Lost Plate Food Tours: A New Path in Portland Dining

August 23, 2019
Fried chicken bao at Boke Bowl were a delicious mid-tour snack. Photo courtesy of Lost Plate Food Tours

In Portland’s Alphabet District, it’s not unusual to see lines for a restaurant table or an ice cream cone. But the focus of Lost Plate Food Tours is to give its guests an alternative to the well-known spots, focusing instead on hidden gems that serve up some of the city’s best food and drinks.

From the first glass of wine to the final beer, our group enjoyed an extraordinary dining experience in six different neighborhood spots on our Evening Food & Drink Tour. Our expert guide, Michelle, had a story to tell about each establishment, with fun facts about Portland’s history mixed in.

My favorite stop was Boke Bowl, where we snacked on spicy kimchi and steam buns. A delightful Asian-inspired café with a bright, welcoming interior, Boke Bowl started out as a ramen pop-up and now has two locations. It offers an extensive menu, including cocktails, and a dim sum brunch on weekends.

Boke Bowl started as a ramen pop-up but now has two brick-and-mortar locations.

My husband highly recommends the fried chicken bao, crisp and perfectly seasoned, with a crisp pickle to round out the flavor. The vegetarian alternative, a hot & sour jackfruit bao topped with slaw, had just the right amount of kick, although I would happily have eaten the fluffy steamed bun on its own.

Our guide, Michelle, shares a story about Portland’s history as we walk through the Alphabet District. Photo by Karson Leperi.

We didn’t have long to wait for the first snack and drink of our tour. When the group met at Fullerton Wines, we were greeted with a charcuterie board and three delicious samples: a dry Rose, a crisp Pinot Gris and a dangerously drinkable Pinot Noir. As he poured, Casey told us about the winery’s history and its commitment to supporting charitable causes – on the evening we were there, it hosted a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The charcuterie board at Fullerton Wines featured a selection of meats and cheeses, olives, peach chutney, and more. Photo courtesy of Lost Plate Food Tours

Fullerton Wines has been producing wine commercially since 2012 and is run by a family whose photo hangs on the tasting room’s wall. Casey told us that they harvest sooner than many other wineries, before the grapes get too sweet, so that their wines are neither too sweet nor too strong, balanced with just enough acidity.

Fullerton Wines, where the tour began, is a family-owned business that has been selling its wines commercially since 2012. Photo by Karson Leperi.

That description fits the three wines perfectly, especially the Pinot Noir. It was, intentionally, not full-bodied but had a pleasant flavor of cherries that added a slight tartness. The star of the charcuterie board was a triple cream brie, which paired beautifully with the peach chutney. 

From there, our dinner route included a simple but delicious pasta dish, samples at a distillery – and, of course, the tour would not be complete without dessert! We ended up a block from where we began, so visitors could easily return to Fullerton Wines to pick out a bottle to take home.

With just six of us in the tour group, we had plenty of opportunities to ask Michelle questions and to talk to our fellow guests, who were all visiting Portland from out of town. Lost Plate emphasizes that the portions on its tour are more than samples – none of us left the tour hungry.

Fullerton Wines has a replica of the coin that was used to decide whether the city should be named after Boston or Portland, Maine. Photo by Karson Leperi.

We also learned about Portland’s history, including how it got its name – a replica of the coin used in that fateful coin toss is on the counter at Fullerton Wines. Michelle pointed out metal rings at the edge of the sidewalk that were once used to tie horses and told us about how the creator of The Simpsons referred to many of the streets in the Alphabet District when naming his characters.

In addition to the evening tour, Lost Plate offers a Coffee & Donut morning tour as well as private dining events, with another tour in the works to visit some of Portland’s omnipresent food carts.

Our guide, Michelle was enthusiastic about each of the stops on our tour, including the local brewery where we ended the evening. Photo by Karson Leperi.

Whether you’re visiting Portland for a few days or living there for years, Lost Plate Food Tours is a unique experience that showcases some of the highlights of Portland’s spectacular dining scene!


If you go:


Lost Plate Food Tours


Phone: (503)409-5593

Evening tour available Wednesday through Saturday at 5 p.m.

Note that the tour requires about a mile and a half of walking. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated upon request, but the tour is not recommended for those with a vegan or gluten-free diet.


Fullerton Wines


Phone: (503)544-1378


Boke Bowl



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