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Portland: Foodland

February 20, 2010

I nurse a secret wish that the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler, Matt Gross, and I are related. (He and my mother’s family share a last name, as do a large number of American Jews, so I’m grasping at straws.) I love to travel, though I’m not nearly as prolific as he, and any time I can use his Frugal Traveler pieces as a travel guide, I’m excited. I think he’s a great writer, he has good taste, and I want his job.

I was quite pleased, then, when I found out that I’d be traveling to Portland, OR for business after presidents day. See, I had read the frugal traveler on PDX and the food sounded great!

I had no idea just how good it could be. From the local beers (Rogue Brewery, hell yeah) at $6 for a flight of 5, to the best little cupcakes I’ve ever tasted (Cupcake Jones), the weekend was food-tastic. There is a lot of pressure to eat local out there, and why wouldn’t you? Between the local steak and Wilamette Valley Pinot Noir I had at Three Degrees Restaurant and the mind-blowing fare at Davis Street Tavern, I never wanted to come back to the snowy wasteland of DC.

Another winner was Portland staple Voodoo doughnuts. I had one with vanilla icing and Cap’n Crunch, and my travel partner had chocolate icing, oreo cookies, and peanut butter sauce. (I did eventually try their famed Maple Bacon bar, the trip was part business trip and when I went to the place I had to work, they had a spread from Voodoo for the out of towners. It tasted like pancakes when you eat a bite of bacon with them.)

But what made it hardest to come back were the Food Trucks. With the awesome bloggers over at Food Carts Portland as our guide and my iPhone as our beacon, we had some amazing and cheap eats. From the Bombay Chaat House (which, following some disagreement between owners, sits a mere 5 feet from the India Chaat House) to “I Like Thai Food” to Greek to Crepes to Korean barbecue, there is no world cuisine you can’t have in Portland, all for around $5.

If you have a chance, go to Portland. And if you’re smart, go hungry.

Mmm, cupcakes

Cupcakes from Cupcake Jones

Voodoo donuts

I want to grow a crunchberry tree.

Way better than a footlong

$5 for all of this at Bombay Chaat House

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