Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share their under-the-radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Julianne Richardson has just joined Wildwood's culinary team as its pastry chef. After a year at Central Oregon Community College and a year at Oregon State University, Richardson realized that conventional school was not the right fit for her. She enrolled at Western Culinary Institute in Portland where she earned a Le Cordon Bleu degree in Pastry Arts in 2009. While in culinary school, Richardson realized she had finally found the right path, and spent a summer interning at the famed Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California. Upon completion of her internship, she returned to Portland to begin pastry and bread production at Nel Centro. During her years of moving between Nel Centro, and sister restaurants Vindalho and Lauro Kitchen, Richardson spent summers continuing her baking pursuits, as well as the cake decorating skills she learned growing up, at La Joconde Cakes. And, oh yeah, she used to be a nanny. That's how she found one of her favorites places to eat in the city.
I used to nanny for a family in Sellwood, so I spent a lot of time walking around the area, window shopping and checking everything out, which is how I stumbled upon Mekong. Super clean, simple, short menu done really well. I like to stop by weekday afternoons when things are mellow in there. I'm not a big meat-eater, so I love that they have a lot of vegetarian options: the pho with tofu is one of my ultimate comfort foods. Really nice salad rolls and garlic shrimp as well.
Image of Mekong Grill courtesy Martha R. via Yelp