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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Alternative in Portland


2. Where to Eat

Olympic Provisions' specialty is homemade cured meats.   

Have a meatless four-course dinner ($35) at just-opened Natural Selection, an upscale vegetarian restaurant that also offers vegan and gluten-free options. Chef-owner Aaron Woo prepares seasonal specialties like nettle-and-chestnut croquettes and carrot-and-farro risotto in an open kitchen. Meals are leisurely here, so order a cocktail or two from the handmade bar cart; the Diablo ($8) with tequila, cassis, lime, and ginger beer is a favorite.

Dig into the Chef’s Choice charcuterie plate ($12) at eastside restaurant/deli Olympic Provisions, Oregon’s first USDA-certified meat-curing facility. Swiss-trained salumist Elias Cairo’s dry-cured sausages span the flavors of Europe and pair nicely with a bottle of red from the impressive wine wall in the rear of the industrial space.

Choose your beef according to the ranch it came from at Laurelhurst Market, a steakhouse/butcher shop where cuts (from hanger and rib eye to bavette and culotte; $20 to $37) are listed with their corresponding organic purveyors. Hourlong waits are normal unless you arrive at 5 p.m., so plan on predinner drinks created by cocktail artisan Evan Zimmerman at the bar.

Have lunch at Evoe to sit at the butcher-block table where chef Kevin Gibson assembles his dishes. Voted one of 2010’s best restaurants by Portland Monthly Magazine, this eighteen-seat “enlightened snack bar” serves a changing menu of ingredient-driven dishes, though sandwiches ($7 to $10) are fairly constant. Standouts include the speck: smoked prosciutto on housemade focaccia with asiago, arugula, and mustard.

Published on May 5, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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