Cherry and I planned a weekend trip to Portland as a “last getaway” before our baby comes. Yep, we’re having a baby this December! Portland is definitely the “weird” red-headed step sister to Seattle, with an abundance of uniquely northwest microbreweries and foodie spots. With only a limited amount of time there, here are the spots we visited.
1.) Joe’s Crab Shack
classic sampler $12.49
sunset fire-grilled steampot $26.49
One thing I hate, is seeing commercials for restaurants and stores nowhere near your place or residence. Enter Joe’s Crab Shack. Nothing says foodie spot, like a national seafood chain but being the only one within 150+ square miles of Seattle, we made the exception to stop by as we drove down. Plus, years of seeing the commercials finally took its toll on us! Cherry and I shared a classic sampler and an individual order of the sunset fire-grilled steam pot. The sampler included crab dip, fried calamari and their “great balls of fire” which are panko breaded and deep-fried balls of seafood, crab, jalapenos and cream cheese. The calamari had a nice crispy breading and the crab dip was tasty. I liked the great balls of fire, but I would have like more heat. The steam pot had both snow and dungeness crab, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. The spicy seasoning provided nice heat and everything was well cooked with the focus of the pot, the crab, being fresh and sweet. Joe’s is a fun place to bring the family, but it’s more expensive and you get less for your money compared to a place like the Crap Pot.
beer sampler $9
chipotle beef chili $8.95
With my growing passion for good beer, we attended a tour of Portland’s oldest craft brewery. It was awesome going behind the scenes to see how beer is crafted and what was especially impressive, was that they produce, bottle, and distribute their entire product on a staff of four! There’s even a laboratory in the back of the packaging floor where college students come as a part of their courses. A major point our tour guide and brew master emphasized throughout the tour is that for everything they make (beer & food), they practice the acronym: FLOSS, which stands for fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable – I like that! After the tour, we got a small bite at the bar. Cherry went with their bowl of chipotle beef chili which was hearty and but lacked the bold flavors of spice and worcestershire normally associated with chili. I decided I’d rather drink my carbs and just ordered their beer sampler, which featured three of the year-round beers and five seasonal. All of which were equally good in their own way, but their Hop Czar was too hoppy for my taste.
3.) Noodles and Co.
bbq pork sandwich $6.99
indonesian peanut sauté $7.98
Interesting spot featuring a wide variety of made to order “noodle” dishes ranging from spaghetti and meatballs to phad thai. Cherry went with the bbq pork sandwich and side of tomato basil bisque and I went with the indonesian peanut sauté. The pork sandwich was surprisingly very good. The meat was tender and flavorful on its own, but the slaw was lackluster at best. The bbq sauce also provided a nice pep to each bite. The tomato bisque was rich and had a nice balance of tomato and basil. My noodles weren’t that great, keep in mind I’m a noodle snob and have high expectations when eating any kind of noodles. The flavors were bland and the chicken was dry. I was expecting the flavors of “spicy peanut sauce” to at least be present, but instead this dish was a haphazard attempt at something ”Asian.” The only positive thing I can say about that dish is, I wasn’t hungry anymore after I ate it.
4.) Mother’s Bistro
busy breakfast service
pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble $9.95
This spot has received a ton of positive feedback from the “foodie” world and I was extremely eager to see for myself what the craze is about. As I parked, I saw a line out the door and a mob of people waiting outside. I immediately felt a disappointingly warm smile creep across my face, like a child that was just given time out in their room… full of video games and toys. The wait wasn’t bad for a 2-top though, only about 30-minutes. I think another big reason for the unusually large amount of people was due the fact that the Portland Marathon was also that morning. Many runners ready refuel their bodies with a carb-loading session after a cruel and self-punishing run. Cherry went with the pork apple sausage & cheddar scramble. As usual, in Portland fashion, everything used is fresh and local and you can really taste that. The scrambled eggs had an almost creamy texture that held everything together nicely. The apple sausage was both savory and sweet and wasn’t greasy at all. The breakfast potatoes were cooked perfectly and had nice subtle flavors of the herbs they used. I ordered the daily special which happened to be a joe’s scramble that featured their house-ground natural rib-eye. Everything came together wonderfully to provide a great dish. Often overlooked during breakfast is the side of bread that usually accompanies the dish. The wheat bread at Mother’s Bistro definitely cannot go unnoticed. It was unique in that each bite was clean almost like a cracker, but you knew you biting into toast.
Portland is such a spunky and quirky city that I almost want to drive down every weekend to try a new spot! Cherry and I have come down at least once a year for the past few years and always discover something different. I’ll leave you with a photo I took at Roloff Farms of Cherry’s baby belly… hope you’ve enjoyed!
30-weeks and counting!