Must: Andina, Pok Pok, Clyde Commons Happy Hour, Tear Drop for cocktails
If you have time: Gruener, Salt and Straw
Hotel: Ace Hotel.
We flew out to Portland and stayed at Ace Hotel... nice, very Portland... a bit rustic, but nice. We ended up walking around and had dinner at Andina, a Peruvian restaurant. We decided to do the tapas menu. This may have been the best meal we had! We started out with a trio of salsas, then had a quinoa crusted chicken medallions, a pepper stuffed with cheese, prosciutto, and a grain (love this one), empanadas, a purple potato dish with a chicken salad in the middle, more prosciutto sliced and a tuna/quacomole dish which was my least favorite because the tuna was dried, and I just wasn't expecting that... good but a very intense flavor. For dessert we had a trio of creme brulees... vanilla, spice and something else... I highly recommend Andina!!! The service was impeccible as well. Each tapas plate was $10 and was good for 2. We over ordered!
Next Day - We had breakfast at the hotel.. probably the best hotel breakfast ever... a buffet of sorts with homemade yougart, granola, fruits, jams, croissants, toast, salami, proscuitto, cheeses, chocolate, hard boiled eggs... very european. We ate here each morning... the buffet was $10. We headed over to the Farmer's Market, which was small, but very nice. Lots of berries! We then went on a free tour... The guide does one tour every day at 11 am in front of the courthouse. He was friendly and showed us alot of the statues and fountains, gave us info, stories, bad jokes and took us pretty much around the whole city ending at Voodoo Donut, which we didn't go in because the line was around the corner. We walked around a bit and ended up stopping at Silk, which wasn't on any list. It was really good... The thai/chinese food out west is better than we have here. I had a noodle dish, coryndon had a sandwich... both really good! We walked around a bit more, then headed back to the hotel for cocktails at the restaurant next door... Clyde Common. I sort of wish we ate here, the food looked good. The cocktails were great.. the bourbon renewal... m new favorite drink! Dinner was at Gruener, a German place. We sat outside (did I mention the weather was perfect for the entire trip??) My Husband had pickeled devil eggs with horseradish and I had grueyre fritters for an app, then he had sausage (of course) and I had, basically a gnocchi.... a ricotta spinach dumpling with tomatoes and basil... a bit heavy, but it was small... all very good. I wouldn't say that Gruener is a must, but it's nice and if you can fit it in, go for it. It was still earlyish, so we headed over to Teardrop for cocktails... also really good cocktails and they had a section labeld "Friends"... which was cocktails from other bartenders... Cook and Brown from Providence was on there!
6th day - We decided to go across the river... glad we did it, but it wasn't really anything. Some industrial which gives way to residential, lots of food and 2nd hand shops. BUT... it does have Pok Pok... we walked past early (noon) and were able to get a seat right away... it's basically a small house that they've turned into a restaurant. Small plates of thai food that is soooo good, so fresh, the perfect combination of spices... oh so good. This was my husband's favorite place of the trip. We had a signiture 1/2 chicken dish and a signiture salad with sticky rice and a drinking vinegar (surprisingly good!)... since it was early, we weren't overly hungry, so these 2 small dishes were fine... so so good!! Highly recommend.
We had made reservations at Wildwood. We told the bartender at Clyde this and he said to go to Le Pigeon or Little Bird instead... they were better. Wildwood was good about 5 years ago. I looked at the other menus, but they were very French based and had a bunch of seafood that we weren't into, so we stuck with Wildwood. Shouldn't have. The meal was fine... but not good. 2 of the 3 apps we asked for they were out of, then when we ordered we never recieved the mussels we asked for. The cold potato soup was very good, his pork chop was not cooked correctly, my duck was ok, but the greens and mush under it did nothing and the roasted strawberries were just a mess. He did have an interesting cocktail with a pea puree in it, when he tried to order it again... they were out of it. Plus the waiter forgot our mussels, took food to the wrong table, gave the table next to us menus after they had already orderered... he was having a bad day. Our friend said the place across the street, Paley's Place, was new and that she had heard great things about it... we should have gone there. After, we walked to Salt and Straw Ice Cream... She had the salted Caramel... the best, I had the Chef Special... a visiting chef creates an ice cream flavor... it was good... nothing awesome, and my husband had the bourbon coffee.... also good... but no real bourbon flavor.
Overall... we loved Portland, it was a bit quirky, food was great and it was walkable. The weather was awesome, but I guess it's not really like that... the bad weather was mentioned a lot. So if you go... go in the summer! I'd love to visit again... Portland rated better than Seattle did on our trip!