Moving day is here. As of next week I will be officially living on the opposite side of the country. As I wrap up my time in Portland I thought I would share some of the many places and things that I will miss the most. In the five years that we lived here I think we really took advantage of many things that make Portland unique, but a few of them have made a strong enough impact on me that I will remember them for years to come.
Portland has some great restaurants, and for anybody who thinks otherwise, well you’re wrong! Among the MANY wonderful dining options are some of my favorites and the ones I’ll miss the most. These are all places I highly recommend checking out if you visit or live in the area or are planning to do so.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been to this restaurant more than any single restaurant in Portland. Located in the Pearl District, it is my most trusted restaurant that I proudly bring most out of town visitor to. Serving up traditional Peruvian food with a modern twist, "NovoAndina" cuisine as they call it, this restaurant serves tapas style dishes including my favorites, the grilled diver scallops with a garlic lime butter sauce and crispy onions, and their traditional cebiche. They also have a mouthwatering list of great entrees and fantastic signature cocktails including the absolute must try “Sacsayhuaman”; with habanero pepper vodka shaken with pureed passion fruit and cane sugar, served up with a sugar rim and a cilantro leaf garnish. One word – addictive! They also have a pretty good wine list too. Make sure to make reservations at this place as it is packed from open to close every night.
This is one restaurant that gets way too little attention in my book. Located in the historic Mississippi Avenue district, it is one of our favorite places to dine both indoors in the winter, and outdoor on their large patio in the warmer months. They serve a rotating menu of mostly northwest cuisine and I have never had a single thing I didn’t love here. If you’re in Portland and you’ve never visited Equinox, please do me a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it!
Ten 01, restaurant
Located in the Pearl District, this is another trusted and true restaurant serving up delicious cuisine seven days a week, an excellent cocktail menu, and one of the most extensive wine lists in Portland. You can’t go wrong here. One of my favorite nights to visit is Wednesday for Sommelier Jeff Groh’s “On The Spot” blind wine tasting. Started by former Ten 01 Sommelier Erica Landon, Groh continues the tradition of selecting an always excellent and often unique array of wines to feature each Wednesday for an average of $15 per flight for diners to partake in. Such a fun way to expand your wine tasting palate! If you go for happy hour or just to hang out at the bar, definitely order the Truffle Fries, they are pure flavorful deliciousness.
Bread and Ink, breakfast spot
I wouldn’t necessarily say their breakfasts will blow your mind but they do have some great options, including a good eggs benedict (my favorite, and the dish in which I judge all breakfast restaurants by), biscuits and gravy (hubby’s fav) and most dishes are served with their homemade scones or assorted breads (yum!). For me I will always fondly remember this place for the many great breakfasts I had here with good friends.
Vino Paradiso, wine bar
This was the very first place we visited on our first trip to Portland almost five years ago and it will be our last spot we visit before catching our flight to CT. Owner and Sommelier Timothy Nishimoto has created a very comfortable yet hip wine bar with an always excellent selection of wine and food. And if you go for happy hour many wines are ½ price by the bottle! My favorite food menu item will always be his Pizza Margherita. Perhaps Timothy will share the secret for what makes his sauce so darn addictive as a goodbye present???
Cork • a bottle shop, wine shop
Owner Darryl Joannides, always has a great selection of wines in all price ranges at his two cork locations. The selection is non-intimidating and the staff there are very knowledgeable, especially Darryl himself who has traveled to many of the regions where his wines come from. If you may be intimidated by wine stores, or if you are budget conscience, he offers around 100 wines priced under $20, displayed in order of price, and all with good enough descriptions of the wines to know what you’re purchasing. He also offers weekly wine tastings; which are always a great way to learn more about new wines.
Home of my favorite beer in Portland. My favorite beers include the Hop Monkey IPA and the Free Range Red, so good!
Double Mountain Brewery
Favorite beer spot in Hood River. Look for this local brewery just across the street from the more famous Full Sail Brewery in downtown Hood River and you’ll find a fantastic lineup of delicious beers and awesome pizzas.
Plate and Pitchfork
An absolute gem! These dinners have been around for about eight years now and held each summer. The dinners are held on local farms with local chefs preparing 5-course meals paired with local wines, with most items picked that day from the farm. When diners arrive at the farm, they are presented with a glass of local wine and some appetizers as they head out for a tour of the farm. After the tour you are led to your dining area, usually outdoors in the middle of the farm, for your five-course meal with each course paired with wine. Throughout the dinner you hear from the chef, winemaker, and farmers about what makes the food and wine so unique. Honestly, these farm-to-table dinners are one of the most unique and amazing experiences I have had during the time I’ve lived in Portland and I sincerely thank my good friends, Jen and Spencer, for introducing them to us during our first summer here. Make sure you get on their mailing list because the very day (sometimes hour) that the tickets for these dinners go on sale they are sold out!
Wine Country, including the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, Eastern WA
I’ve been spoiled over the last nine years to have lived first in San Francisco, now Portland where I've have hundreds of wineries to chose from within an hour of my home. It has become a part of my lifestyle to have access to wineries at the drop of a dime. I will sincerely miss being so close to some of the amazing wine regions both in Oregon and Washington, especially the Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge, which are both less than an hour drive from Portland. All the more reason to make many visits back!
Soter Brut Rosé
One taste of this sparkling wine made by Soter Vineyards in the Willamette Valley and bubbles will be quickly become your favorite style of wine too. Just sayin'.
Mountains, real ones not the cute little hills they call mountains in the east coast.
West coast in general, I am and always will be a west coast girl.
No snow!!! Unless I chose to drive to it.
Most of all, and more important than any winery, restaurant, or any amount of scenery, I will miss the incredible friends and neighbors we made living here. We have been very blessed in the last five years to be surrounded by such wonderful people, many of whom even live within a 5-minute walk from our house. I can just hope we are even half as lucky with friends living in Connecticut.
Cheers to you Portland, I will surely miss you… but not the rain 😉