Article by Yvonne Gill, a former expat now embracing the burbs of Portland.
Pine Street Market – A Glimpse Around the Globe
We traveled the world through Japan, Israel, New York and Italy via ramen, brats, pizza and pitas, all in a hip corner in the heart of Portland. Giving a facelift to food courts, Pine Street Market springs a modern food hall and owns the idea of chic dining in the most casual way possible, while importing a wealth of culture.
We squeezed into the entrance and consequently soaked up the global aromas and dining chatter. Quickly getting a lay of the land and meandering the venue, our family of four hovered over people’s lunches, just waiting for a spot to open. Finally, we maneuvered in between a couple parties. Needing to divide and conquer, I waited with our children to secure our seats, while my husband weaved his way through several restaurants, bringing back cuisine that was not typical of our repertoire.
Deciding on something for all our palates: Israeli falafel, Japanese ramen and locally founded American frankfurters, we dove right in.
Marukin Ramen introduced a Japanese flavor yet to grace my taste buds; however, was comfortingly familiar to my husband’s past Asian treks. A delicate scent with a bold flavor, our family put our chopstick skills to practice and slurped our noodles, letting the kids then savor its warm broth. The menu was intentionally lean in options, inviting foodies to indulge in their fine tuned specialties.
After sampling Japanese culture, we toured Israel, whose name alone was enticing: Shalom Y’All. Forever a fan of hummus, labneh (Greek yogurt), pita and now falafel, the cucumber and tomato salad pulled it all together. The soft pita served as the perfect utensil for the tangy labneh and creamy hummus. The falafel’s deep fried texture with abundant notes of herbs and spices left me secretly sneaking more bites from our basket, than people in our group.
Lastly, we all delighted in the relish piled high on a perfectly traditional brat on a fluffy bun. I couldn’t decide if I would be better suited at an American ball game or German pub as its flavor evoked nostalgia.
Although there wasn’t room for ice cream, when Salt & Straw’s Wizbangbar is in near proximity, we made an exception. With a line streaming out the door and around the corner, ample time allowed for ordering, but the intriguing options prompted a quick decision. While usually keeping our selection simple, Salt & Straw’s flavors encourage the contrary. Sharing three cones, we indulged in chocolate fudge, Ancho chili and cinnamon, as well as sea salt and caramel. Each bite carried depth and luxury, avowing their popularity. Working against the dribbles down the cone, we excused ourselves and inhaled our dessert.
The fun ambiance teased us into sticking around for a bit longer as we adults sipped on a beautiful red wine and IPA beer from Pollo Bravo. Neighboring customers returned with pizza, tapas and freshly baked goods, which all mapped our next visit. Combining convenience, gastronomy and international cultures, Portland achieved a global tour, inviting a peek into what is for some, untapped cultures.
Yvonne Gill is a former American expat who spent time in Brisbane, Australia and Lyon, France. Her experiences ignited a wanderlust mentality, which keeps her dreaming about where in the world to explore next; or more realistically, how to travel at home through a book, movie, restaurant, or activity and she writes about it all onybexpat.com. She currently resides just outside of Portland with her husband and two young children.