This year I went on vacation to Portland, Oregon. Being that I base my vacations around food I did a hefty amount of research ahead of time. Overall, there was just too much and think it’s safe to say PDX will soon be the go-to destination for good eats. Here’s a list of all my favorite bars, food carts, desserts, coffee, and more from my visit. Enjoy!
The Doughnut/Donut Debate:
Voodoo Doughnuts is an obvious must thing to try. It’s been on tons of Food Network shows and has received so much press and hype. They’re open 24 hours, so you can go at any time but the weekends are the worst. I’d suggest a weekday if at all possible. It has some funky creations, they are creative but overall they tasted like overly sweet regular doughnuts.
I got the Voodoo Doll, Miami Vice Berry, Maple Bacon Bar, McMinnville Cream, The Loop, and the Dirt Doughnut. Also it’s only cash only.
Blue Star Donuts, has some really delicious donuts and unique flavor combinations. Including a boozy Cointreau Creme Brûlée. Plus the interior is adorable.
Here’s the flavors I got:
- Blackberry Compote with Peanut Butter Powder
- Real Maple & Bacon
- Blueberry, Bourbon, & Basil
- Valrhona Chocolate Crunch
I went to two brunches on my trip, first was at Tasty & Alder. Best known for its shared plates, so pick a handle of items for the table. But you must get the chocolate potato doughnut with creme anglaise. Other noms I had were the fried egg & cheddar biscuit with house cured bacon and the Auntie Paula’s french toast with pear maple & whipped cream
My second brunch stop was at Mother’s Bistro & Bar. Compared to the tiny brunch spots in NYC, this restaurant is HUGE! It has a cute interior decor and these mugs that say “Call Your Mother”. They also promote a Mother of the Month, featuring special dishes from mother’s around the world, because the best meals aren’t found in restaurants they’re found in the home.
For eats, my boyfriend and I got the specials of the day. He got the corn beef hash with sunny-side up eggs and toast, and I got the cornmeal pancakes which was the most delicious take on pancakes I’ve had in a while.
Nong’s is one of the most popular food carts in Portland, and all they serve is chicken and rice. The chicken is poached, whole chicken, then they use the chicken broth to cook the rice with Thai herbs. Here they wrap it all up in butcher paper with her special sauce and side of soup. No frills, super simple, but the most tender chicken I’ve ever had.
Location: SW 10th & Alder St. Portland, OR 97205
I’m not usually a fan of ordering or eating food I could make at home, but while on vacation… I went for grilled cheese with avocado and fried cheese. It was definitely worth it.
Location: Alder Pod Carts – SW 10th & Alder
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my meal because the sides and main dish is shoved into a to-go container, it’s like a meal all in one deal, but this spot was definitely unique and had really great spices and flavor. It’s a paleo-friendly food cart, I don’t even think we have one of these cuisines in NYC.
Location: SW Stark between 2nd & 3rd
Bars & Drinks
Within the first few hours of touching down in PDX, the first place I stopped at was Bailey’s Taproom for a drink. What impressed me most about this place with the amount of local beers they had in stock and this fancy beer monitor contraption, which told the bartenders keg levels and when they were about to kick.
Besides the interesting decor and wide selection of alcohol, the service was pretty awful. Also a lot of the reviews say you need to wait an hour, but I went on a weekday at around 7/8pm-ish and it was only half full.
Pro-tip: Come here during happy hour from 3pm-6pm, cocktails are $5. I can’t stress the importance of this enough, coming from NYC where cocktails are $15. The bartenders are also really friendly and drinks are so delicious.
What I got:
The Pacific Standard:
Vodka, lemon, ginger, honey, soda
The Spelling Bee:
Reposado tequila, agave syrup, absinthe, bitters, grapefruit peel
Other Good Eats:
Amazing sandwiches, it’s also right across the street from Ruby Jewel ice cream if you’re planning for dinner and dessert.
What I ate:
Korean Pork Shoulder with cilantro, house kimchi, spicy mayo
If you’re looking for some great Thai food this is the place to go to. Their most popular items on the menu are their Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings and drinking vinegar.
What I ate:
Kaeng Hang Leh with sticky rice and Yam Samun Phari
This place warrants an OMG. This ice cream is that good. The line is ridiculous but well worth it. They have some really unique flavor combinations including rhubarb and saffron in champagne, honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, and pear with blue cheese.
Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Chocolate with Gooey brownies, Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, and Sea Salt with Carmel Ribbons.
All these lovely cakes and pastries are gluten-free and vegan, and so yummy!
Orange Olive Oil Bundt Cake
Black & White Cake
It’s a must, we have a location in NYC and lots of restaurants carry Stumptown, but when in Rome… I love their coffee so much I stocked up on whole bean. Weekends were crazy but during the week wasn’t so bad to stop by.
Public Domain was also a favorite with its coffee, pastries, wi-fi, and laid back atmosphere.
I found out about this place from our walking tour guide. Come here as soon as they open for happy hour at 4pm to grab a good spot by the window. You’ll get some great food and drink deals and on a clear day you can see Mount Hood and the entire city of Portland.
That’s all she wrote, hope this food guide helps plan your eats if you’re ever visiting Portland. Any other recommendations for food you’ve had there, leave them in the comments!