WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER
Portland is a city for walking and for eating, my friend Natalie tells me matter-of-factly. This much is indisputably true: during the two months that I lived in PDX, most of my free time was dedicated to biking to a new neighborhood for a nice spatzir and a bite to eat. Walking around and eating things is a golden combination and I've spent a lifetime honing my skills in the simple act of meandering. Herewith, my favorite cheap eats and places to stroll in the Rose City.
EL CUBO DE CUBA + LAURELHURST PARK
I had a very nice date with myself after a friend had to cancel our dinner plans last minute. Still eager to go out, I biked to the lovely Laurelhurst Park for an outdoor concert before pedaling a couple blocks over to El Cubo de Cuba to tuck into the delectable Portland bowl. The nourishing mix of yellow rice, black beans, sweet chunks of mango, and slivers of ripe avocado triggers a smile upon first sight.
EATIN' ALIVE + KING FARMERS' MARKET
Eatin' Alive's vibrant beet burgers served with a tangle of caramelized onions are (almost!) too pretty to eat. Pair with a PB Love Bar for dessert--because it's Sunday morning and time to treat yourself--and you have a nutritious and delicious brekkie to power you through the day. I'd often grab a bite to eat from this purveyor of raw food before meandering through the cozy King Farmers' Market to chat with agrarians from the area and get inspired by the season's bounty.
SIP JUICE + THICKET PDX
My friend Rachel and I loved to celebrate the small successes (i.e. the end of a workday, going to the gym, waking up) with a smoothie from the camper-based juice bar Sip. Mason jars in tow, we'd take our Incredible Hulks--a blend of kale, spinach, lemon, and ginger--for a walkabout through the nearby Thicket PDX. This lovely jewel box of a garden is dense enough that you could very well spend a luxurious afternoon admiring violet-streaked succulents and bright green basil plants.
DESIPDX + NE ALBERTA STREET
Deepak's friendly demeanor and passion for cooking are just part of what make the farm-to-food truck DesiPDX a delightful cheap eats culinary experience. Grab a pakora waffle drizzled in savory yogurt and amble by the artsy shops on the surrounding stretch of NE Alberta Street. Once you've licked the last chickpea crumbs from your plate, be sure to pop into Blendily to check out what's in the kitchen at this seed-to-skin care company.
¿POR QUE NO? + NE MISSISSIPPI STREET
The line at this Mexican hotspot moves pretty quickly so stick with it and enjoy the opportunity for some moving meditation. The filling Brian's Bowl layered with queso fresco and fresh veggies is pretty damn good but not nearly as good as the restaurant's sustainability mantra (for more details, go here). When you're ready to walk it off, make the trip up NE Mississippi Street to the badass bookshop Reading Frenzy. It's a much needed reminder that print is alive and well.
FIFTY LICKS + SE CLINTON STREET
Fifty Licks serves up some of the most delectable ice cream that Portland has to offer. Bring your scoop of blood orange creamsicle with you to explore the neighborhood during the golden hour. This residential patch of brightly painted houses and community gardens is home to a surprising number of fruit trees ripe for the picking. Enjoy!