Portland is such a great little town. I am completely smitten by it. Not only is it beautiful with the trees and hills surrounding it, but there are tons of great restaurants to get fat at. We had a great time testing out a few of them.
This happened to be around the corner from my airbnb and was recommended by my host. The first night I was in town I headed over there and was super impressed. I was so impressed that I ate there a second night in a row. Highly recommend!
What I Ate
It was “Gnocchi Thursday” so I obviously had to try out the gnocchi. Gnocchi is a tricky one. In the States it usually ends up being a gluttonous ball of mess that sticks in your stomach making you feel bloated and tastes a bit like paste. This was not the case at Nostrana. It was perfect rivaling the best Italian restaurants that I’ve eaten in (like Locanda Locatelli in London). I had the shrimp / clam version in a butter lemon sauce. This was the first seafood gnocchi I have ever eaten and it was delicious.
Following that I tried their nectarine crumble which takes a 20 minute pre-order. Whoa. This was mind blowing. Crispy hot and soaked in buttery goodness. Big enough for 2 people. Nom nom.
I ended up going back to Nostrana the following evening and having a delightful salad and a shrimp ravioli. Just as delicious.
Nostrana’s menu focuses on the intensity of flavor created by cooking in the wood oven and wood-fired grill. According to Bon Appetit Magazine, “Many of the dishes offered (at Nostrana) are otherwise hard to find in this country, but are just what an Italian food connoisseur might crave.”
Cathy Whims, Nostrana’s executive chef was named James Beard’s Best Chef Northwest in 2014.
Menu changes daily. Gnocchi Thursdays!
Be sure to book ahead as the restaurant was packed both evenings. They have a great happy hour after 9pm with wood-fired pizza’s for $5 and a glass of wine for $4.
1401 SE Morrison St
What We Ate
Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
Half dozen fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoo fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad.
If you want to make these bad boys at home here is the recipe.
Neua Naam Tok
Spicy Isaan flank steak “salad” with fish sauce, lime and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrss, mint, cilantro and toasted rice powder.
About Pok Pok
Expect a wait. We were lucky to get a table, but when we came out there were about 15 people sitting around waiting. You can make a reservation for parties of 5 or more online.
A seasonally rotating menu generally focuses on the Northern Thai regions of Issan and Chiang Mai. There is also some Vietnamese crossover in this cuisine.
Andy Ricker – James Beard Best Chef 2011 – Northwest
3226 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
Le Pigeon serves adventurous French-inspired food, along with a varied selection of wines in an intimate dining room on Portland’s East Burnside Street. We take reservations at our communal tables, and offer our chef’s counter for walk-ins.
What We Ate
Butter Lettuce blue cheese, chives, radish
Hey, it’s a salad. A really good and simple salad. No complaints here.
Foie Gras & Vadouvan Curry Terrine tomato foie gras jam, marjoram honey ratatouille escabeche
Well obviously we had to order the foie considering it is banned here in California. Sadly, I am unable to partake too much in the consumption of foie gras due to my stomach all but rejecting it in large quantities, but I did get a taste of this and then let Scott do some real damage to it. My only complaint – and this is more of a universal complaint – is that restaurants never give enough of that good grilled bread to go with the foie (or terrine or pate). Two pieces is simply not enough unless you are a complete glutton who piles an entire loaf of foie onto one piece. Other than that it was rich and decadent and delish. Kind of difficult to fuck up foie.
Beef Cheek Bourguignon ‘2014’
Boom. This is one of their signature dishes. Super hearty, super yummy. Probably better on an evening in the winter, but I don’t think that Scott minded because he ate all of it. It was cheek on top of a garlic mashed potato. Yum.
Rabbit bacon and beaujolais creamed corn, tomatoes, plums, thyme pistou
This was my main. Yummy, yummy bunny. The creamed corn was so good. The rabbit was breaded in panko and was so darned good. Without a doubt the best rabbit that I have ever had.
Crème Brûlée, german chocolate pot de crème coconut, pecans, cake
Yes. Simple and good.
“Cream Soda Float” peach passion fruit sorbet, vanilla ice cream ricotta beignets
I was all over this one. Loved the soda float.
Foie Gras Profiteroles caramel sauce, sea salt
Can I say that I ate this entire dish by myself? Like a BOSS.
About Le Pigeon
Securing a reservation was fairly easy on OpenTable, but that was because I booked a month in advance. We ended up at a communal table nonetheless, but it was still intimate enough to not be annoying. The service was impeccable. Our server was so kind as to take pity on me and comp the Foie Gras Profiteroles because Scooter didn’t want to have them and I did. Love! Everything was delish. Highly recommended.
738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
What We Ate
Tuna Burger wasabi mayo, pickled red onion, avocado, butter lettuce
I didn’t even try this, but all of their sandwiches look pretty darned good.
Fall Kale Salad apples, candied walnuts, blue cheese, sherry vinaigrette
This salad came in a huge portion. It was just what I needed after all that rabbit and pasta and Vietnamese… I was pretty certain that I had hazelnuts and not walnuts, however.
Dirty Fries w/ pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs and parmesan
Oh wait, I was just saying how I needed a salad to be healthy and then I go and order some dirty fries. GOD DAMN IT. These were so good. I die. I need these again and again and again. In my mouth.
Hush Puppies honey butter
Yes. I ordered some deep fried balls of dough. Fuck me. They were so good. And the honey butter? Even fucking better. Seriously. I should be from the South and a lot fatter.
Starting life as a food cart in SE Portland, rarely has a spot been so aptly named. Rocking an ancient charcuterie moniker that truly serves as a harbinger of things to come, Lardo is a sandwich shop that worships at the altar of bovine & swine. Using old-world techniques, contemporary flourishes and a gonzo approach, Lardo proudly celebrates its excesses. Pushing a menu that features pork drenched double burgers, a giant meatball Banh Mi, and hand-cut french fries (again) smothered in pork, Lardo also has beer. Lots of beer, actually. Rotating taps of knee-buckling craft brew greatness, backed-up with a refreshing mix of premium cocktails. Operating on both sides of the river, Lardo serves as a mecca for those seeking a uniquely smash-mouth deli experience.
1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214