En route to an important meeting, I stopped in at Pok Pok, the Portland, OR restaurant I fell in love with last year. Since my first visit and last post, owner and chef Andy Ricker has risen among the ranks in the chef world. He’s widely recognized as a champion of authentic Thai food and won the James Beard award for best Northwest Chef 2011. Well deserved, but none-the-less no small feat for a restaurant that started as a living room endeavor.
When I last visited I was blown away by the authenticity, explosions of flavor, and scope of options – drinking vinegars and whiskey flights to crispy broken crepes (just like you’ll find in Thailand at street vendor carts). In fact, I was so enamoured with the experience I wrote to Andy asking for advice on my upcoming trip to Thailand. I will forever be grateful for the direction he gave me…He sent me to Baanrai Yarmyin in Chaing Mai, where I had the best meal of my life – no joke!
During this visit, I was plagued with a dreadful cold and jet lag but I knew Ike’s Vietnamese Wings and a steaming bowl of Khao Soi Kai would perk me up. Ike’s wings did not disappoint – they were as outstanding as I had remembered. Tangy, carmelized and crunchy yet moist inside. If you go, be sure to order them spicy and bring tissues. The Khao Soi Kai (a traditional Chaing Mai, Thailand noodle curry soup) was not quite spicy enough, but wonderful with it’s gentle curry flavor and stewed chicken.
Pok Pok is good enough to make me want to move to Portland! Run, don’t walk…get here quick!