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Thank you from the solo lady diner in PDX!

I am in Pittsburgh. Let me know if I can ever be of help!

Thank you from the solo lady diner in PDX!

I so appreciate your help in finding places to eat in Portland alone, as a grown-up female, when my original eating plan started to fall apart. The rest of my week was a success. Thank you all!

I wound up accidentally at Le Pigeon when I was supposed to be having a drink at the lovely Kir, across the street -- the sun was beating on the bar in Kir at that hour, in the freak 100-degree weather, and I happened to walk by Le Pigeon, spied empty bar seats. Very much fun to eat there by myself; lovely folks, made friends with another woman dining solita, although the tasting menu was disappointing. I hope I don't offend anyone with my general feeling that those guys don't really understand texture; texture is so important. For ex the sous vide octopus was served with tough, woody palm heart that tasted canned (I guess no one does hearts of palm otherwise, it must be like dealing with kindling), hard to cut, reminded me of my mother's Chinese "experiments" in the 80s. Given the architecture of the food, there is too much going on -- a smear of earthy porcini sauce, two leaves of mache, nectarine -- that it just seemed like the chef wouldn't commit to two or three flavors and do something with them. Instead there were lots of fanciful bits, and a lot of butter holding things together. Another ex.: the honey bacon apricot cornbread, a heavy endeavor, chunks of bacon sitting atop, the whole thing not quite coming together. An assemblage rather than a vision. Rabbit spanakopita: could not work out the flavors in my mouth. The king salmon was excellent.

I loved Evoe. My god! The octopus with tomatoes and beans! Is what I mean by using just several ingredients and making something ethereal out of them. I don't know what they did to the octopus to get it so tender. chef's wife stopped in with their youngest baby and shared her grilled peppers with everyone eating at the counter. It's just a great friendly atmosphere -- so grateful for the suggestion!

And Teardrop Lounge for a cocktail -- another find. The bartenders couldn't have been sweeter, a totally grown-up place with a friendly vibe, lively but not packed, just what I was looking for.

SPELLA. Spella spella spella. Where will I find coffee as good in my town? I might be ruined.

Salt and Straw -- yes yes yes.

Thanks again.

Help a solo woman in Portland reconfigure her list, because it's not working (researched)

Thank you, everyone. I feel much less lonely and confused now. I'll report on my solo dinners in a new thread, but as an aside wanted to say I had an excellent, traditional congee this morning in the hotel (Paramount) restaurant — I'm not a breakfast person, and not a hotel restaurant person, but wow, this was GOOD congee, brothy and hot, with tofu, bok choy, and tiny crispy bits of fried garlic among the scallions floating on top. Perfect for a cool morning, and the wait staff was great. I doubt if Tastings East gets much love on this board, so I wanted to say something!

Help a solo woman in Portland reconfigure her list, because it's not working (researched)

I just want to say that I know Salt & Straw is not a food cart! I meant to say that I'm going off my "eating lightly" plan to try ice cream there several times.

Help a solo woman in Portland reconfigure her list, because it's not working (researched)

I'm in Portland for the week working on a project, and I had a whole food plan, but it isn't working out, because I'm realizing I have different needs than I thought, not being with my DH on this trip. For instance, last trip here we ate twice at Clyde Common. Great fun, great drinks, went back yesterday and the vibe doesn't work for me AT ALL now that I'm by myself. Too crowded at the bar; not a place where I can sit and read and people-watch and maybe strike up a conversation but only if I feel like it.

I also went to Cartopia yesterday at lunch for Pyro, but the little field trip wasn't fun either without my DH. Lest you think I am just going to be sad here, I have a new plan to find a few Chow-worthy dinners where I'd feel comfortable solita. I like to eat dinner at the bar, rather than feeling isolated at a table; but I don't want a glam scene or a place to hook up. Just seriously good (not heavy) food, friendly staff, and a more laid-back vibe, not a super crowded "scene." I realize I may have to sacrifice some eating quality for the right atmosphere but that is (SNIFF!) okay with me.

For dinners: I ate at Saucebox on Night #1 with some friends from Seattle. I thought of going back there because that seems like the right bar atmosphere (with people, but not packed; large bar where you can order dim sum) and the steam buns with crab were amazing. But I want to try new places!

Original dinner plan: Gruner. Walked in last night and the bar was too small; it was strictly for a few people waiting to eat dinner. Switch to lunch at Gruner? Other dinner ideas are St Jack and Little Bird. Would one of those work?

Original cocktail plan: Do some of my work in the bar at the Heathman. Result: Even at 8:30 p.m. the bar (lounge with chairs, and also the bar proper) was deserted. Original plan: Fun cocktail at the Driftwood Room (I don't mind a theme-y atmosphere, it sounded sweet). Result: Too dark to see my hand in front of my face; deserted. Original plan: one of the cocktails at Picnic House. Result: Deserted at 8 p.m. Where is a friendly, bustling but not packed place that I can sit and have an excellent Willamette Valley red, or a super delicious cocktail, or even a local brew, not feel like I am with children? I need ideas for grown-up drink places that are good at 8-9 p.m., not 11 or midnight, because I am not out that late this time.

For lunches, I haunt the farmers markets; there's nothing that makes me happier than talking to farmers and eating their cheese, sausage, fruit. And I'm trying Khao Mon Gai on 11th/Alder, and Mai Pho (if they can serve me Pho without cilantro!). What do you think of Lovejoy Bakery for a change? and there's that park nearby to sit outside. Am I missing a great solo lunch spot? I had counted on my elaborately researched food cart tour. But as I said, it was just too sad to trek around to the carts by myself (the ones out of downtown) and eat alone among the darling hipsters and gangs of friends at the picnic tables. Another thing is when I'm alone, I eat lighter, and so the PBJ fries and the basil-coconut milk shakes are lost on me. Food cart culture is for friends! although I am definitely going to Salt & Straw.

For breakfast I've been going to Prasad after my yoga class. That place is lovely.