My subtly amazing husband and I spent a weekend at the Oregon Coast to celebrate his birthday. We hiked through old growth forests and took in the views at Ecola State Park, walked on the beach, hung out at Bella’s Coffee Shop, and we relaxed. We didn’t really go out to eat at all, other than for a couple of bowls of chowder at Bill’s Tavern and a burger at the Warren House. Instead, we survived on Mike’s Hard Lemonade, crackers, cheese, and Red Vines. It was the ultimate weird and spare, sort of vacation-junk-food-diet.
But on our way home Sunday, craving some quality bites, we hit Por Que No? on Mississippi Street for the most fabulous early Sunday supper.
I’ve been talking to a young man who is moving from Northern California to Portland with his family in the next few months so he can attend my school. His long term goal is to become a chef, and one of the reasons he wants to move to Portland Oregon is not just because of Oregon Culinary Institute, but because of the fantastic local food scene. I’ve been emailing him and chatting with him, doling out advice and words of wisdom about the places to eat in Portland, and it’s made me realize my tastes are actually rather fine-tuned. I especially love simple food with unique and bright flavor. I prefer relaxed, less expensive restaurants, and even food carts and dive bars to the swanky shi shi sit down establishments in town. And if the place is decorated with second hand treasures and recycled materials, all the better. I respect high quality, local, fresh, seasonal, sustainable ingredients. I suppose this makes me, quite thoroughly, a true Portlander.
Por Que No? is in my neighborhood and takes us only about 5 minutes by car or 20 minutes by bike. It‘s about the only place where you can buy a cup of fresh organic blueberry juice, melon sangria, or Jasmine Iced tea that’s made with all local ingredients.
The whole restaurant is quite small, making it technically a “hole in the wall,” but the food and flavors defy the diminutive size of the kitchen. You almost always have to stand in line to order, but the people are relaxed and happy and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone because it’s SO worth the wait. The food is absolutely incredible... fresh, inexpensive, and healthy dishes that are perfectly prepared every time make it a favorite to Portland Foodies and Chef’s. The flavors are tangy and bright, crisp and authentic. Even the tortillas are homemade and the chips made from them are thick and crisp and lovely, deep fried in rice bran oil.
While we enjoyed our Carnitas tacos , the line-caught-fish taco crema, cabbage and mango,
and our seasonal Sangria and Tecante,
a charming woman from the Urban Farm Collective stopped at our table to offer us free fresh veggies from her city-based farm...
For as much as I love a weekend get-away and travelling around Oregon, I still love coming home to the best food around... and Por Que No? Is Oh So Portland.