Sure, it has a reputation for being a bit eclectic, but don’t sleep on Rip City’s major cuisine chops. Foodies, this is a dining trip you need to take this year.
Credit: travelportland.com

Sure, it has a reputation for being a bit eclectic, but don’t sleep on Rip City’s major cuisine chops. Foodies, this is a dining trip you need to take this year.

Portland_1.jpgLike its northern brethren, Seattle and Vancouver, Portland was founded on the hardscrabble foundation of timber, gold rushes and marine commerce. But unlike those shiny peers, Portland never lost its grit. Nowhere is this ambience more apparent than in the cafés and bars that define the city’s aesthetic. Comfort food, charcuterie, home brew and food carts provide this city with cheap and tasty provisions. Forget Brooklyn – the rest of North America is finally catching on to Portland’s culinary mystique of good food, simply prepared for a decent price. Who could argue with that? Not you. Especially after reading this.

 

Click through for the hippest places to grab some grub in Portland – breakfast, lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Sips included

Breakfast: Pine State Biscuits
Credit: John Joh

Breakfast: Pine State Biscuits

Nobody should be surprised that, in our current era of comfort food fascination, the biscuit would rise to culinary celebrity. Pine State Biscuits crafts a dozen biscuit sandwich varieties, including The Regina, an egg over easy with braised greens doused with Texas Pete Sauce. Traditionalists swear that Biscuits & Gravy (with a distinctivelypinestatedish-1.jpg Northwest shiitake mushroom gravy), Hash Ups (hash browns with chopped ham or steak) and Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes take the sting out of the previous evening’s pub crawl. Pine State Biscuits still sells at Portland Farmer’s Market, where it all began, but two restaurants also offer a solid breakfast seven days a week. Even though it’s early in the day, don’t miss what many foodies list among America’s finest fried chicken.

1100 SE Division St. #100, 503-236-3346

Breakfast: Tasty n Alder

Breakfast: Tasty n Alder

Brunch shouldn’t be exclusive to weekends, according to Tasty n Alder and its sister property, Tasty n Sons, where the doors open every day at the very respectable hour of 9 a.m. Both Tasties brand themselves neighbourhood restaurants, though the menu, including a swath of bubbles (Oregon Orchard, comprised of gin, apricot liqueur, verjus, tnadish-1.jpg Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6 plus champagne) and Bloody Marys (Cuate, a mix of chili-infused tequila, tomato, pimento, Calabrian chili) certainly exceed a typical diner cocktailmenu. The Andalusia baked egg, truffle omelette with beef bacon and Sicilian hash with braised pancetta, arrabiata and over-easy egg also hint that we’re not at Mel’s Diner anymore.

580 SW 12th Ave., 503-621-9251

Lunch: Tábor

tabor-1.jpgThe best way to attack the 600-plus Portland food carts is not to overthink your lunch choice. Palates will be satisfied among the food cart pods here, regardless of preconceived desires. Did you know you were craving a porchetta and arugula  sandwich from The People’s Pig (10th and SW Washington) or a breakfast taco from the Pepper Box (NE Martin Luther King Jr. and Graham)? Tábor (5th and Stark) is one such example. We might not really know Czech cuisine, but one bold bite into the Original Schnitzelwich – breaded pork loin on fresh ciabatta with house-made paprika spread, sautéed onions and horseradish – informs us that a little daring when dining can be delicious.

SW 5th and Stark

Dinner: Pok Pok
Credit: Jamie Francis/travelportland.com

Dinner: Pok Pok

It took a while, but there are more tasty reasons than just Pok Pok to explore SE Division Street. That doesn’t mean one should forego a visit to Andy Ricker’s iconic restaurant, born out of the founder’s fascination with the street foods of Thailand. The freshpokpokdish-1.jpgingredients sizzle within house specialties such as the Papaya Pok Pok and Muu PaaKham Waan, a charcoal-grilled boar collar rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, then glazed with soy and sugar. Justly called the Chez Panisse of Asian cuisine, save yourself the anguish of selection and let your server do the ordering.

3226 SE Division St., 503-232-1387

Lunch: Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Credit: travelportland.com

Lunch: Nong’s Khao Man Gai

No fable portrays Portland’s food cart mythology like Nong’s Khao Man Gai, the 10th and Alder staple that offers one – yes, one – menu item. The Chicken and Rice (Khao Man Gai) is so good, a line forms well before lunch and lasts until, invariably, some diners go nkmgdish-1.jpg away with the disappointment of seeing the “Sold Out” sign placed in the window. Nong’s sublime creation, comprised of poached organic chicken and rice simmered in stock, Thai herbs and sauce, is available Monday through Friday. The hours? 10 a.m. until sold out. It’s just that good. Demands have led to a second cart on the Portland State University campus and a downtown restaurant.

SW 10th and Alder St., 971-255-3480

Dinner: OX Restaurant
Credit: Dina Avila

Dinner: OX Restaurant

Clam chowder along the Willamette River? Absolutely – should you eat at OX, where this traditional New England soup gets twisted with smoked marrow bone, spring onion and jalapeño to create a broth so delectable, foodies have been known to revoke sharing oxdish-1.jpgprivileges around a common table. Chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton keep the traditional Argentine focus simple: wood-fired grilled meat, can’t-miss rib-eye and a variety of sides, such as heirloom hominy, that are perfect for sharing. The brick walls and dark-stained floors complement the menu as nicely as the broad wine list.

2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-284-3366

Nibbles and Sips
Credit: Flickr / jpellgen

Nibbles and Sips

Need a drink or snack break? Here are some tasty selections to tide you over between meals 

Pepe le Moko Bar
Just when we thought the Ace Hotel couldn’t be any cooler, along comes chef/owner Nate Tilden’s Pepe le Moko. Located “below stairs” in the idiosyncratic hotel, the intrepidpepelemoko-1.jpg step into a dark and steamy locale to sip an Amaretto Sour or Hotel Nacional Special in secret. Upstairs, Tilden’s Clyde Common is the place to go should you crave a Caesar with your brunch.

Pepe le Moko: 407 SW 10th Ave., 503-546-8537
Clyde Common: 1014 SW Stark St.

 

Voodoo Doughnuts
It appears that nobody departs Portland these days without a pink box, standard issue for Voodoo Doughnuts, filled with those irreverent confections that draw lines almost every voodoo-1.jpghour (they are open 24 hours) of every day, though the shop does close for certain holidays. Bacon Maple Bars, Captain Crunch-covered doughnuts or the Marshall Mathers version with, you guessed it, M&M’s are some of the tamer selections in the case.

22 SW 3rd Ave.; 503-241-4704

 

Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library
Like the Alberta and Mississippi neigbourhoods before it, Portland’s West End has gonemultnomah-1.jpg from forgotten industrial area to trendy track in just a few months. The Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library, a room filled with overstuffed chairs, a large brick fireplace and, of course, lots of whiskey, seems well-suited among the lumberjack-styled boutiques and farm-to-table dining rooms along this stretch.

1124 SW Alder St.; 503-954-1381

 

Distillery Row
Forget for a moment the Portland breweries (quite the task considering there is more than one hop masher for every week of the year), Rose City’s pop-up distilleries are equally drow-1.jpgdeserving of your thirst. Seven distilleries make up “Distillery Row,” located on the city’s trendy Eastside. Many, like New Deal Distillery’s Hot Monkey Pepper-flavoured Vodka, have already garnered national awards. Download your special discount Distillery Row Passport and go forth prepared.

 

The Commons Brewery
You can’t visit Portland without putting a little time into a brewery. Or 12. The Commons captures everything good about the Portland brewing scene and was opened by a formercommonsbrew-1.jpg home brewer who’s transformed his passion for crisp ales into a neighbourhood celebration. Sip in the tasting room, fill a growler or take home a seasonal bottle that blends the Portland aesthetic with signature Cascade hops.

1810 SE 10th Ave., 503-343-5501