A Growing Appetite for Portland

I want to thank all the Portland-savvy readers who shared their eats and drinks picks over the past few days. Your enthusiasm is inspiring and made me want to stay in Portland for several more days. Here's to a Portland visit in 2007!

Before hitting highway I-5 Friday afternoon, we made a stop in the Hawthorne District for a quick stroll, and of course, a visit to Powell's Books for Home & Garden. One of the many specialty stores of the Powell's book empire, PBHG is a misleading, understated name for what could easily be the most comprehensive collection of cookbooks for sale in the country. For the stalwart devotees of New York's Kitchen Arts and Letters, this is not to say KAL is without its high standards of culinary stackdom. I love the place and will pop in when on the Upper East Side. However, PBHG is probably the first cookbook store where I began hyperventilating in excitement. To make matters worse, I had only an hour to scan the shelves.

Upping the ante is the open doorway that leads to Pastaworks, a gourmet shop with an amazing cheese selection. Essentially, you could shuffle back and forth between stores, researching recipes and searching for ingredients. How more cook-friendly can you get?

With my hour time limit expired, I surveyed the small mountain of books that accumulated at my feet. Here's what ended up in my shopping bag: "Look and Cook: A Cookbook for Children" by Tina Davis; "The Kitchen Book/The Cook Book" two novellas by Nicolas Freeling; "Cabbages and Kings: The Origins of Fruit and Vegetables" by Jonathan Roberts; "How to Be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson (I couldn't say no to its $8.98 price tag); "Ice Cream: The Delicious History" by Marilyn Powell; and "Ready When You Are" by Martha Rose Shulman.

Complete with a falafel sandwich from Mediterranean Grill, one of the many food carts parked in the center of Portland's downtown district, I was all grins. Give me some more Portland, please.

Coming up: Wine trekking through Willamette Valley.

By Kim ODonnel |  August 28, 2006; 1:51 PM ET Cook's Library , Travel
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Also from Oregon, Hood River Distillers' Yazi Ginger Vodka which appeals to women. The San Francisco Chronicle's Gary Regan wrote about Yazi in its June 8 issue. Would you like to try for yourself? We'll send a bottle to you.

Posted by: Olga Haley | August 28, 2006 5:14 PM

After posting about the beer in PDX, and now offering a suggestion on Willamette Valley wine, I feel like I'm showing my true colors here, but...

The Oregon pinot noirs are as advertised... simply outstanding. My personal favorites are Erath and Ponzi in the Willamette Valley, but there are several excellent ones. Enjoy!

Posted by: Former PDXer in DC | August 28, 2006 5:48 PM

The next time you're at Pastaworks on Hawthorne, pick up something from Joseph's Desserts. You can't go wrong here, but my personal favorite is the individual-sized pear tart. They're also available at Zupan's and the Natures store near the downtown Powell's Books.

Posted by: BZ | August 28, 2006 6:33 PM

it sounds like you are heading over the west hills to the valley. there are sveral wineries in the tualitin river valley south of hillsboro to newberg. i don't know if they're any good as i don't drink. if you head to the tualitin valley there are some really good mexican restaurants in hillsboro. one in particular i would highly recommend is la flor de micoacan. ooh, that place is about the only thing i miss of hillsboro!

Posted by: jimmy d | August 28, 2006 7:25 PM

I have been LOVING these past couple blogs about Portland. I visited in the spring and decided it was supposed to be "home" for me and maybe I'll get out there next year. Till then, I plan on heading out in Oct -- so now I have some great places to eat and some great beverages to drink. :o)

Posted by: Andrea | August 28, 2006 9:16 PM

I lived in Portland for three years (2001-2004), coming back to D.C. for a great job opportunity. I cannot wait to move back to PDX in 2007, though; I miss my friends, the food, the landscape, and just the simplicity of life that I do not find in D.C. anymore. It's hard to describe the difference between the two cities; but you know it when you miss it.

I have relished Kim's writings from Portland and made sure my friends back "home" have known of her compliments. Kim, thank you for sharing your journey.

Posted by: Stella | August 29, 2006 1:08 AM

I agree that Portland has better beer than Seattle. And while on the whole Seattle has better coffee, Portland has a coffee house not to be missed--Stumptown. I cannot wait for my next visit to PDX to pick more up.

That said, you did right by going to Salumi--a great example of Seattle's numerous "hole in the wall eateries". Next time try Paseo for a truly amazing Cuban sandwich.

Posted by: Seattle Elvis | August 29, 2006 4:58 PM

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