Road trippin’: Gluten-free and amazing at Pok Pok in Portland

Tamarind whiskey sour at Whiskey Soda Lounge

I was thrilled to read online that famed Portland eatery Pok Pok is actually quite friendly to food allergies. I’ve been wanting to go there for awhile but assumed it would be laden with soy sauce.

The way they handle it makes a lot of sense to me. You can request a special menu that in bold letters states what allergens each dish contains: seafood, gluten, dairy, etc. It made it much easier for me to pick a bunch of dishes that BK, my girl Michelle and I could all enjoy.

Before dinner, however, we stopped off at Pok Pok’s sister cocktail lounge across the street, Whiskey Soda Lounge. I’m kicking myself for not trying the salted plum vodka collins, although I generally do not like vodka. I also sampled the Stone Fence, which is made with their house drinking vinegar (the apple variety.) Pok Pok has its own entire line of drinking vinegars called Som. I’m not sure I’m sold on it yet.

At Pok Pok, we ended up going for a catfish dish, the spicy flank steak salad and the smoky eggplant salad, all of which were really delicious. The Saa Phak, a combo of veggies, Thai eggplant, Albacore and olives — well, I’d skip that next time. BK and Michelle also shared the spicy fish sauce wings. Everything was delicious except the Saa Phak and it was awesome to have so many options to choose from. What’s cool for us living in California is that things in Portland are quite cheap, comparatively. Considering the amount of food we had, I believe that with tip it came to about $35 each. That’s not dirt cheap but for a restaurant as widely regarded as Pok Pok, I was amazed at how affordable it seemed. I can’t wait to go back.

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