I remember the confused look on people’s faces when I told them that I planned on visiting Oregon. They tried to sound interested, like “oh, that sounds…um…cool.” But little did they know that Portland is actually one of the most beautiful and uniquely fascinating places I’ve ever visited (and I travel a lot!!!). Sure, there’s lots of crunchy granola lovin’ hippies and non-conformists, but I appreciated the open-minded culture and creative cuisine that the city had to offer. From Olive Oil ice cream to Double Bubble Doughnuts, Portland is offering up some strangely delicious combinations that you can’t find anywhere else on the planet!
As usual, my trip was centered around food (obviously!), with hiking and sightseeing sprinkled in between. It was nearly impossible to narrow it down, but here are some of the highlights from my foodie excursion to the Pacific Northwest.
Voodoo Doughnut is not only one of the biggest tourist attractions in Portland, it is one of the most popular doughnut shops in the country. Their original claim to fame was the Maple and Bacon doughnut, but it was the Nyquil doughnut that really put them on the map (which they eventually had to discontinue for reasons you can probably guess).
My favorite was the “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” which had chocolate frosting, oreo crumble, and peanut butter drizzle. We also ordered the “Marshall Mathers” with
Eminems M&M’s (of course!), The “Tang” which was loaded with the retro fruit-flavored powder, and the “Captain My Captain” which contained one of my all-time favorite cereals. I admit these deep fried rings of dough aren’t exactly made with finesse or by a world-renowned pastry chef, but judging on the taste alone, they were to die for…no pun intended!
One other thing you may not know about Portland is that the ratio of Food Carts to People is about 1-to-1. Well, at least it seems to be. There are giant parking lots filled with 50+ food carts scattered all throughout downtown. Within steps, you can enjoy any kind of cuisine that your stomach desires. Just click the link above for a quick video of the food cart lot that I stumbled upon!
We stopped by a Belgian Waffle Food Cart and ordered the “ABC Waffle” with Arugula, Bacon, Camembert, and Fig Sauce. There was clearly an unnecessary amount of Arugula on top, but after pushing it aside, the rest of the waffle was one of the best I have ever tried. It was an authentic “liege” style waffle which had a slightly crispy exterior, but fluffy and light inside. The combination of bacon and fig sauce was like sweet & salty heaven!
We also made it a point to visit Salt & Straw. This up and coming ice cream parlor is serving handmade ice cream with some of the most unusual flavors around that will truly put your taste buds to the test. Mark my words, Salt & Straw will very soon be one of the most well-known ice cream shops in the country with segments on Travel Channel, Food Network, etc. Just remember where you heard about them first!
They were extremely generous with samples which allowed us to try nearly every flavor! Judging by the picture above, you can see that we were unable to pick just one…so we ordered an ice cream flight with four different flavors!
- Grandma Malek’s Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache
- Strawberry Honey Balsamic Vinegar with Crackled Black Pepper
- Pear with Blue Cheese
- Double Fold Vanilla
My favorite turned out to be the Strawberry Honey Balsamic Vinegar with Crackled Black Pepper which tasted like the best Strawberry Jam I have ever tasted…except frozen. If you are ever in Portland, you NEED to give this one a try!
So next time you are on the West Coast, take a pit stop in Portland. It is incredibly scenic with waterfalls, lush green mountains and Pine trees everywhere you turn. If you like the outdoors, you can walk around and explore while burning off all the calories from the doughnuts and ice cream you ingested prior. :)
Here are a few other pictures from my trip to the Beaver State. Enjoy!!!