I was in Portland on a short trip, and while much of my day was taken up by work, I snapped up all the delightful bites I could during lunch and dinner.
For a light bite, salmon tartare served with a shot of sparkling rose.
Blue Star donut
Everyone loved the lemon poppyseed; I had a powdered lemon curd the next day and did not share. I can buy a new size of jeans.
Salt and Straw
Mint ice cream with sea urchins, sounds terrible, was terrific. The ice creams I tried here better than any I've had in San Francisco. Sugar kept in check, luscious texture from the high fat content; in the flavor I bought, the sea urchin gave it a marshmallow-like quality but with a sophisticated umami quality that separated it from a flat children's flavor like Bubble Gum. Also really liked the Woodblock freckled chocolate and the summer corn flavor.
This was an extraordinary meal, loved how the chefs played acid flavors against the low, earthy hum of wood-fired elements. In lesser hands, none of the dishes or drinks I had would have appealed, but from cocktail through main, everything was tuned to perfection. Can't pick out a standout because everything was a standout: a bright, non-sweet cocktail of gin and blueberry shrub; roasted chilled tomato soup with a few fresh tomatoes pureed in for flavor and texture; local garbanzo salad with sumac, and chicken with roasted burst grapes. I'd still give the nod to San Francisco's Zuni chicken over NL chicken (for depth of flavor to the meat) but this was close to perfect.
Mee Sen Thai Eatery
Needed a late bite before a show Mississippi Studios, got a Thai sausage sliced and wrapped in lettuce and herbs. Great texture. The lovely waitress was Laotian, and we talked about the difference between northern and southern Laotian cuisine and my love of roasted rice balls. The happy hour menu is a good choice for snacking here--small portions of many interesting dishes for cheap (including the Thai sausage).