Portland tour group takes on 'culinary travelers'

Portland tour group takes on 'culinary travelers' »Play Video
A Forktown Food Tours group visits Gabagool on North Mississippi Avenue. (Photo: Forktown Food Tours Facebook page)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Food is always a big part of travel. We like to try the local fare wherever we go. But for some, food is the only reason for the trip.

"Culinary travel" is a big trend right now. Basically, food tourists. It's opened a whole new business for one Portland tour group. Heidi Burnette co-owns Forktown Food Tours.

"This is North Mississippi Avenue. This is one of the hottest culinary destinations in Portland right now," she told us on our tour.

Burnette started Forktown Food Tours a few years ago and more and more, people are signing up before they do things like see the Gorge!

"So it's amazing, they're not coming here for anything else but eating and drinking," Burnette said.

Our first stop: Gabagool food cart, featuring Italian sandwiches.

"The word 'capicola' becomes 'gabagool,' and it's turned into a slang reference to the Sicilian culture," said owner Ryan Sherman.

"We like to take people to sort of the well-known names, but also the things that are a little under the radar and really express who we are as Portlanders, you know?" said Burnette.

Next stop: Sidecar 11. They feature rare, eclectic bottles of wine and whiskey, and make their own appetizers with local ingredients. The hazelnuts with cinnamon, cayenne pepper and brown sugar are great.

After the bar, we check out The Meadow, where we had our first "salt tasting." There are 120 salts there by the way. Somehow, they chose three of their favorites.

Finally, we wrap it up with dessert at Ruby Jewels with handmade ice cream sandwiches.

Suddenly the culinary travel thing is making sense.

"That's what we're all about, trying to show people who even live right here in town, there's some really great places to discover about our culinary scene," said Burnette.

"Forktown Food Tours" features tours in other parts of town too, like the Pearl District and the Alphabet District.