Saturday, December 30, 2006

Screen Door - 12/27/06

Yes, yes. I know, faithful reader. You’ve checked back, week after week, hoping for a new post. I’ve let you down. This trend is about to change…

Last night, -M- and I went back to Screen Door. You see, -M- is moving to San Francisco VERY soon (like in a week), and she had a list of spots she wanted, needed to eat at before she left. The last spot on the list was Screen Door (other notables included Pok Pok/Whiskey Soda, Le Pigeon, Caffe Mingo, and Apizza Scholls).

We had been to the Screen Door once, a few months back, and really enjoyed it. We sat at the bar and had a good chat with David, the owner, about food, music, all sorts of things. Upon our return, we take seats at the bar again (I love eating at the bar), and sure enough, David is there. I am fairly sure he’ll have no idea who we are, but he does. He even remembers my drink, the Moscow Mule.

Let’s start with the drinks. -M- and I both get the mule. Screen Door has this fantastic, slightly sweet ginger puree (they source it from Aloha Juice in SE Portland). Ingredients include only ginger, cane sugar, and water. Honestly, this is the best mule I have tasted anywhere outside my own home (-M- actually prefers the Screen Door’s version, mine is too gingery, she thinks). Mmmm. Nice work, David!

We start with Hush Puppies, fried oysters, and a side of grits (-M- has never had grits before). The hush puppies are delish. Minced green onions and whole corn kernels dot the inside. There is a little ramekin of the tastiest mustard sauce ever. And, the salt is perfect. So nice!

I generally like grits, and these do not disappoint. They arrive with a little grated white cheddar on top. I add a little salt, and eat most of the bowl myself. Here’s -M-‘s take on grits… “I like these. Innocuous, comforting. Like a down blanket made of carbs with cheese on top.”

And, since I detest seafood, I didn’t taste the oysters. Again, here’s what -M- has to say… “Fantastic, crispy crunchy layer of breading that gives way to a burst of briny, meaty goodness. Mmm”

Main courses… -M- gets the fried chicken (also what she got last time). This time, she swears she will not overlook the side of smoked tasso gravy. This is some tasty fried chicken. Crisp on the outside, super moist and juicy on the inside. Served with a side of wilted greens. -M- is very happy.

I get the burger. I’d been craving a burger all day. It’s a pretty standard burger, cheddar, onion, lettuce, tomato, and the like. A side of tasty fries completes the meal.

We skip dessert, we are both super full.

If you haven’t gotten over to the screen door yet, you should make the trip. Sit at the bar, order up a Moscow Mule from David, and enjoy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Music

So, here are the highlights of the past 3 months (Sept 30 to Nov 7, 2006) of music acquisition.

Okkervil River - "Black Sheep Boy" and "Black Sheep Boy Appendix"
Found these folks thanks to fellow blogger The Guilty Carnivore after posting my last music round-up. I should do more background research, but it's really about the music, right? I feel like there is some Austin TX connection. Heartbreaking music, beautiful, passionate, amazing. The Appendix are songs that wouldn't quite fit on the original release, but were too good to cast off to oblivion.

Mulatu Astatqe - "Ethiopiques Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale 1969-1974"
Thanks to -M- for this one. Super smooth, slightly scratchy, tripped out jazz. Apparently used in a recent Jim Jarmusch film that I have yet to see. Instrumental bliss.

The Evens - "The Evens" and "Get Evens"
A little find thanks to DS, a co-worker. The Evens are Ian MacKaye from Fugazi (vocals & baritone guitar) and Amy Farina from The Warmers (vocals & drums). Their 1st, self-titled record came out in March of 2005. The 2nd, new album was released just last week. Although I am still in the initial listening stages, I've gotta say I prefer the 1st album, but the are both pretty damn good. [Correction, listening to "Get Evens" right now. Good, but in no way holds a candle to "The Evens." ]

Guided by Voices - "Alien Lanes"
Evening out with some friends, playing some (unfairly judged, in my opinion) pub trivia. During one of the breaks in the 'action,' this amazing, scratchy, poorly recored rock comes blaring out of the speakers. It sounded more like a friend's crappy 4 track demos than an actual release in terms of recording quality. But the songs! Short little burst of some of the most perfect pop/rock I've heard in quite some time (and by short, I mean 1 to 2 minutes per song). I finally asked what was on, and it was GBV's Alien Lanes. I picked it up from e-music and have loved it ever since.

Sparklehorse - "Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain"
A new Sparklehorse album is always reason to celebrate. Notoriously reclusive Mark Linkous finally emerges again. His last full length, "It's A Wonderful Life," is still one of my top 10 records of all time. This one is good, but feels like it's comprised of leftovers from the last release (partially due to the fact that one track is a previously released b-side and one actually is a leftover). At any rate, the songs are good, and the overall feel to the album is much like "Wonderful." Guest musicians include Dangermouse, Tom Waits, and the Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd.

Tommy Guerrero - "From the Soil to the Soul"

By my count, Guerrero's 4th solo full length. This picks up right where Guerrero left off on Soul Food Taqueria; mellow, mostly instrumental tracks that are at once both warm and slightly aggressive. I really dig this guy. He gets next to no press or recognition, which is criminal. Check him out.

Destroyer - "Thief"

I picked up three Destroyer albums recently, "We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge," "City of Daughters," and "Thief." The first 2, including the LONG out of print "...Golden Bridge" don't do a whole lot for me. They're most just Dan Bejar recoding on a 4 track. Not a bad thing, but I don't think they really show Destroyer's brilliance. 'Thief" on the other hand is great. Released in back in 2000, it is the first of a trio of albums I consider Destroyer's best. I love "Rubies' (their latest), but it's no match for "Thief" (2000), "Streethawk: A Seduction" (2001), or 'This Night" (2002). [For the fans out there, the CBC has a 5 song Destroyer studio performance from earlier this year.]

Anyhow, those are my latest picks. Enjoy...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chablis

I haven't written about a 'supplier dinner' in a while. Last week's is certainly worthy of a write up.

In town, Bernard Raveneau and Jean Montanet from Chablis, France.

We head to Paley's and proceed to have one of the finest meals I have ever eaten. Words will not do this meal justice, so I'm just going to list off the wines and courses.

WINES:
1990 Raveneau Chablis Gr. Cru Clos
1990 Lasalle Rose Champagne
1990 Quintarelli Alzero Cabernet Franc
1981 Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanc
1982 Italian Red (I want to say Barbaresco)
1994 Picolit (don't recall the producer)
???? Some outrageous sherried Italian delight
199? Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi

COURSES:
Liver and Foie Gras Mousse
Pate
Sweetbreads
Oysters
Lamb's Tounge Salad with Chantrelles
Bacon wrapped scallop with celeriac puree and caviar
Squab with Foie Gras
Rabbit with carrots and fennel
Roasted pork with tounge and cheeks
Cheese plate with 4 killer cheeses
Almond chocolate torte

Jealous much?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Not Dead

OK, so I know what you all have been thinking... "Where the hell is T? Is he dead?" Answers are "I've been very busy" and "no."

I'm working on LA Part 2 where -M- and I eat some of the most heavenly tacos on the planet.

I'm also working on the last 3 months of music (I'll narrow it down to the things I'm digging, not everything I've added). Here's a preview: thanks to Guilty Carnivore, I checked out Okerville River. Their latest full length "Black Sheep Boy" is simply amazing.

At any rate, I'm not dead, and there will be more. Check back soon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Coast Weekend pt 2

Dinner time at the coast...

M and I hit New Seasons on the way out of to town to stock up on some provisions. The house we are staying at has a grill, and she wanted grilled flank steak. Who was I to refuse? She marinates this steak in a secret family marinate recipe (of which all I can divulge is a lot of garlic). Oh, and we pop the cork on tonight's wine to let it breathe, a lovely 1999 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

We brought up a few sprigs of rosemary, but it is clear we didn't get enough. Luckily, while getting glasses of wine (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio) and a pre-meal snack at Vino Manzanita (just around the corner) our anti-pasta plate arrived with a few sprigs as garnish. We sneak them back to the house for the potatoes.

M prepares the sides (roasted potatoes with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and oil) and green beans, raw at my request, with lemon wedges and salt.

Meanwhile, I run to the nearest gas station to fill the propane tank. Yeah, yeah, I know, propane is no good, but you have to work with what you've got. I get back and re-assemble to grill, light it, and get it cleaned and ready. When the potatoes are 15 minutes away, I throw the meat on the grill, 5 minutes per side and 5 minutes to rest before cutting.

We sit down with some good music on the iPod (M chose Quantic), a great bottle of wine, and some killer food.

After, we put on a DVD of Arrested Development and eat the hell out of some chocolates from Sahagun (truffles included lavender, jasmine, rose, the 'morning pill' with espresso, and a liquidy caramel centered sea salt one. Oh, and some bark with puffed corn, nuts, chiles, and sea salt). Damn!

Perfect end to a perfect day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Coast Weekend pt 1

M and I are at the coast this weekend. We got a bit of a late start, and had snacks in the car last night on the way out, finally arriving at 10 or so. Got into the house, and promptly fell asleep after a long and stressful work week.

This morning, we woke up and took a walk to the ocean. On the way back to the house, we stopped at Bread and Ocean to pick up a bottle of bubbly Lurisia and a brioche with dark chocolate, orange, and walnuts.

Back at the house, we boil up a kettle of water and make Stumptown's Columbia La Virginia in my French Press. I'd say a good first meal on our coast trip. Watch for more...

BONUS FEATURES:
#1 - Yep, that's an electric burner on the stove in the first photo. Everything else was perfect. And really, this wasn't a huge deal, water just took a bit longer to boil that I'm used to.

#2 - A photo of my camera falling into food as I am trying to take a picture. This happens more than I'd like to admit, usually it's not caught on film (or, I guess a digital camera's flash card).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Trip to LA - Part 1

So, little weekend trip to LA with M.

We leave Friday afternoon. Pick up sandwiches at New Season on the way to the airport. Running VERY late, and I begin to panic a little as we hit traffic and I-5 and I-84. We make it in time to inhale our sandwiches before boarding the plane. Apparently, a little mayo and mustard on a sandwich can still make it through security. I had roast beef and swiss on sour dough. M had turkey and swiss on sour dough.

We get into LA, and catch a cab to get M's mom's car. Then, over to Father's Office for a little snack. Nice beer selection. We get fries. They come in a cute little shopping cart. Here's a photo someone else took. These are sweet potato. We go the plain ones. Thinner and crisper, just the way I like 'em. Served with garlic herb aioli. These guys don't have ketchup (don't even ask), but you can apparently bring your own, if you are thinking ahead (and if the TSA would let you carry on tomato based liquids).

Somewhat satiated, we head to M's mom's place to unpack and relax a bit. Although we only made coffee and bagels in the kitchen, I've put a few photos here 'cause I like it so much (especially the labeling).

We pick up M's mom, and meet G at Le Petit Bistro. We get a 375 ml bottle of some tasty little 2001 Bordeaux. I start with celery soup while M gets endive salad with candied walnuts and hearts of palm. Salad was great, reports M. I wish the soup had more celery essence. As for the main course, we get a lot of [insert name of meat here] frites. I get what's listed as baby lamb chops and frites (aren't all lambs babies?). They are a little undercooked for my taste. M gets roasted chicken and frites, perfect. M's mom gets steak frites, again, for me a little underdone. G gets a Moroccan roasted halibut with harissa. All in all, good, but not exceptional. If nothing else, certainly filling and satisfying. I am tired and full, and nap a little on the way home.

Saturday AM, we have coffee and bagels. We brought Stumptown's Columbia La Virginia down to share, and onion bagels (from Vicente Foods) with Pulgra salted butter.

Lunch. Langer's Deli. Right across from MacArthur Park. This is the sandwich I'd been hearing about for months. Juicy hot pastrami (by their definition, "HOT PASTRAMI is a select cut of beef, sugar-cured and seasoned as corned beef, then slowly smoked for tenderness and tantalizing taste and flavor, then covered with choice and costly spices."). It's good, but it is still (in my opinion) just a sandwich. Pastrami, swiss, slaw, and Russian dressing on rye. M gets and egg cream (which has no egg and no cream, can someone please explain this to me?), and I get Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray (celery) soda. We also get a side of pickled tomatoes, crisp and vinegary. M is a little disappointed that the 'hot' pastrami is merely warm, not nearly hot enough to melt the swiss. We get a loaf of rye to take with us (it's sitting in my freezer right now).

I get a nice driving tour of the City of Angels. We make a brief stop into Amobea Music (I'm trying to track down Destroyer's "Theives," no dice here), buy some shoes, and the head to my pals Mike and Debbie's place.

I haven't seem Mike for a year and half, and I haven't seen Debbie for like 5 years. And, I'd never met their adorable son Ben. Ever. They know of a little Oaxacan place within walking distance. M and I are a little skeptical, as this place is in a strip mall. Boy were we wrong. The food was AMAZING!

To start, we get 3 kinds of tamales: tamal de mole (leaf wrapped tamale with chicken and black mole sauce), tamal de salsa (chicken with mint salsa, corn husk wrapped), and tamal de rajas (veggies and cheese, also cork husk wrapped).

Main courses include mole negro (chicken with black mole sauce made from 30+ spices, peppers, chocolate, and seeds), chilaquiles (tortillas in a tomato sauce with chicken and cheese), enfrijoladas con tazajo (same as chilaquiles, except with a black bean sauce in place of the tomato sauce), and ceviche (which is quite spicy). Ben gets a grilled cheese and chicken quesadilla.

I wish I had gotten photos of the food, the place, anything. I can't seem to track down any images save the generic pic of mole on citysearch. If you are in LA, you should check this place out.

And that ends days one and two of my LA adventure. Part 2 of the report (days three and four) should appear here soon...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

POK POK RETURNS!!

Yep. They re-opened the stand yesterday, the 11th of September. And yep, I was there. The food was as tasty as ever. I really missed it.

I got my usual, an order of Khao Man Som Tam (Papaya Pok Pok served with steamed coconut rice, sweet shredded pork and fried shallots) and an order of Muu Sateh (pork loin skewers marinated in coconut milk and turmeric, grilled over charcoal and served with cucumber relish, peanut sauce and grilled bread). Oh, and to wash it down, Cha Manao (Thai iced tea with fresh lime juice). YUM!

Watch this space, hopefully I'll be able to compose a post about my eating adventures in LA with the lovely M.

Oh, the photo? It's the first thing that showed up when I googled Pok Pok looking for images. It was too funny to pass up.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pig's Tail at Le Pigeon

M and I headed back to Le Pigeon (yep, third time this week, we LOVE it there). We get a half liter of some southern French rose (delightful).

M orders up the burger (which I had last week). It still looks fantastic, with it's heirloom tomato, slaw, and pickled onion garnishes. Mmmm. Instead of the potatoes, M gets a little salad. Cornichons, capers, and the like. Very nice.

I'm not terribly hungry, so I order up the pig's tail. Yep, sounds crazy, but everyone there said it was great, Gabriel, Leif, the whole crew. It came with the same salad M got with the burger. I was warned, but also ordered the buttermilk dressed mixed greens too. It ended up being an excess of lettuce. So, the pig's tail was breaded and then pan fried in butter. The base (the part that would have been nearest to the pig's body) was very fatty, but as I got toward the tip, less fat and more meat. The skin was there too. It was an amazingly tasty gelatinous pile of food. Gabriel said I should just dig in to it with my hands, and he was right. I tore the segments apart, vertebrae by tiny vertebrae, and nibbled all the goodness off each piece.

For dessert, we got our fave, the apricot honey cornbread with bacon and maple ice cream. We also tried that night's new dessert, the peach upside down cake. Very good, but it was no match for the cornbread. We had a 375 ml of Moscato d'Asti as well.

Again, a truly fantastic meal. If you haven't been, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Weekend Eats

My birthday was Friday. Needless to say, I ate a lot of good food over the weekend.

Friday, Lunch - 'Za at the office

We ordered up 2 large Hot Lips pizzas (one was cheese, for the vegetarians, the other was their tasty housmade pepperoni for the meat eaters). For wines, we had:
  • 1990 Bert Simon Serrig Wurtzberg Riesling Auslese
  • 1992 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon "Eisele Vineyard"
  • 1997 Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico
  • 1998 V. Girardin Pommard "Clos des Lambots"
  • 1998 V. Girardin Gevrey-Chambertin "Les Champeaux" (corked)
  • 1998 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco "Ovello"
  • 1999 McKinlay Pinot Noir "Special Selection"
  • 2001 Anne Gros Vosne-Romanee "Les Barreaux" (corked)
Friday, Dinner - Le Pigeon

New place in town. I'd been hearing good things. Old sous chef at Gotham. Etc etc. Let's just cut to the chase, this was one of the best meals I'd had out in some time. Here's the rundown of what my dining companions and I shared...
  • Mixed green salad with a lovely buttermilk dressing
  • Foie Gras
  • Flat Iron Steak with Marrow Crostini
  • Squab with duck fat potatoes
  • Burger (w/ pickled onions and slaw), also with duck fat potatoes
  • Chocolate sea salt tart with mint pesto
  • Grilled peach with goat cheese ice cream
  • Cornbread "cake" with apricots, bacon, and maple ice cream
Honestly, it was truly amazing. Word is the brunch is killer too (see Sunday, breakfast a little further down the post)

Friday, drinks - Gilt Club


Faithful readers know if my love for the Moscow mule. Gilt Club has it on their menu. We go for drinks after dinner. Mmm.

Saturday, breakfast - Di Prima Dolce

Lucky for me, Di Prima's once-a-month Zeppoli Saturday is the day after my birthday. I go, accompanied by a number of friends. We eat lots of Zeppoli. I'd say, in total, we had to have eaten close to 15 orders (3 zeppoli per order). Coffee, too, of course.

Saturday, dinner - Lemongrass beef

We cook at home in Saturday. We make a few alterations to Guilty Carnivore's recipe for lemongrass beef (minor alterations, like extra garlic). We have Moscow mules, because they seem like they'd be a good match. On the side, M served up a little cucumber salad. All served with jasmine rice. Mmm, this is tasty. We'll be making this again, without a doubt.

Sunday, breakfast - Le Pigeon


We head back to what has become my new favorite restaurant, Le Pigeon. We get breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese, and some heavenly bacon) with salad and potatoes. Although we like dinner better, the brunch totally rocks. Stumptown French press and '05 Perrone Moscato d'Asti. Lovely.

Sunday, dinner - Chicken

Sounds simple, and that was the idea. It's hot out. We invite CC and Porkchop over for dinner. Basic chicken breast grilled over mesquite (Porkchop was grill master for the night). Salt and pepper only, no real marinate. Mango cilantro salsa on the side. Corn on the cob, green leaf lettuce salad with heirloom tomatoes and housemade vinaigrette (by CC). Baguette with homemade butter. A little wine. Nice night out on the back patio, under the stars, with friends. A good and fitting end to my birthday weekend.

Unfortunately, I was too busy enjoying myself to take any photos, so you'll have to let your imagination run wild.

One last thing, if you haven't yet been to Le Pigeon, you should go already. If you have, you should go back. So good!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dinner with CC

I had a lovely dinner last evening at CC's place in NW PDX. It had been way too long since we'd properly dined together (mostly my fault). So, she invited me over, and all I had to bring were dried currants, one whole nutmeg, and some hazelnuts.

We had:

  • A Dr. Loosen Riesling, I think it was Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese (2003 vintage? CC, correct me if I'm wrong).
  • A lovely salad with mixed greens, edible flowers, dried currants, goat cheese, and hazelnuts. Dressed with a moscato vinaigrette.
  • Cappellini with cream, butter, lemon zest, and a little freshly shaved nutmeg.
A simple, lovely dinner. Why don't we do this more often?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Zach Attack

It's Tuesday and nearing the noon hour. Lunch time has arrived, friends. I'm on SE Hawthorne and heading back to the office. Consensus is dogs. We usually hit the Dog House on Burnside, but today, I decide to surprise my co-workers with tasty treats from Zach's Shack.

Only two of us got dogs (the third person at the office brought a salad (?!?) for lunch instead).

Boss lady got a plain dog with extra hot mustard. Pretty good.

I go a bit more esoteric, a red hot (as Zach puts it, a "very spicy pork and beef red hot” sausage with hints of paprika and garlic) with cole slaw. I figure the two will be nice contrasts and foils for one another. It was SO satisfying. If you haven't had a slaw dog before, I highly recommend it. Mmmm.

I've including a photo of the whole dog, untouched, and one that shows off the beautiful stratigraphic layers. How lovely!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Taqueria Villanueva

Queen E, MA, and I were at the office earlier this week. The lunch hour was quickly approaching. We needed some food.

Our usual options (Dockside for salads, Russell St. BBQ for pulled pork) just didn't sound right. MA had seen a taco truck just a little way down Front Ave near those new hideous condos. We agreed that tacos sounded good.

We hoped into the car and headed that direction, but when we got to where MA was SURE the cart had been parked, it wasn't. What to do. We all had our hearts set on tacos, so we agreed to head down to SW 3rd, food cart row. We stopped at the first taco stand we saw, Taqueria Villanueva. Yep, they have a horse on the side of their cart.

Queen E wanted one chicken taco and one beef taco (I got her a machaca beef with some sort of mild green sauce). MA got a pastor burrito. I get a machaca taco a pastor taco. You can see photos of all, except the chicken taco, above and to the left.

The pastor taco, in my mind, was the hit, although the machaca wasn't bad. The burrito was big and hefty, and a good price.

As time goes on, I find that I prefer the light little flavor bomb tacos in their tasty tortilla shells to the big (often too big) and heavy gut bomb burritos. But that's just me. I think I'm on a tacos al pastor quest. Anyone have suggestions around town they'd like to share?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cooking with M

So, I'm behind a little on blog entries. I'm feeling a little motivated by CC's slew of posts on The Devouring Woman, so here is the first of 3 that will hopefully all appear in the next day or two.

This little entry will recount the tale of the first time M and I cooked together. We had talked about what to prepare for days, and finally settled on a favorite of ours, hangar steak. When we finally got over to New Seasons, they, of course, didn't have any. We opted, at the butcher's recommendation, for flat iron. The steak was prepped very simply: a good dose of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. The lovely piece of meat was then seared in a skillet on the stove before being taken out to a hot, mesquite charcoal fueled grill.

Meanwhile, M was inside sauteeing (heirloom star) squash with onions and zucchini (all from the Gardener's garden) while boiling some sweet corn.

The meal came together quite nicely, as you can see in the photos (I've somehow screwed up my focusing technique, need to work on that). The steak was covered in a lovely red wine, shallot pan sauce, the sauteed squash was garnished with a little fresh parsley, and the corn was served with a little home-made butter and sea salt. We also had a couple of nice cheeses, including the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (a cooperative venture of Vermont cheesemakers Cabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farmcheese) that won best in show at the recent American Cheese Society meeting.

For wine, we had a stunning 2000 (although technically n/v) Leon Barral Valiniere. Here's a nice little description of the wine from A&B Vintners...
In the Valiniere we have one of Southern France's greatest reds. It is 80% Mourvedre, from the healthiest vines imaginable, and 20% Syrah and is velvet in a bottle. Mourvedre always needs a bit of time but this is well worth the wait. The 2000, although still a baby, is sublime right now, seamless, i.e. no hard edges, with unbelievable depth of fruit and great length on the palate. Those of you who love Mourvedre should be involved with this wine.
And you all know me, I LOVE Mourvedre...

Fantastic meal, great times in the kitchen, an altogether lovely evening.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Amazing

I just posted a video on my dinner club's blog (click here to link) that EVERYONE should check out. It's unbelievable. Hurra Torpedo, a musical group from Norway covering Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' Did I mention that 2 of the 3 band members bang on kitchen appliances for sound?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Last (2) Supper(s)

Here I sit, coffee in hand on a Sunday morning, reminiscing about my last 2 meals at Pok Pok before their one month closure...

The lovely M and I went over to Pok Pok on Thursday. She had never been, and was leaving town Friday afternoon for California. It was our last chance to enjoy the pleasures of Pok Pok Version 1 (at least her last chance, read on, faithful reader, for more). We ordered nearly everything on the menu (save of the roasted bird). We had:
  1. Khao Soi Kai (Chiang Mai-style chicken noodles in a milk coconut soup topped with crispy yellow noodles, shallots, pickled mustard greens and served with a hot chili paste)
  2. Khao Man Som Tam (Papaya Pok Pok served with steamed coconut rice, sweet shredded pork and fried shallots)
  3. Muu Sateh (pork loin skewers marinated in coconut milk and turmeric, grilled over charcoal and served with cucumber relish, peanut sauce and grilled bread)
  4. the special, who's name I didn't get down (it consisted of pork ribs and a couple of dipping sauces)
  5. another special, a grilled ear of corn on the cob with white soy sauce (whose name I also didn't get)
  6. We each had a Cha Manao (Thai iced tea with fresh lime juice)
M and I both really enjoyed our meals, but agreed that the ribs were the weakest in the group. Not bad, just not as strong as the others (there is a bit of a discussion right now on portlandfood.org about these ribs, btw). I really wanted to get the khao niaw mamuang (the mango, coconut milk, and sticky rice dessert), too, but it wasn't on the menu. Was that ExtraMSG I saw chowing at the next table?

I am really going to miss Pok Pok in August. Where will I have my birthday meal now?!?

So, it's Saturday, M is in Cali, and I'm doing chores around the house, laundry, sweeping, and the like. Then, the most lovely idea occurs to me, hit Pok Pok one last time before they close...

I call Miss Tasty, Smooth Melon, Scoop, and Cheesy T, and get only voicemails, so I head down alone. I can only imagine that they are kicking themselves right now. Since it is only me, I limit my order to one item, my fave, Khao Man Som Tam. I must say, this is the best order I have ever gotten. The meat was incredibly moist and flavorful, and the fried shallots on top were quite crisp, creating a lovely juxtaposition of textures in my mouth. That, and a Cha Manao, and I couldn't have been happier.

Now for the painful, painful Pok Pok-free month of August.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New Music

A lot of you have been writing in and asking "Hey T, you have impeccable taste in music (and are attractive and modest, too). What are you listening to these days?"

Well, friends, here is a list of things I've put on my iPod in in the last month. I'll also put a little score (from 1 to 5) and maybe a brief comment so you know what I like.
  • Ms. John Soda - "Notes and the Like" - 3/5
    Good but not great. If you wanna hear a great Ms. John Soda album, but up "No P. or D." German Electro-pop.
  • The Raconteurs - "Broken Boy Soldiers" - 2/5
    Not getting much play. I much prefer the older Stripes material.
  • The Angels of Light - "The Angels of Light Sing 'Other People'" - ?/5
    I haven't given this enough of a chance. Great cover, and from Young God Records, so it has some potential.
  • The Unicorns - "Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?" - ?/5
    Again, needs a few more listens. I've been meaning to check out this lengendary band for a while. It's on my list of things to do today.
  • Low - "The Great Destroyer" - 3/5
    I really wanted to like this a lot, but find it only allright. Lots of great press, and I like it, I just don't love it.
  • CocoRosie - "La Maison de Mon Reve" - 3/5
    More of an interesting listen than something you go back to again and again. Interesting songs and found sounds, and some truly haunting vocals.
  • Thom Yorke - "The Eraser" - 4/5
    This one is growing on me. I really enjoy 7 or the 9 songs. The other 2 still haven't found their way into my heart. Imagine the most electronic of songs from Kid A, and then imagine an entire album of those songs, and you've got "The Eraser"
  • Couch - "Figur 5" - 4/5
    Instrumental German rock, with a touch of electronic tossed in. Great tunes and melodies. Somewhat repetitive in a very good way.
  • Beirut - "Gulag Orchestar" - 4/5
    interesting CD, lots of eastern European sounds, but coming from Zach Condon, a 19 year old kid from Albuquerque.
  • Destroyer - "Notorious Lightening and Other Works" - (3?)/5
    I really wanted to love this. I've been digging "This Night" and "Streethawk" a lot recently. This EP is a full band reworking of 6 songs from the keyboard heavy "Your Blues." It deserves a few more listens, but the older (and newer) stuff is treating me better.
  • Three Mile Pilot - "Three Mile Pilot" - (2?)/5
    I picked this up on the strength of and MP3 I'd dowloaded last year, 'On A Ship to Bangladesh.' That song is the true highlight of this 5 song EP. Not the the other tracks are terrible, they just pale in comparison to 'Bangladesh' (which you can download free from Epitonic, BTW).
  • Oval - "94 Diskont" - 3/5
    Very early example of glitchy IDM. These guys manually scratch and draw on CDs (most notable some Aphex Twin), recorded the skipping playback, and the work them into ambient beauty. Not the most exciting listen, but fascinating and enjoyable nonetheless.
  • Tapes 'n Tapes - "The Loon" - 3/5
    Good, straightforward indie rock. A little cliched, a little predictable, but a totally enjoyable listen.
And that's it. Any questions of comments, let me know.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Best Food Yet

One of the best things I saw on my trip to Atlanta...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Simpatica Sandwich Sunday

My oh my, what a lovely Sunday... I'll skip the World Cup wrap up, as I'm sure you've seen the results elsewhere, and focus on eating...

CC and MA head over to watch the game, and bring ingredients for breakfast sandwiches... English muffins, eggs, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, and butter. And, a big container of great orange juice... Mmm lovely.

After the game, my house is heating up, so we head to Sagittarius for a few beers. We also have chips, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese fries. So satisfying.

Then, I meet up with M for a glass of wine at Basta's. She has Soave, I have Lugana. The Soave is much better.

M and I then meet up with CC, MA, Smooth Melon, Miss Tasty, and "The Belly" at Simpatica for their Sunday sandwich night. So good! We drag along some wine, a 2003 Puligny Montrachet (the producer escapes me at the moment) and a bottle of 1997 Thomas Pinot Noir. We also order a 2004 Thomas Leithner Gruner Veltliner "Loess" from Austria. I like this quite a bit, although the rest of the table isn't convinced.

Here are the sandwiches we had. Many were shared...
  • Pulled Pork
  • Pork Chop on a Waffle
  • Chicken Salad
  • Ham and Brie
  • Salmon Cakes
  • BLT
  • something else
I thought everything was very good. Choice of fried gnocci or cole slaw on the side.

If anyone can fill in that last blank, please do (I think that it was Smooth Melon's sandwich)...

Allright, that's all for now. More later.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

When I saw "World's Largest Hot Dog and Bun" on the web site for Pioneer Courthouse Square's web site a few months ago, I was interested. It'd be overstating the truth to say that I was excited. But mildly interested, certainly so. If nothing else, it afforded me the opportunity to get out of the office for part of the afternoon...

I roped MA from the office into attending, and M agreed to meet me there as well. 11:30 in front of the Starbucks. Scoop from EP was there, too, but somehow, I missed him (sorry buddy!).

I bike over from the office, roll up to the square, and lock up my bike. Up the stairs to meet M. We head down the steps again to take in the wonder that is the World's Longest Hot Dog (WLHD from this point on)... I've substituted 'longest' for 'largest' because it is more accurate. Largest implies a proportionally correct 100 ft long dog, which this was not. Longest implies a regular girth dog, just stretched to 100 ft in length. At any rate, we get down to the WLHD, just to find out that my camera is out of batteries. We head to Rite Aid to remedy this problem. Back for a few photos, and then on to eating. Only problem is that the line is stupidly long. We agree not to wait.

In summation, yeah, it was a long hot dog. And, as the first paragraph says, interesting but not exciting. Now on to eating...

Seems like we should stick to the dog theme today. M argues for Hot Dog on a Stick in the mall. I've never been, there are apparently some special hats? As we make our way down to the mall, we run into MA from the office, who wisely councils us to go to Good Dog Bad Dog instead. I have a hard time choosing, and eventually make the wrong choice of the Oregon Smoky with grilled onions and garlic. A little bland, I should have gotten the hot Italian. M gets the mild Italian, and MA, um, I forget... I know it had grilled onions and some cheese on it. I think. We all get beers and sit outside on a lovely Friday afternoon...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Kelly Point Park

Yesterday afternoon, I biked out to Kelly Point Park. It didn't look like it was so far away on the map I had. It took me about 90 minutes to get out there. I did have to stop once and pump up one of my tires, but beyond that, it was all riding. Columbia Slough Trail, Peninsula Crossing Trail along Portland, then on a trail along Marine Drive, up to Kelley Point. Along the way, I had the lovely opportunity to see where our Spanish containers arrive (Terminal 6).

On the way home, I felt like I deserved a beer. I mean, it had ended up being a longer ride that I expected. A little back story is in order here... M's mom is in town. It appears likely they will, at some point, hit the Kennedy School. I know I am pretty close to the St. John's Pub, so I bike over there. Kind of an intentional Couvade Syndrome of bad dining. I get the Hammerhead Ale and a burger. I am also able to fill up my water bottle there, which is nice, since I am more or less out.

Which reminds me of another story... If the city is going to spend the money to put up a park, and the money to plumb and build water a fountain at the Smith Bybee Lakes Trailhead, it would be nice if it worked...

Overall, great ride. I was out for close to 3 and a half hours. I'm sure I'll do it again soon (but I'll bring more water next time around).

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pretty in Pink

I met up with M last night for dinner and drinks. I wore my new pink shirt with jeans. When I show up at her apt. at 6:30, she is also wearing a pink shirt and jeans. Weird...

We go to Wilf's. I get the burger. The menu claims "It's Great!" It is, in actuality, merely OK. M gets the chicken Caesar. Lettuce looks a little wilty. She makes me try one of the croutons. There are made from old cinnamon toast. What is that about!?! Also, super bad jazz band, who we talked about mercilessly before realizing the lady at the table next to us (clearly in earshot) was the drummer's girlfriend. Ouch!

We hit Saucebox afterward for a few more drinks, and a little more food for M, who couldn't stand to eat much of the salad.

Then to Voodoo for dessert. Spinning the proverbial roulette wheel, M asks for whichever doughnut is the freshest and newest out of the kettle. It ends up being a gigantic apple fritter. I get the blood filled. Neither of us are able to finish.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Take Your Bike To Work Day

With no sales calls scheduled for Friday, and clear skies for as far as the eye could see, this morning seemed like the perfect opportunity for my first bike ride to work. I get up at regular time, make coffee as usual, but skip the e-mail/pitchfork/blog session. I leave for work at 7:15, figuring on a 45 min ride.

As it turns out, Shift was offering free coffee and doughnuts to bikers on the Broadway bridge (a photo I did not take appears above and to the left), so I stopped off for a few minutes for a break, talked to some fellow bikers, and admired the view of the city from the bridge.

I got to work a few minutes shy of 8. Unfortunately, no one was there to witness my glorious arrival.

Biking home was a bit more difficult (or at least could have been). I cross the Broadway Bridge again, but instead of peddling my heart out on either the Interstate or Greeley Ave. hills, I caught the max in front of (the now defunct) Gotham Tavern. I only rode one stop, right up the hill, and got off in front of Kaiser. A quick ride back to the casa. Cool shower and cold beer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

EP - Dropped Foods

Here's a little preview photo of our Dropped Foods dinner. Watch the EP Blog for a report. Oh, we also have video which we hope to have up on EdiblePorn.com soon!

And yes, that is a canvas. We've 'created' a piece of art for each dropped course. We should have those on the web site soon too!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pork Pok

No, not a typo. I met CC at Pok Pok last evening. Instead of getting my usual (which CC got), I got Muu Sateh (pork loin skewers marinated in coconut milk and turmeric, grilled over charcoal and served with cucumber relish, peanut sauce and grilled bread). Mmm, tasty. Juicy, flavorful meat. Nice peanut sauce. Spicy cuke relish. Very enjoyable. As usual, we split the mango and sticky rice dessert.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Steak

I hate cooking for one. It's a bitch. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but I also love to share the experience. Tonight, table for one (unless you count Alma, who was trying to nibble at my food, in which case it'd be table for two)...

I have no clue what to make. I ask around at the office, and there are few good suggestions. Seems to me that the easiest thing to do is get a piece of meat and some veg for the side. I stop in at New Seasons on the way home from work, still not sure what I want.

I head to the meat counter first. I get hanger steak. Then to produce, where I get a shallot, some thyme, a lemon, and some kale (I also get half and half for Friday's coffee).

First, the meat. I consider grilling, but it's already 7, and the kitchen is still messy and needs cleaning before I cook. Grilling will take too long. I put some oil into a pan and heat it up. I coat the meat with salt and pepper. I coarsely chop the shallot. Both go into the pan with the whole thyme sprigs. Cook it on down.

For the kale (and this is a nod to my ex, ADC), I put some olive oil in another pan. Chop a few leaves of kale VERY coarsely. Put into pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Saute, but don't wilt. I like veggies to have a little crunch.

When the meat is done, I pull it out of the pan to rest. I then pour some of tonight's wine (2003 St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone) into the pan with the now caramelized shallots and sprigs of thyme. This simmers down until a bit thicker. I cut the steak, put the kale next to it on the plate, and drizzle the pan sauce on top.

Not too shabby. Ends up I put too much lemon juice on the kale. I cut the meat at the wrong angle. At least the sauce tastes good. I sit at the table to eat, listening to the blues (Lightnin' Hopkins, and at the very moment I type these words, 'Baby, Please Don't Go' is on...)

Worst Quesadilla Ever?

I went to La Calaca Comelona last night with M. The idea was that we would go to a place neither of us had been to before. And it was my job to figure out where. This place, with it's striking blue building and a sign with their name spelled out in bones seemed like an OK choice. I couldn't have been more wrong. FYI: La calaca comelona means 'the hungry skeleton.'

First, and this isn't really a big deal, they don't have burritos or chips/salsa. They say those foods aren't traditional, and they may be correct, but I kind of had a craving for those exact things. They had a number of entrees, all of which seemed over priced. We both ended up getting quesadillas. M got spinach and tomato, I got 'housemade' chorizo. Both ran about $6.00.

These were thick! Lots of cheese and fillings. Honestly, too much cheese. These looked more like plump omelets that quesadillas. The, they were greasy. Not sure what cheese they used (although I swear I saw 'mozzarella' on the menu), but there was too much. Neither of us finished. And, they forgot our appetizer.

So, after running an errand or two, we take a walk. And midway through the walk, my belly starts to rumble. I haven't felt worse so quickly after eating in a long time.

I'm warning you, just don't go.

Rating : 1 of 5

Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Bike

I bought a new bike yesterday afternoon. It's the first bike I've had for a while, and the first bike I've had that fits me properly in quite some time. Got it over at the Bike Gallery. Got lights, a lock, some repair type tools, and a water bottle. I should be all set to go...

I woke up extra early this morning (5-ish) and couldn't get back to sleep. I drank some coffee, bought new flip flops and FM, and then, with nothing better to do at 7:30 in the morning, decided to ride to St. Johns, and more specifically Cathedral Park (I've never been before).

The ride took about an hour and a half total, including a quick stop at the park to admire the river and the St. Johns Bridge.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Eating with the Parents

My folks were in town last week. Here's a sampling of what we ate...

Autentica:
Since it was Thursday, most of us had posole. My mother had short ribs. We shared a cactus salad, some chorizo and cheese, and tacos. Everything was OK. I'm sticking by my previous statement that the way to go is tacos al pastor with beer at the bar.

Fire on the Mountain:
My folks loved the wings. I had the spicy peanut pasta with chicken. They had wings (medium sauce, I convinced them not to get El Jefe). We were there on a Friday for lunch. It was packed and loud, but really good.

Apizza:
The folks meet ADC. We eat the best pizza in Portland (the Apizza Amore). Also, Cesar salad. Mmmm. Everyone is VERY happy with this meal (has anyone ever been unhappy at Apizza?!?)

New Seasons:
We need a light lunch after a morning of fixing things around my old house. New Seasons makes pretty good sandwiches. Kettle chips and sodas. We get them to go and eat at my pad. Me: curried chicken salad. Mom: roast beef. Dad: tuna salad (I think, but I may have this all wrong).

Pix:
Lunch was late, so we don't have a proper dinner. We do, however, get dessert after the "Shanghai Tunnels" tour. Pix is so tasty! Passion fruit macaroon, the amalie, torte, apple tarte, coffee.

Simpatica:
Brunch. It's good. I don't think it's great. I may have built it up too much in my head before going. I got the bbq sandwich.

Dinner at Home:
My folks want to eat at home one night. A number of tasty cheeses with crackers (the ADC made me swear to put a picture of her favorite cracker on this blog, you'll see it to the left). Butter lettuce with homemade buttermilk dressing (buttermilk from the butter I made). Bread and homemade butter. Penne with tomato basil cream sauce and sausage. Sorbet with strawberries and dark chocolate shortbread. Wine.

Bon Temps:
After a trip to Home Depot, we need some food. Po boys at Bon Temps do the trick. Boylan Black Cherry Soda, chaurice, softshell crab, pork tenderloin, cole slaw, potato salad. Mmm.

Russell Street BBQ:
Last night in town. Something casual. BBQ fits the bill. I like Russell Streets vinegar sauce. Pulled pork all around. Lots of sides. Folks agree it's a bit different than in the south, but they like it...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Merritt hawks Cesar

I was watching TV the other night. The Magnetic Fields' song "I Think I Need a New Heart" from '69 Love Songs' was in a commercial for Cesar Dog Food. Huh?

Stephen Merritt, what gives?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

PFO's Eastside Hot Dog Crawl

After months (probably years) of lurking over at PortlandFood.org, I finally signed up for one of their events, a hot dog crawl. The plan? Hit 5 or 6 important hot dog spots on the eastside, roughly from south to north. Here was the preliminary schedule... Otto's Sausage Kitchen, Zach's Shack, Nick's Famous Coney Island, the Dog House on Burnside, Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage, and Roakes #6. Not a bad line up. I'm bringing a knife, my camera, a small notebook, and cash. This should be a lot of fun!

I get to Woodstock a bit early and check out bikes at the Bike Gallery. I really need a bike! Then over to...

Otto's Sausage Kitchen and Meat Market
4138 SE Woodstock
Our first stop. We figure out a couple ground rules first... One person pays and we all settle up at the end. We order a few dogs and share. Who wants to eat 6 whole dogs anyway (or more, if you want to try more than one at each place)? Bonus points to Otto's for having a grill.

At Otto's, we get a plain hotdog and a pork sausage. Both good, cooked over a grill (see photo). I taste them both with no toppings so as not to bias one dog over another. The plain dog is OK. Fluffy bun, not much snap in the skin, some good char off the grill...

In my book, the pork fares much better. A touch more char, firmer and spicier than the plain dog, and good marbling inside. Tasty.

To drink, a bottle of Lagunitas Censored Ale.

Decent and plentiful outdoor seating, but on the street (although there wasn't too much traffic).

Zach's Shack
4611 SE Hawthorne
I'd heard about Zach's for years as being THE spot for dogs in Portland, but hadn't ever been. Here, we get a plain red hot and a dog with chili and slaw (like in the old days in the south)...

The red hot is spectacular (and I don't mean to give away the ending here, but this is the best dog of the day). Good snappy skin, spicy and flavorful.

The chili slaw dog is OK. The slaw is good and the dog is good, but we all agree that the chili is lacking. Not meaty or saucy enough, and could use a little ketchup infusion. But good overall.

To drink, a glass of Lompoc C-Note IPA.

Seating was nice, a small but ample patio with a few picnic tables out back.

The Dog House
2845 E Burnside
We're here for Chicago style kosher dogs. The dogs are big, and people are getting worn out, so we get 2 dogs and cut them into thirds (although we also get a chili cheese dog and a beer sausage later too). For my money, these are the best toppings. The dog is good, thick, juicy, and tasty.

To drink, a bottle of Henry Weinhard's root beer.

I've always been a big fan of the Dog House's deck, but today they were doing some repairs. The sound of a circular saw and the occasional breeze full of sawdust were a little offputting.

By this point, we are all full and sunburned (at least I am. Why didn't I accept the offer of sunscreen at Otto's?!?). We make the Dog House our final stop. My final take on the day? I'd like to see Zach's dogs, grilled at Otto's, with toppings from the Dog House.