Friday, August 10

Food and Drink Guide to Portland for SIGIR 2012

I'm preparing to leave for SIGIR 2012 in Portland.

If you're planning some sightseeing, or a place to catch up over a beer or meal with friends and colleagues, here are some ideas.

Portland has been made famous by the "Portlandia" series.  It's a quirky, young, outdoorsy, hipster, organic, crunchy kind of town, where "young people go to retire".  It's ground zero for the burgeoning craft beer, coffee, and micro-distilling movement in America.  It has been called "beervana" because of it's plethora of oustanding breweries, bars, and pubs.

To cut to the chase, here is my Food Map of Portland on Google maps.  Below are some of my sources and raw research notes.

Note: If you arrive in Portland early and you like food be sure to checkout the Bite of Oregon food festival taking places on Saturday and Sunday.

Portland food links:

Go for a hike

Fine dining Restaurants:
Beast  (think meat!) 
Le Pigeon (think Paris!) and their new place (foie gras profiteroles!) Little Bird (another french bistro)

Coffee Shops
Portland is known for having some of the best coffee in the country.  Here are some of the best places to try a cup.
Stumptown (several locations)
Ristretto Roasters
Coava Coffee
(the business area near the conference is a bit of a coffee & restaurant wasteland, so plan on venturing north into the heart of downtown)

Portland is big into food trucks
Nong's Khao Man Gai, Koi Fusion, Wolf and Bear, Big A$ sandwich, Lardo,  Good Food Here
Many are only open for lunch in downtown, so check their hours.  For late night nosh, check the east side of town (great after a night imbibing at one of the east side bars/pubs)
Mai Pho (lemongrass tofu over rice), Pyro Pizza and Give Pizza a Chance (same owner), and Sugar Cube for desert.

Top places to eat.
Ken and Zuke's Deli (think Portland's version of Katz's in NY)
People's Pig [temporarily closed] a food truck serving lunch, famous for it's Porchetta sandwich, see serious eats coverage)
Pok Pok - Thai street food (get the drinking vinegar) - be prepared to wait, there is always a long line (think 1 to 1.5 hours.  Go across the street and wait at the whisky soda lounge), famous for its fish sauce wings.  There is a new restaurant, Ping in downtown from the same owners, which was just named one of GQ's ten best new restaurants.  It's reasonably priced, casual food without crazy lines.
Beaker and Flask (restaurant of the year by Willamette Week)
Ken's Artisan Pizza
Olympic Provisions - great lunch places known for salumi
The Meadow - Artisan chocolates and food
Bakeshop - artisan croissants and bakery
Salt and Straw - ice cream
Coco Donut -- the locals prefer it to the more touristy Voodoo Donuts

Fine dining
Le Pigeon
Little Bird Bistro
Toro Bravo 
Beast (James Beard nominated (winner?) chef Naomi Pomeroy makes killer meat.  I have a cooking crush on her)

PSU Portland farmer's market (on Saturday)

Beer & Spirits

Distillery Row

Clear Creek Distillery

Top pubs / Beer Bars
Bailey's Taproom (an icon)
Horse Brass (an icon)
Belmont Station
Beer Mongers
Green Dragon

Brewpubs to visit
Hopworks urban brewery  (classic portland - eco-brewpub -- bikes, beer, and great food)
Roots Organic brewpub

See the Portland entries in 2012 top breweries in the world:
Hair of the dog (the gold standard of portland breweries - best brewery in portland -- also has great food.  A must visit!)
Upright brewing company (hot new upcoming - just beer, in an hard to find location.  hard core beer geeks need apply)
Deschutes (large, popular standby)
Cascade Brewing (known for crazy sour beer!)
Breakside Brewery
Hopworks urban brewery
Gigantic Brewing
 - brand new brewery just opened in may.
Rogue brewery is a hometime favorite --> their current Voodoo donut maple bacon beer is really unique

Must try beers
BridgePort IPA
Deschutes Bachelor Bitter
DOA, Hopworks
Rogue Maple Bacon Doughnut beer

Consider a beer walking tour:  cascade brewing -->  green dragon --> hair of the dog

Beaker and Flask (restaurant of the year by Willamette Week, awesome cocktails!)
Clyde Common (great food + drinks, casual, great for a group in downtown)
Rum Club