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.