1028 SE Water Ave, Portland Oregon
Usually when Portland comes up in conversation, the consensus around these parts generally seems to be "yeah Portland is pretty sweet, you just have to be able to put up with the rainy/miserable weather". Well I was lucky enough to be able to pay a visit to Portland last weekend, my first in a number of years, and it was hot and sunny there- unlike this foggy stink-town. It's possible I caught the one sunny weekend a year that they get, but that's still more sun than I've seen here! Not only was the weather perfect, and not only did I experience the beauty of not having to pay sales tax, but I discovered (with pure, unmitigated joy) that bars in Portland are legally obligated to serve food- an obligation that many bars take up with enthusiasm. Bunk Bar is a good example of this (although they cheat a little bit by actually being connected to a sandwich shop). On the recommendation of my old friend and PDX resident Kendall, I made Bunk Bar my first stop after arriving in town and getting settled at my friend Mike's place in the SE part of town. Bunk Bar turned out to be quite close to where I was staying, located in what seemed to be a formerly industrial part of town but now appeared to be full of restaurants and wine bars. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this, Portlanders- I was only in your town for three days and didn't really get too deep an understanding of the town during my short visit. Anyway, Bunk Bar seemed like a pretty cool spot, open and sunny and with high ceilings. They had a bunch of great beers on tap (another thing I loved about Portland- tons of local pale ales!), a pinball machine (I want to say... Sopranos?), some cool shows coming up, and rad sandwiches. Kendall had recommended the Cubano, but unfortunately they weren't serving it the day I came in (the menu, or parts of it, changes daily). I opted for the chorizo verde sandwich, which I had envisioned as being a sort of Mexican sloppy joe style torta. To my surprise, the chorizo was actually a firm, grey patty, served on a roll with cheese and avocado and salsa. The sandwich was drier than I had expected, but that's not to say it was very dry, just that I had expected it to be, well, sloppy. It was midly spicy and I definitely enjoyed eating it, although $9 seemed slightly steep for a sandwich that was on the smaller side. That won't stop me from returning to Bunk Bar to get the Cubano next time I'm in town, though. Not a bad place to start my Portland trip!