February 4, 2014

Portland, Oregon - Foodie Recommendations

Voodoo Doughnuts - practically a staple in Portland. 
And how could it not be?
"The magic is in the hole!"
But seriously... these diet bombs are pretty delicious. 
I'm not typically a sweets person, but my friends wanted to check this place out, and I'm so glad we did.
We stood in line for a good half an hour, 
(a pretty quick turnaround for this place, from what I hear)
and then had to pick out our flavors. 
I opted for the classic Voodoo Doll doughnut,
a raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake!
Soooo GOOD!
I could have eaten two. 
Thank goodness the line was long.. otherwise I would have probably gone for it. 
Foie Gras Ice Cream - you gotta be kidding me. So GOOD!
It's a good thing that my girlfriends and I have our priorities in order,
because when it comes to travel planning, restaurant selection is always at the top of our list.
Topping nearly every chart of great eateries in Portland is LePigeon,
a whimsical restaurant that offers impeccable French cuisine. 
We made a reservation a few weeks in advance,
and were pleased to snag seats at a cozy communal table right by the window. 
The place is snug, but the closer that I can get to Gabriel Rucker the better. 
The chef produces some outstanding dishes,
and now you can even bring him home with you!
Well.. kind of.. 

Rucker, a James Beard Rising Star chef, and Meredith Erickson, 
a cookbook that features a serious yet playful collection of over 125 recipes from his phenomenally popular Portland restaurant.
I just ordered my copy from Amazon, 
and I highly recommend for you to stop by to check out the restaurant next time you're in PDX.
Speaking of James Beard awards... 
Portland seems to be racking them up. 
I've heard nothing but amazing things about Pok Pok,
a wildly successful Thai restaurant brought to you by the James Beard Best Chef of  Northwest 2011 - Andy Ricker. 
They say that Ricker's take on Thai street food is better than the stuff you'll try in Bangkok,
but having just visited Thailand last year, I needed to test the theory myself. 
I can honestly say that Pok Pok's house specialty, 
Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings,
are the best wings I've ever had. 
No joke. 
My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

The story is pretty impressive though..
Ricker, a classically trained chef, moved to Thailand and learned how to cook their cuisine better than the locals. 
So thankful that he decided to bring his talents back to the states, 
and even more excited about the fact that he decided to share his recipes in his new cookbook,
Such a perfect quote!
I'm really trying to restrain myself from over-talking about this place,
which is fairly hard to do, 
considering that by the time my friends and I finished our dinner at this amazing restaurant,
we were all raving about how it may have been the BEST meal any of us ever partook in. 
But let me tell you how the James Beard finalist, and Top Chef Master, Naomi Pomeroy won us over. 

First of all, don't let the name of the restaurant deceive you. 
Considering that BEAST is the name of the game, 
I was kind of expecting a lot of rich, meaty dishes.
I was charmed to see so many feminine touches throughout the tasting menu. 
Don't get me wrong - the restaurant is definitely carnivore friendly,
yet it was the subtle details that resonated with me...
the way that some bold ingredients such as braised duck or pork shoulder, for example, 
can be softened with the perfect mixture of  light touches.. gelee, tartare, mouse.. 
Simply put - it's a perfect combination of flavors assembled into one dinner. 
Surely not to be missed if you're planning to visit Portland!
"Bringing fat back 7 days a week!"
Now that's what I'm talkin about!
Lardo was the perfect ending to a gluttonous weekend in Portland.
This casual joint serves up the most savory sandwiches - perfect for those hangover days. 
The Pork Meatball Banh Mi was absolutely delish,
and don't even get me started on the Dirty Fries


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