Waffles, ice cream, soup, pizza, beer, chocolate + sourdough on Portland’s Epicurean Walking Tour.

Waffles, ice cream, soup, pizza, beer, chocolate + sourdough on Portland’s Epicurean Walking Tour.

My week in Portland is finishing up. I’ve had the best time. Here is the film of what we have done, eaten, seen and visited all week.

For my last day in Portland, I was booked into the Portland Walking Tour: Epicurean Excursion. We were due to wander the streets of downtown, trying nibbles from some of the citys top eating spots.

A little different than the Forktown tours, as instead of a sit down taste at a number of fancy restaurants, we were wandering on foot and trying a number of different ‘tastes’.

Our first stop was Cacao, for some of their thick hot chocolate. They stock a number of local and high quality chocolate products.
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Burmese Pork Stew, Portland’s Distillery Row, Pok Pok’s chicken wings + kava cocktails.

Burmese Pork Stew, Portland’s Distillery Row, Pok Pok’s chicken wings + kava cocktails.

Tasty n Sons is known city wide as perhaps Portland’s best brunch location, with a table for 6 on a saturday morning being a prized possession. We were meeting up with a few people, and so we head towards Tasty, put our name down and then head towards Ristretto Roasters for a coffee and a doughnut while we waited.

Soon, we got our call and head over to claim our table.
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Forktown Food Tours + grilled peanut butter and marionberry jam sandwiches.

What to do in Portland except brunch. I was heading into the city for my Forktown Foodie Tour this afternoon, and thought I’d try a downtown brunch location as I was over that way anyway. Skylar recommended Mothers, a Portland favourite.



I looked it up and there were a few recommended standout dishes, but the one that caught my eye was the Wild Salmon Hash with leeks, potatoes and a touch of cream, eggs and toast with whipped butter. The salmon here is so very pink and full of flavour – the dish was super heavy with all the cream, eggs, potatoes and bread but it was so delicious I couldn’t stop eating.



Next up, I wandered the boutiques of the Pearl District and bought a Portlandia ‘Put a bird on it!’ sticker. I head up to Powell’s City of Books, the worlds largest new and used bookstore.



I jumped on the Portland Streetcar to the Alphabet District, towards Besaw’s for my Forktown Food Tour.


To start our 3 hour tour, we sat in at Besaw’s, a neighbourhood staple since 1903.



We started with mimosas with a pear reduction, and a beet arugula salad. Besaw’s are known for using local ingredients, and they also have their own 16 lot garden out the back of the restaurant that they source a lot of their ingredients from.



We walked up the road to Kenny & Zukes for an incredible reuben sandwich made with everything housemade from the pastrami to the bread (except the sauerkraut which was made locally), a local oregon Goodlife pale ale, half sour pickles, and bagels with chive cream cheese. The most famous Jewish deli in the city, the pastrami is made with beef plate which they call ‘beef pork belly’.





Over the road to St Honore Boulangerie for some choux pastries topped with pearl sugar.




Then down to Bull Run Distilling for a tour and a tasting of their rum, bourbon, vodka, gin and aquavit.










At this point we had consumed quite a bit of food and drink, but the tour was only half over. A short walk down the street to Wildwood, where they have been serving up seasonal cuisine with local ingredients since 1994. Founded by Cory Schreiber, a James Beard award winner, the restaurant supports local farms that practice sustainable agriculture.





Here we tried a bourbon and caramelized onion soup, a local red wine, and a pizza with taleggio, roasted garlic, spinach and chorizo from local Olympic Provisions.



Then down the road for what was the highlight of the tour for me, the PBJ Grilled food cart. I have never quite wrapped my head around the peanut butter and jelly craze of America – and especially grilled! I was a little dubious about this stop as how on earth could grilled PBJ’s match up to the rest of the amazing food we had tried. But Heidi of Forktown knows her stuff – this ended up being my favourite stop, perhaps just for the sheer surprise at how amazing the sandwiches were.


We started with The Spicy Thai, with Peanut Butter Sriracha, fresh basil, curry and orange marmalade on grilled challah. This was my favourite. The chef who owns the cart works with flavours until they combine perfectly, and this sandwich is a great example of this.


Next up the Oregonian, with Oregon hazelnut butter, Rogue Creamery Blue cheese, and housemade marionberry jam. Marionberrys are a blackberry cultivar bred right here in Oregon.


Last up was the Smoking Goat, with kalamata olive bread, housemade almond butter, Apple wood smoked bacon, goat cheese and apricot jam.


And then around the corner to our last stop, Two Tarts Bakery.


We tried a number of mini cookies to finish up the tour.




The Nob Hill area has a heap of cool boutiques, so after the tour I wandered 23rd for a while. I dropped into the Meadow, a salt, chocolate and bitters store and bought some local Oregon wood smoked chocolate.






After a long day, it was time to call it a night – I head back home and Skylar and I spent our Valentines night watching Thor. My feet were not up to any more walking!!



Vegan brunch, Gaiwan tea ceremony, hiking the wildwood trail + hot blueberry tea cocktails.

Vegan brunch, Gaiwan tea ceremony, hiking the wildwood trail + hot blueberry tea cocktails.

Walked down to Hawthorn and wandered the strip for a while – got lost in the huge Powell’s books, and then walked over the road to Harlow, Portlands premier vegan joint. Being a non-vegan, it is hard for vegan places to match what I could get somewhere else, but Harlow over-delivered. Cold-pressed coffee with coconut milk, bittersweet chocolate and agave accompanied my ridiculously amazing meal.
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Hello Portland, with your maple bacon doughnuts + Coconut Key Lime Pie cocktails.

Hello Portland, with your maple bacon doughnuts + Coconut Key Lime Pie cocktails.

It’s been a long, incredible day.

I was sad to leave Phoenix and all my friends and family behind – second big goodbye I have done in as many months. But now my solo journey really starts. I left home at 7AM this morning: first stop on my adventure, Portland.

I have been excited to visit here for years, but have never gotten around to coming. My older brother lives here, and I’ve promised to come stay for years. From what I have heard, Portland is the US city most like Melbourne. And I hadn’t yet found a place I am willing to live when I get my US citizenship. I thought Portland might be it.

And it totally is. I’ve been here 14 hours now and it feels like it could be home. Nowhere else in the world besides Melbourne have I had the sort of day I have had today. Portland is full of all the cool things I love. Nowhere else am I able to play pool, drink local chocolate porter and dance to Major Lazer’s Bubble Butt and then Talking Heads directly after one another.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I landed at 11:30AM – from a balmy 25 degrees in Phoenix, I was dropped into rain and sidewalks covered in snow. I love it. I missed weather that wasn’t just sunny and blue every day. While it is lovely I need diversity! And Portland’s snow covered parks definitely provided that.
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