The downside of watching food shows during quarantine: There's no way of knowing when you'll actually be able to visit the places you're drooling over as you watch them on TV. Not so with the first episode of Eater's Guide to the World, which premiered today on Hulu and is devoted to some of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. (Fun fact, it's also narrated by Maya Rudolph.) For when you inevitably get hungry watching it, we've rounded up all of the spots featured in the show below, almost all of which are still open for takeout or dine-in service, even though filming took place pre-COVID. Read on to find out how to get your hands on masterful soba noodles, perfectly succulent Korean fried chicken wings, and a bitchin' fish sandwich.
This Thai barbecue restaurant from Earl Ninsom, Eric Nelson, and Matt Vicedomini received no shortage of local acclaim after its opening last year (in addition to nabbing the top spot in the Mercury's roundup of best new restaurants, it was also chosen as Restaurant of the Year by The Oregonian and Portland Monthly), so it's no surprise that it also features prominently in Eater's Guide to the World. As Andrea Damewood wrote for the Merc, "Eem is the restaurant equivalent of Lizzo: infectious, critically and commercially acclaimed, and addictive AF. You cannot go wrong in ordering, from the hot fried cauliflower to the divine brisket in white curry to the fried rice with burnt ends. And both the cocktails and mocktails are some of the best in town—my favorite piña colada, made with coffee and salt to keep it from being too cloying, is on the menu again."
Open for outdoor dining (covered and heated patio), call-ahead pickup, and Caviar delivery
The Mercury has also frequently recommended Pete Cho's Korean restaurant. In the 2017 Newcomers' Guide, Andrea Damewood praised the "perfectly succulent Korean fried chicken wings," which are dusted in Han Oak's "essence of instant ramen" spice. You'll have to wait until after COVID to experience the cozy, family-friendly vibe of the restaurant's interior, which is also Cho's house, but we'd still very much recommend the takeout menu or eating on the patio.
Open for outdoor dining (covered and heated patio) and online ordering for pickup
Reel M' Inn Tavern
"If you don’t know about the amazing juicy broasted chicken and jojos from Reel M’ Inn, you’re new here," says Andrea Damewood in her guide to Portland's best bar food from earlier this year. Though usually also known for their "legendary wait time," you can now call ahead to place a takeout order—though they still ask for your patience: As their website says, "Some things have changed, but one thing has not - there is still only one of us working at any time (bartending, frying chicken, cleaning, and answering the phone)." But, as before, that "just makes those potato quarters, breaded and piping hot, taste even better." Update: Reel M' Inn is closing on Tuesday, November 17—"not closing for good, but for a good amount of time."
Open for outdoor dining and call-ahead pickup
"Yeah, it can be rainy in Portland. Dreary, cold. But that’s perfect introspection weather. This is a city where the elements encourage you to take some time for yourself. Reflect. Look inward. Really think about why you’ve done what you’ve done. Sometimes, you need to go to detention." So narrates Maya Rudolph over spooky music and up-close shots of hand-crafted old fashioneds at this cozy, theme-heavy McMenamins Kennedy School bar. It's still open on weekends, but we'd recommend waiting to experience the full bar ambiance until gathering in groups is safer—consider checking out the Courtyard patio instead.
Open for dine-in (indoor)
The "bitchin' fish sandwich" is the highlight of the show's segment about this Sisters lodge, a "pocket of civilization" in the "vast unpopulated forests of Oregon." Andrea Damewood also has more about it in this 2016 Mercury feature, in which she describes it as "catnip for city folk looking to take in the great outdoors while still being able to slurp down the best piña colada they’ve ever tasted." The show also profiles Skip, a talented woodcarver who likes to spend time alone in the woods and who is the namesake for Skip Kitchen & Bar, where you can get the mountain trout sandwich in question, and plenty of classic winter cocktails (just not the piña colada).
Open for lodging reservations and dine-in at the Skip Kitchen & Bar
Courier Coffee Roasters
The Portland section of this episode follows Karen Brooks, Portland Monthly's food critic, whose favorite coffee shop in town is Courier Coffee. She admits to having one of their chocolate chip cookies every day—or at least she did, before the shop closed in March. The shop owner, Joel, is still roasting coffee and delivering to stores, and they hope to reopen for limited hours in the next few weeks.
Mutsuko Soma's soba tiny soba restaurant has received great acclaim nationwide and from The Stranger, including earning a spot on the list of the best restaurants of 2018, so it's only fitting that it's one of the two Seattle spots in this episode. As Naomi Tomky wrote, "Mutsuko Soma creates magic in the form of soba noodles and tempura. She didn't set out to be a soba noodle making master, but when she discovered that the buckwheat used to make her beloved grandmother's dish was mostly grown in her adopted home state of Washington, she leaned in to fate and headed to soba school. Now she marries the old-school noodle-making technique with local ingredients, and uses her own wildly creative culinary mind to produce dishes like sake poached shrimp on foie gras tofu and curry mozzarella soba bowls." The space is too small to comfortably open for dine-in service, but definitely order takeout.
Open for takeout and delivery
In the show, the chef's counter experience at this experimental Ballard restaurant takes center stage, but for now, you'll have to experience Eric Rivera's genius through a variety of experimental, ever-changing pickup and delivery menus. As Jordan Michelman recently wrote for The Stranger, "If 2020 is the year of the food and beverage pivot, few have been more dazzling, or more preternaturally non-discursive, than that of Eric Rivera’s Addo. From inside a converted coffee bar on Ballard’s NW 24th, Rivera and his small seven-person team have pirouetted effortlessly from an in-demand tasting table experience to an all-encompassing digital expression of a restaurant. From in-house delivery to pantry staples, gamified takeout experiences (Oregon Trail dinners), and outrageous subscriptions (a dessert experience known as “OnlyFlans”), Addo in 2020 is a real-time exploration of what it looks like for a restaurant to survive."
Open for preordered pickup and delivery