Portland is one of the USA’s most interesting cities. Famous for its coffee (I’ve had the best coffee in my life here), hipsters, the thriving restaurant scene and craft breweries, this is the place people come to retire at 30 (and it has been famously sent up in the excellent TV series Portlandia (https://www.ifc.com/shows/portlandia). I spent a lovely day here on my way to the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinville.
Lunch at Bollywood Theater on Division. This is my third time here. Casual Indian street-food-style dishes with some West Coast influence, in a beautiful space. This is a really great lunchtime option. Goan shrimp curry the star, backed up by Bhel Puri that was so fresh and balanced.
A predinner stop at the Solo Club in Slabtown, at the top of the Pearl district, was a very good idea. As well as a short but well-chosen wine list, this is the place to come for Amari and Vermouth. And very good cocktails. After an aperol spritz (I know, but it was 90 degrees outside) I opted for a Scandanavian Amaro that I’d never had before. It was a good choice: intense and complex.
It was a short walk to dinner at St. Jack. This place was spot-on and it’s a must visit if you find yourself in Portland. It reminded me a bit of L’Express in Montréal: classic French done really well. Not in the least stuffy, with beautifully done classics. We opted for 12 oysters (four each of three kinds, all local) then a huge and delicious butter lettuce salad, and the classic moules frites combo. Simple is hard to beat. To drink, two very nice wines.
Champagne Gatinois Grand Cru Ay Brut Tradition NV France
Disgorged April 2018. This has a bit of colour. Lovely precision but also good depth of flavour. Apples and red cherries with nice sapidity and a touch of saltiness. Very stylish. 92/100
Domaine Overnoy Chardonnay 2016 Côtes de Jura, France
This is one of three Overnoys in the Jura. Guillaume Overnoy is a young wine grower and he’s the great nephew of the celebrated Pierre Overnoy. He took over his 5.5 hectare estate in 2013 and farms organically. This is a really nice wine: it has a mealy, slightly salty edge to the nose. Lovely grainy citrus and pear fruit with some richness, and fine spicy framing. Some tension reveals itself as the flesh falls away. 94/100
See also: a report from a visit to Portland in July 2016