Portland: Fritters Bigger Than Your Face, And Small Plates

By Jacqueline Alnes

Since (miracle of miracles!) I have a full day off this Memorial Day, I plan on waking up early and walking … straight to Voodoo Doughnut. I know, I know – everyone who visits Portland stops at this place (trust me, I’m aware – I once stared at the glitter-painted brick wall for two hours while waiting), but there’s a reason: Voodoo offers cereal-covered doughnuts, fritters bigger than your face (the Memphis Mafia features banana, chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate chips) and vegan options. Because, you know, non-vegans can’t have all the fun.

With all my newfound, doughnut-fueled energy, I’ll head down to Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park and brave the crowds at the Rose Festival CityFair. I’m sure after I finish a ride on the Big Sling (a human catapult that sends me 25 stories high) and hang out with the butterflies in the Butterfly Discovery Center, I’ll be more than ready for lunch. Fried rose petals, anyone? After all, Portland is the Rose City.

After a long day of fried food and more fried food, I’ll probably have a major energy crash mid-afternoon, which is perfect, because I plan on enjoying happy hour at Luc Lac, a trendy Vietnamese kitchen downtown. Featuring copper and steel walls and sleek wall-to-wall leather booths, this restaurant offers $4-$6 beer, wine, and cocktails that pair perfectly with $2-$3 small plates such as julienned green papaya shrimp salad, fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, chicken wings caramelized in fish sauce, steamed lemongrass mussels, and much, much more. If you didn’t think small plates can make a big meal, you need to get down to Luc Lac immediately.

I’ll definitely need a post-Luc Lac walk, though I’m sure I’ll take a long break by the waterfront to watch the sun set over the river before heading home. On a day like Memorial Day, in a city like Portland, it’s important to make it last.

Portland-based writer Jacqueline Alnes likes homemade sweet-potato fries, books and farmlands.