Jump to content


Photo

NYC Foodie Headed to Portland


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 layatp

layatp
  • Members
  • 1 posts

Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:10 PM

Hi all,
My husband and I are NYC foodies headed to Portland in October. We'll arrive Saturday afternoon and will be in Portland until Tuesday morning - we're spending a few days on the coast and in the wine region. We'll return the following Friday before we catch a flight back to NYC. I've done EXTENSIVE research but would love some input from locals. Here is how I made my selections: 1) Farm to table restos since Portland was in a pioneer in this 2) We have great ethnic restos in NYC including great Thai which is why Pok Pok is not on the list 3) We are staying at the Nines so any suggestions of nearby places for coffee and drinks would be great

Saturday arrival (around noon)
Lunch: Cafe Castagna for their burger (my husband loves burgers and I've heard good things about their fries)
Dinner: HH at Park Kitchen and then the food carts on SE 12th and Hawthorne

Sunday morning:
Coffee: Spella
Brunch: Simpatica Dining Hall or Arleta Library or Pine State Biscuits? Iam really torn since I love brunch and not sure which is best. We may also go to the Mount Hood/River Gorge area so the earlier the better so we can set out on our day trip.
Lunch: Pick up sandwiches at Laurelhurst Market
Dinner: Toro Bravo - i'm a little hesitant whether we should go here or try some other place since there are decent tapas places in NY.

Monday:
Coffee: Coffee Northwest
Breakfast: Perhaps just grabbing something at Coffee NW or at Ken's Artisan Bakery
Lunch: The lunch carts! Definitely want to check out Tabor
Brewery: Hopworks or Bailey's Taproom
Dinner: HH @ Clyde Common and Ten01 (if we can make it in time)


Questions:
1) I'd like to splurge on one last meal the Friday we return to Portland.. was thinking the Beast or Le Pigeon but would love thoughts on this. Don't really want to spend more than $40/person (including wine if possible?)
2) Any suggestions on what foodie items we can bring back? I'm thinking coffee for sure from Stumptown or Ristretto

THANK YOU!

#2 SarahWS

SarahWS
  • Moderator
  • 1,406 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hillsdale

Posted 22 August 2010 - 05:08 PM

Skip the burger at Cafe Castagna - it's a pale imitation of what it was several years ago and there are MANY better burgers available in town.

Brunch - skip Arleta and Pine State as they are many better options in town. Simpatica and Tasty & Sons are two of the places I would go.

For things to bring back, I would put aside time to tour distillery row and hit House Spirits, Clear Creek and whoever else is open. Oregon Wines on Broadway will allow you to taste a lot of Oregon and Washington wines without having to leave downtown - if you fall in love with something, they are great about knowing what wine shops have it. Hmmm, other good things to bring back include local cheeses, but unless you can make it to downtown by 2pm, you're going to miss the main farmers market where you can sample and purchase local cheeses as well as other farm products, baked goods, etc etc.

#3 Twohearted

Twohearted
  • Members
  • 384 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hillstucky

Posted 22 August 2010 - 05:13 PM

I'd also suggest breakfast at Tasty and Sons, which is open daily so you can do Simpatica on Sunday and Tasty and Sons another day. Hopworks is probably the best brewpub in terms of beer and food. Typically, brewpubs have terrible food and brewpubs in Portland are no exception. For burgers, my #1 is Gruner. Metrovino, Le Pigeon and Beast are also worth consideration for a dinner. Bunk Sandwiches and Olympic Provisions are other good lunch options. For espresso, Stumptown, Ristretto and Barista won't disappoint.

Foodie gifts to take back: hazelnuts, local wine and take your pick of coffee roasters. Perhaps somebody can recommend one of the local chocolate producers as well. There are other amazing things available here, but they are perishable.

#4 JayinPortland

JayinPortland
  • Members
  • 278 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kensington, Philadelphia, PA River Wards

Posted 22 August 2010 - 05:42 PM

Great research!

I can add a few notes -

Bailey's Taproom isn't a brewery itself, that said it's my favorite beer bar in town and carries 20 brews on tap, about 16 or so being Oregon and Washington brews with a few Northern Californias and usually a Dogfish Head (Delaware, but youze guys probably knew that ;)) to round things out. Keep in mind that they're closed on Sundays. Hopworks is an excellent choice (and an actual brewpub), as well. If I had to choose one, I'd do Bailey's just for the choice (and their excellent taster tray). But if I had time for both, I'd do both.

Spella is closed on weekends, unfortunately.

For take home coffee, I'd do Ristretto since I'm pretty sure you can get Brooklyn-roasted Stumptown in NY now, can't you? Another reason to pick Ristretto is that it's better. ;)

Enjoy Tabor! The Schnitzelwich'll get ya every time!

#5 janeannechovy

janeannechovy
  • Members
  • 122 posts

Posted 22 August 2010 - 07:59 PM

When I'm buying gifts for east coast friends and family, I usually get hazelnuts and also the dried bing cherries from the Columbia Gorge. They're just cherries, nothing added, and delicious.

I also think Meat Cheese Bread is a good lunch option, especially if they still have the green bean sandwich with the bacon relish.

And I lived in NYC for five years and never had a deli meal as good as the ones I've had at Kenny & Zuke's.

#6 MohawkAdam

MohawkAdam
  • Members
  • 9 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hill Tabor

Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:58 PM

For some other burger options, check out Burger Quest by Nick :)

http://wweek.com/editorial/3636/14271/

#7 nervousxtian

nervousxtian
  • Members
  • 2,128 posts

Posted 23 August 2010 - 07:41 AM

Laurelhurst Market is a good idea for dinner. Skip Pine Street and do Tasty & Sons instead, and that'll let you skip Toro Bravo for dinner if you want for Laurelhurst, Paley's, Beast, Gruner or Le Pigeon.

I'd give K&Z a shot for lunch, or Olympic Provisions... but honestly if you can hit quite a few of the food carts you'd do great as well!

Another choice for your HH cruise, I'd hit up Ten-01 and then trek down to Davis Street Tavern to finish off the night.. or go in reverse.

#8 abefroman

abefroman
  • Members
  • 152 posts

Posted 23 August 2010 - 09:01 AM

Great research!

I can add a few notes -

Bailey's Taproom isn't a brewery itself, that said it's my favorite beer bar in town and carries 20 brews on tap, about 16 or so being Oregon and Washington brews with a few Northern Californias and usually a Dogfish Head (Delaware, but youze guys probably knew that ;)) to round things out. Keep in mind that they're closed on Sundays. Hopworks is an excellent choice (and an actual brewpub), as well. If I had to choose one, I'd do Bailey's just for the choice (and their excellent taster tray). But if I had time for both, I'd do both.

Spella is closed on weekends, unfortunately.

For take home coffee, I'd do Ristretto since I'm pretty sure you can get Brooklyn-roasted Stumptown in NY now, can't you? Another reason to pick Ristretto is that it's better. ;)

Enjoy Tabor! The Schnitzelwich'll get ya every time!


for beer I would recommend Alan Sprints newly opened brewpub on Water Ave. Hair of the Dog, he has been around a long time, brews great beer and will be serving food by the time you get here. should be excellent and it is close to many other place recommended to you.

#9 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:18 AM

Welcome and nice job on the research. If you haven't already, check out this primer I wrote in April. My suggestions below:

Saturday arrival (around noon)
Lunch: Cafe Castagna for their burger (my husband loves burgers and I've heard good things about their fries)


I don't think the burger has changed so much as the competition and expectations for a burger. Unfortunately, most of the top burgers aren't available for lunch on Saturday. Gruner is only Monday-Friday for lunch, Metrovino and Toro Bravo don't have lunch. Tasty n Sons has an excellent burger, though, and is a great place for brunch/lunch, owned and run by the Toro Bravo folks. Wildwood would also be a very good choice for a burger and nice lunch on a Saturday, with the bonus that Wildwood puts an emphasis on local/seasonal, even a bit with their lunch menu.

Sunday morning:
Coffee: Spella
Brunch: Simpatica Dining Hall or Arleta Library or Pine State Biscuits? Iam really torn since I love brunch and not sure which is best. We may also go to the Mount Hood/River Gorge area so the earlier the better so we can set out on our day trip.


I live next to Arleta Library Cafe and it's a nice little place, but not truly anything special. If you're staying with friends in the neighborhood or something, sure, but don't go out of your way for it. I think Pine State is pretty fun if nothing else. The biscuits are inconsistent and the chicken fried chicken can be dry, but it's a fun concept and that can win a lot of points. Simpatica will give you a very solid brunch. You probably won't get any better made brunch, at least.

And definitely do the gorge. It's not that far. I'd suggest you loop by taking SR-14 on the Washington side where you get much better views of the gorge and then crossing at Cascade Locks or, better, Hood River. You could go up 35 to Mt. Hood and back to Portland via 26. It's longer and very pretty. Although it's best either later when the apples and pears are ready or earlier when the cherries are ready. But there will be fruit stands and such up 35. If it were me, I'd probably come back via I-84 after checking out the windsurfers and gustatory options in Hood River, stopping at the Bonneville Dam to check out the fish ladders, etc, and the fish ponds at the hatchery there (giant sturgeon and trout). Then, take the Ainsworth State Park exit and jump on the Historic Columbia River Highway. That will take you to Multnomah Falls and along several other falls where you can stop and get out. Then you'll come back through Corbett (unless you jump back on the freeway) and along the Sandy River. Lots of parks, etc, along there as well. I generally take the Stark Street bridge from there and go get Mexican food in Gresham, but that's me. ;-)

Lunch: Pick up sandwiches at Laurelhurst Market


I don't know if you'll get back in time for lunch, really, maybe a late lunch. Sunday's not the best sandwich day. Meat Cheese Bread, Bunk, Eastmoreland Market -- probably my three favorites besides K&Z, which I'm part-owner of, aren't open. Laurelhurst is open and you'll get a fine sandwich there, but it wouldn't be somewhere I'd go out of my way for for a sandwich. I'd MUCH rather go there for dinner, when they excel. Might be a good time to re-arrange the choices a bit.

Dinner: Toro Bravo - i'm a little hesitant whether we should go here or try some other place since there are decent tapas places in NY.


TB isn't really just another tapas place. It's much more chef-driven than that. But you are likely to have to wait and I've definitely known east-coasters who weren't that impressed by their meal there, though I think that was usually an aesthetic thing. They also didn't like Le Pigeon, either, because they found neither of them refined enough, too bold without enough subtlety, not authentic enough, not fancy enough, etc, etc. Both of these places are very NW and very Portland and for some people it just doesn't fit.

Monday:
Coffee: Coffee Northwest
Breakfast: Perhaps just grabbing something at Coffee NW or at Ken's Artisan Bakery
Lunch: The lunch carts! Definitely want to check out Tabor


Tabor is really the only one in that 5th & Oak pod that I think is worth going out of your way for. If you were local, maybe Give Pizza a Chance. Jarochita and New Taste of India are good, but not go-out-of-your-way-good. Otherwise, the 9th & Alder pods are the best downtown and have more interesting choices.

Brewery: Hopworks or Bailey's Taproom
Dinner: HH @ Clyde Common and Ten01 (if we can make it in time)


Prioritize Ten-01 for happy hour, I'd say. I like Clyde a lot, but not so much their happy hour offerings. Metrovino is another good happy hour in walking distance from those two. I've been less impressed than others with Davis Street.

Questions:
1) I'd like to splurge on one last meal the Friday we return to Portland.. was thinking the Beast or Le Pigeon but would love thoughts on this. Don't really want to spend more than $40/person (including wine if possible?)


Beast is a fixed price, $60 meal, so it's out. Le Pigeon could be managed carefully for that cost, but it'll be tight. Entrees are over $20. Wildwood, Park Kitchen, Metrovino, Ten-01, Laurelhurst Market and some others could all be tightly managed for that price. If you sat downstairs at Ten-01, they've got a lower cost menu that would be much easier to do at that price point. Metrovino has a bar menu if you sat in the bar, giving you some cheaper options. And Wildwood always has things like burgers and pizzas that are tasty on their menu that can keep the total meal cost down. Laurelhurst Market actually has lots of cheaper options, from sub-$20 steaks to mussels and fries to burgers that can help manage the total cost of a meal. I think Toro Bravo is easy to keep under $30/person before drinks. Clyde would be another good one for keeping on budget but getting a good and interesting meal, though maybe a little less local than some of those others. (Could say the same for Nostrana.)

I think you may have over-estimated NYC's gifts when it comes to certain Asian cuisines (and possibly other ethnicities), but there are certainly plenty of local-seasonal options to keep you busy.

2) Any suggestions on what foodie items we can bring back? I'm thinking coffee for sure from Stumptown or Ristretto


Chocolates (Sahagun, Alma); Salumi (Olympic Provisions, Chop); Cheese (Rogue, Ancient Heritage, Willamette Valley, anything suggested from the folks at Cheese Bar); Wine; Beer; Dried Mushrooms (farmers markets)....

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#10 ariel88

ariel88
  • Members
  • 1,119 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pearl District

Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:17 PM

Since Spella is closed on weekends, I would sub in a trip to Barista (NW 13th b/w Glisan & Hoyt). Also, I think Simpatica is the best brunch option out of the ones you listed, as far as execution and variety. If you get there when they open (9am), you should have enough time for your daytrip to the gorge, otherwise you'll be waiting forever for a table, like the rest of us do when we sleep in on a Sunday!

I think you can keep a 2-3 course dinner at Clyde Common under $40/person, including wine (if you're careful), and the entree portions are pretty generous. I find CC to be very consistent in their execution, and the menu descriptions generally under-sell how amazing the dishes are, IMO.

Have fun!

#11 vrunka

vrunka
  • Members
  • 703 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Kerns

Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:33 PM

On Saturday, I'd make a beeline from the airport to the PSU Farmer's market. Drop your bags at the Nines (it's on the way) and then head south on the streetcar. The market closes at 2 so as long as you can get there by 1, there will still be plenty going on. You can get lunch at Tastebud and pick up treats to take home like chocolates, nuts, wine and much more.

If you don't make it down there on Saturday, try the King Market or Montavilla Market on Sunday or the Pioneer Courthouse Square Market on Monday. They're much smaller than the Saturday Farmers' Market, but there's still plenty of good stuff. (Note: don't confuse the Saturday Farmers' Market with the Saturday Market!)

I concur with others that your Sunday brunch should be Simpatica or Tasty 'n' Sons -- but be prepared to wait at either.

For your splurgey Friday dinner, you won't be able to eat at Beast for only $40 (fixed price=$60). Le Pigeon is possible at that price point, but pushing it. But that would probably be my first choice recommendation for an out-of-towner. Also consider Simpatica (whether or not you made it there for brunch since dinner's totally different). The fixed menu dinners are usually $35 and are always excellent. Subscribe to their email so you can get an idea of their menu.

Other places to consider: Navarre, Tanuki, Paley's Place. And you can't go wrong with Toro Bravo, but on Friday, you'll be waiting a while for a table.

#12 m5570

m5570
  • Members
  • 303 posts

Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:09 AM

I think you'd be foolish to come all the way out here and skip Pok Pok, regardless of what ethnic restaurants you have back in NYC.

The other thing I notice is you say a couple times "because there are XXX places in NYC". Who cares? You're coming to PORTLAND for the PNW experience. You could be right in your logic that "we have that back home" and not miss anything. OR you could miss out on something really special. I'm just sayin'...

If you go to Hood River, go to the Double Mountain Brewery. They makes some good pizza and beer (I myself prefer the Kolsch).

Nick covered Beast, so I think that's all I got....


PS Nong's food cart is \m/, and so is the Thai cart next to it SomTum Gai Yang. And there's a taco truck down at the pick n pull in Portland that serves some hella sweet goat (tacos/burritos/tortas) but I have no idea what the name is... (any idea Nick?)

#13 Amanda

Amanda
  • Moderator
  • 7,626 posts
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Interests:Eating, cooking, kayaking, canoeing, letterboxing

Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:22 AM

I second Tasty n Sons for brunch - don't miss out on that breakfast board and their chicken biscuit sandwich is great. If you get that you'll be missing nothing Pine State has to offer. I also agree with going to Nong's cart over on SW 10th & Alder (next to Snow White House). Best chicken and rice in town, IMO.

Best regards,

Amanda

#14 Flynn

Flynn
  • Secondary Admin
  • 3,681 posts
  • Location:SW Portland

Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:33 AM

I think you'd be foolish to come all the way out here and skip Pok Pok, regardless of what ethnic restaurants you have back in NYC.

Seconded. I've eaten at a pretty big handful of thai places in NYC, and I'm skeptical there's much that's similar to Pok Pok/Ping. Even LA thaitown veterans like these places, as they aren't really knocking off 'authentic' Thai as much as charting a different course. I'd personally recommend walking over to Ping after doing happy hour at Park Kitchen.

Based on trial and error, I think our midrange places might generate the most mehs from NYC/LA/Chicago/etc. Not because they're bad, but because there's a lot of places in cities like NYC/LA in that Metrovino/Ten-01 category. Upscale 'modern' american. I think Davis St is the weakest of this group. Wildwood or Park Kitchen are good choices for a strong PNW twist, with the farm to table thing.

Choices I most frequently recommend for a jaded foodnerd from a big city: Le Pigeon, Pok Pok or Ping or WSL, Tanuki, Tasty and Sons, Beaker and Flask, Laurelhurst Market. If they want to see other areas of Portland: Firehouse, Spints, Alba, Ha&VL. I might throw June into the mix too if they're in the neighborhood.

#15 m5570

m5570
  • Members
  • 303 posts

Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:52 AM

+1 to Ha&VL.

#16 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 24 August 2010 - 01:36 PM

Based on trial and error, I think our midrange places might generate the most mehs from NYC/LA/Chicago/etc. Not because they're bad, but because there's a lot of places in cities like NYC/LA in that Metrovino/Ten-01 category. Upscale 'modern' american. I think Davis St is the weakest of this group. Wildwood or Park Kitchen are good choices for a strong PNW twist, with the farm to table thing.


Weren't you the one telling me that Toro Bravo always fails to impress, but Ten-01 never fails to?

For me, it seems to depend more on the type of person. East coast food writer women that I send to places like Toro Bravo and Le Pigeon never seem to like them. Men who normally are as happy with BBQ or a sloppy burger, but like upscale food now and then, too, or people in the industry, love them.

June is a good suggestion, although it's early in their career and I've only been there once. But most of the recent additions to the food scene (Ten-01, Clyde, Toro Bravo, Metrovino, Sel Gris, Pok Pok, and even Laurelhurst Market, to some extent) have dialed back the emphasis on local. June (and Castagna) have re-applied themselves, I think, and are every bit as locavorish as Higgins or Wildwood. And June is cheaper than either of those or Park Kitchen.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#17 Flynn

Flynn
  • Secondary Admin
  • 3,681 posts
  • Location:SW Portland

Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:47 PM

It was actually Ping that has the strong track record, not Ten 01. But yeah, I've got a trend going of visitors that seem to like Toro Bravo, but don't love it or think it's worth the wait or hype.

#18 Francine the Machine

Francine the Machine
  • Members
  • 437 posts

Posted 24 August 2010 - 02:55 PM

It was actually Ping that has the strong track record, not Ten 01. But yeah, I've got a trend going of visitors that seem to like Toro Bravo, but don't love it or think it's worth the wait or hype.



I myself have gotten burned taking out-of-towners (a chef-owner no less) to Toro Bravo and being underwhelmed. In fact, some of our dishes that night were pretty bad, and i have always loved that place. But, Murphy's Law - you try to impress someone and bang! off-night.

I agree with others that pok pok is unique enough to warrant a visit.

What about Spints Alehouse for one of your meals? It's got great atmosphere, beer, and food, plus some interesting cocktails and you can get out of there without spending a ton of money. Maybe one of your happy hours could be here.

#19 nate

nate
  • Members
  • 412 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SE (FoPo)

Posted 25 August 2010 - 01:02 PM

I'm going to add to the overwhelming Pok Pok chorus (my ex-NYC resident brother loved it). Most of the Thai places I saw in NYC were the same dime-a-dozen noodle and curry houses we've got hundreds of here too. Some are better than others, but they're all pretty similar. Pok Pok (and neighboring Whiskey Soda Lounge) do Thai very differently. Just look at the menus.

Here's a meal suggestion I think you'll find hard to beat. Call in an order to Pok Pok (I recommend the wings, a half or whole game hen, papaya salad and rice to serve two, though the khao soi is great too). Pick it up and then drive/bike/bus/walk 20 blocks down Division to Apex which has one of the better beer lists in town, a gigantic patio, and encourages you to bring outside food. Best of all, this plan works for either lunch or dinner, seven days a week.

#20 tdub

tdub
  • Members
  • 112 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Mt Tabor

Posted 25 August 2010 - 06:27 PM

+1 more for HA & VL for breakfast and a big +1 for Tanuki, +1 for Double Mountain in Hood River. And I actually think the drive north from Hood River to Trout Lake on a nice day is much more scenic and about a thousand times less crowded.