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24 April 2011

Chez Machin

Machin, sm. (P). Anything whose name has slipped the memory. Same as: true.

Time for something on the Hawthorne scene! Chez Machin is a crêperie on SE 35th and Hawthorne. It's a cozy little crêperie, with a back room that is mercifully ventilated by a veiled passageway (presumably to a patio) and a half wall. I sipped my espresso and gobbled my crêpe with the first signs of evening spring air wafting in.

There are crêpes for everyone! Sweet, savory, large, small, vegetarian, organic, gluten-free, cage-free...

They also have a bistro menu, with a soup du jour, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cordon Bleu, Steak au Poivre, and many, many other things I'm glad I don't have to try to pronounce at you all in real life.

I finally decided that the animal magnetism of Nutella was stronger than that of ... anything else on the menu. Though the La Pacifique crêpe, with NW smoked salmon, brie, tomatoes, spinach, scallions, and dijon crème fraîche was very tempting. As was La Fermière crêpe (mozzarella, mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes & pesto crème fraîche).

Mine (called
La Dèlice - you don't need to know French to guess that one!) came with vanilla custard, raspberry jam, and Nutella, and was dusted with powdered sugar.

Pronounced "shay masheen."

23 April 2011

Happy Hour: Jake's

Jake's Crawfish has one hell of a happy hour, folks! It takes place after 11pm, so it's more of a night owl hang out, but I'm pretty sure it's worth losing some sleep for what may be the best cheap food in town!

I always love it when I go out with a bunch of people because I get to try more than one thing - I had a Hazelnut Martini, which had coffee AND alcohol in it! Dream drink. I also tried my friend's blueberry Lemon Drop. Those things are deadly. They're like candy - remember Warheads? That's what that is, liquid Warheads.

They were out of California Roll, so I ordered their Tuna Ahi sushi roll, which was deep fried, and absolutely delicious. I blame it for my current re-obsession with sushi. The Hazelnut martini probably wasn't the best match with the sushi, but that's my fault for ordering them together. Individually, though, they were great. I'm still working on this "pairing" thing.

Jake's Happy hour menu changes around, so don't expect to order a certain thing - just be ready for excellent food! And drinkage.

Our bartenders were also very friendly, and helpful with suggestions.

My sushi was $3.95 (four good-sized rolls) and my martini was about $7. $6-7, somewhere in there.

21 April 2011

Coffee Poll

Hello, everyone!

I have come up with another idea for audience participation. This time it comes in the form of coffee shops.

Now, judging by the plethora of coffee shops in my neighborhood that I count to be among my personal favorites, I can guess that there is no way I could fit anything less than insulting in a "favorite coffee shops PDX" poll. So I won't even try.

Instead, I shall have you, the readers, vote for your favorite coffee shop(s) by way of leaving a comment just below, there, or sending a message to!

Here's a sample:

Favorite coffee establishment: Stumptown

Favorite drink from said establishment: Cappuccino

Favorite pastry from said establishment: Marionberry Brioche

Favorite thing (besides the brew) about said establishment: The way the windows are always steamed up, without fail. And if ever the sun comes out, it streams through the steamy windows. Also, the ever-changing chalk drawings on the Stumptown signboard outside. They're cool.

20 April 2011

Deschutes Brewery: II

Location(s): 210 NW 11th Avenue


Phone: 503.296.4906

Again to the Deschutes Brewery and Public House!

A great thing about this public house is that you can pretty much find something for everyone. That's always a tough one when my family is involved: My dad and I have what my mom and sister might describe as "weird" taste in food. And they have boring traditional taste. :)

Sorry Deschutes, I don't mean you're boring. But it is hard to find a place that serves interesting original dishes, as well as something more suited to a traditional palate. Well done, you guys.

So, on the menu:
Winter Squash Ravioli
Chicken Curry
Chicken Salad

I'll let you in on a secret food blogger perk: If you tell people in your party that you're writing a blog, they will give you bites of their food! Cool trick, huh?

Not to sound immodest, but I did like my food choice the best, as usual: the winter squash ravioli, which is a seasonal Deschutes speciality. Made with "roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions and Gorgonzola cheese tossed in a wort butter sauce [editor's note: this... wort sauce, whatever it is, is to die for.] with rainbow chard [not my favorite, but all right] roasted shallots," and the brewery's own root-beer braised bacon from Carlton Farms.

The chicken curry salad and the chicken salads were pretty good, too. I am not usually a fan of falafel, but I have also taken it upon myself to be fearless in the face of food, and took a liberal bite of my sister's. It was... well, falafel! Tossed in a pita wrap with some salad and white sauce, it wasn't bad!

Washed it all down with some good ol' Black Butte Porter, and finished our palates with some "Black and Tan Creme Du Pot" dessert: chocolate pudding with a caramel finish and whip cream. Super sweet stuff! Really. Get milk.

18 April 2011

Chai Yo

As a last-minute-right-before-you-board-a-7-hour-train-ride meal, I suggest: Pad See Ew.

Well, that's often my suggestion for... anything.


But it is one of my foods. I've considered going on a tour of all the Thai restaurants in Portland, just to compare their Pad See Ew. I'll let you know what I decide.

This version was pretty good. It wasn't very soupy, but the flavor didn't suffer any for that. It made for a nice, non-messy lunch (a fantastic feat for moi). The noodles were super wide, even for Pad See Ew.

I also had a tasty cabbage soup, which was even better with some pepper dashed into it. For an appetizer, I had deep-fried avocado egg rolls. Yummy!

15 April 2011

Papa Haydn's, of the Southeast Persuasion...

It is my sad duty to inform you that the Springwater Grill on SE Milwaukie is no longer in existence. I discovered this because we meant to go there, but it was gone!

Never fear. Papa Haydn's is just down the street to help you bear this sadness.

Like the Papa Haydn's I went to in the Pearl District, the restaurant's selection of desserts was very tantalizing. There was a 20-30 minute wait, so I had
plenty of time to sit and stare at the case full of cakes and crisps, crumbles and crunches.

When we were seated, I had no trouble picking out what I wanted. Rarely does this happen, but the Roasted Game Hen just reached out and grabbed me -- no, not literally. That would turn one's good restaurant into a particularly bad one, I'd say. But the game hen sounded like the perfect resolution to the day. And it was. I received a hefty shank of chicken -- er, do those come in shanks?-- that was roasted most succulently.

It also came with veggies and a triangular quiche, which was also quite good, especially when soaked with chicken gravy juice.

As for dessert (haha! You didn't think I'd go to Papa Haydn's and skip dessert, DID you?) I ordered the chocolate hazelnut torte, and was not remotely disappointed. The display was gorgeous, and the torte was excellent. Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, dustings of hazelnut all around, and scads of caramel to boot.

14 April 2011

Aybla - Food Cart

My friend introduced me to this food cart, in the downtown section of PDX food carts. Aybla is a Greek/Mediterranean food cart, and they serve gyros and falafel and other scrumptious delights.

I am now a lamb fiend. Yes, me, the girl who was vegetarian for six years, now cannot stop eating delicious baby animals. Sigh.

You would understand, though, if you tasted the Super Lamb Gyros from Aybla. It's a little pricey, for a single wrap ($7 or so), but that sucker is HUGE, and they aren't stingy with their lamb. It comes in a space blanket, with pita bread, cilantro, and tomatoes, smothered in sauce.

There are several Aybla food carts: SW 5th and Oak (my previous frequent stop), SW 9th and Alder, and SE 43rd and Belmont (my new frequent stop).

13 April 2011

Public Domain

I love this place. It is the snobbiest coffee shop I've been to in Portland. And by that I don't mean that the employees were rude - they were very friendly and accommodating.

What I mean is, this place makes you feel... very chic. The first time I went, I felt very underdressed, and ever after, changed accordingly. Everyone in the place was wearing a pencil skirt and jacket -- well, not the men, of course. Not that kind of coffee shop.

The place is very open, sparklingly clean, and very light -- floor to ceiling windows. Their coffee-making area is like a T.V. show kitchen, open for all to see, right in the middle of the shop.

Now, it would be a tragedy if for all the hype I've been building if they didn't also have good coffee! I would try their speciality: a pourover. It's an interesting way to brew - a twist on drip coffee. They had several different flavors or aromas to try, a roast from Kenya is what I had. Very fresh taste, no fancy stuff, just black, delicious coffee.

Their pastries are also quite delicious. In the photo you see I had an apricot cheese danish. With a freakin' whole apricot!

12 April 2011

Marino's Adriatic Cafe


[ey-dree-at-ik, ad-ree-] -- adjective
1. of or pertaining to the Adriatic Sea.

There's a neato little coffee shop out on SE 41st and Division called Marino's Adriatic Cafe. They are a great local coffee shop; eclectic furniture and coffee cups, good brew, tasty pastries. My latte was pretty dang good. Sadly, they burned the inside of my apple strudel to a crisp and didn't have any more, BUT -- they presented me with this little delicacy as a peace offering: a real apple cheese danish... thingy. It was probably better than the strudel, anyway.

They also have wifi, so check them out sometime, send me a note!

11 April 2011

Pizza Roma

The road to Pizza Roma is paved with hard labor. Today, anyway. On our way to lunch my mother, dear thing, decided to replace the blade on her windshield wiper.

So we stopped by the store and got a couple. We then spent very nearly an entire hour in the parking lot at the Bi-Mart, wrestling with the old wiper blade, the new wiper blade, and the arm of the windshield wiper. As one customer commented: "Impressive. Girls changing their own windshield wipers." Change is right. That wiper will never be the same.

Well, I tell you what was impressive after that little attempt at self-help: my appetite. It's a tough call, at Pizza Roma, when it comes to choosing slices.

For meat lovers, there's Predator (with a few different kinds of sausages, salami and pepperoni); Super Vegi with onions, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts; Garlic chicken, and of course plain ol' cheesy pizza. TODAY, however, they had the mother of all slices: Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola. It just doesn't get much better than that!

The selection rotates and varies often, so what I list off here might not be what they have to offer when you go in! Don't worry, it's best not to pre-decide anything, anyway. You can check out their menu online though, if you want to get a general idea!

10 April 2011

Bubble Bubble Tea

So, yes, this entry is old, but it's still good! Last summer my coworker introduced me to bubble tea. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with bubble tea, it's not regular tea. Nor are the bubbles regular bubbles. At Bubble Bubble, you can get cold tea, hot tea, tea smoothies, tea with cream, anything. You don't have to get the bubbles, of course, but if you don't, why did you come to a bubble tea shop?

The bubbles are large --and in this case, black-- tapioca balls that settle down to the bottom of your drink. You are given a large straw in which to slurp up the bubbles. I am still not sure whether I love the bubbles or not. I will not lie: they are WEIRD. But SO GOOD.

I think the tea in this photo is a pineapple cream tea thingy, but in my visits since, I have decided that the green tea smoothie is my favorite!

05 April 2011

Poll Results

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for your participation in the microbrew poll. I was completely blown away by how many people turned out for it! Thank you to those of you who sent me comments and messages about breweries that slipped my mind! I will keep them in mind for next time, and for future tasting and blogging!

Here are the results:

Microbrew Poll:

Ninkasi: 148 votes, 81% - Way to go! Freakin' landslide! One of these votes was mine, I must admit. Ninkasi is great. This calls for a special trip to Eugene. See if I can do a special article on the brewery!

Deschutes: 27 votes, 14%

Rogue Ales: 21 votes, 11%

Full Sail: 8 votes, 4%

Widmer Bros: 5 votes, 2%

McMenamin’s: 5 votes, 2%

Terminal Gravity: 3 votes, 1% - For those of you who are unfamiliar with this brewery, it's located ALL the way the heck over in Enterprise, OR (East-side). They've got a great IPA, a rye beer, a breakfast porter, and Belgian triple-style, among others. Check them out!

Bridgeport: 3 votes, 1%

Rock Bottom: 0 - I'm sure you're out there, guys! Must've just forgotten to vote, yeah?

04 April 2011


So, I've heard a lot about the popular breakfast restaurant, Gravy. But never visited it before. A deterring number of horror stories about lines and waiting around an hour or more for a table have kept me at bay thus far. However, the prospect of a smoked salmon something-or-other made me change my mind!

As amazing as it sounds, all my mental preparations for the long, mundane queue were for nothing. Dad and I showed up, opened the door, and promptly received a table for two.
Not quite the Hollywood drama I was aiming for.

I tried to look at everything on the menu besides the smoked salmon. I really did. But it was no use. Dad had no luck on that front, either.
Not that the other items weren't intriguing - salmon is just *that* good.
I made up my own scramble with house smoked salmon, mushrooms, and green onions. Dad had a similar hash with salmon and assortments. And a side of gravy -- can't forget the gravy! Saaavory. Yum.

They serve breakfast all day - including variations on traditional breakfast foods like french toast, pancakes and yogurt and granola. Their coffee's pretty good, too.

As for the venue itself, you'll be happy to learn that sustainability and locale are priorities at Gravy. They have furnished the restaurant with recycled furniture and decor, making for a quirky little place. Funky gravy boats line the walls, and mismatched lamps shed some light at the bar. Most -- not all, but *most*-- of the food served is local and seasonal, creating a unique menu selection.

So, make plans to make it out to Gravy sometime! If it's a nice day, or a weekend, expect a waiting period for a table. But it's worth it!

03 April 2011

Laughing Planet - SE Woodstock

So, Che Guevara. He's a pretty neat guy, yeah? He's on everyone's t-shirts with his little beret thing, staring out at you with his oh-so-Socialist eyes; you know Che.

What you maybe didn't know what that he is also a burrito. Yes, that is correct. A burrito. Not the little donkey kind. The delicious, bean-filled, rice-populated, sweet-potato-packed, barbecue-y kind. And he lives at Laughing Planet. On Woodstock.

He wears a space blanket, and has dalliances with I'm Peachy, that pink seductress of a smoothie. Here they are on the right, chillin' with Laughing Planet's house T-Rex.

02 April 2011

Wow! Thanks, Twitter!

Just by tweeting about my microbrew poll on Twitter, and tagging some folks over at Ninkasi and Hopworks, my poll numbers jumped from 8 to 99 - in an hour!

Thank you guys! Just know that Portland loves you! Great brews, great fans.

There are a couple days left to vote; I'll post the results soon after! Thank you for your participation!