Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Portland, Oregon

We were excited to be back in Portland.  It had been a long time since we'd spent time in this foodie city and it's even better than we remembered.  We checked into The Nines Hotel around 9:30pm on Friday night and headed up to Departure, their 15th floor Asian restaurant.  When the elevator opened it felt like we were walking into a sophisticated giant party.  Clusters of people were in hallways and small rooms drinking champagne and eating from small plates.  We were seated in the main dining room and it had a lovely energy, not too loud but lively and happy.  We love the small plate concept for the opportunity to try more dishes.  The Asian Pear & Apple Salad with heart of palm, tamarind and macadamia was fresh and lively and one of our top picks.  The Crispy Squid with spicy mayo and lime was one of the best I've ever eaten.  Truly crispy and incredibly tender, if I lived in Portland it would be a regular for us.  The Wok Fried Chili Prawns with candied walnuts was also a stand out dish, with an excellent balance of spicy and savoury.  The Brussel Sprouts with chili, lime and mint were good but not the best we've had of this recently crazy popular vegetable.  The Grilled Shitake Roll was boring but the Coconut Miso Scallops with apple, radish, citrus and dill made up for it.  The wine list is excellent with Oregon well represented.  I'd recommend a visit to Departure and The Nines Hotel.