Spice Pearls

Heat seekers, rejoice! We’ve found four local dishes that’ll make your mouth—and eyes—water.

Verde Cocina (shown above)

Panzita del Puerco con Fuego

At this cheerful Mexican eatery, chef-owner Noe Garnica isn’t kidding about the con fuego part of this hearty appetizer. It might just be the hottest dish in the Pearl District, thanks to the house-made infierno salsa doused over crispy chunks of pork belly with potatoes, onions, and greens.

Pairs with: Cool off by quaffing a tangy Tamarind Sour with Bulleit bourbon and fresh lime. 524 NW 11th Ave // 503-894-9321 // verdecocinamarket.com


Spicy Fried Chicken and Waffle

Inspired by the cayenne-infused Nashville-style hot chicken that’s become famous nationwide in recent years, Deschutes’s version is served over a house-made sourdough waffle with smoked provolone, kale-fennel-pecan salad, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Pairs with: The brewery’s spruce-inflected Pinedrop IPA offers a crisp, slightly citrusy balance to the sweet fire of this delicious dish. 210 NW 11th Ave // 503-296-4906 // deschutesbrewery.com


El Caliente Burger

This two-fisted work of carnal ecstasy derives its mild burn factor from a layer of pickled  jalapeños and melted pepper Jack cheese. Crispy pork chicharonnes, mashed avocado, and slightly tangy tequila-cilantro mayo lend depth and texture.

Pairs with: There’s nothing subtle, nor saintly, about Holsteins’s hedonistic Bridgeton Birthday Cake milkshake, which is exactly why we love it! 1139 NW Couch St // 503-616-4321 // holsteinsburgers.com


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Rellenos

Renowned for its creative Latin American cuisine, ¡Oba! focuses more on bold flavors than searing heat. But this piquant appetizer that’s a favorite during happy hour in the lounge packs some punch and couldn’t be more delicious—the smoked bacon and chorizo–cream cheese filling create quite the flavor fiesta.

Pairs with: What’s ¡Oba!’s spiciest dish? It’s actually a cocktail—the habanero mango martini. This zippy elixir contains habanero-infused Monopolowa vodka, fresh mango, house sour mix, and cilantro. 555 NW 12th Ave // 503-228-6161 // obarestaurant.com

Article by Andrew Collins | Photos by Paul Wagtouicz