Little Black Book

10 Awesome Things About Portland from Recycled Skateboards to Intoxicating Leather

by Matt Christianson
Will Keeping it real in Portland. Photo courtesy of Will Leather Goods.

Portland is a town known for its indie cred. As part of Chefs Travel week, we asked chef Matt Christianson from Urban Farmer at The Nines Hotel for his favorite spots around town. We also featured the rabe and Romanesco recipe that he contributed to the cookbook set The Luxury Collection Epicurean Journeys.

PORTLAND, Oregon – Family, friends, indulgence, and environment: That's what Portland is about, and these are the places I go to exprience all of the above.

Hoyt Arboretum
4000 Southwest Fairview Boulevard
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, this park is always so beautiful. It's a great destination for easy hikes and easier wandering.

Next Adventure
426 SE Grand Ave
Although I'm a chef, I still enjoy a challenge: hiking, climbing, anything outdoors. Whatever gear I need to find my adrenaline, I'll find it here. Don't miss their used gear emporium: It's a hidden gem.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
1945 SE Water Ave
Great for explorers on days that they're not feeling like battling elements and want to dream big.

Terwilliger Boulevard Parkway
I blaze through here on my bike commute to work. Views that inspire: Portland, Mt. Hood, and the river valley.

Matt Christainson

Your PDX guide, Matt Christianson.

Café Broder
2508 SE Clinton St.
Okay, so sometimes I will wait in line for a brunch, but this is the only place worth it. For real. My Scandinavian roots can't resist and good lefse. See if you can say this three times really fast: "ebelskiver."

2925 NE Glisan St.
A kick-ass chick doing the right thing with all our skateboard waste: converting them into jewelry and accessories like bottle openers. One of these days, I am going to convince her to make plates for my restaurant.  Until then, I will enjoy all the other swag and feel good knowing that it is made here in PDX.

Will Leather Goods
Union Way, Unit N
1022 W Burnside St.
Who doesn’t like getting lost in leather? (Wait. Come on, you know what I meant.) This place is intoxicating and has so many high-quality goods, all with Oregon roots.

Kelly's Olympian
426 SW Washington St.
Loud music biker bar. Spirited conversationalists only. Order a Black and Blue.

Woodblock Chocolate

You'll want a lot of this. Photo courtesy of Woodblock Chocolate.

Woodblock Chocolate
1236 SE Oak St.
I put this last, but it should be your first and last stop. Mainly because you will buy treats for your friends and end up eating them all and will have to come buy more before you leave town. Bean to bar: If you don't know what that means, Charlie will tell you all about the machete-carrying dude who buys his beans and he'll pull tastes of chocolate right out of the grinder for you.

The Nines, A Luxury Collection Hotel
525 SW Morrison St.
The luxury hotel is right next to Pioneer Square and the MAX light rail, for easy access to everything, Though of course I think the best thing about the hotel are our restaurants: Urban Farmer Steakhouse and Departure Restaurant + Lounge.

Epicurean Journeys


Buy The Luxury Collection Epicurean Journeys, by Joshua D. Stein (Amazon)


Recipe: Chef Christianson's Rabe and Romanesco Salad
11 Things You Have to Do in Portland
Best Day Ever: Portland

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