I didn't think I'd like it. it was odd. It was quirky. It was formatted in "skits" or segments. But damn if I didn't get addicted, and then subsequently binge the first three seasons. I highly recommend it. Also, if anyone is Portlandia from is reading this (Hey Fred or Carrie), I'd love a T-shirt, or maybe a book from Women and Women First.
Portland is a quirky town. I liken it to Austin, Texas (or, much to the chagrin of the residents, a small Seattle). I used to come here alot in late 1999. It was different then, and it's changed alot. It's still different.
When I travel, I try to search out the local spots. I get in touch with local foodies and groups to see where I can find the "real food", not just the touristy and trendy right now food. Portland has plenty of "real food". And some even more amazing people.
Olympia Provisions (107 SE Washington St), in a warehouse district against the Willamette River was one of my favorite stops. Incredible house made charcueterie (in a certified USDA facility), amazing pickles, and great conversation. Sit at the bar and chat with the chefs. You'll get some great tips on the city, and let them pick your meal based on the Chef's Choice platter. Some of the most amazing pate I've ever had.
Noble Rot (1111 E Burnside St), down Burnside, was a tremendous stop. Up on the fourth floor patio, you can look out over the city, and snack on the dishes that feature the veggies and fruits of the roof top garden. I highly recommend the Pork Croquette (pulled pork in a vinegar sauce, fried, and served with greens and a fantastic mustard sauce). Even with the haze of the BC forest fires hanging in the air, the view is incredible.
Although I have many thoughts about Portland, its people and its food, expecting to find good quality Mexican mole didn't even cross my addled mind. Mi Mero Mole (32 NW 5th Ave) was a lunch spot of serendipity. I happened to walk by after a long meeting and thought, "Hey now, some mole sounds good". And boy was it. A sampler platter showed up with five different kinds of mole, beans, rice and tortillas. It was hearty and satisfying. Man do I love me some mole.
When you fly into Portland late at night and you're hungry, where do you go to get fed? Go to Luc Lac (835 SW 2nd Ave). Open late, this night owl hangout has some of the best Banh Mi I've had in a long time in a cool atmosphere. Asian umbrellas line the ceiling and the counter-order, then get seated concept keeps the line moving. A quick five mins later, I was noshing on a sublime pork banh mi, some lovely spring rolls, and was headed back home. If you have the inclination, hang out at the bar for some great beer selections.
Since it was a short trip, and I actually had work to do, two stop wrapped up my trip: The Roxy Diner (1121 SW Stark St) and Blue Star Donuts (1237 SW Washington St). Do yourself a favor: Go to The Roxy, grab breakfast, then walk over to Blue Star and have an OG. Skip Voodoo (too much of a line and too gimmicky). Get a real donut. Enjoy it.
If you get the chance. Go to Portland. Watch Portlandia first. Eat the food. Talk to the people. Seek out the quirky and local. You won't be disappointed. I missed a lot, but I'll be back Portland, don't you worry. Remember, the dream of the 1890's is alive in Portland.