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.
Before becoming the Multnomah Whiskey Library's executive chef, Derek Hanson was the chef de cuisine at Laurelhurst Market — and before that was the executive chef at Nutshell Restaurant, Adam Berger's short-lived vegan restaurant in North Portland. Hanson, who graduated with honors from New England Culinary Institute in 2003, moved to Oregon that same year after getting an internship at Cafe Azul.
When he's not behind the sliding door of MWL — what is possibly Portland's hottest bar at this moment — you might find Hanson deep in the heart of Northeast and North Portland hunting for his next taqueria fix or hanging out at the OG, aka the Old Gold.
Located at the east end of of Killingsworth Street, Taqueria La Estacion is a double-decker bus built into the sleaziest strip mall ever. It's right next to the Sugar Shack strip club and Burger Island. I stumbled upon this legit taqueria on my way to the airport. There is a tiny little guy who makes awesome cochinita burritos that are on point. They have a huge TV with the Mexican soap operas. I frequent taquerias as much as possible because Mexican food is quite possibly the world's best cuisine. La Estacion is one of the best I have found in Portland.
Located at the other end of Killingsworth, in North Portland, I probably go to the OG [Old Gold] at least once or twice a week. It is hard to go anywhere else because they have everything I need: an awesome whiskey selection, great food, sports on TV, and a killer patio. Collin and all the bartenders know my wife and dogs, so it is kinda like Cheers when you go in, or at least I would like to think so. I throw down on the tofu bahn mi, unless the special catches my eye, and the kitchen always does a great job. I have been trying to drink my way through their whiskey list, but recently I just keep ending up with a Blantons neat. The OG also does the beer and whiskey pairings, just like my other favorite drinking hole: Produce Row.
· The Old Gold [Official site]
· All Previous Dining Confidentials [Eater PDX]
Photo of Taqueria La Estacion courtesy Don B. via Yelp