Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Image of Binh Minh courtesy vj_pdx via Flickr
Chef John Eisenhart has been fascinated with food from the time he was a teenager in Omaha, Nebraska and Northern California. As an adult, he landed a position as Mario Batali's sous chef at Babbo in Manhattan, where he experimented with flavors and techniques, then ventured forth to learn at the source: Italy. When Eisenhart returned to the U.S., he took care to land in a place that would nurture both his creative style and sense of community, and found his Portland home as executive chef at downtown's Pazzo in 2003. Here's where he goes when he wants to get a bite after a game (and pssst... it's a favorite of this guy too).
Binh Minh Bakery is so old school it keeps me coming back. I discovered it because I had a friend that lived close by. We'd grab a bite and play frisbee across the street at Rose City Park. They bake their own bread... so good. So cheap. My favorite item is the barbecue pork Banh Mi. The baguettes are super crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The sandwich consists of the traditional items: cilantro, carrot, jalapeño, meat, and spiced spread (mayo, I think? Not sure). The ingredients are akin to a correctly made pasta and pasta sauce; not a lot of filling — and only to really focus on the bread. The usual drinks are available: Coke products, coconut juice, pennywort... I usually drink Vietnamese coffee. Really, how can you pass it up? Dee-lish. It's a hole-in-the-wall that offers no frills goodness.
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