Put it in your mouth: The city that works

Fall Term will find me sampling the gustatory delights of Poitiers, France. No matter how good French cheese is, I can’t help but realize that I’ll miss some of my favorite Portland restaurants. In honor of River City, I have compiled a list of the restaurants I’ll miss the most.

La Sirenita, 2817 N.E. Alberta St. 503-335-8283
Ole Ole, various locations
When I moved to Portland from the San Francisco Bay area five years ago, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find any good taquerias. La Sirenita and Ole Ole’s giant carne asada and machaca burritos have kept much of my food-based homesickness at bay, but now that I’m moving to a different continent, I’m really afraid. If you hear of any good taquerias in France, please tell me.

Shanghai Tunnel, 211 S.W. Ankeny St. 503-220-4001
Over the years my drinking and dining partners have changed, but our preference for this underground hideout has remained the same. Although they probably have the most expensive bar food in town, it always seems warranted after a couple beers. The udon noodle bowl with drunk sauce is to die for, and the fried tofu is obsession worthy, even for the sober.

Voodoo Doughnut, 22 S.W. Third Ave. 503-241-4704
Whoever came up with the idea for a donut place that’s open only late at night until early in the morning is a true genius. When else but before work and after partying do people crave fried, sugary cake the most? A donut topped with Cocoa Puffs at 2 a.m. makes the whole world seem terrific.

My Father’s Place, 523 S.E. Grand Ave. 503-235-5494
This was the first place I went for dinner when I moved to town. It embodies a certain side of Portland that is what initially attracted me to the city. Not the DIY, hipster, bike utopia thing, but the murky, old-fashioned, industrial, pulp-novel, port city, rock ‘n’ roll thing. The drinks are strong, the food is fried, the air is smoky and the music is good but not in a pretentious way.

J & M Café, 537 S.E. Ash St. 503-230-0463
Probably my favorite place to have breakfast when I lived in southeast, J & M is neither old-fashioned nor particularly quirky; it’s just good. The bright, clean, relaxed atmosphere is conducive to excellent brunch-time conversations.

Chit-Chat Café, 1907 S.W. Sixth Ave. 503-224-3730
I might be too sick of this place to ever really miss it, having spent more time here than in class. Study sessions with taro tapioca bubble tea were one of the only good things about Winter Term. And like good burritos, I’m afraid I might have to do without it in the land of caf� cr�me.

Indian Carts – various locations
Food carts are something Portland does really well in terms of variety, quality and sheer numbers. The Indian carts with their incredible lunch specials are my favorites. For $5 you can get plenty of food for two average people or one serious athlete: rice, three or four kinds of curry mush, hot naan bread and cold coconut rice pudding. And it’s all so flavorful and satisfying.

Leo’s Nonsmoking Coffee Shop, 837 S.W. 11th Ave. 503-228-1866
Maybe it’s good that I will be cruelly torn from my new favorite eatery before I have a chance to get sick of it, so I can look forward to coming back. If it’s survived 76 years, it will, I hope, be here in another six months to serve up bacon, burgers and malts.

Stumptown Coffee, 128 S.W. Third Ave. 503-295-6144
The proverbial place where everybody knows your name has become a reality for me in the form of what my boyfriend calls “LA Stumptown” for its fancy, downtown atmosphere. I love that one of the cleanest interiors in Portland is populated by the city’s dirtiest bike messengers. Beyond the obvious fact that the coffee is good, Stumptown also serves the Pearl Bakery’s chocolate bread, which is like edible crack.

Delta Café, 4607 S.E. Woodstock Blvd. 503-771-3101
I only ate here a couple times, but this hipster-style Southern joint’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes have a permanent place in my heart and smaller blood vessels. Maybe if I put my name on the list now, I can be seated shortly after my return from France.