Hapa PDX @ Tidbit – Portland



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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!

Hapa Ramen on Urbanspoon

Blue Star Donuts – Portland


Voodoo Doughnuts is always raved about when speaking of Portland, but K mentioned that Blue Star Donuts is the best new donut shop in town. Plus, walking by Voodoo and seeing that massive line up made me not want to give it a try. So instead, we walked by Blue Star, which had no line up but a steady customer base. We arrived quite late as well, so probably why there was no line up. They close when their donuts run out, so we were lucky to still get some!


I love how the store uses natural sunlight through the glass windows. It feels clean and modern inside. There’s also complimentary water here.


They don’t have as many varieties as Voodoo, but I find that shops with a limited menu usually have better quality food. They have a display case with their donuts and the flavours change daily. The dough is made from scratch every day and their ingredients are all sustainable or organic. The donuts are also cooked with rice oil and are glazed to order.


Real Maple & Bacon

Their donuts follow a Brioche recipe, so I found that the dough was very light and not dense like cheaper donuts. J went for the Real Maple & Bacon, which is a quite common flavour for donuts these days. The sweet and salty seem to always work and who can say no to desserts with bacon on it?


Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib

K and I shared the Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib, which was super unique! The passion fruit brought the sourness, but it was well balanced with the cocoa nibs which were sweet. Who knew that the two would work so well on a donut.

Overall, from the donuts we tried, we were all very satisfied. They definitely have interesting donut flavours and reminds me of Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver. The donuts run at around $2.75, but are well worth it. If you’re looking for unique flavours and quality, then Blue Star Donuts does just that. It seems that Voodoo would be more for unique visual presentation.

Blue Star Donuts on Urbanspoon

Clyde Common – Portland


Clyde Common is located right next to the Ace Hotel, which is known to be super hip and a huge tourist spot. The whole area around here is great for shopping with unique boutiques.


We had done some researching, but the locals also recommended that we go to Clyde Common for happy hour. It’s served every day from 3-6 pm so plenty of time to check it out!


They have an open concept kitchen so it’s pretty neat.


There’s also a bar on one side. Service was pretty good here. Our server was really funny and attentive.


Pacific Standard: vodka, lemon, ginger, honey, soda

Their happy hour menu consists of food and drinks, so it’s pretty good! The drinks are well priced at around $5 for the cocktails. I chose the Pacific Standard, which was sort of like a lemon soda drink. We soon realized that all their drinks are very strong in alcohol. They definitely don’t cheap out on the liquor here! You can taste it heavily for sure.


Daily Punch

J went for the Daily Punch, where I don’t think we figured out what it was still. I liked how it came in a little tea cup though.


Spelling Bee: Reposado tequilla, agave syrup, absinthe, bitters, grapefruit peel

K got the Spelling Bee, which was probably the strongest in alcohol. It’s like all the hard liquor in one drink. I took a sip and all I could taste was alcohol. You’ll get your moneys worth if you order this, but I’m not so sure if I liked how it tasted.


Smoked Mussels, Crackers

We then moved on to their appies. They don’t have a huge list and some of them sound quite ordinary. We went for the Smoked Mussels with Crackers, and it was surprisingly really good! The mussels were so tender and not tough at all. It paired really nicely with simply crackers! Yum!


Pickled Devil Eggs

Next up were the Pickled Devil Eggs, which were very delicious! I liked how they seasoned the egg yolks. It was a little sour due to the pickling, so it was very appetizing.


Meatballs, Bordelaise

We also ordered the Meatballs with Bordelaise Sauce. These little meatballs didn’t look too appealing, but they were very interesting! They had carrot bits inside and a beautiful red wine sauce which made it very flavourful.


6 oz. Hamburger, Cheddar, Bacon, Pickled Onion, Lettuce and Aioli

The server recommended that we get the 6oz Hamburger, which he said is something you will want more of. We decided to share it anyways, and it was just as good as he described it! The ingredients were simple with just cheddar, bacon, pickled onion, lettuce and aioli, but the meat patty itself was so juicy! It was served medium so the meat wasn’t tough. The mustard seed sauce was also delicious with the burger.


French Fries, Pepper Aioli

Lastly, we simply shared the French Fries, which came with a pepper aioli. Such a simple dish, but the fries were fresh and deep fried to a nice golden yellow. Crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. The pepper aioli was also very delicious. It gave it a bit of a kick.

Overall, we were very impressed with Clyde Common. It’s definitely one of my favourite spots in Portland from the places I tried. The atmosphere is nice, and the prices are quite reasonable for happy hour. Best of all, there was no line up!
Clyde Common on Urbanspoon

Korean Twist – Portland


Near S.W. 10th Ave. & Alder St., you’ll find Portland’s largest hub of food carts. However, when we arrived it was noon and there weren’t large line ups like the ones we have in Vancouver. Taking a stroll along the food carts, nothing really struck me either. I’m sure the food is good, but there weren’t really unique menu items that made me desperately want to try.


Anyways, I ended up going for Korean Twist, which seemed slightly more interesting. It’s run by two young men and there was a steady customer base. They essentially sell tacos, burritos and rice bowls with a Korean twist to it.


Chicken Burrito

J and K shared the Chicken Burrito, which was huge! They said it was flavourful and very filling.


Spicy Pork, Bulgogi Beef, Tofu Taco

For myself, I shared the taco set with K. The taco set comes with 3 tacos, but we added an additional taco at regular price. She got two of the Tofu Tacos, while I got the Spicy Pork and Bulgogi Beef Taco. Both of the meats were super flavourful! It’s the sauce that really does it for me. A mix of coleslaw and cilantro, but they fill the tacos with a lot of meat. You definitely get your money’s worth as these tacos aren’t small!

Overall, I think Korean Twist is a great place to try if you want to get value out of your money. You’ll be full and the flavours are great if you want some Asian flare.

Korean Twist on Urbanspoon

Heart Coffee Roasters – Portland


The next morning, we wanted to go grab breakfast at Screen Door, since we heard it’s really popular. And of course, there was a huge wait again. We waited a while, but we realized it would be another 2 hour wait. Annoyed by all this waiting time we’ve been having in Portland, we decided to skip it. We were pretty fed up especially since we drove all the way to the East side. Nearby, Heart Coffee Roaster looked hip and cool, so we decided to grab a quick snack before we headed off to look for more food.


Coffee and Cheese Croissant

J got a Coffee with a Cheese Croissant. The Cheese Croissant was pretty good since it was flaky. J said the coffee was pretty good too. Their coffees are mainly from Central America, South America, and Africa.


Chocolate Cookie

For myself, I went for the Chocolate, which was a huge disappointment. It was chewy, but hard at the same time. Way too chewy perhaps. It also had an odd flavour to it and didn’t taste like regular chocolate cookies.

Overall, Hearts seems to be a great place for coffee, but their other items might be a miss. They also don’t offer wi-fi on the weekends which is odd. The place is great to study and hang out though.

Heart Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Tasty n Alder – Portland


Before our trip, we did some research on where to eat to save time and get the most out of our trip. Tasty n Alder was one of the picks and it was located conveniently in the downtown area. We arrived at around 7pm, and it was packed! They don’t take reservations, but they do take down your name and number when you arrive. You can then go elsewhere and they will call you when your table is ready. However, since we didn’t have any US minutes, we had to check up on our table every half an hour. We ended up waiting a good 2 hours until we got a table. I’ve never waited so long to eat… It’s pretty ridiculous because you would see people who are already done eating, but they would lounge around for a long time. In Vancouver, the servers would probably be trying to kick you out by then, if there’s a huge line up for the next round of diners. Not here. Luckily, they ended up serving us some complementary bubbles to thank us for waiting.


The restaurant is dimly lit inside, and is quite hip. Sort of like a bar, but a bit more fancy. It’s Pacific Northwest food with some European twists. There are small and large plates, and I find that they are all great for sharing. By the time we got in, the restaurant was already quite empty.


Fried Oysters with Remoulade

First up, we got the Fried Oysters with Remoulade. They were lightly battered, and the oysters were tiny but sweet. It came with a remoulade, which is similar to a tartar sauce, and a coleslaw.


Crab Dip

The Crab Dip was one of my favourite dishes. The crab meat was flaky and mixed with tomatoes and herbs. It came with some pita bread to scoop. However, I found the pita bread to be too charred. Some parts tasted like burnt bread.


Seared Scallops with Mint Pesto

By far, my favourite of the night were the Seared Scallops with Mint Pestos. Although there were only three scallops, they were seared perfectly and the scallops just melted in your mouth. The pesto was also flavoured really well and was delicious alongside the scallops.


House-made Pasta with Squid

We also got the House-made Past with Squid. The pasta was al dente and I think it was just a simple drizzle of olive oil mixed with some veggies and squid. Simple, but tasty.


Goat Cheese Dumplings Arrabiata

I’m not a fan of goat cheese, but apparently the Goat Cheese Dumplings Arrabiata is one of their famous dishes, so we got it. Surprisingly, the goat cheese wasn’t too strong, and when mixed with the arrabiata suace, which is a spicy tomato sauce, the flavours really excelled. It came with some toasts to accompany the dumplings.


Chocolate Potato Doughnut with Creme Anglaise

Lastly, we got the Chocolate Potato Doughnut with Creme Anglaise, which is also another top menu item. This was freshly deep fried and a must order!! I believe they use potato instead of typical flour and the texture was not as doughy. It came with a creme anglaise, which is a light custard cream. Overall, Tasty n Alder was quite good, but I don’t know if I would wait 2 hours for it again. They have quite unique items, but I also found the menu to be quite pricey for small portions.

Tasty n Alder on Urbanspoon

Salt & Straw – Portland


After 5 hours of driving, we finally arrived in Portland and settled into our hotel at Park Lane Suites. It’s a pretty nice hotel for the price and was located quite near downtown city centre. After dropping our stuff off, we decided to take a walk in the neighborhood and try Salt & Straw, which is a famous ice cream shop.


The inside is hip with cool music blasting and friendly servers. It reminds me of Earnest Ice Cream, with unique flavours. The inside smells like freshly made waffle cones too!


There’s a line up, but it’s really not that bad. The servers will come up to you and ask if you would like to sample some flavour. They then bring you spoons with the samples to try before you even get to the ordering area. That way, it speeds things up.


They have their classic menu, but also a seasonal menu. They were featuring a summer harvest series, which included sweet corn, apricots, peaches, and plums. A favourite classic that many talk about is the Pear and Blue Cheese, which I actually sampled and surprisingly thought was really good! A odd combo and for someone whose not a blue cheese fan, I actually still liked it! They also have sundaes, ice cream floats, milkshakes, and draft beverages.


Honey Lavender

For myself, I ended up with the Honey Lavender. I’m a sucker for floral flavored food, or food items that use flower petals.


The Honey Lavender uses Oregon-grown lavender petals which are steeped in honey to extract the floral flavor. The honey used is from Bee Local which is harvested from urban hives all around Portland. I loved the hint of floral but sweetness from the honey. It was smooth and creamy! A huge scoop in a huge waffle cone as well. I believe it only came to $5.


 Oregon Peaches with Toasted Walnuts

K went for the seasonal flavour of Oregon Peaches with Toasted Walnuts. It’s made with freshly pureed peaches and mixed with toasted walnuts. Super refreshing.


Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons

J got the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. It uses Fleur de Sel and is topped off by ribboning in hand-burned caramel that is made in house. I loved the salty and sweet flavour!

Overall, Salt & Straw did not disappoint! If you’re an ice cream lover, you won’t be disappointed with all the unique flavours! I’d definitely revisit this ice cream shop again!
Salt & Straw on Urbanspoon