6 Foods With Fear Factor in Portland

We congratulate those of you who've conquered the bacon-topped donut that's become Portland's claim to fame. But we?d also like to point out that real foodies dare to try the eccentric delicacies so rarely seen on mainstream American menus. Think pig's ear terrine, duck hearts and an update on the meat meets doughnut combination that will have your arteries screaming for mercy. Here's where to go to find local food with shock value. (Skewered duck hearts--the last ones to the right--at Tanuki by Ashley Gartland)

Updated: October 19, 2009

Spook-or-Dare Fare


413 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

SKEWERED DUCK HEARTS: Skewers make for perfect snacking food at this shoebox-sized, Japanese watering hole. Just don't expect the server to deliver something familiar like teriyaki chicken to your table--this ain't Benihana. Instead, prepare yourself for foreign dishes like the plump little duck heart skewers. Take note: If you order them during happy hour, you can snag this adventurous starter for a buck.

Le Pigeon

738 SE Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

FROG LEG GNOCCHI: A meal at this unexpected, European-inspired bistro can encompass many lesser scene animal parts, among them pig's ear, foie gras and lamb neck. Most recently, the ambitious and daring Chef Gabriel Rucker added frog's legs to a basil and tomato gnocchi starter. You could order the dish without the legs but it wouldn't be the same; at Le Pigeon, the chef truly knows best.


1139 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

GRATIN OF ROMAN-STYLE TRIPE STEW: Posh Pearl District residents might forget that this polished wine bar serves food but adventurous eaters know it well because Chef Gregory Denton serves tripe. And when it's prepared well, tripe, or the rubbery lining or the stomach of cattle, deserves a place at the table. Denton's stew marries beef tripe with tomatoes, pecorino and mint. Wash it down with a flight of wine from the bar's striking Enomatic wine-preserving machine.

Paley's Place

1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

ESCARGOT A LA BORDELAISE WITH ROAST MARROW BONES: If you're going to be daring, go all out with this classic dish at this venerable, Northwest neighborhood restaurant. Regulars consider it--not the gourmet burger, the mussels and frites or the olive-oil poached halibut--one of the top dishes on the menu. By the time you've finished it, you can say you've tried escargot and roast marrow bones in one sitting.


1314 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

MARINATED BEEF HEART KEBABS: True, this Peruvian restaurant has plenty of safe bets (and you won't see that Peruvian staple, guinea pig, on the menu either). But you will find a carnivore's delight in this beef heart kebab sided with a hucatay-peanut sauce; during the bar's 4pm-6pm happy hour, you can try it at a discounted price of $4.

The Original Dinerant

300 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

VOODOO DOUGHNUT BURGER: The new-age hamburger served at this sleek and shiny modern diner is a gut bomb of a dish that suggests beef patties and glazed doughnuts are a natural pairing. In place of a traditional bun, you'll find a doughnut, halved, toasted and buttered. Inside sits a natural beef patty and cheddar cheese. And if that doesn't fill you up, you can then polish off a sliver of Ode to Oregon pie.