Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Since the meatball sandwich was such a success, I decided to ask the bartender what their specialty drink was and he said to try The Bye and Bye ($7). The presentation was slightly hysterical--they serve it in a massive mason jar. It was one of those dangerous drinks where you don't taste the alcohol, though it's certainly there--in the form of Southern Comfort and Stoli Peach, which is mixed with cranberry and soda. It's a summer afternoon in a mason jar, which was very welcome since it was practically snowing outside!
The space is huge and adorned with lots of great artwork done by one of the owners. I plan on hanging out there often in the summer, because they have several garage doors that retract to create an open space and they have a giant patio. The crowd is made up of the Alberta neighbors and lots of people with laptops enjoying drinks and vegan food. All of the food is priced between $3-$8, specialty cocktails are all $7, and beer is $2 (PBR tallboy) - $6.
The Bye and Bye * 1011 NE Alberta* 503.281.0537 * Non-Smoking
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
Once upon a time, in what seems now like another lifetime, I lived in a tiny mountain town where good chocolate was as hard to come by as full & non-Skoal-stained sets of teeth. But for some reason, which I can only chalk up to divine intervention of some sort, the local grocer had an affinity for Chocolove, a Boulder-based chocolatier who produces some of the most beautifully packaged and V-Day ready bars of chocolate ever. After arriving in the big city and wandering wide-eyed through the likes of Cacao, Sahagun, Alma, Pix, Moonstruck and Verdun, I forgot all about the chocolate that had sustained me through three long years of relative choco-famine. Then I strolled into the City Market on NW 21st today to buy some Viande pate, and immediately caught sight of the familiar and brilliantly colored display filled with some of Chocolove's best bars, like the Raspberries in Dark Chocolate (pictured, 65% cacao if you are a cacao percentage nerd like me), Dark Cherry Almond (55% cacao), and Hazelnut Milk (33% cacao and oh-so-creamy). It's true there are better quality chocolates out there to buy your one and only this V-Day, but if you're just looking for something simple & sweet to slip in your lover's suit coat pocket before they head off to slave away in the cube farm in order to afford your Tiffany heart locket pendant (www.tiffany.com, AHEM), or that perfect 'secret admirer' gift for your office crush, I don't think you can beat Chocolove's whimisical packaging--not only do the bars come in deep red, pink, and chocolate brown hues, but they are festooned with gold hearts, xoxoxo, and pretty stamps that make them resemble a 65%-cacao love letter. Best of all, if you're an extremely poor poet such as myself (limericks excluded--I write a mean limerick, just ask Michelle, haha, sometime maybe I will write you one if you are lucky), there is a love poem included on the inside of the wrapper. It's the ultimate Valentine.
I believe my sister has made it clear that she's an Apizza Scholls girl, but while I have the utmost respect for AS's delectable pies, I must say I'm firmly in the Ken's camp. I think perhaps it's the crust...perfectly chewy, burnt in just the right spots, the ideal thickness. Maybe it's the spicy soppressata--I might be addicted, sometimes I find myself gazing into space Sunday nights, thinking about how we'll be reunited Monday evening at Ken's Artisan Bakery (NW 21st & Flanders) during their Monday Pizza Nights. I love that you must eat Ken's pizzas within minutes of receipt to get the full effect--one particularly frigid Monday evening we ordered our pizza takeout and were so fearful of losing that just-from-the-oven quality en route we demanded everyone in the group sacrifice their scarves to insulate the boxes during the six-block trek home. So anyway, four of us convened at Ken's tonight to worship, or rather, eat spicy soppressata (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and spicy soppressata, of course), margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil), and butternut squash (tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, squash, sage) pizzas, all $12 save the margherita, which is $10. There was an initial protest from the fennel sausage and roasted onion pizza fans and a mild outcry over the absence of an arrabiata (tomato sauce, roasted fresh chiles, mozzarella, basil), but with the echoes of New Year's Eve resolutions of moderation still ever so faintly ringing in our ears, we reluctantly concluded it wouldn't do to have pizzas outnumbering people at our table. In a nod to our pledge to consume more veggies in 2008, we ordered a Caesar salad, crisp leaves of Romaine dressed with Ken's nicely tangy dressing and strewn with giant housemade croutons, but if you're a dedicated multi-tasker and wish to eat your salad on your pizza, any pie can be dressed with arugula for an extra $2. While Ken's has a small and reasonably priced wine list (mostly French and Italian reds, a few whites and a rose--priced between $22 and $35 a bottle, half offered by the glass for $7-8) we were in the mood for beer, so we swilled Boont Amber Ale and Stella Artois ($3.50 each) with our pizza. And just as we were about to stagger out fat and happy and run home to curl up around our space heater and dream of next Monday's spicy soppressata, we received thrilling news--we were free to approach the counter and request any loaf of bread in sight--yet another Monday night perk at Ken's.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I dropped into Cacao today with exactly four dollars in my wallet, not enough for the Vosges Barcelona bar I'd been craving (smoked almonds, fleur de sel, deep milk chocolate, my absolute favorite chocolate bar ever), so after a salivating turn around the store, I moseyed over and scanned the case of single pieces. They were two dollars each-- I had to choose wisely. I might have been there all day, (not exactly the worst way to spend a Sunday) had I not been offered assistance by a very knowledgeable gentleman whose name I neglected to get...he recommended the fig and fennel chocolate by Seattle-based theo chocolate (www.theochocolate.com) and the dreamy creamy noir infini by Michel Cluizel of Paris (www.chocolatmichelcluizel-na.com), made with 99 percent cacao. Words cannot describe it, let's just say I was on Cloud 99 as I ate it. Thank you Cacao, for making the world such a better place.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
We went to Beast tonight, Naomi Pomeroy's new(ish) place on NE 30th (at Killingsworth). Amazing. More detailed commentary to come. Seriously, amazing, from the foie gras bon bon to the duck confit to the chocolate torte with candied blood orange and caramel. Not only do you get to eat all these delicious things, you get to watch Naomi herself churn them out in her hot steamy kitchen. And you get to write interesting things on the bathroom walls. Go...if you can. A&E just published a ginormous spread about Beast that is sure to have their reservation book filled for weeks--maybe months--to come.
Friday, January 25, 2008
So tabletalkportland special correspondent April managed to escape the cube farm well before quittin' time in order to meet me at 3 pm for an early happy hour at Ten 01 in the Pearl. The bar was empty except for a few guys in suits drinking Ten 01's excellent wine and looking mildly pretentious, but April was wearing her new Banana Republic sweater and I was wearing my Juicy Couture jeans, so we weren't intimidated. We ordered the cheese plate ($6) and the charcuterie plate (also $6). They were phenomenal! The cheese plate was beautiful, with generous portions of three soft cheeses accompanied by a row of bright orange dried apricots, a tiny pool of honey, and some sort of fruit paste (quince maybe? I forgot to ask, I was so enraptured by the cheese). The charcuterie plate was also well endowed with five meats lined up three or four deep, accompanied by a tiny stack of cornichons, a quenelle of dark whole grain mustard, a chutney, and a dollop of dijon.