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Feb 10, 2014 09:57 AM

Portland weekend report

it had been a couple years since I was in Portland, alas that was winter time too but the cold weather didn't stop us from walking all over. We went right to the hotel (LaQuinta, basic, cheap and fine, good location) to refresh and head out for happy hour at Zapoteca which I enjoyed a lot last time. Unfortunately we underestimated walking and missed HH by 5 min so we just got a drink. The watermelon/jalapeno marg wasn't as good as before but my friend's ginger marg was nice. Hit up some of the First Friday art stuff then walked down Congress St to Blue Spoon and Front Room to get dinner. We opted for Front Room since it was more bustling, sat at the bar and split 3 small plates and a side. It was way too much for some reason but they were all quite good. The salad w/ poached egg and lardon was good and came with real greens rather than the advertised frisee. Salmon w/ brown bread was good and the crispy duck leg with a little bit of cabbage was tasty. All in the $10-14 range and a nice side of brussels sprouts for cheap. Wine was served in kind of a clunky glass but very well priced. Too bad the bartender wasn't too exciting. On the other hand, a nightcap at my pal Norm's Downtown Lounge was fun.

Sat. morning I started with a glazed sweet potato ginger donut at Holy Donut on Park Ave. (pic of downtown location enclosed), good stuff and not completely overpriced (altho their awesome t-shirt is pricey but I couldn't resist). After a good iced coffee at Yordprom we walked to Rising Tide brewery where we couldn't resist the El Corazon food truck and split a Sonoran hot dog while waiting for the short tour. There was a party going on there so it was kind of crazy but we enjoyed the flight of the day for $4. After some putzing around we grabbed a couple window seats at Eventide for a snack of roasted oysters w/ cabbage and crispy potato sticks in Korean bbq sauce for $9 and an excellent side of tiny biscuits. Hit some record stores and on the way back, finally stopped at the Dogfish Cafe which I'd eyed for a long time. They're getting ready to change their name since they've got new owners (long time employees). Split a tasty signature burger w/ egg and bacon with good fries.

That evening we had drinks by the fireplace in the lounge at the Portland Harbor hotel (not to be confused w/ the Portland Regency which I did) then ended up at the bar at 555. It was a very good choice. Pretty mellow at 9:45, super nice bartender, well priced glasses of wine and a few good beers. We had the mussels which were the biggest I'd ever seen and also split an app of the beef cheeks. Very tender, good stuff. Items were $10 and $15 maybe. They had a souffle on the menu which was tempting, next time.

Sun. morning it was back to Holy Donut for a maple frosted (and the shirt) then stopped at the wonderful Tony's Donuts just across from the Clarion Hotel. Now *this* is a donut shop, many flavors and a half dozen for only $4.50. You don't see that anymore. Too bad they don't have maple frosted (at least this day, maybe it rotates). Portland is just jammed with good stuff.

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  1. Thanks for this up to date report! We're going to Portland near the end of March for a weekend get away and this is exactly what we needed to know! :)

    1. Sounds like you had a fun trip!
      It's nice to hear from visitors who are comfortable walking outside the Old Port tourist district, too--I walk around town/into town from my neighborhood which isn't far from where the LaQuinta is located a lot.

      If you like hotel bars, the basement level bar at the Regency is cozy--although the selection/food is a bit dated compared to what Portlanders are used to now; and there's the Top of the East -- the bar on the 15th floor at the top of what is now called the Westin Portland Harborview, are both worth checking out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sultanaboudreau

        I've been to Top of the East, cool place. Couldn't resist the fireplace at the hotel that nite.

        BTW, last report I did we walked all the way out to the fish place on Forest Ave. in cold weather. It was great and we discovered Ernie's (I think that's the name w/ pool and ping pong) which made the walk even more worthwhile.

        1. re: Joanie

          Yes--Ernie's Ping Pong!! Every town needs a ping pong bar--

      2. Nice report! And I agree, jammed with good stuff,more than I can ever sample in a single visit!

        1. Nice write up, thanks. Just want to chime in on one thing - to me the Blue Spoon is far superior to the Front Room. Next time, I'd go for that delightful establishment with consistently good food. I especially love their steaks.