Destinations: When in Portland

America's stealth hot spot, Portland, Ore., has been transformed from a sleepy industrial city into a hub for musicians, artists and foodies seeking refuge from the stress of the East Coast and the high prices of California. Modest Mouse, the Dandy Warhols, the Decemberists and Pink Martini all call Portland home, as do filmmakers Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant.




Toro Bravo 120 N.E. Russell St.; (503) 281-4464 The long wait is more than worth it for the tapas menu bursting with intense, rapturous flavors. A hot spot, Toro Bravo is excellent for a group, so you can share the most dishes possible. If there are just two of you, try sitting at the bar to jump ahead of the line.

Le Pigeon 738 E. Burnside St.; (503) 546-8796 Trucker cap-wearing enfant terrible chef Gabriel Rucker concocts ingenious dishes built around improbable meats like pig ear, sweetbreads and yes, pigeon.


Quality Pictures 916 N.W. Hoyt St.; (503) 227-5060 Much of the local art scene is long on enthusiasm but short on polish. Not so here. Located in Pearl District, Quality Pictures presents cutting-edge group exhibitions featuring the best artists from Portland and beyond.


Upper Playground 23 N.W. Fifth Ave.; (503) 548-4835 An edgy selection of art books complements the art on clothes and walls -- and it doesn't hurt that the place is frequented by hot skaters and boarders in search of the fresh tees and hoodies.

Further Reading Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk The gay author ("Fight Club," "Choke") takes readers on a wayward journey through his hometown.

Sidebar: A Portland Pint There are 32 microbreweries within Portland's city limits -- more than in any other city in the world -- and most have brewpubs on the premises.

Rogue Ales' Portland Pub (1339 N.W. Flanders; 503-222-5910) serves up the zingy Juniper Pale Ale, the creamy Morimato Soba and the decadent Chocolate Stout.

Amnesia Brewing (832 N. Beech St.; 503-281-7708) offers a traditional outdoor German-style beer garden popular with foodie and gay crowds.

McMenamins makes fine beers, but its real innovation is combining two of America's favorite pastimes -- drinking beer and watching movies -- at eight theater-pub locations around the city. The Mission Theater (1624 N.W. Glisan; 503-223-4527) and Baghdad Theater and Pub (3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.; 503-236-9234) have the most diverse crowd and are very friendly.

Tags: Travel