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Carlo Lamagna’s Perfect Food Day: Portland, OR

Daniel Modlin|Sep 20, 2021
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As the Chef and Owner of

Magna Kusina

in Portland, OR, Chef Carlo Lamagna is a busy guy. After all, he was just named one of

Food & Wine’s

Best New Chefs. Most days, he spends his time crafting delicious Filipino food at his restaurant. But when he has a day off, he jumps at the opportunity to eat, drink, hike, and even do Jiu Jitsu around the city he loves. We asked Chef Carlo what he would do in Portland if he wasn’t bound by the constraints of time, traffic, or stomach space.

“You know, when you wake up, you gotta get some coffee. I would definitely hit up Deadstock. It’s an amazing business supporting the BIPOC community, and their outdoor space is great.”

“As for what I’m ordering, I’m a simple guy: just an Americano.”

“For a pastry, Jinju is a can’t miss. It’s owned by two Koreans: one is a master pastry chef and the other is a master chocolatier, so you really can’t go wrong with anything you order.”

“But for me: I’m getting their mushroom tart, and well, a salted caramel bar just because, you know, we’re there already.”

“I would definitely go for a quick hike to work off the big breakfast, just because there are so many great trails to hike around Portland. There’s Forest Park, up in the hills of Portland and it has seventy-some-odd miles of hiking and it overlooks the entire city of Portland.”

“For lunch, I’m headed to Hà VL and I’m grabbing whatever soup they're serving that day. So they only serve two soups a day and if they run out, they run out.”

“Hà VL is actually family owned and now they have another spot called Rose VL. The Dad, he was a former CIA Agent during the Vietnam War. So after that he came to the US and opened these amazing noodle soup restaurants. He made enough money to bring his whole family to the US , and now his kids run it. It’s bomb.”

“After a lunch like that, I probably need a nap. But not today. I’m gonna go do Jiu Jitsu at Renzo Gracie. I’ve been doing Jiu Jitsu for 23 years and I still get my ass kicked.”

“I’ll need a drink after that so I’m headed to St. Jack. It’s a little French restaurant, so I’ll just sit at the bar for a bit and have an aperitivo and their pâté of the day or maybe some charcuterie to snack on.”

“From there, I’ll probably bounce around a bit, but Urdaneta is a must. It’s a Spanish joint and I would just rock their tapas. It’s always a variety of traditional and non-traditional dishes, and I would just eat and drink the night away. Gilda, which is an olive, anchovy, and tomato bread—it’s one of my top dishes ever—and some Spanish red wine—maybe some Croquetes de Jamon—

muy delicioso

.”

“To close this amazing day, I’ll grab a cocktail at The Rum Club, which as the name suggests, is a super chill that serves great, Rum-forward drinks. It’s just such an amazing vibe though, there’s really chill palm outdoor seating and all of the bartenders over there are just really great and super talented at crafting balanced cocktails.”

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