New in Town: The Food Scene (part 1)


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food makes me happy-sweetpaul

It’s no secret Portland’s food scene is off the charts.


Off. The. Charts.

I’ve been wanting to write a “New in Town” series for a while and share what I’ve discovered – or have been introduced to – since moving to Portland. I’ll do my best to note where I’ve been, but bear with me as I go through this in a series because there are so many spots and the list is constantly growing. In short: I’m rolling around Portland; eating whatever I can, whenever I can.

All pictures below are my own.

Barista (Pearl District)
Processed with VSCO with t1 presetAfter moving to Portland, this has been one of my favorite spots from the get-go. Since I work out of coffee shops and cafes often, my list of needs for a spot is long with the top priority: “Must be Kind to Worker Bees.” It’s a big deal when you work from home to have a place you can go to take a break from your own four walls, practice social interaction skills, feel like you’re dressed up because you’re in jeans (not in yoga leggings, but occasionally that happens too) – and not feel like nuisance to the baristas. Trust me; that last one is a really big deal.

Early on, after a really hard morning and really missing Seattle, I approached the counter, a barista said, “Umm, is it a double 16oz non-fat?” So close. A triple. No matter what though, it really meant a lot the barista recognized me and did his best to recall my order. Couple that with a tough morning… yeah… I was verklempt, but it made me like Barista all the more.

Renata, SE Portland
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It was a rainy, cold night when I went to Renata, which was fitting since Italian food will always be a source of comfort (thanks Gigi!). There was something about this restaurant that was ultra-comforting. The ambiance was great – I’m a sucker for an open kitchen with wood-fire oven. Aside from delicious food, the serving team had impeccable timing. Never feeling rushed – or wondering when they’d return – it made the entire experience all the more memorable. I look forward to returning now that the weather is getting warmer. The outside patio looked ahhh-mazing.

Pok Pok, SE Portland
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When Kathy, of Krafty Kath, visited in February, we decided to brave the weather and go to Pok Pok. Expecting a big line and a long wait, we were pleasantly surprised we were seated within 10 minutes (it does happen!!). The ambiance was warm – and it might have been because we were a little tired, but it felt like we were crammed in there. The food, however, was real deal. It’s not the Americanized version of Thai food (no spicy rating system here; you enjoy as it is). It was delicious and the drinks were fabulous. However…

Pok Pok Noi, NE Portland
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When Bobbie, of Even If Nobody Reads This, visited in April we also attempted Pok Pok. As we drove by, in search of parking, we saw the dreaded line wrapping around the block, so we drove north to Pok Pok Noi with fingers crossed. I wrote my name on the wait list and in less than 10 minutes we were seated! We ordered family style and it did not disappoint (that sticky rice was perfect and Khao Soi was delicious). I’ll admit Pok Pok Noi is my favorite of the two even with its smaller menu. It’s charmingly intimate. Seat me at a picnic table in a covered patio area, with lights strung all about, servers who know the menu from top to bottom (and back to the top), paired with great food and drink – yeah – you’re good in my book.

Soooo…. that’s it for now. It’s almost lunch time here and after writing this up, I’M STARVING!

Have a favorite PDX spot you think I should check out? I’m always happy to scout a city’s food and drink scene (it’s for the greater good, right?). Please share below!

Come hang out with this lil’ bird!
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