Portland: The home of thick-framed glasses, artists, mountains and — great food. It's no secret that the Northwest is crawling with bangin' restaurants. The hard part is getting over there, though. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the West Coast. Since I could only squeeze one day in Portland, I made sure to spend every moment eating in that charming, delicious city.
Tasty n Sons
The first spot of the day was Tasty n Sons. With an average rating of 4.5 stars from 797 Yelp reviews, I knew it must be good. (Note: I thoroughly researched each place I visited.) If you want to have their brunch, I'd recommend getting there early because the place fills up fast. It's fairly large but with a cozy atmosphere. A trendy hostess with Stumptown Coffee greets guests from the chilly weather by the front door. They serve a mixture of cocktails, boards, small starters, daily specials and larger plate for breakfast. The prices are super reasonable for the quality of the food you get.
Burmese Red Pork Stew with short grain rice & eggs two ways $10. Imagine the best kind of reheated Chinese food you've had for breakfast. Got it? OK, now times it by 100. Even that doesn't come close to the level of this dish. Definitely one of the most memorable meals of the whole trip.
Shakshuka red pepper & tomato stew, with baked eggs $10
...add merguez sausage $2
I Instagrammed these babies 'cuz they were so darn cute. Say hello to Tasty n Sons' salt and pepper
3808 N Williams, Suite C, Portland, OR 97212
Hours: Open daily for brunch and dinner: 9 a.m. — 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. until 11 p.m.
Happy Hour: 2:30 p.m. — 5 p.m.
Price range: (Brunch) $10 — $16; (Dinner) $15 — $25
Olympic Provisions Southeast
Boards on boards on boards on boards . . . filled with housemade charcuterie, specialty cheeses, preserves and crostini. Pinch me, I must be dreaming. Olympic Provisions serves up an array of fine cheese and cured meats. Hit up its happy hour for $5 boards and drink specials for a bargain in the city.
Three words: Smoked apple butter. YES! The fatty, salty meats paired nicely with the crunchy crostinis topped with an assortment of creamy cheeses, some were sharp while others were smooth. The pickled vegetables were the perfect palette cleaners.
107 SE Washington St., Portland, OR 97214
Hours: Lunch (Mon. — Fri.): 11 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Happy Hour (Tues. — Sat.): 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Dinner (Tues. — Sat.): 5 p.m. — 10 p.m.
Brunch (Sat. & Sun.): 10 a.m. — 3 p.m.
Price range: Varies on how much you buy but within $5-25 range
I've wanted to go to Voodoo Doughnut since I was 13. I'm not even kidding. It's nationally recognized for its crazy doughnut creations ranging from the Gay Bar, a raised yeast doughnut chocked full of luscious cream and all the colors of the rainbow*, to the infamous Bacon Maple Bar. It's also constantly being featured as one of the best doughnuts in the country, and after my visit, I fully agree.
"Voodoo Doughnut, where the magic is in the hole and good things come in pink boxes."
Indeed, it does.
The revolving paradise of cakey goodness
The goods (clockwise): Captain my Captain, Bacon Maple Bar, Voodoo Doll and Cinnamon Sugar.
Captain my Captain — raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and Captain Crunch.* Call me crazy because I didn't pick the maple bar, but this was my favorite from the ones I tried. It's everything I've ever wanted for breakfast in one sugary, fried package.
Bacon Maple Bar — raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top.* It's just as good as it sounds.
Voodoo Doll — raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake (characteristics of Voodoo Dolls are all different).* I couldn't get over how adorably morbid this doughnut was. Didn't hurt that it was delicious, too.
Voodoo has three locations, this was the line for the original spot. It was over an hour wait just to get inside. I ended up going to the second location in Portland — long line still, but moved fast. If you're craving Voodoo and want to skip the wait, I'd recommend going there.
22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR (Original location)
Hours: 24 hours 7 days a week, excluding major holidays
Price range: $0.95 and up
ALL LOCATIONS ARE CASH ONLY
* Descriptions from the website
I've never seen anywhere as obsessed with coffee than the Northwest. Stumptown Coffee is just one of top dogs of caffeine in the area. Originally started in Portland, the roasters have since expanded to several major cities in the country. My experience with the coffee was magic. Deep, dark, indulgent and chocolatey. I had to buy a bag to take home with me because I just wasn't ready to say goodbye yet.
There's power in the pour. Behold: The perfect cappuccino.
100 SE Salmon Street, Portland, OR 97214
Hours: Friday — Monday from 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Price Range: $3 — $20
Besides Voodoo, this was the place I was most excited about visiting. Luce was ranked the fourth best new restaurant in the country by Bon Appétit last year. It's a small Italian restaurant located right in the heart of Portland that's serving up soul-warming dishes. Pasta has a special place in my heart and this place is doing it right. It doesn't hurt that I received some of the best service in my life here too.
This is the event space/waiting area Luce has. The restaurant itself is very, very small (around 10 tables), which creates an intimate and cozy setting. Get there early to eat or you'll end up waiting. I waited over an hour, but it was completely worth it.
Spaghetti with broccoli and bottarga. My waitress highly recommended this dish. It's earthy and rich, but light at the same time. The nutty flavor of the food warmed me up on that cold, rainy night. I've never had anything like it before, and I can't wait to go back to eat it again.
An Instagram shot of the pasta options. *drool*
2138-2140 E Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214
Hours: Open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. — 10 p.m.
Price Range: $10 — $25 (half portions are available for less)
The last spot in this eating extravaganza. I had a little bit of time before I had to catch my flight home, so I decided to have my final Portlandian meal at Broder, a Swedish restaurant located in the Southeastern section of the city. Like Tasty n Sons, Yelp users love this place — 4.5 stars with 445 reviews. I arrived there 10 minutes before they opened on a weekday morning and there were already people waiting outside. Thirty minutes after it officially opened, the place was full. The food was simple, fresh and well executed. The staff was friendly and helpful. A great end to an even greater trip.
Pytt i Panna (Swedish hash) with smoked trout $12. Small cubed potatoes cooked with bell peppers and onions with smoked trout (a signature Broder dish), topped with two baked eggs and pickled beets, served with walnut toast.*
Förlorade ägg a.k.a. lost eggs $11. Two eggs on a bed of sliced ham and spinach under a parmesan-panko crust, served in a skillet with sourdough rye toast.* Eye spy a glass mug of Stumptown.
2508 SE Clinton St., Portland, OR 97202
Hours: Brunch every day from 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.; Dinner Wednesday — Saturday from 5 p.m. — close
Price Range: $10 — $30
* Description from menu
Landscape Eye Candy
And here are some shots of Oregon's beautiful landscape. You know, just for good measure.
Thanks for everything, Portland. I'll be back soon.