1. Chopstick into spicy miso ramen at Departure
Chef Gregory Gourdet recently plunged into ramen territory, making nearly every element from scratch (a serious feat), not shying away from bold flavors, and adding good noodles from LA’s Sun Noodle. The kelp broth has its own flavor—its depth and mystery leeched from ham hocks, grilled ginger, mushroom powder, and roasted chicken bones. On top: chashu pork belly, homemade fish cakes, bamboo, pickled daikon, seaweed blades, a soy-soaked ramen egg, and a final flourish of garlic, heat, and sesame.
2. Tackle a monster burrito at The Blue Goose
In addition to multi-flavored margaritas and a well-regarded cheeseburger, this one-and-a-half-year-old New Mexican-inspired eatery boasts a heavyweight burrito of epic proportion. It comes packed with braised pork shoulder, Yukon potatoes, Hatch green chiles, aged white cheddar, tomato, guacamole, all topped with with a squiggle of salted crema. It’s two pounds of sheer bliss in a bundle.
3. Slurp Oregon’s native oyster at Olympia Oyster Bar
Sea Cows, Blue Pools—I like the standards just as much as any member of the new oyster cult. But this past week I slurped down my first ever Olympia, a modest little bivalve indigenous to our region. For the size (half that of, say, a Hama Hama), these oysters pack a huge punch: salty-sweet and citrus sharp, with a muscular mouth-feel. Try a half-dozen, check your privilege, then ask for more. — Assistant Editor Ramona DeNies
4. Dunk an æbleskiver in lemon curd at Broder/Broder Nord/Soder
An oldie but goodie, Broder’s powdered sugar-dusted Danish pancakes—light, doughnut-like balls bursting with cardamom spice and perfect for dunking in zingy house lemon curd or lingonberry jam—lend even the most drizzly morning a pop of sunshine. Psst: Most weekdays there’s little to no wait at the newish Southwest Portland Soder location.