Friends always ask me where they should eat when they visit Portland. I have my personal shortlist: Ned Ludd, Nostrana, Navarre (why do they all start with N???), Davenport, Ox, Pizza Maria, Ava Gene's.
But recently I was assigned the enviable task of checking out the newest arrivals in the Central Eastside, an up-and-coming neighborhood near our house. My write-up for Travel + Leisure, which accompanied Sarah Jaffe's wonderful article, covers everything from the latest music venues to new restaurants and hotels. My favorite new discoveries? The multi-course tasting menu at Holdfast Dining and the cheese-stuffed scarpinocc at Renata.
spot prawn, peas, horseradish at Holdfast
Here's what I had to say about Holdfast:
Dining here is like joining an intimate dinner party where your 30-something hosts—Will Preisch and Joel Stocks—are two of the most talented modernist chefs around. No nine-course meal is the same, but expect startling combinations like kimchi panna cotta with sea beans and sea purslane or fried sweetbreads—“The Chicken McNugget of the offal world,” says Stocks—with pickled shimeji mushrooms, roasted maitake, and artful drizzles of XO sauce. The wine pairings are orchestrated by a new guest sommelier each weekend. holdfastdining.com; prix fixe $90, including wine.
I also got to interview chocolatier and style maven Sarah Hart about her favorite Portland boutiques.
The stylish artisan tells us exactly where she buys the vintage and contemporary pieces that make up her enviable wardrobe.
In the decade since Sarah Hart opened Alma Chocolates, a visit to taste her beguiling treats—bittersweet chocolate–dunked pistachio brittle, gold-leafed chocolate icons, rich cups of hot chocolate—has become a requisite stop on Portland’s food map. Hart is also known for her stylish wardrobe—a mix of vintage finds and timeless pieces from local designers. Here she tells us which of the city’s boutiques are her favorites.
Sevens Sisters has some local designers but it is mostly super-curated vintage. I can’t go in there because I always end up buying something!
At Six/Seven jewelry designer Emily Bixler (BOET) and dressmaker Liza Rietz have combined forces. Bixler has done a lot of hand-woven metal—it almost looks like macramé—and they’re working some of that into the dresses.
Portland designer Holly Stalder at Haunt had a place on NW 23rd called Seaplane back in the day. I bought this cool oversized flannel dress here that’s been dip-dyed. It has modern cuts but it’s very comfortable.
And then there’s Una. Giovanna Parolari’s jewelry collection is one of the most amazing in town. She also sells clothing lines by slightly more obscure European and New York designers.
My other favorite place is the Grand Marketplace. Most antique malls have something good and then lots of junk, but everything in here is good because the owner, Andrea Jones, is so careful about what she lets in. We just bought a big workbench that’s going to be the counter at the new Alma. It was somebody’s garage workbench: super beat-up and cool. I also bought a mechanic’s jumpsuit for $24.
There’s an amazing new vintage clothing shop called Workshop over on Williams. They also have some new jewelry and then really good, curated vintage stuff. And they have furniture and housewares too. I got a really cool fake fur jacket there, and my friend Jessica got a fake leopard coat.