And It's Local?
Carrie Brownstein doesn't stray far for good food. "I think what's great about Portland is that every neighborhood is so well-equipped," says the actress, musician and soon-to-be memoirist. "Each area has a couple of solid bars, a few great restaurants and a handful of coffee shops."
Brownstein moved to Oregon in 2001 to be closer to her bandmates in Sleater-Kinney, and though the acclaimed rock trio broke up in 2006 (and recently reunited for a new album and a tour in 2015), Portland stuck, inspiring Brownstein's Emmy-nominated show with Fred Armisen, Portlandia, and its companion tome, the especially giftable Portlandia Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, $25). Here, Brownstein shares her favorite places to eat and drink in her adopted hometown, many of which are conveniently within walking distance of her house.
Breakfast: Broder Nord
2240 N. Interstate Ave., suite 160, 503-282-5555
"Breakfast is tricky in Portland because it's very popular every day of the week. So I like to find someplace that balances having good food with not having a long wait, because if you wait a long time for anything, your goodwill toward that place—and anyone you're with—will start to diminish. Broder Nord is a Swedish restaurant that's great for breakfast and not too crowded. It's a beautiful, open space with exposed concrete and wood. The food has a Scandinavian bent to it, which means you can get good fish or good lefse. I usually get an egg dish. The baked eggs come with a really great walnut bread, though I also like the baked eggs scramble with cured salmon and shallots."
2140 E. Burnside St., 503-236-7195
"I love Luce. It's open, it's nice. I think for some reason lately in Portland I'm into the austere, unencumbered, no-frills dining experience. You go into Luce, and there's a lot of windows and wine and the menu's up on the wall, and the only thing that's rich and interesting is the food. The menu is not verbose, the waitstaff doesn't need a book to explain each item. It's the perfect place to go and have a salad and a plate of pasta and just hang out."
Carrie Brownstein and Portlandia co-star Fred Armisen
Dinner, Neighborhood: NE 30th and Killingsworth Sts.
"A great area to go for dinner is NE 30th and Killingsworth in the Concordia neighborhood because there's a cluster of good restaurants, so if one place is crowded you can go to the next and they're all delicious, with great atmospheres and really nice people. And I appreciate that it's a neighborhood, with families out and about.
I really like a place called Wilder, which is run by an Irish expatriate. You can get great mussels and frites there, which is what I usually do. The bar takes up most of the space, and they have a very friendly bartender. It's on a corner, and there's something about a corner bar-slash-restaurant that seems to exemplify friendliness and openness. You can just drop in and feel like a regular.
Nearby is a restaurant called Nonna, which is Italian and has a pretty outdoor area, and next to that is a place called DOC, which is also Italian. And there's Beast, which has a more upscale tasting menu, and a cocktail lounge called Expatriate across the street, which Naomi Pomeroy from Beast also owns with her husband, Kyle. Usually if I go to Expatriate, I get a whiskey or bourbon drink, and the fried fish sandwich is great."
4605 NE Fremont St., 971-229-0995
"There's Barwares and then behind it is Smallwares. Johanna Wares is the chef (she came over from Momofuku in New York) and it's very clean and minimalist with big windows. There's a fireplace in Barwares, which I enjoy, and they're always playing old films in the background that give me nostalgia. They have a lot of sake drinks and a rum cocktail that I love, which is kind of unusual for me. It's just called Rum—the drinks are named after their main spirit. I think it involves black cardamom and honey. It's served with a giant ball of ice, and there's a little bit of spice to it, so I like sipping it in the winter."
Dessert: Rose's Ice Cream
5011 NE 42nd Ave., 503-256-3333
"Rose's Ice Cream is real old-school. It opened in 1950 and definitely predates any trends or hipness. It's family-run, and the family's kids play basketball, so you can see highlights from their sports careers on the walls. They have a pretty vast ice cream selection and desserts like banana splits, but the menu still has a vintage vibe. There's a lot of fancy ice cream in Portland that's a little intense (see Salt & Straw). I appreciate that Rose's has been there for a long time, and you can just get your crinkle fries and ice cream and not worry about being cool. I like places that have been there for a while and are continuing to do what they've always done."
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