Hello! And Happy Fall! I have definitely taken a hiatus from the blog for the past 2 months, but work and travel had us a little consumed. We recently went on a big trip to the Pacific Northwest, and had a vacation to remember! This place was on my bucket list for a long time, and love that my sister and best friend moved out there so we would have a reason to visit.
We started our trip in Portland, Oregon to see Katie; she’s busy killing it in vet school at Corvallis, but drove over to the city for a few days. The Pacific Northwest does not lack food options, so many that it can be overwhelming when trying to figure out what to eat. So, here are some tips before traveling that should help you with the selection process:
- Reservations or get there early – some places did not take reservations for parties less than 6, so be prepared to eat late if you don’t get there early enough before the wait starts. If you do find a place, call ahead or go online to reserve a table if they have that option.
- Pick an area of the city – there is not a single bad restaurant in Portland (that we found anyway), so pick something in the area that you are exploring. Each section of the city we visited had a local spot that was easy to access and delicious!
- Don’t search “the best places to eat in Portland” – you will become so overwhelmed with the options. Talk to the locals, read travel blogs, or walk around the different neighborhoods to find something!
There are cute coffee shops and diners scattered throughout the city that will have plenty of standard breakfast options. But if you want a unique donut experience, stop in Blue Star Donuts! VooDoo Donuts are very popular, everyone’s heard of them, but the best kept secret in Portland is Blue Star. Imagine your favorite cake donut with “adult” toppings; we settled for Apple Pie and Bourbon Crisp, Cinnamon Vanilla, Hard Apple Strudel, and Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk ( my personal favorite). They were a great bite right before exploring the Nob Hill Area.
This was hands down my favorite meal we had in Portland; we spent most of the morning searching endless brunch options and found this place across the river. This little French restaurant was so charming, but delivered a kick a$$ brunch. We started with their house Bloody Mary’s, which include a beer taste to follow each sip (genius!). The Bloody Mary’s were paired with the French Fries and aioli sauce for an appetizer, and Katie had the mimosas (which were also very good). For the main course, I had the House Salad toast they were premiering for their fall menu. It was home made bread with a goat cheese spread and roasted beet salad on top. I enjoyed every bite, and could have repeated that meal several times during our visit.
On our last full day we headed over to the Nob Hill area to do some shopping. (PS I highly recommend picking an Air B & B here for your trip). While walking around, we found this beautiful restaurant called Fireside, and stopped in for lunch. The menu wasn’t big, but the plates we had were full of flavor. I had the market fish selection, and definitely suggest you go with the fresh fish option when this close to the Pacific. The halibut was perfectly cooked, and paired with a quinoa, cucumber salad and tahini dressing.
Katie picked our first night’s dinner after landing in Portland, and nothing sounds better coming off a long day of travel than homemade Italian. This was definitely my favorite dinner spot we visited; Bar Mingo is a cute Italian restaurant on the edge of the Nob Hill Area with a laid back vibe. We started the night with a cheese board and caprese salad, and paired them with an Italian red wine. After indulging in honey goat cheese, aged blue cheese, and amazing Heirloom tomatoes, we ordered homemade pasta dishes. These were light and simple but tasted sooo good!
Phil picked out our second night at the highly recommended Imperial, located downtown. They have a variety of farm to table dishes and served some of the freshest ingredients. I took advantage of their seafood options, and Phil claims he had the best burger he’s ever eaten. Katie and I couldn’t turn down the oyster appetizer, and I had the grilled octopus for the main course! For desert, we decided to share the homemade cookie with ice cream, and honestly we should have each gotten our own 🙂
Every bite while traveling through Portland was delicious! Hopefully this little food guide will help you with some of your choices! We stayed downtown, but found most of our meals in the districts surrounding the main area. If you’ve been to Portland, share your favorite food choices below!