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 Ocean City courtesy Gordon P. via Yelp
Tyler Malek, the head ice cream maker for the rapidly expanding Salt & Straw, is responsible for creating the company's incredibly diverse menu of flavors, each packed full of local and sustainable ingredients (brown ale with bacon ice cream, anyone?). Malek discovered his passion for blending flavors together when studying abroad in Beijing, China and traveling and cooking throughout Vietnam and Cambodia. That's why it wasn't that much of a surprise what Tyler picked as one of his favorite local escapes — but though Ocean City gets the majority of its props for its daily dim sum, Malek prefers to immerse his tastebuds in the deep end of the flavor pool.
Once in a while I get this serious craving to order very specific Chinese dishes in awkward, broken Mandarin; yearning to relive the many drunken feasts that make China the essential culinary Mecca for me. Everyone and their mother knows that 82nd is by far the top place to tuck yourself away into a Chinese dining hall and order the majority of your dishes by pointing at neighbors' tables rather than reading off the menu. Ocean City is the best of the best for me. Sharing a meal with a group of friends around a lazy susan full of dishes piled upon dishes, boundless bowls of rice, and being sure to keep the Tsingtao flowing — nothing is better. House cured pork belly and roasted duck welcome you into Ocean City and a drunken, gluttonous waddle will see you out. I've never been without ordering the sauteed green beans and kung pao chicken, but the real treats are those special occasions when we order the pork and oyster clay pot. The slabs of pork belly melt in your mouth like you wish every bacon experience could be, complete and utter indulgence.