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 Horn of Africa courtesy Marty B. via Yelp
Cooking didn't find its way into David Gaspar de Alba's heart until Portland did. "I grew up in El Paso, Texas and spent years living in different parts of the Southwest," says the chef, who upon arrival in Portland, worked at Screen Door, Portofino, and Belly Timber before landing at NE Portland's sushi-centric Yakuza. "About 10 years ago, I moved to Portland and was inspired by the culinary scene. Portland's farmers markets, with their delicious variety of fresh ingredients, has made cooking a rewarding adventure." Life outside of the kitchen is an adventure for David too — including his frequent trips to one of Portland's only outlets for a particular style of coastal cuisine.
For years, when not at work, I have been eating the wonderful food from Horn of Africa. The lunch buffet is a seemingly endless array of bright, fresh and delicious dishes. The goat curry alone makes the trip to MLK worthwhile. It is in a coconut and cilantro sauce that smothers the meat perfectly. The red lentils are another of my favorites. They are cooked to a perfect texture every time. Jalapeno, garlic, and lime elevate the flavors of their food, not just searing your mouth. The friendly owners are also always there, and are incredibly welcoming. You know they care that their food is fresh, and everything made from scratch. I always leave feeling satisfied, like I just did something good for my body.