portland, oregon – day four (last day)
We’ve finally gotten to our last day in Portland! And this post will be all food! The majority of our day was spent checking out a few final foodie spots and we spend a good chunk of time at the Crafty Wonderland craft fair at the convention center, picking up little goodies for presents to bring back home. Let’s check out what Jake, T and I ate on our last day in Portland.
1) Tasty n Sons
Our last breakfast in Portland was at a little spot called Tasty n Sons. It’s a really, really popular spot. We headed out a little early that morning though to maximize our last day in Portland so we were out and about fairly early for a Saturday morning. The hostess told me a 45 minute wait and we walked down to a nearby grocery store that reminded me of a cross between Whole Foods and Sprouts. But! I was phoned a few minutes later to say a table was ready for us – score!
The inside has a bit of an industrial feel to it. We sat at a very long steel table with various parties all sitting together. In the back of the restaurant, they had “normal” tables as well.
I was amused to see the salt and pepper were in tiny little steel bowls and came with a little spoon. How cute is that?
[chocolate potato doughnuts / $2 each]
They had chocolate potato doughnuts on the menu. Naturally I had to order them. It’s like a rule.
You order them by the piece and I figured two would be enough. It comes with some vanilla sauce on the bottom which at first worried me that it would get soggy, but they were freshly made and still warm so it wasn’t a big deal. Plus the donut had a more cake-like consistency so it would take a lot to make them soggy!
The chocolate flavor is nice and on the lighter side. They’re covered in sugar which gave it a tiny bit of sweetness. The texture on these doughnuts were terrific – light but crunchy. Dipping the doughnuts in the vanilla sauce made them even more delicious.
[erin’s sweet huckleberry biscuits / $6]
To round out the sweets for the morning we also ordered Erin’s Sweet Huckleberry Biscuits. The biscuits are on the small side but they were flaky and buttery. The huckleberry sauce on top gave the biscuits a nice zing of fruit and sweetness and the whipped cream on top just made it feel like we were having some dessert before the savory items came out. But – nothing was a kick in the teeth sweet – it was well balanced and very enjoyable. I just wish they were a tad bigger… but no worries. Plenty of good food left to sample.
[polenta n sausage ragu with over easy eggs / $9]
This breakfast polenta was made sort of “Southwest” style – the sausage ragu definitely had that southwest influence with a mixture of peppers and onions cooked in with the ragu. The polenta was incredibly flavorful mixed in with the ragu and this turned out to be a really delicious and hearty item for breakfast. Not something I would normally order but it sounded so unique that I just had to try it. The addition of the over easy eggs made the dish a bit creamier with the egg yolk running into the food (normally not something I like, but it totally worked for this dish).
[steak n cheddar eggs with cornmeal cake / $15]
My favorite item from the breakfast though was this dish! It doesn’t look like much, does it? But holy goodness, the cornmeal cake, the cheesy eggs, the perfect medium rare steak really just worked for me. The eggs were soft and fluffy – they almost look like they’re not cooked enough but they’re cooked just until they’re ready, making them so light. The steak was prepared simply but it had those nice charred spots on the outside that I really love on a steak.
But really, my favorite part was the cornmeal cake. It was cooked right into the cast iron skillet and this golden brown, perfectly crisp bottom. There were lots of scallions and herbs in the cornmeal cake and little bits of jalapeño that gave it a little bit of spice (but not very spicy, I think they took the seeds out) – and it also was topped with jalapeño butter (which was incredibly delicious). This appealed very much to my love of cornbread and was an awesome thing to have for breakfast.
Tasty n Sons
3808 N Williams Ave., Suite C
Portland, OR 97227
After breakfast we went to the busy convention center to check out many, many vendors at the Crafty Wonderland event! It made me wish we had something like that in San Diego, man.
2) Blue Star Donuts
After spending a few hours at the craft fair, we headed out for a few more treats. Of the donut variety.
There were two donuts placed I wanted us to hit up on our last day but we only made it to Blue Star Donuts (the other was Pip’s Original). Blue Star Donuts has three locations in Portland and we visited the one in the Mississippi District.
They don’t make the donuts on site here but they are shipped to this store from one of the other locations. We saw the van with fresh trays of donuts pull up to restock the shop. It’s a pretty small place with not much indoor seating.
Here are some of the offerings they had that day. The cake donuts on top (some were vegan) and the raised n’ glazed donuts on the bottom. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten one of the cake donuts as well, but at the time I thought they were all vegan and I shied away from them (though looking at the photo now I can see not all were vegan).
[blood orange ginger donut]
I wanted to get some unique flavored donuts, things I hadn’t seen before and the Blood Orange Ginger jumped out at me immediately. All of the flavorings were pretty much in the frosting and not in the donut itself which was a little disappointing but not surprising. The raised donuts were airy and fluffy. I ended up thinking this one was just okay but I like how the candied ginger looked like little glittery sparkles on the donut.
[hard cider fritter]
I did like the fritter quite a bit. It was shaped/cut so that there were lots of little squares all over the surface of the donut. The multiple surfaces created lots of grooves and edges to make this even crispier than a normal fritter donut. My only complaint would be that there was maybe a little too much glaze on it making it a tad oversweet.
[blueberry bourbon basil donut]
Lastly I got the Blueberry Bourbon Basil donut which turned out to be my favorite of the three. I liked how the frosting completely enrobed the donut on the outside and even on the inner circle. The flavor was a little less sweet and had a faint hint of basil lurking in the background. Due to the complete coverage of frosting, every bite had a bit of frosting in it making it quite tasty.
Jake thought the donuts were too rich for his tastes (though still better than Voodoo’s Donuts) and T was happy enough to polish off anything we didn’t finish.
This is a quirky little photo where you can see our shoes and my camera strap, but for some reason I still really like this photo.
Blue Star Donuts
3753 N Mississippi Ave.
3) Little Big Burger
In the little shopping complex that Blue Star Donuts was at, there was a cool looking comic book shop we browsed around in and then there was a shop called the Meadow that pretty much sold only “artisan” salt, salt blocks, bitters, and chocolate. I was enamored of all of the fancy salts and spent a good deal of time browsing before picking out the Pangasinan Star Fleur del Sel, a hand harvested sea salt from the Pangasinan region of the Philippines. I’ve used it mostly as a finishing salt so far and it has a nice, light, delicate flavor with medium sized sea salt crystals (I’m a salt nerd).
While I was browsing and oohing and ahhing over salts, Jake went next door and ordered us a cheeseburger from Little Big Burger.
Jake sprung this one on me! He picked a cheeseburger with goat cheese on top. They used brioche buns and the patties were shaped like little hockey pucks. The burgers are made fresh every day and they never freeze their meat (like a certain other chain I know). The burger was nice and juicy and the goat cheese on top provided a nice bit of tang. I liked it! It was a fun little surprise.
Little Big Burger
3747 N Mississippi Ave.
4) Bunk Sandwiches
We did a few more errands and shopping before we stopped for our last meal in Portland before heading to the airport.
Admittedly at this point we were not super hungry but we could still fit in one more meal before leaving since we realized it would be late in the evening when we got back home. I had seen/read about the Pork Belly Cubano at Bunk Sandwiches several times, with various people saying it was the best sandwich they’d ever had. I was curious to check it out!
[peanut butter & jelly / $5]
One sandwich wasn’t really enough for the three of us so we supplemented our meal with a classic Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich (you can also get Peanut Butter & Nutella which I think I need to try at home, stat). I believe they used huckleberry or marionberry for the jam, but I honestly can’t remember. The bread was nicely toasted so the peanut butter oozed out of the sandwich. Peanut butter + hot bread = heaven.
[pork belly cubano / $10]
I felt like it took a long ass time for these two simple sandwiches to come out, but maybe that’s because I was getting into “oh noes, almost time for airport” mode (even though we had plenty of time).
Jake and I thought that the cubano was pretty spot on and similar to the ones we tried in Tampa last spring.
It came on thin, pressed bread with pork belly, ham, swiss, and mustard. Normally it comes with pickles but you know me and my “no pickle” rule. Here’s an inside picture so you can see the “innards” of the sandwich and just how melted the cheese was. It was a simple prep with good meat and cheese that resulted in a very tasty sandwich.
Was it the best sandwich I’ve ever had? No, not really. But it was good. They didn’t pile the meat on all the way (which I appreciated because I don’t like huge stacks of meat on my food) and it had a nice crunchy outside from being pressed on a grill. It reminded Jake and I of our trip to Florida!
2017 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211
5) Via Chicago
This was a last minute stop since it was right next door to Bunk Sandwiches and Jake really wanted to try it. I was skeptical from the start.
Geez, look at them, both checking their phones and drinking out of a Smurf’s glass. Hah!
Jake decided on getting a slice of the cheese deep dish pizza. The pizzas had been sitting out in a little front holder and it took a little bit of time for it to warm up in their toaster oven.
I had exactly one bite and I was totally done. The pizza tasted like it was day old or something and the sauce was too tangy for me. The cheese wasn’t quite melted all the way and the crust was too bready and chewy. Jake and T managed to finish it (Jake was determined since he bought it) but the three of us just didn’t like it. At all. Bummer. We try to ignore this meal from our trip and pretend it never happened.
2013 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211
We were totally sad faced to be leaving and having to go back home after an awesome few days in Portland, but vacations can only last for so long. Thanks for journeying with me on our trip!