Having recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I have to say I was quite impressed with the culinary scene of the upper left coast. It’s unusual to find smaller cities that take their food so seriously and have a great mix of both regional and ethnic cuisines. A trip out there is a must for any food, wine, coffee and nature lover. Over the next week or two I’ll be posting a series on some of our culinary find while out there, beginning with Portland, OR. You can click on the dishes for my reviews & photos on DishEnvy.

Gilt Club, Portland

Foie Gras Stuffed Dates

Gilt Club (306 NW Broadway, Portland, OR) Website Gilt Club on Urbanspoon

This was our selection for a late dinner after arriving from New York at 11 PDT. Don’t let the 70s-esque plush red leather couches surrounding the walls fool you – the kitchen whips up some very modern and interesting takes on continental fare and cocktail list is strong as well. And while most restaurants in town are closing up by around 10, Gilt keeps the kitchen open until 1AM. So if it’s late and you want more than the typical burger or slice, this is your spot. I’d also recommend it for cocktail hour as the app list was pretty impressive.

Recommended Dishes: Stuffed Date w/ Foie Gras , Charcuterie Plate , Local Lettuce Salad  

VooDoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR) Website  Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

Portland, maple bacon bar

VooDoo Doughnut

No trip to Portland would be complete without a visit to the famous VooDoo Doughnut. The doughnuts varieties feel like something you fantasized about at 3am in college, with toppings like a slice of actual bacon or Cap N Crunch. The boxes are also covered in inuendos like “Good Things Come in Pink Boxes” and “The Magic is in the Hole.” It all makes for an enjoyable experience, even if the doughnuts aren’t the world’s best. If you go on the weekend, prepare to brave long lines. Or go early Monday morning as we did and walk right up to the counter.

Recommended Doughnuts: VooDoo Doll , Bacon Maple Bar , Blueberry Cake 

Lunch Downtown

Kenny & Zuke's, Portland, brunch, biscuit

Pastrami & Eggs Biscuit

We stayed at the Ace Hotel, centrally located on several streetcar lines between the Pearl District and Downtown. It’s also flanked by  by two solid lunch options you may want to check out. First is Martinottis (404 SW 10th Ave.), a small grocer with a limited but stellar lunch menu. We had the Smoked Salmon bagel , which I ususally wouldn’t go for outside NYC but the delicious fresh pacific salmon made up for any shortcomings in the bagel. The other is the more well known Kenny & Zuke’s (1038 SW Stark St.), famous for it’s house made pastrami. The pastrami is indeed moist, flavorful and worth a try. We had it with eggs on a flaky biscuit for brunch   and I recommend you do that same.