Category Archives: Portland, Oregon

Closing Time.

A confession: I’ve been putting off writing about my last meal in Portland for some time now. Not because it left a bad taste in my mouth—on the contrary, it was an amazing, memorable, late-night dinner. Just the thought of it makes me wish I could hop a West Coast-bound flight that would get me to Oregon in time for a repeat performance. No, friends. I’ve kept this meal to myself for one reason, and one reason only: vanity. I was afraid that my photographs wouldn’t do it justice, that my descriptions would sound clichéd or overwrought, that I wouldn’t be able to nail down my experience in terms that would convey how truly great the food was. And here I am, off to the start I feared.

It took some arm-twisting to persuade Matt that we should stop at Le Pigeon for our final supper; its price point was higher than anywhere else on our list, and he was convinced that we’d get more bang for our buck elsewhere. Be that as it may, I was dying to try it, and as you may have heard, I can be kind of stubborn. I promised not to go overboard with the ordering (one appetizer each, and an entrée to share), but he’s known me too long to believe that line; it wasn’t until I played the “I’m the Guest!” card and admitted that I planned to treat to thank him for being such a great host that I got him to cave.

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Slappy Detour.

On my last day in Portland, Matt and I went out for our one and only brunch of the weekend. If that doesn’t indicate restraint, I don’t know what does.

Before I’d even bought my plane ticket, Matt was telling me about Slappy Cakes: He emailed the link to the menu, sent text messages every time he ate there, and basically did all of the advance publicity so I’d be primed and ready when I got to town. It’s a restaurant with a gimmick, and a good one, too: As the breakfast-oriented cousin of Korean barbecue or Japanese shabu-shabu, each tabletop has a built-in griddle for make-your-own pancakes.

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Robot + Pok Pok.

Back in Portland, after our waffle breakfast, Roommate #1 and I made our way back to home base just in time to meet Roommate #2 for a discount-matinee showing of Whip It, Drew Barrymore’s ode to roller derby and female friendship, at the Laurelhurst Theater. The best three dollars I spent in the City of Roses, that movie pushed all of my guilty-pleasure buttons. Great soundtrack? Check. Girl power? Double check. Underdog-to-champion storyline? Check again. We came out of the theater hyped beyond belief; if elbows could’ve been thrown, they would’ve been, but in lieu of starting a fight with strangers on the street, we decided to work out our energy and aggression in a much more socially acceptable way: with whiskey and a basket of french fries.

We brought our robotic companion along for its very first hot toddy; the pleasures of a warm drink on a cold day weren’t lost on this hunk of metal. (You wouldn’t think something like that would turn heads in a city like Portland, but you’d be mistaken.) Our (second) round finished, we were back at the house in time for me to meet a ravenous Matt for dinner at yet another spot on the itinerary: well-regarded Thai mainstay Pok Pok.

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Road to Recovery.

My long weekend in Portland took a turn for the worse halfway through, when I was completely incapacitated by what appeared to be a twenty-four-hour bug. People, I couldn’t eat anything for a full day: We’re talking dire straits here. (I’m still mourning the possibilities, but to be honest, my wallet was grateful for the time off.) Though fearful for my suddenly fragile stomach, I was ready to get back in the game by Sunday.

Matt was working during the day, so I’d planned to head back to Crema to take advantage of the free wireless, get some work done, and—who am I kidding?—sample those pastries I didn’t get to try during our first visit. My somewhat noble intentions went out the window, however, when one of his roommates invited me to join her on an excursion to the temptingly named Waffle Window.

We trekked over to Hawthorne and approached the walk-up counter nestled into the side of the Bread and Ink Cafe; after a quick glance at the menu, we decided to split one sweet and one savory, then headed inside to wait for our order.

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Why Not?

Believe it or not, I did want to spend at least some of my time in Portland on activities other than eating. You know. Outdoor, fresh air, nature-type stuff.

Sadly both for me and my waistline, the temperature dropped rapidly the day after I got into town. No rainclouds in sight, just clear, sunny skies and bitter, bitter cold, and, as I’m not a member of the planning-ahead school of travel, I arrived woefully unprepared for such unPortland-like weather.

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A Nightcap.

As my lovely mother so astutely noted, Matt and I had consumed quite a bit of food before skipping off into the Portland night. But after an evening filled with art and artists and beer and the introduction of one old friend (me) to a whole batch of new friends, who could blame us for being just a touch peckish at the end of it all?

We hopped a bus back across the water and, pied-piper–like, convinced the whole crew to follow us. The siren song of discounted noodles is a hard one to resist.

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Next in Line.

After Matt and I downed our drinks and cleared our charcuterie board, we bundled back up and braved the cold for a brisk, three-block walk to Ten 01, the next spot on our happy-hour trail.

Of all the places on our list, this menu held the most promise.

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Good Deal.

In my list of awesome things about the city of Portland, I neglected to mention one of my favorites: the ubiquitous happy-hour special. As you may have gathered from the eating-itinerary excerpt I posted last week, bargain-hunting played a major part in our restaurant selection.

Yes, restaurant selection. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, in an effort to minimize binge drinking, the state of Oregon passed a restrictive liquor law that banned establishments from advertising drink specials: Legally, the phrase “happy hour” could only be used when referencing food, resulting in a proliferation of restaurants owners who decided that the best way to get customers in the door would be to offer a discounted menu. Great news for those of us on a budget.

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Portland: Chapter One.

Y’know what’s great about Portland? Aside from the fresh air and the abundance of trees and the pretty houses and the delicious food and the amazing beer?

The coffee.

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Oregon Organizing.

Greetings from sunny Portland! (No, really. The weather’s gorgeous.) What, you ask, is on my itinerary for the next few days? Below, a small sample:

Rest assured, when I return to Brooklyn next week, it’ll be with plenty of tales of eating adventures.

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