October 27th, 2014
There is a lot I enjoy about Portland, Oregon. I love how it feels like a big town. You see people you know often throughout the city but you are also constantly meeting new people. It is so easy to navigate and the transportation system is incredible in how frequent the rides are and in its accessibility. Little businesses thrive here, and people love things local. But what I really, really love is how much food there is. If you know me, you will know that food is my ‘love language‘. The purest way of showing love to me is by putting a bowl of Thai red curry before me. Some bubble tea wouldn’t hurt either. So living in Portland has been a beautiful experience because of the thousands of food trucks and even more restaurants that serve just about everything.
- For a bowl of Pho, I recommend Pho Kim at 2204 South East 82 Ave. It is extremely affordable, the service is incredibly friendly, and you get free, refillable pots of Jasmine tea with your meal. When I have a cold, or when it is cold, Pho is the perfect dish, and Pho Kim does it right. Pho is a Vietnamese soup with rice noodles and meat, and you often get a dish of slices jalapenos, bean sprouts, and mint leaves to add to your Pho as you desire, as well as different sauces (plum sauce, Sriracha, etc.). I always enjoy seeing how different everybody at my table’s Pho bowls look from one another. If you’re going to get Pho in SE Portland, and in Portland as a whole, I heartily recommend Pho Kim.
- Slappy Cakes at 4246 SE Belmont St is also one of those places where you can individualize your food to suit your tastes perfectly. You are seated at a table with a grill in the center and you choose what you want to add to your pancakes, and what kind pancake batter you want (buttermilk, sweet potato, whole grain, etc.), and make your pancakes yourself. It is quick, easy, and delicious. I had a blast making blueberry, white chocolate chip, goat cheese buttermilk pancakes as well as a more savory pancake (though with sweet potato batter) that consisted of bacon, cheddar cheese, cilantro, onions, and chorizo. I know–this does not appeal to everybody. But I was very, very happy. This is the type of place where everybody will be satisfied with the food and will have a ton of fun.
- Pad Thai Kitchen on 2309 SE Belmont St was a place I was very hesitant of because I am quite critical of Thai food. I love Thai food–in fact, it is my favorite kind of food! But when a place is named after Pad Thai, the most marketable of Thai dishes, I wonder if it is… authentic. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I ordered their Red Curry and it was amazing. It was not too brothy, like a lot of mediocre Thai places, and actually had the perfect texture and, in my humble opinion, taste. Though it could have been spicier, I still give it an A. Also, their coconut shrimp was delicious and their pineapple fried rice was excellent, and I am not really into fried rice because it so often is something you can just make at home, often times much healthier and fresher. But the flavors were bold and I honestly couldn’t tell you how exactly to go about making their fried rice. It was special, and so was Pad Thai Kitchen.
- Los Alambres Torteria Taqueria is a food truck at 1134 SE 82nd Ave that has the best tacos I have eaten in Portland, hands down. Their menu is large, packed with Taqueria classics, including sandwiches. Their carnitas tacos and pastor tacos are, in my opinion, the best of their tacos, but I have heard that one of their tacos, packed with pork, french fries, and grilled onions, is even better. I had a bite and I liked it, but it wasn’t my sort of thing. Their gordita has to be my favorite thing there, which is packed with cheese, pork, and onions in a bread pocket. What really makes this place special is their homemade salsa, which is fairly spicy but extremely flavorful and delicious. Also, Los Alhambres is parked right next to an awesome bakery, which you should stop by if you are getting taco or two, or five (if you are me).
Honorable mentions: Herb’s Mac and Cheese at the Good Food Here Pod on SE 43rd and Belmont, Sivalai Thai at 4806 SE Stark St, and Nam Loc Deli at 328 SE 82nd Ave.