'Portland is where young people go to retire.' Portlandia
For a girl that loves local produce, artisanal purveyors, design driven products and those community feels (did I mention food carts?), Portland was everything I could ever ask for! We spent four nights in Portland based at Ace Hotel over the New Year's break. It was absolutely freezing but we found warmth and comfort in the city's friendly hospitality and incredible offerings.
STAY | ACE HOTEL
📍1022 SW Stark Street
For me, Ace Hotel is Portland. It's located on the edge of the Pearl District and smack bang in the middle of it all. The lobby is a hive of social activity with people tapping away on Macbooks whilst sipping on Stumptown coffee. We kept going back to Clyde Common (it's just off the lobby), and it's right nearby the Alder Street food cart pod and so many great eateries.
Loved the personalised touches like the locally crafted cookies with a hand written welcome note on the bed and a list of where's best to celebrate NYE. The rooms had an industrial feel, a little no frills but super comfy with big fluffy pillows and a hard (enough) bed. Attention to detail was 10/10... honour bar full of the best local brews and wines, Malin & Goetz products (like you actually want to use these!) in the shower and impeccable service. Check out my blog post here.
☕️☕️ | STUMPTOWN COFFEE
Need coffee in Portland? Stumptown Coffee is the answer. You'll find plenty of locations around the city but my favourite is right next door to the Ace Hotel. Grab a coffee, sink into the green canvas lounge and watch the world pass you by.
EAT | CLYDE COMMON
📍1014 SW Stark St
Clyde Common is also right off Ace's lobby, but that's as hotel restaurant as this place gets. Start your day with a hot breakfast, a hit list of staples right through to more decadent offerings to slam down with a coffee. Stop in for a quick snack, biscuits with housemade jam or pull up a spot at the bar and graze on snacks.
EAT | TASTY & ALDER
📍580 SW 12th Ave
Tasty & Alder is a trailblazer in Portland's brunch scene, they've even published a cookbook 'Hello My Name is Tasty' that pays homeage to the hits. Much like Clyde Common, we kept going back to this bright and cheery corner eatery. Morning, noon, night.. it doesn't matter just make sure you are hungry.
FOOD CART POD | ALDER STREET
📍Southwest Alder & Washington Streets
Alder Pod boasts biggest downtown collection of Portland’s food carts. Located between Southwest Alder and Washington Streets, from southwest 9th to southwest 10th Avenues. Hot favourite includes Nong's Khao Man Gai and Mac & Trees.
EAT | NONG'S KHAO MAN GAI
Khao Man Gai. Hainanese chicken. Chicken and rice. Whatever you want to call it, just make sure you get there early and before the fried chicken skins sell out. Nong Poonsukwattana knows chicken rice and it is easily Portland's most popular food cart. So good you'll try and recreate it at home using Munchies recipe when those cravings kick in.
EAT | MAC & TREES
Is there anything better than mac n cheese?! Mac & Trees has been serving up the good stuff since the summer of 2015. Choose from the specials or build your own. I've noticed they started adding vegan cheese to the menu too.
🍩🍩 | BLUE STAR DONUTS
📍 1237 SW Washington St
Holy smokes! The donuts at Blue Star are mind blowing. The bright hued Blueberry, Bourbon & Basil glaze is a must! Made onsite using fresh blueberries, fresh basil, sugar and a splash of Bulleit bourbon. Now that I'm home wish I'd also had a Hard Apple Cider Fritter.
There is a bit of hype around Voodoo, another donut joint, but a few different foodie sources said not to bother.
EAT | MOTHER'S BISTRO
📍 212 SW Stark Street
Homely, hearty food just like Mom would make. You'll find no fuss breakfast, lunch and dinner at Mother's Bistro. You won't be blown away but sometimes a little simplicity and wholesome cooking is all you need.
FOOD CART POD | CARTOPIA
📍1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland’s late night food cart pod has some of the best. Grab some eats and gather around the fire in winter or find a spot under the marquee.
🥔🥔 | POTATO CHAMPION
📍 1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Located in Cartopia is Potato Champion! A food cart dedicated to the humble spud. I would do anything to dive into another serve of the PB&J fries. Fries topped with satay sauce and smoky chipotle raspberry goodness. Bam!
EAT | PBJs GRILLED
📍 1207 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Toasted sandwiches done good.
*Update Jan 2017 - looks like these guys are now closed.
EAT | POK POK
📍3345 SE Division St
No matter how early you head to Pok Pok, you'll still be last in line. But don't worry.. it's absolutely worth the wait! An ode to Northern Thailand street food by US chef Andy Ricker. Opening in 2005, it's the stuff of legends and cemented Division Streets row of restaurants. Order the famous Ike's wings and let staff talk you through the menu.
EAT | WHISKEY SODA LOUNGE
📍3131 SE Division St
Scoring a table at Pok Pok straight away is unlikely, wait nearby at Whiskey Soda Lounge and order yourself some soda, drinks and try the Plaa Meuk Ping (toasted dried cuttlefish).
🍦🍦 | SALT & STRAW
📍3345 SE Division St
Salt & Straw is a cult artisanal ice cream shop. Focusing on local produce and seasonal flavours, the team often collaborate with like-minded purveyors. If you only limit yourself to two scoops... go for these awesome collabs Pear and Blue Cheese (w/ cheesemongers Rogue Creamery) and Arbequina Olive Oil (w/ Red Ridge Farms' Oregon Olive Mill ).
SEE | PORTLAND FARMER'S MARKET
📍 1010 SW Park Ave
Located in the the quintessentially American surrounds of Portland's State University, the Portland Farmer's Market are open all year round. I wish we had travelled during spring or summer as the markets would have been plentiful. Go to stock up the kitchen in your AirBNB and enjoy street food from the stall holders. The money bowl and tamale were two of my fave eats on the whole trip, all the pics are here. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Portland Art Museum are close by and also worth checking out.
SEE | PITTOCK MANSION
📍 3229 NW Pittock Drive
Built by owner of The Oregonian newspaper Henry Pittock in 2914. Pittock's Mansion is bursting with history and remarkable stories. We were there during the Christmas holidays and every room was adorned with festive decorations. Make an afternoon of it and take in the breathtaking views of Portland.
PORTLAND FOOD GUIDES
I spend more time reviewing food and travel guides than I do on the damn accommodation! Here are some guides and platforms I'd highly recommend you check out before you embark:
* Food truck nerds can well.. nerd out on Portland Food Carts.
* Are you a glutard? So is my soul sister Andjelka. If you are into gluten free delights, wholefoods, yoga and a slower style of living you'll love her curated guide to Portland on Life Curator.
* My good friends at The City Lane are building a gastronomers guide to eats around the globe and have rustled up a nifty guide for Portland (great for beer lovers!).
* Citizens of the States swear by Yelp. You'll find it super handy when travelling for honest peer reviews.
WISH LIST | FOR NEXT TIME
If you've got any questions on my Portland adventure, get in touch via comment below.