I so appreciate your help in finding places to eat in Portland alone, as a grown-up female, when my original eating plan started to fall apart. The rest of my week was a success. Thank you all!
I wound up accidentally at Le Pigeon when I was supposed to be having a drink at the lovely Kir, across the street -- the sun was beating on the bar in Kir at that hour, in the freak 100-degree weather, and I happened to walk by Le Pigeon, spied empty bar seats. Very much fun to eat there by myself; lovely folks, made friends with another woman dining solita, although the tasting menu was disappointing. I hope I don't offend anyone with my general feeling that those guys don't really understand texture; texture is so important. For ex the sous vide octopus was served with tough, woody palm heart that tasted canned (I guess no one does hearts of palm otherwise, it must be like dealing with kindling), hard to cut, reminded me of my mother's Chinese "experiments" in the 80s. Given the architecture of the food, there is too much going on -- a smear of earthy porcini sauce, two leaves of mache, nectarine -- that it just seemed like the chef wouldn't commit to two or three flavors and do something with them. Instead there were lots of fanciful bits, and a lot of butter holding things together. Another ex.: the honey bacon apricot cornbread, a heavy endeavor, chunks of bacon sitting atop, the whole thing not quite coming together. An assemblage rather than a vision. Rabbit spanakopita: could not work out the flavors in my mouth. The king salmon was excellent.
I loved Evoe. My god! The octopus with tomatoes and beans! Is what I mean by using just several ingredients and making something ethereal out of them. I don't know what they did to the octopus to get it so tender. chef's wife stopped in with their youngest baby and shared her grilled peppers with everyone eating at the counter. It's just a great friendly atmosphere -- so grateful for the suggestion!
And Teardrop Lounge for a cocktail -- another find. The bartenders couldn't have been sweeter, a totally grown-up place with a friendly vibe, lively but not packed, just what I was looking for.
SPELLA. Spella spella spella. Where will I find coffee as good in my town? I might be ruined.
Salt and Straw -- yes yes yes.