Chile crab at Happy Dragon

Image: Kelly Clarke

Crack into Happy Dragon’s chile crab

When Happy Dragon—a beloved family-run restaurant previously located in Independence, Oregon—moved to Portland’s NE 82nd Avenue earlier this month (h/t to EaterPDX for the head's up), the Feng family brought their traditional Cantonese fare and tanks of live Dungeness crab with them. Pull on a pair of rubber gloves (thoughtfully provided by the restaurant), grab a pair of shell crackers, and tear into sweet-fleshed whole crab, chopped and stir-fried to order with heady house-made ginger-garlic-chile sauce. It’s crushingly addictive.

Pop poppy seed gougères at St. Jack

Northwest Portland’s bastion of free-thinking French cooking dresses up the classic cheese puff with honey-butter magic. The piping-hot gougères are baked with funky gruyere, dotted with poppy seeds, and drizzled with honey. Jam a spoonful of squash butter (literally sweet, roasted squash cut with butter) inside for a sweet-savory mouthful.

Eat the breakfast of champions at Oui Presse

Is there anything that hits the comfort spot more squarely than perfect poached eggs over a thick, crispy toast slab from Ken’s Artisan Bakery? (The answer is no.) Chase it with an oven-fresh chocolate chip cookie—one of the best in the city. If this speaks to you, we’ve got the place, with a cute little café counter to boot.  

Fold choriqueso tacos at Little Conejo

The Vancouver spot’s Portland food cart satellite turns out a number of excellent, filling-heavy tacos, but our favorite might be the “choriqueso”—stringy cheese fried in sweet, spicy chorizo sausage and frizzled into crunchy lace. The greasy comfort is folded into earthy, house-made blue corn tortillas and showered with cilantro. Grab napkins.

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