We decided to take a trip down to Portland for American Thanksgiving. First time I’ve ever been so I was excited to try a few staple spots along with a couple craft breweries. We also got to enjoy the chaos of Black Friday!
On our drive to Portland, we decided to stop in North Seattle/Green Lake area for a quick lunch. We’d decided the night before to try Xi’an Noodles, a Northern Chinese spot that specializes in hand pulled noodles.
Love all the blacked out bits on the sign. Sooooo Asian.
We dropped in on a holiday Thursday (around noon) and the place was constantly busy. Lots of tables and quick turnaround. You grab menus then go up to order at the counter.
You can also grab extra sauces, green onion and cilantro along the side wall. Our food came out within 5 minutes of ordering.
They also have a ma la tang bar (aka. build your own bowl), which I’ve never seen before.
It’s $8.99/lb for vegetables otherwise $9.99/lb with meat.
A few closeup of the meats, vegetables, noodles and drink options.
The menu is split into house specialties (noodles with and without soup), street foods, rice noodles, starters, favourites and rice.
There’s also dumplings and that aren’t on the main menu.
Decent but I didn’t love the texture of the li piang noodles.
Loved the bite of their hand pulled noodles; great chewy texture.
Just the way I like ’em.
Solid, quick spot to get Northern Chinese food. I’d love to come back to try their spicy cumin lamb chops and heart-break spicy sour noodles.
5259 University Way NE
Backwoods Brewing Company
We were trying to go to a few places downtown but everything seemed to be closed for American Thanksgiving. As we were driving around, I’d spotted Backwoods Brewing Company. It was busy inside so we decided to circle back and give them a try.
We dropped in on a Thursday evening (around 6:30pm). The inside is spacious and there’s plenty of TV’s all over playing the game (NFL).
Closeup of their beer flavours on tap.
Our waitress was very genuine and sweet; great service all around.
There’s a couple menus but they were only offering appetizers and salads from their main one.
Their happy hour (2:30pm to 5:30pm from Sunday to Thursday) sounded pretty solid.
They also have merchandise and bottles to take home at the entrance.
A few closeups of their cans and bottles for purchase.
Cute idea to write out yourself what you want in your flight.
All the beers were surprisingly solid; pecan pie porter was a first for us. Very enjoyable. The nitro one was interesting but didn’t have much carbonation.
Traditional turkey dinner ($20.00 US)
Turkey meat served with mashed potatoes and gravy, bacon and sausage cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, dinner roll and cranberry sauce. They were incredibly nice and split our dish (without us even asking).
Plate was massive! We only got white turkey meat (assuming they ran out of dark) but it was still quite tender. Gravy was slightly on the salty side.
Enjoyed all of the sides, especially the real cranberry sauce.
An enjoyable first brewery visit at BBC.
Backwoods Brewing Company
231 NW 11th Avenue
Tasty n Sons
We didn’t want to chance it and wait for hours at one of the uber popular brunch spots in town so we decided to try Tasty n Sons. This is sister restaurant to their OG spot, Tasty n Alder.
We dropped in on a late Saturday afternoon (around 1:00pm) and lucked out; barely a wait.
We were seated at the kitchen bar so we got to enjoy the chefs dancing and jamming to the music.
We could also see the charcuterie slicer getting a constant workout. Our waitress was fine but we had some trouble flagging her down.
The brunch menu is split into smaller, boards, salads, bigger and sides.
The potatoes were solid and not too salty.
Chicken had a subtle lemon undertone to it. Cauliflower bits were a pleasant surprise.
Everything about this dish was well balanced and satisfying.
Good food and a fun ambiance at TnS. If you’re a bruncher, you’ll like it.
Tasty n Sons
3808 N Williams Avenue
What’s The Scoop?
After brunch, we decided to check out What’s The Scoop? that was only a block or so walk’s away. They have a second location in South Portland. It’s located between The Tin Bucket and Cloak & Dagger Barber Co.
Sign outside was nice and wet.
This sign was interesting to see. Basically, asking the vandals to think twice.
We dropped in on a Saturday afternoon (around 2:00pm) and were the only people inside. There’s only one worker manning the store but she was friendly and let us try multiple samples before deciding.
Scoops are $4.25 US (single) and $6.50 (double) but the better option is to get the sampler, which is what we did.
They also have sundaes, other stuff (cookies, brownies, shakes) and special orders (which require 48 hours notice). The gorge, a giant ice cream sandwich, sounded awesome.
Pints are off to the side. They had about 10 options to choose from.
There were a dozen ice cream flavours (including one sorbet option) along with 10 toppings.
They make their own fortune cookie cones ($1.25 US) which smelled heavenly the second we stepped inside.
Ugh, so sad we didn’t try one out.
Later turned into a day after but it was all good; the brownie wasn’t too sweet and had a good consistency.
You get to choose four flavours and four toppings. We went with the brown butter almond brittle (one of their most popular flavours), fluffernutter, bourbon toffee and spiced pumpkin pecan brittle.
For toppings, we tried out the magic shell (nutella), magic dust, chopped almonds and crunchy cone streusel. Everything was soooo good. Brown butter almond brittle was my favourite out of the bunch.
Great quality, texture and variety at WTS. Would definitely come back again!
What’s The Scoop?
3540 N Williams Avebye
Our first brewery visit of the day (out of three) was at Breakside Brewery. I wanted to check them out as I’d tried their passionfruit previously and really enjoyed it. They have a second location in town.
Hours. Love the “ish”; leaves some wiggle room for late nights.
We dropped in on a Saturday (around 3:00pm) and the place was decently busy. There’s an upstairs along with plenty of room on the main floor/bar area. Our server was awesome and came by several times check up on us even though we’d only ordered a flight to share.
The merchandise (t-shirts and hats) also looked pretty slick.
Beer flavours that were available
Closeup of the beer taps.
The bottles are a bit hidden behind the bar but prices were reasonable, especially their IPA’s.
There’s a dozen beer options on the menu. We were only here to try a few beers so didn’t get to see the food menu.
We went with the Jaromir lagr, phantasmagoria, lunch break, fall apple ale, #MoreFriends#MoreMemories and ziggurat.
The last two sounded the most intriguing as both were wood aged sours. Decent but the raspberry one had a strong aftertaste.
The lagr and phantasmagoria were better than we expected. Didn’t like the fall apple ale; no flavour at all.
We bought a bottle to enjoy back for home.
Decent brewery but I was hoping they’d have a larger sour beer selection.
820 NE Dekum Street
Blue Star Donuts
Another dessert place on our list to try was Blue Star Donuts. They specialize in making fresh donuts (the dough takes 18 hours to make).
Hours. Crazy that they’re open from 8am to 8pm!
Couple cute signs out front, especially the blue neon sign.
Remember when “keep calm” sayings were all the rage?
They also have 6 other locations around town along with two more in L.A.
We dropped in on a Friday afternoon (around 4:30pm). The inside is cute but only has 5 stools to sit at. It does make for great people watching.
There were about a dozen donut flavours along with drinks (coffee, tea and nitro cold brew).
Coffee options. Of course they have nitro cold brew on tap! So hipster.
Tea options are from Steven Smith Teamaker.
So many unique options, it was tough deciding.
More closeups of the flavours. This was the other half of the display case.
Oddly, there’s no prices on their signs but we found out it ranges from $3.25 to $4.50 US.
Passionfruit cacao nib ($3.50 US)
This was off the charts! Everything about this donut was good; glaze was full of passionfruit flavour with a hint of cayenne. The texture was completely and utterly satisfying. GET IT!
Definitely a must stop if you’re an artisanal donut lover. Wish we could have tried more flavours!
Blue Star Donuts
3753 N Mississippi Ave
Ex Novo Brewing
Our second brewery stop (out of three) was at Ex Novo Brewing.
Sign along the corner of the street where we parked.
The inside is huge and even has an upstairs. Huge mural leading you up.
Beers on tap.
Along with all the bottles surrounding the bar.
They also had kombucha and guest ciders that sounded interesting (but they come in cans so we couldn’t sample them). They also have a few happy hour snacks (3:00pm to 6:00pm on weekdays).
Service is super friendly and our waitress was the best. She let me recharge my camera battery and checked up on us several times. Great service!
They had a merchandise sale going on ($10.00 US for t-shirts and $20.00 US for hoodies). Cheapest we’ve seen. Their glassware was also super reasonable so we bought two!
We wanted to buy a 6 pack of their puff puff passion ($13.00 US) but they were all sold out.
Flight ($9.00 US)
They charged us an additional $1.00 US for one of the rarer/premium beers. We went with the puff puff passion, the cherry tree and other mistold myths, spiders from Mars and nevermore ’18.
The passionfruit was easily our favourite; very passionfruit flavoured but well balanced. The raspberry sour was also good but had a bit of a medicinal aftertaste.
The nevermore was really interesting and reminded us of being similar to a nitro.
The stout had a nice coffee, toffee undertone.
Malt vinegar fries ($4.00 US)
This was one of the happy hour specials. It came out lightning quick. Fries were crispy, not too salty and the homemade ketchup was delightful.
Another solid brewery! Big fan of ENB.
Ex Novo Brewing
2326 N Flint Avenue
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
After a quick shopping spree at the mall, we were ready for a late night dinner. We didn’t realize but it’s in the same building as Marukin Ramen. They also have two other locations in town.
Signs pointing you in the right direction.
Menu on the outside before you enter the doors.
Had to take a picture of the “no reserving chicken skins, even for Rihanna” poster.
We dropped in on a Friday evening (around 8:40pm). Just in time before they closed; staff are friendly and they didn’t rush us.
It’s self serve for utensils, take out boxes and drinks (the cucumber water and their ginger tea were delicious).
Ginger tea was gooooooooooooood.
The menu is small with half a dozen food options and drinks.
They have some funky drinks (Thai iced tea float, Thai-ger woods, Phuket getaway, galangal bloody mary and mango mimosa) all sounded tasty.
Happy hour runs from 4:00pm to 6:00pm everyday.
They even sell their own khao man gai sauce ($9.99 US).
Wasn’t expecting to see t-shirts for sale here though…
Our order number. Last one’s to eat!
Hilarious that they have a how to eat khao man gai guide on the tables.
Closeup of peanut sauce.
Side soup was also tasty.
The meat was incredibly tender, especially the skin.
The choy, pickled green mustard, Chinese mushrooms and sour chili sauce were perfect accompaniments. GET it!
Fantastic, unique Thai spot. Would come back in a heartbeat.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
609 SE Ankeny Street
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
Our last brewery stop, arguably the one we were most excited about, was at Cascade Brewing Barrel House. They specialize in sour beers! They’re across the street from Schilling Cider House.
All the things you can’t do 😉
In case you didn’t know whose house you were in.
We dropped in on a Friday evening (around 9:30pm). The place was busy but the vibe is very laid back. Just people enjoying a couple drinks.
Music is all about the throwback 90’s rap. Our waitress was great; incredibly friendly and came back several times to check up on us.
Sour beers on tap. So many delicious choices!
Cerise nouveau and dark matter in the live barrels.
They also have some merchandise and steins for sale although slightly pricey.
How is the 8oz snifter $8.00 US?!?! Cray.
The menus has 25 sour beers (along with a few non-sour beers, wine and ciders). You can only order two 2oz samplers per person at a time.
Food menu consists of small plates, large plates, sweets and sides.
A couple daily specials, charcuterie, cheese and soup up at the bar.
Bottles are in the $12.00 to 50.00 US range.
Round 1, let’s goooooooooooooo.
Round 2. Still wanted to more baby samples.
Round 3. We decided to end our night with one more 2oz sampler and the glueh kriek.
Solid, solid spot to get your sour beer drink on. Our first time going to a brewery that specializes in sour beers.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
39 SE Belmont St
If you’re around on the weekend, you should definitely check out the Saturday Market.
Lots of artists, hippie shirts, jewellery, ceramics and food stalls.
We bought a couple boba drinking straws.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a hipster’s dream. They’re unbelievably popular and it shows with the constant flow of people coming in to grab coffee. There’s multiple locations around town but this downtown branch is only two blocks away from Voodoo Doughnut
We dropped in on a Saturday afternoon (around 1:30pm). It’s huge inside and has several roomy/lounge areas to sit at or even to get some work done. Join the queue (which moves quickly) and watch the baristas work their magic.
Music was hip and cool; they were playing Kid Cudi’s latest album.
Drink are split into hot and cold.
Surprised they offer a buy 10, get 1 free loyalty card!
There’s three food items labelled under hot breakfast.
Milk options were interesting to add into your coffee; soy, almond and oat milk (which we’ve never seen before).
While you wait in line, you’ll pass all their coffee bean flavours and other things.
Their cold brew coffee is supposedly good.
You can even buy growlers! Huh?
Nice that it comes with a free cup of drip coffee.
It’s one of those landmark institution/spots you hit up when you’re in town.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW 3rd Avenue
La Piñata Takos
We were wandering around downtown and on the way to do some shopping, I spotted La Piñata Takos. They’re bunched together with a group of street cart vendors.
We dropped in on a Saturday afternoon (around 2:30pm). It’s run by a husband and wife combo. Everything is freshly made to order so it’ll take a few minutes to get your food. Worth it!
They also asked if we wanted sauce (mild and spicy options); we picked the spicy one, which was solid.
The menu is quite big: burritos, tacos, quesadillas, combos, fajita plate, tortas, tamales and sopes.
Tacos are only $1.50 US each! Talk about a good deal.
Horchata ($2.00 US) is also reasonable.
Solid tacos! I’d come back to try their enchiladas. Everything sounded great and super reasonable prices too.
La Piñata Takos
432 SW 3rd Avenue
Lúc Lác Vietnamese Kitchen
While we were downtown, we decided to drop by Lúc Lác for their happy hour. Apparently, everyone was thinking the same thing because this place had a line out the door.
We dropped in on a Saturday (around 5:00pm) and it was bumping. The process is interesting; you order and pay first, then wait inside for your food to cook before they seat you.
Interesting that they bring out your drinks while you wait. Water and utensils are self serve by the ordering counter.
The line and wait was better than expected. We told the staff that we didn’t mind where we sat so that might have been why out wait was shorter. No complaints at the bar!
The regular menu is split into small plates, salads, vermicelli bowls & rice plates, pho, banh mi, kitchen specialties and drinks.
Happy hour (4:00pm to 7:00pm everyday) is 2 dollar and 3 dollar small plates.
Awesome! Only catch is each person has to order a drink (but it can be ANY type).
Table condiments are standard.
Sitting at the bar is always fun; we got to see some fun drinks being made. Let the Vietnamese tapas feast begin!
Fun, hip spot that actually does Vietnamese food justice. Would try their pho next time.
Lúc Lác Vietnamese Kitchen
835 SW 2nd Avenue
We were able to squeeze in another doughnut shop visit while we were in town. This one was NOLA Doughnuts, which specializes in New Orleans style doughnuts. They also have a second location.
Cute sign outside advertising a few of their drink specials.
They also have a screen outside showing their various products.
We dropped in on a Saturday evening (around 8:00pm). The inside is cute with plenty of seating (there’s even some booths downstairs) but it wasn’t too busy when we went.
Their doughnut making process, la’ssant, takes three freakin’ days!
Encouraging you to get on the ‘gram.
The selection was pretty scarce but they had a few things left.
We go the last apple fritter.
The menu is small; drinks, doughnuts, other favourites and po’ boys (to come)!
There’s also lots of merchandise and gift sets to peruse.
They give you a street name looking sign for your order.
We got burgundy…
Wish they would have warmed up the fritter for us; it would have been even better.
The beignets took about 5 minutes to cook as they make them to order. Freaking delicious! They also gave us an extra beignet (for a total of four), which was a pleasant surprise.
Beignets were fresh as can be with a light, airy texture.
The amount of powdered sugar they give you is bonkers. That’s why there’s powdered sugar all over the place!
Definitely must get the beignets if you come to NOLA.
110 NW 10th Avenue
While we were in town, we decided to check out a bar that specialized in ciders, aptly named Cider Bite.
Outside drink and food menu.
We dropped in on a Saturday evening (around 9:00pm). The place wasn’t too busy but everyone inside was having a good time socializing or playing a board game.
Closeup of the bar area.
There’s also two TV’s (playing random things like Jeopardy and a dog walking competition). Music here was a great mix of indie (like the XX).
Nothing to crazy in terms of selection but they had Battleship, Sequence, Uno, checkers and a couple other card games.
I haven’t played Battleship in years…
Flights are done in similar fashion as the other breweries we went to. Pick what you want and write it down. They had a “cider flight” theme going on…
The selection is impressive for ciders. It’s split by sweet, dry, divergent and artisanal.
Closeup of the cider taps. They had some funky ones.
The latter two categories cost an additional $1.50 US if you want to add them in your flight option. There’s also cider cocktails, beer and wine.
We opted for the pineapple (#6), vanilla bean (#3), grand mimosa (#10), loganberry (#17), lemon cello (#9) and sacrilege sour cherry (#23).
Our favourites were the grand mimosa, pineapple (tasted like a pineapple slurpee) and lemon cello.
The vanilla bean reminded us of cream soda. We weren’t big fans of the loganberry.
Fun, small cider spot. Wish we had a spot like this back home.
1230 NW Hoyt Street
Salt & Straw
We were able to try another popular ice cream spot, Salt & Straw, while we were in town. They’ve got multiple locations.
Hours and outside menu.
We dropped in on a Saturday evening (around 10:15pm) and it was packed! Busiest place we hit up all weekend long.
Reminded us of when we were travelling and checking out gelato spots in Ozzy. Luckily, the line moves quickly.
Lots of merchandise to check out while you’re in the line waiting. Some cute mugs.
Belt buckle was hilarious. First we’ve seen of those.
The cones are made fresh. Too bad we weren’t able to try one with the flights.
There’s 12 classic flavours along with five seasonal. Scoops are $4.10 US (single), $6.10 US (double) and $9.00 US (tasting flight).
They also have sundaes, ice cream pints and whole pint milkshakes.
The scoopers were fast and incredibly friendly. They let us take our time and sample several flavours before we made our final decision on what to get.
Hand packed pints are in the front and back.
Larger selection in the back.
House rules = skip the line if you’re buying a pint.
Lavender was strong without being too floral.
Olive oil was much more subtle.
Our favourite was the peppermint bark cocoa; solid chunks of peppermint chocolate in it and just really well balanced.
The apple brandy & pecan pie melted the quickest. Decent and with real pecans.
Flight was the best way to sample and share.
Solid ice cream spot but we weren’t particularly blown away by the flavours.
Salt & Straw
838 NW 23rd Ave
Trader Joe’s has become our last stop before we head back across the border. So many unique things and good quality items at reasonable prices. Even with the terrible exchange rate.
Pizza dough (all three flavours) are great.
We tried out a double brie cheese this time around.
Stocked up on a few spices.
This was most of the haul we brought back.
Always try a few drinks. Two types of ginger beers.
Some kombucha, a radler and ciders.
Someone told me that I had to try their peanut butter filled pretzels.
Dark chocolate peanut butter cups. These are like Reese’s but waaaaaay better.
A friend recommended their EVOO.
Some girls I met at a Halloween party were swooning about this pineapple salsa.
Also great to stock up on baked necessities. Butter is also really cheap.
Tried out their okra chips; kind of slimy. Unlikely to get again.
10 minute barley (we tried the 10 minute farrow last time).
They even have wool dryer balls. Cheapest we’ve seen for a four pack.
Couple things from our haul. Definitely worth a visit.
On our way out, we wanted to grab a few bottles for home so we decided to check out The Tin Bucket.
They’re located next door to What’s The Scoop?
It’s an interesting spot; a hybrid beer/cider bottle shop AND a bar where you can chill out and watch the game (NFL obviously, it’s ‘merica). The inside is funky with a wall of old beer memorabilia. Cool that there’s a bunch of tables to sit and enjoy a pint or two.
They also do growler refills (16oz, 32oz and 64oz). There’s 32 options on tap (a mix of beer and cider), which is a pretty solid selection.
Closeup of the options.
The variety of beer and cider bottles was interesting. I took a few photos of what was in their coolers.
A lot of things we haven’t seen but I was impressed that they carry two beers from Dieu du Ciel (represent Canada). To be fair, they’re good beers but pricey ($4.50 US).
Chill spot to stock up on a few craft beer and cider bottles.
3520 N Williams Avenue
The People’s Pig
Our last meal before heading out of Portland was at The People’s Pig. Our Lyft driver suggested we check them out for their fried chicken sandwich (which verbatim “were to die for”). They have a second location on Burnside.
We dropped in on a Sunday (around noon). We were a bit surprised that it wasn’t very busy inside but the staff are all friendly and chill. The inside looks like a mix between a diner and cabin but the food is all about the barbecue.
They’ve got a huge smoker cooking outside in the back and even picnic tables to sit outside at too! Fun.
Water is self serve and you drop off your dirty dishes into a bin when you’re done eating.
Some merch for sale. Seems like every place in town has something.
The menu is small; sandwiches, plates, smoked meat and sides.
They also have happy hour (3:00pm to 6:00pm on weekdays only); options were really good value.
Two hot sauce/tabasco options. We didn’t even touch these (no need).
Drink specials are up on the chalkboards.
You wouldn’t expect them to have a full bar but hey, it’s Portland!
The fried chicken sandwich was even better; oh my god, I think this might be the best I’ve had.
The chicken was unreal. I don’t know how they made it so juicy and tender inside but still with a crunchy satisfying bite to the skin. We were both thoroughly impressed.
Both sides were delicious! Man n cheese was gooey but not over the top.
Collard greens (cooked in pork broth with spicy vinegar) came out hot and satisfied our vegetable cravings.
Closeup of the aioli.
We were given 5 pieces of smoked lamb; well seasoned and excellently smoked.
A few parts of the lamb reminded us of cha shu (Chinese style). Really good.
TPP is a gem! Huge portions and satisfying sides. Wish we could have tried all their smoked meats.
The People’s Pig
3217 N Williams Avenue
That’s a wrap. Ate some good food, checked out a couple breweries and got our shopping on. Can say that was a successful first visit to Portland. Be back soon.