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I just got back from a long weekend in Portland, and I'm still recovering from the affordability of it all. Here's a perfect one-day itinerary.
8 am: Pine State Biscuits
Breakfast no. 1: Pine State Biscuits' awe-inspiring The Reggie ($7) — fried chicken, bacon and cheese on a house-made Carolina-style biscuit — along with a tall glass of The Champ's Gourmet Chocolate Milk ($2), custom-blended by local chocolatier Xocatlatl de David (whose online store will be live in just a few weeks).
10 am: Voodoo Doughnut
Breakfast no. 2: the surprisingly incredible chocolate-glazed yeasted vegan donut ($1.20).
Noon: Pok Pok
Andy Ricker just opened Ping, but who can resist the lunch special at his original Pok Pok: half a grilled hen and the impeccable green papaya salad ($6.50).
4 pm: Departure
The swankified new restaurant/lounge on the roof of Portland's luxury hotel, The Nines, serves a refreshing spicy-citrusy Tasho Macho ($9) with Thai chile ginger vodka and Thai basil, along with terrifically meaty black-soy edamame beans ($5) from Japan.
8 pm: Beaker & Flask
For a relative splurge at $25, try chef Ben Bettinger's grilled sturgeon with incredibly juicy mussels, squid, fennel and green beans ($17). For a cocktail, Joe McCarthy's Ghost, with Krogstad Aquavit, Carpano and apricot brandy ($8) is extra-licorice-y.
This cozy subterranean Japanese bar serves many delicious small plates, but their yakitori of thinly slivered chicken hearts is just like the menu says it is: "Wow." ($4)