EEEEEATS DIARIO Tegan And Sara Tome Portland
When Tegan and I first started touring in the late 1990′s, we ate a lot of gas station fare. Once we moved to a tour bus, we were able to ensure that at least half of what we put in our bodies came from a grocery store and not a deep fryer. Over the years, as our disposable income has increased, the desire to eat at local restaurants along the tour route, as a way to expand our pallets and enjoy the best of what a city has to offer, has meant a totally new way to fill our bellies and time on tour.
I generally do a few specific Google searches when we arrive in a city if I’m not already familiar with its restaurants. “36 hours in_____” or “Best hipster food in ______” is an easy way to find four or five interesting spots for us to chose from. Over the last two years we’ve had incredible meals in Melbourne, Australia (Chin Chin), Hong Kong (Yardbird), and dozens of other amazing locations around the globe by just spending 15 minutes online researching. I don’t mean to brag (yes I do!) but it is a wonderful privilege to eat our way across the planet and we never take it for granted (even when we get food poisoning!).
We are currently on tour in the US with Katy Perry, and I selected a few cities to force unnecessary calories down our throats in! Our first stop was Portland, Oregon. Steinthal suggested Pok Pok, and I made a quick list of a few other spots we could hit up before our soundcheck. With an adventurous group including me, Tegan, and our four bandmembers (Adam Christgau, Ted Gowans, Jasper Leak, and John Spence), we ventured out into the city.
Here’s what went down.
We had to wait about 20 minutes outside the restaurant, but once we were seated the experience was super casual and fun. Everyone working at the restaurant was friendly and helpful and even made being asked for ID a fun and flirtatious experience. (I was responsible for the flirting, because being asked to prove my age is a real aphrodisiac for a woman in her mid thirties.)
We in the band are a mix of vegetarians and meat-eaters, so I like restaurants that aren’t afraid to offer up their signature dishes with a veg-friendly option! Our waitress was super helpful and walked us through the menu and the best way to try a lot of different dishes. Because we knew we were going to hit half a dozen food trucks and Voodoo Donuts before 4:30pm, our order was slightly modest in terms of volume.
Here is what we ate:
Pok Pok: Yam Thua Pluu
At the suggestion of our terrific waitress, we decided to select the Yam Thua Pluu off the SPECIALS board, as well as a couple of the delightfully-named “Tennessee Stud” adult beverages. “Fresh lemonade spiked w/ Bergamot Tea Bourbon”. Delicious! The Yam Thua Pluu was a Wingbean salad of pork, shallots, prawns and peanuts in a chile coconut dressing and it was incredible.
Pok Pok: Ike’s Vietnamese Wings
Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings were a must. We got them mild and they did not dissapoint. Definitely not for those who feel upset eating meat that looks like the animal it came from. These are NOT your average wings, they were messy and great!
Pok Pok: Hoi Thawt
Hoi Thawt reads like a list of my favorite ingredients: Steamed Mussels, eggs, garlic, chives, bean sprouts in a broken crepe served with Shark Sri Racha sauce. Definitely a table favorite. John suggested “Mussel Latka” as an alternate name.
Pok Pok: Khao Soi
Adam, our resident vegetarian, selected this very chill curry noodle soup for his lunch. I loved that it came with a side dish of pickled mustard greens, shallots, crispy yellow noodles and roasted chili paste. I’m into making personal preference choices with the garnish of a meal.
Pok Pok: Phak Buung Fai Daeng
This had a bite to it if you ended up with a chile in your mouthful. (Looking at you Ted)
Pok Pok: Yam Makheua Yao
I don’t especially love eggplant but everyone at the table seemed to really enjoy this dish. I recorded the meal in a voice note and was disturbed while listening back at how long I spoke about disliking Nightshades. My poor band has probably heard that story a million times.
After we left Pok Pok we headed over SE 28th and Division Street for some food truck love. This concept is still a novelty for most of us, and according to my Google search, there are nearly 500 food trucks in this city. Option anxiety!!!! We parked and I slapped ten dollars into each of the guys’ hands. We all met back at the communal tables to share in our selections. It was a beautiful sunny day and the only real disappointment was that the cart that served gluten-free waffles was closed. Bummer.
Ingrids Scandanavian Food: Meatballs
John selected some delicious meatballs that came with a side of cabbage and onions. Apparently you can also get them deep fried, which seemed a little overboard. Horseradish and dill dipping sauce was described by John as “divine”.
Potato Potato: Baked Potato w/Everything
Potato Potato was my choice. I wasn’t feeling particularly carbohydrate hungry after our first meal at Pok Pok, but I can’t resist a baked potato with all the fixins. And oh boy. Wow, this was a big hit. The sour cream, bacon, cheese, chives with a sort of coolish baked potato in a box? Put me on a desert island and leave me there with that combination and I wouldn’t complain. Recorded the quotes: “stoned teenager”, “after karate meal”, and “good grief.”
Timbers Doghouse: Truffle Treasure Tot Bowl
Timbers Doghouse PDX was a hot spot. Adam scored a chocolate milk shake, he described as “super thick”. Tegan brought a Truffle Treasure Tot Bowl back to the table and we practically scuffled trying to dig our dirty hands in to scoop ourselves out a piece. Truffle Garlic aioli and cheese, melted and gooey. It was a deadly mix and we boxed them up to bring back to the crew at the venue.
NAMU Donuts: Deep Fried Donuts
Deep-fried donuts covered in cinnamon and sugar from the Namu food cart put us over the edge. We even had to apply intense peer pressure to get Adam to take a bite of one after he claimed to feel so stuffed he was ill. It got mean! They were incredible, better than the ones I ate in childhood at the Calgary Stampede. Gourmet deep fried donuts!!!!
Finally, we made our way back to the venue. After a quick set opening for Katy Perry, we sat down to indulge in our last of the Portland EEEEEATS: Voodoo Donuts. Incredible. I crashed in a major way that night. We ate a lot of not-so-healthy food today. Thank you, Portland.
The funniest part of this day, our first official day as “food bloggers”, was how self-conscious we all were to use Tegan’s proper digital camera to photograph our food. We’ve all probably poked fun at the social habit of posting your meal to instagram amongst ourselves countless times. Next time I see someone participating in that pre-meal ritual, I might just assume they are awkward food lovers like us, writing their first blog