Salt & Straw

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A trip to Salt & Straw is a must when visiting Portland. Now that they opened a location in Seattle, I guess that makes it more convenient for us to visit as well. After lunch at The Waiting Room, we walked by Salt & Straw and of course a line up had formed.

 

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The line moved a bit slow this time so we probably waited 30 minutes before we got our ice cream. The nice thing is that you can try as many flavours as you want once it’s your turn.

 

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The waffle cones are freshly made and smells delicious throughout the store. They have classic flavours but also seasonal flavours that switch up every month.

 

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Honey Lavender and Smoked Sea Salt with Chocolate Covered Feuilletine

The last time I visited, I had the Honey Lavender and I loved it. So of course, I had to get it one more time. Both the honey and lavender are sourced in Portland. If you enjoy floral flavours, then this is perfect for you. As for the Smoked Sea Salt with Chocolate Covered Feuilletine, this was part of their limited edition flavours. The ice cream features a cherry-wood smoked sea salt-base with chocolate-covered feuilletine folded into it. The feuillentine are light and crispy! Love the sweet and salty pairing of this ice cream.

Overall, Salt & Straw did not disappoint once again! Worth the wait and a must when visiting Portland!

Pros:
– Great flavours and well executed

Cons:
– Be prepared to wait in line!

Price Range: USD$5-7 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free street parking on weekends Overall: 4

 

Salt & Straw Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Ruby Jewel Scoops

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Ruby Jewel Scoops was nearby our hotel, so after doing some shopping, I suggested we grab a snack. The shop features handmade ice cream and are also famous for making ice cream sandwiches with their cookies! There was a bit of a line up in the afternoon, especially because they only had two people scooping. You can choose to have your ice cream in a cup or add an extra dollar for a waffle cone.

 

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Caramel with Salted Chocolate

We decided to get a single scoop of Caramel with Salted Chocolate to share. The ice cream was creamy and it was not too sweet because the salted chocolate balanced it out. The waffle cone itself was okay but I prefer the ones at Rain or Shine. Decent size for the price and nice that it’s conveniently located where all the shopping is.

Pros:
– Great variety of flavours to choose from – many of which use local ingredients

Cons:
– Waffle cone is just average

Price Range: USD$3-8 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Ruby Jewel Scoops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

RingSide Fish House (Portland Dining Month)

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When we visited Portland, it happened to be Portland Dining Month where many restaurants offered three course menus for only USD$33. This is essentially the same concept as Vancouver’s Dine out Festival. We decided to try RingSide Fish House which is known to be a classic spot among the locals. The restaurant is located in the Fox Tower in central downtown. The restaurant ambiance was very nice and service was spot on.

 

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RingSide Onion Rings

The RingSide Onion Rings were not included in the three course menu, but we decided to add this to start as the menu said that James Beard declared these as “The Best I’ve Ever Had!”. We also noticed many other diners were having this. We ordered the small size which was USD$10.50 and the onion rings were huge! The rings were lightly battered and not oily tasting at all. It paired deliciously with the ketchup and a aioli mayo sauce. I highly recommend getting this if you have a few people to share with!

 

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Soup of the Day – Butternut Squash Soup

For our three course menu, we started with the Soup of the Day which was Butternut Squash Soup. This was creamy with a medium to thick consistency and had flavours of Indian spices. Really good!

 

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Tender Steak Medallions

For our entree, we had the Tender Steak Medallions which were cooked to medium rare. These were served with whipped potatoes, broccolini and a Bordelaise sauce. The portion was actually very filling although I found the steak a little on the drier side. Decent for the price though. The whipped potatoes were also extremely creamy and buttery.

 

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Malted Vanilla Pot de Creme

To finish, we had the Malted Vanilla Pot de Creme which was topped with a sour cherry compote and vanilla Chantilly. The dessert was huge and we could barely finish half of it. It was creamy and not overly sweet.

Overall, we were quite happy with the Portland Dining Month menu at RingSide Fish House. USD$33 is a pretty good deal given the restaurant has a fine dining feel to it. Would recommend coming here for special occasions.

Pros:
– Good value for Portland Dining Month
– Onion rings were delicious!

Cons:
– Regular menu can be on the pricier side

Price Range: USD$33 per person during Portland Dining Month

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 4.5 Ambiance: 4.5 Parking: Free parking in Fox Tower Overall: 3.5

 

Ringside Fish House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blue Star Donuts

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Not my first time at Blue Star Donuts, but because it was so close to our hotel, I suggested coming by for a quick snack. Blue Star is known for their high quality ingredients and unique flavours. They have some of their most classic and popular donuts on display everyday, but usually will have some rotating flavours as well. The donuts are not cheap, and I think they might’ve increased prices since the last time I visited as well. Donuts are around USD$3-4 so definitely a premium.

 

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24k Rose-Rosé

I noticed they had some new flavours including the 24K Rose-Rosé which features a French dark chocolate buttermilk with a rose water and sparking rosé glaze. I loved how the colour was sparkly and the glaze itself was strong in rose flavour. This was actually our favourite because the chocolate donut itself wasn’t overly sweet. The donut itself is super crunchy on the outside but moist inside.

 

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Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk

The second donut we got was the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk which featured a glaze made of fresh raspberries and fresh rosemary. This one was slightly sweeter and had a bit of tartness to it but featured the same buttermilk cake batter.

Both donuts were very filling and is great for sharing. It was interesting that both the donuts we chose also had this cool square shape inside the circle. Quite different compared to the typical ring donuts they usually have. Worth giving a try but definitively a bit of a splurge.

Pros:
– High quality ingredients
– Interesting flavours

Cons:
– Not cheap!

Price Range: $4-5 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 4

 

Blue Star Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

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Earlier in the year, I visited Portland for a weekend trip. Food is a huge part of Portland, so of course we had to check out some of the local eateries. While I was looking for happy hour restaurants, I came across Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen which is located in the downtown area. I hear that they have really good deals for happy hour so you can expect long line ups. Unfortunately, the timing for happy hour didn’t work out for us, so I suggested we visit for lunch the next day.

 

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Luckily at lunch, the line up wasn’t too early. Probably because we arrived shortly after it opened at 11am, as there was a line forming when we were leaving. The decor in the restaurant is super hip and modern with a bar in the middle. You first order and pay up front, and they will tell you which table to sit at. You need to pick up your own cutlery and water up front as well. Then once you are seated, the food is brought to you.

 

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Stormbreaker Total ReKolsch

We decided to enjoy our food with some beers and chose the Stormbreak Total ReKolsch which is a Kölsch style beer brewed in Portland. The beer was not too strong and we quite enjoyed it.

 

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Chicken Wings

Of course, S wanted Chicken Wings, so we ended up ordering two orders as one order only had around 5 wings. These deep fried wings were caramelized in fish sauce and garlic so extremely flavourful. However, we found the wings to be extremely tiny! Despite having the wing tip attached still, we have not seen such tiny wings before! The sticky sauce was not overly salty, but for USD$7, the plate was a bit small. Maybe it would not be so bad if they were at the happy hour price.

 

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Pork Crispy Rolls  

Next up, we ordered the Pork Crispy Rolls which were filled with pork, taro, jicama, carrots, & noodles. An order comes with 4 rolls for USD$5 but because they are so thin, I thought they were quite pricey. However, the spring rolls were actually really tasty. They were quite different from the usual spring rolls I get in Vancouver where they are golden yellow and chubbier. These had a bit of a chewy texture and tasted great with the sweet and sour chili sauce.

 

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Luc Lac

 

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Overall, we were extremely pleased with the food at Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen.  The food was nothing close to being traditional, but it didn’t matter because their dishes worked. The restaurant has such a fun vibe and is perfect for having drinks and snacks. I did find that the prices were slightly on the steeper side compared to what we can get in Vancouver, but I guess this is considered cheap food in Portland given the higher prices. Would love to come back and give their $8 pho a try as well as I saw many locals were having this.

Pros:
– Great tasting dishes
– Fun vibe for drinks and food

Cons:
– Not your traditional Vietnamese food if that’s what you’re looking for

Price Range: $15-25 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 4

 

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Portland

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Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a popular coffee chain that originated in Portland. It seems to be what all the locals are talking about. They have several different locations, including one in Los Angeles.

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The interior is fairly simple but rustic looking. The menu isn’t huge, but I think it’s because they focus on their good old coffee.

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Cappuccino

Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I went for the Cappuccino which I find easier to take than just straight coffee. I like how they do a bit of latte art on it. I’m not an expert on cappuccinos though, so I can’t comment much. However, I did enjoy it and my friends who drink coffee a lot said their coffees were above average as well. Definitely a good stop if you’re a coffee drinker.

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Elephant’s Delicatessen – Portland

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Elephant’s Delicatessen is a local favourite and dates back to 1979. We decided to go grab breakfast on our last day before heading back to Vancouver.

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We thought it would be like a typical deli, but the inside is huge! With different sections and food, like soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and more. They open at 7:00 but many of the hot food sections weren’t open until closer to lunch time. They prize themselves for making all their food from scratch every day so it’s fresh.

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What’s cool is that throughout the store, there are a variety of take home goods too. From specialty seasonings to chocolates and wine, there is just tons of stuff to see! It’s definitely a gourmet deli and similar to Whole Foods but even better! They also have a bar area, so they have happy hour deals.

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Crab Cakes

There’s a cold food area but filled with typically hot food like fried chicken and more. We decided to get the Crab Cakes, but surprisingly, they didn’t heat up the food. They just placed it on the plate with the dip, so I’m guessing you’re supposed to eat it like how it is. The crab cakes were good – filled with tons of flaky crab, herbs and seasoning, but it just wasn’t the same since it was served cold. I’m sort of confused why this is. Perhaps you’re supposed to purchase these to take home and bake?

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Mama Leone’s Soup

I got the Mama Leone’s Soup, which is their famous soup here. They describe it as a creamy Italian chicken soup with tomato, spinach & herbs. It was extremely flavourful and one of the best soups I’ve had. A good medium consistency, but you could really taste the chicken and vegetables. Not those cheap canned soup for sure. Definitely a recommended item!

Overall, Elephant’s Delicatessen is a really cool place to check out for a quick and inexpensive meal. They have seating inside as well, although the rest is self serve. I think it’s worth checking out if you enjoy any gourmet foods as well, since they have many goodies that you probably can’t find in most stores.

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Hapa PDX @ Tidbit – Portland

 

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I can officially say that our restaurant research pretty much came to a waste while in Portland, since the no reservation policy basically meant we were wasting too much time waiting. Driving to the other side of town, we were eager to try the famous Pok Pok, but of course, it was over an hour wait again. We wandered down the street and found Tidbit Food Farm and Garden, which is actually one of Portland’s newest food cart pod. It just recently opened in the summer and is located at SE 28th Place and Division St.

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It’s pretty neat as over 20 food carts gather here and the best part is that there’s actual seating areas so you don’t need to stand around eating.

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Super relaxing atmosphere with a fire pit and live music too! I believe this is open every day as well. Perfect when it’s sunny out!

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There’s pretty much all types of cuisines here. I usually don’t like to get Asian food when I’m in America because I find that it’s probably not that great. However, I ended up going for a ramen food truck called Hapa PDX. It wasn’t even run by a Japanese, but tons of people were getting ramen here. There must be something good! Their name Hapa describes the fusion of their Japanese cooking techniques and Hawaiian recipes, so it’s pretty interesting! They have your typical miso, shoyu, tonkotsu ramens, and also a variety of rice bowls.

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Iced Plantain Tea

For drinks, I got the Iced Plantain Tea, which was like a pineapple infused tea. A little fruity, but not too sweet. It was interesting and great to quench my thirst.

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Shaka Bowl – Tsuke-men – pork belly broth, cold dipping noodles, egg, shitake, nori

Instead of getting the typical ramen, I chose the Shaka Bowl. They had a sign saying you could ask for a complimentary sample of the broth, so I did just that. The broth is made from pork belly, so it’s really fatty, but absolutely delicious! It had tons of pork belly slices in it too. The cool thing about this ramen is that you dip the cool ramen noodles into this boiling hot broth.

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This was the bowl of cold ramen you get to dip in the broth. It came with shitake mushrooms, half a hard boiled egg, and some nori. A good amount for $8.50. I wouldn’t say it’s the best ramen I’ve had, but the broth was really unique and delicious! Not a bad choice at Tidbit!

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