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Archive for the ‘review’ Category

today i met my friend jason for lunch at taboush– a lebanese restaurant on hawthorne. as usual, i forgot to take a picture before we ate, so all you can see is the fallout.

we split a fatoush salad and a mezza plate, which was great. their baba ganoush was fantastic, as was the humous. the falafel was probably good, jason ate all of it so i don’t know. i’ve had other dishes there that are great– their  homemade soujouk sausage is a favorite of my friend bek.

tarboush has a happy hour from 2 to 6 every day and is open for lunch and dinner. they have beer, wine, and a bar. it’s in an old portland foursquare that has been the home to many restaurant establishments before. they are not busy enough; hopefully they won’t disappear…

jason brought his 11 month old son august who is exhibiting his father’s defiant character already…

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looks like it was something with a crust, maybe grilled cheese, ridged potato chips and a beer or so. looks like the friend had chili.

the lucky lab has great beer. superdog is my favorite, it’s hoppy and wonderful; but their dark beers are always amazing as well. they have a plethora of ales and pilsnery stuff too. i always get the curry bento; chicken kabob on white or brown rice doused in curry sauce. a great everyday lunch. there’s no way you can eat all that. daniel is new to town, so he may not know about the lucky lab bento; it’s a staple for at least 50% of portlanders. welcome to town, baldwin!

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ken’s pizza

it’s all good… just go!

you will probably wait in line, but it’s worth it. ken’s bakery on 21st in NW has long been my favorite bakery, albeit on the wrong side of the river! the pizzeria has been open for a while, and writing a review almost seems ludicrous. everything is great, all of the pizza comes out of the wood fired oven with a thin crust with quality akin to ken’s legendary bread: with a natural, not bottled, yeasty flavor. the pizza actually comes out cooked, with brown, caramelized edges as it should be, and not drowning in cheese or sauce. sublime. the caesar salad is very good, and a simple, yet impressive, architectural feat to boot. good beer and wine selections with every price-point in mind. oh… and don’t miss the hand dryers in the bathroom.

 

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so down the street is this amazing taco truck, it’s at 52nd and foster in se portland. it has the usual charm, the ubiquitous plastic chairs, the word tongue spelled “tounge,” and a rather large woman inside that speaks very little english but understands “diet pepsi?” fairly well.

so i was very happy to see a taco truck move into the neighborhood, i’m a big fan and have been known to make a trip down to 82nd near johnson creek to get a taco fix. at first i started out with the safest items, tacos carnitas, tacos pollo, etc. then one day i saw a hand scrawled note by the window that said “especial de dia, enchiladas.” muy bien! i thought. what i received was perhaps the most extraordinary  plato de enchiladas i have ever seen. the tortillas were dipped in sauce and then cooked on the grill, then rolled around moist, succulent chicken meat. on top was grilled papas and carrots in tiny pieces, sliced sweet onion, pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado and cilantro. i kept thinking, a poached egg on top would make an amazing breakfast. unfortunately i forgot to take a picture, and it has never been as spectacular. in fact, i came back three days in a row after and ordered it, only to be told “no pollo.” “NO POLLO? carnitas?” “no enchiladas today.” WHAT? but the sign says special TODAY. anyway, back to tacos.

so i had been blogging on facebook about the amazing taco lady and her mysterious chicken that comes and goes like someone left the coop door open. and you know, the more you are denied something, the more you want it! i had elevated the enchiladas to a never before seen taco fare status… i was telling everyone… i was a taco truck finder celebrity. then…

i went there the other day and ordered the enchiladas. she had a look on her face like she owned me for life. and that’s when i saw it… the plastic package that housed the costco rotisserie chicken. no shit. the very same chicken i had fed to my inlaws the night before my wedding that my mother in- law still raves about.  costco…

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it was sunday and i had a petanque tournament in east moreland. my six year-old daughter had been there all day, a feat no child should be expected to succeed in, yet she made it through nearly six hours of what must be an infuriatingly boring afternoon. the reward for stellar behavior? well, sushi, of course. we headed over to saburo on tacoma, an establishment i have been enjoying for years.

for those who are unfamiliar with pétanque, it is a ball game, not unlike bocce, with french origin. what separates it from bocce? smaller, harder balls of steel, offensive and defensive strategy, way cooler people, and wine. in all of the 10 teams, i was the only woman playing. also, i was the only one who had not been playing regularly through the winter; another fact that separates the bocce players from our own. the guys that play at the club are good, many of them french, in fact. my underdog status required using any assets to my advantage, and with a good bra and tight t-shirt, i did just that. i mean, we’re playing with french rules here, right? just as i was feeling guilty (i believe my strategy was effective in many cases), my game picked up and i was tossing balls that cozied right up next to the jack, rendering the boobs nearly unnecessary. i say nearly because as far as i can see, they are always relevant.

one of the great thing about writing a food blog, and i’m speculating, as this is my first, is turning people on to the restaurants that i love; saburo is one of those. it is quirky in it’s rules (although i believe they have relaxed over the years), but is still able to pack the place day in and day out. if you have not been to saburo, the draw is not in it’s quaint japanese atmosphere, or the window onto the bamboo garden; in fact, there’s a bus stop outside where you must wait, often in the rain, for a table. the draw to saburo is the RAW DEAL: huge, HUGE pieces of sushi at normal sushi prices. it is, seriously, entirely UN-japanese. the perfect two-bite size, the proportionate rice to fish ratio– forget it! it’s raw, gluttonous, omega-3’s by the pound, no holds barred jumbo supersize-me sushi. in fact, i’m sure that somewhere in the word “sushi” lies some reference to it’s traditional size harkening back to some princess being able to perfectly consume it in three bites without straining her taut jawline. in this case, perhaps it should be referred to as “su-him;” bulk-sized, superhero sized, dare i say… MAN size. it’s serving reference feels more dagwood than delicate. not for the japanese scholar.

now to the cooky part, and perhaps this has changed over the years, i have not tested it of late: you get to order ONCE. the “lets just start with this and see” stuff doesn’t fly. they want you in, ordered, eaten and replaced in an efficient manner. now, some may find this offensive, and i understand how people get used to “service” being about their specific needs, however; if their costs are based on how much they can sell in a night, and your visit is indeed hinged on the great deal… sit down, order up, eat up, get lost. it’s a sushi paradigm that works, don’t take it personally.

unfortunately, i order the same stuff all the time: salmon, hamachi, spider rolls, sometimes tempura… it’s all good. the fish is always excellent, and if you are looking for a place with “superior” fish, my understanding is that nearly all sushi places buy their fish from the same place, owned by the moonies. the exception may be a delightful sushi place i have frequented, but i need more information and a solid visit before reviewing.

the line forms 20 minutes before doors open, and extends around the corner into the parking lot. don’t try and cut in line, you will see an instinct-driven mob form like metal shavings on a magnet. enjoy the fish, it’s the best raw deal in town.

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