Craving cheesy macaroni? Famished for pho? Searching for the city’s best spuds? These delicious Portland dishes make comfort food dreams come true.
The most important meal of the day is often also the most cozy and comforting — especially in Brunchtown. Sunny breakfast sando spot The Big Egg blends sweet and savory in their fabulous French toast sandwich, which stacks smoked ham, egg, gorgonzola and maple syrup between slabs of vanilla cardamom brioche French toast. Local favorite Pine State Biscuits stuffs a fluffy buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy for their most popular sandwich, the Reggie. For a Chinese spin on the classic egg sandwich, try the authentic jian bing at downtown food cart Bing Mi,which wraps scrambled eggs, pickled veggies, black bean paste and chili sauce in a lacy grilled crepe.
Mac & Cheese
If ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness is what you crave, Portland has plenty to offer. The Rookery Bar at downtown Raven & Rose gives their baked mac a British pub fare spin, with English cheddar-and-ale sauce, sharp blue cheese, garlic rye croutons and salty bites of ham. Fromage lovers must try the gratin de macaroni at French St. Jack, a bubbling-hot crock of white cheddar, gruyere, Fourme d’Ambert and bacon. Whiskey bar Branch offers a treat for truffle lovers with their truffled macaroni and cheese gratin, while Harlow wins health points with a gluten-free and vegan mac, made with quinoa pasta, kale and hazelnut milk. (Add pesto or chili for an extra treat.)
When Muscadine was named one of America’s best new restaurants in 2015, much of the credit went to its fried chicken, described by Esquire as having “the crispiest skin and the juiciest meat you’ve ever tasted.” (Celebrated food writer Josh Ozersky called it “the best fried chicken I’ve had outside of the south.”) Legendary brunch hotspot Screen Door also wins praises for its buttermilk-battered chicken breasts, served atop sweet potato waffles. At the rustic Woodsman Tavern, finger-lickin’ fried chicken is served all day long — first at brunch with pancakes and spicy maple syrup, then at dinner with Jacobsen Salt and Bee Local honey.
So many spud dishes, so little time! Head to the Cartopia food cart pod on Hawthorne to find Potato Champion, where fancy fries are topped with pulled pork, palak paneer, PB&J or poutine. Olympia Provisions cuts Yukon golds into paper-thin slices before layering them with butter and onions to create their famous laser potatoes. The gravy fries at Sunshine Tavern arrive smothered in peppery sausage gravy and melted provolone, while the Old Salt salt potatoes are smashed and fried into potato chip-style circles and served with spicy Mama Lil’s pepper aioli.
This Vietnamese noodle soup is a universal favorite for rainy winter days. It’s worth a trip to Southeast 82nd Avenue’s Ha & VL to scope out the rotating daily offerings, which range from classic beef pho to turmeric noodles with shrimp cakes or a decadent crab flake soup with quail eggs and shredded pork. Other local favorites include the rich, salty soups at Pho Oregon and the balanced broths at Pho An Sandy.