While I could skip over the gloomy winter months and lack of proximity to a warm beach, there are a few things I love more about Portland than California: the beer, and the food. Since I’ve discussed the beer a few times, and food is such a big draw for many tourists visiting, I thought I’d share a recent day of meals from one of America’s top foodie cities (not just my words, but Travel & Leisure’s also.)
Breakfast, probably my least exciting meal of the day, was takeout from Portland’s newest donut shop, Blue Star Donuts. Blue Star is an “artisanal” donut shop, making all the dough from scratch and using fresh fruit and interesting flavors in their donuts. I had missed out on trying Voodoo Donut’s new competitor on my last visit, so my Dad thoughtfully picked up a few before my arrival this time. I claimed the Lemon Poppyseed, and all I have to say is: watch out Voodoo! Blue Star does sell out fairly early each day, so if you want the full selection of flavors, get there early.
After my breakfast of champions, lunch was at my favorite food cart pod, Good Food Here. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Portland is famous for it’s numerous food carts serving up delicious meals from a tiny restaurant on wheels. Unlike the food trucks that other cities have, Portland’s food carts live together in “pods” and aren’t really mobile. The pods are great because you can go with family or friends and there’s something for everyone. While most tourists hit up the pods in downtown (the largest is at SW Alder and 10th), my personal favorite pod is Good Food Here, located the other side of the river on SE Belmont and 43rd. There’s a few reasons Good Food Here holds my heart: it’s open on Sundays, there’s parking, plenty of seating is available, even covered (a godsend during the 9 rainy months of the year), and of course, the actual food is bomb.
So I rounded up my family members for lunch at the food carts and we went off to Good Food Here. Dustin, my brother in law, and Ryan, my brother, had fun ordering small bites at numerous different places for a varied meal. Dad, always the “meat and potatoes” guy, ordered from the burger cart, while Radley (my adorable 2 year old nephew) was kept happy with a bowl of mac ‘n cheese. My mom ordered Greek and I was stoked to try the Tibetan momo’s (dumplings) that I had ordered while I was in northern India. Previous dining experience at Good Food Here had me trying the delicious Korean BBQ/Hawaiian truck (highly recommended!), and next time I know I’ll have to commit to Viking Soul Food, the Norwegian cuisine cart.
No summer day in Portland is complete without a stop at Salt & Straw, Portland’s most beloved ice cream shop, so for my afternoon snack I begged my dad to make a slight detour to visit their flagship location. While the line was out the door, it was totally worth it: it’s berry season in Oregon! Although my heart truly lies with Ici, my favorite ice cream in Berkeley, I have to admit the Chocolate Blueberry Rice Crispy Treat was pretty delicious. (The Sea Salt and Caramel ain’t bad, either.) The line moves quickly, and the ice cream is worth it.
As my flight home to Santa Barbara departed Portland at 8pm, I was in somewhat of an awkward situation for dinner. I wanted something tasty, new-to-me, quick, and located on the way to the airport. On the recommendation of my boss, a fellow Portland -> Santa Barbara transplant, I convinced my parents to try out Olympic Provisions, a charcuterie/European deli style restaurant in the industrial area of Northwest Portland. It was exactly what I was hoping for: no wait, fast service, delicious food, and, like most of the restaurants in Portland, with great design and branding. I knew I wanted a bit of meat, cheese, something green, and a glass of wine, and I trusted my server with picking out everything for me. The salami and cheese was amazing, the salad was beautiful (and yummy), and my glass of wine was awesome too. Two thumbs up for Olympic Provisions! (My parents enjoyed their food as well.)
Anyone else as enamored with Portland’s food scene as I am? Where do I need to eat next time?