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Where would you take a Portlander?

mssanpdx Oct 24, 2013 05:49 PM

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?

  1. Dagney Oct 25, 2013 12:45 PM

    I suggest exploring Mediterranean, Pho, and Mexican.

    Mr Falafal, Cafe Istanbul, and the newly renamed Saray.

    Pho Hoa

    El Borrego, Tacos al Panson, Super Cocina, and El Charco.

    Edit! Also, the El Salvadoran for El Salvadoran food.

    1. ipsedixit Oct 25, 2013 09:20 AM

      I would be remiss if I did not mention Filipino food, esp. in / around National City. I think that's a true gem in SD.

      I'm still making my way through it so can't really give any specific advice and hope that someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

      1. c
        Cathy Oct 25, 2013 08:51 AM

        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
          mssanpdx Oct 25, 2013 01:52 PM

          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.

        2. SaltyRaisins Oct 25, 2013 04:46 AM

          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. d
            DougOLis Oct 25, 2013 01:31 AM

            Not to a strip club

            1. Fake Name Oct 24, 2013 09:24 PM

              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
                jayporter Oct 24, 2013 09:29 PM


                1. re: Fake Name
                  El Chevere Oct 25, 2013 08:35 AM

                  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
                    Fake Name Oct 25, 2013 08:38 AM

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

                    Culinary buzzkill.

                    1. re: Fake Name
                      El Chevere Oct 25, 2013 09:37 AM

                      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
                    mssanpdx Oct 25, 2013 01:49 PM

                    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
                      Fake Name Oct 25, 2013 02:04 PM

                      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!

                  3. ipsedixit Oct 24, 2013 07:13 PM

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

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      mssanpdx Oct 24, 2013 07:21 PM

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

                      1. re: mssanpdx
                        El Chevere Oct 24, 2013 09:00 PM

                        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
                          ipsedixit Oct 24, 2013 09:51 PM

                          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
                            cstr Oct 25, 2013 07:48 AM

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

                            1. re: cstr
                              ipsedixit Oct 25, 2013 08:24 AM

                              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
                                uhockey Oct 25, 2013 08:38 AM

                                Tanuki is excellent. :-)

                                But TBL3 is a true 'experience.'

                                Also LOVED AR Valentien at lunch.


                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  cstr Oct 25, 2013 09:35 AM

                                  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
                                    ipsedixit Oct 25, 2013 07:21 PM

                                    How many times have you been to Portland, cstr?

                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                    mssanpdx Oct 25, 2013 01:53 PM

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

                                    1. re: mssanpdx
                                      Dagney Oct 25, 2013 02:39 PM

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

                                2. re: ipsedixit
                                  Beach Chick Oct 25, 2013 08:02 AM

                                  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
                                    El Chevere Oct 25, 2013 08:40 AM

                                    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
                                    cstr Oct 25, 2013 07:46 AM

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

                                    1. re: cstr
                                      Fake Name Oct 25, 2013 08:01 AM

                                      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
                                        cstr Oct 25, 2013 08:06 AM

                                        Vicious circle. I need a beer.

                                        1. re: Fake Name
                                          RB Hound Oct 25, 2013 09:30 AM

                                          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
                                            Fake Name Oct 25, 2013 09:43 AM


                                            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
                                              cstr Oct 25, 2013 04:02 PM

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

                                          2. re: cstr
                                            ipsedixit Oct 25, 2013 08:26 AM

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

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