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Food near the Oregon Convention Center

nearby ~ Chain / Non-Local / Fast-food ~ a short stroll/walk

Other links: Food in NE Portland ~ Food downtown

If you're attending an event at the Oregon Convention Center, getting something to eat can be rather, um, difficult. There are "restaurants" within the convention center, but recently I attended an event where nothing but the Starbucks was open.

To further add to the issue, you step outside the OCC and you see... nothing. A Starbucks to the north, some motels, other businesses, Anzen. And while Anzen has bento and sushi and sandwiches, there's no place to sit down there.

There are restaurants. Oh yes. Most of them are chains, most of them are fast food, but to begin, we'll start with some local non-chains. Good luck!

Local, non-chain, restaurants near OCC

Aztec Willie and Joey Rose Taqueria

1501 NE Broadway St
(503) 280-8900
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Aztec Willie
options on the rice, beans, protein bar
A burrito
Got kids? Picky eaters? Folks who won't set foot into a tienda/taqueria, or who like Chevy's? Need a drink? Or WiFi? Here you go.

Nobody would claim this is great food. But it's very edible, and you get lots of food.

Here's the set-up. Walk in and order from the giant board of burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, taco salads, nachos and combo plates. Choose from 4 types of chicken (chile verde, mole, asado & chile colorado), chile verde pork or carnitas, carne asada or ground beef. Then there's beans: black, pinto, refried (all vegetarian). There's grilled veggies, and the option to swap in spicy garlic prawns or mahi mahi.

Prices range from $3.50-$9.50, most in the more expensive range.

Just like in a Mission taqueria, you follow your food down the line, so you can specify none of this or more of that, as you wish. (Unfortunately, that's where the resemblance to a Mission taqueria ends) Pay up, and take it back to your table. That's it.

In spite of having a small play area, this is not overrun by children, so it's quite pleasant for the child-averse.

They have maybe a half dozen beers on tap, and, of course, many margarita options. It's non-smoking until 9:30 pm.

Of course, there are downsides. If you want a beer or a drink, you'll need to go into the bar and purchase it, separate from your food. Getting a seat on the sidewalk is hard during good weather—it's popular. There is exactly one table salsa, and it's nothing to write home about.

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July 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bogarts Restaurant


701 NE 7th Ave
(503) 234-3465
get there via trimet
find a bike route

filled under restaurants near the OCC, NE Portland restaurants, burgers, bars
July 24, 2006 | Permalink

Chino Sai-Gon

835 NE Broadway Street
(971) 230-1600
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Vietnamese, Thai & Chinese Cuisine
lunch & dinner, 7 days

charcoal chicken
Wonton egg noodle soup
Since I had such a lackluster experience at a Viet-Chinese restaurant the other day, I'm not sure what inspired me to want to go to another one. But we had just gotten home from a cartrip, and just wanted something quick and easy in the neighborhood.

Chino Sai-Gon was formerly Saigon Kitchen, and like the old inhabitant, Chino serves from a Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai menu. When we were there, the place was fairly quiet: a couple of families, us, a latina who ordered five or six entrees (they looked good, too), a parking garage attendent eating white rice and drinking hot water.

We ordered pot stickers (6 for $4.95), charcoal chicken ($7.50), a bowl of wonton soup (large, $5.95) and wonton egg noodle soup ($5.95).

The charcoal chicken came first. It's a classic play-with-your-food handroll experience, and one of my favorite things from the old Saigon Kitchen menu. This included a large oval plate of sweet and spicy grilled chicken covered in sesame seeds, a large salad plate with lettuce, cilantro, diced carrot & daikon, mung bean sprouts, and thin rice noodles, and of course, the rice paper circles to wrap everything in.

While some places (Pho Van pops to mind) have elegant hot water sleeves to soften your rice paper, Chino gives you a giant plastic bowl of steaming water. It works fine, it just takes up a lot of space... especially when you consider that the handrolls take up the whole table by itself.

So, you dip the rice paper until it's pliable, you fill it with stuff, and then roll it up like a salad roll (or a burrito), and dip it in the accompanying peanut sauce. Yum. If you like playing with your food, I definitely recommend this: it's generous and tasty.

Pot stickers were another big success. These came straight from the pan, toasty brown on several sides, and really rather big, stuffed full of some unidentified meat, probably pork. They were the best pot stickers I've had in recent memory.

So, of course, we hadn't even finished our appetizers and the soup comes, and at this point, I'm almost full. Our table is completely full of dishes.

Now you might be wondering, what is the difference between wonton soup and wonton egg noodle soup? Well, the former has a spicier broth, and a lot of iceberg lettuce. Both have the wonton and the bbq pork and the occasional shrimp. The wonton egg noodle had a nice chickeny broth and thin egg noodles, and it came with its own small salad plate of cilantro, leaf lettuce, sliced jalapeno and quartered lime.

The soup in the end was fine, just nothing to write home about. It really could be a meal in itself.

So. The menu is huge, with over 150 items on the Chinese-Vietnamese menu, with just about everything under $10. The thai menu has an additional 17 items. Menu items are in English, overwhelmingly, so don't bother looking for pho or bun, look for beef noodle soup or vermicelli noodles. Still, some things are unclear: hot & sour soup: Vietnamese or Chinese?

We will definitely return, especially for those potstickers and charcoal chicken. But the rest of the menu is a crap shoot. I'll update this entry as we try new things.

filled under Food in NE Portland, food near the convention center
November 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Grand Central Bakery & Cafe

1444 NE Weidler St
(503) 288-1614
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Grand Central CafeThey serve Stumptown coffee. They have excellent baked goods. They have the best breakfast sandwich in town, and some really yummy soups and sandwiches. Oh, and they even have salads.

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May 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

J Cafe

533 NE Holladay St
(503) 230-9599
get there via trimet
find a bike route
Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm
breakfast, lunch, happy hour

J CafeClay recommended this cute tiny cafe with "great panini!". First of all, they have a mirror ball. Portland Roasting provides a decent cup of coffee, and there is espresso as well. The breakfast menu is short: panini, bagel, fruit bowl and yoghurt. Lunch offers a variety of panini ($6.25-$7.25), cold sandwiches ($4.25-$5.75), and salads ($4.75-$6.50), as well as sandwich and soup or salad combos, and beer and wine. And yes, the panini are tasty. Service is not the speediest in town, but it's friendly. Seat yourself insider or out— with the only traffic being the MAX trains, it's pretty pleasant. And, they have WiFi.

filled under coffee near the convention center, wifi, outdoor seating, espresso, beer/wine
July 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tiny's Coffee

2031 NE M L King Blvd
(503) 467-4199
get there via trimet
find a bike route

Tiny's in NEServes Stumptown coffee, and has breakfast goodies, sandwiches, WiFi and a fun vibe.

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July 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Local, non-chain, restaurants a short stroll/walk from OCC

Bridges Cafe

2716 NE M L King Blvd at Russell
(503) 288-4169
get there via trimet
find a bike route
breakfast until 3pm on weekends, lunch
artsy deli

I hate to damn Bridges with faint praise, but it's a neighborhood joint. Mind you, they're reasonably friendly, generous with the food, relatively popular, so much so that there's frequently a wait, and their food is consistently not bad. It's just inconsistent about being great.

Bridges is a sunny little corner breakfast joint. There are a couple booths, and quite a few tables, but it's crowded enough that wheelchair access would be a hassle.

It's smoke-free inside, and they have an awning hanging over some picnic tables on the Russell Street side if you prefer the company of your dog, or want to people-watch the folks going in and out of the Nike Outlet store. There is some exposed bike parking, and a gravel parking lot behind for the motor vehicles.

The menu is split into Benedicts ($9.50-$10.25), Omelettes ($8-$9), and Specialties ($7.25-$9.25). There's a dazzling selection of food items: burritos, french toast, fruit plates. You can also get cocktails and mimosas ($4.50-$6.50), bottled beer ($2.75-$3.25, selection varies, though usually it's some Wolaver's Organic Pale, Deschutes ales, Fat Tire, and Henry's), and wine by the glass.

Most non-carboload dishes come with potatoes. These are garden variety roasted potatoes, and like most places in town that serve them, they're not very good. They tend towards mushy.

This morning, we ordered a classic Benedict, and the Eggs Fiesta. The latter seems like it should have an exclamation point—whadda name! But sadly, the Fiesta, while its individual components were okay, there was nothing about the combination to write home about.

The benedict was fine. No complaints. Local canadian bacon, nice sauce, eggs just right. If only the potatoes were better.

filled under hair of the dog, breakfast, brekkie, benedict, omelette, omellette, omelet, Bridges, Eliot
June 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)


The Farm Cafe
10 SE 7th Ave at Burnside
(503) 736-3276
higher end vegetarian and fishetarian food

Le Pigeon
738 E Burnside St at 8th
(503) 546-8796
excellent & popular place for brunch and dinner.

Doug Fir
830 E Burnside St
(503) 231-9663
breakfast lunch and dinner, drinks, hipsters, WiFi

J & M's Cafe
537 SE Ash St
(503) 230-0463
Low-key breakfast joint

Mudai Ethiopian Restaurant
801 NE Broadway St
(503) 287-5433

Chino Sai-Gon
835 NE Broadway St at 9th
(971) 230-1600
Vietnamese-Chinese food

914 NE Broadway at 9th
(503) 288-5149

Nicholas Restaurant
318 SE Grand Ave at Pine St
(503) 235-5123

Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage Co
1111 SE Sandy Blvd at Burnside
(503) 230-1899

Old Wives' Tales Restaurant
1300 E Burnside St at 13th
(503) 238-0470
possibly the dullest vegetarian restaurant ever. Gives vegetarians and vegans a bad name.

My Father's Place
523 SE Grand Ave
(503) 235-5494
a good place to start the day with breakfast and a shot of the hair of the dog that bit ya.

Restaurant Yuki
1337 NE Broadway
(503) 281-6804
mediocre (for the price) korean-style sushi

Milo's City Cafe
1325 NE Broadway St
(503) 288-6456
breakfast is fine--avoid for all other meals!

Taste Tickler
1704 NE 14th Ave at Broadway
(503) 282-3681
cute local sub shop

Chai Yo Thai Restaurant
1411 NE Broadway St
(503) 287-0505

Echo Resturant
2225 NE M L King Blvd
(503) 460-3246
great happy hour

301 SE Morrison St
(503) 234-1324
overrated but fun for the scene

Cadillac Cafe
1801 NE Broadway
(503) 287-4750
popular queer breakfast spot

1001 SE Water Ave
(503) 235-2294
Supposably good.

Zell's an American Cafe
1300 SE Morrison St
(503) 239-0196
excellent breakfast!

Chez Jose'

2200 NE Broadway St
(503) 280-9888
very child-friendly mexican

Blue Nile Cafe
2225 NE Broadway St
(503) 284-4653
excellent though inconsistent Ethiopian

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July 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Orient (the) Chinese Restaurant & Lounge

1025 NE Broadway (at 11th)
(503) 282-5811
get there via trimet

The OrientSickie food in my household is amerochinese, the unchallenging chinese food of our youth. But, the things you really want when you're sick: hot & sour soup, eggrolls, maybe some kung pao chicken—well, why is it so difficult to find decent food close to home?

The Orient is not the sort of place I'd recommend you eat at. It's odd. The bar is bright and undistinguished, and the dining room is essentially a long hall with booths on both sides. And rails in front of the booths, just, I guess, so customers don't get out of line. Or something.

Take-out is a mixed bag. Hot & sour soup is actually spicy, and while no one will confuse it with Wong's King Seafood's or Sungari, it's not bad (and the best, sigh, I've had from NE). They show a bit of care with their foodstuffs: a garlicky dipping sauce for potstickers, crab puffs actually taste a little like crab and contain scallions, and deep fried items are separated from their sauces (dude, so they're crispy still!). Still, the entries were no great shakes and may well have come from Panda Compress for all I know.

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December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Produce Row Cafe

204 SE Oak St
(503) 232-8355
get there via trimet

Produce Row CafeProduce Row Cafe has 15 taps, over 200 bottled beers, and a full menu, including an abbreviated happy hour menu M-F 4-6PM. It's also a bit chilly when it's relatively empty. They offer wifi, pool, a huge deck, and that beer selection is pretty exciting. I just wish I was a bit more excited about the food. We tend to get burgers and fries, and the fries are great. The burger is just okay. They offer live music almost every night.

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December 27, 2005 | Permalink



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