There are few cities that I have been to that have captured my heart or stomach the way Portland does; It’s an interesting combination of working class charm with modern metropolitan oddity. I visit here so much that it feels like I practically live in Stay Alfred rentals! I decided to visit friends for my 32nd birthday and take them on my gluttonous city adventures. Bless them for their patience and their car, because it made the trip infinitely easier. Don’t get me wrong, Portland’s public transportation is stellar, but nothing beats friends piled in a car exploring the city. I didn’t get a chance to try all the restaurants I wanted to, but it was one of the most successful weekends of gluttony that I have had in my adult life. I also gave a homeless guy 5 dollars and he walked into a sex shop. It has nothing to do with anything, but it amused me for the rest of the weekend (don’t judge, it was Valentine’s day). It did also make me think how lucky I am to be able to visit sites like Lovegasm.co to save myself the embarrassment of having to venture into a sex shop.
Boise Fry Co.
1902 West Burnside Street Portland, OR 97209 I took the MAX from the airport to my hostel in Northwest Portland. Several blocks down the street is Boise Fry Company, a small chain from Idaho that specializes in French fries. How many different fries can one restaurant make? Boise Fry Co. does them five ways, with 6 different potatoes to choose from; and with a bar full of different salts and sauces, the possibilities are endless. Feeling like a rich wallstreet fat cat? order the “Bourgeios,” fries cooked in duck fat and garnished with truffle salt! enjoy it you privileged sell out. For us proletariat foodies, we take control of the means of fry flavor production:
The Grilled Cheese Grill
SW Alder St & SW 10th Ave Portland, OR 97205
1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205 Lardo was suggested to me by multiple foodies on instagram and with good reason. Their emphasis on quality meat and interesting sandwiches make it a must for any lunch enthusiast. While you can order all kinds of protein, pork seems to be their specialty. I took
1711 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214 After a late night of drunken revelry, there are few things better than a good sandwich. There aren’t many late night places in Orange County, let alone late night restaurants that serve stellar food. Devil’s Dill not only has a badass name, but one hell of a menu. They’re open till 3 a.m. and also deliver late into the night, when all the pious have gone to bed and us sinners want something that isn’t greasy diner food. (click on pictures to enlarge)
Meat Cheese Bread
1406 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214 Meat Cheese Bread is a small restaurant connected with a great bar that has a huge beer selection. The Meat Cheese Bread side is small with a nice patio, but you have the option of grabbing a drink and having your sandwiches next door at Beer. The owners of these establishments obviously aren’t fans of frilly names, but the food is solid and the beer selection is admirable. My favorite sandwich was the bacon and sweet potato with goat cheese. It was the most unique sandwich I had all weekend. (click on pictures to enlarge)
Shut up and Eat
3848 SE Gladstone St Portland OR 97202 I don’t make it a point to try restaurants who impose ultimatums on me, but I was happy that I swallowed my pride and tried Shut up and Eat. Their menu has a lot of safe Italian inspired options, so if you’re not feeling adventurous but still want really well made sandwiches, Shut up and Eat is right for you. Their toasted Italian rolls are flavorful and perfect for holding their signature red gravy. Be sure to check out their breakfast menu too, there aren’t as many options but they are quite good.
On the final morning before my flight back to California, my dear Oregonian friends decided that I should be sent off with one more Portland sandwich in my belly. This Eastside Deli is nestled in the North Portland neighborhood of Saint Johns, but they have plenty of locations throughout Portland for you to choose from. They have a great selection of sandwiches on their menu, including a strong vegetarian/vegan menu.
Other Notable Portland things
Portland’s food scene is truly something to be experienced and appreciated but there is a lot more to do than just eat. While I went specifically to spend time with friends and consume ungodly amounts of calories, I was thoroughly impressed by the city’s culture and people. Whether you want to get lost in other worlds at Powell’s books or enjoy the many libations in downtown PDX, there’s something for anyone here.