Written By: Liz Crain, 2016 Wordstock Moderator, Author ofFood Lover’s Guide to Portland, Editor and Publicity Director at Hawthorne Books
Every year I look forward to Wordstock. It’s one of my favorite annual Portland festivals and just like when I’m lucky enough to attend local Pickathon music festival in the summer and get exposure to all sorts of new-to-me talented musicians I always return home from fall’s Wordstock with a long list of authors from far and wide whose books I want to read in the future.
Since 2009 when I started working at local indie publishing house Hawthorne Books I’ve spent most of my time while at Wordstock tabling at the Hawthorne booth at the book fair. Most years I also get to be on or moderate a panel and this year is no exception. At this year’s Wordstock you can find me over at the Winningstad Theater on Saturday at 11:45AM moderating this super fun panel all about life in restaurants. I’ll be sharing the stage with some bright and esteemed knife and pen-wielding artist/author folks including Portland’s-own Naomi Pomeroy.
I love just about everything about Wordstock but there is one thing that I used to dread about the festival. The food. Wordstock has had various venues throughout the years and the venue that I attended the most in the past was the Oregon Convention Center. The bummer with that venue is that your dining options are very limited. Convention centers aren’t exactly known for their food. Most years I would bring something small to snack on and get a solid meal after. Some years I went so far as to hoof it to Nicholas Restaurant or to Anzen Market (RIP Anzen) and back for lunch.
Ever since Literary Arts took over Wordstock and partnered up with the Portland Art Museum my stomach has been happy. Last year Bunk from The Wire ate at the Bunk Sandwiches truck at Wordstock for crying out loud! Well, you know, the actor Wendell Pierce who played Bunk in The Wire (Pierce was at Wordstock to promote his memoir The Wind in the Reeds) got a sandwich there which is a big deal since all of the Portland Bunk businesses are named after his character. This year there will be plenty of tasty food carts again at the festival including Bunk Truck, Tamale Boy, Ruby Jewel, Tastebud, Whole Bowl and Pip’s Donut’s and Chai. Dream team.
That said, if you’re looking for a brief food/drink excursion on foot or by bike before, during or after Wordstock — somewhere to sit down and dine or even grab and go — here are some places to eat and drink that I love that are all a hop and skip from the Portland Art Museum which is the heart of the festival venue-wise:
Fun Spanish tapas, rotisserie chicken and drinks: Pollo Bravo
Yummy family-style brunch and dinner: Tasty n Alder (full disclosure: I’m currently co-authoring their cookbook)
Whiskey, bourbon and scotch bliss: Multnomah Whiskey Library (full disclosure: I like to go here with festival director Amanda Bullock an her sister Rachel. We like bourbon. A lot.)
Farm fresh: Portland Farmers Market (there are a lot of tasty food options at the market — hot, cold, fresh and prepared; open Saturday 9am-2pm)
Late night (very late night!) Vietnamese + drinks: Luc Lac
Steamy spicy hot pot: Hot Pot City
Quick breakfast pit-stop: Nuvrei
Classy drinks + food: Clyde Common
Coffee worth the walk: Spella Café
Dreamy pizza: Oven & Shaker
Sushi ++: Shigezo Izakaya
Delicious Indian Food: East India Co.
Farm to table and great bar: Higgins
Something for everyone: Pine Street Market
Ok, now I feel better. It’s obvious that most of you reading this are already well read no you can be well fed at the festival as well. See you at Wordstock!
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