Importance of Loan Pre-Approval….especially in 2017

 

 

 

 

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets, such as Portland’s. 

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that we have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.” Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

NEW IN 2017 – New language in the Residential Real Estate Sale Agreement requires notice of intent to proceed with the loan transaction within 3-10 days (as specified by buyer when writing an offer) and buyer’s agent must formally notify the seller.  This new timeline makes it crucial that you understand this is no time to jump ship and decide to try a new lender.  There is a short window in which to revise your loan and renegotiate your position with the seller, but the seller is not obligated to agree, and you may find your transaction terminated. 

BOTTOM LINEMany potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.  And once you’ve written an offer, it may be too late to revise your strategy on lenders and loan programs.  So take this process seriously and weigh your options carefully.

 

Cary Perkins, Windermere Top Producer
FINE PORTLAND LIVING
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by Cary Perkins

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Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkin

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 5:31 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: buying a home, Current Portland Real Estate Market Information, Portland Oregon Real Estate, real estate loan approval | Tagged , ,

The Fed Raised Interest Rates. Now what?

 

 

rates

 

You may have heard that the Federal Reserve raised rates last week… But what does that mean if you are looking to buy a home in the near future? Many in the housing industry have predicted that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve, would vote to raise the federal fund’s target rate at their December meeting. For only the second time in a decade, this is exactly what happened. There were many factors that contributed to the 0.25 point increase (from 0.50 to 0.75), but many are pointing to the latest jobs report and low unemployment rate (4.6%) as the main reason. Tim Manni, Mortgage Expert at Nerd Wallet, had this to say,

“Homebuyers shouldn’t be particularly concerned with [last week’s] Fed move. Even with rates hovering over 4 percent, they’re still historically low. Most market observers are expecting a gradual rise in home loan rates in the near term, anticipating mortgage rates to stay under 5 percent through 2017.”

Bottom Line

Only time will tell what the long-term impact of the rate hike will be, but in the short term, there should be no reason for alarm.

 

Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

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Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkin

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 4:40 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Current Portland Real Estate Market Information, Moving to Portland, Portland Oregon Real Estate, Portland Oregon Realtor | Tagged , , , , ,

What’s Happening in my Neighborhood? The Gypsy

The Gypsy bar and restaurant on the corner of NW 21st and Irving closed in 2014, and as of this week the building is officially being torn down to make room for a new 4-story, 57-unit apartment building. In addition to the residential space, there will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level and a 62-space underground parking garage.

 

Here is a look at the demolition, as seen on my walk to coffee recently:

gypsy now

Now it’s just a huge hole in the ground.

And here are the mockups of the new building

gypsy gypsy1

gypsy3

 

It fits in the neighborhood beautifully, though it’s going to put a dent into my commute through the winter!

Posted on October 21, 2016 at 9:56 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Current Portland Real Estate Market Information, NW Portland, Portland Oregon Real Estate, Portland Oregon Restaurants | Tagged , , ,

New Light Rail Line – SW Corridor Plan

 

 

 

SW Corridor

The SW Corridor refers to the large area extending from SW Portland down I-5 to Sherwood, an area which is growing quickly yet lacks public transportation options to keep up with the increasing traffic.

The upcoming SW Corridor plan includes the addition of a new Max line that would extend from the South Waterfront all the way down to Bridgeport Village, added bike lanes, bus lanes, sidewalks, and park & ride lots to help clear up the I-5 traffic.

According to Tri-Met, voters in Tigard will have the power to make this reality in the November ballot.

I'm really hopeful this next phase of Portland's light rail project will come to fruition.  Traffic to and from Tigard and all around 217 is just a bear! 

Take a look at this article to learn more about the project:

http://www.oregonmetro.gov/news/looking-ahead-10-questions-about-southwest-corridor

Posted on June 26, 2016 at 5:22 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Current Portland Real Estate Market Information, Portland Oregon, traffic | Tagged , , , ,

New face on an old friend, Besaw’s

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After a brief time spent looking for a new home, Besaw's really landed on their feet, and only a couple of blocks away from their old home on NW 23rd.  What a gorgeous space!  Stunning wallpaper, mini-tile pillars, and tons of natural light – welcome to the new Slabtown's best new restaurant.

Once they finally opened, I knew the buzz would make it next to impossible to get in for breakfast.  Thanks to opentable.com I was able to score a nice reservation for our breakfast networking group last Friday. 

We tried the liege-style waffles with basil cream and glazed apples, (you get to choose your garnishes from a fun selection) the farmer's hash with brussel sprouts, potatoes, cheddar and escarole, plus a fabulous scratch biscuit, and the rey-rey's chile relleno burrito, with tasty house-made mole.  The coffee kept coming, and we only wished we weren't working, because the full-service bar looked tempting with its innovative cocktails for day drinking!

Everything was delicious, the coffee refilling was non-stop, and the atmosphere was sparkly!  The service is still working out kinks but hoopefully it'll calm down once the newness wears off.  Give this place a try!  Now that reservations are an option, there's no reason not to! 

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1545 NW 21st Avenue, Portland 97209

 RESERVATIONS via opentable.com or contact@besaws.com 228-2619 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

Portland Real Estate, Portland Oregon Top Producer, Windermere Top Producer, Portland Realtor, Portland Homes for Sale

 

Windermere Top Producer Cary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 7, 2016 at 7:25 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: cary perkins, Portland Oregon, Portland Oregon Restaurants | Tagged , , , ,

How is my home sale taxed? What about capital gains?

 

 

When it's time to sell your home, I start by preparing a seller's "net sheet," which outlines the sale price less your outstanding mortgage, pro-rated property taxes, etc.  Often people are worried about how much tax they're going to have to pay on that big (hopefully) number on the bottom line that says "Net to Seller."

 Most times the answer is ZERO taxes!  When you sell your principal residence and make a profit, you get to exclude $250,000 of that profit from your taxable income. And that's just the exclusion for single owners. Married couples can exclude up to $500,000 (if both spouses each meet the ownership and use tests below). So, depending on how much of a profit you make on the sale, you and your partner could potentially have no capital gains tax bill at all.

Here's the fine print:  in order to claim the maximum exclusion, you have to pass the IRS ownership and use tests. The test questions are:

  • Have you owned the house for two years?
  • Have you lived in the house as your principal residence for two out of the last five years, ending on the date of the sale?

There are a few exceptions to these rules–for example, if you had to move before owning the home for two years because of a job change or due to "unforeseen circumstance," such as a divorce or natural disaster. In these situations the IRS may allow you to prorate the exclusion.

And here's more fine print that is ususally helpful:   the two years residency doesn't have to be consecutive–you just have to have lived in your home for a total of 24 months out of the five years prior to the sale.

How to Calculate your cost basis

To determine capital gains on the sale of your home, you subtract your 'cost basis' from the selling price. Your cost basis is not just the purchase price. It also includes some settlement fees, closing costs and commissions paid with the purchase and the sale.  Add to this the cost of significant capital improvements (not repairs) you've made  for renovations, additions, roofing, landscaping, and other upgrades. All of these improvements increase your cost basis, and will lower your potential tax liability. (Another good reason to keep records of all your home improvements)

You can also reduce your tax basis (and owe more taxes) for a few reasons –  if you have a home office and have claimed depreciation over time, you now have to subtract those deductions from your cost basis. Or any tax credits for energy-related improvements have to be subtracted as well.  

Estimate sale price and capital gains

Now estimate your sale price and subtract your cost basis. If you bought your house for $350,000, did  $50,000 worth of improvements and had other closing fees and costs of $15,000, your cost basis is $415,000. Now let's say you expect to sell the house for $850,000. Your potential capital gain would be $435,000.

Factor in exclusion

In the above example, if you and your married partner met the ownership and use tests, you could exclude the entire gain from your taxable income. You wouldn't even have to report the sale on your tax return. However,if your capital gain turned out to be $525,000, you'd have to report the sale and pay long-term capital gains on $25,000.

As always, I recommend you speak with your accountant for the rules that apply to your personal tax situation.  But if you want to talk about selling your home, please call.

 

 

Click here for the full article.

 

 

Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

Portland Real Estate, Portland Oregon Top Producer, Windermere Top Producer, Portland Realtor, Portland Homes for Sale

 

Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkin

Posted on July 8, 2015 at 9:29 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Moving, Portland Oregon Real Estate, Portland Real Estate Data, Selling Your home | Tagged , , , , ,

Seniors, is it time for a major de-cluttering?

 

Here's one of those grown-up topics that aren't lots of fun to think about, (like long term care) but is something we should start to prepare for as we age… what are our kids going to do if all of our stuff if we don't thin it out for them?

 

I've been there before – having to clean out my parents' home after they've died, and hating to let go of even one thing that still smelled like them.  I still have both of their bathrobes, and my mother's 25th anniversary dress, and so on.  It's so hard to let it all go, but you must in order to somehow get through it. 

 

This article by a Portland Organizer, Heather Hawkins, is a wonderful reminder of how we really owe our kids the favor of starting this process now so they don't have to throw our stuff away while greiving ….  and there are so many good recycling opportunities now that there's no excuse not to thin things out so your kids won't have to do it later.

 

If you'd like information on where to donate your items, please let me know.  I have lists of wonderful recycling opportunities so that others can enjoy your overflow.  And won't your family love you for it?

 

– Cary

 

Please enjoy the article in full below.

 

Sorry, there is no gentle headline for this kind of post. I tried: Do your children a favor and get rid of most of your stuff before you die and don’t burden them with the painful, guilt-inducing job of sorting through their childhood and feeling obligated to keep everything that reminds them of you, which is basically everything you own, but I feared it would blow up the Internet so I pared it down.

 

This sweet, touching essay by Jeremy Clarkson, a British broadcaster, completely sums it up. After his beloved mother died of cancer, he was overwhelmed to discover that she’d gotten rid of almost all of her stuff before she died to spare him from having to do it himself.

There is no single thing in the house of anyone’s mother that isn’t infused with a gut-wrenching air of sentimentality. It’s not just her jewelry or her clothes. It’s the little things as well. Her kitchen scissors, her bathroom scales, her flannel. Every single thing in each and every drawer is as impossible to discard as a first teddy bear…I’d need at least two months to go through it all. And I’d need about 4,000 boxes of Kleenex.

It was the greatest gift she could have left him.

I don’t know how long she had worked on her downsizing and the clear-out and the organisation of her things, but it’s something we should all try to do when we know the Grim Reaper is heading our way. Because not only does it spare our loved ones from the hassle of going through every single thing we’ve ever owned but it also spares them from the grief of deciding that the horse brasses and the Llardro figurines really do have to go to the tip.

(Tip = dump, by the way. I’m a big advocate of reuse, and there are plenty of donation centers and consignment shops happy to take household goods off your hands.)

I’ve helped people clear out their parent’s homes after they’ve passed, and it’s a big job. Most professional organizers offer this service, but we also help seniors get rid of clutter and extraneous possessions beforehand. We figure out, with input from their children, what will be passed down and what should go now. Photos get sorted and labeled. Furnishings and artwork that will be used by the heirs are listed out and saved with the will. Valuable items can be sold ahead of time. Other items can be donated. We work to clean out the basements and garages and drawers filled with opened seed packets and old receipts and clothing that hasn’t been worn in 30 years but is often the hardest for children to get rid of.

It’s not an easy subject to discuss or ponder, but it’s one that’s worth considering now rather than later. For another touching, funny insight on aging parents and the burden of clearing out a deceased parent’s home, I highly recommend New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

Heather Hawkins of Homeflow Professional Organizing helps Portland-area residents declutter, organize, downsize and stage their homes for sale. Contact her at 503-313-7164 or heather@homeflow.org. Visit www.homeflow.org for more information.

 

 

 

 

Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

Portland Real Estate, Portland Oregon Top Producer, Windermere Top Producer, Portland Realtor, Portland Homes for Sale

 

Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkins

 

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 8:33 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Daily House Idea, House Ideas, Selling Your home | Tagged , , , ,

How much is your new kitchen worth? Cost -vs- Value Report

 

It's finally here – the day I can share pictures of our new kitchen.  We've been working on it since October, and the lights finally went in yesterday, so I can post a pic! 

 

I'm happy to talk about kitchens with you all day long!  We're in love with it, and are so glad we finally pulled the trigger.  Problem is, kitchens are expensive, and it's hard to dump money into your house unless you know you're either going to live there a long time and enjoy it, OR you can count on recovering your expenses. 

 

In comes the Cost-vs-Value Report to help you decide how much to spend, and how much you'll recover.

Our kitchen remodel was mid-range, so it looks like we should recover 81.1% (if we were to sell now)  and I've already enjoyed 19% worth, so I could sell now without wringing my hands.

 

Please enjoy my photos and call me any time to talk about your future remodeling plans, and how they will impact the sale of your home.  (Sometimes it's just to talk color, finishes, or what's new in the marketplace)   I can't wait to talk kitchens with you!

 

 

 

 

Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

Portland Real Estate, Portland Oregon Top Producer, Windermere Top Producer, Portland Realtor, Portland Homes for Sale

 

Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkins

 

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 7:19 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Beautiful Houses, cary perkins, Color in home decor, Decorating Ideas, Portland Real Estate Data | Tagged , , , , , ,

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

 

The camillias are in already bloom & the daffodils and primroses are popping up in my front yard  – my first sign that spring is already on its way.  After a long, dark winter, spring's bright sun and warm winds are a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year's flower beds.

Dwight Barnett, a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors, shared this checklist to help you target the areas that need maintenance so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine.

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.  
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home's foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete. 
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you're at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis. 
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier. 
 
 
Cary Perkins,
Windermere Top Producer
Fun With Real Estate
Current Portland Oregon Real Estate Information,
Highlights of Portland Oregon, House Ideas
Portland Oregon Homes

by Cary Perkins

Portland Real Estate, Portland Oregon Top Producer, Windermere Top Producer, Portland Realtor, Portland Homes for Sale

 

Windermere Top Producer Cary Perkins

 

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 11:22 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Daily House Idea, Gardens and Landscape, house idea of the day, Portland Oregon Real Estate, Selling Your home | Tagged , , , ,

Ten downtown Portland spots to grab a bite while holiday shopping

 
 
It's that time of year when we like being downtown & feeling festive!  When you're worn out from carrying all those shopping bags, it's time for refreshments!  What sounds fun?  How about the ten restaurants below?  Happy Shopping!
Article courtesy of Oregonlive MIX
 
 
Dining_downtown_lead.jpg
 

We come for the shopping and tree-lighting. For the festive twinkly lights and pictures with Santa. We come for the concerts and plays and window displays, and to give our visiting guests a night on the town. During the month of December, it seems like the entire population of the metro area converges on downtown Portland and at some point we all ask ourselves … where should we go to eat? When your feet are sore, or the play is about to start, it's easy to succumb to mediocre chains just steps from the action, but we don't believe in wasting a single meal on food that doesn't make us happy. So we pounded the pavement for you, finding 10 great local places that are open both Saturday and Sunday (no easy task) and offer plenty of options, whether you're looking to fuel up before a day of shopping or wind down after a show.

View >10 spots in downtown Portland to grab a bite while holiday shopping in a larger map

1) Zeus Cafe
Think McMenamins and food, and you'll probably picture pub grub. But Zeus Cafe, the new restaurant in the Crystal Hotel, aims to broaden that perception. The day starts at 7 a.m. with dishes like wood-baked eggs with parmesan creme fraiche, truffle oil and toast, and ends with a late-night menu that runs into the wee hours, offering up mini water- buffalo burgers on brioche buns, and fried chickpeas with smoked paprika. Clearly we're not in tater tot land anymore. Entrees can be inconsistent, but the plump mussels swimming in a broth stocked with Olympic Provisions chorizo are just fine. As are the crisp, wood-fired pizzas topped with, say, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella and arugula. And if you're hankering for a drink, Zeus Cafe has a legitimate bar program, with original cocktails that trend toward sweet (the Flossy Mule, for example, adds lavender syrup to the vodka, lime and ginger beer in a traditional Moscow Mule). And the pink, bitters-infused spheres of ice are a sight to behold. — MICHAEL RUSSELL
303 S.W. 12th Ave., 503-384-2500; mcmenamins.com
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

2) Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, Kenny & Zuke's is there for you, whenever your pastrami craving strikes. The bustling Jewish deli makes pretty much everything in house, from its applesauce and kugel to its bialys and rye bread. But it's the wet-cured, slow-smoked, coriander-and-pepper-spiced pastrami that has earned the deli national attention, and rightfully so. You can order it in a Benedict at breakfast, piled onto a burger or cheese fries at lunch and, of course, in the classic and stellar Reuben. Grilled and stacked with pastrami (or corned beef if you would rather), melty Swiss cheese, house-pickled sauerkraut and homemade Russian dressing, it's nothing short of sinful. Same goes for the behemoth, double-decker, multi-meat Meshugaletta Sandwich. In fact, you might want to hit Kenny & Zuke's when you are done with your day, because after eating sandwiches like these, the only thing you are going to want to do is take a well-deserved nap. — JENNIFER COSSEY
1038 S.W. Stark St., 503-222-3354; kennyandzukes.com
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Happy hour Monday-Friday.

3) Violetta
Nothing warms cold hands like a thick, hot burger dripping with special sauce. Billed as "slow food, fast," Violetta serves up near-perfect burgers with a local twist (beef from Scio, bacon from Carlton, onions from Brooks … you get the idea), plus five kinds of hand-cut fries, including sweet potato and chili cheese. To wash it all down, there's a solid selection of craft beers, shakes and small-batch sodas. But you don't have to be in the mood for a gut-busting lunch or dinner to dine here. Stop by the cafe in Director's Park to warm up and refuel with soup or salad, or get your sugar buzz going with a bag of fried-to-order beignets, hot apple pie from Random Order, and Holy Kakow hot chocolate. — HANNA NEUSCHWANDER 
Violetta in Director's Park, 887 S.W. Taylor St., violettapdx.com.
Lunch and dinner daily.

4) Mother's Bistro
In this Victorian dining room of a bistro, you can hang your hat and savor the best food your mother never had time to make — rich and creamy mac-and-cheese, fresh pear and huckleberry cobbler with the flakiest golden-brown crust — all made from scratch. The day begins with rib-sticking breakfast dishes like biscuits and gravy or wild salmon hash, followed by hearty lunch and dinner classics like savory pot roast made with local beef. Benny's Chicken Sandwich is a lunchtime must — a full breast of juicy, free-range chicken smothered with spicy aioli and melted cheddar cheese topped with fresh avocado. Just looking for a little pick-me-up? Stop in to relax with a cup of frothy hot cocoa and a homemade cookie or slice of pie. Mother would approve. — AMANDA ECKERSON
212 S.W. Stark St., 503-464-1122; mothersbistro.com
Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, no dinner Sunday, closed Monday

5) The Original
When it first opened, the menu at this modern diner was riddled with ill-conceived gimmicks (like the doughnut hamburger). Thankfully the gimmickry is mostly gone, leaving downtown shoppers with a solid and crowd-pleasing place to grab a bite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With its vinyl, '50s-style booths and postmodern art mobiles, the decor juxtaposes vintage and chic as the menu does savory and sweet. The upshot? There's something for everyone — from adventurous eaters to picky kids. Original concoctions like pancakes drizzled in blueberry jam and peanut butter sauce or crunchy cornmeal-bacon waffles are just a few of the oddly delicious choices at breakfast. At lunch and dinner, juicy burgers with shallot aioli and hearty classics like chicken potpie take the spotlight. Everything goes best with one of the homemade sodas (try the ginger-mint) and a savory serving of poutine: gravy-drenched french fries and cheese curds that are one of the best things to hit your belly after a spirited night on the town. Thankfully, they're served until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. — AMANDA ECKERSON 
300 S.W. Sixth Ave., 503-546-2666; originaldinerant.com
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Happy hour Monday-Friday. Late night menu Friday-Saturday until 4 a.m.

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6) Brasserie Montmartre
A Francophile oasis, Brasserie Montmartre offers a calming respite from the bustle of downtown. Under the direction of chef Pascal Chureau, the lunch and dinner menu teems with well-executed French classics like gruyere-topped onion soup, croque monsieur and quiche. But there are a few surprises, too, like a croissant filled with rich lobster salad and avocado coulis, or crepes stuffed with braised pork belly, chevre and arugula. On weekends, brunch-goers can choose from three different Benedicts, as well as Frenchy belly-fillers like duck confit hash. During the lengthy happy hour (from 2-6 p.m. daily), as well as from 10 p.m. to midnight, prices drop on bar menu favorites like the golden, crispy frites — which come in five varieties, including foie gras-Szechuan pepper. A bowl of spicy moules frites falls from $12 to $8, oysters are $1.50 a pop. To drink there's a great selection of mostly French wines, plus top-notch spirits, original and classic cocktails, and craft beers on draft — including a rotating tap from Cascade Brewing. — DANIELLE CENTONI 
626 S.W. Park Ave., 503-236-3036; brasserieportland.com
Lunch, dinner, happy hour and late-night menu daily. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

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7) Urban Farmer
It's an upscale restaurant in an upscale hotel (The Nines), but that hotel is at the top of a department store (Macy's), so no one will look askance if you show up to this comfortable yet high-end steakhouse loaded down with shopping bags. Forget greasy mall food and take a break for real lunch here, where you'll find dishes like rich grits with a poached egg, spiced shrimp and pulled pork, or a divine cheese steak with shaved sirloin and gruyere fondue. After a day of shopping, or before (or even after) heading to a show, hit happy hour (3-6 p.m. and after 10 p.m.) for filling $4 and $5 dishes like tender beef sliders, Reubens, or mac-and-cheese with oil-cured tomatoes. Dinner is much pricier, as you'd expect from a steakhouse, with about a dozen choices of steaks in various breeds and styles — grass-fed, pasture-raised, grain-finished, corn-fed, dry-aged … you get the picture.  — Danielle Centoni
525 S.W. Morrison St. (on the eighth floor of The Nines hotel), 503-222-4900; urbanfarmerrestaurant.com
Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday-Sunday. Daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. and 10 p.m.-close.

 
Quick Pick-Me-Ups

8) Saint Cupcake Galore
Saint Cupcake's new location, just five blocks west of Pioneer Courthouse Square, is bright and light, furnished simply with red metal seats and reclaimed wooden bleachers. But it's hard to appreciate the decor when all you can see are rows of gleaming, brightly colored cupcakes just begging to be eaten. The moist and rich carrot cake, with just the right amount of savory spice and a hint of black pepper, topped with silky vanilla cream cheese frosting, is particularly hard to resist. But the patron saint of sweet doesn't just do cake. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, butterscotch- and chocolate-loaded cookies (including one made with smoked flour), and even savory snacks like brioche buns stuffed with mustard, ham and cheese, mean there are plenty of reasons to stop in and take a load off in the bakery/cafe. Add an espresso drink from locally roasted Water Avenue Coffee and you'll be properly fueled for any urban adventure. — JENNIFER COSSEY
1138 S.W. Morrison St., 503-473-8760; saintcupcake.com
8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

9) Public Domain
Yes, there's a Starbucks smack dab in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square, but when your caffeine level begins to dip, it's well worth the one-block walk to Public Domain instead. The coffee shop is owned and operated by one of Portland's first roasters, Coffee Bean International, and it offers a serene, sleek place to get a good caffeinated kick in the pants. Like a brewery dedicated to its craft and the craft of its comrades, Public Domain usually has guest roasters "on tap," such as the city's own Oblique. But true coffee geeks will be happy to know they can specify the brewing method, too. In addition to the espresso machine and French press, there are four pour-over brewers to choose from: Hario V60, Chemex, Clever and Kone. For nibbling, there are beautiful pastries from Nuvrei Bakery. Try the wheatless oatmeal and raisin bar. Part oatmeal cookie, part lunch, it's soft and dense and easy to share with a buddy. Pull up a seat and decompress — there's free Wi-Fi and wall-to-wall/floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the scenery, lights and people of downtown. — JENNIFER COSSEY
603 S.W. Broadway, 503-243-6374; publicdomaincoffee.com
6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

10) Cacao
Few things can make you more immediately alert — and happy — than a shot of thick, liquid chocolate. At Cacao you can get your 2.5-ounce or 7-ounce wake-up call in three gorgeous flavors: milk chocolate with cinnamon, dark chocolate and "Special Spicy" — dark chocolate with coconut milk, paprika, cayenne and ginger. Can't choose? No problem, you can get a flight of all three. For those in a slightly less decadent mood, there's Cacao's regular hot chocolate (still among the richest in town) using 65 percent cacao or 72 percent cacao — your choice — as well as espresso drinks made with Caffe Vita coffee. If a mocha is too much, try the macchiato, a shot of espresso cut with an equal amount of dark hot chocolate. Sit down and connect your laptop (at the 13th Avenue location only) or continue your holiday shopping. The store has the best artisan chocolate bars and confections that Portland, and much of the world, has to offer. Not sure what something tastes like? The staff can help you sample just about anything. Before you go, purchase a handful of the Bequet salted caramels at the counter. They make a great on-the-go pick me up — and stocking stuffer. — JENNIFER COSSEY
West End: 414 S.W. 13th Ave., 503-241-0656; cacaodrinkchocolate.com
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
At The Heathman:
712 S.W. Salmon St., 503-274-9510; cacaodrinkchocolate.com
9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday

 

MIX Editor  

OregonLive.com
Posted on December 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm
Cary Perkins | Category: Portland Oregon Restaurants, Things to do in Portland OR | Tagged , , , , , ,