Dining in Portland

Oh Voodoo Donuts, it was hard to say goodbye.

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While we were in Portland. we ate at some seriously amazing places. Everything seemed to have a local and seasonal emphasis, and I was blown away by the availability of vegan/veggie options. Visiting a city like Portland always gives me a kick in the pants to focus more on plant-based foods — not only are they delicious, but I always feel so good when I’m eating a variety of produce.

Here are the fabulous restaurants we enjoyed:

Kure Juice 

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We loved Kure Juice so much, we ended up going back at least 3 times. They have a wonderful juice and smoothie menu -we couldn’t help but wonder how much produce they go through each day!- and also fun snacks like raw vegan bars, collard wraps, salads, energy bites, smoothie bowls and parfaits. I tend to get into juice and smoothie ruts, so I feel like I have so many new combos to try at home now.

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Luc Lac

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This is where I had my first pho experience. Kyle and Meg often go out for pho in Tucson, but I never join them because I thought the noodles were regular noodles (aka not gluten-free, aka a large bowl of them would make me look and feel 9 months pregnant). Turns out that the noodles are RICE noodles. (Here’s where I smack myself in the face.) Turns out, Luc Lac is pretty famous for their pho, and even though it was made with beef broth -I’ve never been a fan of beef or beef products- I knew I had to do it right and try it anyway. The bowl was gigantic, and was filled with the aromatic broth, noodles, lemongrass, onion slivers and was accompanied by a side of lime, Thai basil, sprouts and chili pepper. I added in lots of chopped basil, lime juice, a hefty drizzle of sriracha and hoisin sauce.  It was probably in the top 5 of best foods I’ve ever eaten. The only thing was that I had problems figuring out how to eat it with the noodles -chopsticks? fork? spoon? combo?- so I did what I could and took the rest back to the hotel. It was eaten cold out of the hotel fridge over the next couple of days… and it was insane. I can’t wait to find a good spot in Tucson!

Voodoo Donuts

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This is the funkiest little donut shop I’ve ever seen.

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It’s open 24/7 and apparently, there’s always a line outside (especially after the bars close).

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So many fun donut options and vegan donut options! Since everything looked so good, I got two to share: a double chocolate one with Cocoa Puffs on top, and an original donut topped with chocolate, chopped Oreos and a peanut butter drizzle (I know, right?!). The Oreo one took the cake 😉 [Heads up: Voodoo Donuts only takes cash, and most of us didn’t have much on hand. Next time I’ll plan accordingly!]

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Portland City Grill 

Rach warned me about this one. She said the view is awesome, the drinks are awesome, the food: not so awesome. We had received so many recommendations to try it, so we decided to go for it, but I kept her advice in the back of my brain. When I saw $40+ options on the menu, I decided I didn’t want to pay a lot for not-so-awesome food, so I ordered the Caesar salad with chicken (which was actually pretty good for a Caesar) and a beautiful glass of Malbec.

Noble Rot

Noble rot

We went to Noble Rot for drinks with some friends from Laughing Cow. I loved the vibe, the view, and would have loved to try their dinner- it smelled heavenly. Since it was a wine bar, I got a glass of Shiraz and enjoyed the fun atmosphere and company before a few of us headed to the Farm House. Allie works with Fanscape and I’ve known her via the blog for a while -she’s done all of the Blue Diamond giveaways with me- and was so kind to treat us to an awesome dinner.


The Farm


We dined with Allie at the Farm, and I think it was my favorite dinner out of everything we tried. It was actually an old house, which was turned into a restaurant- the interior was SO cute. It was smaller with a more intimate setting, unique art pieces and a modern vibe. The food was locally-sourced, extremely fresh and wonderful! I decided to try the fennel salad

Kale salad

(this had a bright and tangy lemon vinaigrette)

and the Cajun Rock Fish, which was served with rice and veggies. The rock fish was perfection: beautifully prepared and spicy. (I took a sad iPhone pic but it’s blurry and doesn’t do it justice)

The Nines Rooftop bar

The view was incredible, but they didn’t offer many appetizers and also didn’t have a *fun* drink menu. The server said to think of it like a wedding with many limited beverage options (wine, mixers, basic vodka, whiskey, tequila). I got a margarita, which was pretty good, but I would have loved a unique cocktail.

Picnic House


I loved the romantic and whimsical atmosphere of Picnix House- it made me feel like if Anthropologie were a restaurant, that would be it (if that makes any sense, haha). It had wooden picnic benches and comfy upholstered chairs for seating, and more locally-sourced menu options. I asked the server what he would recommend and he said the chicken was his favorite dish. My first thought was, “Meh? Chicken?” but since they were out of salmon, I gave it a whirl. It was fantastic. Since it was cooked skin on, it was moist and extremely flavorful from the fresh herbs and spices. The mashed potatoes were lovely, too.

Picnic house chicken

We also shared a table full of appetizers: meat and cheese board, goat cheese crostini (my personal fave), beets, grilled watermelon and brussels sprouts. My only less than stellar comment about this restaurant was that the service was extremely, extremely slow. Of course, I wasn’t hoping for fast food or anything like that -I love to sip a cocktail and enjoy appetizers while waiting- but there were only two other full tables, and we waited at least an hour for our entrees.

There were a couple of places I really wanted to try that we didn’t end up visiting. Number one: Salt and Straw! <– handmade ice cream using local produce and even beer-flavored ice cream! Next time, Portland, next time.


(a few of my lovely dates from the weekend)

What’s the best vacation food you’ve ever eaten? I love the food in Las Vegas. Whenever we visit, we make sure to try out as many fun places as possible, while also hitting up our all-time faves (Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast/brunch and Mesa Grill for dinner).

Hope you have a wonderful day!



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  1. Rebecca on July 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

    You eat the noodles with chopsticks and the broth with a spoon.

  2. Lucie on July 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Wow, all these great restaurants!! I LOVE the juice/smoothie bar, I so much WISH that we had one like this around here. Makes me do my own though, which is not too bad either.
    And these donuts!! OMG. Portland obviously is aplace where you need to spend more than just a few days to try everything out!
    I had GREAT seafood in Boston and Cape Cod. Just delicious.

  3. priya on July 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

    This is a bit far out- but I love going to London! my dad and I even went back to a restaurant the second time, and we also walked for about an hour and a half trying to fin the other!

    • allison b-t on July 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      i was in london last summer and had some really great food- most especially the pub food! despite the reputation english food has state-side i was very impressed with all the fresh fish and veg and even had an amazing house-made veggie burger with lovely seasoned kale on the side.

  4. Ashley @ Life and Fitness on July 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Omg those donuts look delicious! I love finding unique places to eat while on vacation. When I was in Denver we ate at one of the best breakfast diners ever.

  5. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on July 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    OMG…I really want those donuts! They look soooo amazing!

  6. Meagan on July 2, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I’ve had Salt and Straw! It was so fantastic!!!! My favorite place in Portland so far is Karams (I think that’s the name) – it was a Mediterranean Lebanese restaurant, and entirely authentic!!!!!! And they had gluten free pita! Which I hadn’t had in years!!! Amazing!!!

  7. Candy on July 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Try Miss Siagon’s for pho in Tucson! Their pho is vegan and they have a couple of locations. Enjoy!

    • Katie R on July 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      I second Miss Saigon! Also, I Heart Pho is great as well.

  8. Julie on July 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

    One of my fave vacay dinners was at Alioto’s in San Fran. The Cliff House was pretty awesome, too.

  9. Amanda on July 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I’m headed to Vegas for the first time this weekend (!!!!) and I’ll definitely have to check out those two restaurants! 🙂

  10. Lace @ FamilyFitnessandFoodery on July 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I have wanted to try VooDoo Doughnuts for Forever!! Ever since I saw it on the Food Network’s “Best I Ever Had” show. You lucky duck.
    Side Note: You all look so pretty for your lady date!

  11. Gretchen on July 2, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’ve never tried pho in a restaurant because of the beef broth (grew up veg and beef has always weirded me out), but my fiancé has made it using this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vietnamese-beef-pho/. He’ll make two pots and just use veg broth in mine, and then we’ll bake up some tofu for me to throw on top. Easy and delicious!

  12. Sheena on July 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Love pho! It’s like the ultimate comfort food! I use my chopsticks to put noodles and whatever toppings I have in my spoon then dip the spoon to get a little broth and eat it all off the spoon. I don’t like how the broth splashes on my face and shirt when I try to eat the noodles with chopsticks! I also like to get a little plate or bowl and mix siracha and hoisin sauce together and dip my meat/noodles into it before I put them onto my spoon.

  13. Tara on July 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

    What, you never had pho before?! That sounds so crazy for me, especially coming from a city where Asians hold almost the majority of the population!

    Mon Ami Gabi is one of the most cheap, delicious steaks on the strip. I totally agree with you!

  14. Kelly @ KellyRunsforFood on July 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    All of that looks amazing! One of the best foods I’ve had on vacation is fresh ceviche in Mexico. It’s so good and I haven’t found anything close to it in the states. That and conch fritters in the Cayman’s. So yummy!

  15. Miranda @ Miranda Runs on July 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Voodoo is famous! I live in Seattle and many of my friends have drove all the way down to Portland to get doughnuts

  16. McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped on July 2, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Oh my goodness that shrimp roll looks fabulous! I’ve always wanted to visit Portland as their food scene is very eco and health friendly. Thanks for the review!

  17. Lisa on July 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I’ve never had pho either!
    And those donuts – holy moly. I don’t even like donuts and I think I’d be all over those.
    Kure sounds all kinds of amazing! I love juice bars so much – they’re definitely my favorite to visit. I love seeing all the different combos and meals they come up with. Always intrigue and inspire me.

  18. Alexandra on July 2, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Hey Gina! I Love Portland. I’m so glad you had an awesome trip. I go down to Portland about 3-4 times a year, just to eat the fabulous food, trail run in Forest Park and practice at their yoga studios. Per your suggestion I ate breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi while in Las Vegas last year and yes it was legendary.

  19. Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers on July 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I am still so bummed we never made it to Sald & Straw!!! Loved our quality time together last weekend. Miss you already!

  20. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on July 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I had the Oreo doughnut as well. It was so rich I couldn’t finish it! I loved the rooftop bar at the Nines but like you said, no fun drink menu.

  21. Alaina T on July 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Just like you- I LOVE PORTLAND FOOOOOOOOOD! Voodoo is always a must- when I was 6months pregnant, my best friend’s husband woke up at 6am to go down and get me a dozen all for myself. Seriously, what a guy! Those doughnuts were GONE by the time my husband and I reached Multnomah Falls.

    Another yummy (and not healthy at all) place is Grilled Cheese Grill. It’s this little food stand on Alberta that serves nothing but variations of grilled cheeses and their seating is on a bus. No kidding. And their signature is called the Cheesus. Its a hamburger with all the fixin’s, but instead of a bun it has a grilled cheese on the bottom and another on top. Definitely not heathly, but Lordy…

    And my other favorite place is Salt & Straw- artisan, handmade ice creams in the funkiest but most awesome flavors, like Pear & Bleu Cheese or Sweet Potato w/ Marshmallows or Snickerdoodle or Honey Balsamic Strawberry w/ Cracked Pepper or Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero. Insanely awesome. Just like Voodoo, there is always a line out the door, but sooooooo worth it.

    And coffee- STUMPTOWN. Oh my. You cant get any better than that. Its hard to go back to Starbucks after that.

    Glad you had fun in my favorite city!

  22. Haley on July 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Voodoo Donuts!! It is on my bucket list (: My favorite sweet place to travel is Sweet Theory in Jacksonville, Florida. SO delicious! And their donuts? Ohhmyy.

  23. A on July 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Gina!

    I have a random question..I’m off to Tucson this weekend to spend the 4th with some friends. Is there something in Tucson you’d highly recommend we do or a restaurant we try? Also, one of the friends I’m visiting is due with her first baby in early August and her birthday is in July….what do you think would make a good bday present? Spa? Pedi? A empty house so you could rest? What did you covet most at that time in your pregnancy?Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a bunch!

  24. Jenn on July 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I need the donut with the peanutbutter drizzle!!! I live in Philadelphia and we have some fantastic restaurants here. I found some delicious restaurants in Charlotte, NC and Bethesda, MD, not places I’d think of for gourmet food I was pleasantly surprised!

  25. Britt on July 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I’m a recent convert to pho as well…I’m completely addicted now

  26. priya on July 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Hey everybody!!

    I’m going to be in Chicago/Evanston this week, if ANYONE has any good restaurants they recommend it’d be much appreciated! thanks 😀

    I know there are typical places which we’ve looked up but some local fare would be good too 🙂

    • Ashley on July 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Hey Priya- I live in Evanston! It’s a great food town 🙂
      My favorites here are Dave’s Italian Kitchen, Diablos Tacos, That Little Mexican Cafe, Pret a Manger, and BAT 17. All have healthy & not-so healthy options including stuff for vegetarians, if that’s your thing. For a NOT healthy lunch, go to Edzo’s Burgers.
      For breakfast, either try to make it to Walker Bros Original Pancake House or Bennisson’s Bakery, you won’t be sorry!
      And don’t leave Chicago without getting deep dish pizza!… My fave is Lou Malnati’s. Hope these help! 🙂

  27. Caitie @ twentytwofit on July 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I’m a Seattle girl which means Portland is only 3 hours away – already planning on a girls’ weekend to go down and there and check out some of the places you’ve been blogging about! Especially the one you described as the restaurant version of Anthropologie…love walking through that store for inspiration.

    The best restaurant I have ever been to while on vacation is the Ironwood in Pinehurst, NC. They have an amazing baked brie dish served with apples, grapes, pears, and fresh breads. Paired with a good glass of wine…perfection 🙂

  28. Katie on July 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    How fun!!! 🙂 Love all of your pics!

    I have two all time favorite travel food places. When my boyfriend and I went to Toronto last year, we ate at Fresh and still talk about how amazing the food was to this day. We have even contacted the company to see if they would think about opening up a Fresh in Columbus, Ohio!

    The other is more of a location than a place – Charleston, SC! You got Poogan’s Porch, Hominy Grill, Cru Café… just to name a few. My mouth waters just thinking about the shrimp and grits, chocolate pudding, and fried green tomatoes.

    I agree with you – I love sipping on a glass of wine and nibbling on appetizers. It’s the best part of the night!

  29. Nikki on July 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Pho is the best thing ever, especially with tons of sriracha! I’m a cheater and just eat the noodles with a fork…

  30. Kelly @ Kelly the Culinarian on July 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    It’s settled. I must go to Portland!

  31. Christina on July 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I actually tried my first pho in Tucson and fell in love. Miss Saigon is AMAZING, i would definitely check it out.

  32. Amy @ www.funfoodiefamily.wordpress.com on July 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    FUN!!! I want to go to Portland so bad, but I live all the way in GA, so not really close. One day!

    I think San Francisco is one of the best food cities. Sourdough bread and Ghirardelli chocolate!!!

  33. char eats greens on July 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I’m surprised voodoo only takes cash for being so popular!!! I’ve heard so much about this place that I would plan a trip to Portland just for the donuts. Call me crazy 😉

  34. Rebecca on July 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Pho = ammmmmazzzing!!

    I love Pho – it is so yummy in my tummy!

    I eat the noodles with chopsticks and the broth with my spoon – I usually make a mess out of myself, but that is ok!

  35. Melissa on July 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    WOW. That looks like an amazing culinary experience! I am pretty much sitting here salivating now!

  36. Emily on July 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Best food I’ve had, hands down, was enjoyed on our family vacations to Grand Cayman growing up. Everything was fresh, local and authentic (ha ALMOST ate sea turtle….eek!).

  37. joelle (on a pink typewriter) on July 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Awesome recap!

    I looove Mesa Grill (I’m from Vegas) and B. Flay in general. I also have always adored my meals in San Francisco/Nor Cal whenever I visit.

  38. Laura B on July 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Pho is amazing! Next time you’re sick give it a try instead of your usual sick soup.

  39. Heather on July 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    My hubs and I were in Portland last fall and our hotel was walking distance to Salt and Straw’s NW district location. Life changing. That’s all I can say! We ate there everyday. I even had a sample pack shipped to Iowa as a X-mas gift to my husband. I can’t wait to go back to explore more and venture out to the Columbia River Gorge.

  40. Angel on July 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I live in Vegas and if you love burgers go to Bachi Burger, they are seriously delicious. Also love Firefly for tapas and sangria.

    • Fitnessista on July 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      ohh firefly is also excellent! we had tapas there last time i was in town 🙂

  41. Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta on July 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Yes, Salt & Straw is a must and you’ll also have to check out Blue Star Donuts! Yeah, Voodoo is “Portland”, but Blue Star is actually good, haha! So glad you enjoyed Portland, and so sad I didn’t find you at FitBloggin to say hi 🙁 Next time!

  42. Beverly Aragon on July 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve so enjoyed your Fitbloggin recaps. Portland seems simply delicious, from the amazing food to the gorgeous scenery to the laid back (keep it weird!) vibe. It’s definitely going on my destination wish list!

  43. Megan on July 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Ha Long Bay at Broadway and Wilmot is one of my favorite places ever. Their food is amazing and they’re all really sweet. My husband and I used to go all the time until we moved away a little over a year ago, and the staff still remember us whenever we come back to visit. I don’t eat red meat, so I’ve never actually had the Pho, but my husband raves about it. Also, their garlic string beans with tofu contain the most delicious tofu I’ve ever had in my life.

  44. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    You now have me dreaming of pho and green juice! I think I could eat/drink both every day for the rest of my life and never get bored. Thanks for this awesome recipe roundup Gina – I know where I’ll be going when I travel to Portland (and I AM going to make that happen some day in the near future!)

  45. Carley@OptimisticHealth on July 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    I’m so tempted to go to Portland every time we come to Seattle just for voodoo donuts. This seals my choice. My favorite food is New York city and state food!

  46. Andrea on July 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    The food looks delicious! I love trying all the local places that people reccommend with I’m traveling. Seems like a great time!

    And…I love pho! The pho house in my town will make chicken pho with chicken broth instead of beef, if you ask…and the veggie pho is made with veggie broth. No reason you can’t enjoy pho!

  47. Karenburnham48@gmail.com on July 2, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I’ve lived in Portland all my life and now know some new places to eat! Thanks for loving my city as much as I do!!

  48. Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen on July 3, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Portland looks like an awesome city for eating! I love how so many of the restaurants seem to emphasize local ingredients.

    One the best meals I’ve ever had on vacation was in Portland, Maine at Fore Street Restaurant. I had arctic char in a spicy butter sauce and a salted chocolate mousse tart for dessert – I don’t think I will ever forget that meal!

  49. allison b-t on July 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    as a portland native, it’s always interesting to me to see what people do when they visit.

    farm is truly a gem and i love going there!

    as for voodoo, no one seems to know- including fellow residents- that they have a second location in NE that is larger and rarely has a line. so many people complain that the donuts are good but not good enough to stand in line for … i agree, and all you have to do is go to the other location.

    on the flip side of that, i am not impressed by salt & straw. there is one in my neighborhood and i’ve gone a few times but you usually have to stand in line for-ever and the ice cream is ok but has never come close to wowing me.

  50. Jennifer F on July 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Your conference was definitely timed right since that location of Kure just recently opened! It is a little bit of a walk from my work, but love that I can stop by on my lunch hour!

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