Here’s Why Every Foodie Needs To Make Portland Their Next Destination
Also known as the City Of Roses, Portland is home to more than 50 coffee bean roasters that are solely focused on small-batch coffee. If you’re a beer fan, there are more breweries per capita in Portland than any other city in the world. And with food, chefs focus on specific dishes instead of trying to conquer large-scale concepts. The foodie-community feel is unlike any other, which easily makes Portland your perfect next food destination.
It’s The Third Wave Of Coffee Capital
A trip to Portland wouldn’t be complete without diving into its coffee culture. Portland’s only coffee tour company, Third Wave Coffee Tours, educates eager caffeine addicts on artisanal coffee. The tour guides treat coffee like food or wine rather than a commodity. When compared to other reputable coffee cities like Seattle and San Francisco, Portland more than measures up.
The West Coast city lies at the heart of the third wave of coffee movement, and its roasters are known as trailblazers in the industry. Go to Coava for espresso drinks, Stumptown for cold brew and Heart for all of your advanced coffee needs. And if you have more exotic tastes, try Tōv, which lives inside a bright red double-decker bus and celebrates Egyptian and Turkish coffee culture.
Willamette Valley Wineries
Oregon’s leading wine region, the Willamette Valley, houses two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to more than 500 wineries. Spanning more than 100 miles, it’s also recognized as one of the top pinot noir-producing regions in the world. The climate — warm summers with cool evenings — makes for a long, calm growing season. If you drive 45 minutes outside of Portland, you’ll find all kinds of restaurants, luxury resorts, and cute bed and breakfasts worth exploring.
Pinot and pinot gris are the top two grapes grown in Oregon. The countryside here is peaceful with beautiful views of mountain ranges in the backdrop. The Willamette Valley is easily one of the most diverse and agriculturally rich places in the United States.
There’s A Food Empire Based Around One Dish
Nong Poonsukwattana, Portland’s Thai food queen, launched her first food cart in 2009 with the help of a Craigslist ad. She turned a broken-down wooden cart into a mini Thai empire in the city with a dedication to just one dish: chicken and rice. Nong’s Khao Man Gai is considered the most influential restaurant in Portland within the last few years.
Khao Man Gai, also called Hainanese chicken, is a whole, poached chicken. The chicken broth is then used to cook the rice along with a bunch of Thai herbs. Nong’s in-demand dish is served with cucumber and cilantro along with a sauce made from fermented soy bean puree, garlic, ginger, Thai chilies, vinegar and sugar.
What started out as a single food cart has expanded to two food carts, a food truck and a restaurant. This just goes to show how Portland chefs are honing in on their skills and focusing on what they’re best at instead of attempting to master everything. Going big isn’t always best.
It Has The Most Breweries Of Any City In The World
Oregon has been called Beervana and Portland is definitely known for its beer culture. If you’re at all into beer, Portland will more than meet your needs for craft brews. Accoring to Brian Butenschoen, the executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, “Oregon is a consistent leader in the U.S. for craft beer, whether it’s the number of breweries per capita, the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer or the economic impact per capita by Oregon’s breweries.”
Anywhere you go in Portland, you’re likely to find local IPAs on tap. The city has more than 70 microbreweries and is home to the Oregon Brewers Festival. You’ll have to check out the environmentally-conscious Hopworks Bikebar where they have organic beer, food and everything bike-related. (They have two stationary bikes that you can peddle to generate energy and actually help power the building.) Deschutes is another ideal brewery for lunch located in the Pearl District, thanks to its oversized glasses and 18 varieties of beer on tap at any given time.
Food Cart Pods Are Everywhere
With more than 600 mini kitchens, Portland’s food cart scene is out of control — and in the best way. It truly gives the restaurant scene there a serious run for its money. CNN featured Portland on its list of the best cities in the world for street food. The eclectic city’s food carts hang out in groups called “pods” where you get to try a bunch of different foods all at once.
The biggest collection of food carts is located in between Southwest Alder Street and Washington Street from Southwest Ninth Avenue to Southwest Tenth Avenue. Portland’s top food carts include everything from Chinese bao to Korean BBQ to cheeseburgers to Hawaiin-style fish tacos. And, of course, Nong’s Khao Man Gai remains a time-honored favorite in the street food community.
On your next trip out to the West Coast, make a point to stop in Portland, Oregon. As you drive around the city, you’re bound to see signs and bumper stickers all over the place with the locale’s unofficial motto, “Keep Portland Weird.” With an emphasis on self-expression, Portland has created an environment perfect for start-ups and independent businesses — especially when it comes to food and drinks.
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