After a weekend excursion in Portland, no one can debate why Travel + Leisure named P-Town one of of America’s Best Cities for Foodies. In fact, Portland follows directly after Chicago in the No. 6 spot! Though, it’s obvious you can eat and drink ALOT in both of these cities, you can indulge completely tax- free in Portland. I’m a lady from Chicago and I love my city, but that last fun fact counts as one point for P-Town!
Bijou Cafe is way too good to be referred to as the alternative brunch spot when Mother’s Cafe is too crowded. This little corner bar/bistro has a short yet impressive menu laden with french-style breakfast and brunch options from brioche french toast to the various meaty or veggie omelets served with oyster hash and goat cheese. The french press machine is stately behind the bar next to a large collection of local whiskey, wine, and malts depending on what kind of morning you’d like to have.
The brioche bread was made at the local Pearl Bakery. The bread has a custardy consistency once you bite into it. It might astonish you to know how many eggs, butter and cream were used to prepare this dish. So I won’t reveal that here :)
There are daily specials everyday and one of them was the apple compote with housemade whipped cream that I had them add to to my toast above. Didn’t need syrup but doesn’t this marienberry dressing look lovely?
There are more than 200 food carts stationed around the city of Portland. The most popular are downtown in the Pearl district where everyone flocks during the lunch hour for their midday meal. The nice thing about the carts is that they are immobile so you always know where you’re favorite spot is located and it’s easy to wonder upon new carts around the city. Also, every cuisine you can possibly think of is represented. Chinese, Thai, Vietanemese, Korean-Hawaiian fusion, Soul Food, BBQ, Ethiopian, Indian….the list goes on!
AND it’s SUPER CHEAP! For $8 I got all of this…..
Pumpkin soup with sweet potatoes, chantrelle mushrooms, lotus flower seeds, sprouts, and eggplant in a cocunut milk broth served with white rice. I ordered tofu spring rolls and they gave me two giant rolls with a side of spicy red peanut sauce. Verdict: Hands down the best meal I have EVER eaten off a street cart.
BAKERIES & COFFEE
Pazzoria is Pazzo Ristorante’s baby sister and located right next door on Washington Ave. All the morning’s breads, pastries, scones, muffins, croissants and other pastries are made fresh daily. I was told that the bags of flour and sugar stacked underneath the menu would only last another day and would be depleted after the following day’s baking!
The cranberry cornmeal scone was hearty, crumbly and not too sweet. Perfect alongside my pretty soy caffe latte.
I also ate at the LOVEJOY Bakery but was enjoying the food and company so much that I didn’t stop to take a picture. They bake more than 60 pastries daily and have a amazing list of breakfast sandwiches, soups, and salads, too. The best part for Portlanders besides the amazing bread? A cool self-service coffee station with unlimited refills of Sumptown brews.
Whiskey Bars, Wineries, and Microbreweries: There are many in Portland. Get to one. Quickly. You won’t be disappointed nor will you ever be bored because there are so many to choose from! travel Portland has a great guide to help you navigate.
LATE NIGHT CHOW
One of my qualms with P-Town is that the city kind of shuts down after midnight. While, I’m generally sleeping that late in the evening, if I am ever out on the town, it’s always a good idea to know where to find the late night spots, just in case- rather in any case, I should say! Theo’s is located near Chinatown and it’s surround by bars, clubs, and a bookstore. The biggest Powell’s in Portland is just down the street (also open late). After hitting the dance floor or cataloging the aisles for a rare book, this place would be an automatic final stop before the retreat home. On my second night in town, I ate a veggie burger that was smeared with avocado and served up with hot fries and dipping sauce of my choice. There are 8 sauces to choose from (3 are ketchup based). I’m a purist when it comes to fries and ketchup so I went for the Dunkadelic sauce which was a spicy ketchup with a sprinkle of dried herbs. Washed it all down with a dry vanilla soda. Consequentially, slept like a baby that night.