Portland Eats: Part 2

Alright, on to the final part of our West Coast trip!

So now we’re back in Portland…

We wanted to check out the Hawthorne area so we headed over there for breakfast. My Yelp app was a HUGE help during this trip, FYI. It’s so easy to look up nearby places by type of food, price, reviews, etc. It’s awesome!

Anywho, we ended up at Jam, which turned out to be another not-to-miss breakfast place.

Scrambled eggs, locally made sausage, gravy and toast with homemade jam. Mmm mmm good.

Hawthorne was huge and we spent a lot of time getting lost in vintage stores. Seriously, who needs department stores in Portland?

We continued to explore some other Portland neighborhoods. We stopped for a beer at Prost that an adorable outside section in the Milwalkee section. Right next to the bar there seemed to be a pod of food carts…

…but they were all closed 😦

We came across a lovely park and took a relaxing stroll. Then we headed back to Hawthorne. Our friends wanted to pick up a table they liked at one of the shops. And I also had my eyes (and tastebuds) set on dining at Pok Pok.

Pok Pok won the 2011 James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northwest.

In looking at the menu online I didn’t quite understand the concept. I wasn’t even really sure what kind of food it was until I saw it categorized as Thai on Yelp. We were a bit surprised when the waitress explained that most dishes were to be shared family style (like tapas). We ordered a few dishes each and they were TINY. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, but not for those sized dishes. Needless to say the food was very inventive and tasted awesome (although very spicy!) Sorry for no pics 😦 I also enjoyed a Lord Bergamont cocktail made with tea infused vodka, som honey drinking vinegar, orange liquer and soda. I was really intrigued by all of their drinking liquers and couldn’t resist ordering a cocktail with one. It was really good and by far one of the most interesting drinks I’ve ever had.

We spent some time playing Sixes in a dive.

Then our friends headed back to Seattle while we ended our last night with some Oregon wine and a warm outside fire.

 

Perfection.

The next day we were on our way to brunch and came across a pod of food carts. Rejoice!

Italian beef sandwich at Built to Grill. Best food we had the whole trip if you ask me.

Bacon wrapped wings (forgot the name of the cart). These were indulgent (duh) and good. The Chef wasn’t too into them because the BBQ sauce was on the sweet side, but I dug it.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the riverfront…

 

 

And paying a visit to the Portland Japanese Gardens. This garden is supposed to be the most authentic japanese garden outside of Japan and it was beautiful. The whole place was spotted with bamboo railings and intricatly made huts.

 

 

For our last dinner we wanted to dine someplace special. We decided on the 2011 James Beard winner for Rising Star Chef, Little Bird Bistro. When I called to make a reservation I was asked if we celebrating anything and I said our anniversary, which was a few days away. I was hoping they’d do something nice, like give us a complimentary dessert or something. But nothing. I thought that was a fail on customer service.

This place was super cute and I loved the atmosphere. The hostess was friendly and sweet. Our waitress…was something else. She never introduced herslef. She muttered hello as she filled our water glasses and at first I thought she was an expiditor or something. But nope. Usually bad wait staff experience is caused by inexperience or lack of common sense, but this woman was just plain sour. She didn’t crack a smile the entire time, ask how our food was…she was very dry.

Anywho on to the food. Again sorry for no pics. We shared the charcuterie plate that was on special that night, which came with pork rillette, pate en croute, foie gras brulee, oxtail terrine and chicken liver mousse. We missed the cured meats and cheese that normally accompany a charcuterie plate. But none the less I enjoyed it. As an entree I had the Duck confit with roasted brussel sprouts. I’ve had better confit, but this was still wonderful. Crispy skin, tender meat and the brussel sprouts were perfect. The Chef had the Confit of Poussin, which he had order’s remorse over. He’s more of a steak and pork kind of guy than chicken. We were too full for dessert, but loved how we were served two maccaroons with the check 🙂

And that was the trip! Whew…now back to your regularly scheduled blogging 😉

Conversation Starter: Have you taken a fun trip recently?

Portland Eats A.K.A. Pork Belly, Pickled Vegetables and Cocktails

Hi all! Long time, no blog. I just got back from Portland, OR this past Wednesday and have been playing catch up these past few days.

I must say, Portland is an awesome city. It was my first time on the west coast and I absolutely loved it. The people were so nice. The overall attitude was so different than FL. They were laid back, but conscious, and sustainable to the max. Beautiful scenery and we lucked out with the weather for sure.

And the food…oh the food…

First things first. I definitely made sure we were well equiped with healthy snacks. I tend to get queasy on planes and need a full belly before I get on. And with 9 hours total in the air plus a 3 hour layover, I knew we’d need some grub.

 

I’m also a freak about major hydration before getting on a plane. All that recycled air…you need to protect your body as much as you can, and hydration is important in aiding your immune system.

Thankfully our layover was in NY at JFK. We flew JetBlue (I refuse to fly any other airline) and they have an awesome terminal in JFK with plenty of restraunt options. The food is, of course, over priced, but it’s pretty good compared to most other airport terminals.

We shared a bottle of wine and had dinner at this little French place, La Vie.

I had the onion soup (fabulous, ultimate comfort food) and the cesar salad (eh).

 

Ok, ok, on to Portland 🙂

Our first few nights we stayed in a condo rental in Old Town/Chinatown so our first meal was obviously in Chinatown, which I learned later is not the “real” Chinatown of Portland.

We found a perfect hole-in-the-wall spot called Chen’s Good Taste. They’re known for their noodles and BBQ. Their noodles reminded me of ramen and I wasn’t too crazy about them. But the pork was DELISH. The soup also came with tons of yummy pork and shrimp filled dumplings.

 

Complimentary jasmine tea!

We spent the day just walking around and exploring. We stumbled across Ground Kontrol, which was an awesome arcade that had two floors of old school games and pinball machines. So very cool and so very Portland 🙂

Our first dinner was at an intimate resturant, The Gilt Club. Loved the decor and setting, despite the 20 top bachleorette party we were sharing the restaurant with. Yup, male anatomy straws and all.

As a cocktail I got the Strawberry Brunette. I’m usually picky with cocktails cause I don’t like them too strong, but with house infused strawberry vodka, basil, lemon and fresh cracked pepper this was a perfect drink.

Fried tete de cochon (pig’s head) with a fried egg, burger sauce and pickled vegetables. The Chef thought it could be better with some tweaks, but I thought it was wonderful.

Duck Liver Raviloi

Roasted Pork Belly

I just about exploded during this meal. The portions were generous and both dishes were very rich. Both were delicious.

The next day we went to the famous Voodoo Doughnut.

There was a line, but apparently there always is.

 

We only waited about a half hour before we got to sink our teeth into these babies. They are definitely worth the wait!

 

The travel channel was filming one of the food carts down the street! We heard this place was really good, but the line was too long…we came back later, but it ended up being closed 😦

A few of our friends who just moved to Seattle drove down to join us for some exploring and then take us to stay with them for a few nights.

We visited Powell’s Books, which you could literally stay in all day. SO many rooms and rooms of books.

Then it was down the street to Deschutes Brew Pub. This turned out to be The Chef’s fav local beer.

Oregon Pinot for the non-beer drinker 🙂

We had barely eaten all day so we ordered an appetizer.

I’m not sure about you, but when I order an appetizer (espicially when it’s $8) I expect it to feed 2-4 people. To me this feeds one. We split it up and each had a bite, but this was pretty disappointing. Though the sausage with artisan bread, pickled onions and ale mustard was tasty.

Luckily, dinner was next. We had some awesome mexican food at Santeria. They claim to have the “best mexican food on the planet”. While it doesn’t compare to Azteca in Cape Coral, it tasted amazing and reminded me of Taco Bus here in St. Pete.

I got the Cochinita, which came complete with rice, black beans and tortillas.

After dinner we headed to Seattle with our friends.

Whew, this is going to be a three parter I think! Next stop, Seattle!