“Coffee should be dope” is the manifesto at Deadstock in Old Town, a popular hangout for designers and students of the nearby footwear academy. Ian Williams, a former Nike employee, runs the streetwear-themed coffee shop that doubles as a tiny shrine for sneakerheads. The mocha even gets dusted with a silhouette of classic kicks. Try the LeBronald Palmer — a blend of iced coffee, sweet tea and lemonade — along with the Trap Cake, the signature butterscotch treat home-baked by the owner’s mom.
BTW: There is no cafe menu; instead, chat with the baristas about what coffee you typically enjoy. They’ll make a drink based on your preferences.
Deadstock Coffee, 408 N.W. Couch St. Portland, Ore. 97209
There’s no hangover cure quite like slurping a silky bowl of congee. Master Kong’s soothing variations of the rice porridge partly explain the mid-morning lines every weekend. In a converted little house in the Jade District, sister-brother duo Amy and Kang Zhu serve a concise menu of Chinese comfort food, mostly drawn from the culinary traditions of the Tianjin and Guangdong regions. Think jianbing, a crepe-like breakfast wrap; goubuli baozi dumplings; and roujiamo “meat folders” stuffed with fatty pork. Everything arrives at your table family-style — steamy and ready to share right away.
BTW: Lines for brunch — around 11:30 a.m. on weekends — are a fact. Come a couple hours early or late to avoid the sometimes-lengthy waits.
Master Kong, 8435 S.E. Division St. Portland, Ore. 97266
Legendary culinary editor Ruth Reichl once said she dreamed of moving to Portland simply so she could dine every day at Maurice. It’s easy to see why: Step into this luncheonette in the West End and enter an alternative universe where you wear summer whites year-round and sip rosé and eat berry tarts all afternoon. This is the French-Scandinavian fantasy domain of pastry queen Kristen Murray, who writes her menu entrees by hand, since she changes them with the whims of the season.
BTW: Maurice opens at 10 a.m. for light pastry service but does not serve the savory menu until 11 a.m.
Maurice, 921 S.W. Oak St. Portland, Ore. 97205
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Nong Poonsukwattana has the ultimate food-cart success story: She spent most of her savings to open Nong’s Khao Man Gai in 2009, a cart where she cooked one thing: khao man gai, a Thai chicken-and-rice dish. This simple entree propelled her into the national limelight, including a winning appearance on “Chopped.” Poonsukwattana recently shuttered her original cart but has thankfully opened two brick-and-mortar counter-service restaurants, most recently downtown. And don’t worry: She’s kept the same hype-deserving item on the menu.
BTW: If it’s time for happy hour (4-6 p.m. daily), head to Nong’s eastside outpost, which pours discounted beer and wine as well as a menu of fruity cocktails.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai, 609 S.E. Ankeny St., Suite C. Portland, Ore. 97214
Russian is the third-most-spoken language in Oregon. Thankfully, you only need to master one term at the newly expanded Kachka: zakuski, which loosely translates to “snacks to eat with vodka.” This Moscow-meets-Portland love affair is set in the Central Eastside, where Chef Bonnie Morales puts a refined spin on small plates and entrees from Russia. Morales has earned praise for dishes like Siberian pelmeni dumplings and a layered salad known as “herring under a fur coat.” The expansive list of 50-plus vodkas helps, too.
BTW: If you love Kachka, visit Morales’s second restaurant, Kachinka, the younger sibling with a more casual menu and (still) plenty of vodka.
Kachka, 960 S.E. 11th Ave. Portland, Ore. 97214
Kayo’s Ramen Bar
Portland is especially gifted when it comes to ramen, with dozens of noodle shops and several outposts from celebrated Japanese chains. Kayo’s Ramen Bar commands a dedicated following in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood for its lighter, brighter, assari-style broth. The expansive menu includes a half-dozen traditional styles, but the showstoppers are Osaka native Kayoko Kaye’s fiery and inventive signature bowls. Try ordering the spicy curry or wasabi smoked salmon bowl along with the pork and kale pot stickers, and cool your tingling tongue with the matcha panna cotta for dessert.
BTW: Kayo’s stocks a notable imported sake assortment that is curated to complement the ramen menu.
Kayo’s Ramen Bar, 3808 N. Williams Ave. No. 124. Portland, Ore. 97227
Pépé le Moko
The moody lounge from Jeffrey Morgenthaler borrows its name from the French proto-noir film, starring the legendary Jean Gabin as a criminal on the run. And this subterranean cantina, occupying a tunnel beneath the original Ace Hotel, certainly feels like an ideal place to disappear. A pink neon sign hums “cocktails” on the ground-floor entrance, where you pass through a closet-size pantry before descending to the gleaming bar, which keeps the lights on low until 2 a.m. The drink menu finds Morgenthaler homing in on well-executed classics like espresso martinis and mint grasshoppers.
BTW: This is one of the few bars in Portland that accepts reservations, which are recommended for a weekend visit.
Pépé le Moko, 407 S.W. 10th Ave. Portland, Ore. 97205
Departure Restaurant + Lounge
For most of the year, there’s no avoiding the overcast skies and intermittent drizzle. But that only intensifies the local enthusiasm for summer, when the evening air tends to remain balmy and the outdoor lounge at Departure is the go-to spot for al fresco drinks. Crowning the 15th floor of the posh Nines hotel, Departure’s panoramic views are the obvious draw. The sleeper hit, however, is the pan-Asian menu, helmed by revered chef Gregory Gourdet, who grows produce for the kitchen in his rooftop garden. The indoor dining room has a garish, futuristic decor reminiscent of a nightclub — fitting since Gourdet keeps the party going until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
BTW: After 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays), the kitchen serves a late-night menu of greatest hits.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge, 525 S.W. Morrison St. Portland, Ore. 97204