Friday, October 19, 2012

Fat City on the Road: 3 places to seek out in Portland, Oregon

Posted by on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

The Pork Belly Cubano from Bunk should be on your itinerary.
  • The Pork Belly Cubano from Bunk should be on your itinerary.
Portland, Oregon, is the kind of city where a man can't help but stumble-trip into a doughnut shop, coffee shop or brewery. The end result is a deliciously vicious cycle of overstuffing oneself on doughnuts, overcompensating with caffeine and then various attempts at coming down over pints of micro brews. The cycle begins anew at the end of your second beer (make this a Sweet Heat from the Burnside Brewing Co. — apricot puree and Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers are a unique concoction) when you suddenly discover that you really want a doughnut.

As such, no list of Portland must eats is comprehensive, but I figured I'd give you the best of what I had on a recent weekend visit to the city. Here are three signposts for your stomach, where I guarantee you'll leave happy.

This is modern coffee art.
  • Stumptown
  • This is modern coffee art.
1. Stumptown Annex (3352 SE Belmont) — Stumptown is to Portland as the Roasterie is to Kansas City. You'll see their coffee and cafes dotted across the city. But in the Sunnyside neighborhood, the Stumptown Annex is the shop worthy of your visit. The seven-year old museum to coffee features a long wooden counter, a shelf lined with glass jars of whole coffee beans, and a bank of tables with a few customers quietly slipping into reverence. Pour-over coffee is a dance here, and the effect is mesmerizing — you have no choice but to slow down and appreciate Stumptown.

Screen_shot_2012-10-19_at_9.52.48_AM.png
  • Pomeroy is waiting.
2. Beast (5425 NE 30th Avenue) — is entirely chef Naomi Pomeroy's vision. You'll also feel like you're in her living room. Only a massive wooden island separates the kitchen from a pair of tables that seat 24 diners at a time. The conversation at the communal tables picks up as the wine pairings (an additional $35) increase, but until then there's the joy of watching your meal being cooked and plated literally feet from where you're sitting. No energy is wasted. The table is cleared and plates are washed between courses as duck legs and roasted kale emerge from the oven. The service is understated but professional. There are two nightly seatings, 6 and 8:45 p.m., for a six-course prix fixe dinner ($75) Wednesday through Saturday. There's also a single Sunday-dinner seating at 7 p.m. Brunch has two seatings for a four-course meal, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. ($30). The menu changes weekly and is posted each Tuesday online. Make this your one reservation to anchor a few days' trip.

Screen_shot_2012-10-19_at_9.51.52_AM.png
3. Bunk Sandwiches (621 SE Morrison, 211 SW Sixth Avenue) — Anybody can make a sandwich, but few are making them right now at the level of Bunk. The interior of the cramped sandwich shop gets its warmth and a bit of smoke from sizzling bacon. The effect is to render you briefly drooling. Order up the Pork Belly Cubano (ham, swiss, pickles and mustard) or the Oregon Albacore Tuna Melt (olive oil, balsamic, dijon, pickles and cheddar). And they have beer. A Miller High Life will run you $3, while a Lagunitas IPA is only 50 cents more.

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