Thursday, December 16, 2010 | 12:49 PM
[Ed. Note: While we’re in Portland over the next few weeks, we wanted to bring some local flavor to the blog and ask writers living and working in Portland to contribute Hotpot-style city guides: recommendations on where to eat, where to shop, and thoughts from locals. Be sure to join the conversation in the comments below.]
In addition to rating and reviewing businesses on Hotpot, you can give your 10 favorite businesses a "Best Ever" award. With thousands of businesses to rate and review, and only 10 Best Evers, it can often be tough narrowing down which 10 represent the absolute best of the best. We thought it would be fun to talk to a few prominent Portlanders to see what businesses they're giving their "Best Ever" awards to and why. Look out for more of these lists in the coming weeks.
First up is Jennifer Heigl, author of the buzz-worthy food industry blog Daily Blender, with such luminaries as Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, and Andrew Zimmern as fans and regular readers. We asked Jennifer to give us her 10 Portland Hotpot Best Evers, and here's what she came up with:
Saucebox: A great atmosphere with stellar tunes on rotation, Saucebox delivers one of the best happy hours in town. Whether on a date or out with the gang, enjoy well-mixed cocktails alongside tasty bites of Asian-inspired dishes at this downtown destination.
Clyde Common: Although often noted for its fantastic menu and talented mixologists, Clyde Common lives up to the hype. A wide selection of top-notch spirits with communal tables and plenty of bar space for one and all, this restaurant has become a star spot for locals and travelers (thanks to its next door neighbor, the hip Ace Hotel) alike.
Ground Kontrol: Though it probably says a lot about my age, I get a little giddy every time I make it to Ground Kontrol. With a wall lined with Atari's and old-school Nintendos, along with an upper level full of nostalgia-inducing pinball games, Ground Kontrol features games of our youth. With a small bar offering beer and wine, invite a few of your friends for a night with Pac-Man and PBR at this Portland gem.
Teardrop Lounge: Though Teardrop offers a great menu of nibbles, this fantastic lounge is best known for its inventive cocktails. Renowned mixer Tommy Klus, along with a full staff of über-talented bar masters, makes Teardrop my number one choice for tasty potables.
Bunk Sandwiches/Bar: Hailed by many in town to be the best sandwich spot in Stumptown, Bunk Sandwiches, located on the city's east side, will have you braving the rainy local weather time and time again. Served up simply, on playfully logo-ed butcher paper, Bunk's sandwiches are by far a do-not-miss. The best part? They recently opened a late night bar just a few blocks away from their inaugural location, offering the same great sandwiches, plus beer, wine and spirits, to the city's night owls.
Scratch: Located just south of downtown, in the heart of beautiful Lake Oswego, Scratch caters to diners in the know. Cozy and comfortable, chef Patrick Warner delivers seasonally-driven dishes to satisfy even the most discerning foodie.
Mabel & Zora: What red-blooded woman doesn't love a boutique with the latest and greatest in luxurious fashions? Mabel & Zora offers a beautiful collection of sumptuous clothing and accessories to ensure you're one stylish lady about town.
Park Kitchen: Right on the path of the city's beautiful park blocks, Park Kitchen is a winner from start to finish. Accomplished barman Adam Robinson offers cocktails and spirits to match with chef Scott Dolich's delicious seasonal dishes.
Cupcake Jones: From their regular red velvet to seasonal flavors like pumpkin and peppermint, Cupcake Jones is my spot for sweets. Be sure to check their calendar for their monthly donation days - when a portion of sales is donated to a local non-profit.
Pok Pok: What can I say about Pok Pok that hasn't been said? Located in Southeast Portland, chef Andy Ricker's menu will blow your mind - with flavors and spices in these Southeast Asian dishes that will surprise and satisfy. With an inspired bar menu - be sure to check out the house special drinking vinegars - Pok Pok is great for lunch or dinner. Just be sure to get their early!
Which businesses will you give your 10 Best Evers to?
Posted by Geoff Kleinman. Geoff is the editor of DrinkSpirits.com, a national blog helping people figure out what to drink, and OnPDX.com, helping people figure out what to do in Portland. Expect to see more good stuff from him soon.