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36 Hours in Portland

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At the beginning of October, I went to Portland for 36 hours. I was there for work and my schedule was packed but when I was not working I was eating (and even sometimes when I was working!). I love Portland and the Pacific Northwest in general. As I have mentioned before this area of the US feels like home to me. It is the region that Mr. Misadventures and I will most likely retire to one day.

Portland is a great city for food in every price range. There is also a formidable coffee culture, beer culture and the area surrounding the city is my favorite wine region. It produces exceptional pinot noirs which I am a big fan of.

And while I did not get back to Pine State Biscuit (trust me, it was on my mind the entire time), in my time in Portland I visited the Alder Street carts (food trucks) twice, spent an evening where I ate an exceptional Pok Pok wing; a tasty Voodoo Donut and visited a chocolate shop (twice) where I had a cup of hot chocolate inspired by Angelina’s in Paris.

Not bad for 36 hours.

With close to 50 carts between Southwest 9th/10th avenues and Washington/Alder streets, the choices can be overwhelming! The spot for the Alder Street carts is two blocks from my Portland office, something that is a total bonus in my opinion! I had two lunches in Portland and both of them were spent exploring the carts.

The first day I got the famous Nong’s Khao Man Gai. They have a couple of dishes but they are most known for their khao man gai which is just chicken and rice. But it is not *just* any chicken and rice. It is melt-in-your-mouth tender poached chicken served on a bed of good (trust me, there is good rice and bad) jasmine rice which is served with an addictive ginger-garlic dipping sauce. Yes, please.

It may not be much to look at, but trust me if you ever get a chance to have it, take it.

Hongs-Chicken-RiceMy colleague tried the Kargi Gogo cheese bread, known as khachapuri in its native Georgia. This cart run by two ex-Peace Corp folks who spent several years in Georgia offers foods from an area of the world that most people are not familiar with.

Kargi-Cheese-BreadThey make their menu items fresh as a lot of food truck people do. It was fun to watch them roll out the bread and prepare the dish in front of our eyes.

kargi-gogo-truckThe next day I went back and had the Kalua Pork from Island Grill Hawaiian cart. I am a sucker for any meat – pork, beef, chicken – that has been cooked for a million years and falls off the bone.

Hawaiian-PorkWe tried a dumpling truck for dessert but it didn’t compare to the desserts I had the previous evening which included a Voodoo donut, amazing ice creams, and delicious cupcakes. I should have stopped while I was ahead!

Besides, I knew I was going to go back to the Cacao Drinking Chocolate shop and drown my sorrows in a cup of Rivoli hot chocolate. It’s fashioned after the chocolate served at Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli in Paris.

Of course, I didn’t stop there. After a friendly conversation with the staff in which they showed me all the local artisanal chocolates from the Portland area, I ended up buying a whole bunch of chocolate to take home.

Chocolate-StashDid I mention I like dark chocolate?

My time in Portland was definitely too short, but I certainly enjoyed it, me and my two stomachs!

How about you? Do you have some favorite Portland spots?

Check out other Portland highlights in my Perfect Portland Wanderlist on AFAR.

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Julia Rose

Sunday 11th of January 2015

I've heard lots of different things about Portland. It sounds like a super fun place to visit! I totally want to go now.

Andi Fisher

Monday 12th of January 2015

@Julia, it is such an awesome place - food, wine, beer, lots to explore!

Ash L.

Thursday 20th of November 2014

I love how much you were able to do in 36 hrs. Also, I want to visit now.

Andi Fisher

Friday 21st of November 2014

@Ash, I hope you get there - you definitely need more than 36 hours!


Saturday 15th of November 2014

I can't get over how good that Kalua Pork looks!! If I'm ever in Portland I hope to have the chance to try it.

Andi Fisher

Saturday 15th of November 2014

@Sarah, it is as good as I've had it in Hawaii!

Gina H

Tuesday 25th of February 2014

Loved Portland!! Loved Hopworks Urban Brewery, the beer, food, and atmosphere were all great!!

Andi Fisher

Tuesday 25th of February 2014

@Gina, totally agree, foodie heaven! And the beer!

Tommy Gunn

Saturday 14th of December 2013

Portland is such a world of it's own. I've been there before, and it's certainly a different experience!

Ever seen "Portlandia"? Not far off on that show!

Andi Fisher

Saturday 14th of December 2013

@Tommy, I haven't seen it yet, but everyone keeps telling me to check it out, so I guess I better.