A Taste of Portland

Greetings from Portland, Ore.

As I type, I can see the sun rising from the window of my hotel. I am staying at the recently overhauled Hotel Deluxe, formerly known as Hotel Mallory. The theme here is the Hollywood of yesteryear. Black and white photos of famous movie scenes dot the walls throughout the hotel (Bette Davis in "The Letter" is hanging just above the bed) and the lobby is a glam mix of Art Deco, marble and high ceilings. Its meeting rooms have names like "The Green Room" and "The Screening Room."

Twenty-first-century touches include an alarm clock with a built-in IPod docking station and a flat-screen television with HDTV -- two firsts for this traveler. And at last, a hotel with a deep tub and room-service coffee that tastes good! Before bed last night, I had a nightcap in The Driftwood Room, the hotel bar that is a dark hideaway evocative of the 1960s. I think Sammy Davis Jr. would have liked this place.

A big shout-out to "Andrew in PDX" who, in Tuesday's blog, offered recommendations for Portland restaurants. Thanks, pal.

Dinner last night at the Nuevo-Peruvian Andina was a blast. At its essence, Peruvian food is fusion food in the purest sense, a mélange of African, Incan, Chinese and Spanish cuisines, to name a few. The folks at Andina further stretch the fusion by melding traditional Incan and Andean ingredients -- potatoes, chili peppers, quinoa, corn -- with a modern sensibility and sleek presentation, in a style the restaurant defines as "Novoandina."

The flavors were popping off my tongue. I haven't been this excited in a restaurant in a long time. I may have to go back for more of that grilled octopus kebab with a potato-olive salad and caper chimichurri that continues to dance in my head.

A visit to Portland would be incomplete without a visit to the behemoth Powell's City of Books, one of this country's great independently owned book stores, but I am probably going to make a beeline instead for its cookbook paradise, housed in another part of town.

Before taking off for a weekend of wine-sipping in the Willamette Valley, I plan to check out the funky shops of the Pearl District, with a full report on Monday.

Got a Portland tidbit to share? Do so in the comments area below.

By Kim ODonnel |  August 25, 2006; 11:47 AM ET Travel
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Glad to have you in town. I think you'll find that Portland is a food-lover's paradise.

Next door to Powell's on Hawthorne (where the cookbooks live) is Pastaworks -- a fantastic store with Italian wines and cheeses, and an amazing variety of house-made cured meats. Mmmmm.

The Portland Farmer's market (about a 10-minute walk from your hotel) runs tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and would be a great way to start a day of wine-tasting.

Enjoy our great city!

Posted by: Andrew in PDX | August 25, 2006 12:36 PM

I am so jealous about your wine tasting. Adelsheim is current our favorite, but Argyle, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Erath, Montinore, and Rex Hill are also wonderful. I love the A to Z Pinot Noir, but we've never visted the Wineworks.

Posted by: Oregonian by Marriage | August 25, 2006 1:41 PM

If you visit the Hawthorne district, you must stop at Portland Wine Merchants, on 35th just off Hawthorne. It is an excellent wine store; their recommendations have never failed me.

Posted by: Steve in PGH | August 25, 2006 1:46 PM

I tried to e-mail you these directly, but my wine choices would include Archery Summit, Tyrus Evan - you may get a sneak peek at a Ken Wright offering, Patricia Green Cellars and the Carlton Winemakers Studio.

Posted by: Stormy | August 25, 2006 1:50 PM

To put it bluntly, I miss the beer.

When I am back in town on business, I generally try to get my fill at Since it sounds like Hawthorne is a place you'll be, consider adding on the Lucky Lab for lunch (Hawthorne and 12th as I recall). Also check to see if the Bagdad brewpub theater has a movie you're into... the McMenamins beers are a pretty great compliment to a cheap ($3) second-run movie!

Posted by: Former PDXer in DC | August 25, 2006 1:53 PM

I'm not sure of the name, but there is a resaurant in Portland whose chef is married to the great Jacque Pepin's daughter.
I think it's at a country club and I beleive the name is river-something. Sorry. It's the best I can do at the moment. I think it would be interesting to see what a chef with a near relation to one of the best can accomplish. But, mebbe I'm wrong.

Posted by: Jess H | August 25, 2006 1:54 PM

Hey There-

Great to have you in town! I bet you are loving our August weather in contrast to the heat and humidity that is DC at this time of year--how I do NOT miss it!

While all of the previous posters' suggestions are great; I would suggest that you go outside of the touristy districts that both the Hawthorne and Pearl are known to be.

There is actually a great "restaurant row" on NE 28th Ave. and one of my favorite and most intimate restaurants in the world resides there: Tabla.

Here is its website: http://www.tabla-restaurant.com/

Enjoy PDX and how I wish that I could get a paper copy of the Post each morning, that is probably the only thing I miss about DC.

Posted by: Former DC'er in PDX | August 25, 2006 1:56 PM

I am sure you are aware of First Thursday, when all of the galleries in the Pearl are engulfed by the masses as they sip wine while reviewing the work of local and not-so-local artists on the first Thursday of every month. A bright spot of the many galleries is the Beppu Wierda Gallery, which showcases amazing pieces by well-known artists who are typically on scene to discuss the methods to their madnesses.

Posted by: Matthew in WDC but Who Loves Portland | August 25, 2006 1:57 PM

Stormy, my e-mail is: kim.odonnel@washingtonpost.com
By the way, at 2:10 ET, I'll be on washingtonpostradio.com talking about Portland. Tune in!

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | August 25, 2006 2:09 PM

If there is a better Reuben Sandwich anywhere than at Portland's Goose Hollow Inn, I would like to know.

Posted by: RJ | August 25, 2006 2:21 PM

Breakfast at Besaw's is a must -- as is Stumptown Coffee!

Posted by: Sara | August 25, 2006 2:28 PM

Breakfast at Besaw's is a must -- as is Stumptown Coffee!

Posted by: Sara | August 25, 2006 2:29 PM

If you want funky shops, you have to hit the Alberta Arts district in North Portland. Much better than The Pearl.

Posted by: Justin | August 25, 2006 2:30 PM

I dunno about Goose Hollow, last time I was there we got terrible service.

If you're looking for local color, one of my favorites is Brasserie Montage, a hole in the wall located underneath the east end of the Morrison Street bridge. Good, cheap eats; and a far cry from those snooty Pearl District joints.

Posted by: BZ | August 25, 2006 2:33 PM

Hey,

As a recent transplant from Portland, here are some recommendations:

Crema, SE 28th & Ankeny (1 block south of Burnside)

A classic coffeshop.

Pied Cow, SE 33rd & Belmont

An indoor/outdoor desert place in an old Victorian house.

Henry's Cafe, 2508 SE Clinton St

Cute hole-in-the-wall for brunch.

While you're there, see if you can figure out why so much of Portland is independent and charming, and so much of DC is corporate and soulless...

Thanks

Posted by: PDX 2 DC | August 25, 2006 4:39 PM

I do recomended tasting the wide varity of fine beer that Portland has to offer. Try to go by a McMenamins draft house. I recomend Edgefiled in Fairview. Also try some of the hiking along the secenic highway near Corbit! Take if from someone who used to live there!

Posted by: I miss Portland, Love DC | August 25, 2006 4:52 PM

Wildwood, Bluehour, ClarkLewis are three of my faves in PDX. While you're in the Willamette Valley, try Red Hills Provincial Dining, where you're sure to run into a winemaker or two.

For wineries, Panther Creek, Frances Tannehill, Brick House and Beaux Freres are some of my faves. You may have to use your journalist card to get into some of them--it's not like Napa.

Posted by: LAX 2 PDX | August 25, 2006 5:26 PM

For a wonderful night of unique pizza (he only does pizzas on Monday nights) stop by Ken's Bakery on NW 21st. It is indeed memorable pizza, as his bread making finese creates full-flavored and complex crust while the toppings are unique.

Also, don't miss the eclectic shops on NW 23rd.

Posted by: Bryan | August 25, 2006 5:52 PM

Great comments & tips! You guys have mentioned a lot of my favorites! Another really great resource is VegPortland.com-- they list tons of Portland restaurants that have vegetarian and vegan options, and you can sort it alphabetically or by neighborhood.

Posted by: Casey in PDX | August 25, 2006 7:01 PM

http://www.portlandfoodanddrink.com/
http://www.extramsg.com/uploaded_misc/portland_tipsheet.html

Hopefully you've seen these two websites that explore the riches of dining options in Portland. You're on the west-side but the east-side of Portland is not to be missed.

TinShed at 15th/Alberta in NE is the best breakfast in town. Funky crowd and unique breakfast combos that are hearty and tasty.

Lots of places focus on seasonal/local dishes - my fav is Park Kitchen.

Pix Patisserie and Apizza Scholls are two other personal favorites.

Also check out a NEW SEASONS grocery store while you are there. A locally owned version of Whole Foods.

Posted by: MyNextMeal | August 25, 2006 7:16 PM

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