This weekend I visited Portland for the first time, and it was a fun few days - a lot of eating, a little drinking, and a little exploring. Thanks to this board for so many delicious ideas. I'm looking forward to my next visit!
Here was our itinerary, mostly planned but with some things improvised:
Perriera Creperie - improvised snack while exploring downtown
Hair of the Dog
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
Salt & Straw - pre-dinner ice cream while we waited for our dinner reservation, why not?
Nong's Khao Man Gai food cart
Eat This! food cart - improvised while exploring the pod at SW Alder and 9th/10th Ave
Cacao Drink Chocolate
I don't need to repeat a lot of what's been said about these various places, but I'll call out a few things. The highlights of the trip were Screen Door and Mother's Bistro. I'm not sure why there aren't many great Southern restaurants in California, if at all, and Screen Door certainly has them beat. I wasn't planning to go here, but I'm glad I did. Great shrimp and grits, salads, banana/toffee pie, and especially, fried chicken - amazingly juicy and so well seasoned you didn't need gravy or hot sauce. Jambalaya was tasty but slightly dry, and it was a shame that the corn bread was also dry and bland. Nonetheless, great food and fun atmosphere for extremely reasonable prices.
Mother's Bistro is a great place to have brunch in a quaint setting - benches, pillows, small chandeliers, and servers that talk about out of body experiences. More important, the food is great. Every breakfast/brunch dish I tried at my table was hearty, fresh and delicious. I was especially impressed with the different scrambles.
I enjoyed Natural Selection overall and got to try one of everything. Although a couple dishes didn't work so well, the meal improved with each course, and after dessert, I was quite happy. I was struck by how quiet and focused the chefs were in their small open kitchen, and it was refreshing to have a quiet meal in such a popular restaurant. If this was LA or SF, it would not only cost $15-20 more, but it would also be uncontrollably loud.
After sharing some tasty chicken & rice from Khao Man Gai, I continued to explore the food carts there and decided to try a flatbread sandwich from Eat This! food cart. The friendly chef put together a brisket, onion ring (fried to order), roasted pepper and BBQ sauce sandwich for me. The flatbread was also cooked to order and had a nice chewy texture that held up well. Solid sandwich/roll, and even though he has a few preset combinations, he's happy to use whatever combination of ingredients you want.
Finally, a word on Voodoo ... I know, this board has repeatedly warned people to avoid them and for very good reason, but I just couldn't help myself! Naturally, I had to wait in a line, and the donuts were disappointing. I appreciate some of the combinations of toppings they have, but I still prefer a simple glazed donut, and they're not worth the trouble for that sort of thing.