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Food Cart afternoon crawl

Yes, 9th and Alder is the biggest pod and a good destination, though a lot of the carts there are just average - Perfectly fine when you work downtown and want a big $5 lunch, but many of them aren't going to amaze food tourists. Definitely the most choice, though.

There is one Korean taco place there - not my favorite, but others like it. There are several BBQ places, though it's not really my thing, so I can't recommend one (I know some who love A Little Bit of Smoke, and some who hate it). You actually can get papusas there at Angel's Cabana. Khao Man Gai is a definite highlight there. I also like El Cubo de Cuba (Cuban), 808 Grinds (Hawaiian), Eurotrash (hard to explain, but broadly speaking, European) Noodle House (Chinese hand pulled noodles), Frying Scotsman (fish and chips), Savor (soup) and Shut Up and Eat (flatbread sandwiches).

Tabor is actually at 5th and... Stark? (I think). It's a short walk though. That pod also has The Swamp Shack (Cajun), Brunch Box (huge burgers - I think they're gross but it's a big tourist draw) and another El Cubo, plus the usual assortment of Thai, gyro, and taco places.

Jun 24, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Only in town for 7ish hours early in the morning. Need a place to to eat.

There is no 24-hour place with great food - there are hardly any 24-hour places at all. I would eat your food before 2:30. Places you can do that with good drinks: Gilt Club and Central. As for 24-hour, there's the Roxy downtown, but they probably won't be thrilled with you hanging around all night if they're busy. There's Voodoo Doughnut Too off Sandy and a coffeeshop called Southeast Grind on Powell. I can't think of too many other places.

Jun 22, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Portland restaurant and bar recommendations please (researched)!!

*Technically* both Deschutes and Teardop are in the Pearl, not downtown. I would go to Bailey's over Descutes any day of the week (bigger selection, better beers, not jammed with tourists) but you could certainly do both. Teardrop probably makes the best cocktails in the city, so no, I wouldn't put anything ahead of it, BUT if you're not going to Deschutes (which is nearby), then you might find it's a walk from other downtown bars. If you want to keep things downtown, then yes, I might choose Central based on location. Both do excellent drinks. I like the atmosphere of Central better.

All of these places are fine though. Just decide what you want to do (cocktails or beer or a mix), look at where everything is on a map, then decide which work best on a route that doesn't require you to stumble long distances all night.

Jun 09, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

What's the food/atmosphere like at Natural Selection?

I guess I mean that it ticks more of the cliche Portland boxes: hyper-seasonal, local ingredients, constantly changing menu, vegetarian, very unpretentious, and the decor.

Aviary could probably fit in in NY or SF, which is a compliment, and the fact that it's a bit different to most Portland restaurants is one of the reasons I like it so much, but I recognize that when people visit a city, they often want something that is very much representative of that city - I certainly do.

May 17, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

What's the food/atmosphere like at Natural Selection?

I like Natural Selection a lot, so I'll offer a different perspective, though I haven't been for a while, so hey, maybe it has gone downhill.

It's true the food can be a mixed bag, but I've never had anything bad. The menu changes every week, and you get to pick between two dishes for each of four courses. but sometimes you'll pick four winners and sometimes just a few are excellent and a few others are OK. I went once with some friends who likened it to a video game - whoever picks the "right" four wins, and we had good fun with it. I've never had an amazing dessert there, though, though that's true of most Portland restaurants.

I like that the food is very vegetable focussed - most of the vegetarian places here use lots of fake meats or tofu or they're places that just do veggie burgers, etc. I generally find the dishes to be inventive and fresh, and often use seasonal ingredients in surprising and creative ways. Assuming the food hasn't gone downhill (which again, it very well may have), I often suggest it to friends coming to town as a good stop if you're going to a lot of places with very heavy food.

I've never had bad service there, but I'm not fussy about service. I hear people complain all the time about service in Portland and it's just never bothered me. It's certainly better than I had living in Europe! I do recall one waiter being a bit sketchy on the wines, but there was a bartender/beverage person, and we asked for her to come over and she was great.

The atmosphere is... somewhere between quiet and buzzy? It's a pretty small place, so not that loud, but certainly not the kind of place you're expected to keep your voice down.

Anyway, I love Aviary too, so I'd recommend either. It's not quite as "Portland", I don't think, but the food is really great.

May 12, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Brunch in Portland

Neither Departure nor City Grill are open for brunch.

I assume you're looking for somewhere downtownish, based on your two picks. The Heathman is a pretty classic brunch spot, Gracie's is a nice place and the food is ok. More importantly, you won't have to line up at either.

Otherwise: Mother's and Veritable Quandry are both nice spots that take reservations.

May 05, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Portland restaurant and bar recommendations please (researched)!!

Friday lunch: As mentioned, Ziba's is gone. Ate Oh Ate is a restaurant on E Burnside, you probably mean 808 Grinds. But I wouldn't worry - there is over a block of carts; just walk around and choose whatever looks good.

Friday dinner: All of these are good, though I am personally very fond of Ned Ludd and your vegetarian friend will have the best options there. NL and OP are probably the best two for a large group.

Sat brunch/lunch: I agree with others to do the Saturday Farmers Market. The only place with a line is Pine State, and it probably would be a more fun, relaxed way to spend your Saturday (you can walk from your hotel) than travelling out to 43rd and Belmont. If you do want beer: GFH has beer sometimes, but I don't know when/how regularly. Cartopia doesn't, but there is a new bar, the High Dive, which lets you bring cart food in.

Sat dinner: Both have vegetarian food. Gruner doesn't usually have a veg entree, but it always has plenty of smaller plates, and you can get several of them or get them to make a bigger version of one. I go often with a vegetarian friend, and we never have a problem. I personally like Gruner more and think the food is more interesting, but both are very good.

Sunday brunch/lunch: Tasty's is excellent, but make sure you make reservations, or you'll be waiting hours.

Sunday dinner: TB actually does take reservations on Sunday nights for parties of 7 or more, so do that.

Coffee: There is so much good coffee in and around downtown, I wouldn't go out of your way to go elsewhere. Barista, Stumptown, Courier, Public Domain, Coffeehouse NW and the Red E's Pearl location should be open by then. And Water Ave and Coava are just across the road. Spielman do decent coffee, but it's not in the city's top roasters. Heart is excellent and Ristretto is quite good, but again, with so much near your hotel, I would only go if you're in the area.

Bakeries: See advice above. Bakery Bar isn't really much of a bakery, more a brunch spot. Baker and Spice is ages away. Pix is more a patisserie than a bakery. It's good, but I wouldn't go out of your way.

Chocolate: I think Cacao stocks some of Alma's products now. If you're up on Mississippi for something else, you could also check out the Meadow, which has a great chocolate collection, as well as artisan salts and bitters. But Cacao are really generous about letting you taste anything, and have the biggest range, so I'd choose them first.

Drinking: East: I guess Gilt is sort of "quintessentially Portland" because it was on Portlandia, but as a bar, its just OK. My downtown bar crawl would include Central and maybe Kask. You might also like Departure -- it gets a bit obnoxious late on weekends, but the view is really great.

Old Town is generally pretty gross, but you wanted something like Bourbon St, right? It's not as gross as Bourbon St, and is the liveliest night life. Good places in and around Old Town: Central (cocktails), Valentine's (artsy), Ground Kontrol (video game arcade with a bar; it's really great), Ash Street (pretty dirty rock n roll bar, but you can catch some great bands if that's your thing). Also Ping, which is more a restaurant, but you can definitely go for drinks, and they do good cocktails. There are also a bunch of Irish bars -- I don't like Irish bars, but if you do, Old Town has 'em in spades. And Mary's, which is a strip club and also an institution. But definitely don't just walk into random bars in Old Town unless you're looking for barely-clothed 20-somethings downing sugary shots

Apr 25, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Portland restaurant and bar recommendations please (researched)!!

In fairness, there are eight of them and possibly no car/sober driver - that's two taxis. I live downtown and don't have a car and would never go that far for late-night food.

Late night food downtown: Depends how you define "late". Roxys is open 24 hours, but it's pretty bad. Many of the carts at 3rd and Stark are open until about 3am Thurs-Sat, as well as the hanful of ones at 3rd and Ash. I *think* the La Jarochita cart on 5th and Oak is open late - they do great huaraches. Sizzle Pie is open until 4 am on weekends. Luc Lac, which does good Vietnamese food and has a great bar, is open until 4 am Fri-Sat. The Original at the Courtyard Marriot is open until 4, I think, on Friday and Saturday. It's gimmicky, but not the worst thing you could eat at 3 in the morning. And obviously, Voodoo Doughnut is open 24 hours, which also tastes better drunk.

Apr 25, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

San Francisco Hound Coming to Portland...Please Critique My List For Your Wonderful Food City!!!

I love Saraveza, but I'm not sure I'd send a tourist there all the way from the NW. If pats38sox is looking for local breweries, I assume he/she wants to drink Portland/Oregon beer. Saraveza right now has one Portland (HUB, incidentally) and one other Oregon beer on tap. If we're talking non-breweries, I would recommend Bailey's Taproom downtown. It has lots of local breweries on tap, and you can try them out in flights of six.

Apr 22, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

San Francisco Hound Coming to Portland...Please Critique My List For Your Wonderful Food City!!!

Dinner: I, personally, wouldn't do Ken's. If you really, really love pizza then by all means, but... it's pizza. There are plenty of good thin crust pizza places in San Fran. I highly, highly recommend Aviary. St. Jack is awesome, though if you lived in France, maybe not so exciting? I don't know. Toro Bravo is also awesome, so long as you can bear the wait. Definitely Natural Selection over Portobello. The latter is a nice place to eat if you're a local, but I wouldn't send a tourist there unless they're vegan. Natural Selection I would recommend to anyone.

Coffee: You'll get good espresso at any of those places (except Stumptown Annex, which doesn't do espresso, but definitely go for the a cupping), although it's true that some are probably a bit more interested in their drip, and I know some people don't care for single origins with espresso, which many of those places do. You'll probably enjoy Spella - they have a beautiful Rancilio and are probably a bit more Italian in focus. Public Domain have a nice Slayer and probably do more espresso than other drinks. Barista are just really top shelf baristas, no matter what you get there. If you're looking for coffee nerd conversations with your baristas, Courier, Coava and Sterling.

Breweries: Personally, I prefer taprooms over breweries so I don't have much to say on this, except a word of warning: Hopworks, both locations, are FULL of kids. I also think most of their beer is pretty boring, but that's nothing compared to how much I hate having toddlers screaming in my ear.

Booze: Yeah, you probably can't do Distillery Row quickly. Clear Creek is a good choice for tasting. I also really like the tasting room at House Spirits. But if you're staying in the NW, you could check out Bull Run up there, which is pretty new and the folks are really nice. Another cocktail bar I would check out is Central.

Apr 20, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Best location for endless chowing and drinking!

Yeah, I was responding to indiefoodie's "It seems like a very large majority of these are on the east side"

Apr 17, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

San Francisco Hound Coming to Portland...Please Critique My List For Your Wonderful Food City!!!

That's a great list. The only suggestion I'm going to make is to ditch Coffeehouse Five. It's a nice little coffee shop, but it serves Coava, so you may as well just go there.

Apr 16, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Best location for endless chowing and drinking!

Actually

West: Barista, Cacao, Gruner, Little Bird, Farmers Market, 10th & Alder, Nuvrei, Ken's, Bailey's, Oregon wines, Teardrop, Gilt

East: Second Barista location, Heart, Pok Pok, S&S, Alma (Alma also has a stall at the farmers market), Toro Bravo, Ned Ludd, Tasty, OP (there is an west side location too, but the east one is better), Cartopia, Good Food Here, Little T (they sell Little T pastries at Stumptown Ace, but no idea how fresh they are).

So about 50/50.

Important thing to note: Portland blocks are about half the size of normal blocks, so when you read a map, don't compare it to NY or SF. If you stay downtown or inner eastside, you can walk to the other in 15-20 minutes. That's how long it would take to walk from the Ace to the Jupiter. That said, most of your east side picks aren't walkable from the Jupiter (Heart, Cartopia are). So you'd be driving/catching a taxi/bus either way. Every one of your west side picks are walking distance from the Ace.

Both hotels are in areas with good (by Portland standards; not good by bigger cities' standards) nightlife. Old Town and surrounds, which is probably the area's most active nightlife scene and most Bourbon St-esque, is about halfway between the two.

Apr 16, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Best location for endless chowing and drinking!

Just stay downtown. All the good hotels are there, and Portland is a small city -- there are many little pockets of restaurants and bars all over, but none close to the amount of restaurants and bars within walking distance of downtown hotels. Plus much easier access to things to do during the day in case you want a break from food or drink.

Local live music scene is good, depending on what you like. Much of it is downtown and on the inner industrial eastside (and I mean "inner" - like within 8 blocks of the river), though there are music venues scattered around.

Sounds like you might enjoy Bailey's Tavern downtown -- all micros on tap, big beer nerd place, but still very casual and un-touristy.

Apr 11, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Gastropub/brew pub in Portland

"Portland's best Mexican restaurant"

It absolutely isn't. It's fine, but... not even close.

Mar 30, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

A trip too safe?

I think that's generally a good lineup.

Saucebox isn't really what it used to be. If you're looking for that kind of modern-/pan-Asian thing downtown, you might be better at Departure -- though I wouldn't go on a Friday or Saturday night. LucLac won't blow you away if you usually eat good Vietnamese food, but it's still solid, and the cocktails are excellent - I actually like it more as a bar.

Oblique is a good neighborhood coffee shop but I wouldn't bother travelling that far for it when there are so many roasters as good or better in or near downtown. Heart is very good, though also a bit further away. Closer is Sterling/Coffeehouse NW, Courier, Coava and, yes, Stumptown. Definitely Water Ave over Cellar Door.

Other Asiany places worth checking out: Wafu, Aviary and (with the caveat that I haven't eaten there but both menus look great) Smallwares and Bollywood Theater.

Mar 17, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Tuesday Late Night (after 11pm) Dining near Ace Hotel?

Oven and Shaker in the Pearl could satisfy both your late night and pizza needs: http://ovenandshaker.com/

Feb 17, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

YYC Hound comming for a visit, where should I try?

I would go for Pok Pok over Chiang Mai. CM is great, but Pok Pok is one of the best Thai restaurants in the country and a local institution.

I would go for Wafu over Boke Bowl. The ramen is, in my opinion, better, there is more going on on the menu and the bar is great.

Definitely Gruner over Spints.

Don't overlook Ned Ludd -- I truly think it's the most "Portland" restaurant in the city.

I'd also suggest looking at Natural Selection. It's a vegetarian supper club, but you seriously won't miss the meat -- they do beautiful things with vegetables.

Feb 14, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

YYC Hound comming for a visit, where should I try?

Barista almost always have Stumptown and Intelligentsia and usually at least one rotating guest coffee. Unlike the others on your list, they don't roast their own, but they're still definitely worth a visit for top notch baristas and coffee nerdery. I like their Albera location a lot more than their Pearl one.

Your list is a good one - I would specifically say go to the Stumptown Annex for a cupping (they're free and public and I think happen twice a day).

Feb 13, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Vancouver Hound's first trip to Portland -- help a hungry elf out?

"Thursday breakfast: one of these coffee places Barista, Coffeehouse NW, Ristretto, Heart, Crema, Extracto, Coava, Spella, Cloud Seven, Sterling, Fresh Pot, Albina Press, Random Order, Legend"

I would narrow that down to Barista, Coffeehouse NW, Ristretto, Heart and Coava.

Crema is not great for coffee; Spella has no seating; Cloud Seven is better than average but not as good as nearby Barista; Sterling is the same people as Coffeehouse NW, but is just a kiosk with no seating; Fresh Pot and Albina Press are fine, but they just serve Stumptown, so you may as well go there; Random Order is great for pie but not so much for coffee; I have never heard of Legend.

If you're staying downtown, you can narrow the list even further down to Barista, Coffeehouse NW and Coava, though I would add in Courier, Public Domain, Water Avenue and Stumptown. If you're actually looking to eat (you say "breakfast"), Stumptown, Coffeehouse NW, Water Ave and Courier are probably the best for something more than a cookie and are comfortable places to sit. If you're just looking for a distinctly Portland coffee experience, I would choose Stumptown Ace (that location is brilliant Portland people watching and the couches are good), Courier, Barista (the Alberta location) or Coava.

Feb 04, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Culinary Road Trip! - Portland Recommendations? (From Vancouver)

I really like your list of "tastes" -- it makes it much easier to make recommendations and I wish everyone was so specific.

I think you might dig Ned Ludd, Beast, Beaker and Flask, Castagna, Evoe, Olympic Provisions and Le Pigeon. If you want something more "classic" Portland, Paley's Place or Higgins. Clyde Common is the place for a barrel ages cocktail, and also excellent food that matches your tastes. For beer I would go to Bailey's Taproom. For cheaper eats, many of the aforementioned restaurants are open for lunch and/or brunch, where the prices are much lower. You could also hit the downtown food carts - the People's Pig, EuroTrash, Nong's, Savor Soup House, or whatever looks good at the time. Some of the better bakeries also do really nice food for an affordable lunch - Lovejoy, Ken's Artisan, Little T.

The most cliched thing you can do is go to Voodoo Donuts, but I wouldn't bother.

Feb 02, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

Ethiopian/Eritrean suggestions?

I too was a bit taken aback by the portion sizes when I first went, but the owner explained that he didn't want people to leave his restaurant bloated. And he has a point - while I know the appeal of Ethiopian restaurants for a lot of people is the huge servings, I usually eat too much and leave waaay too stuffed. I think it may be a myth that injera expands in your stomach, but I think people also don't tend to factor in how much of it they are going to ingest.

Jan 06, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

48 hours in Portland! Looking for simple, delicious, inexpensive

Karam isn't that good any more. It's not bad, just kind of meh. Nicholas is mainly popular because the servings are so damn huge. Personally, I don't there any great Lebanese food in or around downtown.

You could get a good vegetarian dinner under $15 around downtown at: Ping, LucLac, Little Big Burger or Oven and Shaker, and just over the bridge (near Nicholas), you could go to the Farm Cafe (almost entirely vegetarian) or Olympic Provisions.

Jan 06, 2012
chalmers in Metro Portland

High value informal Portland suggestions

Well, your definition of "walkable" may vary, but at the least, you are close to the MAX (light rail) and buses. The closest restaurant-heavy areas to you are the west end and 21st/23rd Aves.

Late night: Because of Oregon's liquor laws (you have to serve a full menu if you serve liquor) 9 pm isn't really that late for a meal here. If you're willing to wait an hour, Masu Sushi has a late-night Happy Hour starting 10pm, though it's not *that* expensive at normal rates either. The Driftwood Room at the Hotel de Luxe also has a late night happy hour at 9:30 pm where everything is seriously cheap ($3-$8) and tasty. Otherwise, Basta's is one of the more underrated places on 21st and would be a short walk and open at 9pm for some Italian.

For breakfast: Kenny and Zuke's is walkable and wonderful, but you may not find it meets your "fair price" point (really depends what you're coming from). Ken's Artisan Bakery on 21st is one of the city's best bakeries and is a good spot for breakfast or lunch.

For lunch: if you're willing to walk/transit a bit down 23rd, Red Onion has great northern Thai food (order from the specials menu). If it's a week day, a lot of the higher end restaurants have really reasonable lunch menus. Clyde Common and Gruner in the West End, and Wildwood on 21st, are all top notch Portland restaurants and their lunch menus are a fraction of the price of their dinners. You could also head to the food carts on SW 10th and Alder. I'd recommend Nongs, Savor, People's Pig and Addy's.

"Bar / drinking" is kind of non specific. Are you looking for cocktails? Beer? Dive? High end? You're within walking distance of both Clyde and Kask for great cocktails. Pope House just off 23rd is a good neighbourhood cocktail place with a great range of whiskeys and much less hipster than the other two. You could take the number 20 bus (or walk) straight down Burnside to Bailey's Taproom, which has one of the best local beer selections.

Nightclub / live music / dancing: Depending on what you like and what's on at the Crystal Ballroom when you're here (a lot of the better touring bands play there), you might get lucky there. You won't find much else in the northwest. If you head down into Old Town, there are plenty of places from trashy nightclubs (Cuda, Dirty, Dixie) to live music venues (Ted's, Dante's).

Dec 16, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

dinner on christmas day in portland and brunch on the 26th

Here is a list: http://www.portlandfoodanddrink.com/r...

It's not very exciting. I would probably go with the Heathman or Urban Farmer, from that list.

Breakfast/brunch is actually hard, because that Monday will be a holiday. I would check out the usual places that are recommended for brunch on here and call them.

Dec 16, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

Vegetarian Ramen

Having recently tried Boke Bowl, I think I can confidently say that Wafu's is much, much better -- to my tastes, anyway (there's no such thing as "authentic" vegetarian ramen to measure it against). Wafu's is creamy, earthy and complex. I found Boke's pretty bland, and had to stir in an egg and pour on a generous amount of togarashi to put some flavor into it. Plus it doesn't come with any protein, you have to pay $2 extra just to get tofu (it already costs $8.50).

Dec 16, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

Heading to Portland this weekend for the first time

You should probably note that Gruner only serves its burger at the bar, and the bar seats maybe 6-8 people. If you are literally just here for a weekend, prepare to wait, as Gruner isn't open for lunch on Saturday and isn't open at all on Sunday. Personally? I'd rather sit in the restaurant and explore the rest of their menu. Every restaurant has a bistro burger. Few are doing the kind of food they are. Unless I was an absolute burger fanatic, I wouldn't waste a meal on a burger if I only had the weekend.

If you ARE a total burger fanatic, this is a pretty good run-down of Portland's best: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article...

I agree with Leonardo's comments, except I probably wouldn't bother with doughnuts at all, unless you have a particular jonesin' or, as stated, you dig the novelty value of Voodoo (nothing wrong with that, I take friends from out of town there all the time and they love it). In my opinion, no doughnut in Portland is that great it's worth wasting stomach space on for a short trip.

For other "New American type restaurants that serve organic, locally sourced food" I would check out: Ned Ludd, Clyde Common, Beaker and Flask, June and Park Kitchen.

Somewhat unique (not that anything is ever truly that unique): Olympic Provisions SE (for amazing charcuterie), Natural Selection (vegetarian supper club), Beast (set menu snout to trotter thing), Evoe (sit at the kitchen bench while chefs make our dishes in front of you - total food porn), Castagna (easily the most innovative/inventive kitchen in PDX), Tasty n Sons (brunch for dinner).

Dec 07, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

I don't know anyone who's worked there that would eat a thing out of that kitchen. The stories I've heard...

Dec 05, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

Looking for suggestions during my vacation to Portland.

Believe me, you missed absolutely nothing at Montage

Dec 04, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland

Vegetarian Ramen

The one at Wafu is excellent. There is an option to make it spicy, though I haven't done so, so can;t say exactly how spicy it gets.

Mirakutei does a vegetarian ramen, but I couldn't recommend it. Miho also does, but I haven't tried it.

Nov 24, 2011
chalmers in Metro Portland