Eat, play, love.

Portland eat

I never knew that I was spoiled.

I took farmer’s markets, fresh-organic-AND-local produce, innovative restaurants, and micro-anything for granted. As a Portlander, I was proud of my city and I knew in the back of my head that not every city is like my hometown. Not every town can have the Rose Festival, Church of Elvis, Voodoo Doughnuts AND the world’s smallest city park. They can’t all be homeless friendly, eco-friendly, and critical mass friendly. They can’t have the Pearl District, which houses Lebanese candy stores that display their goods like precious jewels or corner crepe shops that stay open until the wee hours of the day. Only Portland has the monopoly on the mix.

For my going-away party, I went to Pambiche, an amazing Cuban restaurant and bright walls that cheer up the neighborhood. Although I’m not usually a connoisseur of fried plantain, I do appreciate it. I also appreciate the way the sparkling flavors of Iron Beer, Cuba’s version of Coca-Cola, dances on my tongue. It’s a special place.

Vivace is another one of my newer favorites. During my last week in Portland, I went to no fewer than three creperies.  Thanks to my future brother-in-law, I learned that Le Happy is not only a restaurant but an attitude. The last one I can’t remember the name of. But it’s a cozy walk from PSU.

Stepping Stone is the diner where me and two of my girls went after church. We weren’t the only ones. Someone got hold of the iPod and “Party in the USA” started blasting through the diner. Everyone was sober and singing along. Fullers is the perfect place to have a brunch date on the weekend. The only problem is that everyone seems to agree. It’s always packed.

Stumptown is always one of the best places to get coffee. For coffee snobs and hipsters, it’s the decal to slap on your fixie bicycle or the bumper of your silver passat. I grew to love it after my church started brewing it every week – for five years, more or less, I drank at least one cup of the Hairbender Blend at each service. It feels weird trying out churches where they don’t have micro-roasted coffee. To be honest, it feels weird living somewhere where there aren’t micro-roasters.

If you want something out of the ordinary, the Rimsky KorsaKoffee House is the place to go. Coffee, tea, a concert, and a trippy bathroom make it popular on the weekends.

Papa Haydens and Urban Fondue are great dessert spots in NW. Grab your significant other and get some delicious calories. At least, I think Urban Fondue is the name of the newer fondue place where my dear She-Shooter and I went. The booths are made out of velvet and the stiff backs arch up towards the sky. On the other side of the restaurant is a huge mirror – making it easy to people-watch the other eaters. Papa Hydens is excellent. If you are from Portland and you don’t like, you’re probably lying. Or you had the potent rum-balls without anything to cut the rum.

Fresh Pot is another interesting coffee house. Hot Lips, Mississippi Pizza, and Flying Pie are all amazing pizza places. So amazing that I still have Flying Pie’s number in my phonebook. If you don’t mind eating pork, try the Miss Piggy. You won’t be disappointed. For sushi, Dragonfish rises to the occasion with fun fusion rolls.

Portland City Grill provides a breathtaking view of the city at night. Their baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies are to die for. Bakery Bar is great for another non-corporate coffee experience. Stash Tea has a delightful little outlet where they provide excellent tea at a fraction of the cost. If you like tea, there are great tea houses for you as well.

So why the sudden deluge of deliciousness? Someone asked me how I was handling the non-existent restaurant scene. Well, I went to Lulu’s. That was…interesting. There are many chain restaurants in the area but I’m not a fan of cheap bbq, fried chicken, fried steak, or anything that involves copious amounts of grease. There’s a reason Portland is the 7th skinniest city and San Antonio is the 7th fattest in the nation.

The bright spot of my day? STUMPTOWN delivers!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Eat, play, love.”
  1. Bethany says:

    I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds last week in TX. It seems like we never stop eating, but I do love the food. There are some really awesome restaurants in Austin. Alas, apparently one I really liked in San Antonio closed. Portland sounds like it has a plethora of options (I love reading Laini Taylor’s descriptions of the vendors! We hardly have any of those), but I’m pretty sure you’ll find a lot of gems in TX after you’ve had some time to scout around. I have to admit I do think San Jose is a bit boring though in that regard… land is too expensive.

    • caitlinmuir says:

      I’m hoping to start finding hidden gems. It just takes awhile, right? Same for San Jose…maybe there’ll be a sudden crop of fabulous foodie finds cropping up!

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