Portland's Food

Thursday, June 05, 2014
Coming into Portland, I had no idea what to expect. While I did make a list of places to eat at, I did not know of their amazing selection of food and lack of chain restaurants. Whether you are craving Asian, a fusion, Mexican, Italian, or others, you will definitely find something that you will like!

Mama Mia Trattoria
439 SW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

On the day I landed, the craves started kicking in and we wanted to eat Italian food. Okay, I fibbed a bit. Someone really wanted Italian food and Portland is not the place to be looking for chain restaurants like Olive Garden. We lucked out when we found an Italian restaurant a block down from our Airbnb apartment. I ordered the pizza margherita which consisted of tomato sauce, fresh housemade mozzarella cheese and basil leaves on a thin crust. My friend had pasta filetto di pomodoro which was pasta tossed in tomato-basil sauce (basically the pasta version of my pizza). The pizza was absolutely delicious. Gluten-free? Sure, but that wasn't the reason why I liked it. Whenever I eat pizza, I have a sudden feeling of regret immediately afterwards. This pizza on the other hand, was grease-free and made me wishing I ordered a second helping. He loved it so much he ate a good chunk of it! This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Koji Osakaya Japanese Restaurant
606 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205

If you were wondering why there are two different meals above, we actually came back to eat here twice! I really wanted sushi and so we walked around the block to find Koji. On our first trip there, I ordered a special lunch bento combination which included two choices of protein. I had salmon (comes with a small portion of soba noodles and a soy-based sauce), mackerel (also came with soba noodles, but no sauce - and I regretted ordering only because of the large amount of sodium I had), a salad with house dressing, miso soup, and rice. I also ordered an angry dragon roll (crunch roll combined with a cucumber/eel roll) which we both loved and he ordered himself a katsu curry. We loved our lunch so much that on our last day in Portland we came back a second time. Unfortunately, our second trip was not as great as I had lived it up to be as the broth was not flavorful and the noodles were bloated. It could have been that the broth was just a lighter version of what I am used to having (you know, the nice thick fatty stuff). Regardless, I still enjoyed what I was served and ate it all. I highly recommend the bento/sushi, but not the ramen. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up!

Chipotle Mexican Grill
1948 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201

You must be thinking, "Why would you even bother reviewing something that California already has?" My friend has never ever ever had Chipotle in his life. I will be honest in saying that I first had Chipotle when I was a junior in college. (I was a late bloomer.) After a long day of shopping around downtown and checking out the area, we decided to go ahead and grab our Chipotle to-go. How do you even describe how this restaurant works to someone who has never been to one? I immediately just said, "It's like a Subway. You tell them what you want and they pack it in for you," except I would eat at Chipotle forever if I could. I am sorry, Subway. I still love you though! And as you can tell from the first photo - it was a major success! My friend loves it and will protest as much as he can until they open one up on Kauai.

Aroy Thai Cuisine
506 SW 4th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Nothing says typical of Michelle like a good 'ol Thai cuisine. We found this restaurant off of Yelp and do not let the plating fool you - it was delicious! I got my typical green thai curry and it was the perfect amount of spiciness. My friend got pad thai and he devoured most of it. Unfortunately his stomach was not setting very well after our daring meal over at Panda Express (more about that down below). This place is located in a not-so-great location, but the service was amazing and the food was fantastic. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up!

Maya's Taqueria
1000 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97205

One of his friends back from Kauai is studying in Portland and he kindly took us to one of his favorite Mexican restaurants to grab some late lunch/early dinner. Aside from Chipotle, I am not too adventurous when it comes to Mexican food. I wish I had a stomach and a digestive system of steel, but unfortunately I am allergic to a lot of things and most of them do not settle very well when consumed. Luckily this place has a vegetarian option and it made every burrito I have ever eaten virtually forgotten in my head. It was filled with deliciousness and you can pick your tortilla as well as type of beans. Jarin, got a wet burrito which looked just as delicious to have! My burrito came with a side of chips and you can grab yourself a sauce cup of spicy salsa to dip your chips in. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Chef Fresh Frozen Yogurt
340 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97204

Portland is notorious for its rainy weather, but I did not know that it would be absolutely humid. After going to Seattle in January and experiencing a 60F degree climate, I expected Portland to be just as chilly. I was completely fooled. While the weather forecast called for cloudy skies and a high of 70F degrees, the humidity kicked in at 65%. Living in Southern California, I am not used to humidity so I left my jeans in my suitcase and opted for shorts and a camisole this entire trip. Luckily there are plenty of frozen yogurt places, but this one was so good I came back for seconds. The first time Richard and I went here, I opted for a mango smoothie (which was de-li-cious). This place is located inside Pioneer Place Mall on the third level below the theater. While the smoothie was reasonably priced, the yogurt was a bit expensive. Totaling to $26 for the both of us, I started to reminiscence the pricing at Yogurtland here in California. Come here for the smoothies, but you can skip out on the froyo. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Phat Cart
4th and College
Portland, OR 97201

Not realizing that Yelp had a category called, food stalls, we ended up confusing ourselves looking for places to eat that we assumed were actual restaurants only to be food stalls. Portland is also known for their food carts, stalls, and trucks. With over 1,000 of them located all over the city, it is no wonder that you can never exhaust any meal plans (I am looking at you Irvine). We hopped onto the TriMet and visited Portland State University to meet up with Jarin. There were a set of food stalls located near the university and we decided on Phat Cart for the deal that they had going on (two free dumplings per entree Mondays through Fridays from 11AM-2PM). Who would not want to get free dumplings?! I got the tangy orange chicken and was overly impressed. The portion was fantastic for the price (roughly $6-7) and the freebie that all three of us got was well worth it. My friend ordered the Mr. Miyagi Sandwich (he fell for the marketing) and loved it. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Taste of Korea
412-426 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Just to show you what I meant by food stalls, I took a quick photo of the one that we went to on our late night food adventures. Hungry, but too tired to find a restaurant, we walked over to the Taste of Korea stall and ordered enough food to feed four people. Aside from being reasonably priced ($6-8 per plate), this stall is open extremely early and extremely late. It is well known to those who have a nasty hangover as they are one of the rarer stalls that open so late. The photo above does not do the place justice as the meat was well marinated and everything was absolutely delicious. My friend got the bulgolgi meal set and I ordered the bimbibap and spicy chicken. It was so good and so worth the food coma right afterwards. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

I will be completely frank with everyone: I had no intention of visiting Voodoo. When I was in Seattle, I did not even bother going to Top Pot Donuts despite it being located right next door to our hotel. On top of that, I am not one to consume one than more donut at a time. I just like my classic glazed Krispy Kreme or a coconut topped donut. In fact, I prefer glazed donut holes over any donut. This time though, my friend's best friend, Bryle, drove nearly 2.5 hours from Washington all the way down to Oregon just to meet with us before we had to fly back to our respected states. So we decided to head on over to Voodoo Doughnut so that he would not leave empty-handed. Voodoo is open 24/7 in a not-so-friendly location within China Town. There is always a line at Voodoo no matter what time of day it is. While we were queuing in line, we tried to figure out what we wanted as the names of the donuts were a bit ridiculous. I mean really, "Cock-N-Balls" donut. Because of the queue and because we had no idea what to get, I decided that we should just let the employees choose (that's an option called Voodoo dozen: $13/box and they pick them for you). We ended up with the craziest looking donuts! Fortunately for me, they gave me a chocolate coconut donut and that was enough to satisfy my donut adventures for the day. If you like donuts, you will definitely love this place. (FYI, it is cash only.)

Places worth mentioning that were not photographed:
Panda Express
7000 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97218

I know this sounds silly, but I had to include this place in my reviews. I review every place I eat at, even if it is a chain restaurant. When I landed at Portland's International Airport, I was absolutely starving. With that said, what sounded like a great place to eat at ended up being my worst nightmare. This Panda Express, however, is not the one to blame for my upset stomach. I just did not think straight! This restaurant did not skimp on the portions. I got my usual of the pineapple chicken, mushroom chicken, half and half fried rice and chow mein, and a side of raspberry iced tea. It was good and satisfying - just not a great idea after a long day with an empty stomach.

Buffalo Wild Wings
327 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97204

Even though there are a ton of Buffalo Wild Wings in California, I have never stepped into one. I am just not the type to walk into a bar-restaurant with the intentions of eating there alone. Yard House may be the only exception, but even then it is ten times better with some company. With some sort of luck, I ended up going when the UEFA finals were going on. While I do know how soccer works, I had no idea what the UEFA was. It was fun to hear the guys chant whenever their favorite team scored. Let me correct that - it was fun to hear guys chant and cheer in broad day light. Luckily the match was around noon so we did not have to worry about drunk people and rowdiness. I ordered a small portion of wings, half in ginger honey and the other half in Asian zest. I wanted to be brave and have the mango habanero, but my stomach just could not take all the bad (but so so delicious) I was consuming. The potato wedges were amazing! I definitely recommend this location, but only during the day time.

Suki Hana (Pioneer Place)
700 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97204

The last time I have ever eaten anything at a food court in a mall was ages ago (I am talking years ago). I was exhausted from walking around so much and I could not decide on a place to eat so I opted for the food court at Pioneer Place. Again, I was craving something zesty so I chose to eat at Suki Hana. The lady at the register did not skimp out on the portions. I watched as she piled the vegetables and noodles so high up my plate, I was worried if it would topple over. It was a delicious meal and if I had to compare it to any other fast-food Asian restaurants, I would compare it to the good 'ol Panda Express.

Ben & Jerry's
524 SW Yamhill St
Portland, OR 97204

I always see a ton of Ben & Jerry's ice creams in the frozen aisle of my local supermarket, but I never buy any for myself. I do not know if it is because of the price or because I am lactose intolerant, but whatever it is, I have always been more of a Häagen-Dazs/Baskin Robbins kind of gal. After a bit of thinking, I walked over to the Pioneer Courthouse area to grab a cup of Ben & Jerry's. The employee working there was absolutely chill. I wish I got his name, but he was a hilarious guy and offered me so many free samples of ice cream that I almost could not buy ice cream for myself because I was slowly getting full. I got one of their newest flavors (albeit I later regret because it was absolutely too sweet) and my friend also got one of their newest flavors. I wish I could remember the name of the ice cream we chose, but it is not even up yet because they just got it in stock. Regardless, if all the employees were as chill as the one that we met, this is the right Ben & Jerry's to visit! This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

Coffee People Coffee Stand
7000 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97218

On the day that I had to go back home and leave Portland, I was a bit hungry and needed some grub in my stomach before my flight. I stopped by the Coffee People Coffee Stand near the United airlines TSA line. I got the dark chocolate mocha and oh my goodness, I have never fell in love with a mocha frap as I did with this one. Hands down it was more delicious than CBTL (and that says a lot because I love CBTL). The employees were sweet individuals and the pricing was on the spot for the quality of my drink. If you are waiting for your flight, this is the place you should get your caffeine from. This place gets the Michelle's thumbs up.

*Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this post. None of the businesses or brands above have asked me to write about these places. I just wanted to share my experiences with everyone.*

To see more posts from my trip to Portland, check out this tag here. I hope you enjoyed my Portland blog posts as much as I did writing them! I will be back with my regular fashion-related posts soon!

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