List of Restaurants I Visited in 2009 (underlined = first time)
Newest reviews are at the top of the list.
- Screendoor, Portland, OR (Jan. 22): I don't know why we don't go here more often, really. I mean, I've never had a bad experience. Well, ok once, when the boneless chicken breast in the chicken and waffles was a little dry. But otherwise, this place keeps hitting home runs with me on all counts: food, drink, music, ambience. This time, Nic and I met Betsy and Steve for dinner. Steve and I both had the beef brisket, a recent addition to the regular menu. The portion was huge, and the meat was really tender and flavorful. Sauce served on top, underneath a mountain of fried onions. Potato salad on the side. Nic got the fried chicken, her standard, and I'm happy to report that the bite I stole was plenty juicy.
- Simpatica, Portland, OR (Jan. 18) [BRUNCH]: Apparently Saturday brunch is new, although they've been doing Sunday brunch for a while. Click on the website and you'll see a pic of their version of fried chicken and waffles, which I ordered and heartily approve, raisins and all (and I hate raisins). Betsy suggested we meet here, and the line isn't too long at 9am (the line actually doesn't exist if your friends get there first and lie to the hostess that you're just parking the car and will be right in). We had a private table, in the brightly-lit room full of mostly banquet tables for family-style seating. Our server was excellent. I just wish we hadn't been so hung over from the night before.
- Collosso, Portland, OR (Jan. 17): We made some last-minute plans to meet a couple friends here for some dinner; Nic suggested the place (she's been here, I hadn't). I loved the ambiance as soon as I walked in: dark-colored walls, candles, cocktails named after porn stars, and Thievery Corporation playing in the background. However, there was one server for about 30 customers, so we didn't get our food for about 90 minutes. Apart from the slow service, I liked the place. Good for mellow conversation.
- Tin Shed, Portland, OR (Jan. 13): Normally I love this place, but for brunch, and in warm weather. Maybe it was the cold that did it this time (we sat inside, and sustained a chilly blast every time the door was opened), but I wasn't that impressed. The dinner menu is primarily sandwiches and burgers, and the turkey sandwich I had was great, but frankly I'd rather get a turkey sandwich at New Seasons and eat in comfort at home. Or wait until warmer weather.
- E-San Thai, Portland, OR (Jan. 8): Nic has a theory that every Thai place in town does at least one thing excellently, but never everything you order. Here, we found, it's the fresh garden rolls. Even though they're made with tofu, which I normally despise, these are fantastic, and are served with excellent peanut sauce drizzled over the top. We also split some Tom Kha, which was a little on the sour side (we like more toward sweet), and a red curry dish ("Evil Prince") that was delicious. We checked out the N. Denver location, which had several huge, detailed murals on the wall, and wasn't crowded. The noise from the football game on the bar TV was a little distracting.
- Pause, Portland, OR (Jan. 6): There was a menu revision in late 2008 that resulted in, among some other changes, the removal of the steak. This was a sad day, and so far I've only once visited and seen the management make good on the promise that it would be brought back often as a special. The appetizer menu has been beefed up quite a bit as well, but this is still a dinner destination for us. On this visit, I had the spinach salad with grilled steak on the side -- this salad comes with a deep-friend ball of goat cheese, which is pretty much heaven. We also tried the pickle plate, which at 2 bucks a person is a mouth-watering steal.
- Miss Delta, Portland, OR (Jan. 1): On our fourth visit here, on New Year's Day, the restaurant was packed, being one of the only ones in the neighborhood open for business. We weren't in a rush. The staff was frenetic but attentive when they could be, and during our 45-minute wait at the bar, a couple more came on-shift to deal with the unexpected, but cheerfully chatty crowd. They've updated the cocktail menu to include a version of the whiskey-ginger drink I always order there, and the dinner menu has also been updated. The new sweet potato fries appetizer comes with a side of applesauce for dipping, which I loved, but I had to salt the fries to balance the flavors. My side Caesar salad had the most powerfully garlic-laden and delicious dressing I've ever tasted, and the quality of the fried chicken, which is always good, may have surpassed that of Screen Door's. Nic had the tasty black and bleu steak salad. Alt-country and AC/DC played in the background. Great dinner.