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Oct 7, 2013 03:34 PM

Itinerary Critique for SF Hound

Heading to Portland this weekend from SF to visit the in-laws (staying in Aloha with car access), arriving late Friday night, returning Monday afternoon. Last time up we hit Ned Ludd (great), Apizza Scholls (very good), Kenny & Zukes (didn’t love it), Voodoo Donuts (I know, I know), Laurelhurst Market (for meats and cheeses, didn’t eat there), Pine State Biscuits (for sure again) and Beast (good).

Breakfast - PSU Farmers Market for Pine State Biscuit breakfast sandwiches and Lauretta Jeans biscuits. Also want to pick up bagels from Tastebud and lox from the Smokery for Sunday breakfast at home, as SF is really lacking in the bagel dept. Any coffee recommendations?
Dinner - we have a reservation at Pok Pok; Salt and Straw ice cream for dessert.
Lunch – need help, Nang’s?, Lardo?, Bunk?, Flying Scotsman?

Sunday: Bagels/lox at home
Lunch: thinking of Evoe. Do they do any foie gras dishes – with the CA ban I’m craving some. Or Olympic Provisions?
Post Lunch/pre-dinner – Raccoon Lodge and Brewpub for some sour beers with father in law (as it seems to be reasonably close to Aloha)
Dinner: father in law’s BBQ
Dessert: pick up Blue Star Donuts for dessert – other dessert/pastry recommendations?

Monday: Breakfast/brunch recommendations – flight is at 12:00

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Dinner - Pok-pok - there are so many better options in PDX IMHO. S&S - yum! The long line does go quick and you can always send a runner across the street to get Lauretta Jeans for a slice or two of pie to eat while in line waiting for ice cream. ;-P
    Lunch - Lardo, Double Dragon, Grassa, Xico. Laurelhurst Market
    Swing by to pick up your bagels for the next day.

    Evoe - pack a lunch as it is consistently the longest wait for dishes in Portland which always distracts from what are decent selection. Any of the above are more satisfying.
    Dessert - Blue star works. And/or go around the corner to Cacao for chocolate bar heaven and buy a few options for a tasting back at the house. Or head to Mississippi and go to for incredible salt (100s) , chocolate bars (100), flowers, bitters and wine - lots of options for now and later and gifts. Alt Euro dessert option - head to Cheese Bar and bring back a couple fabulous cheeses.

    9 Replies
    1. re: DanielLP

      Yes Cacao was on my list and loved The Meadows, we hit it last last time we were up and are just starting to running low on the bitters we got there. Thanks for the tip on Grassa, wasn't on my radar at all but the pastas look great and they're open for lunch. We have a five year old who may or may not be with us for lunch so maybe Evoe might be an iffy.

      1. re: sunnyside

        Glad some of these work you for you.

        RE:Evoe = 5yr would not like it - tall, bar stool seating and LONG wait.

        1. re: DanielLP

          Yeah, might have to nix Evoe. Laurelhurst doesn't appear to be open for lunch. Double Dragon looks great, I'm a huge banh mi fan but my wife not so much and there are a bunch of good places in SF for that.

          1. re: sunnyside

   - butcher shop side is open and you can eat in the main restaurant.

            And similar deal at - lunch window, but you can sit and eat in the main resturant after you place your order.

            1. re: DanielLP

              Nong not Nang.
              Cacao not only has chocolate bars, they have fresh handmade truffles, unlike Meadow.
              Dessert must: Sugar Cube.
              At Courier, find great coffee and chocolate chip cookie.

              1. re: Leonardo

                Nong right - typo. Sugar Cube looks great, thanks. Courier I had on my list.

                1. re: sunnyside

                  Don't recall if Smokery has lox. They do have many kinds of smoked salmon.
                  Also Ristretto.

      2. re: DanielLP

        Looks like The Meadow has its new location open on NW 23rd now, which would be closer if the OP is already at Blue Star for donuts:

        The Meadow
        805 NW 23rd Avenue
        Portland, OR 97210

      3. Note on Blue Star: Best to pick up the donuts early. When I visited, they were sold out by 3 and I had to go back the following morning (bright & early... had my pick of them all!)

        Evoe doesn't so foie gras and wasn't worth the long wait, in my opinion.

        8 Replies
        1. re: cellophane_star

          Thanks. Still trying to sort out Sunday lunch. As this is the only meal out of the house that day I'm looking for a more dinner type meal rather than sandwich. Ned Ludd was great last time but would like to try something new. I like the looks of Grasso, but seems like a quickish meal.

          1. re: sunnyside

            Sunday Lunch or Brunch? Here is the latest new brunch list -

            1. re: DanielLP

              Lunch, thanks. I see Little Bird doesn't do lunch on weekends, but the St. Jack lunch menu looks good.

              1. re: sunnyside

                Allow me to dissent a bit on the locals' take on Evoe. It is my favourite place in Portland AND I have eaten there recently with a five year old :-). She loved the bread, cheese, charcuterie and pickles. We brought colouring books. It was all good. Not much wait for dishes and no wait for a table the half dozen times we've been, including that trip and this past Sunday. Plus we did have foie gras there, though it wasn't on the menu two days ago. We've never had a fail dish there and some of his plates haunt my dreams (beet salad, simple soup, skate sandwich, I'm thinking of you in particular).

                1. re: grayelf

                  Well Grayelf it was your descriptions of Evoe on this board that caused me to put it on my schedule. Our 5 year old has been eating in restaurants in SF with us since she was a week old, so she's pretty seasoned. Maybe I can have my wife do some shopping at Pastaworks with her if the wait becomes too much. I think we'll have to play it by ear.

                  1. re: sunnyside

                    We're going back tomorrow for our last lunch in town this trip, especially since I just read that Chef Gibson is opening a new place next month. And full disclosure, I just remembered that we once did wait ten minutes for a table!

                    1. re: grayelf

                      I didn't have to wait at all for a table but waited a long time for everything else.

                      1. re: cellophane_star

                        Haven't experienced any overlong waits for dishes. Perhaps the longest is for the pan-fried peppers as they make everything to order. I can't believe I might be more patient than others here as I am notoriously grumpy about waiting!

        2. Reporting back after a wonderful long weekend in Portland. PSU farmers market was great, the produce was amazing and prepared foods were excellent – also really nice setting under the trees with fall setting in. For breakfast we hit Pine State Biscuits for the Chatfield, which had fried chicken, cheese, bacon and apple butter. I liked this better than the Reggie I had last time in Portland as I loved the acidity of the apple butter and the spicy batter of the chicken wasn’t buried. Also had Loretta Jean Biscuit with homemade strawberry jam – excellent. In laws got a breakfast burrito from a stand I can’t recall, but they raved about the crispy bacon. Picked up some charcuterie from Olympic Provisions to take home. Lunch at Lardo was good but I think I’d eat there next time. I had the cubano – loved it – and wife and in-laws each got a pork belly gyro that wasn’t as successful. We saw a bunch of French fry variations go out, including one with foie gras gravy that looked gluttonous. Checked out Blue Star Donuts around the corner in anticipation of getting some the following day – they had a full stock and everything looked great. Dinner at Pok Pok was perfect for 5 people as we were able to try a lot of dishes. It was good and if I lived Portland I’d go back, but probably didn’t live up to the hype and since we only get up every year or two I can’t see doing another meal there. Sunday: My plan for lox to go with the Tastebuds bagels was foiled as The Smokery wasn’t at the PSU market that day. BUT it turned out my in-laws bought a share in a pig and had a freezer full of incredible bacon and their neighbor had chickens that laid blue eggs with the orangest yolk I’ve ever seen – and they let my 5 year old hold a chicken – so on Sunday we made egg sandwiches with extremely locally sourced eggs and bacon on Tastebuds bagels with some leftover jam from Lauretta Jean. Courier coffee was excellent, coffee geeks but not pretentious and we picked up some beans to take home and 3 chocolate chip cookies. Lunch at Evoe – kid stayed with Grandma so leisurely lunch with my wife. Seated right away around noon, glass of Bandol, 6 oysters on the half (fresh grated horseradish), Frisee salad and sautéed porcini mushrooms with toast. We were pretty stuffed after breakfast so this was prefect amount of food. Definitely not a quick lunch – which was fine as we were in no hurry, but it did seem unnecessarily slow. I thought Evoe was good but wouldn’t give it the rave that Grayelf gives it. Frisee could have used a little more champagne vinegar, mushrooms needed a little more thyme, oysters had too many shells in them. But really pure, ingredient driven food. Kevin Gibson wasn’t there, so maybe that accounted for the slight misfires in the food. Went to Blue Star at around 2:30, and SOLD OUT. My bad because cellophane_star warned me, but the day before we were there oneish and they had a full stock so I didn’t heed the warning. Father in law and I hit Raccoon Lodge for Beaverton for excellent sour beers. Luckily we had chocolate chip cookies for dessert from Courier based on Leonardo’s recommendation. Almost forgot about Salt and Straw after Pok Pok – flavors and texture were great but I thought everything skewed more savory than sweet (and we sampled most of the flavors). So for me I prefer a more desserty ice cream and think Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous and Bi-Rite in San Francisco are more my style. Also picked up some salts and caramel from The Meadows. Thanks for all the recs, we’ll be back in a year or so.

          12 Replies
          1. re: sunnyside

            Thanks for the report! Not surprised at Blue Star running out by 2:30 on a weekend. Other ice cream to try: Ruby Jewel, Lovely 50-50, Scoop.

            1. re: Leonardo

              I'm also an San Francisco hound heading to PDX.

              Dinner critique: Beast, Le Pigeon, Little Bird.

              Are some of these too similar? Are we getting a good taste of PDX with places that aren't in SF?

              Should we swap in Ox or Andina or one of these?

              1. re: Foodnut8

                Personally, I'd swap out Little Bird for Ox in a heartbeat.

                1. re: Foodnut8

                  Ox is definitely worth doing, but I also really like Little Bird. Of your choices, I would do Beast, Little Bird and OX.

                  If it matters, Beast and Le Pigeon only have wine with dinner; Little Bird and Ox have cocktails as well.

                  1. re: Foodnut8

                    Hi Foodnut, I'm from the Bay Area as well and was just in PDX w/ my friend that lives there. We did Le Pigeon and thought it was excellent, it was one of our two favorite restaurants on this trip. You can walk to the Rum club from there if you want a cocktail (that's what we did). I might swap out Little Bird for Ox only because everyone we talked to said to try it (the secret is, it's all about the side dishes otherwise it's just a great steak house). However, if you can get in, may I recommend Roe? If you like seafood it is amazing! Beast was very good for brunch as well.

                    1. re: Missmoo

                      Yes, if you can swing Roe (especially at the Chef's Counter), it is very, very good.

                      1. re: cobpdx

                        Appreciate the suggestions.

                        Seeing that Le Pigeon and Little Bird are sister restaurants, I felt it would better to switch out one.

                        How early do we have to line for Ox to hit their 5pm seating? 4:45 good enough?

                        Does Andina deserve to be on the list? Its open for lunch at least.

                        1. re: Foodnut8

                          Weeknights 4:45 is probably fine. Weekends, including Friday, I'd do 4:30. You can wait in the bar next door. At OX, think about splitting a main (if you have one at all) so that you can share more smaller plates. Do the chowder. I know it is a steakhouse of sorts, but the pork chop is really good (and plenty big enough to split).

                          Yes, Andina would be good for lunch and deserves to be on the list.

                          As for Le Pigeon vs. Little Bird, they ARE different. Individual table seating at LB vs. communal tables at LP, which we don't mind, but you would also have communal dining at Beast.

                          If I were going to do this, I think I would do:
                          Beast, Le Pigeon, or Little Bird
                          Roe (only open Thurs - Sat)

                          1. re: cobpdx

                            Any standout must hit Food trucks? We've had them here in SF for a while, so the novelty is gone.

                            Top burger for lunch? Assume it isn't burgerville..

                            1. re: Foodnut8

                              Nong's Khao Man Gai at SW 10th and Alder food cart pod.

                              Lardo has an excellent burger. They have locations on the west side and east side.

                              1. re: cobpdx

                                Check out Burrasca's for some pretty outstanding Italian fare, and I say that knowing you are spoiled for that cuisine in SF (just back from trip 14 to the Bay Area).

                    2. re: Foodnut8

                      All good choices. Beast is prix fixe and "please, no substitutions"; because everything is made and plated en masse, most substitutions are impossible. They do have excellent food, however, if you are willing to eat what's put in front of you.

                      Racion, which is sort of like Coi on a budget. Amazingly good and creative bartender.

                      Little Bird is our where-to-go-at-9:30PM place, right after we land. Very different from Le Pigeon, as others have noted.

                      Gruner, for modern German of a kind that I think you can't find in the BA.

                      Bollywood Theater for Indian street food. No tandoori; lots of things like kati rolls. Next door to Salt and Straw for excellent ice cream after.

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