On the Road Eats: Portland City Guide
As home to a variety of craft beers, artisanal coffees and fresh farm-to-fork fare, Portland’s growing culinary scene caters to both drinks and dinner.
Grab a cup of joe and feast on the luscious Pork Belly Cubano at Bunk Sandwiches. Or if you’re a veggie enthusiast, head to Farm Cafe for the rustic eggplant burger. For dessert, try Sahagún’s KA-POW! coffee chocolate bars, made using coffee beans instead of cocoa beans to create a whole new symphony of flavors. No matter where you turn, Portland hits all the right notes.
1. Bunk Sandwiches
On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, pork fanatic Chris Cosentino speaks anything but "bunk" about Bunk's Pork Belly Cubano. Bunk's take on the iconic Cuban sandwich uses knock-out pork belly grilled with mustard, Swiss and ham. Other favorites include the roast beef sandwich with sharp cheddar.
2. Pine State Biscuits
At this comfort food restaurant, everything is served up on biscuits. Guy could not get enough of the classic biscuits and gravy, noting that the biscuit had the "best texture ever." He also devoured The Reggie with fried chicken, bacon, cheddar and gravy all inside a "flaky and light" biscuit.
3. Arleta Library Bakery & Cafe
Look no further than this neighborhood cafe for comfort food with culinary-school flair. Guy appreciated the complexity found in the savory Sicilian hash made with braciola. The sweet potato biscuits with pork and rosemary sausage were "dynamite." Diners also enjoy the Semolina Griddlecakes.
4. Higgins Restaurant & Bar
Higgins celebrates Portland's farming heritage and locally grown produce, meat and seafood with a seasonal menu and a dedication to sustainable farmers in the area. Their imaginative dishes are reasonably priced, and Rachael calls dining at the restaurant "a wonderful experience."
5. The Gilt Club
With an extensive cocktail list and speakeasy atmosphere, The Gilt Club serves eclectic dishes to late-night Portland locals. Stop by the upscale American bistro at happy hour for an order of pork rinds, which Rahm Fama calls "crunchy and juicy," and stick around for dinner, served until 2 a.m.
6. Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain
Guy's visit to downtown Portland led him to The Blueplate Lunch Counter, where Chef Jeff Reiter excels in classic American comfort foods. Guy loved the gourmet burger sliders made with basil mayonnaise, and the "primo" mushroom and bacon mac 'n' cheese, adding, "Here's a guy who is making it work."
7. Byways Cafe
At the Byways Cafe, co-owner Collin McFadden makes her top-selling Corned Beef Hash with a combo of mustard, brown sugar and melted cheddar cheese. Guy was amazed by Megan Brinkley's homemade desserts, such as German Chocolate Cake, Fruit-Filled Scones, and Key Lime Pie.
8. Clear Creek Distillery
Using fruits grown in the Hood River Valley of Portland, Ore., Clear Creek Distillery has been producing grappas and brandies for more than 26 years. Stop by for a tasting of chilled pear brandy, which Bobby enjoyed on his visit, or look for Clear Creek products in wine and liquor stores nationwide.
9. The Farm Cafe
The Farmhouse Veggie Burger at this Portland establishment rocked Duff's world. Made with eggplant, homemade zucchini pickles, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, baby greens and spicy brown mustard in an artisan bun, the burger earns Duff's vote as one "amazing" combination.
10. Otto's Sausage Kitchen & Meat Market
At Otto's they're serving up 50 different kinds of sausages seven days a week. The old-fashioned hot dogs are "tender and creamy," according to Guy. Besides assorted bratwursts, deli meats like corned beef and roast beef are also available. For his sandwich, Guy got the "killer" smoked pastrami.
11. Pacific Pie Company
When Rahm Fama was on a quest to find a lunch that wouldn't break the bank on Meat and Potatoes, he couldn't wait to visit Pacific Pie Co. The savory pies include classic chicken, pulled pork and curried lentil; Rahm's favorite was the Beef and Stout Pie, which he thought was ''perfect.''
12. Podnah's Pit Barbecue
This BBQ joint's doing it their own way with a self-made smoker cranking out 30 tons of 'cue a year, from spareribs and chicken to pulled pork and classic Texas brisket. They're smoking everything -- lamb loaded with cumin, fresh trout, etc. -- but don't leave without trying the fire-torched salsa.
13. Pok Pok
The heavy Oregon rain doesn't keep Chef Andy Rickers from cooking up some of his favorite dishes he brought home from his travels across Asia. Guy was all smiles as he ate the grilled boar with chile-lime garlic sauce and the spicy Vietnamese chicken wings topped with fried garlic.
14. Sahagun Chocolate Shop
Look for decadent Sahagun chocolates, handmade by Portland resident Elizabeth Montes, at local restaurants or in her online shop. Try the KA-POW! Coffee bar or the Oregon Kiss, made with hazelnut and milk chocolate. The Neelys say they "pop in your mouth."