Portland Part Deux

6 Jun

And the travel adventures continue! Our last couple days in Portland included less exploration of the east side than Brandon would have preferred, but we did manage to make it to a couple stellar spots.

First up on the list of all things amazing is Pok Pok. A small Thai BBQ restaurant on Portland’s east side headed by James Beard Award winner, chef Andy Ricker. We’ve been introduced to drinking vinegars in Portland, and at Pok Pok Brandon snagged a tamarind flavored drinking vinegar (mixed with soda water) while I sipped on a fresh limeade.

I can’t name all of the incredible dishes we had (really, they had complicated names that the menu even joked about) but think intensely flavored broth and noodle dishes, satay with peanut dipping sauce and spicy pickled vegetables, and Pok Pok exclusive barbecue wings. Seriously. Next time you’re Portland, you have to grab a seat at this busy little spot.

Aaaand my mom is officially jealous…now.

Moving on and about town, I of course can’t neglect the food carts. We dined but briefly for an afternoon snack, opting for Cuban beans and rice with sweet potato tots at Cubo de Cuba. There were options across town in all of the neighborhoods…it’s just too bad we weren’t constantly hungry!

* * * * * *
And to top off our Portland food fest, I leave you with Salt and Straw. After failing to visit any of the gluten-free bakeries I wanted to try (I trekked to New Cascadia, neglecting to make sure they were open), I was determined to make my way to Salt and Straw. Portland’s self-proclaimed “farm to cone” ice cream shop is known for its local ingredients and wildly unique flavors–think bone marrow, beer, and more.
As I am wont to do, my first choice was a sea salt ice cream with a caramel ripple. I coupled that with a banana, “spicy monkey” caramel (spiked with Hot Monkey Vodka), and walnut flavor. Needless to say, they were both amazing. And especially when combined together. Brandon tried strawberry honey balsamic with cracked black pepper (they use pepper to enhance the flavors in the fruit) alongside “Grandma Malek’s almond brittle” with salted ganache. Two more winners, naturally. The strawberry balsamic was a fascinating flavor–upon tasting, the balsamic hits your tongue first. As the ice cream melts, the fresh Oregon strawberries linger on your tongue. And the almond brittle, a family recipe, had a perfect taste and texture next to the ganache, both perfectly combining salty and sweet.
The ice cream alone would have probably been enough to make my trip to Portland worth it, but the weekend full of food, pair of cozy new boots, and time with my family really made it a great weekend. We’re in San Francisco now and goodness knows we’ll continue to eat well.
I’ll leave you with a few shots of Portland’s gorgeous International Rose Test Garden, which remained beautiful despite the drizzle.

One Response to “Portland Part Deux”

  1. kristinelee123 June 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Officially very jealous!

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