Because Portland is a foodie town, it is, almost by default, a phở town too. And if phở's your thing but you've yet to pay a visit to Ben Bui's Fish Sauce, then you are seriously depriving yourself of a bowl of what Bui calls "mommy food"—his mother runs the kitchen and cooks the dishes he ate as a boy. Fish Sauce's phở comes with a choice of three main ingredients—chicken, filet mignon and meatballs, or tofu with vegetables.
For a long time, Portlanders (and New Yorkers too) have known that Andy Ricker and his kitchen crews know how to do lunch and dinner. But they do breakfast too. Located just two blocks from Ricker’s flagship Pok Pok, Sen Yai offers morning eats that don’t include waffles, biscuits or Benedicts. Rather Ricker's jok, with its pork bone broth, julienned ginger, and nest of dried fried rice noodles, is an A1 way to start your day.
When you go to Bastas Trattoria, you're going for Roman-born owner-chef Marco Frattaroli's homestyle Italian specialties, like his reasonably priced and generously portioned spaghetti and meatballs plate. Its sauce, a volcanically red and subtly tangy pomodoro, is magical on its own, but the meatballs Frattaroli and his crew craft by hand are peerless, and so tender and delicate that they practically melt in your mouth.
It’s that time of year when we start carbo-loading on noodles. If you haven’t already, try the versions that Fish Sauce, Sen Yai and Bastas are cutting and boiling on the regs.