Friday, November 20, 2009

Bread and Ink Cafe

Restaurant: Bread and Ink Cafe
Location: 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Date: November 19th, 2009
Ordered: Provolone Bacon Basil Sandwich (with French Onion Soup)
Cost: $10.75

The Bread and Ink Cafe is a small joint on Hawthorne Boulevard, and doesn't immediately catch the eye. Step into the inside, however, and you're treated to a fun little cafe with a friendly staff and a bunch of charm.

Looking over the menu, I thought I'd try the delicious-sounding Provolone Bacon Basic Sandwich, with the French Onion Soup. Of course, I got to make this decision while eating the delicious free bread they gave us when sitting down. (Note: nothing makes a better first impression than free food.)

My food came pretty quickly, and this is where lunch went from good to great. That sandwich was like a grilled cheese sandwich, but with provolone, some excellent bacon, and some herbs cooked inside. It was amazingly delicious. I wanted more when I was done!

So go check it out. It's an expensive sandwich, so I won't be eating it too often, but it was a delicious treat in a neat little cafe.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Restaurant: Nosh
Location: 2030 SE 7th, Portland, OR 97214
Date: October 9th, 2009
Ordered: BLT
Cost: $6.50

I have fallen in love!

Well, I've fallen in love with a sandwich. Nosh is a sandwich place just a few blocks away from where I work and it's a favorite of the staff here. They've got to be putting something in their BLT because it's so darn delicious. I've taken to eating them several times a week. I think about the BLT when I'm not eating it. When I'm out for a walk... I'm really just daydreaming about the BLT.

It's that good. Seriously.

So give Nosh a try. Try the BLT. (The other sandwiches are good, too, I hear.) You'll probably even run into me there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Restaurant: Nostrana
Location: 1401 SE Morrison, Portland, OR
Date: September 28nd, 2009
Ordered: Insalata Nostrana
Cost: $9.00

I ate at Nostrana for a work meeting. It's got a great location in Southeast Portland with a good parking lot and easy accessibility. The inside is clean (but not sterile-feeling) with windows that make the place light up naturally.

Looking over the menu I hit on an instant problem that I often face when dining out: I don't speak whatever language they choose to use, so I often have little idea what I'm facing. I ended up going with the Insalata Nostrana, mainly because I could figure out that it was a salad.

The food arrived and I was quite pleasantly surprised. It was a wonderful salad with a house dressing that made it an entirely enjoyable meal. I'm not sure it's a place that I would frequent (a $9 salad was one of the less expensive items on the menu) but I was quite satisfied with what I had.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bocci's on 7th

Restaurant: Bocci's on 7th
Location: 1728 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR
Date: September 22nd, 2009
Ordered: Soup & Salad
Cost: $6.75

Bocci's, for me, is just a quick walk away from work, so I went there recently on a recommendation. I found a small, cozy restaurant with a personable and enthusiastic staff waiting. Sitting down at an empty table, I looked over the menu and - looking for a light lunch but finding mainly pastas - ordered the soup (a minestrone) and salad.

The order arrived quickly and I ate the bread and salad first while the soup cooled down. It was a good, small salad - exactly what I was looking for. The soup, once cooled, was also fairly delicious.

I don't have much to say about Bocci's; it was a good and I'll definitely go again (if nothing else, due to proximity.) It's worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood.

Aroy Thai Cuisine

Restaurant: Aroy Thai Cuisine
Location: 506 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204-2102
Date: September 21st, 2009
Ordered: Pad Thai
Cost: $6.95

I ended up at Aroy Thai Cuisine almost by accident, but I'm going to say that I'm glad I did. From the outside the restaurant is almost invisible; but for a small sign and a door tucked away from the street one wouldn't even know it was there. The inside presumes even less; it comes off as quite literally "a hole in the wall", with very modest furniture.

Let me also say that Aroy Thai Cuisine is definitely focused more on flavor than on presentation. When my Pad Thai arrived it was not impressive looking - not by any stretch of the imagination. The lime was literally a slice of lime, and the two shrimp that are traditionally included were buried within the meal.

But, and this is the most important part, it was delicious. Truly, honestly, good - and I wolfed it down faster than I'd have preferred to. It was a tattered book on a forgotten library shelf that you pick up, almost by accident, and find a magical story within.

So rest assured that I'll be going back. Maybe I won't go when I'm looking for atmosphere, but when I'm hunting for that hidden gem, you'll find me there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Genie's Cafe

Restaurant: Genie's Cafe
Location: 1101 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202
Date: September 16t, 2009
Ordered: BLT
Cost: $7.50

I ended up at Genie's in SE Portland having lunch with a friend. We went there with no idea of what to expect, only that "it came recommended". We sat down in the eclectic restaurant - and I say "eclectic" meaning "a bit of Portland hipster with a splash of Portland hippy thrown in for good measure" - and I perused the menu, immediately deciding on my old favorite, the BLT.

A short while later my BLT arrived with the side salad (note: no honey mustard dressing!) The salad was good enough, with delicious bleu cheese dressing, but the BLT was phenomenal. It was just the right amount of thick, juicy bacon without making me worry about having a heart attack on my way back to the office. The bacon was cooked "just right", the bread was nice and soft (versus overly toasty), and the lettuce and tomato were present but not overwhelming. Basically it was everything I look for in a delicious BLT. I was happy.

That recommendation that Genie's came with? It stands.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nicola's Pizza

Restaurant: Nicola's Pizza
Location: 4826 N Lombard St, Portland, OR
Date: August 13th, 2009
Ordered: Nicola's Sausage and Peppers
Cost: $11.99

Looking at it from the outside, Nicola's seems like a somewhat run-down establishment, unimpressive in every possible capacity. Yet, inexplicably, the first time I saw it I thought, "I want to find out what's in there." I wasn't sure what to expect; I figured some bar & grill-type pizza joint or some such. Was I in for a surprise!

Walking into Nicola's is like opening to the door to a beat-up car and a well-kept, fine leather interior with all the latest comforts inside. There's a definite Italian theme (or perhaps just a theme that says "Italy") and it's a clean, pleasant, family dining establishment that actually has some class.

The menu is mostly pastas and pizza - kind of like the Olive Garden, but smaller, quieter, and with fewer birthdays. I ended up ordering "Nicola's Sausage and Peppers", which was essentially spaghetti but with large chunks of italian sausage and peppers mixed in.

And it was good. VERY good.

So that's all I have to report on Nicola's: it's a surprise, and a very good one at that. You can bet I'll be adding it to my "list of local restaurants to revisit"!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dang's Thai Kitchen

Restaurant: Dang's Thai Kitchen
Location: 670 N State St, Lake Oswego, OR 97034
Date: July 15th, 2009
Ordered: Pad Thai
Cost: $9.00

Always on the prowl for good Pad Thai, I had dinner the other day at Dang's Thai Kitchen in Lake Oswego. A nice little place, I was immediately impressed by Dang's upon entering; it has a modern, classy feel to it - yet it's still pleasantly small, quiet, and inviting.

A period of time after ordering, I noticed that it was taking an unusually long time for our food to arrive. Just about the time I started to get truly hungry, we were delivered an appetizer plate of asian spring wraps, compliments of the house. It seems that we weren't the only ones to notice the delay. Well handled on their part!

The meal itself was quite delicious. Flavorful, plentiful, and nice to look at, everything was done well from the presentation to the food itself. I was quite impressed by Dang's, and will definitely go back again - given the opportunity.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Sultan Cafe

Restaurant: The Sultan Cafe
Location: 1500 NW 18th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Date: July 2nd, 2009
Ordered: Lamb Gyro
Cost: $6.99

Through extremely good fortune, I was introduced to The Sultan Cafe by a coworker. Upon entering, I went up to the counter and ordered the Lamb Gyro from a friendly Turkish gentleman that I'm guessing was the owner. I paid, and we managed to find seats despite how crowded the place was. So far everything seemed good, but I wasn't overly impressed.

Then our food arrived, and I took a bite of my gyro. That moment changed everything. Even thinking about that bite is making my mouth water and crave yet another gyro from The Sultan Cafe. It was that delicious!

I don't know what they did to it, but the lamb was so soft, tender, juicy, and flavorful that it literally was the best thing to happen to my mouth in months. My only regret is how quickly I devoured it because I wanted it to last longer.

I will definitely be going back to the Sultan Cafe, time and time again. I'm not sure I want to order anything else there, though, since that gyro was so amazingly good. It's a conundrum, that's for sure!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

La Isla Bonita

Restaurant: La Isla Bonita
Location: 7670 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062
Date: June 2nd, 2009
Ordered: Taco Salad
Cost: $6.95

I'm going to start out by saying that I have a very soft spot for Mexican restaurants that - in addition to tortilla chips and salsa - aslo bring a small bowl of refried beans in which to dip aforementioned chips. La Isla Bonita, I found, is such a place and therefore is automatically working from a favorable position.

I ordered the Taco Salad (not a huge surprise) with chicken and no guacamole. Perhaps it was due to being the only customer in the store, but the food was prepared amazingly quickly - though I still managed to comsume a fair portion of the chips beforehand.

Tragically, the food was a tad flavorless. It wasn't bad, per se, and I've certainly had worse, but it wasn't really noteworthy either. I still ate it, I still enjoyed it, but I wouldn't drive across town for it.

The service was alright there, too. For being the only customer, it seemed that I was quite short (or out) of water quite often. The glasses were small, but I guess that's how things are. The decor of the restaurant seemed to replicate the generically inoffensive decor found in most small Mexican restaurants.

In all, La Isla Bonita wasn't bad. If it were within walking distance, I might frequent it. However, it's in Tualatin and I have rare occasion to go out there, so I probably won't head back.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Signal Station Pizza

Restaurant: Signal Station Pizza
Location: 8302 N Lombard, Portland, OR 97203
Date: May 11th, 2009
Ordered: 1 slice Pepperoni Pizza
Cost: $3.50

On a whim today I walked past Signal Station Pizza and gave in to my craving. I walked into the former gasoline station (the pumps still warn of "leaded fuel") through the open bay door and ordered pepperoni pizza. The gal behind the counter warmed it up and handed it to me.

The pizza itself was large and New York-style. It was decent, but something about it seemed a little off. I love supporting the little local restaurants, and I'm sure I'll be back, but it just wasn't the best pizza I've ever had. I'm not sure if the crust was too flavorless or the toppings a little bland, but it just seemed to lack that certain something that pizza ought to have.

I don't want to say bad things about the place, though. The gal behind the counter was helpful and friendly, they deliver pizza around St. Johns on a bicycle on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and it's just got a lot of personality. I'll definitely give it another shot.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Restaurant: Pambiche
Location: 2811 NE Glisan, Portland, OR 97232
Date: April 2tth, 2009
Ordered: Revoltillo de Chorizo (Cuban Sausage Scramble)
Cost: $9.50

For breakfast Saturday I found myself with a group at Pambiche, a Cuban restaurant in NE Portland. (Incidentally, I used to live 10 blocks form where it now is, so I'm somewhat familiar with the neighborhood.) Even in NE Pambiche stands out as a colorful place with its walls covered in bold primary colors and small dining room packed with people.

Given my traditional conservative taste, I decided to try something that didn't sound too exotic but still sounded fun. I settled on the Revoltillo de Chorizo, an egg/sausage/pepper scramble with a delicious-sounding description. I'd also like to thank the wait-staff at this point for not making me try to pronounce the name of the dish, as I'd have butchered it.

The plate arrived arranged in a most appetizing way. But even more than that, the meal was delicious. (Though I'll admit, I tend to say that about pretty much every place I eat. Do I just magically find the awesome items on the menu?) It really was a mixture of eggs, sausage, peppers, and a few other spices combined on a plate and served with a toast and garnish. Yet, now that I typed it out, it really was better than it sounds.

As breakfasts go, I'm quite happy to have been introduced to Pembiche and I'm definitely looking forward to trying it again. Check it out!

Note: The Cuban French Toast looked delicious as well. I may have to try that next time!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thai Cottage

Restaurant: Thai Cottage
Location: 8620 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203
Date: April 10th, 2009
Ordered: Pad Thai
Cost: $8.50

Finally had the chance to try Thai Cottage, another local hole-in-the-wall Thai place near my home. It's a small restaurant, with probably only about 8 tables - but it's these little places that so frequently turn out well.

In an incredible act of originality, I ordered the Pad Thai. I'm going to say that the presentation of the meal was amazing; it really looked like they put some thought into it. In terms of flavor, the meal was also quite delicious. If I were giving Ebay-style feedback here, it would be "A++++++ would eat again!!!".

I enjoyed my meal thoroughly. With the pleasant ambiance of the place, it was easy to feel relaxed and just enjoy it.

What was doubly impressive was the dessert they brought us after the meal. It was a slice of pineapple with a small bowl of a sugar/salt mix.

The whole Thai Cottage experience was filled with "yum" and I would definitely go back again!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Portland Saturday Market: Springroll Kitchen

Restaurant: Springroll Kitchen at Portland Saturday Market
Location: 108 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
Date: April 5th, 2009
Ordered: two Spring Rolls
Cost: $6.00

On Sunday I walked my favorite loop, the eastside esplanade/waterfront park loop. One of the nice things about doing it in the warmer months is that Portland's Saturday Market is open.

The Saturday Market food court has some excellent food, but nothing is better than the spring rolls you can buy at Springroll Kitchen. For $3 each, you get a gigantic deep-fried spring roll filled with all sorts of goodness and a dipping sauce that takes the whole package from good to great. I've no picture of it to put up, but I assure you that it's mouth-wateringly delicious!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

McMenamins Barley Mill Pub

Restaurant: McMenamins Barley Mill Pub
Location: 1629 SE Hawthorne, Portland, OR 97214
Date: March 27th, 2009
Ordered: Falafel Wrap
Cost: $6.75, though I ended up with several drinks attached to that.

So I ended up at the Barley Mill for dinner for a friend's birthday, and hadn't yet eaten dinner. After pondering the menu, I decided to try something new - and hopefully relatively healthy - and ordered the Falafel Wrap (with the salad instead of the fries). I can safely say that it was delicious.

It was also reasonably priced. However, since this was a McMenamins the usual caveats apply. Food and beer are both good, but anything with alcohol in it is vastly overpriced for what you get. Furthermore, on mixed drinks (such as a whiskey and coke) they are notoriously stingy with their portions. Consider this to be fair warning!

Back to the food, though. The wrap was big, it was delicious, and I felt like I'd eaten a healthy, hearty meal by the time I was done with it. I would highly recommend the Falafel Wrap for anyone stopping by the Barley Mill; you won't regret it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blue Sage Cafe

Restaurant: Blue Sage Cafe
Location: 21900 Willamette Dr, West Linn, OR 97068
Date: March 13th, 2009
Ordered: Quesadilla Appetizer, Chicken Caeser Salad, and a "Blue Sage" Margarita
Cost: it's complicated...

On a lark my friend and I ended up at the Blue Sage Cafe in West Linn, where a third friend had (coincidentally) just mentioned that they were having a promotion on their food. We were seated and opened our menus to find this:
Your Price is Right

In deference to the economy, The Blue Sage Cafe is pleased to offer our guests a special opportunity.

Just pay full price for beverages and you decide what to pay for your meal. It is that simple. Your server will give you all the details and guide you through the process.

Today... Your Price is the Right Price at Blue Sage Cafe!

One entree and full-price beverage purchase per person, dine-in only.

Let me be the first to say that it's hard to beat the "pay what you think your meal was worth" offer. And - oh no! - I had to buy a drink. It was a rough deal.

We ended up splitting the quesadilla while waiting for our third friend to show up. The portion was surprisingly small but I took one bite and was impressed. Maybe I just don't get out all that often, but there was flavor! The portion was the same with my drink: small, but delicious.

For the main course I ordered a chicken caesar salad, which I'd like to go on record as saying that it's probably the most overpriced item on a menu (besides soda pop.) Lettuce, chicken, dressing, and a couple croutons... and I defy you to name a restaurant that doesn't charge at least $9 for that combo. Nonetheless, in an attempt to eat healthier, I stuck with the salad (even after a warning that "the salad's not that big" from the waitress.)

The salad was, in fact, tiny... yet it also ranks as one of the most delicious chicken caesar salads I've ever had. Some flavor they put in the dressing took it from good to great. It didn't take me long to finish the salad; the portion was tiny and each bite was awesome. (Speaking of the portion size: I'm not exactly starving to death, so portions that can't feed a small country are okay with me.)

I've spoken of the food, but let me say this of the service. Our wait staff was friendly, prompt, and attentive. I couldn't have asked for a better experience, and I left feeling great about this place.

Let me wholeheartedly recommend the Blue Sage Cafe. Even without the promotion, the atmosphere was good, the food was delicious, the service was excellent, and I would definitely go back.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies

Restaurant: Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies
Location: 18625 Hwy 43, West Linn, OR 97068
Date: March 3rd, 2009
Ordered: Italian Sausage Sandwich and a side of Kettle Chips
Cost: $6.95 + $1.25

I was running some errands in West Linn when I remember hearing about this place. I was hungry, it was right next to where I was, so I decided to duck in and give it a shot.

Looking at the menu, I decided on the "Italian Sausage", which is described as "Italian sausage grilled with onions, melted provolone cheese, and smothered in tomato sauce". It sounded delicious, so I ordered that (and grabbed a bag of New York Cheddar Kettle Chips.) Well, the chips were quite good but the sandwich... wasn't. I think maybe I ordered the wrong thing, because several other items on the menu looked and smelled delicious.

Would I go back? Yes, I would. The atmosphere was quite nice, and apparently on Monday nights certain sandwiches are half-off, which would be awesome. I think I'll go again sometime and order a philly cheesesteak. We'll see...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Alibi

Restaurant: The Alibi
Location: 4024 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227
Date: March 2nd, 2009
Ordered: Taco Salad (with no olives)
Cost: $9.95

Sitting in the restaurant/bar area, the atmosphere is almost, for lack of a better work, overwhelming. The tiki bar theme is everywhere, or at least in the part of the restaurant we were in. There's another part that apparently has a lot of karaoke going on, but we were quite happy to sit as far from the screeching as possible.

I ordered the Taco Salad for two reasons. The first is that it sounded pretty decent. The second is that it was served in a genuine crispy tortilla shell, which is a habit I try to support. After taking forever to arrive (I might have just been hungry) I was served my salad with a huge side of sour cream and salsa. I mixed in both, and I devoured it. The salad was delicious!

The Alibi was surprisingly good and definitely had a lot of atmosphere. If you haven't been there, you should check it out one evening. I recommend it!

Phathaya Thai

Restaurant: Phathaya Thai
Location: 9440 N St. Louis Ave, Portland, OR 97203
Date: February 26th, 2009
Ordered: Pad Thai (Lunch Menu)
Cost: $6.95

Living near Phathaya Thai, I decided to wander over there for lunch. Not being a fan of terribly spicy food (which I find most Thai food to be), I usually order Pad Thai wherever I go because a) it's almost universally delicious, and b) it gives me a nice yardstick against which to measure various restaurants.

Phathaya Thai is a fun little place. There are probably six tables total in the restaurant, though they seem to do fairly brisk to-go business. After sitting down a lovely lady came, took my order, then brought me egg flower soup (a delightful surprise.) The meal came quickly enough and, despite my dietary intentions, I finished off the plate because it was delicious.

Would I go there again? Yes! It's close to where I live, the lunch menu is incredibly affordable, and the Pad Thai was yummy!

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I like to dine out, and this is my attempt to track and comment on food across Portland. My tastes are unique, but, for reference, I'm not a "spicy food" person, I am omnivorous, and I should probably be watching my diet.