Follow Me Foodie to Portland, Oregon!
A Glimpse at the Portland Food Scene, Markets, Food Carts & Trucks
I recently came back from Portland, Oregon and the food scene is impressive! I didn’t doubt it one bit though considering it’s been nominated and named as one of the top food cities in North America by several “foodie” media.
This is a very small taste and quick glimpse of the Portland food scene, but barely a fair representation of everything it has to offer. With a short couple days to devour and savour, I could only capture and eat so much. I had a few priorities that I had to check out, but Portland, be sure I will return for a second helping.
Food carts and food trucks dominate the Portland food scene. It was intense. Sure it would put the Vancouver food cart and truck scene to shame, but it would probably put any city to shame when it comes to this cateogry. It’s not that Vancouver doesn’t have many carts (as we certainly do now), but Portland is just bursting with them. Although they would pop up randomly, most of them would be found in clumps in parking lots throughout the city, which made it so much more convenient.
The Reggie from Pine State Biscuits
Parts of the food scene really reminded me of the food culture in Austin, Texas and I’d say it’s heavily influenced by them. Many of the menus have an ode to Southern and Southwestern classics and good old traditional comfort food. There’s no doubt a love for diners, but they also do it up with the very popular trend of gourmet comfort food with a twist.
Venison Biscuit & Gravy from Tasty n Sons
It didn’t matter how pricey the restaurants was, but I almost saw “biscuits”, “mac and cheese” and “fried chicken” on every single menu. The question was, was it being executed with gourmet or grease? There were several options for both!
Lengua en Salsa from Pambiche
Although traditional, it was also very eclectic. Since it is a multi-cultural city there was a lot of cultural influence and a touch of fusion in their menus. However unlike Vancouver, the fusion wasn’t always Asian or Japanese. Being that it is closer to the South, there was more Latin influence, but sometimes it wasn’t even inspired by ethnic cuisines. It was just exciting and creative in its own quirky ways.
I have to mention the obsession with Stumptown Coffee, which is an amazing independent coffee roaster born out of Portland. I rarely saw any other brands being offered anywhere. It’s available in Seattle, New York and Everything Cafe in Vancouver, BC too.
It was just as easy to take notice of the immense love for “Happy Hour”. Happy Hours were almost offered at every restaurant and it featured discounted food and drinks. That includes alcoholic drinks too. What can I say? Portland loves their coffee, but they also love their drinks!
I also noticed that Thai food seemed to be the Japanese food of Vancouver. It was everywhere. It did catch me off guard to see so many Westerners running the Thai restaurants though. It wasn’t all of them, but it was noticeable to me.
Divine Pie at Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University every Saturday, March 19 – December 17th. The pies here were great! It reminded me of the ones I love from OrganicLives and Gorilla Food in Vancouver, BC.
I have to make a shout out to the wide amount of allergy friendly, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and raw food available in Portland. There’s a strong emphasis on local, organic, all natural and sustainable ingredients, and this to me was all very reminiscent of Vancouver, BC.
A Glimpse at the Portland Farmers Markets, Food Carts & Trucks
The famous Pine State Biscuits at Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University every Saturday, March 19 – December 17th. This is where it all started before its expansion to 2 store front locations. I tried them at one of their store fronts.
I didn’t know there was such a large variety of cherries (Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University)…
Lavender from a lavender vendor featuring all lavender infused jams at the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University. I wish Vancouver Farmers Markets sold lavender that looked this healthy!
Pearl Bakery is a beloved Portland bakery with a store front, but they also have a stand at the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University.
Ruby Jewel Scoops (Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University) is an all natural handmade ice cream sandwich food cart. You bet I had one… or three. How could I deny Lemon Cookie with Honey Lavender, or Dark Chocolate Cookie with Salted Caramel, or even the standard Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Bean? I couldn’t resist.
The Waffle Window (SE 36th Ave. and SE Hawthorne Blvd) is literally a hole in a brick wall. It’s a local favourite in a random location at the back of a building. It’s only a take out window with an outdoor seating area in the back.
The Three B (Bacon, Brie, Basil) Waffle with pepper bacon, slices of brie and fresh basil, served with home made peach jam ($4.50), and the Farm Fusion Waffle with balsamic baked mushrooms and onions, roasted red pepper, spinach, tomato, and lemon-thyme marinated chevre ($4) caught my interest. The sweet waffles sounded more ordinary.
Green Tea Mint Lemonade is their house specialty. Fresh lemon juice, mint, sugar, water and green tea ($2). It was a refreshing ice cold lemonade with a very subtle hint of mint, and I couldn’t really taste the green tea. It’s a bit sweet for me.
The Berry Bliss Waffle – The Original Summer special! Fresh, local, seasonal berries with whipped cream and berry coulis ($4). The berries change with the season so expect anything from strawberries & raspberries to marions and logans. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t try a waffle. I was saving room for something else. I know. But, next time!
The Lunch @the Box menu was about twice the size of their breakfast menu. It featured a LiL Mo (Double beef, double cheddar cheese, four strip of bacon, ketchup & mayo. NO veggies! $8), the Monstrosity (A LiL Mo with two Texas toast grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun $10), and a Burgermeister (Two all beef patties, two slices of American cheese, grilled onions, lettuce & pickles smothered in Thousand Island dressing on a three piece bun $7). Everything sounded like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives material. A delicious heart attack.
Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack (1930 NE Everett St.) is a less obvious choice for fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches, but it’s well liked by locals. With home made sausage gravy, biscuits, grits, pickles and more, it’s supposed to bring the Southern goodness of Nashville to Portland, Oregon.
Boolkogi Taco Korean BBQ (SW 5th & Oak St.) similar to Vancouver’s Coma Food Truck in offerings.
Fairy Floss Northwest is at the Portland Saturday & Sunday Market on 45 SW Ankeny Street. It’s a new spin on cotton candy. It’s organic, all natural and made with pure cane sugar with unique flavours like Birthday Cake, Rum & Cola, Mint Chip Ice Cream, and Earl Grey with Honey & Lemon ($3.50 a cone).
Strawberry Milkshakes – 4/6
- I tried the milkshakes and the ice cream was a bit melted… lol j/k! I only eat display food when it’s fresh.