Oh Portland, how I loved you. Not only were there too many amazing restaurants to count, there were also so many amazing shops and cool, eclectic street art around every corner. I couldn’t believe the amount of culture packed into one relatively small city. I already want to go back!
Of all of the restaurants I wanted to try, I had heard so much about Pok Pok that I knew I couldn’t miss it. So we made a point of going on our first night in Portland, and it lived up to the hype and then some. There’s pretty much always a wait, so they have a little bar down the street called Whiskey Soda Lounge where you can go and have a cocktail or two until your table is ready. Pretty genius, I would say! We actually got in faster than I expected, so we downed our cocktails and hightailed it back down the block to take our seats in the restaurant. Pok Pok encourages diners to share the dishes they order, which is great as I am super indecisive and want to try one of everything, so Zevi and I chose the half game hen, the fish sauce wings, and the flank steak salad (apparently we were feeling pretty carnivorous). I’m not sure I can accurately describe how good all three of these dishes were other than to say that they were so addictively delicious that I pretty much wanted to go back for more immediately. Seriously, it was all Zevi could do to convince me that we needed to spend our limited time in Portland trying other restaurants rather than going back to Pok Pok, and I’m usually the one cajoling him into trying new things. Though all three were incredible, the fish sauce wings were the standout for me – the depth of flavour they had was out of this world. I’m drooling just thinking about them!
Alas, Zevi was right, there were many other places to try. The next day, we decided to check out one of the bazillion (I counted) food carts in the city. After much hemming and hawing over the gigantic variety of options, we settled on the Euro Trash cart. I had a deeelicious soft shell crab sandwich that was perfectly crispy, and nicely contrasted with fresh arugula. Crab isn’t something I eat often but I loved this!
Dinner that evening was very memorable as well. Having been to Portland recently, my lovely sister had recommended that we go to a little place called Farm, so we decided to check it out. With a focus on seasonal ingredients their menu is constantly changing, and everything we had was delicious, but the major standout from our visit was my incredibly flavourful ravioli. It was very reasonably priced, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if (when) I go back to Portland!
After eating at Farm we checked out one of Portland’s many brew and view movie theatres, The Living Room. Basically, we got to sit on a super comfy couch and watch a movie while drinking a beer for only $10. Genius! Calgary really needs to get in on this because going back to a regular theatre is such a disappointment after pretty much being able to watch a movie in the comforts of home.
The following morning we ate at Pine State Biscuits, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Reggie Deluxe nearly took me down. Consisting of fried chicken, bacon, an egg, cheese, and sausage gravy, it sounded so epic that I just couldn’t resist ordering it. While I could tell that the components of the sandwich were great, the sum of the parts was just too much for me to handle, and I pretty much couldn’t eat for the rest of the day, which is a biiiig deal for me. Zevi’s egg and cheese biscuit was much more manageable and actually allowed you to taste the biscuit, so I would recommend going that route, unless you have a stronger stomach than I do.
For our last meal the morning we had to make our sad departure from the city, we went to check out brunch at Tasty n Sons. I was intrigued by some of the korean-influenced dishes on their menu, but in the end went with their special of the day, the chilaquiles – pulled chicken topped with green salsa, tortilla chips, and a couple of runny fried eggs. Holy man, this was so delish. It was one of the best brunch dishes I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my fair share of brunches. This place was a last minute pick for us but it’s one of the spots I would definitely come back to again.
These were just a few of the places that we went, and there were so many other restaurants and food carts that I wanted to try out. Alas, we were foiled by too little time and stomach room, but there is always next time! Fingers crossed that we will meet again soon, Portland,