Portland has always been on my list of places to visit and just a 2 hour flight or 10 hour drive away awaits a bunch of delicious food and coffee! Before discovering that Portland was home to one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2007, I knew Portland to be two things: 20 minutes away from the Nike HQ and where people from the Bay Area move to if they’re tired of the city but still want a similar culture. After visiting Portland for myself, I can totally see why there are so many Bay Area transplants. The people are super chill and nice, there’s no tax and best of all the food is amazing!
During my stay in Portland, it felt like there wasn’t enough time to try all the places on my endless list but of the ones I did get to check off, they were all delicious. For starters, I’m what people would call a social coffee drinker. I don’t need coffee to function but just like the taste of warm milk, some type of sweetener and man do I love froth when it’s done right. Home to many popular coffee places, my first stop was to Stumptown Coffee.
I’m a sucker for seasonal flavors and specials so I when I saw a brown sugar latte (left) I had to try it! Now Stumptown may be the most well known amongst the Bay Area but there were so many other great coffee places for coffee and non-coffee drinkers alike.
Case Study Coffee is also worth mentioning. They had this hazelnut latte that was just perfect for a freezing day downtown. The coffee however wasn’t as good for someone who doesn’t drink coffee often. I decided to play it safe and ordered a Mocha but it tasted a bit stronger and bitter than I prefer.
OYA (Oh Yea And): For the prettiest latte art, check out Heart. Definetely instagram worthy ☕️
Now, onto the food! I don’t even know where to start. Some of the best food I had felt like the most basic of meals. Nong’s Khao Man Gai (chicken and rice) is a MUST HAVE when in Portland. Who knew something so simple as boiled chicken, rice with a house made sauce could be so amazing. I had Nongs three times while I was in Portland and am still craving it now.
What’s great about Nongs is more than just the simplicity of the dishes. The chicken is super tender, you can choose between white, mixed or all dark meat. I love dark meat so what is pictured below is all dark meat. Also, Nongs chicken sauce is ridiculously good. It’s like a mixture of the ginger sauce with Hainanese chicken mixed with some plum sauce (I think) since it has a citrusy taste and a slight kick for spice. Most of all, when you’re here it’s almost like you’re eating at home because the food tastes home-cooked everytime.
Now don’t think I forgot about breakfast or dinner! For your first meal of the day, what better way to start than with a donut in your mouth? And that donut better be a blueberry bourbon basil donut from Blue Star Donuts! All I have to say is brioche dough. That’s it. Brioche dough = fluffy to the max.
Not deep in downtown? Ken’s Artisan Bakery is also really good with interesting croissants like thyme and ham with gruyere cheese and the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had.
For brunch, definitely check out Mother’s Bistro and try the crunch french toast! It’s the best part of corn flakes blended with the sweet gooeyness of delicious french toast :)
For the rest of us, if you can’t get a table at the famous Le Pigeon, check out their sister restaurant Little Bird! They have a full dinner menu which I’m sure is amazing but I came here for happy hour and they have foie gras and bone marrow! Yes, a happy hour with foie gras and bone marrow. One of the most unique things about Little Bird is as you’re walking to the restaurant, you’ll actually pass their kitchen and you can see right into where the magic happens!