You may not think it, but with the influx of new Blazer fans two of the questions I get asked most often are "Is it worth it to get tickets to the game?" and "Where's a good place to eat when I get there?"
The answer to the first question is a resounding YES. If you haven't seen a game in person in the Rose Garden you need to. At the slightest whiff of a Blazer run the place goes crazy. When something truly spectacular happens there's no more awesome place to be. You can probably get a better view at home with a nice HDTV but you'll never duplicate the crowd atmosphere on your couch. As a bonus feature, I advise everyone who's coming to bring a sign. That's totally Portland and will instantly make you part of the scene.
Now...the answer to the second question is more tricky. For one thing it depends on your taste. But even getting past that, I haven't frequented Portland's restaurants on a regular basis for a decade. I know some old standbys but I'm not comfortable playing food critic for out of town people coming in for their first visit. So I decided we'd use today's thread to solicit your help with this (seriously) oft-asked question. If you were going to recommend a place for someone to eat lunch or dinner in the Portland area, what would it be? Keep in mind that most folks are visiting for more than a day, so we're not just asking for places that are convenient to visit on game night. They don't have to be close to the Rose Garden or on the MAX line. Neither do they have to be fancy, though they certainly can be. We just want that one place that rings your bell and will make people say, "Oh man...I'm SO glad I visited Portland!"
Note as well that many Blazer officials and some players read this blog. It's always good to broaden their horizons and give them more reasons to get attached to the city. You never know...that superb Thai restaurant that you share may just save the Blazers a couple million in a future contract negotiation because one of our players just can't bear to leave it behind!
It also occurs to me that the inverse happens frequently. There might be Portland fans, from the Rose City or elsewhere, who have a chance to catch a game in another NBA city this year. If you live in an opposing NBA city, give us that city and let people know where to eat when they go there!
I will start the ball rolling with my recommendation. Before you leave Portland you must visit one of the El Burrito Loco locations. I know there are a couple but the one I usually go to is on 82nd Avenue a few blocks from Fremont. Don't be expecting cloth napkins. The burritos weigh in at a couple pounds apiece and last I checked they're in the $5-6 range. They are cheap and exquisite. Whether you order the Chile Relleno, the Carne Asada, or the House Special make sure you get a side order of chili fries. Have plenty of hot sauce and wear loose-fitting pants.
I'll also provide a tip if you're traveling to see the Blazers play the Timberwolves. Stop by the Little Szechuan Chinese restaurant in the Frogtown section of Minneapolis. It doesn't look like much, but MAN, they have amazing food. I wouldn't advise going before a game though. It would be a shame to spoil the pristine cuisine with the stomach-turning performance of the typical Timberwolves outing.
That's my stab at it. What's yours?