Portland is well-known for its impressive food scene and I can absolutely see why! Its myriad of famed food carts, hipster cafes, and unique bakeries certainly declare it a foodie capital in my book. The abundance of establishments at my fingertips was just one of the reasons I found myself quickly falling in love with everything Portland had to offer.
1. VOODOO DOLL DOUGHNUT @ VOODOO DOUGHNUT
There is so much debate about whether to visit Voodoo. FYI: the answer is always yes, because you go for the experience and the #iateitforthegram pic you're going to take. Order a cereal-topped doughnut and take a walk down memory lane to those elementary school mornings. Plus Voodoo is open 24/7, so you really have no excuse not to try it at least once!
Also order: Homer Simpson Doughnut, The Dirty Bastard, Fruit Loop, Portland Cream
Sweet Tip: They accept CASH ONLY but happily offer an ATM inside the shop.
2. VALRHONA CHOCOLATE CRUNCH DONUT @ BLUE STAR DONUTS
Blue Star's take on the nostalgic pastry is quality over quantity. With a recipe that originated in the south of France, Blue Star's donuts are made from scratch daily using fresh, high-quality ingredients to curate a gourmet donut that will give your taste buds a run for their money! You'll have to make several trips here to try all their rotating flavors and they sell out pretty quickly!
Also order: Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk and Passion Fruit Cacao Nib
3. A FLAVORED LATTE @ CASE STUDY COFFEE ROASTERS
Even though I take my coffee sans cream and sugar, Case Study made me want to go all out with their house-made syrups and get a flavored latte! I got an aged bourbon caramel latte, but with four different flavors to choose from, you just can't go wrong!
Choose from: fleur de sel caramel, aged bourbon caramel, toasted hazelnut and fleur noir vanilla
4. KHAO MAN GAI @ NONG'S KHAO MAN GAI
The khao man gai at this food cart pod reminded me so much of the Hainanese chicken rice I fell in love with in Singapore earlier this year. This simple, but perfectly executed, meal comes with tender steamed chicken breast over fresh rice and a container of some ridiculously delicious garlic sauce wrapped in butcher paper. A side of soup, cucumbers and some entertaining directions are included to guide you through the proper etiquette of polishing off your lunch!
5. FISH SAUCE WINGS @ POK POK
If you do nothing else in Portland, please come to Pok Pok and order their iconic fish sauce wings. One bite and you'll know why they are so well-known for this dish!
Also order: Kai Yaang (the half bird is more than enough if you're getting the wings too!) with a side of sticky rice
6. ANYTHING @ POR QUÉ NO?
Leave it to Por Qué No? to make your Mexican food dreams come true. Quaint, cute and located on Mississippi Ave, this was -- hands down -- my favorite place to eat in Portland. Start off with one of their many flavored margs or try the refreshing sangria blanca! They've even got a great selection of fresh juices. The Bryan's Bowl is great if you've got a big appetite, but my favorites were the pollo verde and the carne asada tacos. Their chips are homemade and pair perfectly with the guacamole and their various salsa flavors.
7. VIOLET DROP @ NOBLE ROT
A rooftop garden and simple yet flavorful menu make this place the perfect spot for Happy Hour!
Also order: Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese Panino with a side of onion rings -- yum!
Sweet Tip: Make a reservation in advance here!
8. TATER TOTS @ THE COURTYARD RESTAURANT IN MCMENAMINS KENNEDY SCHOOL
Nothing like a school-turned-hotel with a beautiful courtyard restaurant to end a wonderful day in Portland. I don't know about you, but when I was in elementary school tater tot day was basically the best. day. ever. Re-live the nostalgia at the Kennedy School and order a generous side of their yummy tots!
Also order: BBQ Chicken Pizza
9. HAND DIPPED CONE @ WIZ BANG BAR
Although I didn't make it inside a Salt & Straw, Wiz Bang Bar more than made up for it! This soft serve dessert bar by Salt & Straw is a childhood spin on classic soft serve ice cream dipped in a chocolate shell. You can choose from their classic shell flavors of single-origin chocolate, black truffle white chocolate and black raspberry or go for a rotating flavor. Bonus points because it came with a plastic cone-holder to keep ice cream from dripping all over my arm!
I ordered: Salt & Straw Coava Coffee soft serve + Single-Origin chocolate shell