I enjoy this site very much, although I've never posted on the Northwest board before. I was in Portland last week for a conference, and based on suggestions mostly from this board, I had a pretty stellar culinary tour of the city. I'm not a food guru by any sense of the imagination, but I do love to dine out, and Portland provided some fantastic options.
Not far from the hotel I had breakfast at Mother's Bistro. Chiliquiles (sp?) were excellent, fresh juice, and I loved that they had French press available.
Had a warm ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel on wonderful bread at Ken's bakery on 21st. avenue. The setting wasn't much to speak of but it is, after all, a bakery. I bought two croissant to take back to the hotel. I ate one in the cab!
Had one dinner at the hotel restaurant; Portland Steak and Chop House. It was good, but not memerable. My two dinners away from the hotel were truly exceptional.
Park Kitchen ~ This was a reletively casual night out, and as we had already had some hors d'oeuvres at a reception, I wasn't too hungry, so we opted for a few "small plates". I sampled chick pea fries, a beet salad with oranges, salt cod fritters, and sort of a flank steak salad. Everything was really good and very unique!
Carlyle ~ This was our "splurge night". The chef sent out an appetizer of crispy sweetbreads sitting on top of some sort of little custard with truffles. It was incredible! Another appetizer (remember I said splurge)
was seared foie gras with a fig syrup. I had a halibut special with ramps, morels, and a sorel cream that I loved. Desserts were splendid also. I had a fresh rhubarb Napoleon.
I come from a food town, Chicago. We have some amazing options there, but it is definately worth mentioning that the freshness and creative use of ingredients in Portland was most impressive. I should also mention that the people of portland struck me as generous of spirit and friendly at every turn. Thank you for a wonderful trip, I sincerely look forward to my next visit.