Day Four: Portland – Voodoo Doughnuts, St. John’s Theater and Pub, Veritable Quandary

Food Adventures, Portland

After a short yet scenic 4-hour Amtrak ride, we arrived at a rainy and miserable Portland. Despite not being able to visit the International Rose Test Garden nor the Widmer Brothers brewery, we decided to make the most of our brief 1.5 day stay. Much of Portland, but really the entire trip, was dedicated to food. First destination after checking in to our hotel: Voodoo Doughtnuts.

Large variety with their own spins on the classics!

Doughnuts. The funkiest, yet most creative doughnuts I’ve ever seen.  But for all the excitement and rave reviews, they were good but probably not worth the 30-minute wait (I’m not being sarcastic, I’m sure the lines have been longer than during that rainy Portland night) for doughnuts. Portlanders definitely didn’t seem to mind waiting in the rain for a hometown favorite.

Cash only! Although with so many people buying half dozens and dozens, they should really have a credit card machine!

A combination of waiting and fatassery drove us to get a half dozen, each of us picking three flavors, all of which I tripped and fell on top of while crossing the slippery streets of Portland, but I digress.

I fell on them but still good, still good! Alice’s picks – from top left, clockwise: Old Dirty Bastard, Voodoo Doll, and Maple Bacon Bar

My choices – decided to play it safe without all the crazy toppings! From top, clockwise: Maple Bar, Old Fashion Glaze, Portland Cream

These comical pastries with very unique names would satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

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Check out Voodoo Doughnuts: voodoodoughnut.com

22 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

See their Yelp reviews here.

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About an hour after we left Voodoo Doughnuts, we decided to take it easy and visit something that was non-existent in LA, a theater-pub. In the course of trying to find this theater (or so we thought at first), we had to brave the torrential wind and rain. We had no clue where St. John’s was nor did we realize that the bus route we took was roundabout and distance-wise, not that far from downtown Portland at all! Now some of you might think that spending time watching a movie in a theater while on vacation might be a little wasteful but this is an experience you rarely find in many cities, especially at home in Los Angeles.

Let’s skip over the pleasantries of waddling through wonderful Portland rain and get right to the theater pub. Honestly we both thought it was just a theater with a pub-like concession stand serving burgers, fries, and beer. Turns out it was actually a pub with an extra room designated as a theater. And yes, there is quite a distinction between a theater with alcohol and a bar with a theater. This also meant that even though we showed up a full 15 minutes late, soaking wet, they still let us in! We were also pleasantly surprised to see so many families with their kids there, although I guess it makes sense since the movie showing was Puss in Boots.

We weren’t expecting much from the food. I mean after all, it initially seemed like just a pub in the more suburban area of Portland. However, the burger was actually very good, slightly overcooked but well-seasoned. The fries were even better than the burger, so much that we ordered another large side of fries as we kicked back with our beers. They may even rival the fries from In n Out – thin, crispy, and many pieces still had the skin on them. I have to add that there were comfortable lounge chairs and tables too but we arrived too late to nab one.

Reminiscing back at this experience, I feel like LA should definitely have something like this where regulations and zoning would allow for a business similar to this to exist. If anyone knows of any theater pubs in LA, please do let us know!

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Check out St. John’s Theater and Pub: www.mcmenamins.com

8203 N Ivanhoe St
Portland, OR 97203

See their Yelp reviews here.

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Portland seemed to spite us with every waking minute. The rain worsened as we left St. Johns but we managed to get back to our hotel and made a reservation for Veritable Quandary. We caught wind that this restaurant had amazing Osso Bucco so we had to make it. Keep in mind that we’ve already had burgers, fries, and beers not more than half an hour ago.

Dimly lit and cozy, perfect for getting away from the elements.

Appetizer: Rabbit Pate with Toasted Brioche and Baby Arugula

Very gamey pate, just the way we like it. A little chewy, definitely not a texture I like on my pate but flavor is great. Alice thought the baby arugula tasted like green apples, but I didn’t try it.

Entree: Osso Bucco with Parmesan Risotto

Not what we expected but we should’ve known that this was going to be very hearty. The meat was very tender and fell right off the bone, inside of which contained the buttery and fatty awesomeness that is bone marrow. The ragu and creamy risotto made this a stick-to-your-ribs sort of dish.

Dessert:: Chocolate Nocello Souffle

The delivery and execution of this dessert was rather comical. The waitress kept hovering awkwardly and nervously by our table in anticipation for the delivery of the souffle. She must take her job very seriously.

This was an actual “true” souffle, compared to the Sunken Souffle, or what we endearingly called a “lazy souffle” because it didn’t rise, that we had at Elliott’s Oyster House in Seattle. Nice and fluffy with a gooey dark chocolate center.

Flight of Inniskillin Ice Wines. From left to right: 2006 Vidal, 2007 Riesling, 2007 Cabernet Franc

Alice decided to complete the meal with a flight of Inniskillin Ice Wines from Canada. We’ve been meaning to try these and it’s the first time we’ve seen a restaurant carry Inniskillin as these are true ice wines from Canada (as opposed to the faux but still delicious ice wine from Talley Vineywards in Arroyo Grande). The true ice wines have more finesse to them and definitely sweeter (but not syrupy), deeper flavor. Our favorite was by far the Cabernet, which had a complexity and fruity notes, the beginnings of a full-bodied Cab. The runner-up would be the Vidal, which was sweet and fairly smooth. We felt the riesling left something to be desired, as it had an awkward tartness, ironic since rieslings are known for their sweetness. All in all, the flight was such a great offering for VQ to have!

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Check out Veritable Quandary: www.veritablequandary.com

1220 SW 1st Ave
Portland, OR 97204

See their Yelp reviews here.

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