Forktown Food Tours + grilled peanut butter and marionberry jam sandwiches.

What to do in Portland except brunch. I was heading into the city for my Forktown Foodie Tour this afternoon, and thought I’d try a downtown brunch location as I was over that way anyway. Skylar recommended Mothers, a Portland favourite.

Mother's Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

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I looked it up and there were a few recommended standout dishes, but the one that caught my eye was the Wild Salmon Hash with leeks, potatoes and a touch of cream, eggs and toast with whipped butter. The salmon here is so very pink and full of flavour – the dish was super heavy with all the cream, eggs, potatoes and bread but it was so delicious I couldn’t stop eating.

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Next up, I wandered the boutiques of the Pearl District and bought a Portlandia ‘Put a bird on it!’ sticker. I head up to Powell’s City of Books, the worlds largest new and used bookstore.

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I jumped on the Portland Streetcar to the Alphabet District, towards Besaw’s for my Forktown Food Tour.

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To start our 3 hour tour, we sat in at Besaw’s, a neighbourhood staple since 1903.

Besaw's on Urbanspoon

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We started with mimosas with a pear reduction, and a beet arugula salad. Besaw’s are known for using local ingredients, and they also have their own 16 lot garden out the back of the restaurant that they source a lot of their ingredients from.

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We walked up the road to Kenny & Zukes for an incredible reuben sandwich made with everything housemade from the pastrami to the bread (except the sauerkraut which was made locally), a local oregon Goodlife pale ale, half sour pickles, and bagels with chive cream cheese. The most famous Jewish deli in the city, the pastrami is made with beef plate which they call ‘beef pork belly’.

Kenny and Zuke's Bagelworks on Urbanspoon

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Over the road to St Honore Boulangerie for some choux pastries topped with pearl sugar.

St. Honoré Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

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Then down to Bull Run Distilling for a tour and a tasting of their rum, bourbon, vodka, gin and aquavit.

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At this point we had consumed quite a bit of food and drink, but the tour was only half over. A short walk down the street to Wildwood, where they have been serving up seasonal cuisine with local ingredients since 1994. Founded by Cory Schreiber, a James Beard award winner, the restaurant supports local farms that practice sustainable agriculture.

Wildwood Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Here we tried a bourbon and caramelized onion soup, a local red wine, and a pizza with taleggio, roasted garlic, spinach and chorizo from local Olympic Provisions.

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Then down the road for what was the highlight of the tour for me, the PBJ Grilled food cart. I have never quite wrapped my head around the peanut butter and jelly craze of America – and especially grilled! I was a little dubious about this stop as how on earth could grilled PBJ’s match up to the rest of the amazing food we had tried. But Heidi of Forktown knows her stuff – this ended up being my favourite stop, perhaps just for the sheer surprise at how amazing the sandwiches were.

PBJ's on Urbanspoon

We started with The Spicy Thai, with Peanut Butter Sriracha, fresh basil, curry and orange marmalade on grilled challah. This was my favourite. The chef who owns the cart works with flavours until they combine perfectly, and this sandwich is a great example of this.

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Next up the Oregonian, with Oregon hazelnut butter, Rogue Creamery Blue cheese, and housemade marionberry jam. Marionberrys are a blackberry cultivar bred right here in Oregon.

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Last up was the Smoking Goat, with kalamata olive bread, housemade almond butter, Apple wood smoked bacon, goat cheese and apricot jam.

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And then around the corner to our last stop, Two Tarts Bakery.

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We tried a number of mini cookies to finish up the tour.

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The Nob Hill area has a heap of cool boutiques, so after the tour I wandered 23rd for a while. I dropped into the Meadow, a salt, chocolate and bitters store and bought some local Oregon wood smoked chocolate.

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After a long day, it was time to call it a night – I head back home and Skylar and I spent our Valentines night watching Thor. My feet were not up to any more walking!!

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