Sunday, May 31, 2009

When our plates arrived, it was almost worth the trauma of that long line. Flaky puff pastry topped with a salad of warm ribbons of asparagus, tender bright green pea shoots and sweet shreds of blue crab, two poached eggs, and a drizzle of tangy creme fraiche.
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Sweet Cream biscuit with homemade apple butter

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Thank goodness

Apparently if you don't want to wait in line at Screen Door on a Sunday, you need to head over just after getting booted out of your favorite neighborhood bar at 2:30 am, and get in line for the 9am opening. Despite arriving at the late hour of 9:02am, I slipped in with the rest of the waiting herd and made the first seating. I called Michelle and told her to turn around and come back.
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I left Jen in line. I am going to Broder!

Waiting at Screen Door

We are numbers 492 and 493. We expect to eat by noon.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Metrovino Begins Happy Hour Today (Last Night For Some of Us)

Last night Jen and I decided to try Metrovino's new happy hour menu and upon arrival we found out it didn't actually start until today. Jen and I both started crying when the hostess told us that we would have to order off the regular menu and Jen started going on and on to Todd the owner about how this was the worst day of her entire life, because she wore two different colored flip flops to work and everyone kept starting at her and now she wouldn't be able to try the happy hour menu. Todd, being the nice gentleman that he was and wanting to avoid more of Jen's sobs told us that he would let us order of the happy hour menu. We were intstantly happy and ordered a bottle of the Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rose ($25) to celebrate. It is a grenache Rose with beautiful with hints of strawberry pie and a light mineral taste.

We almost ordered one of everything to compensate for Jen's bad day...

We started with the delicious 3 Oysters ($3) served cucumber mignonette, ponzu wasabi and horseradish cocktail.

Tataki of hawaiian yellowtail with radish, meyer lemon and white soy ($9), which is the epitome of a perfect summer dish with the tender slices of tuna and the tartness of the meyer lemon, and perfectly salted from the white soy.

The charcuterie of the day, which was housemade pork and duck rillette ($3) with a pickled beet.

The perfect chilled cream of asparagus soup with cauliflower mousse and oregon bay shrimp $5.

After all that Jen and I were still feeling like we needed something small so we orderd a bowl of the new england style seafood chowder with bacon lardons and garlic croutons $6... I am going to say that it was the BEST chowder I have ever had. It was so chunky with clams, halibut, oregon bay shrip, and pototoes and topped with a pile of lardo on top.
As Jen and I were enjoying the patio and our very full bellys, staring out at the sun soaked Pearl we thought our Rose had made us look at everything with rose colored glasses when we saw this Pearlie couple walking by in matching pink shirts.

Metrovino* Happy Hour 4-6 everyday except Tuesday (they are closed)* *1139 NW 11th Avenu* 503.517.7778

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Michelle is back from a week and a half in Key West Florida, and is happy to trade her vacation diet of boneless Cajun chicken wings and nachos for good old Portland cooking. So we came to Belly Timber on SE Hawthorne for happy hour. Ah, home sweet home.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enjoying the patio at brand new Nel Centro

Me and Bethie are downtown at Nel Centro, David Machado's (Lauro Kitchen, Vindalho, Pazzo, Southpark) newest culinary venture, located inside (and outside) the chic and swanky new Hotel Modera,  at SW 5th & SW Clay. The large sunny patio is tucked into the center of the fashionably remodeled U-shaped building, and is accentuated by striking rectangular metal fire pits filled with rugged chunks of amber-colored granite, which blaze brilliantly when turned on at dusk. For now, we're able to balance our plates on the rim of the unlit pits, which is good since the slanted tables keep sending our dishes and silverware flying into the sand. Dusty silverware aside, we are finding this to be the perfect spot to enjoy a sun-drenching, an after-work drink and some snacks off the bar menu. 

We shared the pizza of the day--merguez sausage and artichoke hearts, with fresh oregano scattered atop ($10). It's got a nice crust, soft but not at all sodden, with golden bubbles and a good chewiness to it. 

The warm hazelnut encrusted chevre came accompanied by a dollop of tapenade and a clump of brightly colored piperade ($9). The soft mild goat cheese balanced the briny bite of the tapenade and the spicy savory piperade when all three were piled on the accompanying bread or a bit of leftover pizza crust. It was our favorite dish of the evening.


Fresh fava beans with shaved fennel and pecorino, tossed with quite a bit of lemon juice ($9). Very pretty and quite fresh, but a little tangy for us. 

We had to take a peek at the dessert menu and although we wavered between the lemon semifreddo with hazelnut dacquoise and the Scharffen Berger chocolate souffle, it was a warm evening, so the semifreddo won out--the light as air, perfectly puckery frozen lemon filling sat on a bed of sweet, nutty, slightly chewy hazelnut meringue ($7). The chantilly cream that accompanied the semifreddo was laced with Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur, which we found a scant overpowering.

Nel Centro has only been open for one short week, which was evident upon our arrival as we were ignored for a good 8 minutes after being seated by a stream of passing servers, despite being the only new people in the bar, but once we made it onto the staff's radar the service was friendly and efficient and everyone was exceedingly helpful and understanding when we practically knocked over our bar table scrambling to claim two abandoned chairs on the full patio (the restaurant plans to add two more rows of outdoor tables in the near future, according to our server). Another server told us that thus far, business is good, which is a nice thing to hear. We're excited to watch Nel Centro develop. 

The restaurant has a very informative blog, you can read everything you need to know about Nel Centro and more here. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Staccato Gelato

It is Weird Flavor Wednesday at Staccato Gelato on NE 28th, and this neighborhood cat is here for his cup of Saffron Almond gelato and a spot in the sunny front window.
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The cat is protesting the Three Or More Legs, No Service policy by staging a lie-in.
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RPM @ Savoy Tonight Until 8 PM!!

House Spirits Distillery's Recession Proof Mixology series comes to SE Clinton Street's Savoy Tavern tonight, and as a nod to "overworked" attendees, RPM will go until 8 pm instead of the normal 5-7pm.

What's RPM? As Matt Mount explains...

Every Wednesday during the happiest hours of the day, House Spirits Distillery collaborates with a different restaurant or bar and plants one of us behind the well with shaker in hand. House Spirits intends to keep this up until the end of the year, both here in Portland and the surrounding area and as far North as Seattle. We are honored to have the chance to share the same bar-mat with our talented and amazing bartenders from the community. So, to inject a little sunshine into the middle of your work week and to drive those stocks back up, come join us on Wednesdays for delicious $5 signature cocktails and great happy hour nibbles. Here's our next stop:

Please join us this Wednesday at:
RPM@ Savoy
May 20th from 5-8pm
2500 SE Clinton st.
(503) 808-9999

This evening's RPM cocktails:

M Collins
Medoyeff Vodka, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a touch of simple syrup and soda

The Old Fashioned Aquavit Cocktail
Krogstad Aquavit, a touch of simple syrup and few dashes of Regan’s No.6 Orange and Peychaud Bitters

Northwest Blackberry Bramble
Hand pressed blackberries and fresh thyme, Aviation Gin, freshly squeezed citrus and a touch of Brut champagne

The Casino Cocktail
Aviation Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Freshly Squeezed lemon juice and a dash of 50/50 Orange Bitters

The Last Word Cocktail
Aviation Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraska Maraschino Liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice

All RPM cocktails served tonight are $5

Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Barista: A Land of Vacuum Pots, Better Beans, and Otherworldly Mocha Mustaches

It was early this morning when I arrived at Barista, a tiny gem of a coffehouse in the lobby of the Gadsby Building on NW 13th Street in the Pearl District. The normally buzzing neighborhood was still pretty sleepy, and so was I, so coffee was in order.

I'd been meaning to visit Barista for ages. I'd pinned the NW Examiner's blurp about it to my desk's Wall 'o GottaGetThere, right above my tape dispenser and the picture of a lecherous leprechaun that my coworker Rob drew for my St. Patrick's Day cards this year.

Then I read the very recent Frugal Portland article in the NY Times, where fledgling Barista got a glowing mention--well, more than a mention, more like a whole paragraph--which gave me the push I needed to finally make it in. 

Barista occupies the space formerly known as Acorn Cafe, and while I miss Acorn, I love Barista. It is beautiful, with an old red brick wall to the east, big bright windows, warm blonde wood throughout, and quite a variety of seating for such a small place--indoor bar stools along the brick wall, a long row of lobby tables, and a handful of outdoor bistro tables. A table for everyone, even my exhausted brother, who was in town visiting and was being exceedingly good-natured about being dragged out to eat three to five times a day, because I kept thinking of yet another amazing eatery he "just HAD to try" before he left. 

Barista owner Billy Wilson, formerly of Albina Press, is the man behind the Barista bar, turning out deep, rich, melodic espressos (selection varies, and is posted on the chalkboard), French Presses, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, americanos and mochas using his holy coffee trinity of Stumptown, Ecco Caffe and Intelligentsia coffees. 

The black and tan coffee list on the counter reads more like a tasting menu than a typical coffee board. "Made with Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend...made with whole milk. It's better that way.," explains the description for Barista's latte. 

It seemed to me that coffee is more than at Barista, it's a way of life and a drink rife with philosophy and possibility, judging from the series of coffee-thought-provoking questions that appear on the Barista website, including: 

What if we carried multiple roasters, and you could choose your espresso roast?
What if we created a conversation about coffee, instead of merely serving it?
What if we turned the job of being a Barista into the profession of bein
g a Barista?

This was too much profundity for me this early in the morning, but after tasting my brother's Intelligentsia Cappuccino when it came up, I knew this much: Billy Wilson makes some damn good coffee. 

Also on the menu is a selection of Vacuum Pot brewed coffees, the apparatus for which is pictured below. Each of the three coffees comes with a description that would do the back of any wine bottle proud, with detailed descriptions of each vacuum pot coffee's flavor profiles, like "exceptionally clean flavors of dark berry and sugar cane," and "sure to please those who like a little less fruit in their coffee and a little more brawn." If you, like me, didn't know beans about vac pot, also known as siphon-brewed, coffee, you can learn a little more in this very informative article on

Taking a peek around the small shop to see what coffee accompaniments might be available, I saw that Billy graciously stocks my favorite Two Tarts cookie--the marvelous Peanut Butter Creams, along with the Chocolate Chip Fleur de Sel and Cappucino Creams. 

Barista, obviously a paragon of good taste, also sells a full assortment of superlative Nuvrei pastries, so I was able to buy my beloved Nuvrei ham and cheese croissant, which has been rumored to be the secret to happiness.
By now, I was pretty awake. But nothing could have prepared me for Barista's Valrhona Mocha. According to the Barista menu, this gorgeous, creamy, slightly frothy concoction of coffee and 61% bittersweet Valrhona chocolate contains 20 grams of chocolate per each 8 ounces. I was hooked, although at $4.50 a cup, the Valrhona Mocha is a pricey habit indeed. Well worth the occasional Friday morning splurge though, methinks.  

Sated beyond all expectations, I finished my ham and cheese croissant, wiped away my Valrhona Mocha mustache, and we set off into the warm late-Spring morning, both caffeinated and somehow bettered as human beings. Thanks, Barista. You're the beans knees. 


Kir Blog Readers Get $5 Rosé Flights!

As Portland wine bars go, Kir is one of my favorites. Tiny, intimate, gracious, great wines and simple tasty small plates, warm & wise proprietress Amalie--all of these things make Kir the perfect place to unwind after a tough week.

And to sweeten the deal, I found this on the Kir blog:

Hello Sunshine!

May 14, 2009

Sunny days are here and with those sunny days comes the new and expanded Rose wine list. We will carry ten Roses by glass for the entire summer. Right now we have Italian, Spanish, Oregon, and of course, French. Mention this blog post and get a flight of roses for only five dollars (this offer precludes previous offers.)
Thank you Kir patrons! Amalie and the KIR cru

A flight of rosés for a mere $5? You had better believe I am heading to Kir as soon as I've freed myself from work on this fine sunny Friday.

Don't believe me that this marvelous deal is true? Read it for yourself here:!!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Special Correspondent April Lives In a Tuscan Castle These Days

Special Correspondent April is wrapping up her incredible edible European vacation with a stay in magnificent Tuscany. I hope she brings me back something nice, like a Lamborghini or dreamy Prince Emanuele Filiberto. 

Under the Tuscan Influence


 to me
May 11 (1 days ago)  Copy IMG_0104.JPG,IMG_0102.JPG

Greetings from Toscana! The last few days have definitely been the highlight of our trip. We are staying in an old castle and have had the entire place to ourselves. Everyday we go out for some sightseeing and then return to sip some wine on our terrace. It is fantastico! I've attached some of my favorite pics. The last couple of pictures are of the meal we had last night in Monterosso, one of the villages in Cinque Terra. The pesto pasta was out of this world! Oh, and I could not forget to attach the picture of the mounds and mounds of gelato - that one is a framer!


See you soon and fly home safe, Special Correspondent April and Prince Emanuele!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Get Your Sexy On at the Bye & Bye Tonight!

NE Alberta's Bye & Bye Bar...Sexy! Mondays...Sexy! Vegan Meatballs...Sexy!

The first Sexy Tuesdays of Spring is here, and on a Monday night no less! What a lovely way to start the week. In case you forgot, Sexy Tuesdays brings together like-minded people to socialize and learn more about Planned Parenthood, and raises funds for PP too.

Come to NE Alberta Street's beloved Bye & Bye bar tonight to mingle with nice people, drink enticing cocktails, eat vegan food that you sometimes can't even tell is vegan food (try the "meatball" sandwich) and play some trivia if you like (I don't like, but am more than happy to spend all my time drinking and eating unvegany vegan food). The good (and super sexy!) folks at the Bye & Bye have generously offered us a portion of the proceeds from tonight's sales, so all you have to do to help Planned Parenthood out in these turbulent times is EAT and DRINK. So easy!

Hope to see you tonight at Sexy Tuesdays...Sexy Mondays...whatever we're calling it, it's going to be a good time for a good cause! More info below.


Join PPCW for Trivia Night!
Monday, May 11th
Bye & Bye
1011 NE Alberta St.
6 - 8:30 pm (trivia starts at 6:30)

Join PPCW on a Monday (sometimes Mondays can be sexy too) for Trivia Night!
Play on your own or gather a team of up to 5 and get ready to play Sexy Jeopardy!
Enjoy an entertaining night with trivia master, John Doyle. You might know him from trivia night at Vertigo Pub or 5th Quadrant. He was named Best Trivia Host in Willamette Week's Best of Portland.
$10 enters you in the contest and our raffle! Prizes will be given to the winner(s) of each round and grand prize will go to the individual or team that wins the final bonus round. That's three chances to win cool prizes plus the raffle drawing! Trivia will start at 6:30.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bay Shrimp, Asparagus, and Spring Onion Salad at Tastebud

We are dining this evening at Tastebud on SE Milwaukie, and while waiting for our sausage, spicy kale, tomato and mozzarella pizza to cook in the wood fired oven, we shared the bay shrimp, asparagus, and spring onion salad. Wow. Sweet, tender little bay shrimp, paper thin slivers of raw asparagus and Red Heart celery, spring onions, and a sprinkling of paprika, tossed with olive oil and sea salt. I've ceased caring if the pizza arrives, I could eat these all night.

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Flying Cat Coffee Company on SE Division Street

Enjoying a Caffe Vita mocha, a Kettleman's bagel, and an uncharacteristic bout of Sunday afternoon productivity on the patio of Flying Cat Coffee Company, 3041 SE Division Street.

Flying Cat has a cozy inside vibe, a relaxing brick patio out front, free Wi-Fi, and a large photograph of a naked fairy in the bathroom, aka the 'litter box' (cat theme carries heavily throughout the coffeehouse).

Open for about two months now, Flying Cat's official Grand Opening party will be held June 5, and will commemorate both the owner's birthday and the coffeehouse's acquisition of a beer and wine license, which will allow them to allow you to sip fine Northwest wines and microbrews on the premises whilst reading the house copy of James Herriot Cat Stories.

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