Exploring the world of food, one meal at a time.

Reflections on West End Living

Reflections on West End living.

Friday marks my last official apartment day. It’s bittersweet to leave the West End, but it’s definitely time. These are my favorite things that made living here worth it.

West End reflections at Oh No.

Breakfast sandwiches at Oh No Cafe

There’s a reason the New York Times loves the Oh No, and it’s probably because these are some of the best breakfast sandwiches you’ll find on the east coast. After a late Saturday night, this is one of my favorite places to grab a breakfast sammie, preferably one with prosciutto on it. There are no bad sandwiches on the menu, and the Bialy is always worth it.

Ruski's is the West End hangover killer.

Hangover cures at Ruski’s

If I’m actually hungover, like I can’t move and just roll out of bed, Ruski’s is my go to. This might be the part I’ll miss the most. From my little side street, Ruski’s is maybe a half a mile at the absolute most, and everything I’ve tried on the menu is amazing. Fried chicken, dirty wings, and of course, the Hangover platter which serves way too much food but always makes me feel human.

Shout out to the pint sized mimosas too…Sunday brunch is just better off with one in your hand. Another guaranteed hangover killer: the biscuits smothered in sausage gravy. Greasy but it’s exactly what you need if you want to feel like part of the human race again on a Sunday before 2 pm.

Best hot chocolate in the West End is at Aurora Provisions.

Aurora Provisions for a little bit of everything

One of the things I’ve loved most about living in the West End is my proximity to Aurora Provisions. For brunch, the breakfast sandwiches are delicious. But there’s a lot of convenience rolled into this little store.

It’s been my go to when I’m looking for a nice Riesling that won’t break the bank, courtesy of their bargain boxes in the back…you never know what gems you might find! On cold nights walking home from work, it’s been the perfect excuse for a hot chocolate that’s topped with a giant homemade marshmallow. Fall is made better when apple cider appears, end of story, and Aurora makes a killer cider when my hands are too cold for just hanging at my side.

I love the West End's Figgy's for fried chicken

Portland’s best fried chicken is at Figgy’s

I’m kind of ashamed to admit I’ve lived in the West End for 2 years, and only just made it to Figgy’s. That being said, do yourself a favor and go check them out immediately. If you’re looking for crunchy yet tender fried chicken, this is where you’ll find it. The portion sizes are incredibly generous, and getting a fried chicken with a side and biscuits for under $30 seems like the deal of the century. Trust me when I say this is the fried chicken your taste buds have been waiting for.

Convenient pizza name of the game in the West End

Convenient and delicious pizza at Bonobo

Wood fired pizza is always a good call, and that becomes even more true when it’s a half block walk from home. Bonobo has saved me more times than I can count for an easy dinner. In addition to convenience, they offer specials for almost day of the week, but I’m most partial to the $8 cheese deal on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not to mention in September, they run their back to school special to make the transition to back to normal schedules a little more tasty.

pai men miyake pai tan in the West End

Ramen at Pai Men

Although I am always on the hunt for new restaurants, Pai Men has become a comfortable fail safe, preferably when it’s a bit chilly outside. But hey, when the call of the ramen comes, the temperature outside can’t dictate what I’m craving. Ramen is my ultimate feel good meal, and Pai Men Miyake really just always hits it out of the park. I honestly can’t tell you what’s better: ramen outside your door or pizza down the street. I’ve introduced my friends from Chicago to Pai Men and everybody just accepts that it’s a quintessential Portland meal, because it is. The Paitan ramen and the brussels sprouts will ensure you have an amazing meal, every time.

Churros make the West End even better at Chaval

Caiola’s reborn as Chaval

Like everyone else in Portland, I was pretty devastated when it became clear that Caiola’s as we knew it was closing. In its place now stands Chaval, a traditional take on French-Spanish tapas cuisine. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can split a whole chicken with your dining companion, or you can go the tasting plate route, which is my preference. Every bite I’ve tasted has been delicious, no doubt about it, but I was there for the churros.

After chocolate mousse and cheesecake, churros are one of my favorite desserts. It’s that combo of a little cinnamon, sweet fried goodness, and of course, a little chocolate to dip it all in together. No matter how much food I eat at a restaurant, if churros are on the menu, I will order them. Do yourself a favor and go try the churros at Chaval. Seriously.

So this is the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another. I’m excited to get a little more up close and personal with the food scene in Westbrook, in addition to my favorite restaurants in Portland. So long West End, it’s been real.



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