above: portland rose festival carnival

The moment my plane touched down in Portland, a smile never left my face. My friend Meredith welcomed me with a bowl of mini cinnamon sugar churros and a deck full of Christmas lights; we polished off a bottle of rosé and spent the evening catching up on life, love, and everything in between.

After that, the next few days were a blur of cheap beer, ice cream, and of course, fried chicken. There was that rose croissant from my favorite bakery, Nuvrei; there was beef tongue bahn mi and dulcey white chocolate and cardamom dipped soft serve cone from Portland’s sexy new dining hall, Pine Street Market.

vanilla custard waffle cone with white chocolate magic shell from wiz bang bar

But perhaps more memorable were the meals with my friends — good food, made more remarkable by our conversations and laughter. There was catching up with Brooke over glasses of ice cold foamy chai and eating an embarrassing amount of Russian dumplings with Greg as he excitedly told me about his new venture. Kara and I discussed the woes of being first-time home owners over a bowl of strawberry coconut soft serve studded with homemade Oreos; Cindy and I compared notes about blogging over a massive tray of Thai-style fried chicken and bags of fresh Catalan xurros.

above: fried chicken at hat yai; boba and matcha shakes at tea bar
cocktails at the night light lounge‘s back deck

And on my last day, sitting next to Nell in her car doing something as ordinary as waiting in line at the drive-thru and giggling over the prospect of fried asparagus, it was then I knew: I was home.

Where I Ate

180 Xurros & Xocolata
xurro relleno with crema catalana and dulce de leche, white chocolate covered xurros with banana custard and chocolate crumbles

Arleta Library Bakery Cafe
marionberry coffee cake, the tuscan scramble

above: snap peas at ava genes

Ava Genes
burrata with cherries pistachios radish spring onion, fritti of zucchini asparagus squash blossoms padrons, snap peas with sheep cheese, wheat berries with radish feta green strawberries, porcini mushroom agnolotti, spaghetti alla chittara sungold tomatoes basil

multiple locations
tillamook cheeseburger, fries, fried asparagus with garlic aioli

Cheese and Crack
heirloom green rhubarb sundae with honey sesame nut crunch

Common Law
Downtown Portland at Pine Street Market
beef tongue bahn mi, five spice potato chips

above: frozen lemonade, coconut lemon saffron, and chocolate waffle cones at fifty licks

Fifty Licks
coconut lemon saffron ice cream in a waffle cone

Hat Yai
fried chicken, curry, roti, and sticky rice

Southeast Industrial District
fish board, siberian pelmeni, trvorog vareniki, armenian lavash pocket

Lardo SE
fries, spiked arnold palmer

fried sweet corn empanadas, mushroom breakfast tacos, chilean chilaquiles, dulce de leche french toast, chimichurri burger

Little T Baker
toffee snickerdoodle

above: pastry case at nuvrei

Pearl District
rose croissant, heart coffee

Roman Candle Baking Co.
poached duck egg on an everything bun, hashbrown

above: big top cupcake at saint cupcake

Saint Cupcake
big top cupcake

Sushi Mazi
crunchy green dragon roll, nigiri

Tea Bar SE
vanilla rose boba milk tea

Wiz Bang Bar
Downtown Portland at Pine Street Market
vanilla custard dipped in roasted white chocolate and cardamom magic shell, roasted strawberry coconut custard with homemade oreos

above: back patio at xico

flourless chocolate cake, sopapillas with boysenberry tequila dipping sauce

Where I Drank

Night Light Lounge

above: back patio at night light lounge

Oso Market Bar
Southeast Industrial District

Pub at the End of the Universe

The Richmond Bar

Ship Ahoy Tavern

above: tea lab and lounge at smith teamaker

Smith Teamaker
Southeast Industrial District
masala chai on nitro, sparkling strawberry honeybush tea on tap

above: twenty-four hour hibiscus sparkling cold brew at tea bar

Tea Bar NE
sparkling hibiscus cold brew

The Victory Bar

For more recommendations, be sure to check out my culinary guide to Portland