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Thanks for the recs, quick trip to PDX report

dcrunner | Mar 23, 200411:46 AM

First of all, thanks to everyone who chimed in on where to go in Portland. I had read a lot about your city, and new that there would be great dining options(too many!), so having some guidance definitely helped. Here is just a quick recap of where we ate:

Got in late Thursday night, stayed in the sheraton four points near the river(do not recommend!). For breakfast, grabbed scones at Great Harvest, which we have here in dc, but was the only place close to the hotel. Then my bf(ryan) went to visit the school, and I cruised around town, first the downtown area, then headed into pearl, then up to NW 23rd area. By 11am I was dizzy with hunger, either b/c my body was still on east coast time or b/c I had been looking at menus and food all morning, I don't know! Although I had meant to go back down to Pearl Bakery to grab a variety of sandwiches(liked how you could just buy halves!), I was closest to ken's so I got the ham and swiss w/ honey mustard on country blonde. I told the girl I don't normally like swiss, but she talked me into it, and it was amazing! One of the best ham/cheese sandwiches I ever had! Anyhow, was very pleased with that, and it was very filling, too. After walking that area for awhile, I headed back down to the pearl district, checked out Powell's and had to check out your Whole Foods as well, b/c they are different in every city. Well, the Portland Whole Foods looked awesome, only second to the one in Vegas(no kidding). Then I went down and grabbed a few of the small rolls from Pearl Bakery for us to snack on late afternoon. They were good, but would have been better with some kind of cheese spread on them.

Late afternoon I met back up with Ryan and we hit Oregon Wines on Broadway for some flights of Pinots. Betsy Bolling kept us entertained and on the right track, drinking wise. I told her my list of places I was trying to decide on for dinner, and she recommended Paley's Place as her favorite, so I said, why not? got a reservation for 8:30.

So I was a little hesitant about Paley's b/c I had scoped the menu earlier in the day, and French isn't my favorite cooking style, but I am really glad we went. We ordered a variety of things, the poached halibut, white beans with lamb sausage, braised greens, french fries w/ mustard aioli, and chocolate molten cake/ice cream for desert. It didn't sound like much, but was AMAZING, every last morsel, Ryan and I were blown away by this simple cooking. The execution was "perfect" and just goes to show that innovation and quality ingredients are good, but preperation is key in great cuisine.

Saturday we hit Esparaza(sp?) for lunch, and once again, were happily satisfied with our barbecue pork tacos, which is what we both got. The margaritas were also excellent. Saturday night was our only dissapointment, as we were in Astoria and his aunt lives there and wanted to go to the Silver Salmon. I thought I remembered it mentioned here, but maybe not. Anyhow, it was awful, doesn't even deserve to be described, and the bill really hurt given that we could have eaten at a fine restaurant in Portland for the same price. Don't go there! We stayed at the Benjamin Young Inn, which was okay, but minimalist b'fast of slice of quiche(which I hate) and non-exceptional cinnamon roll. Overall, unimpressed with what Astoria had to offer, but good to see his Aunt.

Cruised down 101 for awhile on sunday, and got back to PDX just in time to grab a quick bite at Wildwood before heading to the airport. We split the signature salad(wonderful) and the pizza, which was done well but the ingredients were a little off, we didn't like the preserved tomatoes. We each had a great glass of wine there, and were very tempted by the other items on the menu, just weren't hungry enough(and broke at this point!) to give them a try.

Thanks to everyone who piped in, I love your city, and if only it would work out financially for ryan to attend school there, we could possibly be there in august. I would be very happy if this turns out to be true!

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