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Vancouver Hound's first trip to Portland -- help a hungry elf out?

grayelf | Jan 26, 201207:38 AM

Dear Portland Hounds:
I’ve been feverishly researching the embarrassment of riches that is the Portland dining scene in preparation for our first trip together to your fair city from Feb 29 to Mar 4 (Wed night to Sun afternoon).
My list of options is at 17 pages (!) and counting. Since we only have 4 lunches, 4 dinners and assorted snacks, I am asking for your help to narrow things down. Many thanks for any suggestions you may have.

We’re staying in the Pearl District and will have a car, but are happy to walk and take your lovely free transit. Also keen to try your vaunted street food offerings, and generally interested in big flavours and good value over décor and such. Not sure if dinners at the street carts are doable/recommended – I note some are only open for lunch, and on weekdays.

We have a dearth of good Thai and Mexican here in Vancouver so those are two things on our radar. Particularly love classic tacos (tiny double tortillas, meat, onion, cilantro, lime, great salsas). We also suffer from strict rules making it very difficult to serve burgers to order so contemplating trying one out. We have lots of Vietnamese at home but are always on the hunt for harder-to-come by bo luc lac (shaking beef) and/or thit kho to (porc au caramel).

Prolly not looking for Chinese or Japanese this time around.

It will mostly just be the two of us though we will be joining two friends one evening so a “nicer” place with gluten-free options would be grand. We don’t have a ceiling for $$ but maybe something around $50 or $60 per person before drinks and tip.

Generally not fans of lineups and will be looking for reservations for dinners.

Saturday we may hit the farmers market and check out Pine State biscuits.

SO is big on third wave coffee and it would be a shame to miss out as you have so many great options. How are Barista, Ristretto, Extracto, Coffeehouse Northwest, Sterling and Spella holding up? Any others I've missed?

Here are the places that are standing out for me, but I’m open to other considerations, and to excising bad options.

Tabor (weekdays only) – hello schnitzelwich!
Pok Pok – avoid the crazy lines by going at lunch?
¿Por Que No? – must tries here? The crispy snapper tacos sound worthy…
Bora Bora – la llorona! tacos ahogados!
Helser’s – the SO’s been and enjoyed; avoiding Sunday here re lines
Lardo – porchetta!
Taqueria Antojitos Yucatecos – panuchos! salbutes!
Sandwich Island – kalua pork!

Dinner (with friends):
South Park
Dinner (just us):
Kesone Thai Lao Bistro - nam kao!! spinach leaf appetizers with red onion and spices! tried Lao food in Oakland last November, still dreaming about it…
Cha Ba Thai (Same owner as Red Onion)
Chiang Mai
Mee Sen
A really good burger, not sure which of the many options to choose, maybe Violetta
Po’Shines Cafe de la Soul
Puerto Marquez – ceviche ! seafood ! not really in Gresham!
Pambiche Cuban

Breakfast/brunch on Sunday:
Autentica: Chilaquiles!
Broder – aebleskivers!

Ken’s Artisan Bakery – croissants for the SO!
Pix Patisserie

beverages/happy hours:
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge
Matchbox Lounge - the $5 burg!

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