SQL Saturday Oregon will be held on Oct 22, 2016 this year– the weekend before the SQL PASS Summit.
As a Portlander, I love it when people come visit my town! Please consider taking a few extra days to enjoy checking out PDX before or after the event.
Here’s my favorite things to see, do, and eat.
OK, mostly eat. This place is delicious.
Places to go, things to do
Walk around Powell’s Books downtown. They have more than a million books. It’s a Portland institution.
Take a bike tour around Portland. We are a city who LOVES biking and cyclists. There are many bike tour companies to choose from, here is one example.
Visit OMSI – the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Heaven for kids and dorky grownups like me.
Rent a car and see amazing views and waterfalls on a day trip. (We have so many cool waterfalls.)
Take in the view at happy hour from the Portland City Grill. Get there when it opens to snag a window seat. The sweeping views of downtown are terrific with a soda or a martini. (I’d go somewhere else for dinner, there’s better food nearby.)
Travel Oregon has a great list of things to see and do in Portland, which includes our art museums and upcoming events. (I’m still working on seeing all their 7 wonders of Oregon, very cool site.)
And here’s a whole website of things to do in Portland when it rains.
I’m obliged to mention donuts, ’cause they’re famous
Donuts are basically a personality test in Portland. Try all three and pick your favorite.
- Voodoo Doughnuts – traditional taste, crazy shapes. If you love the idea of a donut named after the Old Dirty Bastard, or made in the shape of genitals, this is your donut stop.
- Blue Star Donuts – brioche dough, so artisanal they don’t use the word “artisanal”. If you identify with the word “foodie”, this is your donut stop.
- Pip’s Donuts – the DONUT OF THE PEOPLE. If you had a crush on Bernie Sanders and really wish you lived in Portland, this is your donut.
Dinner reservations required
Nodoguro (NE) – If sushi is your one true love, sign up for the mailing list, ’cause tickets are released in batches and sell out super fast. This is my favorite restaurant, ever, and you can get a glimpse of why by reading why Portland Monthly named them best restaurant of 2015.
Farm Spirit (NE) – when my carnivore boyfriend wanted to take me to a vegan restaurant, I felt a little confused. Was it a trap? The food and drinks are creative and fanciful without being weird. It will turn you into a super happy vegan for at least a couple hours. (Set menu, pre-pay only.)
Beast (NE) – If you’re a Top Chef fan, you saw chef Naomi Pomeroy win Top Chef Masters way back in Season 3. Beast does a six course, fixed price menu (substitutions politely declined, as they say), and it’s stellar. Extra: Beast does a weekend brunch, and it’s one of the few places that does brunch reservations for small parties.
Longbaan (SE) – I haven’t actually eaten at this Thai place yet, because we got reservations six months in advance, and the six months isn’t up yet. BUT REJOICE: You can watch their Facebook page to see if there’s a cancellation. (Seriously, what is this dinner going to be like?)
No dinner reservations? No problem.
Pok Pok (SE)- Family style thai dishes. Famous chicken wings. The chef keeps his James Beard Award in the bathroom.
Departure (downtown)- Gregory Gourdet of Top Chef’s place. Delicious Asian fusion, good options for eating healthy or boozing it up, if either or both of those are your thing.
Ned Ludd (NE) – If you’ve just had enough technology, the Luddites are there for you. They cook very simply in a wood fired oven, but the food always tastes like way more than the sum of its parts. I like this place so much, I’ve gone there on my birthday.
Keepin’ it casual – and a bit cheaper
Hat Yai (NE)- If the words “Fried chicken with peanuty sauce and fried roti” make you salivate, Hat Yai is your jam. This was opened by the chef from Longbaan, but you don’t have to get reservations six months in advance. It’s casual, and you’re going to get grease and peanut sauce all over your hands and face.
Pine State Biscuits (four locations, one is downtown) – There is a war for “best biscuit” in Portland, and Pine State is taking it seriously. If you prefer your fried chicken on a towering biscuit sandwich, this is the place for you. Don’t be freaked out if there’s a long line, it moves very quickly.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai (two food carts downtown, restaurant in NE) – if you’re that person who wants to eat at least one healthy meal in Portland, Nong’s is here for you. Soulful Thai Chicken and Rice, plenty of healthy veggies available on the side. Nong has started bottling her sauce, I recommend buying it and putting it on anything.
If you love sandwiches (and I personally love sandwiches), these two places are sammich heaven:
- Bunk (3 locations, one is downtown) – I just teared up a little remembering the shrimp po’boy I had here.
- Lardo (2 locations, one is downtown) – The “dirty fries” have both pork belly and fried bits of sage in them. They will make every sandwich as a salad on request, if you need to do so to mentally justify those fries.
Dessert, because you did all that walking
Salt N Straw (3 locations) – Trust me, way better than donuts. Best. Ice. Cream. Ever. There’s a line, but it moves fast. You can taste as many flavors as you want. They make the waffle cones fresh for you, it’s your duty to have one. They’ve usually got great non-dairy options for anyone who’s not into milk. (Dill pickle sorbet was on offer recently and it was shockingly good.)
Maurice (downtown) – A dessert luncheonette! Get the black pepper cheesecake if they have it.
If you like beer, there’s a lot of beer-making around here
But I’m completely clueless about it because I don’t drink beer. #SorryNotSorry #MoreForYou
I had to stop before I even got to the ramen and pizza places
In the name of pizza, I must say that everyone’s talking about Lovely’s fifty fifty being epic, but I haven’t been there yet.
It is nothing short of a miracle that I’ve lost weight this year. I think I need to head out for a walk.
BTW, we have Pokemon Go stops everywhere, of course.