Abbe & Jebby Eat Portland

Two girls eating their way through Portland's restaurants, one critique at a time!
~ Saturday, September 22 ~
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Más Cornadas Da El Hambre!


Hunger strikes again! Read on to find out how our brave foodies, Abbe and Jebby, have conquered the beast!

(Please forgive the not-so high quality photos, the lighting is a bit moody at Matador!)

Jebby’s Meal: Pozole with chicken

Jebby’s Drinks: Mojito and Tamarind Margerita

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that pozole is just a food that I’m not that into. Hominy, garlicky pork broth, shredded chicken, chilies, lime… all these things are things that I enjoy greatly. Yet, when you put them together, the   whole is somehow less than the sum of its parts. The pozole at Casa del Matador was actually pretty solid, I just wasn’t blown away. The broth was moderately flavorful, full of tender hominy and piled high with shredded chicken, chunks of creamy avocado and crunchy tortilla strips, but it was really just okay. I’m pretty sure that I think pozole in general is just okay – nothing to really write home about, but probably very comforting the morning after a long night of drinking or if you grew up on the stuff. 

I feel really bad giving the pozole a less than stellar review because our appetizers and Abbe’s food were so delicious, and a subsequent visit yielded an extremely tasty entrée. However, I think it is in the reader’s best interest for me to say that you should go to Casa del Matador, you should not order the pozole. There are far tastier and more delicious options (like the carne asada enchiladas) and unless you’re really into corn soup you’ll probably be disappointed when your friends get plates of tacos and enchiladas with steaming piles of fragrant beans and rice and you’re eating some meat broth with tortilla chips on it. I will, however, mention that the more I drank the tastier it became, but I suppose that’s true of all food.

The drinks at Casa Del Matador are something I can rave about. These people know all about tequila and most of their drinks are tequila-based. The mojito was good, but the tamarind margarita was absolutely stellar – refreshing, well-blended, unexpected. It came garnished with a cinnamon-sugar rim and got me positively schnockered. A+, would drink again.

Abbe and Jebby’s Appetizer: Spicy Fried Calamari

 

Who doesn’t like some fried squid? Jebby and I are seasoned calamari tasters, having eaten at every end of the fried squid spectrum. But when we tasted the Matador’s Calamari, all bets were off. Everyone knows that calamari has a specific rubbery texture that makes it unique, what a lot of people don’t know is that well made, fresh calamari can still have that rubbery texture, but can also be tender and buttery.

Our squid was melt in your mouth delicious with a crisp coating of flour and spices that created an inspiring combination of textures. The garlic aioli was like something out of a Gordon Ramsay fantasy, thick and creamy, absolutely bursting with flavor. I don’t think the plate lasted longer than 3 or 4 minutes before Jebby and I had obliterated any evidence of there ever having been food there. It was drool generating magic.

Abbe’s Meal: Mole Con Pollo

Abbe’s Drinks: White Peach Sangria and Blackberry Margerita

After reading the description of this meal on the menu, I needed look no further for what I wanted to try. I was absolutely giddy with excitement to get this food into my fundus. Watching the waitress carry my massive plate of steaming magic towards our table was like watching a moment from a romantic comedy where the two lovers finally reunite and everything is in slow motion with some sort of Celine Dion song playing in the background.

I immediately began piling my warm corn tortilla high with beans, rice and all the amenities. When it was time for the chicken I delicately took my fork to the tender meat and watched as it effortlessly fell off the bone. Before mixing it in with all my ingredients I took a blissful bite of my mole and chicken; the tasteplosion that followed was unlike anything I could fathom. The mole was sweet and spicy with an ethereal undertone of cinnamon and chocolate that swirled around the flavors of chilies and garlic. Combined with the velvety and juicy chicken that was cooked to perfection, I was practically drunk on the taste.

Added to my lovingly built taco, the mole and chicken were even more titillating when garnished with warm black beans, steaming Mexican style rice, sour cream, house made guacamole and unbelievably fresh pico. I had found the Spanish dish that I’d always dreamed of. The dish I’d dreamt of sharing over candlelight with Simon Baker, the dish I had only thought existed in a world where unicorns were a reality, the dish that Walt Disney himself couldn’t put into a cartoon fairy tale because the movie reel would explode.

And if that wasn’t epic enough to put me into a food induced coma, my white peach sangria was so flippin’ scrumptious I wanted to cry.

Just do yourself a favor and eat at Casa Del Matador. Nothing else in life matters.

Overall Review:

I spend most of my food related time thinking about Spanish dishes; rice, beans, slow cooked meats, melted cheeses and so on. All those sticky fumblings at other Spanish restaurants and I could only dream of getting out, getting anywhere, getting all the way to the Matador. Jebby and I discovered this little gem by accident, we were actually on our way to dine at a southern food restaurant owned by the person who previously owned the Delta Café, one of our favorite places to eat. When we drove by and saw 10-20 hipsters lining the outside of the building waiting for a table, we decided to put that dining experience on the back burner for now and happily drove across the street to the Matador, which had enticed us with the giant cow skull crowing it’s emblem and the moody lighting shining like a beacon from inside it’s burgundy draped windows.

Once inside we looked around in awe of the gorgeous décor and all around amazing interior of this new found treasure. Wooden paneled walls adorned with various bull and cow skulls, large floor to ceiling windows garnished in deep red and burgundy velvet drapes, antique chandeliers and unique light fixtures hanging above each table, a rustic fire pit in the middle of the room surrounded by a table and chairs, and lastly a huge bar lined to the ceiling with bottles of Tequila sparkling in the dim light and tinted by the stained glass mosaic of what looked like a sacred heart and another bull skull.

I just want to point out that the interior of this restaurant is how I wish the inside of my house looked. I want to live there.

Jebby and I were greeted by a friendly hostess and seated in a large booth. You get two menus, one for food and the other for Tequila. Casa Del Matador has on of the largest Tequila bars in Portland and they aren’t kidding around. The menu has three full pages of every Tequila they carry, prices ranging from $5 for a shot to $400 for a bottle. This visit was solely for the purpose of food review, but someday we vowed to return and have a Tequila tasting night.

We were blown away with how fresh the ingredients in our food were. The master minds behind the food at Matador create their own unique recipes that put a completely new spin on “tex-mex” and put a completely new feeling of satisfied in your belly. Every meal is preceded by a large bowl of hot tortilla chips and house made salsa, as much as you can eat.  The Matador even has a fresh sheet for each month that contains recipes using ingredients that are specifically in season at that time.

You too can enjoy the magical atmosphere and food of The Matador at one of their numerous locations including two in Portland, four in Washington, and one in Idaho. 

Casa Del Matador’s brilliant menu can be slobbered over at www.matadorrestaurants.com

Tags: Matador mexican food foodies fat mole portland oregon
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~ Friday, September 21 ~
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Saburo-Oh No

For this review, we’re going to do things a little differently. We both ate the same food, but we had very different opinions. Instead of separate reviews for each of our meals, we will each write an overall review of our experience. For the record, we both ordered miso soup and edamame and shared salmon sashimi, an alaskan roll, a spicy tuna roll, and a cucumber roll.

Jebby’s Overall Review

My family moved to Sellwood when I was eight years old, and the most consistent thing about this neighborhood has been the masses of hungry people lining up outside Saburo’s. Shitty Thai restaurants come and go, the space on the corner of 17th and Sherrett has been a thousand things while I’ve lived here, but the little sushi shop on the corner of Bybee and Milwaukie has endured, and so have the hordes of customers. Not rain, nor sleet, nor driving wind can keep them away – in the dead of winter or the middle of a heatwave, it doesn’t matter, there will always, without fail, be a line outside Saburo’s.

            So, you could say that this review has been seventeen years in the making. Honestly, the thing that makes Saburo’s so distinctive, their enduring line, is the very thing that has kept me away. When you see a line in front of a place, it usually means it’s good, but it also usually means a long wait. In our case, it was also a really unpleasant part of our dining experience. I expected friendly banter with the other customers waiting to dine, but Abbe and I were pushed and jostled, and when we got inside and saw how small the space was, it became a bit of a nightmare. The place was jam-packed full of people, and seemed short staffed. We were hurried to a corner and treated as though our presence was a nuisance.

            The décor of the restaurant was pretty awesome, with a full wall ukiyo-e style mural in the back. Unfortunately, the layout went beyond “leaves something to be desired.” We were crammed into the tiniest space possible and I could literally feel the next diner over breathing on my hand they were so close. I just don’t understand. The restaurant is obviously successful. If you have enough diners that you have a line of people outside every night waiting to eat there, you should consider expanding to a space where your diners can be comfortable and enjoy their company while they eat your delicious food.

I did happen to think the food was delicious. Abbe and I varied wildly in our level of gustatory enjoyment, but my overall opinion of the food was very favorable. Our appetizers, miso soup and edamame, were well-prepared and arrived hot, cooked well, and liberally seasoned. The sushi and sashimi we ordered were fresh as fresh can be. The salmon sashimi was the highlight of my meal. The chunks were admittedly a bit large, but the fish was beyond fresh, with just the right amount of unctuousness, and tasted as good naked as it did with a few scant drops of soy. It was the perfect accompaniment to the fresh cucumber rolls we ordered. They were liberally stuffed with cucumber matchsticks and wrapped in a thick layer of faintly vinegary rice. They were excellent for cutting through the richness of the salmon.  The Alaskan roll was ample and tasty, if not especially memorable. The spicy tuna roll, for me, was the only thing that wasn’t particularly delicious. The fish was fresh and tasted good, but the spicy tuna mixture was a bit bland, and I’m being kind. It really could’ve used a generous dose of soy or more spice. It didn’t have fabulous mouth-feel either… the spicy sauce had an almost watery texture that didn’t cling to the fish very well and was unpleasant on the palette.

Despite this one shortcoming, I felt the food was top-notch in quality and had obviously been prepared by someone who knows what they are doing. Will I return to Saburo’s? Maybe.  Like I’ve said before, a restaurant is a melding of food and atmosphere, and Saburo’s is seriously lacking in the atmosphere department. It’s also expensive. I’d expect that for the quality of the food, but the dining experience we had there was one of the worst in recent memory. I’m willing to sit in a shitty place to eat amazing food, and especially CHEAP amazing food, but there’s really no excuse for the lack of service and terrible atmosphere at such a successful restaurant.

Abbe’s overall review:

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed, Saburo’s. All this time Jebby and I have fantasized about visiting your alluring sushi bar, but the moment we walked through the doors I felt you were underwhelming.

The seating arrangements in this place suck. They’re all over the place and crowded and we were shoved into a tiny little booth like seat in the back, crammed in between other tiny booth like seats that were full of people squeezed together.

The service took forever and a day, at a busy establishment you can expect some waiting, but when you have 5 servers splitting up a house of 15 tables, I feel like it shouldn’t take 20 minutes to get a soda.

I’m a Sushiland kind of gal myself, so I figured, this place must be like Sushiland except 10 times better because it’s fresher and more high quality ingredients. Well, high quality ingredients aside, which I will admit they were, everything we had was lacking flavor. The Alaskan roll was surprisingly bland for what was in it, the spicy tuna rolls were OK, but the spicy sauce they use leaves much to be desired. It was basically some version of watered down Sriracha. I will say the edemame was enjoyable, warm and salted and tender, the way it should be. And the miso soup was good, nothing that stands out from other competitor’s miso, but still good.

Overall I think Saburo’s is an overrated sushi joint that attracts hipsters. The layout is a cluster fuck, the service is slower than molasses in January, and the food is mostly bland and unexciting.

The coolest part of our trip to Saburo’s, for me, was the picture of the white cat dressed in Japanese garb at a table of sushi.

Tags: saburo's portland sellwood oregon sushi japanese food fat
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~ Thursday, September 20 ~
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Trébol Is Tré Chic!

Ladies and gentlemen, bust out your wallets and your socks for kncocking off, ‘cause Trébol’s epic food is in the hizzie and Abbe and Jebby are hungrier then ever!


Appetizers: Guacamole con Chiles y Ajo & Tacos Probaz de Jabali, Pescado y Rez.

The guacamole we ordered was probably the most flavorful guacamole either of us has ever eaten, and we are pretty spoiled by Alton Brown’s delicious recipe. It was spicy and creamy, full of big chunks of roasted garlic and caramelized onions that perfectly complemented the flavors of the other spices while still allowing them to shine. The chips… oh, the chips. They were good, obviously house- made, but they were tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny chips fit only for Keebler elves. We sat around the crock of guac for a good five minutes before attempting to attack it with the impossibly tiny chips. In the end, it was a success but… why? Why make chips so small? It’s not like tortillas are expensive.

The taco sampler came with one taco each of wild boar, braised beef and seared tuna. The tacos came in petite, crunchy shells unlike any other taco shells we have ever eaten. Neither of us had ever tried wild boar before, and we found that it had an amazing sweetness and wasn’t tough at all like we were expecting. The braised beef was rich and flavorful and the fish was seared, very well-seasoned and extremely flavorful. The crunchy cabbage and creamy guacamole were perfect complements. We could have sat at Trébol all night eating nothing but these tacos. They were perfect in every way that a taco should be – crispy shells, perfectly bite-sized, easy to eat and exploding with flavor. Hats off Trébol, you really knocked our socks off with these wee beauties.

Jebby’s Meal: Caldo De Mariscos

          A friend of mine who I consider to be very knowledgeable about food pointed me in the direction of Trébol and their Oaxacan-style cuisine. I wanted to eat there but was a little intimidated by the price tag on their entrees. Fortunately, in Portland, the difference between really good food and fast food is just a few dollars. But when you’re buying drinks and trying to have a night out that involves more than water and a single entrée, those few dollars of difference add up quickly. Thankfully, Trébol paired up with Groupon and I was able to snag a great bargain - $25.00 for $50.00 worth of food.

The moment I bought the Groupon I began scoping out Trébol’s menu, and I knew from the moment I saw it that I was going to order the Caldo de Mariscos. I love seafood and I’m a sucker for dishes that combine as many types of seafood as possible. When it arrived, the broth was fragrant and steaming. I was happy to see a bowl loaded with seafood and massive cross-sections of corn cob, all swaddled in a rich red broth. I sipped a spoonful of the broth first. It was hot, tomatoey and tasted (I thought) like saffron, but it was somewhat underseasoned. I felt that it would’ve been infinitely improved by  a dash of salt. There are no salt and pepper shakers on the tables at Trébol. I would have felt extremely gauche asking for salt, but I’m not gonna lie… it needed it. If you are going to ask your diners to implicitly trust your seasoning, your food had better damn sure be well-seasoned.

Anyway, that’s enough of my griping about seasoning. The seafood was perfect. The mussels and clams were plentiful, tender, and juicy. The massive spot prawns were succulent and not overdone, which is something of a feat when the prawns are that large. There were two slices of expertly cooked albacore tuna in my stew, but no calamari, as the menu indicates. I actually didn’t even miss it until I sat down and looked at the menu once more to write my review.

Overall, it was a good stew. Was it worth the price? Maybe not. Would I order it again? No. Next time I go to Trébol, I’m ordering the fish tacos that the exhibitionist lesbians at the table next to us were snarfing down like it was their last day on the planet. Fish… tacos… yeah.

            I should mention that the cocktail I ordered, La Loca, was one of the top 3 cocktails I’ve ever had in Portland. It was well-blended, and I LOVE me a cocktail with cucumber in it. But add gin and basil and you have yourself a true winner. It was tart, refreshing and unexpected. Even Abbe wept a tear of admiration and she usually hates drinks with herbs in them

Abbe’s Meal: Layered Enchiladas (Spanish name = I can’t remember)

I probably spent 10 minutes looking at the menu thinking everything sounded amazing ( like I do at pretty much every place we eat that has a bomb looking menu), and I decided that a classic Mexican dish like enchiladas would be a good choice since A) I’ve eaten a lot of enchiladas in my day and B) They’re enchiladas. I think I chose wisely. This dish was amazing in all aspects; it was beautiful first of all. My own little tower of layered and crisp corn tortillas, mounds of melted jack cheese, succulent chicken, corn, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and cilantro all drizzled with a unique enchilada sauce I have never encountered in my enchilada eating expeditions.

Everything was so flavorful I don’t know where to begin talking about it. Obviously made by skilled professionals, the ingredients in this dish were each important components and had one been missing, I believe it wouldn’t have tasted so good. The Zucchini was either grilled or pan seared, the flavor was smokey like it was grilled, but also buttery and crisp like it would be from a pan. The tomatoes were fresh and not soggy, the cilantro tasted as if they had just plucked it from its plant and tossed it onto my food, it was that good. The garlic was roasted with big chunks of clove peeking out from under the tortillas and the corn was light and crunchy, complementing all the other textures.

The chicken exceeded my expectations here. I was expecting something good, anything reminiscent of the appetizer meats we tatsed and I would have been perfectly content, but it went beyond that. Perfectly tender and shredded, this bird must have died happy, because it was better than good, it was extraordinary. Perfectly spiced and cooked to it’s full potential, I was in poultry ecstacy when I finished this meal and just thinking about it makes my tongue tingle. I highly recommend this experience.

I also had a cocktail called “Kaliman” which contained Vodka, Cranberry Juice, and Raspberry Pureé. What can be said about fruity girl drinks where you can’t taste the booze, but you do taste a rainbow of sweet flavors that make you feel like a 5 year old stealing strawberries from the grocery store when mom isn’t looking while simultaneously running hand in hoof with a unicorn towards a sparkling rainbow?

Not much except what I just said.

This drink was brilliantly crafted by some mastermind, who must have been a girl herself, or a very girl drink oriented male. Fresh raspberries all blended together with a splash of cranberry and a bit of vodka make this drink a new favorite to add to my long going list of cleverly made, Portland girly drinks. Our waitress was tempting too because she dutifully checked on us numerous times and asked “Would you like another cocktail?”

I had to say “No, I’m fine.” Through my teeth like a liar so I didn’t end up punch drunk on Kaliman and raving like a crazy lady about how delicious everything was.

                                                                Dessert: Sopa Pillas

          Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s take some dough, deep fry it, coat it in cinnamon and sugar and dump a bunch of honey on top of it. YES.

These genius little pastries were the perfect ending to our luxurious eating experience at Trébol. Soft and piping hot with a crisp edge and melt-in-your-mouth flavor, Jebby and I could not get enough. I was literally pouring mounds of honey all over my portion and frantically shoveling it into my face like any minute someone was going to take it away. It pretty much doesn’t get any better than sugar and cinnamon covered deep fried anything. Then add the honey and you’ve got a simple dish that’ll blow anybodies mind. Very enjoyable, you should all give them a try.

Our overall review of Trébol:

“Do you have a reservation?”

“Wha?”

Jebby and I haven’t yet eaten at an establishment that is so trés-chic so we pretty much just looked at the waiter with a “What is this reservation you speak of?” kind of look.

Trébol isn’t reminiscent of a posh and upscale eatery, it is a posh and upscale eatery. Prepare to feel like royalty when you sit at your reserved or non-reserved table and have re-used bottles of wine filled with water brought to you, the finest in cocktail-ery, and food so pretty you almost don’t want to eat it out of fear you’ll mess it up. Jebby and I were confounded to say the least, this being our first experience (as far as our food blog goes) eating at such a fine dining establishment.

The atmosphere is nothing short of gorgeous with eclectic décor, romantic lighting, rustic furniture and various cacti that line the corners. Half of the time we spent waiting for food, we also spent admiring our beautiful surroundings and making comments such as “I would want that in my house, oh, and that too. That is awesome, I want that.”

The minds behind the limited, but imaginative and unique menu at Trébol have more than just food to offer their patrons. They compost, use local and sustainable ingredients, and they have an Eco-Roof! This neat little idea incorporates the use of native grasses and drought-tolerant plants to absorb excess rainwater to insulate the roof top. Pretty neat eh? So if that wasn’t enough to make you say “Oooooh, they sound cool”, listen to this, they have a full Tequila bar and I’m talking, every tequila you ever imagined existed. Jebby and I both looked on in awe at the mile long list of tequilas ranging in price from $25 a bottle to $400.

Despite the bustling bodies we encountered during our stay, our waitress was friendly, insightful, and very attentive. She came to check on us multiple times, while we ate our appetizers, entrees, and dessert. She offered more cocktails, gave us feedback on the various dishes we inquired about, and was all around a hospitable gal. We were impressed to say the least at how well she paid attention to our needs despite how busy she and the restaurant in general, obviously were. You probably know by now that Jebby and I pay close attention to how close attention is paid to us as patrons and in this area, and well, every other area for that matter, Trébol gets an A++++++!

Trébol offers cooking classes, nightly specials, taco Tuesdays, Burger Wednesdays, and about 500 other awesome things you can enjoy at their restaurant. This place is inventive and local minded which creates an undeniable combination that draws Portlanders to its doorstep. I have no doubt Jebby and I will visit again, but have some dough ready, Trébol is not on the cheap end of eats, but its well worth the extra cash.

Trébol’s lovely menu can be viewed at Trebolpdx.com

Tags: trebol Portland Oregon food spanish fat cocktails
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~ Wednesday, September 19 ~
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Tuk Tuk Goose!

This is in no way a first timer review for Jebby and I on Tuk Tuk. This majestic palace of all things delicious has been visited by our notorious bellies numerous times before and said bellies have always left happy and full. So here is a little taste of what we tasted at Tuk Tuk Thai.

Jebby’s Meal: Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) & Thai Iced Tea

            Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in Portland, nearly as plentiful as hobos, fixed-gear bicycles or moustache tattoos.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get an unforgettable meal. If you’re not, you’ll get an ass-rending case of the Hershey squirts and have to waddle about your business for the rest of the day. I have found through years of trial and extremely unpleasant error that red curry is a safe dish to order. Even if you find yourself at a bad Thai restaurant, red curry is almost never worse than mediocre, because it’s hard to go wrong with curry paste and coconut milk. Of course, ordering seafood in your red curry is inviting disaster, but I usually do that anyway.

Over our many years of Thai restaurant experimentation, Abbe and I have fallen into something of a red curry rut. Even at restaurants that we know are good, we usually both order it every time we go. On this particular occasion, we decided that it was in the best interest of the blog to order different meals, for the purpose of being able to offer a broader review. I volunteered to order something else, but looking over the menu filled me with a sense of dread. Would the pad thai be ketchupy? Would the tom yum give me food poisoning? My eyes found their way to the pad kee mao. This is a dish I have ordered before with some success, but it can be oily and full of limp vegetables. I decided to order it anyway and hoped for the best.

The pad kee mao I received exceeded even my wildest dreams. It was saucy and flavorful without a hint of oiliness. There were no wilted, sad vegetables or mushy noodles to be found on this plate of deliciousness. The plate was piled high with perfectly chewy noodles, thin slabs of tender pork, huge leaves of fragrant Thai basil and plump, succulent mushrooms. This is the best pad kee mao I have ever eaten, and while I haven’t eaten as much of it as I’ve eaten red curry, I’d venture to say that you’d be hard pressed to find better. I ordered mine at a spiciness level of 3/5, which was enough to entice my heat-seeking taste buds, but not face-meltingly, can’t-taste-your-food spicy.  I’d say order a 4 if you really like spicy food. The 3 was a bit mild, but had a pleasant heat. I can see why they call this meal “drunken noodles.” I know where I’m going after my next hangover.

The Thai iced tea I ordered with my meal was on par with the quality of the food. What can a person really say about a Thai iced tea? They’re more orange than Snooki and sweeter than a cherry pie with Reddi-Whip topping. Kudos if you get that reference. The Thai iced tea at Tuk Tuk is well-balanced, traditional, and spicy-sweet without making your teeth want to fall out of your head.

Abbe’s Meal: Red Curry (Gang Dang) with Scallops

     I just want to point out that on the menu this is called “Gang Dang.” Talk amongst yourselves.

     I always get this. It never fails. I will sit and look over the menu like I have no clue what’s on it, only to set it down with full confidence in my choice mere moments later. I don’t even know why Jebby bothers asking “What are you getting?” The red curry contains bell peppers, basil, eggplant, bamboo shoots, and lemongrass.

     I like to order my red curry as a three out of five star, spicy, but not omg-I’m-on-fire. Tuk Tuk has never disappointed me with their fresh (not frozen) scallops, but this time I will point out the scallops were smaller in size and slightly overdone, giving them a more chewy texture. One thing I like most about Tuk Tuk is their red curry sauce. It doesn’t taste like it came out of a package, nor is it overly watery or like a paste. Many Thai restaurants seem to lack in this area of expertise and who is to say if it is due to cutting corners, Americanizing, poorly trained staff, or just crap recipes.

     Another thing Tuk Tuk has down to an art is their peanut sauce. Just give me a bucket of it and a spoon and I need no red curry with scallops. I have tasted many different peanut sauces all over Portland, none of which have even come close enough to Tuk Tuk’s to mention. I have dreams about this peanut sauce, dreams that include things like my bed, Simon Baker, and a basting brush. It’s that good and I give you my word, if you try it, be prepared to be blown away.

     My red curry was the picture of perfection when it arrived, piping hot with a side of rice and my little bowl of peanut sauce ready to smother it. There are few meals that I keep in my memory warehouse and this is one of them. Every bite is a carefully crafted concoction of soft steamed rice, fresh and tender vegetables, buttery scallops, and sweet, thick, peanutty, delicious, epic, wonderful, amazing, lovely peanut sauce. Another thing I LOVE about their curry is the fact that they are not shy with the basil. They’re about as forthcoming with their basil as small children are with being obnoxious. The bamboo shoots are another mentionable source of excellence. Ever have a curry with bamboo shoots and noticed they were hard, rough or spiney? Yeah, that would mean they’re not ripened properly and are too young. I have never had this problem at Tuk Tuk, their bamboo shoots are always soft and pleasant, but have a nice al dente texture. You get red and green bell peppers and a generous helping of finely cooked eggplant. If you’re like me and you’re very picky about how your eggplant is cooked, then have no fear, the master minds behind Tuk Tuk’s fine cuisine have taken the “I’m crossing my fingers for good eggplant” out of the equation.

     So there you have it, the ultimate curry dish that trumps every other curry dish in Portland. If you have eaten and been disappointed by as many Thai restaurants as I have, consider this your safe haven where you’ll be guaranteed an amazing meal.

Abbe and Jebby’s Appetizer: Fresh Salad Rolls

     Jebby and I split an order of Tuk Tuk’s famous fresh salad rolls. These crunchy and cool little numbers are a favorite of ours and we highly recommend them with a side of, you guessed it, peanut sauce. Lightly fried tofu, carrots, cabbage, rice noodles and cilantro wrapped in soft rice paper make the perfect appetizer to get your GI juices flowing and ready to digest some serious food. Although cilantro is an uncommon ingredient, usually basil is the garnish of choice, it still served us well and satisfied our palates.

                                                                                    Tuk Tuk Overall

     Tuk Tuk has a lot to offer it’s customers besides delicious food. Their cozy establishment is inviting and comfortable with brightly painted walls of orange and lime green, contrasted with warm and soft lighting that gives an almost romantic vibe. The paintings on their walls are unfortunate, but what can you do? The staff is courteous and attentive, although we have experienced the occasional lapse in excellent service. Our server this time was not very excited to serve us although the restaurant only had two other tables besides Jebby’s and mine. If you’re busy, we can understand a little delay, but come on.

     FREE REFILLS ALERT! Jebby and I love free refills if you haven’t noticed, it’s just the way it should be. Their prices are extremely reasonable considering how much food you get and the fact that you can order fresh seafood in your meal for under $10 a plate is something we get excited about.

     Tuk Tuk is a great place to take a date, you’ll have stinky breath afterwards, but at least you’ll both be in the same boat. Overall Tuk Tuk is a winner no matter how you look at it, unless you’re looking at the crappy paintings.

Tuk Tuk’s full menu in all of it’s glory can be viewed on their website TukTukThaiRestaurant.com

Tags: Tuk Tuk portland oregon fat food thai
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~ Tuesday, September 18 ~
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Cat On A Hot Tin Shed

Next, our intrepid hunger demolishers utterly decimate the food at Tin Shed on Alberta.

Abbe’s Meal:  

   After looking over the menu for a few minutes I realized I must have been sounding exactly like a broken record because every time I opened my mouth I was either saying “Oh my god” or “This sounds amazing.” I felt so indecisive I almost considered getting two items just so I could have breakfast and lunch and get the full experience. Finally I decided on the Mcobb Salad: Crisp romaine, grilled free-range chicken, candied bacon, blue cheese crumbles, avocado, tomato & hard-boiled egg, served with a side of wasabi and blue cheese dressing. Ordering this and not asking for regular cheddar cheese instead of blue cheese crumbles was hard for me, I’m not a blue cheese fan, but I didn’t want to compromise any flavors and I figured the brilliant minds at Tin Shed knew what they were doing. Needless to say, I was right. Never have I tasted a more joyous dish than this salad. When I think of salads I think of fresh, cool, crispy ingredients, I think of sunshine and grassy knolls, puppies and rainbows and frolicking through wheat fields. Why? Because a salad should epitomize all of those things, a salad should make you happy and contented, fulfilled and satisfied all in one sitting. This salad did all that and more. In fact the only thing this salad didn’t do was move in with me and become my life partner. 

     I stared at the heaping plate of glistening lettuce piled high with a whole sliced avocado, a huge portion of grilled chicken, sliced egg and a beautiful helping of sticky and sweet candied bacon and began thinking of my wheat fields and rainbows. Everything in this salad was at the peak of freshness and kept me yearning for another bite. The avocado was pristine, the chicken was tender and succulent and even left behind some of it’s juices on the plate, an egg is hard to mess up, and the romaine lettuce was crunchy and cool against the warm chicken. Don’t even get me started on the bacon, I gave Jebby a piece so she could understand why I was staring up at the sky with a blissful expression on my face and she about fainted face first into her biscuits. 

     I was skeptical about the wasabi-blue cheese dressing. First of all, I don’t really like blue cheese, secondly, I feel that wasabi overpowers anything you put it on, so how was this dressing going to be remotely enjoyable? I have no clue how they did it, but hot diggity dog, I’m in love. I want a swimming pool of that dressing and a bathing suit made out of vegetables. The dressing perfectly complemented everything the salad had to offer and added a small kick to each bite. The pairing of that spicy and salty dressing with the sweet candied bacon was a sinful experience that one seldom encounters in a meal. It’s the kind of flavorful genius that you pray for whenever you go out to eat at a new venue. 

     With my salad I went for a cocktail that sounded nothing short of epic. A Passion fruit Mimosa: Champagne, fresh squeezed OJ, and passion fruit puree. That’s right. Do I even need to talk about how good it was? I got shivers up my spine because I don’t have enough taste buds in my mouth to do this thing justice. I almost cried. ‘Nuff said.

                                                          Kiya’s Meal:    

     Paw-Lickin’ Good: Rice and free range chicken served up in a doggy bowl. As a dog, I don’t ever get to enjoy a restaurant like my mom does, so when she brought me into the outdoor patio at Tin Shed with her I was excited. All the smells and people were nothing short of an amazing experience and I couldn’t have known what was in store for me next. When the lady brought my mom her food she put a big metal bowl on the floor for me, I figured it was water until I smelled the sweet aroma of chicken! Oh juicy, tender chicken pieces all nestled in a bed of rice, oh happy day! I couldn’t believe this was for me, I looked up at mom for approval and she said “good girl Kiya, eat your lunch.” I think I got every last grain of rice off of that bowl, then gulped down my water and fell asleep under the table. Not to mention everyone at Tin Shed said I was cute and gave me scratches. Best day ever! 

Jebby’s Meal: Everything Naughty

Will there ever be a day when I can successfully resist the urge to order biscuits and gravy at a restaurant I’ve never been to before? Probably not. It’s no secret that I love the stuff, but it makes it difficult to try anything new. Still, I feel like biscuits and gravy is a pretty good barometer of restaurant quality. If you can’t make something simple like sauce on bread right, it’s likely you can’t make anything else right either. Before I left my house, before I ever saw Tin Shed’s menu, I knew that if biscuits and gravy were on it, that’s what I’d be eating.

Before our meal came, our waitress served us the mimosas we ordered. It’s hard to go wrong combining juice and champagne, but Tin Shed’s “Grapefruitopia” tasted as though someone had literally wrung a huge, juicy ruby red grapefruit into a glass and poured champagne on top. Which is likely what happened. Needless to say, it was delightful, and so was the food. The biscuits were flaky and tender inside with a crunchy exterior. I generally prefer cut biscuits to drop biscuits, but these were great, as far as drop biscuits go. This may come as a surprise to all of you who know me for the bacon connoisseur that I am, but the rosemary-mushroom gravy was far, far superior to the bacon gravy. GASP, I know. Fungus gravy is better than bacon gravy? Blasphemy. But it was… brown, flavorful and herbaceous with none of that unpleasant pine tree taste you sometimes get when the chef goes crazy with the rosemary. The bacon gravy was white, floury and surprisingly bland – the kind of gravy my mom makes when she needs to use up leftover Easter ham (sorry mom!).

While the biscuits and gravy are the most important part of any meal for me, Everything Naughty also came with a Shed potato cake, scrambled eggs, and a patty of pork sausage. The potato cake was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, which is just how I like my fried potato products. The exterior may have been too done by some standards, but I loved it. It reminded me of the outside of a marshmallow after you stick it in the fire. Yeah, I’m one of those. The eggs were good. Standard scrambled eggs, nothing special, but they weren’t too dry or too wet – very enjoyable. Unfortunately, the pork sausage patty was salty nearly to the point of inedibility and cried out for some sweetness. I gotta say… it’s hard to mess up pork. Tin Shed, I am disappointed. But truly, this was the only disappointing thing about the place.  Playing Sherlock with the menu, I discovered that the restaurant features many vegan and vegetarian options. Sometimes restaurants that cook a lot of meat-free fare don’t do meat very well, and this seems to be the case at Tin Shed. But coming from a person who thinks bacon can cure all the world’s ills, saying that mushroom gravy is better than a bacon gravy is high praise indeed. 

 Our Overall Review of Tin Shed:

Have Abbe and I mentioned that breakfast is our favorite meal of the day? If not, consider yourself informed. We feel that it is our special calling in life to find the perfect breakfast. We have found a few places that come close, and Tin Shed can now be counted among them. How do we love Tin Shed? Let us count the ways…

One: Tin Shed is one of very few dog-friendly restaurants in Portland. Abbe brought her canine companion and she enjoyed a tasty meal with us. Dogs are allowed both indoors and out, and there are dog-specific menu items. We oohed and ahhed over myriad adorable puppies before our brunch was up.

Two: The food and drinks are delicious, and the menu is varied. We are fans of cruelty-free meat, and so are the folks at Tin Shed. The prices were more than reasonable, the portion sizes were just right, and the food is mouthgasmic. In other words, Tin Shed fulfills every aspect of our trifecta of awesome. The cocktails we ordered were as well-crafted as the food. We decided to split a Snow White after lunch. This amazing little cocktail contains Kahlua, Vanilla Stolli, Godiva chocolate liquor, and a dollop of cream. All warm, boozy and creamy – perfect for a cold day like today. We highly recommend it. The coffee is Portland Roasting Company, which is always good, and is self-serve, which is also good, because Abbe and I like hecka refills.

Three: The staff was friendly and attentive, but not too clingy. I have a feeling that hiring prerequisites are: former owner of a fashion mullet and 50% or more of apparel must be purchased full-price from Urban Outfitters, but you shouldn’t hold it against them.

Four: location/décor/physical space. This may just be the best part about Tin Shed. The restaurant features an outdoor patio with plenty of heat-lamps and a little shed full of blankets for patrons, making it possible to enjoy a warm, cozy meal outside while watching the customary Portland drizzle. The patio fence is a work of art, and the milk-bottle lights lining the patio are cute. 

Tin Shed is located in the middle of the Alberta arts district and is surrounded by little shops. We took a leisurely post-lunch walk before going on a wild goose-chase to find a cute wallet shop we had heard of.  

You can view Tin Shed’s completel menu and cocktail options on their website at TinShedGardenCafe.com

Tags: Tin Shed Portland Oregon fat food foodies dog friendly restaurant
~ Monday, September 17 ~
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Bertie Lou’s Woo Hoo!


It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s two hungry girls looking for breakfast! Abbe and Jebby travel next to Bertie Lou’s Café on SE 17th. They’ve eaten here twice so you’re in for an extra thorough review.

Abbe’s meals: Breakfast Burrito & Bertie Cristo

                That’s right folks, it’s so good we ate there twice before posting this review! Jebby and I have preached about breakfast since day one; it’s the most important meal and frankly, the best meal, so we’re always looking for our next “breakfast high.” Well, needless to say we found some stuff that’ll not only satiate your need for that next fix, but it will be so good you’ll be back the next day for another dose.

                Our first visit to this little treasure was nothing short of a grand experience; everything on their snarky and cleverly written menu sounded so good, Jebby and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves, and we spent our waiting period for our food drawing ourselves on a napkin, eating frantically with crazed looks in our eyes. How fitting. When the food arrived I had a hunger that I though no food could cure.

                My Breakfast Burrito looked like a loaf of bread, filling up the entire plate and leaving little to no room for the potatoes and salsa. I’m not one to be intimidated by a meal, but I was thinking to myself “how the heck am I going to finish this thing,” it was a delicious challenge that I enthusiastically accepted.

                The first bite was nothing short of its own tiny miracle. Flavors of sausage and bacon stung the inside of my mouth like a hornet shooting stingers of love, savory eggs bounced on my tongue like tiny children in one of those inflatable castles, and melted pepper jack hugged onions, peppers, and garlic as they danced between my teeth. I think a stray tear may have fallen from my unbelieving eye when I swallowed that glory and it met my stomach like a reunited pair of passion filled lovers. Among all that there was delicious sour cream, guacamole, and salsa carrying a punch of flavor that you’d think only Ali could deliver.

                The potatoes these talented people dole out are much more than your run-of-the-mill home fries that every breakfast establishment thinks they have a patent on. Bertie Lou’s fries should be their own food group. Golden (and I mean like wedding ring sparkling) brown and lightly crisp on the outside, with a fluffy, but not dry, core. Add some Secret Ardvark sauce, which they always have on their tables, and you’ve got the perfect companion to any breakfast or a perfect meal on its own if you’re so inclined.

                Our second visit I ordered the Bertie Cristo, Monte’s red-neck cousin, according to the menu. This gem is an unlikely yet completely brilliant pairing of spicy chicken sausage and pepperjack cheese between two pieces of French toast smothered in maple syrup.

     “What?! EW!” you would think, BUT NO, believe me, it’s amazing. And if the huge portion of that wasn’t enough for you, it comes with their amazing potatoes as well! I was a tad apprehensive about this meal, not knowing what to expect and thinking, this will either be a discovery of something new and astounding or something more reminiscent of a horrid mistake that’s about as much of an abomination as Rosemary’s baby. Can you guess it was the former? Oh yeah.

                It looked like a little triangle cut sandwich on my plate, but no roast beef or mayo in here, just juicy and spicy sweet chicken sausage, nestled into melted pepper jack (yep pepper jack again), and spread like butter between two pillow-like slices of good old french toast. The taste of all these strangely complementary items with a good dousing of maple syrup was a welcomed shock to my mouth. My brain couldn’t make a logical explanation and my mouth couldn’t believe its taste buds. All together a mind-blowing and inexplicably creative experience that opened my eyes into a whole new world of “That sounds gross, but O-M-G it’s good.” I will say that as far as French toast goes, mine was a little undercooked. Don’t be afraid to get those pieces to a golden brown with a little crisp on the edges to amp up the flavor of the bread. Other than that small short, well done Bertie Lou’s, I commend you.

Jebby’s Meals: Ranch Biscuit Benedict and Oaks Bottom Omelette

                You guys know I love biscuits and gravy, and when I saw that Bertie Lou’s claims to have Portland’s best, I knew I had to try them. But what’s this? An eggs benedict with bacon and gravy over poached eggs on a biscuit? Count me in. It’s like all my wildest dreams and fantasies came true. Portland’s best biscuits and gravy? Nah. But they were good. Really good. Really really good. The white gravy was flavorful and lacked the doughiness that white gravies often have. The biscuits were flaky and tender, and the eggs poached well. The bacon was maybe a little on the undercooked side but I mean… it’s bacon. It’s going to be good no matter what. Can I just say though… holy gutbomb, Batman. You are gonna need a nap after this meal. Not that that’s a bad thing. Eating this and then coming home to a nap is like, my ideal Sunday.

                The Oaks Bottom Omelette did not disappoint either. The eggs were ridiculously fluffy, and the omelette was full to bursting with whole strips of bacon, fresh tomatoes and green onions and was covered in a lovely blanket of delicious, well-made hollandaise. It was tasty and just the right amount of food. I didn’t feel like I needed to go home and sleep off my meal afterward, I felt energized and ready to start my day. My one critique of the omelette is that it could have used a skosh more hollandaise. But other than that one tiny thing, the omelette was delicious.

The meal also came with home fries and toast. The home fries weren’t much too look at. I was expecting a mouthful of dry, sandpapery potato, but what I got was tender, expertly cooked potatoes that were crispy on the outside with no trace of grease. They were shot through with peppers and onions and were perfectly accompanied by the Secret Aardvark sauce that is thoughtfully provided. The toast was just toast, but was transformed by delicious raspberry jam. Abbe poured the remainder of her maple syrup on my toast and a taste sensation was born. Then, remembering a drink I once had with habenero vodka and raspberry puree, I put a few drops of Secret Aardvark on too. UNEXPECTED TASTESPLOSION. I urge you to try it. 

In summary, this is one of the best breakfasts I have eaten this year. Get it in ya.

Our overall review of Bertie Lou’s:

                This place is the bees knees, the bomb, awesomesauce, the shit, cool beans, rad, fly, off the chain and any other euphemism for greatness you can think of. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. In fact, it looks as though there’s barely room for two flies to have a tea party. The space is extremely small, to be sure. There’s a counter that seats about four, an attached room with maybe four to six tables, and a few picnic tables outside. But Bertie Lou’s manages to be cozy-not-cramped, partly thanks to some smart design choices like brightly colored walls and a massive mirror on the back wall that really opens up the room.

                A sign at the back warns that all unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy and you get the feeling they mean it. Abbe and I are of the opinion that nothing ruins a meal like someone’s screaming sprog flicking boogers into your food and staring at you with a creepy Children of the Corn gaze, so we’re big fans of establishments that aren’t fond of uncontrolled children. Most of the artwork in Bertie Lou’s consists of framed collections of napkin doodles drawn by the guests. This is awesome, as I am a fine connoisseur of napkin doodles and have churned out quite a few in my time. Recently a friend of ours spotted a napkin I drew on the wall at Bertie Lou’s, which prompted us to visit again.  Napkins on the walls, bluegrass on the radio, intolerant of children… can it get any better? Oh yeah, the food.

                The menu is pretty standard breakfast fare with a few twists. You’ve got a lineup of omelettes, benedicts, breakfast combinations and sandwich-like things, presented with witty banter for your viewing pleasure. Everything on the menu sounds delicious and so far in the two trips we’ve made to Bertie Lou’s, has been. Muddworks coffee is served here, and it is liquid gold in a cup. Muddworks roasts all their coffee in Orchards, Washington, which just happens to be where Abbe is working as a veterinary technician. We had never heard of Muddworks before visiting Bertie Lou’s, but apparently they’ve been around quite awhile and they do, as their logo suggests, make some damn fine coffee. Woo Twin Peaks reference. 

                In case you weren’t convinced, the service at  Bertie Lou’s is awesome. It is rare to find service this good. Our waitress was all smiles, but they seemed friendly and genuine, and she was happy to answer our review-oriented questions about coffee and such. She came back to fill up our coffee cups FOUR TIMES. This woman has been responsible for two amazing caffeine highs. She was the type of server that makes your meal an experience to remember. For those about to Bertie Lou’s, we salute you.

Tags: bertie lou's portland oregon fat food breakfast coffee
~ Sunday, September 16 ~
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Let’s Get TOASTED

After two recommendations from our facebooking friends Hazel and Craig, we finally decided to visit the morning meal magicians at Toast to put their plates and our palates to the test. So, grab your breakfast eating hats and hold on as Abbe and Jebby visit Toast to see what their friends say is a meal to remember.

Abbe’s Meal: Badass Sandwich- Fried eggs, Bacon, Goat’s milk cheese, and greens on toast with a Rosti.

This sandwich was badass to say the least. The inspiring combination of fresh goat’s milk cheese, melting all over tender bacon and eggs with “I just picked this off the plant, literally” tasting arugula and crispy, thick cut toast was enough to convert me to a permanent Toast patron.

When my plate of food first came to the table I was dismayed to see my eggs very undercooked. I had asked for over medium, which in egg speak, usually means fully cooked whites and mostly runny yolks. What I got at first was runny whites and runny yolks leaking all over my rosti and toast. The waitresses however were extremely hospitable and immediately had my eggs re-cooked and my plate cleaned of the previous egg’s innards. This time the eggs were fully cooked, which still wasn’t what I asked for, but nonetheless was delicious with my sandwich.

The bacon was perfectly crafted, thick slices cooked to a crispy edge and a tender middle. All the flavors complemented each other so well and to top it all off was my delicious rosti. Up until our visit to Toast I had been a rosti virgin, only having eaten similar provisions like potato latkes that my bubby makes. Once the eye-popping flavors of butter, eggs, tender yet crisp potato and salt and pepper hit my anticipatory tongue I walked through a newly opened door of the magical myriad of potato application. Who knew you could take a rather plain yet versatile vegetable and turn it into a Disney World type experience for your mouth? Obviously the Swedish knew and then they gave us rosti.

I would highly recommend this meal to any knew visitor or seasoned frequenter of Toast, in fact I’m half tempted to do that car salesman pitch of “I’ll eat my hat if you aren’t satisfied” shpeel. It’s THAT good.

Abbe’s Drink: Grapefruit Mimosa- Fresh Grapefruit juice served with Cava.

I’m a mimosa advocate. By the time we sat down I was ready to blurt out “I’ll have a mimosa!” to our smiling waitress. She recommended the grapefruit to me and I am pleased to say she has good taste. The combination of champagne and juice seems simple enough, but believe me, it can be a horrendous experience when not done with craft. However, not by the master mimosa makers at Toast; they use a Spanish sparkling wine called Cava, which I had never tried before and it was a delicious replacement for champagne to accompany my grapefruit juice. After one sip I asked our waitress if they fresh squeezed the juice because the flavor was so exquisite it HAD to be fresh squeezed. In fact, the juice came from a Portland based company called Aloha, no I don’t mean the dismal SW city next to Beaverton. I was excited to learn about how local Toast’s ingredients truly are. The coffee, the juice, heck I expected a goat to be tied up in the back yard named Bessy who gave them the milk for their cheese.

In summation, try their cocktails, or better yet, just have a MIMOSA!

Jebby’s Meal: Dismal Times - Ground hanger steak, white cheddar cheese, chives, greens, served open faced on toast with two fried eggs and a rosti.

If you had told me before I came to Toast that an open-faced egg, ground beef and cheddar sandwich on toast would be one of the better breakfasts I have eaten, I would say you were nuts. But it was. Honestly, I only decided to order the Dismal Times because they were out of what I REALLY wanted, The Occasional Hedonist. I was really in the mood for breakfast, and many of Toast’s dishes sound more like lunch or dinner. Cassoulet? Tomato sauce? Steak? I came to eat breakfast and that’s what I intended to do. I figured that you guys probably get sick of listening to me review biscuits and gravy and eggs Benedict, so I ordered the only other thing on the menu that sounded breakfasty enough to satisfy my cravings without being made out of cereal, and that was Dismal Times.

            I didn’t really get it right away. After the first bite, I remember asking myself “Um, why did you order this, again?” but the second bite… oh, that second bite. I cut into the over-medium egg and the hot, runny yolk filled all the nooks and crannies made by the ground hanger steak and melted the cheese a little more thoroughly. That second bite was breakfast heaven on my tongue. The ground steak had just a little pink on it still and was full of big, beefy flavor. I don’t eat red meat very often, but when I do I like it still bleating for clemency, so good on you, Toast, for not overcooking my meat. This isn’t just ground beef.  The ground hanger steak at Toast has that nearly indescribable savory richness of beef flavor that you get when you eat the first bite of a filet mignon. Combined with the peppery arugula, rich yolk, creamy white cheddar and pillowy toast, it makes for the perfect breakfast sandwich. You will never want to defile your palate with an Egg Mcmuffin again. My parents have this incredibly annoying habit of dumping loads of hot sauce on everything they eat, so I usually make it a habit to avoid doing it myself. However, Toast makes a mighty fine hot sauce, and a few splashes of it taste really great on the Dismal  Times.

            Another thing Toast does really well is their rosti, which graces most dishes where hash browns or home fries would usually reside.  Their rosti is simple, but delicious: shredded potato, egg and butter that is crunchy outside and creamy on the inside. My favorite.

Jebby’s Drink: Apricot Fizz - Dark and spiced rum with apricot, lime juice, and ginger ale.

            I am sad to say that my drink at Toast was not as tasty as my food. I was really looking forward to the Apricot Fizz, as I love both apricots and booze, but I was disappointed here too. The apricot was sadly absent, and all I could taste was sweetened lime. Don’t get me wrong, I love limes, but I wanted apricot and I was let down.  Don’t let the Apricot Fizz put you off going there though, the food is more than worth it. 

Our Overall review of Toast:

So what makes a restaurant cool in Abbe and Jebby’s growing book? Our list, let us show you it.

1. Local/ fresh/ seasonal: Restaurants that serve locally purchased and seasonal produce, cruelty free meats, and vegan/vegetarian options are always a bonus. Toast is about as local as you can get, serving fresh and delicious items from awesome P-town purveyors, whether it’s veggies, meat, coffee, or juice.

2. Knowledgeable: We always feel that a restaurant can far surpass it’s many competitors by being knowledgeable about the food they serve, what’s in it, where it comes from, if they’ve tried it, and what they think of it. We want to know what’s going in our bellies and if you think our bellies will be satiated. The very knowledgeable people at Toast gave us great recommendations and were happy and ready to answer all of our inquisitive foodie questions.

3. House-made accoutrements: There is always originality in a restaurant that makes it’s own versions of condiments, drinks, seasonings, etc. Toast makes their own badass hot sauce, which complimented both our meals and we think that making something common into your own unique creation, makes you stand out.

4. Good service: The service that the staff at a restaurant gives can make or break any one’s experience, whether they’re unfriendly or just inattentive. Toast’s friendly service and smiling staff made our meal one to remember.

5. Atmosphere: We feel that the atmosphere of any eatery is a cornerstone to a positive nosh, heck, even distasteful art can ruin a good meal. Toast is a warm and bright environment with comfortable seating, good ambiance, adorable art, and overall aesthetically pleasing surroundings. We felt right at home as we dove face first into our delicious meals.

6. Coffee: Nothing goes better with a taste-bud-bursting breakfast than a strong cup of well crafted Joe. Toast serves a locally made coffee called Courier, which at first taste was a little weak for Jebby and I. The second time around was stronger and I sipped with pleasure, but Jebby felt it was still a skosh too flimsy. Obviously everyone has their feelings about how they like their coffee or don’t like it for that matter, but for us, we like it strong, bold, and fragrant.

These six points are just an outline of how we like to grade our restaurant experience and I think we’d both agree that Toast deserves an A!

So if you’re looking for a locally minded, friendly, attentive, and unique meal, we would recommend you give Toast a try.

Toast’s brilliantly crafted and mouth watering menu can be viewed at Toastpdx.com

Tags: toast portland oregon breakfast bacon chubby fat food foodies
~ Saturday, September 15 ~
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Divine State Biscuits

Here is the Abbe and Jebby post you’ve all been waiting for, PINE STATE BISCUITS FTW!!!!! ENJOY!

Jebby’s Meal: The Reggie

The Reggie – it’s a silly name for a serious sandwich. Who is Reggie, the man behind the biscuit? Whoever Reggie is, or was, he had good taste in food. Can you put every single one of my favorite things in a sandwich without the world imploding? Yes, you can. The Reggie proves it. What does my favorite breakfast sandwich (yes I said it) have between its buttery biscuit halves? I’m glad you asked. I made you a bullet list because each item is so special.

·        Fried chicken

·        Bacon

·        Cheese

·        Gravy

It makes you want to bury your face in it and never leave, doesn’t it? As far as I am concerned, this sandwich is beyond reproach. The biscuit on its own is dense and buttery with a tender, flaky crumb. I could eat this biscuit every day for the rest of my life and not get tired of it. But when you add moist chicken encased in a thick, crunchy, perfectly seasoned batter with countless nooks and crannies to hold the creamy, peppery gravy in place and top that shit off with toothsome thick cut bacon and tangy cheddar? Let me tell you folks, you are in for the mouthgasm of your lives. I would worship this sandwich and make sacrifices to it. I would smear mud on my body and dance around a fire chanting its name. I would go on a crusade in its honor.

And just in case there wasn’t enough cholesterol in that orgy of deliciousness, you can add a soft-yolked fried egg to this bitch for a dollar more.

Bam, Reggie’d.

Jebby out.

Abbe’s Meal: TheMcIsley

Ain’t nothin’ finer than a lil’ bit o’ chicken fried. Stick it between a fresh and flaky biscuit, add on top of that any number of worthy garnishes, and you’ve got something close to the proverbial “mind blow” that us foodies search for day in and day out. Well fellow foodies, I’ve found somewhere you can get your next high; Pine State Biscuits.

I knew I wanted to try this sandwich before entering Pine State. This little number consisted of fried chicken breast atop said biscuit with pickles, stone ground mustard, and honey. Can I get a hell yeah?

While Jebby went for a more topping heavy approach, I wanted to see just what the minds behind the Pine had up their sleeve, including the various ways they apply the common condiment. The first bite was like an introduction; a stranger setting foot in a foreign country and carefully making the acquaintance of its inhabitants. The second bite was like being hit in the face with a unicorn. The supple and juicy center of the chicken breast was perfectly incased in a crispy and delectable shell of batter that had been scalded by a talented hand. The stone ground mustard added a sharp note to the bite, while the vinegary pickle added tang, and in the midst of it all was a healthy helping of luscious honey taking just enough edge from the bitter flavors and enhancing them with a wave of sweetness. Then there was the biscuit surrounding this entire concoction; oh the biscuit. The texture and aroma was that only of a fresh from the oven confection with a light crunch on its outermost parts and then devilishly soft and flaky at its innermost. With a buttery and sweet flavor all its own, this pastry literally melted in my mouth while it tangoed with the chicken.

Hands down this sandwich is genius. Throw any and all doubts to the curb before you enter this restaurant, because even your highest expectations will be exceeded.

Our overall review

We could find only one major downside to Pine State Biscuits, so let’s get it out of the way early. This place is TINY. If you like to stretch out and put your feet up on the seats, forget about it. I’m going to crush your dreams of laying spread-eagle across an entire table while you eat your biscuit concoction into the dust. You will be lucky to find a chair, but you might be better off eating your meal in the car so the entirety of Portland doesn’t see your O face. One other potential downside (if you’re lame) is that everything on the menu is made of biscuits. If you don’t like biscuits, you should walk, not run away from this place. Actually, you should probably just walk off the planet, because life isn’t worth living without a healthy love of biscuits. The word’s in the name – if you don’t want a biscuit, don’t go here.

The décor in Pine State is… piney. There’s a big old blackboard at the front of the restaurant announcing the delicious biscuity fare, and a counter where you order your food. There is a table, or maybe two, and a small counter at the back. That’s about it. The atmosphere is sparse, but the flavors are big.

And really, with flavors so epic, we didn’t mind cramming ourselves into the tiny counter seats to wolf down our food. It’ hard not to, everything we ordered was top quality. You can tell the folks at Pine State put love and care into their food. From the compostable “corn cups” to the flavorful sweet tea, every part of the meal felt like someone who knew what they were doing really gave a crap about what was being sent out. It’s a good feeling.

The portions at Pine State are ample, and the prices are tiny. Abbe and I got so hungry while writing this review that we started to leave to go there, only to find out that this leavened heaven is only open until 2 on weekdays, though the Alberta location does have late night hours on weekends. In all seriousness, do yourselves a favor and eat here.  We do not give our seal of approval lightly, but Pine State Biscuits is all the big down-home comforting deliciousness you could ever ask for in the smallest possible package.

Pine State’s amazing menu can be viewed here!

Tags: pine state biscuits portland oregon chubby fat food foodies
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~ Friday, September 14 ~
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Abbe and Jebby are back with a mouth-watering review of one of Portland’s most accomplished southern cooking establishments; Screen Door.

Abbe’s Meal: Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich with Mac n’ Cheese

First of all this meal doesn’t look like a sandwich when it comes to you, it looks like someone put a piece of toast on either side of a pig and then made it a coleslaw hat. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get this luscious beauty into my mouth, but I knew I was going to make my most valiant of efforts.

The textures and flavors of this meal were amazing; a lightly toasted bun with crisp edges, tender melt in your mouth smoked pork, reminiscent of good old backyard BBQ,   and fresh, crisp slaw in a tangy sauce. The way these 3 simple ingredients complimented each other was like nothing else I’ve tasted. Usually you would expect some BBQ sauce dripping all over your plate, enticing you with sweet and savory scents of honey and chilies, but this little darlin’ stands on her own, no “secret is in the sauce” needed here, just a skillful chef with a whole lot of love in his hands.

My sandwich came with a heaping pile of fresh fries, which did not disappoint. Cooked to perfection and lightly salted, I was practically licking the crumbs off the plate.

I also ordered myself a side of Mac n’ Cheese. I have tasted my share of this internationally loved dish all over Portland, from The Delta Café’s jumbo rigatoni noodles in white cheese to Le Bistro Montage’s Old Mac with a garlic cream sauce and parmesan, so when the waiter brought me a bowl covered in melted cheddar, my taste buds were tingling. This mac n’ cheese was far different from my previous exploits; with traditional tiny elbow noodles swimming in a creamy medium cheddar sauce and topped with a bubbling layer of cheddar that’s baked immaculately. And when I say “side” of mac n’ cheese, I mean I was given the smaller version of a bucket.

Overall this meal was everything I could have wanted from its menu description and more, I left with a full fundus and penguin like waddle.

Jebby’s Meal : Crispy fried buttermilk –battered chicken with tasso ham gravy, mashed potatoes, and collards.

What a mouthful! In every single way, this was a spectacular meal. A visit to this restaurant is a treat. It is the type of place I wouldn’t want to go more than a few times a year because it is special, and I wouldn’t want to ruin that specialness by making it a common occurrence. Something about this place has a way of uniting us, when we all begin to drift our separate ways, the atmosphere of Screen Door pulls us in for a big to-do and we all remember just how much we enjoy breaking bread together.

I ate the fried chicken last year on my birthday, and this year I considered shrimp and grits, but the fried chicken at Screen Door is so amazing I had to have it again, it is simply too luscious to pass by. You receive an impossible amount - huge slabs of the moistest, mouth-meltingest chicken that has ever had the good fortune to pass through your eager lips. I don’t know how they do it, the batter is thick, audibly crunchy, peppery as the dickens and wouldn’t dare slide off the chicken. Dear Screen Door, please tell me your secret to keeping your fried chicken dressed, even as we obliterate it with our forks and knives.

The mashed potatoes are buttery smooth and creamy, but I do take issue with the tasso ham gravy. The last time the gravy tasted the same. It has a bit of a… I hesitate to say it, but a gym-sock taste. It reminds me a bit of the Easter ham end that has been left in the oven too long and has turned into a piece of strange ham-jerky. It just tastes… weird. I don’t find it to be a particularly tasty complement to the mashed potatoes, but thankfully they are delicious enough to eat on their own. It’s not horrible gravy, but it doesn’t do the chicken justice. Pro-tip: cut a strip off of your chicken and dip it in mashed potatoes. Dunk in gravy if desired. You’re welcome.

            I would eat a bucket of Screen Door’s collard greens. They are perfect. The stalks are tender, the leaves just degraded to the point where they begin to give up their delicious liquid. Every so often, a delicious chunk of ham will appear, tucked into the fold of a leaf. If all mothers made Screen Door’s collard greens, I don’t think we’d ever have a problem getting children to eat their vegetables again.

Finally, I had a few hurricanes with my meal. The specialty cocktail choices are slim if you aren’t a fan of whiskey, which I am most certainly not. The hurricane looks and tastes like a tropical vacation in a glass. It comes to you in a tall fluted goblet full of pink deliciousness topped with fruit. They don’t taste like they’re going to get you hammered, but before you know you’ve had two of them and you’re walking up to Chopsticks 2 to make a fool out of yourself singing Patsy Cline. Or maybe that’s just me.

Abbe and Jebby’s Dessert: Banoffee pie, Lemon Pudding pie, Pecan pie, and Pineapple upside down cake.

We ordered a smorgasbord of deserts and shared with our friends.

The banoffee pie was a surprise; Jebby doesn’t normally enjoy the flavor of bananas. But smother them in rich caramel and envelop them in flaky pie crust with fresh whipped cream, and even the most anti-banana banana haters will be singing a different tune. Although, Abbe still refused to try it. She is an extreme anti-banana banana hater.

The pecan pie came in tartlet form, with the same sumptuous caramel paired with candied pecans and more fresh-whipped cream.

The lemon pudding pie was tart and refreshing, topped with heaps of fresh, ripe strawberry slices.

Our final dessert was a pineapple upside-down cake, which was served with ginger ice cream, the perfect complement to the warm, caramelized pineapple and decadent buttery cake.

Screen Door Overall:

Many Portlanders already know the secret of Screen Doors magic, so if you want to eat here expect a wait. If you have a party of 6 or more you can skip the line with a reservation, but don’t dare be late or show up without your complete party, Screen Door’s policies are strict and an empty table doesn’t sit empty for long.

Screen Door uses all local and seasonal ingredients so they can “maintain the connection between farm and plate” as they put it. Their southern inspired menu brings a fresh perspective on down-home soul food cooking to Portland and definitely gives some of Portland’s other Southern inspired eateries a run for their money.

The atmosphere as Screen Door is unique; not an overtly large establishment, but well laid out; my favorite aspect being the open kitchen, which we had the pleasure of sitting near. Watching as the busy and always good looking staff hustled people’s meals to and fro, we got to indulge our foodie fantasies of trying everything on the menu by being true voyeurs. Drooling with gaping maws at the myriad of meals being carried past us only heightened our desire dive face first into our plates.

The décor at Screen Door is somewhat rustic with a modern flip. Lots of wood paneling and lots of wood in general, Screen Door has a clean and simple look. You won’t find a lot of kitschy Portland art or clever and snarky chalk board specials, but you’ll find it comfortable and that’s all that matters when your knees deep in your Mac N Cheese pouring Hurricanes down your gullet.

All around Screen Door offers a new way to eat Southern in Portland and a better way to get tipsy enough to sing Karaoke two blocks down. 

Tags: food portland oregon screen door southern creole fat foodies chubby girls
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~ Monday, November 8 ~
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Abbe and Jebby as Pop Art and Divine for Halloween 2010.

Abbe and Jebby as Pop Art and Divine for Halloween 2010.

Tags: halloween Divine pop art 2010 drag queen comic
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