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Oct 24, 2013 05:49 PM

Where would you take a Portlander?

My husband moved to Portland last year and after months away from home is finally coming back for a visit next month. He's completely spoiled by the Portland food scene now, but I want to take him out for a good dinner while he's here. Where do you guys think I could take him that would actually be impressive to someone who has that many great restaurants at their fingertips on the daily? Alternatively, what is your go-to spot to keep out-of-town serious foodies happy?

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  1. What does he like to eat? Shouldn't that be a better guide?

    19 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      He honestly eats everything, so he's no help in that regard. And I do mean everything.

      1. re: mssanpdx

        What part of SD do you live in?.....Veladora and Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe gets a lotta love from me and this board.....he probably won't find something like Romesco's Baja Med Bistro in Bonita in Portland either.

        1. re: mssanpdx

          Portland does many things well, but I think one blindspot is high-end dining.

          While there are places like Ox, Le Pigeon, Woodsman Tavern, and Paulée, they don't really say high-end dining like a Danko (SF) or a EMP (NYC) or a Providence (LA).

          To that end, you might think about TBL3. Aside from food, there are few rooms as well appointed as George's. At a minimum it has acoustics and a real ceiling.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            If Portland has a blindspot, SD needs a seeing eye dog.

            1. re: cstr

              In many ways the PDX food scene has become a caricature of itself.

              I mean, seriously, does one really need to have zombie porn playing in the background while eating Asian fusion street food?

              Portland excels at cutting edge eccentric and inexpensive food, but lacks in a lot if other areas. It's a great little city for food, but not the end all be all. No place is actually. And that's probably a good thing.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Tanuki is excellent. :-)

                But TBL3 is a true 'experience.'

                Also LOVED AR Valentien at lunch.


                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I agree about the background stuff, I just want good chow, no sideshows please. And yes, no place is the end all be all. Speaking of eccentric and inexpensive (affordable) food, why can't SD offer that from a truck or cart?

                  1. re: cstr

                    How many times have you been to Portland, cstr?

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    Have you seen that episode of Portlandia where they order the chicken named Colin? Priceless.

                    1. re: mssanpdx

                      Sooooo funny. Though I am partial to the brunch episode.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  Carnitas Snack Shack to remind of him PDX.

                  George's at the Cove..ocean terrace for casual and George's Modern or TBL3 to remind him of what he's missing in SD.
                  AR Valentien at the Lodge at Torrey Pines
                  Brunch at the Pony Room in RSF at Rancho Valencia Resort
                  Starlite for drinks and apps..great for late night.
                  Fathom in Shelter Island on the pier for Sunday afternoon of beers and brats.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Coming from Portland 'high end' dining may not be what the visitor is looking for--though when I entertain clients in Portland and want to impress them Genoa usually works and, to a lesser extent, Urban Farmer inside The Nines Hotel.

                  2. re: mssanpdx

                    Welcome back, there's a lot of frufru beer (Fakey's terminology) and burgers to consume.

                    1. re: cstr

                      Never used the term.

                      Fetish Beer.

                      And Fetish Beer was born in the PacNW, where they have little else to do during the year-long rainy season.

                      Seasonal Depressive Disorder = self-medication.

                      Self medication = brew beer

                      Brew beer = addiction

                      Addiction = increase self-medication

                      Increased demand for self-medication = brew stronger and fancier beer

                      Brew stronger and fancier beer = Fetish Beer industry

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          I'm thinking of shooting over to O'Brien's for lunch to have a Karl Strauss Peanut Butter Porter. It's not all that far from Super Sergio's - care to join me, Fakey?

                          1. re: RB Hound


                            The char of the tortilla. The tang of the guac. The savory richness of the (doubtlessly) Kobe Carne Asada.

                            Yet, the demands of fatherhood...

                            1. re: RB Hound

                              The parking situation sucks. Love the burger and pretty good fries also.

                          2. re: cstr

                            Actually the craft beer scene is very vibrant in PDX, and cheaper than it is in SD.

                      1. Take him to Valle de Guadalupe, 90 minutes south of Tecate. Nothing in Portland will touch it. Corazon, Laja, Finca.

                        Even Guerrenese in Ensenada will take that PacNW smug smile right off his (pale) face.

                        6 Replies
                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Corazon de Tierra, yes...Laja I could pass on...actually, closer to home in Tijuana Mision 19 would be a great option as well.

                            1. re: El Chevere

                              A good choice, but the border return penalty is WAY too great.

                              Culinary buzzkill.

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                If you go Monday - Thursday and return after 8PM, I have found the return border crossing time to be consistently less than 20 minutes (at times much less than that--as little as a minute). I would avoid the weekend at all costs.

                            2. re: Fake Name

                              You nailed it Mr Name. I didn't even realize that what I really wanted to do was un-smug him until you said it.

                              1. re: mssanpdx

                                I mean it in the kindest of ways.

                                Once owned a home on the Oregon coast, near Tillamook. Little diner there in Bay City called Downies with the best pie. I was actually there one year ago today!

                              1. Sab-e-Lee. Ply him with some malt liquor from next door and order him a papaya salad, level eleven. That should render him temporarily de-Portlanded. Then you can just stuff him with whatever cheap Mexican we all subsist on day to day down here in our uncivilized little culinary backwater. He'll never know the difference, what with the chile hallucinations swirling around his field of vision.

                                Or just Starlite Lounge and make sure to order the octopus.

                                1. There's no place you and he used to go to when he lived here that he misses? He has no cravings? I know when I'm returning after any length of time away, I want a carne asada burrito...

                                  I take visitors to places they might not have where they live-Tender Greens for fresh, fresh salads, a favorite Mariscos or Taco Shop in the neighborhood, a fruiteria. No place fancy, but places that San Diego has that serves food not available where they live.

                                  Maybe since he's been gone, you've found a 'new' place where you've gone that you want him to also enjoy..?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    What he misses the most is definitely Baja style Mexican food, but as that's so readily available and some of the best of it (in my opinion) is found at casual dining spots I'd rather wow him with something he hasn't tried before.