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A Trip to Portland Oregon – Foodies Paradise

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My husband and I haven’t been to Portland in a few years so we were very overdue on a food and wine weekend.  We started our spectacular food quest at DOC for dinner.  When we arrived we noticed that it was just down the street from Beast another great restaurant we had the chance to eat at on our last trip.

When we walked in the door we went directly through the kitchen which is in front of the house and said hi to the chefs at work.  The place looks like someones home dining room with a large communal table on one side and just a couple of four tops scattered around the room.  The candle lit space was most inviting and the seating at the table was very cozy.  As for the menu – concise and mouthwatering.

The antipasti was the first thing to order and the Burrata with Puree of Huckleberry and Watercress just screamed Portland. The burrata was sweet and creamy and I thought it paired nicely with the huckleberry mixture as well as the bitterness of the cress.  The Chicken Liver Toasts were another delicacy with puree of pistachio around the plate and crisp sliced radish – definitely a decadent treat!

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For Primi, we shared the housemade Cavatelli with Pork Sugo.  The hand rolled micro pasta with a fresh sauce made of rich pork and flavors of juniper was outstanding.  Our secondi was King Salmon with a cold New Potato Salad with Arugula, Snap Peas and Dill.  You can’t go to the Northwest without ordering salmon and this dish was so fresh and delicious, I must duplicate it at home.

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For dessert we went with the Chocolate Cake with Blue Cheese Caramel Ice Cream.  The cake was more like a fudgy light brownie and the ice cream — well fantastic.  I could of gone for a hint more blue cheese in the ice cream but, most would find it great.  As for service – spot on – with great recommendations on wine and food.  We are definitely going back!

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The first morning of our trip we headed to the Rose Garden.  It was a little premature but the flowers were just starting to bloom.  For lunch, we headed to Olympic Provisions.  Olympic Provisions is known for the charchuterie and they sell it almost everywhere here in the states.  There are two restaurants in Portland and we opted for the one in the Northwest because it was easier to get there from the Rose Garden.

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The menu was simple but definitely loaded with great selections.  We decided on a French Board and a Strawberry Mixed Greens Salad with Candied Walnuts.  I thought the contrast of a tangy sweet salad with the meat would go great.  The charchuterie is very well done, the French Garlic Sausage which was served warm was particularly delish.  As for the salad well…. a little citrusy – needed some more olive oil but, nice.

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Next door is a great tea shop that hand bags the teas in front of you called Steven Smith Teamaker.  Thanks to our great contact Katie Burnett http://www.katie-burnett.com/ for advising us on this one! If you like tea, it is worth a stop.

For this trip we decided to stay in Portland and taste wine because there are a whole new group of wineries that have popped up in the city since our last trip.  Cyril’s at the Clay Pigeon Winery was our next stop.  At Cyril’s people just come in and buy a glass of wine but they were kind enough to give us a taste of all the local wine before we made our selection.  And if you are in the mood for cheese – this is the place.  Sasha Davies is the cheese buyer and she has some fantastic selections from the local area and beyond.

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After a quick rest at The Nines, we were off to dinner at Le Pigeon.  Le Pigeon has been in Portlad for a number of years now and we had never had the chance to dine there until now.  The kitchen is small in nature with a handful of chefs working at the helm.  The communal table is full with people and they sat us in the center (better for viewing everyone’s food).  The menu has a list of eight starters and five entrees with a tasting menu option.  Not hungry enough to do the tasting menu, we ordered one starter and two entress.

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The starter of Razor Clams with a Bacon Glacage (Glaze or Sauce) were memorable.  The clams were chopped chunky with a thick cheesy bacon sauce ladled over the top and then broiled slightly and served in a large shell.  I could of definitely eaten two myself.  Yum!

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Next, came the entree of Grilled Veal Breast over a Huitlacoche (corn fungus) Butter and Green Beans.  The corn mixture and rich veal stock beneath the meat sounded very interesting and it was absolutely delicious.  The veal was cooked perfectly, seared outside with a tender center.   Braised Rabbit with Cheese Shells with Truffle Viniagrette was our other entree and it was just a flavorful as the veal.  My husband died and went to heaven with the pasta in cheese sauce, hah!

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For dessert, we had an order or Foie Gras Profiteroles which just sounded outstanding and they were.  Le Pigeon remains Portlands darling!

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After a fairly good night sleep we headed to the farmer’s market in downtown Portland to check out the fresh produce and breakfast items.  I remember from our last visit the Pine State Biscuits were creating some terrific looking Biscuits and Gravy and on a drizzly Portland morning it sounded fun to share.

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After a biscuit we definitely needed some exercise so we headed out of town to the Columbia Gorge.  We stopped to see the sights and hiked to a few waterfalls.  We drove to the cute town of Hood River and stopped in for a beer at Double Mountain Brewery.

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Before dinner we headed to Kask – a cocktail bar – for a quick drink.  We had the opportunity to watch the runners go down the street while sipping on a Ward 8 and a dirty martini before the Starlight parade that was happening that evening.

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Off to dinner at Racion – a newish restaurant in downtown.  Racion is a Spanish Molecularish restaurant where the food is cooked sous vide style and then seared on a tabletop grill.  Chefs Anthony and Roscoe were busy at work and spared time to describe in detail each dish.  We ordered one tasting menu and two other small plates in addition.

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For our amuse bouche we had a little taste of strawberry panna cotta with chive flower (flower from my husband’s cousin’s farm – Dancing Roots Farm).  We started our meal with the Asparagus Salad with kale seeds, pickled fennel, cider foam and egg yolk puree.  The salad was fresh and interesting.  I especially liked the kale seeds which gave it a nice crunch.  Next, the Smoked Trout with New Potatoes, Artichoke Hearts and Buttermilk Creme.  The trout was nicely done – not too smoky or salty – nice flavors.  We had the Chickpea Gnocchi next which was interesting but, a little dense for my palate.

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The Game Bird was nicely done – tender and seared with curry spices.  The Pork Tenderloin was my favorite, not dry just perfectly cooked, with a porcini mousse and pearl barley.  The Butifarra Sausage was seared on the table top grill and paired with fava beans and mint.  It was very good as well.

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As for dessert, we shared a White Chocolate Cake with a sous vide White Strawberry and Celery Ice Cream which was very unique.  The flavors were good but, I wouldn’t say my favorite.  Overall, Racion is a great place to dine at an “out of the box” place in Portland.

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The next morning we were off to Ned Ludd for brunch to meet my husband’s cousins.  Ned Ludd run by Chef Jason French is a truly artisanal restaurant where everything is sourced locally and cooked in a wood burning oven.

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The brunch menu reads like a dream and the wood oven baked muffin with strawberry butter delivers!  The eggs are all cooked in the wood oven as well.  The chef prepares them with perfect timing and temperature of his extremely hot oven.  The Frittata of Nettles was fluffly and light with a nice golden crust.

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Crisp Polenta with Braised Greens and Fried Eggs were another fantastic treat.  I do recommend ordering the sweet glazed bacon with it.   For dessert, the Oven Kissed Chocolate Chip Cookie comes out charred but the texture and flavors divine.  Chef Jason was very kind to come and chat with us as well.  I enjoyed hearing his passion for fresh and local food.  We need to go back for dinner next time.

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Portland - 2013 098-thumbnail 300Off to wine taste with a passport purchased for $20.00 at Cyril’s with a number of local Portland Urban Wineries ( Southeast Wine Collective, Enso, Alchemy Wines, Jan Marc etc.)

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After our great brunch and a day of tasting we decided to stay in town and walk to dinner.  Raven & Rose was just a few blocks away and I had read good things about the six month old restaurant.

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We sat at the chefs counter to view the cooks at work.  We started our meal with the most delicious sweet breads I think I have ever eaten.  Crispy sweet breads over a bed of sunchokes and brussels sprouts then tossed in a herbal sauce and topped with bacon.  Sweet breads are usually so rich you can’t eat many, that’s definitely not the case here!

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Next, wood oven braised Lamb Meatballs with Corona Beans and Collard Greens.  The balls were tender and juicy and the beans went nicely in this hearty dish.  Lastly Rabbit two ways – The breast and leg cooked to perfection over a bed of creamed spinach, rabbit sugo and a grilled biscuit.  Are you kidding you ask?  No, I am not!  Comfort food gone wild!  The chefs were very nice as well taking time to chat over each dish.

The day of departure we decided to stop in at Bunk Sandwiches on our way to the airport to grab something to take with us.  Funny, only half the sandwich made it on the plane.  I recommend the Pork Cubano – hot, fresh and delicious!

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Another great Portland weekend.  If you haven’t been to this city, you don’t know what you are missing!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Brenda mecier March 9, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I like the new website. It was fun to review the video of you making creme brûlée. Makes me want to hang out with you!

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