You are not limited to the defaut "mini table view" format for a portal.
Enter Layout mode.
Double click the portal (not a field in the portal) to open portal setup.
Change the number of rows to 1.
Click OK to close the dialog.
Now drag a resize handle on the portal down to make the row taller. add fields, move and resize them as needed--this can result in what funcitons much like a "mni-form view" portal if you want. Once you have your portal row set up like you want, you can return to portal setup and specify a larger number of portal rows if there is room on your layout for them.
You can adjust the height of the portal rows to fit additional fields in a "stacked" configuration. I have done this in one of my solutions, shown below. The disadvantage is loss of the column/row look, if that's an issu.
Thanks a lot guys! It was a big help.