What to Eat in Portland, Right Now

Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks dishes on the restaurants, obsessions, and under-the-radar finds of the month.

By Karen Brooks July 1, 2014 Published in the July 2014 issue of Portland Monthly


While everyone crowds into Beast following chef Naomi Pomeroy’s James Beard win, turn 180 degrees and bolt across the street for Expatriate’s yellow, curried Burmese coconut noodles, a cousin to Thai khao soi, but souped up here with fried duck confit, a ramen egg, and tamarind. Wave across the street to Pomeroy: it’s her recipe. 5424 NE 30th Ave


After a slow start mired in precious oddballism, Måurice, Kristen D. Murray’s “pastry luncheonette,” is dialing in its meticulous flavors, expanding its reach (from a “vermouth hour” to prix fixe brunch), and emerging as an original destination—part France, part Scandinavia, all one woman’s romantic gamble on quality over quantity in a chow-down town. Sugar-dusted, rosemary-currant scones the size of a banana loaf set a new bar for morning treats, and the delicate polenta clafouti tastes like a cosmic grits soufflé. And from a woman who once eschewed chocolate altogether comes a fantastic “chocolate box” (pictured) on the “dessert only” night menu: black sesame seed cake, banana mousse, and chocolate mousse. Who needs protein? 921 SW Oak St


Of course we have a food cart that doubles as an artisan market and Oregon cheese shop. Cheese Plate PDX has morphed into a whole new category of pavement gourmet, stocking curated food finds to match its seasonal cheese plates, homemade crackers, and vegan specials. Cart favorites like Masala Pop (the irresistible Indian-spiced caramel corn) line custom shelves, and a teeny fridge holds a small collection of Oregon cheeses. 2231 NE Alberta St. 


Yes, this dish looks like a beating heart conjured by gore master John Carpenter, but I could eat Aviary’s mad, Mid-Eastern beet salad every day. Crack into the balloon-like dome of slivered beets to find bright asparagus and delightfully bitter fronds of frisee lettuce. A roast of beets, black olives, and tart sumac dances around the base, and the whole plate is swirled in candied sunflower seeds, yogurt, and za’atar. 1733 NE Alberta St

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