Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Many?

"Portland Magazine" (back in November of last year) had an article Best Restaurants: Portland's 35 greatest meals so of course...being the foodie I am... I wanted to see how many of the 35 I'd gone too. 

I was sorely saddened by how few I'd been too (the ones I have tried are *). Guess I have new restaurants to add to my Portland Bucket List! So here's the list and what I'm most excited to try at each location (click the name of the restaurant to go to their website).

Best New Restaurants:

~ St. Jack (so the two things on the restaurant's menu I'm most excited for are the Salade Lyonnaise - because I'm a sucker for a good poached egg - and the dessert Gingerbread Bavarois. There is apparently also St. Jack Patisserie which looks yummy)

~ Little Bird (I've heard of Little Bird for a while now, and they have been on my list of "Go-Tos" ever since I read about their Duck Confit with brown butter salsify puree..drool)

~ Castagna (I hadn't heard about this place before and to be honest unless I suddenly start making A LOT more money I don't think I'll be making reservations anytime soon...the reason? Prices start at $65.00 However if I were to start making more I'd be all over their Crab with sweet garlic consomme)
 
~ Salt and Straw (I'm excited to eventually try this place. A farm-to-cone ice cream parlor. Flavors like Stumptown Coffee with Cocoa Nibs, Chocolate with Gooey brownies, and Grandma Malek's Almond Brittle with Salted Carmel)

~ Wafu (Now I've never been a poor-college-student-cheap-Ramen eater but I do love noodles and anyplace that specializes in exactly that just warms my heart. I'm all for pork belly and a slow poached egg in my miso broth ramen)

~ Bluehour (Too many to choose from. How about the Duo of Foie Gras? Veal Osso Bucco? Or even the Blue Cheese stuffed Olives, Smoked Onion Rings and their Butcher's Board of smoked meats all found on their Happy Hour menu. Mmm)


To New To Review:

~ Luce (Fig and goat cheese mousse wrapped in ham...oh sweet lord please!!??)

~ The Woodsman Tavern (On their dinner menu I'd love to dive face first into their $75 Grand Seafood Platter....or no...I want a Grand Seafood Platter)

~ Noisette (There really wasn't too much on their printed menu that thrilled me...maybe the scallop. But it's also a restaurant whose menu changes based on availability and season)

~ Oven and Shaker (I love creative pizza toppings and while eggs may be old news I haven't tried it before and am thinking I need to. After all I love a good egg.)

~ Interurban (I couldn't find a menu and there doesn't seem to be a website for this place either. Some Yelp reviews mention a spin on Shepard's pie using boar meat and another mentioned bacon wrapped shrimp. I think I'm going to wait a bit longer before pushing through the lines at this new N Mississippi bar)

48 Hours in P-Town:

~ Gruner (Their lunch menu has a juniper-marinated pork loin with a roasted pear spread that just sounds scrumptious. I love applesauce and pork chops so this just sounds like a more sophisticated version. They also have house-made brauts which I'm all for!).

~ Pok Pok* (FINALLY! One on the list I've been do!! I've actually been to a number of Chef Andy Ricker's restaurants...Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge and Ping. Pok Pok introduced me to drinking vinegars actually which are a great combination of sweet and sour. I'm always looking to go back and try more.)

~ Le Pigeon (Le Pigeon is the big brother to Little Bird but apparently just as divine. I have to say I feel obligated, if and when I go, to get the Pigeon. How do you go to Le Pigeon and NOT order pigeon?!)

~ Paley's Place (A rabbit ravioli might be interesting. I can't remember if I've ever had rabbit before so I'm going to guess I haven't...haha. Also a Black Pepper Cheesecake is very unique...although I might just want a bite of someone else's)

~ Beast (I think that appealed most to me is their note saying "Substitutions Politely Declined"...well that and the Pear and Hazelnut Brown Butter Crisp)

Asian Adventure:

~ HA & VL (I think of their daily soup specials the Sunday Yellow Flat Noodle Soup sings out to my soup-soul most)
Biwa Burger

~ Biwa (I'm not sure what's wrong but as I write this I can't seem to open their dinner menu; all I can see is their Late Night... Their Biwa Burger, with a kimchi mayo, sounds yummy with a side of kimchi. I love kimchi.Ever since I had homemade stuff from one of my college roommates aunts.)

~ Spring Restaurant (Sadly I hardly ever find myself in Beaverton, suburb of Portland for those of you not in the PNW, but if I am it doesn't sounds like I'd be able to find this place without someone who has been before. I love Korean and would love to give this place a try if I ever find my way.)

Fried pig's ears and vinegar sauce
~ Whiskey Soda Lounge* (Figures the next one on this list I've been to is another of Chef Ricker's. I've only been once and had an amazing selection of shrimp chips, kai saam yang, miang kham, and my favorite the deep fried pig ears called Huu Muu Thawt. This is a place I'll go back time and time again)



The Comforts:

~ Bar Mingo (There are a few things I'd like to try out here. First being their lamb meatballs...mmmm. Or how about any of the chef-hand-made pastas and finish it off with ricotta fritters. Yes please!)

~ Higgins* (What do you know? A restaurant on the list I've been too that isn't part of the Pok Pok family. I had lunch at Higgins the other day and ended up with a pastrami sandwich that was to die for....with homemade pickles!)

~ Laurelhurst Market (I've heard their steaks are to die for and the fact their websites front page as a picture of the different beef parts makes me think they know what they're doing...that and the whole butcher shop extension. I have to saw from all my No Reservations watching I'm very tempted to try Bone Marrow and I think I might be willing to try it from them.)

~ Suzette Creperie (I've been to a few crepe places here in Portland but this hasn't been one of them. I never can decide if I prefer savory or sweet so I thought I'd pick one of each for my "I would try..." here. Savory:Goat Fig Pig - goat cheese, marsala soaked figs and prosciutto always a good combination. Sweet: Normandie - filled with lemon butter, topped with cider-poached apples, cider caramel sauce and crème fraîche ice cream. Sweet Lord!)

~ El Inka Authentic Peruvian Restaurant (This place is actually out in my neck of the woods...actually even further out. While the chickens look amazing the first two items on the menu look super yummy. Papa a la Huancaina and Yuca a la Huancaina - respectively potatoes or yuca in a yellow pepper and cheese sauce.)

Maximal Meat:

~ The Country Cat* (I went to the Country Cat for brunch one weekend after hitting up the nearby Farmer's Market. While the food was really good I hesitate to go back because of how poor the service was. But this blog is about food not people. Since it was later in the morning/early afternoon I went with the Heritage Hamburger but my mother went for the Eggs Benedict. We also ordered a basket of the cinnamon rolls - which were huge! We ended up splitting one and taking the others home. I think I'd like to try them for dinner next; the picture of their fried chicken looks really good.

~ Nostrana (Gnocchi Thursday's here I come! I'm always on the look out for a good gnocchi and sadly they are hard to come by. Hopefully someone else will order the Polpettine Pizze - pork and beef meatballs with provolone, ricotta and peppers)

~ The People's Pig (Portland loves it's Pig, let me tell you. I guess that's the first sign of what a foodie town this is. Apparently - from looking at their website - The People's Pig is a food cart. One where the menu changes daily so they don't put any items on the "menu" tab of their website. I like pork. But I need some hint as to what I'm getting into before I'll try a place.)

~ Clyde's Prime Rib (Obviously since this restaurant made it into Portland Magazine's top 35, they must do something right. Scanning the menu it looks like your basic steak house with too many menu items....steaks, salads, pastas, asian inspired dishes, burgers, sandwiches, etc. The thing that made my heart sink though was breaded onion rings. If it's not beer battered it's not worth ordering).

~ Metrovino (Leave it to Portland to have a restaurant with PBR braised Pork Belly. Haha.They do have a chicken-fried quail and sweet gem lettuce salad with feta and hazelnuts that sounds pretty yummy. As well as a sweet potato and goat cheese ravioli.)

Meat-Free Magnificence:

~ East India Co (Just by being Indian food this place has won my heart. Somosas, currys, pakora, lentil soup....all of it and in large amounts please.

~ Natural Selection (With options both a la carte as well as a four course meal for only 35 dollars this might be a place to try for a special occasion. Picking between Column A and B might be hard. They all look good....as does their cocktail called Pretty Mess - vodka, pomegranate molasses, peach liqueur, fresh lime).

~ Genoa (Sign me up for an order of Cannelloni di cinghiale- delicate handmade pasta stuffed with a wild boar sausage ragu and baked in a light porcini cream garnished with grated bittersweet chocolate There's also the Piccione con fegato- pan roasted squab with seared foie gras, braised heirloom beans, cavalo nero and finished with a drizzle of saba!!)  

~ Blossoming Lotus* (I've been before and while it may be a great place if you're into raw foods, etc it just didn't do much for me. I had the Southwest Bowl when I went. It consisted of brown rice, spicy butternut & black bean chili and steamed greens topped with avocado ranch, roasted red pepper sour cream, scallions and cilantro. Now remember this is RAW food so the "chili" wasn't really chili..I guess that's my biggest issue with this place. I don't like food that pretends to be something different. 

~ Portobello Vegan Trattoria (I think I remember passing by this place before...not 100% sure. Even though I'm not usually a fan of vegan dedicated restaurants I look a look at their brunch menu I think I might want to give it a try. Roasted sweet potato, rootbeer, rum waffle with soy-free earth balance, Kraken rum & maple syrup macerated orchard fruits. Or the chanterelle homefries crispy potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, sauteed shrooms, and parsley pesto.

Hidden Breakfasts: (Portland is BIG on breakfast and brunch. So the fact there are "hidden" breakfasts is awesome...I might have a chance of getting a table and not waiting two hours)

~ Autentica (The first thing that popped out at me was the sope tradicional con chorizo o pollo. A house made sopes with chicken or chorizo, spicy green chile sauce, cream and queso fresco for ONLY FOUR DOLLARS!! On their dinner menu they have a 1/2 chicken marinated in mole sauce that sounds pretty yummy too. I may need to track this place down and soon.)

~ Navarre (Navarre's website is actually a blog and from just a quick scan I couldn't find a regular menu. There were specialty menus - for New Years and Valentine's - but I did find a photo blog entry of breakfasts. Eggs over easy, an omelet or fritata like egg dish, some delectable breads. I think I may need some recommendations about this place before I actually head over.)

~ Tasty n Sons* (This is a place I've only gone once but fell in love with so much I feel like it's my "go-to" place....it's just not near where I live so it's not the most convenient and it's a hot spot now so you tend to wait some for a table. When I did go, it was a good friend of mine with similar tastes in food so the fact that it's served family style was good. We had chocolate potato doughnut with crème anglaise, griddled bacon wrapped date with maple syrup & almonds, Auntie Paula's French Toast with a mixed berry compote & maple syrup whipped cream and then finally the Moroccan Chicken Hash with harissa cream & over easy egg. OMG Soooo good.)

~ Ned Ludd (So their website is down...but I did find them on Facebook, and they advertise themselves as an American Craft Kitchen. The one dish that did stand out was a cinnamon panna cotta with cranberry gelee. The pork fat fried potatoes sound good but also artery clogging.)

~ Eat: An Oyster Bar (I've only ever had an oyster twice. The first time was on a food tour - thank goodness for my coworkers I was with or I would have chewed the thing. The second was over New Years weekend when I went to an amazing Chinese Buffet and they had oysters on the half shell. This place is known for their oysters, so chances are I'd be willing to have one or two. But when I opened their brunch menu the beignets with a bourbon sauce was the first thing to make me salivate. Also, they have a soft shell crab po-boy sandwich that might just need to balance those beignets. This place is definitely more a cajun style restaurant than your average oyster bar.)




So there you have it. I've been to 6 of the 35 best restaurants according to Portland Magazine. Looks like I better get going on trying out, at least a few, more restaurants.

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