5 Things You Must Eat in Portland this August

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

By Karen Brooks July 20, 2015 Published in the August 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Karen Brooks


Is it a cubist painting? An egg yolk Eye of Sauron? One look at Tastebud’s breakfast pizza, and you can’t help but free associate. One thing is certain: you’ve never tasted anything quite like it. Each painterly square is bacon-striped and topped with golden farm eggs, then wood-fired at Tastebud’s mobile farmers market oven—and each bite juggles art, comfort, and greasy pizza cred. PSU (Saturday), Hillsdale (Sunday), and Pioneer Courthouse Square (Monday) farmers markets, tastebudfarm.com

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Image: Karen Brooks


It looked like 2015 would go down as the year that Portland drowned in booze, as new bars and breweries set sail weekly while exciting food concepts languished on the shoreline. But early this summer, the long-delayed Renata launched with a welcome shot of ambition—a vast, barrel-ceilinged space where food, mood, service, cocktails, and even the bread basket are considered. (The O anointed it “Restaurant of the Year” when it had been open barely two weeks.) There are kinks, but the staff seems committed to the long game, with an everything-from-scratch approach, geeky Italian wines, and wood-fired, rustic-modern Italian cooking that manages to be accessible yet surprising. Pasta is the standout: from tomato leaf cavatelli shot through with the hot sting of fresh sausage to canoe-shaped scarpinocc plumped with pungent cheese under drizzles of honey and toasted almonds. 626 SE Main St, renatapdx.com

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Image: Karen Brooks


Once a wasteland of melted dreams, Portland is now a year-round poppy field for ice cream addicts. Right now, I’m crushing on Ataula’s riff on s’mores, via Catalonia: gorgeous graham-chocolate ice cream plopped over torched marshmallows smoky with Spanish pimenton, ready to be devoured with crackling honeycomb chips (1818 NW 23rd Pl). Low-key Lovely’s Fifty Fifty serves chilled meditations on good cream with herbs gleaned from the owner’s yard (4039 N Mississippi Ave). For me, it’s still Portland’s best scooper, with hits like fig leaf vanilla bean and buttermilk strawberry. Eb & Bean rethinks frozen yogurt as a medium for visual, artisanal, and playful expression (1425 NE Broadway). This is where I take out-of-towners. The blowout toppings bar captures the local food scene’s sweetness—be it Pinkleton’s fabulous caramel corn, fresh marionberry compote, or a righteous cold-brew bourbon sauce.

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