Portland in 7 hours

Despite my crazy work schedule, I was able to squeeze in a quick Portland road trip on Saturday. While the main purpose was to go wedding dress shopping for a friend, a visit to Portland is not complete without food!

Our first stop was at the Pine Street Market, which is packed with various food vendors. We had our hearts set for the Wiz Bang Bar, which is also owned by the geniuses behind Salt & Straw. Wiz Bang Bar’s focus is more towards soft serve with unique flavors. I have a soft (ha!) spot for soft serve ice cream so I was excited to check this out, especially since they also have the option to dip your soft serve in three different magic shell flavors. Yum!

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I went with the Steven Smith Tea’s Astoriamaro soft serve dipped in a lavender white chocolate magic shell. The effect is definitely instagram-worthy, yet a fun twist to a favorite childhood treat of mine. I enjoy taking that first bite of the shell, hearing that nice crackle, which was delicately sweet. You get that hint of lavender without it coming off as if you’re eating perfume. The soft serve itself is packed with tea flavor and not too sweet.

We had to rush over to our friend’s dress appointment right after at Anthropologie’s BHLDN, which surprisingly was the least stressful dress shopping experience I have ever witness. However, we did work up an appetite afterwards. Whenever I am in Portland, a visit to Blue Star Donuts is always a must. I highly recommend visiting early in the day, as they usually are out by the afternoon but we managed to have a few flavor options during out afternoon visit. I was feeling adventurous at the time a d decided to try a new flavor: Orange olive oil donut, which is an orange fennel flavored cake donut dusted in olive oil powder. I have learned that this isn’t my favorite Blue Star Donut flavor, which is ok since they have so many flavors to choose from that I do love. But in the future, I will stick to the Blueberry Basil donut if I encounter limited options in the future.

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To balance out all the sugar we consumed, we made our final stop at Pok Pok Noi. If you haven’t heard of Pok Pok, they are one of Portland’s most raved about restaurants, thanks to their infamous Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. Pok Pok’s focus is on Northern Thai street food, and tends to draw a huge crowd. This is why we opted for their Noi location, according to reviews there’s hardly a wait or line at Noi. When you enter, you’d think all there is to the place is bar seating but if you go further back, there’s plenty of outdoor seating that is covered by a roof.

Of course, we ordered the wings in addition to the half order of the kai yaang (roast chicken) and khao soi. I started off with the kai yaang, which came with two dipping sauces. The chicken was so tender and juicy, where I can enjoy this without additional sauces. Of the sauces, I prefer the tamarind over the spicy/sweet/sour. To me, I found that sauce more interesting in flavor.

Now onto the Khao Soi, which is a curry noodle soup. It was the perfect soup to order on a cold rainy Portland day.

And then the wings. These wings are packed with so much flavor! I enjoyed savoring the fish sauce, garlic and sweet notes of the sauce. The wings had a light crunch yet enjoyable. This was definitely my favorite thing to munch on at Pok Pok Noi. I couldn’t help but to suck the bones to get every bit of flavor from those wing.

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Our feast at Pok Pok Noi. Left to Right: Khao Soi, Kai Yaang and Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.

With only having 7 hours to spend in Portland, my friends and I got a lot accomplished: My friend was able to find her wedding dress for a great deal, and we were able to make three food stops. I’m looking forward to my next visit so I can explore more of Pine Street Market’s offerings.

Looking for other places to check out in Portland? You can find more of my recommendations here.

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