Last month Jake, T and I took a little trip up to Portland, OR. Oregon is a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was in high school. I almost applied to a few schools there before deciding it against it but the dream of visiting Oregon has always lingered. I’ve seen a few other posts from my blogger friends talking about the awesome Portland food scene up there so finally we made it a reality! Here’s a recap of our first day, since otherwise I think it would take me forever and two days to write separate posts for everything.
1) Angel Food & Fun
There was a little sprinkle of rain on our first night in Portland and that first night was the only time that I drove during our trip (hooray awesome boyfriend). Our first foodie stop was at a tiny little restaurant in between the airport and the apartment where we stayed (we used Airbnb for the first time and had a very pleasant experience) called Angel Food & Fun.
The name doesn’t really suggest what kind of food they serve (in my mind at least). Angels Food & Fun serves Yucatecan food – a regional style of Mexican food we had not tried before. This place was a last minute edition to my itinerary since I figured we had time for it on that first night.
There were about six tables in here. There were windows on the right where you could peek into a pool hall/bar area. Not sure if they were connected or not.
Angel Food & Fun’s menu – click to make it BIG. There’s a lot of items on here that will sound familiar but what I was interested in were the Salbutes and Panuchos (aka TACOS).
From left to right, clockwise: Empanada ($3), Salbute ($2 / a puffed deep fried tortilla) and Panucho ($2 / a refried tortilla that is stuffed with refried black beans). I haven’t seen nor heard of tacos quite like these before.
On the salbute (bottom right), we got it with carne asada. The fried puffy taco was light and airy and the meat was incredibly flavorful. I loved the addition of onions and cilantro, but I always love that. You can see more of the puffiness in the photo above this one. It wasn’t really crunchy like chips or anything, but it has a sturdy shell that puffs up while it’s frying.
On the second taco, the panucho, we had it topped with cochinita pibil (which is a citrusy, slow-roasted pork that’s wrapped in banana leaves while cooking). The biggest different between this one and the salbute is that the tortilla is stuffed with with black beans! They seemed like refried black beans to me and added another depth of flavor to an otherwise simple taco. Since I’m not a super big fan of beans this wasn’t my favorite (I prefered the salbute) but it was still enjoyable. The pork had a nice flavor to it and I loved the topping on this (minus those bright pink pickled onions that we removed). The tortilla was quite soft and if you like beans, I bet you’d dig this!
We also got a pork stuffed empanada and I loved their empanada shell. It was crispy on the outside and had a nice bite to it, kind of like a sope. It was quite simple with only meat inside but still tasted quite flavorful with a good balance of seasonings.
Angel Food & Fun (Yelp)
5135 NE 60th Ave.
Portland, OR 97218
2) Lardo Sandwiches
After we checked into our apartment and scoped out our digs for the week and relaxed a little, we headed back out for our “real” dinner. Our plan for the whole trip was to kind of try as much as possible and just order a little bit here and there to share between the three of us. That way we could try more things! It was kind of like a long food crawl in a way…
Our next stop was Lardo. Lardo started out as one of the many food carts parked around Portland before moving up to having their own storefront with three locations in Portland. I love the wooden spoons as the customer numbers.
I love that Pig Out sign.
Our choices for the evening.
Surely you guessed that cheese curds ($5) were ordered. It wasn’t a very big batch but they’re so rich and so delicious that you kind of don’t want to eat more than this. The squeaky curds were delightful with the perfect amount of crunchy coating on the outside. They were pipping hot and the cheese was nice and gooey. It’s not quite like eating a mozzarella stick, though they look like mini mozzarella sticks. They’re not quite as stringy as mozzarella and you get the feeling of the cheese curds squeaking on your teeth while you eat them (I love that).
We had to ask what the difference was between Lardo Fries and Dirty Fries. The answer? Pork scraps.
Yup, Dirty Fries ($7) it was. They use any little leftover bits from other cuts of meat and basically toss them into these fries with fried herbs and Parmesan. It also usually comes with marinated peppers but we’re not into that. Jake and T loved the crispy bits of meat but I actually liked the fries with just the fried herbs and Parmesan. The pork scraps does elevate this to another level though if you know, you like meat in ALL YOUR FOOD. I don’t mind it, but I don’t need it. But I indulge the boys.
We got two sandwiches to share – one was the Double Burger ($9) which has two patties plus “porkstrami” with melted cheddar cheese. I honestly couldn’t really taste the porkstrami on top of the mess of beefiness but it was kind of like a crispy bit of prosciutto, but thicker.
The patties were done medium well but were still quite juicy. It was a decent burger but the three of us all liked the other sandwich more…
Hello Pork Belly Gyro. ($10). My oh my how we wish you existed in San Diego.
So imagine a gyro… but with deliciously crispy, meaty, pork belly with bits of that wonderful, crispy fat on the side… oh yes. Oh yes. The pita bread was freshly made and the pork belly was really the shining star. The other flavors in there (feta, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki, cucumber) made it taste just like a gyro… but BETTER. I think after this sandwich the boys trusted in my itinerary for the trip.
4090 N Williams Ave.
3) Voodoo Doughnut
Our last stop for the evening was a trip to the oh-so-famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Voodoo Doughnuts is open 24 hours so it wasn’t a problem visiting it late at night. There’s a location in Downtown Portland and “Voodoo Too” is on the other side of the river (where we were staying) so we went to that one.
Doesn’t it kind of look like a purple lighted barn?
They have those dividers up on the left for when there are crazy ass lines. Lucky for us, Wednesday evenings in December are not that popular.
Stained glass donut window!@#!
There were pinball machines and all kinds of knick knacks. I forgot to take a photo of it, but the booth next to us also had a coffin shaped bench/couch.
The overwhelming doughnut menu. I’m glad no one was behind us in line.
They had two rotating cases (like the ones usually used to showcase pies) full of different donuts. We ended up asking a lot of questions like, “What’s that pink one? Or that blue one?” or “Does that one really taste like bubble gum?” Finally we ended up deciding on three donuts.
I kind of wanted to take the box home but then I thought, “What on earth would I do with a doughnut box?” and decided I didn’t want to pack it after all.
Jake was talking with the guy helping us, something about blueberry donuts, and the guy threw in the blueberry doughnut for free! I was only half paying attention to their conversation since I was mesmerized but the rotating doughnuts.
Our doughnuts, from bottom left (clockwise): Voodoo doughnut – $1.95; Memphis Mafia – $4.25; Blueberry; Mexican hot hot hot chocolate – $1.15
The Voodoo doughnut was my favorite of the four. It had a semi-sweet chocolate glaze plus raspberry filling (BLOOD!) in the middle. The pretzel was totally stale but it was just for looks anyway. I found this to be the best of the bunch because it was the least sweet. The semi-sweet glaze helped balance out of the flavor and the raspberry filling had a enough tang to counteract the chocolate glaze. Plus it was just fun to eat!
Jake wanted this massive fritter, the Memphis Mafia. The Memphis Mafia doughnut is “fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top”. Yes, the peanut butter was enticing to me as well but I felt that this one was way, way too sweet and just way too much going on. I only had a couple of bites of it and I immediately wanted a glass of milk to wash it down.
The blueberry was okay, I think there are better blueberry doughnuts here at home. The other one is only listed as “Mexican Hot Chocolate” on the menu. On our receipt it said “Mexican Hot Hot Hot Chocolate”. I didn’t see this until after I took a hefty bite… oy.
The Mexican Hot Chocolate doughnut is actually a chocolate cake doughnut dusted in cinnamon sugar and cayenne pepper. UGH. Cayenne pepper! It was so spicy in my mouth that ;I made T go buy some milk so I could wash the spicy flavor OUT of my mouth. I figured it was just going to be cinnamon and chocolate. Siiiiiiiigh. Suffice it to say, I was not impressed and did not have another bite. Grumble, grumble.
It was fun finally seeing (and eating) the famous Voodoo Doughnut (I’m twisting the “knife” in) but I felt that the doughnuts overall were way too sweet. It’s a lot of hype and I don’t quite feel the need to revisit Voodoo again but if I did, I’d probably stick with just a single Voodoo Doughnut and be done with it.
1501 NE Davis St.
Not a bad start to our vacation! Much, more more to come.