portland, oregon

My friend Tami is moving to Portland, and I promised her a few recommends.  This list is by no means complete, but I figured that I should start somewhere…. and of course that is with food:


Hands down, my most favorite thing to find in Portland in the last year is Pine State Biscuits.  This place will make everyone happy, but specifically the displaced southerners.  A trio of North Carolinians opened this walk-up spot on Belmont and they say it best on their website: “a mix of old-style Southern goodness and modern restaurant professionalism, throw in some Portland foodie sensibility, and you have Pine State Biscuits.”  www.pinestatebiscuits.com

Clyde Common is located on the ground floor of the Ace Hotel on Stark Ave downtown, serving elevated “tavern” food in energetic communal space.  One of the best burgers Shawn has ever had, a rotating menu of beautiful season plates accompanied by classic cocktails and an impressive array of whiskeys.  www.clydecommon.com

My current favorite spot for a sit down breakfast/brunch (when pried away from the biscuits of course) is Everett Street Bistro in the Pearl.  The oatmeal and panna cotta is so delicious for something so simple.  Billed as a “European-style charcuterie” I have had some wonderful dinner there too.  www.everettstreetbistro.com

Somehow Portland has much better southern food than Seattle – maybe there are just more southerners in Portland, or maybe it’s because I have my southern-transplanted food-obsessive family there scoping it out for me (I come by my travel guide and food oriented genes honestly, as they would say).  Either way, one of the best is Screened Door on Burnside & 24th, combining the best of southern traditions with fresh NW ingredients.  My dad can’t go too long without the buttermilk battered fried chicken, and I always debate between the plate of sides with catfish, or the shrimp and grits.  www.screendoorrestaurant.com

Portland also seems to have a leg up in the Mexican food arena as well.  My recent fave is Neustra Cocina on SE Divison.  Every sauce I have had there has incredible depth and flavor taking me back to Oaxaca.  www.nuestra-cocina.com

And a special convergence of foodie culture and street vendor laws creates an incredible breeding ground for some of the best food carts around.  My favorite late nightspot to hit with my brother after one of his gigs is Cartopia, a collection of carts in SE Portland.  Check out plethora of carts all over town here: www.foodcartsportland.com

One of my most favorite restaurants in Portland just closed in December, Lovely Hula Hands.  They decided to focus all their energies on their new endeavor, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty on Mississippi.  While I haven’t been there, if the care they put into it is anything like the care they put into Lovely Hula Hands, it will be beautiful stuff.  www.lovelysfiftyfifty.com

Favorite Wine Bar – Noble Rot. I miss them in their old location – a wonderful little mixed used building on Akeny Street in SE, but nice, down to earth place for sipping.  noblerotpdx.com

Speaking of imbibing – Portland has an uprising of small distilleries.  I’ve only been able to check out a few myself, but this Seattle Times article seemed to sum it all up pretty well:  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2008004461_nwwdistillers190.html


Having a hard-working, Portland-based musician for a brother, means that just about any night I am there I can catch a glimpse of him and get a dose of one of his varied projects – Jazz in various incarnations, Americana with Troubled Boots or Redwood Son, joined with amazing singer Shelly Rudolph, sitting in with the incredible wealth of musicians of Portland and beyond, or his booking gigs for the Brasserie Montmarte.  This also means I don’t really see much music beyond that when I am visiting, but he is definitely worth checking out, and this is not just coming from the proud partial sister.  www.myspace.com/chancehayden

Other Wanderings

Do I really even need to mention Powell’s City of Books?   www.powells.com

The architects and do-it-yourself-ers will love the Rebuilding Center on Mississippi.  rebuildingcenter.org

The Japanese Gardens in Washington Park are some of the best I’ve seen in the states.  www.japanesegarden.com The Lan Su Chinese Garden is also a great oasis in the midst of the city.  www.portlandchinesegarden.org

Portland is a city of great neighborhoods, all very walkable, bikable and full of small-grain beautiful little architectural gems.  The Pearl, SE Hawthorne/Burnside, NW 23rd are all fairly established.  Up and coming favorites are spots like Mississippi, NE, and Belmont.  A great tour I did last year was organized by 11xdesign (can still download last year’s map):  www.11xdesign.com

So, those are my most recent thoughts on Portland.  I will add more along the way.  It is a great town – hope you enjoy your few years there, Tami!


2 thoughts on “portland, oregon

  1. I told you that Pine State is a dream for a Portland girl w/ a southern heart. Hope to see you again when you are town sometime.

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