Created in partnership with Portland in Color
The misty land of Douglas firs and Oregon white oaks has always been home to indigenous nations of the region such as Chinook, Cowlitz and Clackamas tribes. Foster Road, a diagonal street in a city of square grids, has also long been part of Portland’s landscape and once served as a footpath for indigenous people who moved between the Willamette River and Johnson Creek.
Today, the road is at the heart of Foster-Powell, a bike- and pedestrian-friendly Southeast neighborhood with its own character. FoPo is home to unique experiences you can’t find anywhere else in the city and that’s what makes it a perfect Portland neighborhood to explore.
Since 2001, Chinese Vietnamese bakery An Xuyen has earned a spot as a neighborhood favorite serving banh mi, pastries, bao, sticky rice and, if you’re lucky, spring rolls. (Check the specials board!) The baguettes and pastries are all made in-house (and found across town at grocery stores and restaurants). Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival tip: An Xuyen is one of the few places in town that bake their own mooncakes for and they sell out every season, so be sure to take home a few of these delicacies when you see them on the shelves.
Carnelian Coffee is a cozy coffee shop where you can pick up a bag of perfectly micro-roasted beans to prepare at home or grab a drink to stay and enjoy the very chill vibes for a while. Their cases are stocked with vegan pastries best paired with caffeinated drinks. The Thunderegg, named after Oregon’s state rock, is an extra creamy cortado topped with chocolate sauce, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a dash of cocoa powder. The shop is named after a sunset red-orange stone and all kinds of rocks are displayed throughout this neighborhood gem.
You really can’t help but feel like you’ve sat down for a home-cooked, comfort food meal at Tambayan, with their menu of staple Filipino dishes. Diners return for their chicken or pork adobo and halo-halo, and the menu is rounded out with the classic pancit (who doesn’t love a noodle dish?) and house specialties like crispy pata. If the food doesn’t make you feel like you’re at home, wait until one of the aunties from the kitchen drops by to ask how the meal was and sweetly chide you for not eating enough.
Even in a town brimming with breweries, Assembly Brewing is a welcome addition, with their wide-open dining and patio space, perfect for your human and dog friends alike. Since opening in the spring of 2019, they have showcased their brews alongside an impressive menu with Detroit-style pizza, a square pie on a thick focaccia-like crust, as the star. Happy hour — offering a $5 flight of four choose-your-own-brews — is a great time to visit.
Grab your dancing shoes and get to Tango Berretin. This Foster Road dance hall, surrounded by a Tango-inspired mural, offers classes for dancers of all levels, or drop-in sessions with live music to dance Argentine Tango.
Established in 2015, the Portland Mercado is a must-visit destination that already feels like a city institution. It’s home to fun and food with more than a dozen businesses including food trucks, a coffee shop, juice stand, butcher counter and grocery store. You can sample flavors from across Latin America with eateries serving dishes from Colombia, Cuba, Oaxaca, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and more. There’s no other place like this in the city. It’s the perfect space to check out live music and pop-up experiences like Fiesta Caribeña and Dia de Muertos.
The dog-friendly Starday Tavern has what nearly everyone would want in a neighborhood hang-out: movie and game nights, live bands and a French bulldog mascot named Ghengis. They called themselves “the most OKest bar in Portland,” which is a low-key way of saying come have a seat with all the other regulars. You can’t miss the bright yellow building as you cruise down Foster.
Right next to An Xuyen, Thunderbird Bar is a low-key, vegan-friendly bar with a solid food menu. Part of Portland’s Lightning Bar Collective, well-known for fully vegan bars like The Bye and Bye and Capitol, the vegan choices here go perfectly with a drink menu that includes classic cocktails with a twist and no-frills boilermakers. Plus, they’ve got a slushie machine churning CBD frosé!
Hammer and Jacks is a mother-owned, independent toy store on Foster Road. Stocking books and toys for different ages and interests; find things to keep your little ones busy, even a balloon bouquet!
It may sound silly, but it’s a shame there isn’t a friendly discount art supply and custom framing shop in every neighborhood. Anchored at the northern tip of Foster Road since 1995, I’ve Been Framed is the go-to shop for all your art-making needs. Choose from bundles of barely used colored pencils, brand-new oil paints and drafting and bookbinding tools or pick out a journal to jot down all your new Portland experiences.
With a bounty of green-thumbs, the Foster-Powell neighborhood hosts a handful of local, women-owned plant stores. Birds & Bees Nursery, in a house off of Powell Boulevard, has a yard full of Northwest native plants. Step inside to find gifts, garden tools, seeds and more. From lush houseplants to local art, Larkspur, a “community-centered plant gallery” is a place to learn how to love your plants from placement to fertilizer to repotting and find events featuring therapeutic horticultural activities run by co-owner and certified horticultural therapist. Glasshaus Gardens goes beyond houseplants, with gorgeous pottery and plant care accessories by hosting earth-inspired art from crystal skulls, to canvas bags, to stained glass. Their space is shared with Manifest Mercantile, filled with locally made jewelry, notebooks and stationary, and textiles.
If you’re heading out to the wilds beyond Portland, be sure to stop into Foster Outdoor. This outdoor store can outfit you for any hike or overnight trip from sunscreen to backpacks, find the best new brands as well as consignment clothing and gear.
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