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Feb 25, 2014 11:31 AM

The real Portland


My husband and I will be driving up to Portland from Los Angeles this weekend. Our intent is to see as much of authentic Portland as possible in a couple days.

We're really, really, really not interested in tourist stuff or top drawer Portland. We want to see what most says "Portland" in a day-to-day real life way.

We'd be grateful for your suggestions of where to go and what to look for. If you're from Portland please tell us what you love, what you miss when you're away from home and some of the grungier aspects that are iconic of Portland too. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Most of PDX is really casual, so it won't be hard to avoid "top drawer" stuff here. As for touristy, just avoid Voodoo Donuts.

    If you dig deep into this post from Mr. Taster (also from LA), he give some thoughts about what PDX has to offer vs LA:

    In terms of what you are looking for, probably not Mexican or Asian, really, coming from LA. What about other likes/dislikes/budget, etc?

    Also, in which part of the city are you staying?

    Random thoughts:
    Food carts - I now you plenty of food trucks in LA, but search the boards here for what food carts are favored here. They are all over the city.

    Pizza - Apizza Scholls, Nostrana, Oven & Shaker

    Brunch (including weekday brunch) - there are lots of places to get some great food for brunch, even on weekdays. Search the board if this appeals to you.

    OX - some really great offerings here. No reservations. Go early or be prepared to wait. See the Board for how early to get there.

    Depending on your answers to some of the other questions, additional thoughts may follow.

    8 Replies
    1. re: cobpdx

      We're staying at the Ace Hotel. I'm interested in food, of course, but even more so, the city.

      Thanks for your help!

      1. re: rainey

        Hey rainey, not a Portlander but an enthusiastic visitor from Vancouver (we're gearing up for our seventh visit in the past two years).

        I'd say check out the PSU farmers market but I believe it's closed till mid-March You could go to Lauretta Jean's on SE Division to get some topnotch biscuits. Ned Ludd is reflective of a certain Portland vibe. Spielman's and Courier for coffee, but also Coava to run the gamut, and Sterling in between. Spella if you want to an Italian caffe in Portland style. The Cacao near Burnside, or Alma for chocolates and drinking choc. Get the green bean sandwich from Meat Cheese Bread and take it next door to Beer for... beer.

        If you have a car, schlep out to Firehouse for wood-oven roasted goodness in a firehouse, combining with a visit to Breakside Brewing for a bat of their beers. And get some food from Guam for lunch at Pdx 671, to try a food cart for comparison.

        Be sure to mosey around on Alberta, and maybe try Aviary for dinner. Run by transplants but somehow seems Portland to me. Just ask for a table in the centre as the bench seating is uncomfortable.

        If you don't have a car, you might find the 330-block free light rail useful:

        A few ideas to work up an appetite in between: Washington Park (many things to see; the zoo is excellent, even in the rain), Old Town / Chinatown (Lan Su Gardens), Pearl district shopping, Powell's (it really is an amazing bookstore), Pittock Mansion (cool views too), Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Art Museum, Music Millennium, more shopping on SE Hawthorne

        Have a great trip!

        1. re: grayelf

          Portland Farmers Mkt IS closed now, until 3/15.

          1. re: grayelf

            And, alas, the Fairless Zone is no more (as of Sept, 2012)...

            1. re: cobpdx

              Colour my face red! The fareless zone gets mentioned a lot online, and of course that map comes up when you google it (the interwebs are forever). Glad you posted, cob, or I might have gotten a ticket!

        2. re: cobpdx

          for Pizza I am surprised you didn't list Ken's Artisan on 28th

          1. re: Winer

            We actually didn't have a great experience when we went. Might need to give it another shot.

            1. re: cobpdx

              I am surprised at your experience at Ken's. I live very close and my wife and I go about once a week. They change up the pizza's somewhat regularly and the Caesar is one of the best in the city in our opinion. Give it another shot, every restaurant has a bad night

        3. 36 hours in Portland suggestions, not just food.

          This article does recommend the Ace.

          1. Fabulous! Thanks so much! Keep 'em com in'!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rainey

              Brunch at Clyde Common or Tasty N Alder in the vicinity if your hotel. The 10th & Alder food cart pod (an entire city block +) is steps away.

            2. A cool beer bar in outer SE Portland called NWIPA is having a triple IPA festival on Saturday. Should be fun. I'll be there!


              1. Live in southern CA, recently went there for the first time and posted this set of reviews.