For me, food is such an important part of vacation. I basically wander around the place I’m staying until I don’t feel full anymore and then think “Ok, what should we try next?!” I’m constantly scouring Yelp, local publications, and blogs for stand-out dishes. A mix of high and low brow is ideal!
Burgerville | burgerville.com
Burgerville is a fast food chain local to the Oregon and Washington area. It was one of Andrew’s favorite places when he lived in Oregon, so it was immediately on the itinerary. They’re all about using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local, ethical sources as much as possible. We were lucky enough to have both the Walla Walla onion rings(pictured) and blackberry milkshake in season during our trip. Delicious!
Salt & Straw | saltandstraw.com
838 NW 23rd Ave.
3345 SE Division St.
This trendy, boutique ice cream shop immediately caught my attention–ice cream is my favorite! We braved the long lines twice and tried coconut & salted caramel bar(pictured), sweet corn(!!!), coffee & bourbon, honey lavender, balsamic strawberry, and olive oil. The energy inside was so much fun and the playlist that was blasting aimed straight to my heart–a mix of 90s/00s hip hop and current dance and pop bangers. It was like a party each visit, plus ice cream, so it was the best.
Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade | groundkontrol.com
511 NW Couch St.
Another one of Andrew’s old haunts, therefore a must. We actually spent three nights hanging out at Ground Kontrol–it’s that good. They have the perfect selection of classic cabinets(Pac Man, Tetris, Centipede), new favorites(DDR, Mario Kart), plenty of pinball, and Andrew’s ultimate necessity–Street Fighter. Add their full bar, fun DJ, trivia nights, and monthly special of $5 cover for free play all night and you’ve got the best barcade EVER. Why can’t we have one in our neighborhood? We might never leave.
Pok Pok | pokpokpdx.com
3226 SE Division St.
If you ask for Portland restaurant suggestions, I guarantee Pok Pok will be in the top 3 most suggested. A chef with a James Beard Award will do that to a place. I’ll keep my comments short since others have said it many times before and much better than I–It’s worth the trip, worth the wait, and god damn, y’all, those fish sauce chicken wings(pictured)… I’ll forever dream of them!
L&L Hawaiian Barbeque | hawaiianbarbecue.com
L&L is a national chain, but we don’t have anything like it around my neck of the woods. Hawaiian cuisine is such a fun, eclectic mix of Asian and American flavors and this fast food style joint has it all! Musubi(spam sushi), Loco Moco, and of course macaroni salad are all present on the menu, but my favorite was the tonkatsu curry rice. The perfect comfort food!
Fifty Licks | fifty-licks.com
2021 SE Clinton St. #101
I caught Fifty Licks’ truck by chance–who could resist that cutie? But their handmade, small batch ice cream is definitely worth a trip to the storefront! The carmelized honey ice cream I had was so dense and creamy with such a refreshing, unique flavor.
Little Bird Bistro | littlebirdbistro.com
219 SW 6th Ave.
Little Bird is the cozy sister restaurant to the popular Le Pigeon. We had a lovely, dimly-lit dinner at the bar and shared a killer charcuterie board and the daily fish special. The bartender recommended a perfect wine and wowed us with great cocktails.
Marinepolis Sushiland | sushilandusa.com
138 NW 10th Ave.
You guys. This place. This is another small chain and might not wow all visitors, but as a habitually disappointed midwest sushi enthusiast, I was in love. Their sushi and appetizer selection is served conveyer belt style and each plate is only $1, $1.50, $2, or $3. I ate until I was super full each of the three(!!!) times we visited and never spent more than $12. Insane! And the fish wasn’t garbage! Haha, if the cheap stuff in the Pacific Northwest is this good, I can’t image what the more upscale places are like! We were so happy with Sushiland though, we never felt the need to try another place.
Little Big Burger | littlebigburger.com
Little Big Burger is the perfect little burger spot. Super simple and straight forward. The burgers are just the right size–a bit bigger than a slider, but not quite full size. Their truffle fries and fry sauce are so amazing, we stopped in one evening just to grab sodas and snack on some. That’s what vacation is for, right?