Convention center (and some downtown) area food and beer report (long)
Hit up a bunch of places to eat and drink, mostly rather casual places, while at a conference at the Oregon Convention Center. One thing everybody noted was that the quality of pub food was generally very high, which impressed us all. The friendliness of the service was also very high almost everywhere. Thanks to Portland for a fun week!
Very highly recommended:
Cascade Barrel House: A bit of a walk from the CC, but very easy to access by street car. Obviously world-class sour beers, but also a nice selection of non-sour beers as well. Food was quite good too.
Horse Brass Pub: took a taxi here, but it's really worth it. Can also access by bus quite easily I believe. I thought it had the best overall beer list of all the places I went, and the old school British pub feel was a big win for me. Super friendly bartenders. Didn't have much food but the sausage roll hit the spot. If I lived in Portland I'd strongly consider living walking distance from here (or maybe split the distance between Cascade and here).
Green Dragon: Across the street from Cascade, the beer list was extensive but somehow it seemed a somewhat less impressive than Horse Brass. Food was decent pub food but by Portland standards maybe a bit below average.
Rogue: Lots of stuff one can't find in bottles. The one I had was terrific (7 Hop) but others I tasted were a bit more so-so to my palate. Didn't eat here.
Bailey's Tap Room: In most cities the list would be very impressive, but in Portland it was a bit shorter than average. Mostly local offerings. A great choice downtown. No food as far as I can tell.
Henry's 12th St. Tavern: A bit corporate, the food was decent, and the beer list is very long (nearly 100 on tap). They managed to be out of Boneyard RPM and Hop Venom the day I was there, though. Good for groups as it's really big.
Pints Urban Brewing: The beer at this microbrewery was decent to good but the food and service were outstanding (and very reasonably priced) and I'd definitely go back. If nothing else, the $4 large platter of fries is totally worth it! A short walk over the Steel Bridge from CC. Not too busy when we were there and could accommodate decently large groups quite easily.
Lunch places near-ish Convention Center:
Nong's Khao Man Gai: The Ankeny St. outpost is a very reasonable walk from CC. Excellent interpretation of Hainanese chicken rice. Big portions (ordered the large, next time I'll go with the regular size). Kudos for also serving liver and skin. Chicken was very nicely cooked (although in Singapore/Malaysia the chickens tend to be tougher giving it a different consistency) and the rice was tasty though I would have liked just a bit more chicken fat. But I'm nit-picking. There are a few tables (maybe seats 12 to 15 max?) - not just a take-out window as suggested online. Highly recommended, but don't take a group of any size.
Blossoming Lotus: vegan food. I've been a few times over the years and it's a good antidote to an excess of pub food. I rather like it, although the service is rather inefficient. Easy walking distance from CC. Recommended.
Podnah's Pit: couldn't resist what sounded to be top-notch BBQ. A 20-min bus ride on the 6 dropped me off a half-block from the restaurant. The spare ribs (eaten dry of course) were outstanding. Great smokiness, a bit of tug from the bone, and still moist. Destination worthy IMO. Corn bread and collard greens were both excellent as well. Brisket was dry. I've done better on my own smoker. Didn't even come close to finishing it. I'm regretting not asking for fatty brisket. But one can't judge brisket on just one visit, I don't think, as it could have been an off-day.
Nostrana: fancy-ish Italian food. Very good but not over-the-top special. Would return.