Chef Bupar acquired her culinary prowess alongside her mother, who operated a street-side café in Bangkok for more than 20 years. Today, she draws on recipes she learned from her mother to conjure up the bustling, spice-tinged air of the city of her youth. The traditional Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and garlic flood dishes and thick coconut milk helps lower the potency of red chilies in a range of curries to a pleasant warmth. Beneath the eatery’s saffron-hued walls and decorative greenery, bouquets of basil, cilantro, and fresh sprouts bestow portions of noodles and rice with textural variety.
Diners can sit outdoors if the weather and 80-foot sentient dragon statue permits, or enjoy after-dinner entertainment at the nearby Matthew Knight Arena. Downstairs in The Underground Lounge, diners can feast on the main restaurant’s full menu in a more casual atmosphere adorned with pool tables, HDTVs, and dartboards.
Every evening at El Corazón is a different experience. Although the downtown venue is best known for its rock ‘n’ roll attitude, its calendar presents a genre-defying variety including comedy shows and punk, electroclash, postrock, and postman rock concerts. The majority of their shows are all ages, with a special bar area for the 21-and-up crowds.
Barkeeps dispense seven rotating drafts and pour out more than 800 microbrews and imported beers at Birra Deli, which derives its name from the Italian word for beer. Soups, salads, and hot and cold sandwiches concocted from local ingredients complement each hop- or malt-heavy libation. Amid a colorful interior of neon beer signs, arcade games, and a flat-screen television, the deli hosts regular beer tastings where customers can win unique prizes, such as cryogenic freezing chambers that keep beers chilled for up to 100 years. In addition to brews in the eatery, visitors can bring home sudsy treats in bottles, cases, or kegs in a variety of brands and sizes.
The chefs at Lucky Bistro cull fresh ingredients to form an extensive menu of Chinese meat, seafood, and vegetarian favorites, including 38 varieties of dim sum. Diners can juggle small baked barbecue pork dim sum ($2.75) into accompanying friends' mouths or relish the oceanic succulence of the large deep-fried lobster dim sum ($4.75). Fortify stomachs for an invasion of mongolian beef ($10.95) or further capsize hunger with a wave of vegetable-based flavor from the ma po tofu ($8.95). Diners can sink into cushy booths or circle around group tables while nibbling their entrees.
The hills above Milwaukie bear many secrets, including a turn-of-the-century estate called Amadeus Manor with sloping roofs, heavy wood doors, and stunning views of the Willamette River and Portland skyline. This hidden gem—a three-story stone manor built in 1921—emerges from the bowed limbs of enormous trees and shrubbery, welcoming people inside for a romantic dinner of continental cuisine.
Its menu is culled from European classics, with a focus on the owner's home country, Austria. For the schnitzel Amadeus, the chefs trim pork tenderloin by hand, and for the steak au poivre Madagascar, they paint a grilled new york strip steak in a peppercorn cognac demi glace and pair it with mango chutney. Dinners sweetly conclude with a rotating menu of desserts made in house and a cup of house coffee served with luscious clotted cream.
Guests linger over the meals at tables set with fresh flowers while nearby, a fire roars in a stone hearth. Dusk is particularly enchanting when the setting sun illuminates iron-framed windows and the manor's glittering chandeliers twinkle in the soft pink light.
The Gilt Club Restaurant caught the attention of national foodies when it hosted a James Beard Foundation event, and won over the public with its cameo on the first episode of Portlandia. Described as "part lab, party swanky James Bond hideaway," by Portland Monthly, Gilt Club's décor swaddles guests in crimson curtains and high-backed booths illuminated by organically shaped chandeliers. Owner and manager Jamie Dunn is often spotted prowling the house in shiny gold shoes while executive chef Neil Everett helms the kitchen. Neil's seasonal menu marries European tradition with gourmet local and organic ingredients—such as tom yum mussels, ricotta gnocchi, and hanger steak—that come from businesses and farms with sustainable practices whenever possible.
Behind Gilt's gilded bar, a pair of bartenders whips up signature cocktails from an impressive list of 125 spirits, including house-infused liquors spiced with ingredients such as beet, habanero, and blood orange. Even in the vintage cocktails, house-made bitters surprise jaded taste buds like a soufflé stuffed with joy buzzers.