Portland Eats!

Portland, Oregon is known as a food destination with amazing food options. This summer I made an effort to try as many different restaurants as well as explore new places.

Warning: The following food photos may cause extreme hunger pains.

Suburban food cart pods, such as Cartopia at SE 12th & Division, have more ambience and are more attractive and comfortable than the downtown pods. This one stays open late.

Food Carts

Portland has over 700 small kitchens, also known as food carts, parked in pods around the metropolitan area. All manner of ethnic foods can be found as well as halal, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free, organic, etc. Some serve breakfast, others lunch, and/or dinner, or just coffee and dessert – and some specialize in the late night crowd staying open until 3:00am on weekends.

Patronize a food cart and you support a local entrepreneur. In order to survive, the food has to be more than great. Many have successfully expanded into brick and mortar restaurants.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai started as a food cart but now has brick and mortar locations in addition to a cart. The menu is simple: chicken and rice, but its sauce makes it special.

Portlanders love breakfast and brunch. One Saturday we headed to the food trucks at S.E. Foster Rd and 52nd Avenue to eat breakfast at The Egg Carton. We had an order of their Monte Cristo French Toast and Eggs Benedict.

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Doghouse PDX food cart is known for hand pressed free-range beef hamburgers. I had the delcious Momentary Indiscretion with grilled mushrooms and onions, chanterelle salt, asiago cheese and house garlic truffle aioli on a bed of greens and sweet potato fries.

Eateries and Restaurants:

Portland restaurants are so popular and very crowded! I visited many great places and one or two not so great places (which I won’t mention,) but there are ever so many more restaurants to try remaining on my list! It will be a long time before I make it through the Portland neighborhood dining bucket list!

Case Study Coffee deliciousness!

Portland, Oregon is a cool city. It is the 5th-coolest city in the country according to  Forbes Magazine’s list of “America’s Coolest Cities 2017.” Portland is cool because of bicycling (9.8% commute to work by bike), small craft brew pups, food, and coffee. Portland is also considered a top vegan and vegetarian food destination.

Babica Hen Cafe:  Craving a savory brunch I tried the Eggs Benedict on a gluten-free waffle and although tasty it was a little dry. My husband’s burger and fries took the prize. The menu was intriguing so I want to return and sample something else as well as that burger.

Besaw’s in the Slabtown neighborhood has atmospheric outdoor dining – and serves brunch!

Dinner at Besaw’s. The pork shoulder and mixed vegetables (top of photo) was tender and flavorful, but the Anderson Hills flat iron steak (below) was too chewy and would’ve been a disappointment except for the amazing caramelized onions and creamed spinach.

Fresh peaches and burrata with honey, balsamic vinegar – and a jalapeño from Q.

Delicious flavors and large servings from Hoda include the appetizer plate (left) with grilled zucchini, olives, hummos, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and more.  The chicken shwarma bowl (right) with garlic sauce was enough for two to share.

I wanted to celebrate my birthday by dining al fresco. Xico has a lovely outdoor patio and their chilaquiles (above left) were different than I expected but tasty. I also sampled a barbacoa lamb taco (right) and chips and guac (no photo.)

Teote celebrates Latin America cuisine. I had a plate of Venezuelan arepitas (left) filled with jalapeño queso fresco and topped with a habanero lime crema and cilantro and Ama’s Bowl (right) with pork belly and roasted poblano chiles in a red chile maple sauce, rice, fried plantains and verde sauce. It was the plantains that impressed. I just want a big bowl of fried plantains next time!

Reverend’s BBQ had terrific tri-tip. Just seeing this photo makes me salivate and crave.

Lardo also started as a food cart, but now has brick and mortar establishments.

The Bahn Mi. Lardo has lots of other interesting pork items on the menu.

Cafe Yumm offers organic and vegetarian dishes. The Yumm sauce is addicting and my favorite is the hot and jazzy chicken bowl.

The crowds line up at Luc Lac Vietnamese, a very popular downtown eatery.

Another breakfast out! This time I had Eggs Benedict on a croissant with roasted red potatoes and butternut squash from Le Petit Provence. The omelette (not shown) filled with caramelized onion and gruyere cheese was tres magnifique!

I have returned several times to Fern Kitchen and always get the slow braised pork with green chili sauce, cheesy polenta and greens. FERN is an acronym for “feeding everyone real nourishment.”

Are you hungry yet? For your convenience I have listed below all the mentioned restaurants’ addresses and would recommend all of them.

Downtown:

Cafe Yumm, local chain with various locations

Lardo, 1205 SW Washington

Luc Lac Vietnamese, 835 SW 2nd Avenue

Nong’s Khao Man Gai, 417 SW 13th

Shalom Y’all Israeli Street Food, 1128 SW Alder (sister restaurant at 117 SE Taylor)

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Shalom Y’all Israeli Street Food:  The photo has a orange tinge because I was seated under an umbrella on the sidewalk.

Q Restaurant, 828SW 2nd Avenue

Besaw’s, 1545 NW 21st Avenue

Mi Mero Mole, 32 NW 5th Avenue

Petunia’s Cake and Pies (entirely gluten free and vegan), 610 SW 12th Avenue

Heart, 537 SW 12th Avenue and various locations

Case Study Coffee, 802 SW 10th Avenue and other locations

Eastside:

The Egg Carton food cart, 5205 SE Foster Rd.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai, 609 SE Ankeny

Lardo, 1212 SE Hawthorne

Hoda’s Middle Eastern Cuisine, 3401 SE Belmont

Fern Kitchen, 2311 SE 50th Avenue

Reverend’s BBQ, 7712 SE 13th Avenue

Hog Wild BBQ, 9226 SE 82nd Avenue

Back to Eden Bakery Cafe Foodcart (all gluten and dairy free), 4804 SE Woodstock and 2215 NE Alberta St. (Fantastic treats and I’ve returned several times, but not taken any photos.)

Le Petit Provence, 4834 SE Division St.

Doghouse PDX food cart, SE 50th and Division St.

Xico, 3715 SE Division

Teote House Café, 1615 SE 12th Avenue

Soma Kombucha Taproom, 3777 SE Belmont Street (free tastes before you buy!)

Further Abroad:

Babica Hen Cafe, 15964 Boone’s Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego & 1410 N Hwy 99W, Dundee

You may notice my preference for Mexican food. The final food photos come from Mi Mero Mole of the best ever tamal and the four mole sampler plate.

This is a photo journal of the restaurants I sampled recently and not a conclusive list of all my favorite local eateries. I invite to leave a comment with your favorites.

Shall we Meet You in the Morning for brunch? Until next time, Bon Appetit!

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