“Forks in the Road”: Portland

I hadn’t been to Portland in waaaaay too long, so I combined the excuses of visiting some friends that had recently moved there and using some expiring hotel points to rectify the situation! Ironically, I escaped cold, rainy California and enjoyed three days of sunny, warm Oregon weather. Go figure.

Portland more than lived up to its reputation as a great food city – here are just some of the highlights.

A suggested culinary approach at Lardo.

Lardo – I take my sandwiches seriously, and this casual spot offered up one of the best ever. A Pho’rench dip made with shaved beef, hoisin, sambal mayo, thai basil and pho broth for dipping, Genius. I inhaled it too fast to get a pho’to, however.

Fat Heads Brewing – Any place with eight IPAs on tap makes me hoppy.

Brix Tavern – Part of a small local chain (Urban Restaurant Group), this spot offered a great happy hour and fun vibe.

Blue Star Donuts – I’d heard about the much vaunted Voodoo Doughnuts, but was glad a colleague told me about Blue Star. MUCH better doughnuts! Opted for a Passion Fruit flavor topped with Coco Nib/Cayenne.

Cacao – Chocolate. For. Drinking. I need say no more.

Powell’s – Yes, bookstores still exist, and I finally made my first visit to this one!

Deschutes Brewery/Portland Public House – Not only good beers, but good food as well, such as these “pig wings” – pork shanks served with your choice of sauce.

Old Town Brewing – Stopped in here for a beer and discovered its intriguing history. Situated in what was the circa 1880 Merchant Hotel, it’s haunted by at least one ghost named Nina. She seems to be a benevolent spirit, but a couple of the others are reported to not be thus.

Oregon Public House – “Aletruism” at work. Since opening in May, 2013, the Public House has donated over $125,000 to local charities. I supported their efforts by ordering an IPA and pretzel with cheese dipping sauce.

Bye & Bye – A vegan spot in the Northeast part of Portland that even a native Texan approves of … and they serve fun cocktails!

Voodoo Doughnuts – Meh, more hype than substance.

Marukin Ramen – This respected Tokyo ramen business opted to open its only two locations outside of Japan in Portland. I celebrated their decision by slurping up some miso ramen and sipping an Orion beer.

Tasty & Alder – Stopped in one of John Gorham six Portland restaurants for some sips and snacks of buttermilk fried chicken, and IPA and a delightful “Elizabeth Taylor” cocktail made with crème de violette, bubbles, and a toschi cherry.

Swank & Swine – Another Urban Restaurant Group spot. Took the “swine” concept seriously by ordering chicharrones AND pork belly with an egg.

Tugboat Brewing – No frills spot that’s Oregon’s oldest microbrewery.

Lauretta Jean’s – This tiny spot might be my first stop next time I’m back in Portland! Some serious yummies to be had, such as a raspberry scone, a ginger cookie, and salted butter and strawberry jam with a fabulously flaky biscuit.

Kenny & Zuke’s Deli @ Airport – Didn’t make it to the actual deli, so I was very glad to be able to enjoy a juicy pastrami on rye from K&Z’s airport outpost.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned any food trucks that I visited in the land of food trucks. There are reportedly 500 available at any given time. Well, I didn’t visit any, so … guess I have to go back!


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