Any Aminé fan paying attention will spot references to Portland restaurants in countless music videos and songs: the opening scene of the “Caroline” music video is shot at Mike’s Drive-In, and Kiauna “Kee” Nelson appears in the video for “Shimmy.” But there’s no Portland restaurant that Adam Aminé Daniel references like Du’s Grill — it’s written in chalk on the blackboard in the “Blackjack” video, and he mentions it by name in “Turf.” He even spent his 18th birthday there, grabbing chicken and rice with his friends and heading to Grant Park.
Daniel has several places he visits whenever he’s back in town — Nong’s for chicken and rice, Little Big Burger for a Swiss cheeseburger and fries. And, although he moved to Los Angeles back in 2016, he still partnered with places like Trap Kitchen to distribute free meals to Black Portlanders during the pandemic. So, ahead of his January 29 show at the Moda Center, Amine chatted with Eater Portland to share his favorite Portland spots for an after-show drink, a quick bite between gigs, or one of his frequent sugar cravings. Interview responses have been edited and condensed.
“When I was really broke, I’d buy the bucket of doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut, but that’s not my favorite doughnut in Portland. That’s Helen Bernhard Bakery’s. It’s been there for a long time, my mom would get our birthday cakes there. I used to love the applesauce doughnuts, these cake doughnuts there.”
“I was just constantly going there as a teenager; Du’s is such a staple. On my 18th birthday, I had no plans, so my friends and I went there, we went to that park right by Grant, and I ate my Du’s for my 18th birthday. I had a sentimental mood that birthday — it was a hard year.”
“When I’m in town, I always have to go to Nong’s — it’s my favorite. I get the chicken and broccoli with the peanut sauce; that’s my go-to meal in Portland.”
“They make the craziest food, like, it’s art — they serve this teriyaki chicken and rice in a pineapple, a hollowed out pineapple. It’s not bougie or expensive; it’s such a cool, welcoming environment. It doesn’t feel like going to a restaurant.”
“I get really tired after I eat it, but I have to get Little Big Burger once while I’m in Portland. I get the cheeseburger with Swiss; I’d rather do Swiss or provolone over American. Their fries and ketchup are so, so good.”
“You know those scenes in movies when people come back from college and they see all the people from high school at this one bar? Slammer Tavern is that spot. It’s not too cool-guy; you can show up there whenever and people are super welcoming.”
“Her food is amazing, but she’s a star. The energy she brings, it makes you enjoy her food even more. She’s so unapologetically herself; I love it.”
Other Notable Mentions
The Portland Greek Festival: “I remember going to the Greek Fest, they sold these honey balls. They were like these cake-y things; I had to get them every time I went to the Greek Fest.”
Fire on the Mountain: “The deep-fried Oreos — I had them for the first time when I was 15. They blew my mind.”
Everybody Eats: “I know they opened a location in the Pearl; I used to go when it was in Southeast. They’re really great.”
Amine will perform at the Moda Center on January 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available here.