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all the quirks and none of the fuss
There are many things that this city is famous for: the weirdness, the love for bikes, the coffee, the gorgeous hikes and much more. However, this edgy town found its way into our hearts, and not surprisingly, through our stomachs.
Before we get started, let me break it down for y'all how the husband and I do this particular vacation. First, we look up how many restaurants we need to try. Second, we decide if we'll have enough time to try everything on our list. Third, depending on how much time we have, determine how big our breaks in between each meal would be. Which... in this case, about as long as the time that it would take us to go from one restaurant to the next, so 10-30 minutes. That gives us 17 restaurants in 3 days. And with that, we pat our stomachs and encouraged them to brace themselves.
Let me also clarify that Billy and I are not "samplers"... we eat until we think we're going to pass out, do some stretches to move things around, take a couple of deep breaths, then sit back down. Moderation... such a thing doesn't exist on vacation.
Here is our list of recommendations (listed in the order of desserts first, obviously).
Brioche dough donuts. Made fresh daily. Enough said. Make sure to get the Creme Brulee one, such perfection does exist and it lies here. The Blueberry Bourbon Basil is really good as well but really, get 5 of the Creme Brulee.
Great things come in small packages. Bite sized little donuts, not as dense but they got that crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside texture down. I originally was planning on packing these to take home... but yeah, about that..... Anyway, pair these with a hot cup of their in house chai and you've got yourself a date!
Cute little lunch spot in the heart of downtown. I am a sucker for a well designed and well located restaurant. We got the Flat Iron Steak, the Breakfast Flatbread and the Radicchio Salad. Everything was on point! When the waitress told me there are pork belly strips in the salad, I almost asked her to marry me. My only regret is not ordering the Korean Fried Chicken that everybody raved about. Billy advised against it and I resented him.
Totally related to Tasty n Alder and apparently, the older brother version. Bigger space with a bigger menu. Get there early since this is one of the few places that has a wait time. We ordered the Breakfast Board, the Bacon Wrapped Almond Dates, the Potato Chocolate Donuts, the Chicken Fried Chicken and the Burmese Pork Stew. The waiter repeatedly asked if there were more people coming for our party and I assured him there was not. The Pork Stew reminds me of the hok meat dish I used to get at a Taiwanese restaurant back in college. Chicken Fried Chicken is yes, as you have possibly guessed, chicken double fried. It tasted just as sexy as it sounds. I loved everything except the donuts since it was too crumbly for me.
How Nong built her "chicken & rice" empire is an admirable yet totally relatable story. We went to the sit down restaurant since we have already checked out the food truck location during our last visit. There are more items on the menu here since it's a bigger space. Of course, we got the OG chicken & rice dish and to be adventurous, the chicken hearts and the peanut sauce version as well. That buttery chicken and the ginger sauce are the secrets I vowed to crack one day. Personally, I like the peanut sauce version though Billy thought it was too sweet.
This jerk makes some mean pizzas (silently laughing at my terrible pun). Anyway, thin crust pizzas for the win. Really strange and unique combos. If you're looking for the typical pizzeria, look elsewhere. This is an 80's themed spot with combos such as: char siu, mustard greens, sesame oil and Bee Local Honey. They also let you do half & half pizzas. And each pizza can feed up to 4 adults, so we ordered 3.
Simply legit AF Thai home cooking. Cheap, delicious and comforting. I have no complaints.
Classic French cuisine with unexpected ingredients. This place is one of the restaurants that put Portland on the culinary map. It's an open kitchen restaurant where you can watch the chefs cook as you dine. Staff are friendly but not pushy. Forever leaving an impression on me is their dessert, Foie Gras Profiteroles. The richness of the foie gras blended perfectly with the mildly sweet and creamy pastry. They were everything.
We landed at the crack of dawn and were greeted with a massive Stumptown located right next to our terminal. Seriously, SFO... where you at? Their Nitro Brew that is oh, so crisp, so clean, got Billy pumped the whole day.
I'm not sure how we managed to sleep while we were here, considering the amount of coffee we drank. But here at Barista is where I had the best cappuccino. It's exactly how I like my coffee; full, chocolatey, subtle with a kick of bitterness.
This place has it all: amazing coffee, delicious baked goods, trendy baristas and hipster decor. Everyone here looks like they often ponder about things most other basic people (me) don't. People are reading, sketching, writing poems, I assume, and drinking their artisan coffee. Their vanilla latte was bomb, bold but smooth.
Great coffee but somehow I felt a little detached. It didn't wow me at all. Different strokes for different folks I guess. I do dig the cool industrial vibe at this location though.
Due to our gut busting eating schedule, we couldn't explore as many hikes as we wanted but what is Portland without Multnomah Falls. We visited this beauty and man, she was pretty (are falls female?). So pretty, I didn't even mind the rain.
Portland's food scene is as chill as its people. We absolutely love how easy it is to acquire good food here. There are amazing restaurants at every corner and with minimal wait time. The quality and variety of food is comparable to, sometimes even exceeding that of the Bay Area, plus the perk of not having to wait 1-3 hours for a table. At the end, we missed our quota and were only able to cross off 12 places from our list.
That means...Portland, we'll be seeing you again very soon.