Thursday, August 23, 2012

Portland Induces Extreme Gluttony (and my longest post ever)

“Eventually, mercifully, the waitress pried the spoons out of our hands and took the dessert stuff away, and we were able to stumble zombielike out into the night.”  ― Bill Bryson
If only we were so lucky. We just kept eating.
A few months ago I went to Portland with some friends. We had a five and a half hour dinner at my friends new restaurant (more on that shortly) and went to three restaurants the next night for three rounds of dinner. It was gluttony at it's finest. It was gluttony insanity. But, we had 4 amazing dinners and 2 amazing brunches to show for it, filled with way too much Rosé and lots of laughs. And a few rounds of Journey karaoke thrown in to round out the absurdity of the night. The point is - Portland is fun, and full of great food!
Night of Gluttony #1
My friends Jen and Ken opened a new seafood-sensation restaurant called Riffle NW so that was our first stop in town. That's a lie. First stop was Clyde Common for some delicious drinks. But the most important stop was Riffle NW. I am not a writer or a reviewer so I will keep it simple... I loved it! The restaurant had such great energy, an amazing menu selection that made it impossible to decide what to order, delicious food, an open kitchen which I adore, cool decor with tricks up their sleeves, and the best cocktail of my life - the Riffle Collins with Gin, Lemon, Lime, Celery, Absinthe, Salt. So good that I had a few too many but I pulled it together until we closed down the joint.
The food was amazing. Highlights for me personally were the yellowtail tuna with green goddess dressing, the gnocchi with roasted tomatoes, the crab roll on a homemade brioche roll, the late night cheddar and bacon grilled cheese, and the lamb with mint sauce. Oh holy heaven, it was all so good!

Salmon carpaccio = beautiful

Crab roll = amazing!
Morning of Gluttony #1
We woke up the next morning and vowed never to eat again. We were so full. We sat and drank a cup of coffee for nearly two hours hoping to buy time so we'd get hungry again and could go eat. For brunch, my friend Jen recommended Irving Street Kitchen. We ordered the lemon poppy seed cake for a starter which I loooooooved and I had the best brunch dish of my life... the Moroccan poached eggs with grilled garlic rubbed toast. Amazing.
Night of Gluttony #2

First stop: Ox
Great meal, great cocktails, great fun watching the guys at the kick-ass grill.
Highlights were the kale salad with strawberries, fried chickpeas and feta ranch dressing, the veggie empanada and the grilled artichoke.
The cool grill...

Ox martini - hilarious presentation

Second stop: Biwa
Great fun but my least favorite of the weekend. I would order differently next time. The romen noodles with the egg looked amazing but it was recommended that we not order that since we were headed to Portland's most famous restaurant, Le Pigeon, next and needed some space in the old bellies. Highlight there was the fried kimchi and the yellowtail hamachi. My friends all loved this restaurant. Worth a trip back.
Third stop: Le Pigeon
We were so excited to get a seat at the counter because you are looking right into the kitchen. You can see every move the chefs make. That alone was fun. We started with goeduck and rabbit something or other that I didn't eat. We also ordered a hamburger as an appetizer (because that's the crazy shit people do when they eat three dinners in one night). I haven't had a burger in years, and I have been known to proclaim that "I will never eat a burger again" but come on, it's Le Pigeon. So I ate every last nibble of my quarter of a burger and the accompanying blue cheese salad. It was insanely good. I might only eat burgers there from now on. From there, the Rosé was really kicking in so I can't totally remember what entrees anyone else ordered but I got the cavatelli which was absolutely delicious. By the end, I had not even one centimeter of room left in my stomach, large intestine, small intestine, or esophagus. I did not eat the teeniest chocolate that Le Pigeon offered. I did not order a drink at the next bar. There literally... was... no... room....

I walked it off for a few minutes and I was back - vodka in one hand and a mic in the other, ready for some karoke. Man, Portland is fun!

Le Pigeon burger

Morning of Gluttony #2
Once again we woke up full, but not too hungover thanks to the 600lbs of food we consumed. Jen and Ken took us to one of their most favorite restaurants in Portland for brunch called Ned Ludd. I can see why. This place is fantastic. If you want to read a creative description of the restaurant, google for some reviews because I don't have the words or skills to describe it. That said, I fell in love with it. Every inch of it was cluttered with stuff but in such a sweet way. The patio and the bathroom were equally cool and different. The food was fantastic. Highlights for me were the blueberry muffin and the grilled pork and rapini dish.

All said and done that was worth every second, every cent, and every calorie. If you can get your butt to Portland for a food frenzy, I highly recommend it. We didn't even make it to all the restaurants we wanted to try. There are so many more great ones on our list (Pok Pok, Nostrano, Grüner, and more).

And if you are a food lover and are traveling somewhere with too many restaurants to pack in, I highly recommend the multiple dinner idea. It was so fun and delicious, and great to mix up the scenery, seating, crowd, and conversation. 

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