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Visiting Portland


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My mom and I will be driving down to Portland on a Monday in two weeks and heading back up to Van on the Tuesday. Most of Monday will be spent at the Bullseye glass factory (my mom's a glass artist) and would like to know where we should go for food.

We'll probably leave early Monday morning (too early for my liking, but I can sleep in the car) and head straight down the I-5. Anything interesting that we should hit on the way down or the way back?

Any and all suggestions would be great. I haven't been to Portland in 15 years, so this should be fun. :biggrin:

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Bullseye is on SE 21st, but we'll (I'll) pretty much go anywhere for good food. We're not looking for anything high-end, maybe tapas or small plates so we can share, although we would share anything anyway, good wine list, etc... I still haven't found a good place to stay, any suggestions on that one?

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I just spent the weekend in portland last weekend - The meal that I am remembering most fondly was dinner at Taqueria Nueve (address: 28 NE 28th, phone: 236-6195).

New mexican is the way I would describe it (there was not a burrito in sight). It is a gem of a space, in a small neighborhood center. There has been some attention to detail in the design of the space (great looking bar made of steel i-beams and a mosiac of tile in all the colors of the oceans ~ there was also a nice effect with bamboo and light in the ceiling that came quite close to the feeling of being on a patio in the late afternoon).

And the cocktails were beautiful. Oh, the food - I recommend the mole, and the tacos. But perhaps the people of portland will let you know whether this was a one-hit wonder or a real gem.

Robin Tyler McWaters

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I've lived and dined in Portland for about six years. I'm also a stagier at Hurley's (http://www.hurleys-restaurant.com), in my opinion the finest restaurant in p-town, which is why I talked my way into the kitchen. With that out of the way, here are some additional suggestions:

- Justa Pasta, NW portland. Cheap, great pasta.

- Park Kitchen, NW portland. Creative, organic food, reasonably priced.

- Heathman Restaurant, SW portland. Order the mushroom cappuccino.

- Saburro's sushi, SW portland. If you feel like sushi. Wait can be over an hour to get in though.

- Fong Chong, NW portland. Dim Sum, every day, then you can go and visit the chinese gardens.

- Giorgio's, NW portland. Pleasant, somewhat creative modern italian.

- Noble Rot, SE portland. Cool wine bar with good food and interesting wine flights.

- Clarklewis, SE portland. Overpriced, but cool vibe and tasty italian food.

- Mint/820, NE portland. Great sweet potato fries, good vibe.

I've been at Taqueria Nueve and thought the food was all right and the vibe good. Its simple, unpretentious food.

Have fun!

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Have you used Priceline.com for hotels? We've done it a bunch in other cities (including Vancouver!) and gotten great rooms for reasonable prices. Downtown is fun to stay in and there are alot of hotels. If you stay downtown, and feel like walking, check out Higgins for dinner. The places already mentioned are good as well, but on a Monday night, check for if they are open as it's a popular night to close here.

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You might really enjoy checking out at the Portland Farmer's Market on Saturday from 8:30 - sometime after noon. You can buy great supplies for a picnic (Ken's Artisan bread, Juniper Grove cheese, Viande terrines, Pickleopolos pickles, Sagahun chocolates etc). There are some wine vendors too, but they've never caught my interest. I go to E&R Wines and let them do the weeding out for me.

Taqueria Nueve does have really great yuppie new-wave Mexican food and the best margaritas in town (mixed properly, no sweet and sour mix, no blender, but can be too tart for people that want a tequila slushy). But the waits are kind of crazy, on the weekend it can be more then an hour. Some of there stuff is pretty damn good (moles, fish stew, ceviche) some of it is too far off from traditional and overpriced to boot (I'm still mad the tongue tacos were crunchy like carnitas).

Small plates are everywhere throughout pdx, you'll have trouble finding a place that doesn't have them.

Here are a few suggestions

the wine bar Navarre (don't order the vegetable plates, do order the terrine)...it gets mixed reviews, but I like it. Noble Rot has a good reputation but I haven't been.

Park Kitchen - the small plates and desserts are always better then the main courses for me. The cocktails are done with care.

Higgins bar -- I love to drink a nice Flemish brown on tap and eat the house-cured pastrami sandwich. Not so crazy about the main restaurant.

clarklewis-- you can get your plates S, M or L. Great, simple seasonal cooking, I personally don't find it overpriced, but I usually tend to go for simple flavors vs. overly constructed ones. Gotham Bldg Tavern has some of the owners in common and the menu looks very similiar to me. The hype machine gets wearisome though.

Wildwood -- only been for lunch, sitting at the bar, but all of us were very happy with our food.

Ken's Place -- recommended by a trusted food loving friend/coworker, casual but not cheap, and good food, haven't been myself.

Cafe Castagna -- only for the expensive burger and fries (best in town) or the oysters, nothing much else

mio gelato-- some of the flavors are really good, and you can eat them even if you've just come back from Italy. some of them stink. try a taste or two before you order. good after a visit to Powell's.

Apizza Scholls -- artisan pizza, long fermented dough and long lines, sometimes out the door

Reelemin -- our neighborhood dive bar with really good chicken and jojos and cheap awful beer (hey, they count as a regional specialty).

Pix Patissiere -- fanciful desserts matched to wines and beer (or in the wine or beer, you can get a moscato or beer float), only place like it in town. Queen of Sheba with ice cream is my favorite, I find some of the others much too sweet.

If you want Asian, I'm going to contradict another poster's recommendation, I find Fong Chong and Saburo's dreadful. At Saburo's they use the lesser cuts from sushi grade fish, but people love them because the pieces are enormous and cheap. Maybe you will too. When I eat sushi in the city , I like to go to Murata. I don't eat dim sum in Portland, I've given up. I'd rather eat it somewhere else and appreciate the city's stronger eating points. If you want cleaned up Vietnamese food Pho Van is very good for what it is. I'm partial to the banana blossom salad and bahn xeo (rice crepe). If you want grittier Vietnamese food there is plenty to choose from, my personal favorite is Oregon Pho, but that's a long way off from where you are.

The Mallory hotel is the best hotel I've ever stayed at in the US, I really liked it, but it is a little pricey. Do remember that the price includes parking, whereas you'll pay big bucks/day at places like the Hilton.

enjoy your visit,

trillium

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I don't disagree, Saburo's sushi is not the best, but people love it and its reasonably priced.

Ken's Place is a bakery with some food items. Arguably the best bread in Portland.

Pix Patisserie is all right, the service can be really incompetent though - Bar Pastiche on Hawthorne is a better place with the same desserts in better sizes and lots of neat savory items. Its a fun, tiny spot.

And of course, you'd be missing out if you do not have Hurley's 4-course, $40 prix fix menu! :).

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Thanks to all for the tips, I will be in town on the 22-24. And will take my list with me. The only thing I have definite is dinner at Paley's Place on Monday nite.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Ah of course. You're thinking of Ken's Home Plate, on 19th and Hawthorne no? Thats one of my favorite places in portland - the crabcakes are amazing and its so unpretentious and honest, you have to love it. You also have to know when he's open.

Paley's Place has disappointed me the last few times I was there. The cuisine is pretentious - the amuse and petit fours I had there last time were just plain bad: pieces of pink apple with a bit of cheese mousse, and snickerdoodles. The food is unexceptional. Service and ambiance are good, though.

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Make sure and go to Higgins. I went there for lunch today, the ground sirloin-steak sandwich(fancy pants burger) with white cheddar is unmatched so far as far as broiled ground beef goes. Plus, they run a class act there and they have Chimay on tap.. The service is always great; eventhough I look like a punk kid walking into their classy joint with a dirty jean jacket, plaid shirt, old Vans, and my iPod blaring Modest Mouse they still treat me as well as all the guys who just got off the golf course.

Higgins is where you want to be.

Oh, and if you are in the mood for coffee, I work for one of the best coffee companies in the world, the best in Portland, called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. There is a store downtown on 3rd and Ash, and also one on Belmont and one on Division. Check out the website if you want to do the Mapquest thing www.stumptowncoffee.com .

Hope you enjoy your trip.

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Forget the Chimay! Get the Duchesse de Bourgogne from Verhaeghe Brewery while it's still on tap and I haven't drunk it all. The bar at Higgins doesn't even get a barrel every year, so I enjoy it while it's here. I'm not a huge beer person, I enjoy wine more, but this stuff is really wonderful.

regards,

trillium

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This is fantastic. Thank you for the suggestions. i am compiling a list of places we need to go and what we need to see. We're going to be staying at the Mark Spencer hotel, so what would the closest restaurant be? Walking distance would be nice, since we will be imbibing in a wee bit of wine. It is a girl's weekend. Coffee will also be a must on Tuesday morning. Thank you for the site. Oh, I only wish we had more time.

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Walking distance would be nice, since we will be imbibing in a wee bit of wine.  It is a girl's weekend.  Coffee will also be a must on Tuesday morning.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Tricia, I think that all Vancouver eGulleters are well aware of the massive understatement employed in your above-noted post. :raz:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Walking distance would be nice, since we will be imbibing in a wee bit of wine.  It is a girl's weekend.  Coffee will also be a must on Tuesday morning.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Tricia, I think that all Vancouver eGulleters are well aware of the massive understatement employed in your above-noted post. :raz:

Yes, and this time I'll be out with the woman that taught me all that I know. Oh, Portland is in big trouble :laugh:

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You're very close to the fancy restaurants in NW Portland - Hurley's, Wildwood, Justa Pasta, Blue Hour, Oba, Andina. You're also a walking distance from the places in SW: Higgins, Heathman, Veritable Quandry, Carafe, Saucebox, Aura, Lush...

Its a good location. If you decide to drop by Hurley's, let them know you know me and we can take care of you.

Noam

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We really enjoyed Paley's Place last summer. We dined out on the front porch and had the steamed mussles with the pomme frites for an appetizer. It was very good and beautiful in presentation. My wild salmon entree was perfectly prepared and the service was very attentive and professional.

Last March we enjoyed meals at Park Kitchen, Higgins, Wildwood and Pho Van Bistro. All were excellent, with Park Kitchen being my favorite for the innovative menu items and flavors that were put together. I have only been to clarklewis for lunch, but my sea scallops were wonderful. We'll definitely return to clarklewis for lunch and dinner next month.

Hurley's is also excellent, fine dining in Portland. If you are a chocolate lover, check out the Vendun chocolate shop in the Pearl. Bluehour is also a favorite of mine. I have yet to find a place that prepares gnocchi with black truffles like they do. Portland is a culinary delight, I hope you find some great places. :smile:

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We just dined at Paley's Place last week. All 4 of us were delighted with every bite. My father-in-law in particular. He had the escargot w/ marrow bones as an appetizer and wanted it again as an entree. Then his sweetbreads came, and he wished he had a bigger stomach.

It is nice that Portland has so many places that can please (and sometimes displease) so many tastes.

You are staying very close to the Crystal Ballroom. If there's anyone playing there you like, you should check it out. The floor "floats" and is fun to dance on! Their beer's not bad either.

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Well, it has now been decided that we are going to head down on Sunday and do wine tour as well. What wineries are visits? My mom wants to go to Duck Pond and from there, we have no idea what else is worth visiting. And, since we are now going down for 3 days, we are taking our dogs with us. Any restaurants downtown with a patio that is casual enough the dogs can sit tied up outside with us?

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You can eat outside at the Bistro at Ponzi if it's nice, the food is good there but the service is slow usually.

If you want to stay right in that area you can call and make a few appts. Not sure what your interest level is in Pinot but Chahalem, Owen Roe, JKCarriere, Erath and Lange are all easy to get to and have fantastic wines. Argyle is across from Ponzi and of course you can taste there too.

Map and Winery info here: http://www.willamettewines.com/index.shtml

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I am staying at the Inn at Northrup Station on Sunday and Monday, what is nearby(walking distance) for breakfast, and it does not have to be diner food.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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