Lately, every Monday night, my husband and I find ourselves watching Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with host Guy Fieri. The show usually ends with me salivating over every greasy spoon and pit bbq this show puts on television. I also swear we are going to visit every place we have ever seen featured all over small town America. Everything always looks amazingly delicious.
So when we found ourselves in Portland for a couple of days this past week, we decided the diners, drive-ins and dives were where we wanted to feast. Wow, did we feast. I know I was doing the play by play on Facebook this past week with many of you following along so I thought I would wrap it up here with a little more detail.
There are eight diners, drive-ins and dives (that I could find) having been featured on the show from Portland, Oregon. In two days we only visited three. After eating at these places you really didn't need another meal for hours and hours, there was no way we could have seen them all in forty-eight hours time.
Let me just say, the three we went to were incredible. I have never been so stuffed and filled with food satisfaction in all my life and I can eat a lot. I wish I had better pictures of everything we chowed down on but these places are tiny and often dark, not conducive to getting great photos. Plus in such small quarters the last thing I wanted to do was have my camera flash annoying other patrons often sitting no more than two feet away. I did my best but wow did we enjoy the food and the atmosphere of these places.
I don't think these are restaurants we would have ever stopped at or given a second thought to try. We can't wait to try the other five on the list on a return trip and even go back to the places we already visited, all had incredible tasting food.
We arrived at our hotel about 4:30 PM on a Tuesday night, by 5 PM we were headed out the door to Podnah's Pit BBQ, about 4 miles from where we were staying and in the middle of a fairly residential area. We thought for sure our GPS was taking us off in the wrong direction. It was very dark and pouring down rain but we found it.
When we arrived about 5:15 PM the place was fairly empty however, within 15 minutes it was packed and no available tables were to be found. There was now a line out the door. Pretty good for a Tuesday evening.
We started our meal with these Frito Chili Pies served right in the wrapper of the Frito's bag. Very simple but a great way to get a taste of their Texas Red Chili. So, so good and not too spicy for the kids. We also had Iceberg Wedges with Homemade Blue Cheese dressing. Fabulous!!
The hubby had some great Hefeweizen style beer on tap and I had French red wine which was very good.
What every good BBQ place has on the tables, their sauce in squeeze bottles. All I can say is I asked if they were bottling it, I would have bought a case. I asked what the underlying secret was to the recipe and I was told they use brewed, local coffee as one of the ingredients. We sauced everything we ate, it was insanely good.
The hubby ordered the Plato Tejano, a large plate of sliced brisket, pinto beans, tortillas and salsa. The meat was of course as tender and tasty as you can imagine. My son and I had pulled pork. We shared sides of cornbread, potato salad, coleslaw and collard greens. When I looked around to see what other diners were eating many had these baskets of Pork Spareribs which were huge! They looked incredible and something we want to try next time. Of course my youngest and pickiest eater would not touch what they served, not his thing, however, the restaurant was very accommodating and brought him as much white bread as he would eat along with milk and I had some cheerios in my purse, it worked out perfectly and he enjoyed himself as well. He said he had a delicious time, LOL.
Of course we had dessert, I couldn't get enough of a good picture but it was Pecan Pie made with Steen's Cane Syrup and leaf lard with a butter crust. Need I say more.
We rolled, literally, out of there and passed out in our hotel.
After a good night's sleep our next order of business was breakfast. We headed out about a 1/2 mile from our hotel room to the Pearl District of downtown Portland where the Byways Café was located. The cafe is a tiny spot with about 5 small booths, 5 or 6 tables and a counter that seats maybe ten. On a Wednesday morning we waited about a half hour to sit down. I can't even imagine what it would be like on the weekend, I'm assuming a long wait, and there is no place inside to do this comfortably. But trust me, it was worth ever bit of it.
To see the footage of when Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives visited Byways, go here. Just to see the preparation of their Amaretto French Toast made with thick sliced challah bread, soaked in amaretto, cooked to a custard consistency then smothered with honey, maple, pecan butter and doused with organic maple syrup...OMG. I wanted to order this but it takes at least 15-20 minutes to make and my kids were starving....next time.
Instead I ordered, what you see here as a sea of fluffy, blurry white sauce, the BEST homemade biscuits and sausage gravy I have EVER tasted. EVER. My camera could not even focus on the large 10-inch diner plate filled to the edges with this incredible breakfast, it focused only the marble-rye toast in the foreground, another amazing part of my meal.
Honestly I closed my eyes when I took the first bite, it was one of those surreal food moments. I have been thinking about this meal ever since we left.
Every meal is large in size. The waitress was very helpful in helping the kids place a proper order as one breakfast would have been too large for one of them. Instead they split what were the most incredible buttermilk pancakes and thick-sliced bacon along with some scrambled eggs. She brought extra plates and lots of warm maple syrup for them as well.
I also couldn't leave there without trying their blue corn pancakes made with organic stone ground blue corn meal. Unreal. We also shared a cheese omelet stuffed to nines with Tillamook and cheddar and the most incredible home fried potatoes you could imagine.
As you could expect, we did not eat lunch that day. We didn't need to. We had enough energy to walk the whole city that day and didn't have dinner until maybe 6 PM.
Our next Diner's, Drive-In and Dive meal was for breakfast on Thursday at Pine State Biscuits. This was probably the tiniest place we went to, but is famous for all their versions of biscuits and gravy. There were two tables for two, 5 seats at a counter and one table for four.
By some act of God, when I walked in the door, the table for four became available, we were very lucky. Every seat was taken, a line formed constantly and there were no signs of this place slowing down.
This was the inside. You walk in, place your order and sit down (if you can). I'm not sure where you would go with your food if you couldn't sit. Most patrons do not linger as they know everyone is waiting to find a table. In other words, you do not read the paper here. Your name is called when your food is ready.
Here is their regular order of biscuits and sausage gravy, hit with cayenne for a spicy taste. It was delicious.
Yes it was early, as you can tell by the look on my little guys face! He adored their bacon.
This was Pine State's Reggie Deluxe. OMG. There are no words for this. Fried chicken, bacon and cheese topped with sausage gravy and a fried egg. Save me from myself is all I can say.
Pine State had the best coffee in Portland. I drank three cups and I could have had another. Incredible, incredible.
What a time we had. In the near future we will be visiting the five other Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dive's in Portland, we can't wait.
Here they are...
Arleta Library Bakery & Café. I have to go here for their hash. See the episode on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives right here.
Otto's Sausage Kitchen...need I say more.
Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain. Their sliders, macaroni & cheese and hibiscus iced tea is what I want. See the video here,
Bunk Sandwiches. The Pork Belly, Sauerkraut, Gruyere & Russian Dressing Sandwich is mine.
Pok Pok. This Thai place was voted restaurant of the year by the Oregonian Newspaper. I do not have the video from Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives but here is the video from the Oregonian.
If you have been to any of the places, tell me about your experiences and what you ate.
To find a Diners, Drive-In and Dive restaurant in your area, visit here to see where the show has been.
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