I don’t know about you, but the winter doldrums have been hitting me hard lately. Like, I’m tired of sitting inside and waiting to not be cold.
So I decided to do something about it and check out a few places in Portland that are doing something different and let you shake off your winter blues, at least temporarily.
Tired of the same old, same old? Check out these places in Portland to shake off your winter blues!
1. Hot pot on Wednesdays at Sichuan Kitchen
Okay, first up is Hot Pot on Wednesdays at Sichuan Kitchen. I love hot pot because it’s an interactive meal. You get to decide what kind of broth to start with and then you get to cook your own food right in front of you! Word to the wise: there are some people who aren’t into this kind of thing.
In my opinion, this is one of the best activities in Portland on a cold winter night! It can be spicy but the soup dividers that Sichuan Kitchen provides means that you can have one side be mild (chicken broth) and one side be spicy (Szechuan broth). I prefer the spicy Szechuan broth, which they describe as being full of mouth-numbing Szechuan peppers and chilis.
Yes, it is mouth numbing but in a pleasant way. For the price of $30/person, Sichuan Kitchen’s Hot Pot Wednesdays are an absolute steal! You get a ton of food: the broths, chicken, beef, fish balls, and plenty of veggies. If you want to participate in Hot Pot, you must have a reservation since there’s limited seating.
2. Korean BBQ at N to Tail
If you know me, you’ll know that I have been talking about Portland missing Korean BBQ basically since I moved here for school. Then we got Yobo after Bibo’s Mad Apple Cafe closed, and that’s definitely a good spot, but still not your Korean BBQ spot either.
So now…Fuji has rebranded itself as a Korean BBQ restaurant called N to Tail. When I went back in December with a friend, they were still a work in progress but it’s fun! What’s more hands on than cooking your own beef on a grill right in front of you? There’s really not much.
The prices for the meat are extremely reasonable, considering Korean BBQ has a tendency to get expensive and fast. Yes, you really do cook your own meat. And veggies or whatever other things you might order like shrimp or scallops.
The fun of it is being in the moment and sharing it with people you care about. The portions all around can be on the smaller side, so you’re best ordering family style and sharing to get the most food possible.
3. Dim Sum Brunch every Sunday at Bao Bao Dumpling House
I recently checked this out with a friend and loved it! I remember hearing that Bao Bao was doing a dim sum brunch on Sundays but I kept forgetting. Anyway, so this is the only cart-service dim sum in Portland. Impressively, they have both a hot and cold cart, as well as other items that you can order from the kitchen.
Since I’m already a fan of Bao Bao and their delicious dumplings, I had pretty high expectations and this did not disappoint!
The food was fantastic, especially the steamed pork bun and the open face pork bun as well. Surprisingly, my favorite dish was wrapped in a lotus leaf and filled with sticky rice and bits of pork belly called Lo Mai Gai.
I could have eaten this one just by itself. Like most Chinese food, dim sum is best served family style. Although let’s be honest here, I think that’s the best way to eat everything. Keep in mind that they are doing a traditional dim sum brunch in a bit of a small space.
The tables are usually on the smaller side too, so err on the side of caution. We ordered things we liked from the cold cart, but I don’t think we really needed them.
Our table was loaded with all sorts of dumplings, buns, and various delicious things by the end of our dim sum brunch. You can always start small and order more from the carts when they come back around!
4. Filipino Boodle Fight at The Sinful Kitchen
So you obviously know that the Sinful Kitchen is a brunch hot spot of Portland. But did you know that in the winter, they occasionally host Filipino Boodle Fight dinners as well?
This dinner is kind of hard to explain, but check out the picture below. What you’re looking at is a banana leaf stuffed with all kinds of tasty things like pork belly, beef short rib, mussels and way, way more.
On each side, you’ll notice that the dishes mirror each other. Under the pineapple, there’s sticky rice. Traditional Kamayan style dining dictates that you don’t use utensils. This is because Filipino soldiers were not allowed to carry plates or utensils around, at least not easily.
So their meal was served on the banana leaves and the fight was who would actually get to eat! If you’re lucky enough to attend a Boodle Fight dinner, it’s a one of a kind experience.
This occurs at the Sinful Kitchen off-hours, so spaces are limited when the events happen. This dinner was $40/person when I attended but this price could change.
Thankfully, it’s almost March, which means we’re one step closer to spring! Need more ideas to not lose your mind through the rest of winter? Check out my other posts and follow me on social media!