Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Year's Eve!! 

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon
After spending Christmas out on the Oregon coast we headed inland for a couple of nights in the city before heading back to California. I returned home from Portland yesterday, slightly under the weather but still in one piece after a 36 hour food crawl through the city with my siblings. 

Here's Portland in 36 hours.

Arrive 8pm Saturday night. Head to the nearest dive bar - Kelly's Olympian - for beers.  This bar has been around since 1902 when it was originally called Kelly's Saloon. Its the 3rd oldest establishment in the history of Portland. Awesome. We promptly befriend the doorman/bouncer who happened to also be a vegan cook and says we must check out Departure Restaurant at the top of The Nines Hotel. Done and Done. 

We head over to the rooftop of The Nines. The open-air rooftop lounge area was stunning - full views of downtown Portland. Chef Gregory's Crispy Pork Belly is the absolute best we have ever had - served with pickled cherries, candied ginger, and pumpkin seeds - just insane. We also loved the crispy squid with spicy miso and lime.  Great stop.

Next we grab a cab and head over to Southeast Portland for dinner at Biwa. Biwa is an izakaya-syle Japanese restaurant with an expansive sake menu and super fun cocktails. Our meal was outstanding - sashimi, bbq rice balls, udon with pork shoulder, ramen, Japanese and Korean pickles - everything was delicious. 

We call another cab and scoot over to our midnight reservation at Voicebox - a private karaoke lounge - this turns out to more fun than any of us could ever have imagined. After two hours of singing we grab a couple of sriracha-cream cheese street dogs and head back to the hotel. 

By 9am Sunday morning, we are mapping out day 2 of our adventure.  The morning starts with a brisk walk downtown to Stumptown Coffee then over to Voodoo Doughnuts where we stand in line for 20 minutes waiting to enter the shop. Loved the Captain my Caption and Classic Voodoo doughnuts.

Next, a cab ride over to Southeast Portland for an early lunch at Pok Pok - world's most outrageous fish sauce chicken wings - they were so good, we actually had them twice in one day (more on that later). 
Other highlights included the green papaya salad and the Pok Pok Bloody Mary made with muddled Thai Chilies. 

We take a short walk down the street to check out the ice cream at Salt & Straw next. Our favorite flavors were the Pear with Blue Cheese and the Strawberry Balsamic. Super friendly service here. 

Next a 2nd lunch over at Lardo to check out their sandwiches. Our favorites included the Pork Meatball Banh Mi and the Pork Belly Gyro. Also great french fries, laced with parmesan and rosemary. 

We headed back over the bridge to the downtown area to walk around for a few hours and then we found ourselves over at Clyde Common  for an early happy hour. We had a couple of cold beers, warm olives and almonds, and their daily grilled cheese special - pickled jalapeño with sharp white cheddar. 

Next we went back over to the southeast side of town and walked around town over there before heading into Whiskey Soda Lounge for Singha Slushies and deep-fried eggs with tamarind sauce. 

We finished the evening with a spectacular meal at Ava Gene's - incredible italian fare - we loved all of the beautifully crafted vegetable dishes  and the pastas were out of this world - it was a tie between the Campanelle Alla Bolognese and the Squid Ink Linguine with Dungeness Crab, Clams, and Jalapeño. They had an outstanding Italian wine list as well - highly recommend this spot!

There were a few spots we didn't make it to but that gives us a starting point for our next trip.

Wishing you all a truly magical New Years and an amazing 2014! Cheers! 

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