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NYC gal LOVES PDX - long trip review

chowgal | Nov 14, 200502:55 PM

Wanted to give you a rundown on my great [albeit rainy!] weekend in PDX. Stayed at Hotel Lucia – great little place. Our room was small but not THAT small and only $139 per night. Quality sheets, high thread count. Bottle of Pinot Noir in the room.

Friday night we had drinks at Vault – great, interesting martinis at only $7.50. I liked the Cucumber; friend loved the pad thai.

Then we had dinner at bluehour. Fresh, stylized food and service was impeccable. Did you know it is one of Terrance Brennan/Max Kalman’s places? Picholine and Artisanal - of NYC. We had raw bar to start; each had seafood entrees, and shared the foie gras which was amazing. Cheese course good, of course. Not so great a wine list. Good value – like $65 each.

Saturday we bopped around 23rd ave area. Had sort of bad – mediocre brunch at Jo Brasserie (cousin to Papa Hayden? Menus are similar). Later we checked out Pearl District some more and ducked into Paragon for more martinis. The menu was berry/fruit martini heavy. Then before dinner went over to Vino Paradiso – also in Pearl – for champagne and duck rillette. Crappy wine bar – cheap looking décor. Rillette very good.

Had reservations at OLEA for dinner. I would say food was better here than bluehour, but service at bluehour better. You have to sort of explain that menu, and the staff didn't. Had the ceci to start and dates. Really enjoyed them. I had duck three ways - the ravioli the best of the three. Friend 1 had lamp - perfectly cook. Friend 2 had the orechieete with veal ragu. 3 rich dishes and all high quality. Our side was the cippolini which i loved - pickled almost. Wine not so great - Anderson Family pinot. Nice nose but faded at the end. ASIDE: When private table upstairs was occupied it was brutally loud.

Went to Pala afterwards. Eh. Bad house music mixes but at least an eclectic crowd.

I loved Portland. My Seattle friends think it has a more exciting food scene than they see in their town. I tend to agree.

I am looking forward to coming back out.

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