Currently I'm still in Japan but 2 weeks ago my husband and I were one of our favorite cities, Portland! We were there last year, around mid October and even though it rained the whole time we were there last year, we loved the city. This year the weather was perfect and it made Portland even lovelier.
Portland is just one of those cities that has so much character and so much to do. We've been there twice for about 3 days each time and I feel like we have only explored 10% of the city. In fact because I get to set the itinerary, we have only really shopped and dined in Portland. We haven't done any of the awesome nature stuff that surrounds this city (not even the Japanese garden or rose gardens, I know). Well that's saved for next time.
So what did we do? Well first we went to pick up my new iPhone at the Bridgeport Village in Tirgard (yay for no sales tax! All big purchases should be done in Portland!).
Then we headed to Le Pigeon for one of the best meals of my life. I'm not even exaggerating (that much). It was really good and all foodies need to go to this French American Restaurant.
We ordered the 5 course tasting menu, which were smaller items from the main ala carte menu. I saw a couple things I really wanted to try and so l politely requested those dishes and they were okay with that. Surprisingly, I liked the dishes I didn't request more.
First course was the steak tartare topped with calamari, Brussels sprout chips, a kimchi mayo sauce, and mint. This was one of my favorite dishes. All the flavors worked so well together though it was unexpected.
Second course was a foie gras 'hot brown' with turkey, toast, cheese, and bacon. I requested this one but ended up not liking as much (there's something about foie gras and deli type turkey meat that just doesn't quite go together).
Next was my second favorite dish, a fish dish with the most delicate of flavors and the best texture. Then we had the beef cheek bourguignon with risotto. Again this was another dish I requested, but ended up liking the fish dish better. And for desert we had a type of hush puppy, a foie gras ice-cream sandwich and a foie gras ice-cream coke float (sounds terrible but surprisingly good). All this for $75, and wine pairings for $40. And my husband got a non-alcoholic pairing for $25 and it was worth it (think lots of gourmet sodas in really surprising flavors-like the foie gras coke float).
One of my favorite things about Portland is the low level of pretension that permeates the whole city. After having one of the best meals of our lives, we went next door to the bar The Wurst and had some awesome local brews and played some classic video games like Street Fighter. I got to brush up on my skee-ball skills (though my husband is still better at it than I am).
The next morning we had some classic Swedish food at Broder Cafe since it was within walking distance from our AirBNB. Their Lost Eggs (eggs underneath a creamy sauce) was delicious as well as their Danish Pancakes (which are more like donut holes), which super fluffy and delightful. There is definitely a wait for breakfast/brunch on weekend mornings. But we got there around 9 and found it was only a 30 minute wait (I've waited over an hour at SF places--Outerlands anyone?-- so this wasn't so bad)
Portland has 2 great donut places: Blue Star Donuts and Voodoo Donuts. Both places are famous, but personally I like Blue Star better and there's less hype (and thus less of a line there). The flavors at Blue Star are also more unique (creme brûlée, basil blueberry, etc.)
And if you get a chance, you have to sample some of Portland's beer. They are a huge beer town with breweries like Rogue and Deschutes. Here's a list of their top craft beers.
So what is on my list of places to eat?
Le Pigeon (they have a sister restaurant called Little Bird Bistro if you can't get a reservation at Le Pigeon, but they're more of a burgers kind of place).
Pok Pok, some really delicious authentic Thai food
Tasty n sons
Screen Door (southern fare)
Carte Blanche (on my list though I haven't eaten there yet)
Pine State Biscuits (for breakfast/brunch, and get the Reggie or Reggie Deluxe)
Hapa PDX (and all the other food trucks in this really cute little gathering spot)
Clyde Common (also something to try for next time for me)
Andina (Peruvian food)
Nostrana (delicious Italian, really great pizzas)
For more ideas, here is a list from Eater Portland
Bye Portland! Until next time!