Portland Trip Report

I know this forum is pretty quiet, but I thought I’d write up a brief trip report in case anyone happens to be looking for info. Was in PDX for 3 days and did a whole lot of eating and drinking, summarized briefly below in approximate chronological order.

Barista Coffee (Alberta, NE) - great, quiet, well-designed coffee shop with some very nice espresso and a good rich dark hot chocolate for non-caffeine people.

Bollywood Theater (Alberta, NE) - just a short walk East from Barista we found Bollywood Theater, for Indian Street Food. You order at the counter, which was perfect for an afternoon snack, and they have a pretty long and interesting menu of food. The Kati roll came highly recommended, so we got that with chicken and a Vada Pav (potato dumpling on a bun). Both items were excellent, in particular the Paratha on the Kati. The chicken was also juicy and nicely cooked. Very enjoyable and affordable lunch, would have liked to return for more but didn’t make it.

Great Notion Brewing (Alberta, NE) - another couple of blocks East on Alberta is Great Notion, a pretty super hyped brewery. They specialize in hazy IPAs and there were about 8 good ones on tap when we were there, along with one or two other toss-ins. The beers were really good, but they have very harsh limits on their crowlers, which was a huge drag - we weren’t able to bring any beer to go at all.

Willow (Ladd’s Addition / Inner Central East or something?) - we just happened to find this place on Yelp, an 11-seat restaurant at a long bar in an upstairs apartment for a six-course tasting menu for $50pp. There are only 2 people working, the chefs/owners, so it’s a very intimate/conversational/social experience. The food was great and the beverage pairings were interesting and also affordable, in particular the non-alcoholic ones, which featured stuff like house-made kombucha and a coffee egg cream. Great value, really fun experience.

Lardo (Pearl) - popped in for a sandwich for lunch the next day, know they’re famous for the pork but we got the turkey medianoche with mustard and mojo sauce and pickles and were very impressed. Turkey smoked in-house, rich dark meat instead of basic deli-sliced stuff. Pretty awesome.

Sterling Coffee (NW) - another great, fun shop. Had a cool coffee flight, with two espressos and a miniature glass of brewed coffee and some sparkling water. The second espresso was served in a whiskey glass, which was a nice touch, and really concentrated the aroma in a fun way.

Cascade Brewing (Inner E Central) - dope sour beers, but you knew that already.

Schilling Cider House (across the street from Cascade) - some really cool ciders, from sweet to sour and everywhere in between. Fun stop for a flight.

Ava Gene’s (SE) - Lovely dinner, the right combo of nice and casual vibes. The 'nduja toast and our two pastas were excellent, but the real highlights were our veggie dishes. Very impressive.

Apex (Ladd’s Addition) - cool, welcoming, kind of grungy cash-only beer bar with a great tap list. It reminded me a bit of Toronado in San Francisco but they also have pinball and a giant outdoor space if it’s ever sunny.

Pine State Biscuits (Alberta) - Enjoyed our biscuit sandwich and biscuit & jam, but thought it was a little overhyped for what it was. Still good though!

Jacobsen Salt Co (Central East) - fun experience tasting all of their salts, though I did accidentally get super dehydrated. Nice space, good salt, and the attached honey place is good too.

Hair Of The Dog (Central East) - was really impressed with this old-guard brewery. I went in with low-ish expectations, but they had a ton of cool stuff on tap, it was a friendly pub environment, and the food was weird and creative (sometimes to its own detriment a bit, but still fun)

Olympia Provisions (Central East) - can’t speak to a full meal here, but they have a killer happy hour, with super affordable and really excellent charcuterie plates and more. We had a plate with pork rilletes, pate, and a salami, all of which were pretty outstanding. Also had a hand pie with mustard and the rilletes, and a really great house-made hot dog. good selection of affordable drinks, too. Took some salami to go too, which are still delicious at home.

Wayfinder Beer (Central East) - cool space, food looked good, but the beer was average at best. Had heard good things about their beers beforehand but we had most of the stuff on tap and found it perfectly adequate but not better than that.

All in all a really great trip, with a ton of awesome food. Y’all are lucky to have access to all of that on a regular basis!


Nice report. I was thinking about driving there one of these days. I’m about five and a half hours away.

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I have friend who will be house/pet sitting in Portland this summer. I’m sending this to them. I know they’ll appreciate it.

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This is a great list. We’ll be headed this way in August with friends. Willow sounds super cool…and so reasonable!
I’ve also been told to put Departure on my list.

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Thanks! You’re going to have a great time, it’s an excellent food + drink city, with beautiful nature and stuff right nearby. Awesome weekend vacation destination. I went back in the fall of last year and had another amazing trip. Couple spots I’d add to my highlights:

Eem - interesting fusion of Thai flavors and Texas BBQ. It’s gotten a lot of hype in Portland and from the national media, and I thought it absolutely lived up to it. Really, really exciting food, one of my favorite meals of the year. It was a festive night though, so that could have contributed. Long wait at basically all times, which we passed at a random bar up the street.

Ok Omens - cool wine bar doing some very interesting stuff. Sort of an elevated comfort food, I guess, but it ate lighter than that description implies, if that makes any sense.

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Eem sounds like something that we’d enjoy. Interesting fusion…sounds right up my husband’s alley.

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