Hannah and I frequently think about what we are going to do when we finish traveling (whenever that happens). While in Portland we got to go on a food tour with Angie of Eat Adventures, who just a few years ago was in the same place. Angie and her husband Allen traveled the world for more than a year and ate their way around Asia, South America, and Europe. Somewhere along the way, they figured out that they’d been picking their destinations with their stomachs. When their world travels wrapped up they found themselves in Portland asking themselves that same question, now what do we do?
Well, they were smart enough to combine their love for food and travel to start a food tour company in the emerging foodie scene in Portland. Now you can find them leading small groups of food enthusiasts around the expansive food scene in Portland.
On the Best of Portland Food Tour, Angie showed us Portland in a unique way, through the city’s food. We went neighborhood to neighborhood eating our way through a list of hand-picked Portland’s best restaurants and food carts.
Tours book out well in advance only we booked online here
Stop #1: The Heathman
A fixture in Portland, The Heathman, has been around since the turn of the century. The chefs here have completely embraced the farm-to-table movement and they find most of the daily menu from the local farmer’s markets in the city. The menu and sample a different literally every day. On our plate for the first sample of the day was thin slices of duck prosciutto alongside a mix of vegetables sat atop a Meyer lemon aioli.
Stop#2: Base Camp Brewing
The second stop of the day was to one of Portland’s best breweries. Base Camp is a brewery built by hiking and climbing enthusiasts. All of the beers get their names from climbing and camping origins. The theme doesn’t stop there, it can be seen throughout the tasting room with chairs fashion from climbing cables and kayaks from suspended from the ceiling. The decor makes for a fun atmosphere, but the real reason people come is the beer. As part of the best of Portland food tour, we tried three brews from Base Camp. First up was the Ripstop Rye Pils light beer. Second, and my favorite was the Hop in the ‘Pool Late Hop Helles fresh hopped German style beer. We were lucky to visit Portland just after the hop harvest with lots of fresh hopped beer to be had. The Helles had great hop aromas from the fresh hops, but the taste was more sublet and not as harsh on the tongue as many IPAs can be. Last in the glass was a S’mores stout, served with a roasted marshmallow on the rim.
Stop #3: Koi Fusion
In the middle of our beer sampling at Base Camp actually came our next food sample, but it wasn’t from the bar, but rather from a cart parked outside. Portland is home to over 700 food carts across the city. Lucky for us the Koi Fusion taco cart is located just outside Base Camp brewery and according to Angie this cart is one of Portland’s top food carts. With a handful of locations across the city Koi Fusion serves up a Korean twisted Mexican and other dishes. We had their signature taco which is a corn tortilla filled with Bulgogi beef and topped with crisp Asian vegetables. Lastly, a dousing of Mama Kwan sauce (their secret recipe) finishes the taco. The results of all their hard work is an incredibly light and fresh taco that has a ton of flavor. It’s easy to see why it’s a Favorite of the Eat Adventures staff.
Stop#4: Carte Blanche
Next on the tour was another one of the hundreds of street carts of Portland, Carte Blanch. With so many to choose from, there is just no way as a visitor I would even know where to start sampling from the street. We were glad to be on the best of Portland tour with Eat Adventures. The name is an indicator as to the ever-changing menu of this small cart in the Hawthorn neighborhood. On the day we visited we had a Thai inspired crispy rice summer salad with no less than 14 delicious ingredients in the bowl.
Our tour of Portland’s food was also a tour of the city. The best of Portland tour don’t just take us around a just one neighborhood, but all over the city. Along the way, Angie explained how the city works and what you can find in each of the different neighborhoods. When we started the tour she gave everyone a detailed map of how the Portlanders see their city. As we made our way before stops I felt like I knew a little bit more about the city than when I started.
Stop #5: Ruby Jewel
Moving to the sweeter side of the tour we found our way to the Ruby Jewel scoop shop. Purveyors of all things ice cream this shop makes a wide array of flavors, but what they are really known for are the ice cream sandwiches. Hand scooped ice cream set between fresh baked cookies and Hannah was in heaven. We got to try one of their top combinations the Lavender honey ice cream sandwiched between a pair of lemon cookies. The second sample was vanilla bean ice cream with a perfect chocolate cookie on either side.
Stop #6: South East Wine Collective
All good tours should finish with wine, and the best of Portland tour did just that. We stopped at South East Wine Collective to try a few wines from local winemakers. The co-op brings in grapes grown in the wine regions just outside Portland and several of the city’s winemakers come to make their own unique wines. The local harvest had just begun during our visit to Portland and the winemakers were busy crushing grapes as we got to the winery. As they were hard at work we were enjoying the fruits of their labor. In our glasses were two whites and two reds. The stand out of the whites was the unique take on a Gewurztraminer and for the reds, a nice local Sangiovese brought memories of our time in Italy rushing back.
The best of Portland tour left us full of some amazing food and with a much better feel for the city and what makes Portland, Portland. It was also inspiring to see fellow travelers come home and make a career out of something that they love. We had a great time with Angie and Eat Adventures, so if you’re in Portland look them up!