Tag Archives: portland dining

Portland: exploring the other side of the river

Today’s view is of a brick wall so we shouldn’t have any trouble motivating ourselves to get out on the town. After one last walk on the beach in Manzanita on a gorgeous day – a near record high of 69 I think I heard – we drove to Cannon Beach, stopping for coffee at the highly touted Sleepy Monk coffee-house then drove 1.5 hours back to Portland on Highway 26, which turned out to be a very scenic road through the mountains and farmland along a river or stream.

After some confusion, we finally found the aerial tram entrance at the Oregon Health and Science Center (0r some such) and rode across the south part of town with stunning views of snow-capped mountains and the downtown waterfront.

Because we had a car, we explored some neighborhoods east of the river that aren’t reachable by light rail – Hawthorne Street, between 34th and 40th, was fun and funky, with lots of people hanging out in the sun. Also went up to nw 28th “restaurant row” which had a handful of interesting looking places. And stopped at the food cart pod at 12th and Hawthorne for a fine lunch of pomme frites with tarragon anchovy mayo (one of several options.)

Dinner was an adventure at Pok Pok, a very different Thai restaurant from those we’re accustomed to. No pad thai, no thai people actually. The chef is an american guy who spent time in Thailand and brought back authentic recipes. Very popular place so we got there early – at 6p.m. and were seated at 7 p.m., happily waiting across the street at the restaurant’s sister joint, The Whiskey soda Lounge. Our wait was supposed to be 25 minutes (not). people who arrived at 8 p.m. had a 1-1.5 hour wait. Despite this, well worth a visit. Had a wonderful soup with homemade coconut milk; mussells with fried egg and bean sprouts, protisserie hen, a fantastic dessert with Vietnamese coffee over ice cream with a homemade donut, and a “Hunny”- fresh grapefruit juice, a drinkable balsamic vinegar, tequila. When in Rome…

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Portland: in the rain

W e shouldn’t be surprised that it’s raining here but what is surprising is that people seemed so pleased about it. As one young hip saleswoman at one of the endless young hip design stores in this southwest Portland neighborhood told me, they need rain after a long stretch of surprisingly sunny weather. (Just our luck.) We’d be better equipped to take the rain in stride if we both didn’t have bad colds that we’re still trying to get over. Walking in cold rain probably isn’t the way to do that.

But we did some walking yesterday because this city is irresistable and we found the Pearl District only a short walk away and, as advertised, full of interesting shops, architecture, restaurants, brewpubs, coffee houses and people.

We dutifully stopped at Powell’s Books which was so  big it was overwhelming. The cashier pointed us to a good brewpub nearby, Deschutes which was packed with a happy Happy Hour crowd – a big open place with lots of wood and woodcut landscapes. Later we had dinner at Clyde Common in the trendy Ace Hotel, sharing a table – as is the custom there – with what turned out to be a friendly group of 7 people. I sat next to Mike, originally from Vancouver but now living in Bend, who appeared to be a successful, albeit modest, graphic designer with accounts like Nike.  We got friendly enough that he dunked his bread in the broth of my main course to give it a try – although I didn’t dare stick my fork in his bowl of lamb and some sort of grain. The food was good – very one-of-a-kind (ex: olive-oil marinated octopus with frisee, fingerlings potatoes, chorizo in a “squid ink vinaigrette” Yum) and the place had a not-irritating alternative vibe.

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Portland dining indecision

Two days until we leave for Portland and I still have settled on where to eat – there are just too many options. And I just read about yet another one in the Sunday NYT travel section – a Thai restaurant and bar with the unlikely name of Whiskey Soda Lounge (doesn’t that just scream “THAI FOOD”?) that is a spin-off another Thai restaurant across the street that was on my list: Pok Pok. The Lounge serves something I don’t believe I’ve eaten – “Thai pub snacks” which are basically small plates of  things like garlicky frogs legs (no thank you) and dried shrimp salad on a betel leaf (maybe). Since drinks appear to be as important as the food here I may skip – since I”m not much of a drinker (let alone a drinker of anything made with “honey-flavored drinking vinegar.” One thing I have noticed is that few of the restaurants I’m interested in seem to take reservations – don’t know what this means for a Thursday night dinner, not to mention a Friday or Saturday night.


Filed under DINING, Oregon, Portland