My unofficial list of best Portland Restaurants, in no particular order...

It's no surprise that I enjoy going out, and going out to explore new restaurants in my city nonetheless. A little over a year ago, T and I started something called "supper club" with some of our friends and the year-long monthly tradition included visiting new restaurants in Portland while connecting and breaking bread together. We discovered some favorites and some not-so-greats during supper club, and then T and I carried on that tradition every Friday night by trying someplace new. 

For what my opinion on Portland eating is worth, I'm pleased to present to you my "unofficial list of best Portland restaurants, in no particular order." 

If you have followed anything of mine on Facebook (and trust me, my life is not that cool so I'm not expecting you to...), you will know that I post a lot of outfit ideas with Stella & Dot jewelry, and I check in a lot of times at Piazza Italia. Please do my heart a favor and eat there. One time. Then I can celebrate in "ohmygoodnessdidyousoloveitorwhat!?!?!?!"-ness with you. Try the Spaghetti Aglio Olio, the house Sangiovese, or the Pasta al Tonno. We never stray. (Oh, and if you want to eat here on a weekend, you 100% have to make a reservation by Wednesday.)

Look, I know people probably have their favorite Thai restaurants around the area, but for those of us suburbanites, good Thai is hard to come by. Unfortunately for me, Thai Basil was located about two minutes away from my previous job, so anytime my stomach would growl, it could only be satisfied by a visit to Thai Basil. I may even come close to saying that I love Thai Basil more than I love Chipotle. That's saying something right there. Try the Drunken Noodles or the Oswego Noodles for a variation from traditional Pad Thai. Or, get the Pad Thai. You won't be disappointed. 

We have begun frequenting this sweet Parisian restaurant more regularly than Timothy would probably prefer. There's something special about this place-- whether it's the delicious mimosas, the oversized fresh breakfast pastries or the familiarity for all things French, La Provence does not disappoint if you're craving a little Paris in your life. Breakfast and lunch are fabulous; dinner has recently evolved into Tapas and small plates, which my waistline prefers anyway. It really reminds me of mid-afternoon long lunches at cafes along the Rue Cler. 

We recently discovered food carts. Yes, we're late to the party, but no, I don't regret it. Food carts are to Portland lunches as Starbucks is to morning commutes. I don't know how we waited so long to try it (actually I do. I'm a self-proclaimed recovering germaphobe which travel to Costa Rica miraculously cured me of). Nong's Khao Man Gai is my FAVORITE food cart pod on the 10th & Alder block and serves one dish: Khao Man Gai. Nong is the cook. Therefore it's Nong's Khao Man Gai. There's no straying and no custom orders. You order the Khao Man Gai and that's it. You'll be hooked for life. Live it up, because you won't go back after this. 

I have my eastside friends to thank for this find. Whiskey Soda Lounge is Pok-Pok's better looking other half. Quite frankly, I don't think I'll be back to Pok-Pok know that I know about Whiskey Soda Lounge. Basically, when you go to Pok-Pok and wait in their hourlong line since they don't take reservations, they will, inevitably, direct you to wait at their co-owned Whiskey Soda Lounge across the street. Somehow those sneaky servers know when your Pok-Pok number is ready, so you can rest assured you will be sought out when the time comes. Meanwhile, you're supposed to find a table, grab a drink and eat an appetizer while you wait. But wait. As you look over the menu at Whiskey Soda Lounge, you discover that 99% of the items at Pok-Pok are on it! What?! Nevertheless, you venture over to Pok-Pok after you've eaten some famous wings and had a whiskey soda and realize that you probably should never have left your cozy booth because Pok-Pok stuck you outside in the freezing cold beneath a heater requiring that you don't take your coat or mittens off. And when I say you, I mean me. We have been back to WSL to eat the "famous wings" on a number of occasions, because it is just so much better than Pok-Pok in my humble opinion. 

I will admit, we have not been back to Tasty n Sons in many, many months. Not because we don't completely love it, but because it's just so far away. However, this doesn't stop me from highly recommending it on my not-so-official list because when we can muster up the stamina to crawl out of bed on a Saturday morning and venture to the east side, it is THE spot for us. Who cares about the hourlong wait. I don't. I'm salivating over their potatoes bravas while I sip on some Stumptown hairbender and eye the bartender making the meanest bloody marys I've ever laid eyes on. Complete with peppered bacon. I mean really. Have I tried one? Nope. I'm not brave enough. But they sure do look beautiful if you're a fan. 

7. Broder

Broder makes me feel like I am perpetually in Europe. I never want to leave when I get there. Crowded next to twenty other people who don't care if we bump elbows because that's just what we do. Drinking coffee with a tiny little bottle of steamed milk and salivating over the savory smorgasbord (literally) in front of me. This little Norwegian has found her slice of Scandinavian heaven at Broder. 

NO OTHER RESTAURANT would I wait outside in the rain for. I mean it. Don't be fooled by my raving list of fabulous places above... they are not good enough to make me wait in the rain. If you want to know the real deal, the place where I have (95% of the time) waited in the rain for, it's Por Que No. Why not? Obviously. Best chips and salsa. Best burrito bowls. Best margaritas. Best atmosphere. Best dive. But not really a dive, but kind of. Just go there and you'll know why. 

Okay, this is for all of you with weekend wanderlust, should you happen to find yourself in Newport, Oregon. The Noodle Cafe has a special place in my heart, because it was the place that Timothy gave me lots of praise for being brave enough to try, despite its exterior. We were down in Newport one day last year, and were really hungry. I consulted my trusty companion "Yelp" for the highest-rated restaurants in Newport when none other than the Noodle Cafe popped up. We drove by and I was seriously like, "You've got to be kidding me." It looked like an outhouse. An abandoned outhouse. I refused to eat there because it was such a dumpy place. But we drove around and I said "Okay, let's go in." then, "Nevermind, let's not." We played that game around five times and four trips around the block when I caved. I was so hungry, and surely all the Yelpers weren't also liars. Well, come to find out this place is one we STILL talk about to this day. The exterior may have been nothing to write home about, but the food was. Their hospitality, service and quality was out of this world. We had a view of the water and everything was so ridiculously fresh. I'm looking for any excuse possible to make it down to Newport again, because the Noodle Cafe is where it's at. 

And that's it for now. My unofficial list of current favorite restaurants. It's time for the Bachelor so I can't finish my commentaries, but I didn't get to Irving Street Kitchen, Paragon Restaurant or Decarli. Check those places out too. 

Pick one off this list for your next Friday night date night, and you won't be disappointed. Trust me. 


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