I associate a lot of things with Portland. Well, ok, mostly beer and books. I’d heard that there are some great places to eat in Portland, but to honest… I love eating, but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a true foodie. I don’t go out of our way to nosh on the latest trends. (Even gasp! committing the cardinal sin of not ordering a cronut while living in NYC when they first came on the scene). But Portland was a rare case where I went out of my way to taste the scene! Here’s the rundown.
Where to Eat in Portland, Oregon
Food Pods/Food carts
I wasn’t initially sure why PDX didn’t call them “food trucks” like the rest of the country…until I realized that they really don’t move. In fact, at a few of the pods—(the collective noun for a gathering of food carts—which, really, could be more imaginative. What about a plate of food carts? Or a swallow? I digress)—had several abandoned carts that were open for rent. As with food trucks, don’t mistake these for the classic “roach coach”. The meals were well priced, cooked to order, and wholly delicious. I went the adventurous route and picked a pod without knowing the carts inside. Lucky for me, I got some savory carnitas tortas from Guero Tacos and Tortas! Hardcore foodies can download the Cart Compass app and get the lay of the land before making their choice. If you’re going to do a foodie getaway, might as well be strategic about it!
Blue Star Donuts
When you’re thinking about where to eat in Portland, everyone’s going to say Voodoo Doughnuts. Though everyone hyped it up to the Nth degree, waiting in that line just did not seem appetizing. I hopped instead to a lesser-known but out-of-this-world-GOOD Blue Star Donuts. With their Instagram-ready glazes and sweet and savory (blueberry basil!) flavor combos, these already exceeded our breakfast expections. But the fried chicken donut was really icing on the cake (so to speak). Imagine a plain, glazed donut topped with two fried chicken breasts and a smattering of Frank’s Red Hot. Sweet and spicy perfection.
Grain and Gristle
I was a bit apprehensive about a restaurant with the word “gristle” in its name. But Grain and Gristle is nothing to shy away from. This hip, local joint had a great selection of beers (many from breweries participating in Zwickelmania) and amazing food. We snacked on the porky croquettes and homemade Slim Jims. Then went all-in on the house burger and accompanying onion rings—the perfect ending to a day full of beer.
Why aren’t pie shops still a thing? One bite of Loretta Jean’s streusel-topped blackberry-raspberry slice and you’ll be wondering the same. Though the shop’s wares might throw you back to the 60’s, the sleek space and hip décor reminds you yes. This exists in the present.
We were warned that good Portland brunch spots = a good wait. So it seemed auspicious (er, sorta) that we arrived at Screen Door to find a line stretching the block. Two crossword puzzles later, the reason for the line revealed itself. How? In the form of biscuits and gravy as “big as a cat’s head”, a tower of fried chicken and waffles, and pecan-crusted bacon. Waiting aside, this place should definitely top your list of where to eat in Portland.
Food isn’t the only reason your mouth should water in Portland. Make sure you check out my favorite spots for beer in Portland, here!
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