Karen Brooks’s Best Portland Dishes 2015
BEST DISHES 2015 Castagna’s “Corn, Clam, Pork”
BEST DISHES 2015 Little Bird’s Fried Chicken Coq Au Vin
BEST DISHES 2015 Holdfast’s sweetbreads
BEST SANDWICHES 2015 Coquine’s Porchetta Sandwich
BEST SANDWICHES 2015 Maurice’s Beet and Strawberry Sandwich
BEST DESSERT 2015 NomadPDX’s “Egg Nest”
BEST PLACE TO ARGUE OVER PDX’S FRIED CHICKEN SUPREMACY Muscadine
FOOD CRUSH 2015 Pinolo Gelato
BEST DRINKS 2015 Coffee mocktails at Either/Or
BEST POP-UPS 2015 DaNet and Mae
BEST “ONLY IN PORTLAND” MOMENT Salt & Straw’s food-cart flavors
HAPPY HOUR’S HAPPIEST MOMENT 2015 Xico’s totopos con chile deluxe
BEST SALAD 2015 Departure’s Shaved Collard, Toasted Coconut Salad
FIVE REASONS TO GET EXCITED ABOUT 2016
• Twenty-course feasts from Nodoguro, PoMo’s Restaurant of the Year 2015, are coming soon. These “supahardcore omakase” dinners, as they call them, will blend sushi art, Japanese composed dishes, and who knows what. I’m in. nodoguropdx.com
• Pizza Jerk, Tommy Habetz’s ode to Connecticut pies and the punk-rock ethos, has just opened on NE 42nd Avenue with some titanic ideas. It’s already a major industry hangout. pizzajerkpdx.com.
• I’m ready to dig into Renata’s dessert list now that former Sugar Cube pastry gal Kir Jensen is at the helm. Her flavors typically kill. renatapdx.com
• Opening soon: Hat Yai, a descendent of Langbaan (PoMo’s Restaurant of the Year 2014). Early sneak peaks reveal a curry house, a Southern Thai fried chicken joint, and the most intriguing restaurant on Portland’s horizon.
• Pine Street Market, Portland’s first food hall, curated by Feast overlord Mike Thelin. pinestreetpdx.com. Photo by Karen Brooks
Openings this year had two speeds: slow and crawl. Restaurant projects (the cheese-focused Chizu to the ham-lovin' Hamlet) became more niche than Amazon Prime subcategories. And by June, people wondered aloud whether Portland’s food scene was screeching to a halt. Not to worry (well, okay, there’s plenty to worry about): even on a slow year, the Washington Post’s food critic still felt no other place stacked up quite like the Rose City. (Check out our Best New Restaurants for essential Portland eating experiences). The city’s best food has always turned up in unexpected places, quirky pop-ups to obsessive sandwich shops, and Portland chefs are admirable risk-takers. 2015 was no exception.
These are the dishes I can’t wait to eat again.