I had the best weekend in Portland. The workshop I went to was great, the women leading the workshop were great, the women attending the workshop (mostly dietitians, psychologists, social workers and health coaches) were great, the weather was great, the food was great!
The workshop was in the North Williams area of Portland, which is quickly acquiring what many would call a hipster vibe. There were lots of small restaurants within a few block radius, so I was happy to take the lead of the Portlanders in the group (almost everyone except me) who knew what was what.
During our lunch break on Day One, we headed to Las Primas, a Peruvian restaurant that specializes in sandwiches and other street food-type items. I ordered their signature sandwich, the Butifarra, which had pepper-rubbed sliced pork, chili pepper mayo, lettuce, and salsa criolla (lime-marinated red onion with cilantro). I went for the side salad instead of the fries.
Yummy, except if I ever find myself there again, I think I’ll order the pan-roasted tilapia sandwich. I was on my own for dinner, and when it turned out that Lincoln wasn’t going to be open for happy hour (a fact they announced to the gathering crowd outside a mere three minutes before they were supposed to open), I walked across the street to Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen and ordered a fantastic deli cobb salad, with lots of dark greens, pastrami, turkey, avocado, tomato, cucumber, egg and blue cheese dressing. It came with two slices of rye bread, which tasted fantastic…I used to hate rye bread with caraway seeds when I was a kid, but clearly my palate has changed! A pint of a delicious stout rounded things out.
Dinner on Day Two was really special. Jeff had joined me in PDX, and he picked me up when my workshop ended so we could zip across the city to Pok Pok! We were pretty darn early, so we were able to be seated right away (I heard stories about the two-hour waits). We ordered the three house specialties (roasted game hen with dipping sauces, green papaya salad and Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings) plus the amazing Yam Samun Phrai (you can check out the description on the menu).
That was one good salad! And the wings…my goodness, the wings!
I understand why so many New Yorkers were up in arms when Pok Pok Wing on the Lower East Side shut down and reopened as Pok Pok Phat Thai. That’s some seriously good pad Thai they dish up, but the wings! The green papaya salad was fabulous, too (and I’m glad the waitress asked us if we only wanted one ground up chili in it instead of two…whew!). And so was the game hen…but I would choose the wings over the game hen any day.
On Day Three we went back to Kenny & Zuke’s for lunch, where I ordered quiche that was fine but nothing special. I should have ordered a Reuben. When a place is known for their pastrami, that’s a sign. I don’t have a photo of that, nor do I have photos of the two amazing sandwiches I had from Chop Butchery and Charcuterie (lunch on Day Two and an on-the-road dinner as we drove back to Seattle Sunday evening).
I tried El Cid (herb roasted leg of lamb, aioli, arugula and roasted red peppers) and The Train (house-cured ham, brie, cornichon and Dijon mustard on a baguette). El Cid was lovely, but The Train rocked my world. I will return for more!
And for you “Portlandia” fans out there…I think a lot of what I ate was local.