazing. Not super sweet, nice herbal finish, a little tart. Also liked the maple bacon doughnut, so fluffy and a little bit salty for balance. The old fashioned was too big and heavy. The filling made it seem very very sweet. Probably best to share this one with multiple people. Between the two of us, three doughnuts made us both sugared out for the morning.

Quick lunch at the Koi truck in front of the conference center. Bulgogi sliders for my husband. Bulgogi rice bowl for me. Generous portions. Excellent kimchi. Liked this a lot. Sat outside and enjoyed the sun.

Back at Tasty & Alder for breakfast. Bambino plate for me. Lovely biscuit with honey butter, slice of bacon, scrambled eggs. Husband had the breakfast sandwich and don't share. Snagged the last two open seats at 9:15am on a Saturday.

Lunch was at PDX 671. Two fiesta plates and a side of cucumber salad. Cucumber salad was tart and refreshing. Tasted vaguely Chinese. Shrimp fritter with peas and corn was awesome! Red rice and grilled chicken nice but not amazing. Unfortunately, the kelaguen mannok was sold out. Great people working there though.

Forgot to mention our dinner at Screen Door thanks to a friend who drove us. A party of five on a Friday night, 7:45pm, only waited about 40 minutes. Much less than I was expecting. Had a nice butter lettuce salad and a few bites of a friend's mac and cheese. Very creamy and seemed to have some mayo in it (not my preference). The fried chicken was excellent. Juicy and flavorful. Batter was also well spiced. It did take a little getting used to the boneless pieces though. The gravy for the mashed potatoes was also excellent. Collards were a bit bland. The platter was big enough to share. None of us finished ours.

Did Nostrana for another dinner, really lovely place. Grabbed the last two seats at the bar around 6:45pm on a Saturday night. Gin Rickey the Hard Way was lovely: Hendricks gin, lime, cucumber-basil bitters, absinthe, soda carbonated to order. My husband's standard negroni was also great. Shared wood cooked padron peppers with aioli to start. Hard to dip the peppers in--this was a knife and fork operation. Husband had pizza: wild mushrooms with arugula, garlic, pecorino, and mozzarella. Really, really good. Balanced, flavorful, thin crust. I wanted to call it Mary Poppins pizza: practically perfect in every way! My pasta was also excellent. Tomato, guanciale, red onion, and "priest stranglers." Wiped the plate clean. Left completely stuffed. Excellent and super friendly service. Great bartenders too.

For a nightcap, stopped back into Clyde Common and shared another barrel aged Negroni (so good) and a grilled cheddar with pickled jalapeño sandwich. Delightful.

Went to the downtown Bunk for breakfast one day. Egg, cheese, sausage on a roll. Nice price and a decently sized portion. The house made sausage is excellent and the cheese perfectly gooey. But I think we were spoiled by the one at Tasty & Alder. Portland sure does know how to do biscuits.

Lunch was Meat Cheese Bread. Great turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce, lots of aioli and delicious crumbled bacon. Perfectly assembled. Perhaps the first turkey sandwich I've ever had that didn't have at least one dry bite. Or the bacon falling out as you ate it. Loved the heavy metal vibe as well.

Lastly, got to try the delicious sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons at Salt & Straw's cart. Wonderfully creamy and salty.

Sunday night dinner at Green Dragon & breakfast at airport were forgettable.

Overall, a great trip where despite being pressed for time/no car we were able to try Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok, Tasty & Alder, Nong's Khao Man Gai, Clyde Common, Apizza Scholls, Rum Club, Blue Star Doughnuts, Koi Fusion Cart, Screen Door, PDX 671, Nostrana, Bunk Sandwiches, Meat Cheese Bread, and Salt & Straw.

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  1. Thanks for the report, kathryn. All things considered, you did great! We have a lot more to offer, so hopefully you will be able to visit again with a little bit more free time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cobpdx

      Unfortunately if we come back, it'll be probably in year & for the same conference (in the same location). But hopefully we'll have one night to do something like Ox, Beast, Roe, etc.

      1. re: kathryn

        Thank you for the thorough report! Glad to hear it went well.
        Next time try Ken's Artisan Pizza, Biwa, Paley's, Aviary, Ava Gene.

        1. re: Leonardo

          I actually considered Biwa but given how strong ramen & yakitori is in NYC (Ippudo/Totto), two former Brooklynites now living in Portland talked me out of it.