A whirlwind 30-hour trip to Oregon was spent visiting colleges and exploring the culture and food of Portland with friends. We started by grabbing the cutest, smallest burgers from Little Big Burger. A medium-well done beef patty with tomatoes, pickles, tons of lettuce, their special house sauce, two deliciously crispy, sweet buns, and of course, TRUFFLE FRIES; a great start to an afternoon of eating and exploring.
Next, we visited a famous donut shop called Blue Star: Donuts for Grownups. With so many choices, such as Blueberry Compote Bourbon and Beer Red Velvet, it was hard to make the decision of an apple fritter donut with hard cider. The crunchy chunk of goodness was definitely a hit!
Right down the street from the donut shop was the Portland famous Salt&Straw Ice Cream shop. With a 45-minute wait outside the door, we passed, but not before taking a peek at their exotic ice cream flavors including bacon ice cream and blue cheese ice cream. Salt&Straw is definitely a “must-go” during our next visit to Portland.
After exploring the old part of the city a little bit more, we stumbled along a little store called The Meadow, which carried some of the finest salts, chocolates and syrups; supposedly the store many top chefs get their salts from. Being such foodies and cooks, we walked inside amazed at the sheer variety of salts available. They ranged from cheddar popcorn salts from Oregon to red lava rock salts from Hawaii to seaweed flake salts all the way from Japan. After tasting about 10 different kinds of salts from all over the world, we settled on 2 small bottles: an apple smoked salt and a delicious little flake salts that melt on your tongue. Along with the salts, they sold all different kinds of syrups ranging from vanilla to lemon to lavender, an amazing array of chocolates from all over the world, and slabs of Himalayan pink salt plates, shot glasses, and mugs. The Meadow is definitely a must-visit for foodies and chefs in Portland.
The next 3 hours were spent walking around, looking at the old homes, the nations biggest book store, Powell’s, and walking along the Willamette river. As dinnertime rolled around, we found a chic little Vietnamese place called Luc Lac.
With a huge line outside the door, we waited for a table. When you walk in, you line up to place your order then are given your number. While waiting, there are chairs to sit in, or a bar to have a drink at. We stood at the bar drinking our drinks and waiting for our table. After getting seated at a bar seat pretty quickly, our food came right away. Our delicious meal consisted of fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with pork and prawns, a spicy papaya salad with prawns, and a Vermicelli bowl with BBQ’ed pork, chicken, beef, prawns and spring rolls. The fresh Vietnamese spring rolls were amazing, stuffed with tons of fresh coriander and crispy veggies. It came with a thick peanut dipping sauce, which brought all the ingredients together. The Papaya salad was just as delicious. It had a good kick of chili, while still being tangy and clean with a hint of lime. Maybe one of the best papaya salads I’ve had; and I’ve had a lot. The Vermicelli and assorted BBQ’ed items was a great wholesome, homey dish. The pork and prawn BBQ’ed skewers were definitely the highlight of the meal. The smokey flavor from the flames of the grill and the caramelized sauce that lightly coated the pork and prawns added an amazing kick of flavor. Along with the food, the bar was just as popular. People were ordering drinks after drinks and the 2 hard working bartenders were pounding out all kinds of different drinks right in front of us. Luc Lac is definitely a must-go for a fun night out in Portland for great, cheap food and drinks. Our food experiences in Portland were amazing and I cannot wait to go back to explore more! See you later Portland!