There are countless places to find good food and spirits in Portland—each time we go we discover a few more.
Here are a few from our last trip to add to your list the next time you visit!
I don’t remember where I heard about Broder Nord, but I haven’t met a Scandanavian food I haven’t liked (maybe with the exception of marzipan, which is more a candy than a food…) so I was really excited to try it!
This Norwegian locale had an incredible breakfast menu so we decided to make it our final meal in the city before catching our train home.
When we arrived, the line was out the door with people waiting inside and out for a spot. The place is tiny but cozy/intimate, and we were delighted when two stools opened along the coffee bar and we could finally eat!
Every single thing on the menu sounded delicious, but we had to try the Fika Board, which was a selection of bite-size, house-made pastries. I had also read that the FlØdepandekager (Danish thickened cream pancake!) was good so we decided to split that order as well. Everything was delicious and splitting those two things was more than enough for brunch!
Go early—we waited quite a long time and only got in when we did because there were only two of us and we were willing to sit side-by-side along the bar.
Pine State Biscuits
Pine State Biscuits was only a few blocks away from our hotel by the Moda Center, making for an easy morning walk to breakfast. As with Broder Nord, Pine State also had a line out the building and limited seating, but it turned out to be worth the wait.
Everyone in line reviewed and passed back a menu so we knew what we wanted by the time we reached the counter to order. Once you ordered, you took your number and attempted to grab a seat. Brian was obviously thrilled with the biscuit and gravy options and ordered the Reggie, which was a biscuit sandwich of fried chicken, bacon and cheese covered in gravy. We also decided to share one of the house-made pop tarts—a s’mores-flavored concoction that was the last one left in the small baked goods display!
We were squished in between two groups in the shared seating area, facing each other and passing our two food items back and forth so we could try it all. It was a little chaotic, a little packed, and a little rushed, but our food was great! If it doesn’t sound like your scene, considering taking your food to go.
The shop smelled SO sugary sweet as we entered! It wasn’t too busy given our odd afternoon timing so we found some seats along the window, offering some excellent people watching as we enjoyed our treats.
They had a tasting option where we could get six, golf-ball-size scoops to try so we each picked three flavors:
- Caramel with salted chocolate
- Oregon mint flake
- Nineteen27 toasted marshmallow
- PB chocolate cookie dough
- Brown sugar peach crisp
- Strawberry basil sorbet
The sorbet was amazing–I think we both liked it the best. I always love salted caramel and the mint was super minty–all good options. Yum!
Dinner & Drinks
Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library
A hundred years ago when I was right out of college, a work colleague had sent me a link to an article about amazing restaurants that were in libraries or styled to look like libraries, etc. One in the States was called the Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library and while it didn’t totally fit within the articles theme (eg it’s not a library in the traditional sense– it refers to its ‘exhaustive collection’ of distilled spirits) it still looked amazing and I wrote it down in case we were ever in Portland.
We’ve since been to Portland on several occasions over the years, and each time we’ve tried to get in without success. This place is hugely popular and has limited capacity, which it primarily reserves for its library members. Once we tried getting our name on the wait list, and it was hours long. We checked out a few other places while we waited but ultimately had to move on with our evening when the wait time didn’t see to reduce.
This last trip we FINALLY got to experience the library! We were there somewhat early and hoped the timing would work to our advantage, which it did. There was still a wait, but it was only about an hour. They suggested we wait in the Green Room, which is an open bar area beneath the library that is much more accessible.
When they eventually called our name I couldn’t believe it! We were finally going to the library!
We were led up some stairs to a series of doors, somewhat unable to see given the drastic shift from the open floor plan and natural lighting of the Green Room to the very intimate and dark nature of the library entrance. As we opened the doors to enter the library I didn’t know where to look or what to think–it was amazing!
Our pictures don’t do it justice–it’s so low lit that most weren’t really turning out. But picture lots of wood paneling, low-lit chandeliers, overstuffed leather chairs and ottomans, a beautiful wooden bar surrounded by stools and small wooden tables, a wraparound library of spirits no one has ever heard of, and rolling ladders to reach said bottles.
We had a lovely host who took time to ask us about our spirit preferences and to recommend a line-up of tastings we might enjoy. I let Brian lead that conversation–I don’t know much at all about spirits and felt way out of my league. We shared four tasters and I was pleasantly surprised with what was selected–I had never heard of any of them! There was one that we weren’t sure we were going to like but that the host wanted us to try–we didn’t end up liking it, but it was nice to have them explained and to learn more about our preferences.
In addition to our spirit tasting we ordered some beef tartare and pomme frites to share– I could have easily ordered the entire menu but it was early and we weren’t sure where the evening was taking us so we tried to remain reasonable!
If you have any interest in spirits, I definitely recommend you try and visit the library– it’s an experience unto itself. Plan ahead as there will be a wait!
We have a running list of places to eat and drink in Portland that we constantly revise based on our experiences and other people’s recommendations.
What should we add to our list?