Bollywood

Lovely day to have a day off–
80 degrees out but the air feeling so much more fall than ever.
We drove to SE Division to meetup with Dan and Rene, excited to hear stories from Rene about her recent trip to France, Germany, and Iceland!

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We stopped at Bollywood Theater, nice timing as there was NO LINE. Crazy. It was just as well because it took us some time figuring out what to order. This was my third time and I knew you couldn’t go wrong no matter what you get.

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A few plates were brought out, smelling of spices and looking heavenly. The Khati Roll with beef, Kati Roll with paneer cheese, and “Indian” nachos (don’t remember the real name).

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We got to talking. There was mention of some accidental consumption of fermented shark, and video too! Sitting here in Bollywood it was easy to say that I would try it, but being there and smelling those ammonia smells, it’s hard to say if I really would. And with those heebie jeebies more plates were brought out… just when I thought I might be getting “full” MORE PLATES were served up. 🙂

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh a bevy of different things to try, plate surf what-have-you. My favorite dish was basically everything. The last and largest plate of chicken and rice had an amazing curry sauce that I couldn’t stop eating. The lamb samosas were a favorite of mine from the second time I went to Bollywood! It was a first having the fried okra and it did not disappoint. There were even some Indian sauces/salsas that enhanced the flavors even more and had a little bit of a heat to it. The chilis on the side were tasty as well (but not hot).

Our last stop was the Flying Cat Cafe across the street to get some caffeine and bask in the glorious sun. I don’t usually indulge but they had a homemade pumpkin spice latte that we got (iced), very delicious which prompted me to buy another iced latte– I need to try chai everywhere I go and this was super creamy and not overly spiced like some boxed chais tend to be.

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Chill day with some of my favorite people.
Can’t wait to do it again!

Bollywood Theater
3010 SE Division Street
Portland OR 97202

(503) 477-6699

http://www.bollywoodtheaterpdx.com/

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Feast

Fun weekend, so much going on in Portland. Feast, Rose City Comic Con, a circus…?, Patti Labelle concert– and more things I’m sure!

I had thought about getting tickets for Feast but a lot of the restaurants I enjoyed were recreating pretty similar dishes to the ones I’ve already tried. Nor did I want top pay $100 to learn how to pour coffee. Maybe next time!

The next part was that my friends were in town for the weekend and it was the first time Portland trip for Sami! A slew of things came to mind as far as what we should do but the first stop (first for me, they had already eaten at Waffle Window the night before and lunched at Mama Mia Trattoria an hour prior, haha) was Blue Star Donuts! There was a little bit of a line, I’m not really sure why. It’s not that hard to grab donuts and put them in boxes, but hey– this is Portland. Any service beats VooDoo but I digress. We each got a donut to share: Chocolate Ganash, Dulce de Leche, and Lemon Poppy Old Fashioned Buttermilk which was a new one for me. All were good, my favorite by far was the Chocolate, I’d had it before but it tasted even better this time! We ate our donuts next door at Lardo where we waited for our Dirty Fries. I always need a salty to balance the sweet! I had to head back to work but we planned to meet for dinner after I was done!

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My bf came to town to meet me so we could head to Khao San. My friends mentioned wanting to try some more Thai (a few bad pad thai experiences in the past), so we figured this place was close enough and has had great food (and drinks) everytime. We asked to be seated in the tuk tuk, …little hut like motorized car indiginous to Thailand. Of course I liked it, (silver metal table reflecting the Christmas string lights on the roof). VERY FESTIVE. Decided to order the Red Light District which I had tried my first time there, some Chicken Curry Puffs appetizer and some Chicken Pings to start! It was only when our drinks arrived that we realized our friends were on the other side of Portland and it would probably be an hour and half before they were even at the restaurant. What to do? Eat and drink everything quickly, we were going to hang out in SE tonight!

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Ended up at Lucky Strike, also been there once (anyone remember when I tried their Chicken Pepper Bath rated 5 bombs on the spice level?!). All we really wanted was potstickers and fried rice, which we got both and a sweet and sour rice noodle dish that was good too. I wasn’t starving but I somehow forgot to take pictures of this.

[Insert epic fried rice pic here]

After that we were feeling pretty good but needed to walk off some of the meal as we still had places to go! Headed to the nearby Portland Cider Company where we got to try a selection of fruity ciders (the only kind I like, I’ll admit). One was labeled Maui (infused with pineapple and coconut) but it wasn’t that noticeable of a flavor. We opted to get a flight of 5 smaller glasses so we could enjoy more different things.

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Time for our second/third/fourth wind! Drove to Hawethorn and 12th to the corner foodcarts to get some crepes! Perfect timing: little movie night happening and they just started playing Predator. Haha. Such a nice night to be outside. However, I was craving something sweet, preferably a crepe with nutella and bananas in it but ended up with that nights special: a savory crepe with soppresata, mozerella, basil and bell peppers.

It was

THE

BEST

CREPE

I’ve ever had.

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And as I kept repeating to anyone that would listen I hope they put that on their menu. It needs to happen. We watched the best bits of Predator leaving my friends to enjoy the rest and decided to head home as we both had an early morning the next day.

Oh it’s not over yet.

[ NEXT DAY ]

Lunch break! We met downtown again so we could head back to Grassa, the day prior there was a long line and we got distracted by a platter of fries in Lardo. We each got a dish, Squid Ink with albacore, there special of the week: ramen, and my biased favorite, Rigatoni (this one with pork belly).

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For the sweet portion of our dessert we went across the street to Ruby Jewel– where I was not planning on partaking due to a dairy allergy that had resurfaced. Nonetheless I have no willpower, or had none when I saw that there was a seasonal flavor– Coconut Creme Pie filled with candied coconut, vanilla wafer, and marshmallow fluff! It was divine and I’m sure any coconut lover would agree. There were also ice cream cookie sandwiches and peanut butter jelly waffle cones ordered– delicious. I might actually be leaning more towards this place than Salt & Straw. *blasphemy* I know. These flavors are legit!

We parted ways, promises of a flight of 17 waffles were to be had that night along with more crepes. I wished them luck on that journey– now it’s back to getting ready for Hawaii aka not eating 5 meals a day!

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LangBaan

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The food was epically good… as is {exponentially} inversely proportional to how my photos turned out.
I figured that I would start by showing some professional photos of the food to give the right impression.

But first… It is important to know how we arrived here.

That afternoon I was lunching with a friend… we had each ordered a pizza and were eating our slices out of the box.
I was hungry enough and figured I had nothing to lose so I’d polish of the entire thing. As I’m licking my fingers clean I notice my cell phone has been lighting up with more and more messages.

“This might be an emergency,” I thought.

[Haha] Quickly scanning the texts I realized that we had gotten some last minute reservations for a pretty desired place: LangBaan, we already had some for a few months later, but this was TONIGHT, and the menu changes every month, so why not?
Oh yes, remember THAT ENTIRE PIZZA I ATE and LangBaan is known for their 12 COURSE MEALS!
Just lovely timing, good thing I am always down to eat and the meal wasn’t to start until 8:30 that night.

The place we arrived at was not labeled LangBaan, but Paddee. We got there a bit early to sample some libations
at the bar while we waited to be shown the secret spot.
Our favorite drink was called the Waterfall—
it reminded me of a sweeter, alcoholic version of the juice from a cucumber kim chee dish my mom makes.
Not too sweet which is just how I like it, a bit of citrus, some tang from the drinking vinegars. Easy to have a few!

8:30 rolled around and a small group of us (a limit of 20 seats) were taken through a hidden grey bookshelf door. A cozy seating area was set up with its own little kitchen where the chef was in plain view.

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These pictures obviously do no justice to the artistry of the meal. As a whole I could not imagine a more cohesive twelve courses. Two and a half hours later we were almost finished. The last bit we ended with was two “desserts”. I’m using quotations because one was a dessert soup (a sweet gingery broth with a little mochi ball in it… a sweet ozoni?) Yes, this is exotic Thai food, not Japanese but I am making connections here. The last plate was some kind of tapioca shooter. Considering this is the portion size for two grown adults I got angry. They were so good, but much like a fading memory– one great bite, hard to savor… what exactly did I eat? I need MORE MORE, as in a whole bowl [of the tapioca stuff]. Time. To take my time and figure out all the layers. It was almost anxiety. I’ve joked before about storming kitchens to get exactly what I’m looking for, but in this case I could see straight into where these miniatures had been made and they were already cleaning up. After this month the dish would cease to exist anywhere. Beautiful concept. Expensive to devour. A romantic and exciting place for two with adventurous palates. Left wanting more. Left wondering about next month!

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Portland Macarons

We’ll start with my favorite places…

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[ Ken’s Artisan Bakery ]

Blood Orange
Lemon
Hazelnut <--- #1, although they are all amazing
Pistacio
Grapefruit
Salted Caramel

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Suuuuuuuuper romantic story about the itty bitty pic above.

Surprise box, full of macarons at work, downtown Portland.

My very first in America actually. So good that I started shoving them in my mouth, crumbs all over my face and a Hansel and Gretel trail where I had been walking by. Mmmmm yum. Snuck away to a busy street. Someone leans in to kiss me (our first) and I frantically shake my head “Noooooooooooo!!” (Only because of the lovely hazelnut macaron still in my mouth).
Yeah. No matter. It was a delicious kiss, but besides that anecdote, Ken’s is by far my top choice for macarons in this city!

[ Pix Patisserie ]

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This place is great and always fulfills our late night macaron cravings! They are open until midnight-1 am and have a slew of other pastries to choose from as well! Pix was voted best macarons in Portland one year, when they had a foie gras flavored one. Disturbing, but just one of many interesting flavors to choose from.

[ Whole Foods Bakery ]

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Double Chocolate — tasted like a piece of fudge and had the same consistency.

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Birthday Cake <--- fave
Pistacio
Strawberry Champagne <---- tied for fave
Raspberry
(PLATE NOT INCLUDED)

I enjoy all of these flavors, even the double chocolate despite it not being quite right in texture. The best way to eat these (besides sharing, of course) is to get a bite of the birthday cake and a bite of the strawberry macaron in one mouthful. STRAWBERRY BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!

[ New Seasons ]

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Pistacio
Lemon
Chocolate
Coffee

These guys aren’t bad! They are a bit on the small side, wimpy macarons that just leave me wanting more. Not the craziest variety to choose from, just basics here that you can’t go wrong with.

[ Jade Bistro ]

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Blueberry
Lavender
Coconut <--- probably the best of the bunch
Pistacio

The colors were so bright and jarring. Fun to pick out in the case, but the flavors matched the vibrancy of the color, except in an artificial way. I think this would fit the palette of many kids rather than anyone desiring a true French pastry; the colors alone screamed fake and made it unappetizing. Plus you can tell from the picture that the macarons are all different sizes, so I don’t think they’ve got the recipe down yet.

[ Fancy That ]

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Pistacio
Chocolate Malt
Carrot Cake
Salted Caramel
Raspberry
Hazelnut

Again, all shapes and sizes of these macarons. Some of the most disappointing I’ve ever tried– If this had been a blind tasting I would have been unable to recognize what flavors I was eating (besides raspberry). The outside was basic for each one, and the filling aka sugared buttered added nothing special to distinguish one from another. The coloring was also pretty misleading. So if you like eating fancy butter… you know where to go!

[ NW Portland Cafe ]

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Gold macaron? Yes please!

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Lemon

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Raspberry… Tasted like a pop tart! Delicious 🙂
These were more surprise work macarons (I prefer food to flowers anytime), and the description of where they came from was vague. I will forever dream of the pop tart macaron I had that day!

[ Elephants Delicatessen ]

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I only tried one. First and last one. Should’ve known better than to trust a place that would leave their macarons out in the open refrigerator all day. They were too tiny for the price, bland, and also the wrong texture *probably due to the refrigeration* I may need to buy some and let them defrost for a bit before consuming, just to be sure…

There are a few major bakeries known for wonderful macarons that I have not been to yet
but as always, I will add them to my ever-growing food list.

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Mother’s Bistro

53. Mother’s Bistro and Bar

What a morning! There was a 5 am wake up, all to get to a meeting at 6:45…
Typically can’t fall asleep early even if I attempt it and ended up getting only four hours of shut eye!
No big deal– By the time I arrived in Portland the temp was already 70 degrees! The warmer weather made it bearable to be out and about so early! Hooray for summmmmmmmmmmmmer!!
After the meeting I was feeling particularly adventurous and slightly hungry (haha… right) and decided to wander around to “Mother’s” with Alex since it was not even 10 o’clock yet– and we had a few hours to kill! Perfect time to try the breakfast menu I kept hearing about but never seemed to be awake for! We had both been past Mother’s but couldn’t seem to find the corner it was on. Turns out it wasn’t actually a brick building like we “remembered”… OR on a corner. No matter, we made it just in time, although the whole place was jam packed– people lined up, eating inside and out! They mentioned it would be a 10 minute wait, which was just fine! I got to study the lights above me–

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When we were finally seated we had both worked up quite an appetite! One sweet dish and one savory to split; it seemed this would satisfy our cravings– The morning “Mini Bubbles” drinks menu looked pretty spectacular as well: moscato and pomegranate juice, mimosas with strawberries– ahhhhhh. Lovely interior as well! Gold (my fave) frames wall to wall, mirrors reflecting lots of light, and crystal chandeliers were draped in every room! This mom’s bistro is fancy! Not what I expected, better!

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Top picture: The Crunchy French Toast. I have always enjoyed french toast, probably since the amazing mornings my mom would make this for breakfast. One quick look at the menu and my eyes zerooed in on this version, “thick slices of challah (egg) bread dipped in cornflakes and grilled golden brown” To be fair, it wasn’t super crispy or anything, but it was soooooooooooooooooo good.

Bottom picture: Breakfast Nachos. How could one not indulge with a name like that!?
Roasted red potatoes sauteed with bacon, caramelized onions & a touch of cream, topped with
melted cheddar, sour cream, and green onions.
On top of that we added two over easy eggs. I will say it added tremendously to the nachos, no yolk has ever tasted more buttery and smooth. Both of these plates were From the Griddle section on the menu! Go figure.


The delicious aftermath:

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Mother’s Bistro and Bar
212 SW Stark St
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 464-1122
www.mothersbistro.com

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Grassa

Fresh. Pasta. Fast.

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Desert Cruiser x4
Green chartreuse, Limonata

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Mezza Rigatoni
Sunday pork ragu
Simple. Home-y. Delicious. Fun to eat the large rigatoni noodles! Probably #1 favorite. Maybe I’m sentimental, it was the first dish I tried–

Squid Ink Bucatini
Calamari, green chorizo smoked tomato, oregano
One of my favorites. Black pasta, some marinara, tender baby squids–

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Gigli
Merguez sausage, roasted cauliflower, tzatziki percorino, cornbread crumbs
Yum. Cauliflower, my favorite veggie. Sausage… cornbread! Yes.

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Radiatore
Salt roasted beets, blue ricotta, toasted pinenuts, grilled endive
Another [seasonal] favorite. {Notice at this point I’m calling everything a “fave” Uh oh.} Shockingly vibrant red pasta, creamy ricotta melting around, reminded me of an elavated mac & cheese! Endive, pretty bitter– even for me.

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Spaghetti Aglio e olio
Breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic butter, parmesan
Simple. Satisfying. Crunchy/salty/cheesy. Always a winning combination.

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Panna Cotta
Rich caramel flavor, smooth and topped with some whip cream and nuts
Passed by many a time, and only half glanced at. Sitting in the refrigerated section to your right, just before your order is taken: it looked as though maybe dessert was an afterthought. Not true– surprisingly more complex that I thought it could be. It’s rough when everything tastes so good…

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EVENT
Chef Jenn Louis (of Lincoln/Top Chef) tookover Grassa [Handcrafted Pasta] to promote her new cookbook Pasta By Hand. It was a delicious collaboration and I am considering this pasta making a new “kitchen adventures/nightmares” challenge. To be determined…

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Spinach spatzel, topped with the thinnest, crispiest, MOST delicate piece of bacon, and pea shoots. Using a fork just didn’t seem convenient, needed a spoon [shovel] to get all of these roly-poly bits without losing any!

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Best thing I put in my mouth. Ricotta Gnochetti, ramp pesto and morel mushrooms. I’ve always been a fan of gnocchi but they’ve never been this soft, melted in the mouth, or been SO creamy– These were luscious pillows of pasta perfection. Paired with the bright pesto, each bite had me wanting to lick my utensils… and maybe I did… then moved onto scraping the bowl when all the little pillows were gone. The morels were more than enough to leave me satisfied without actually having to add any meat to the dish. My only wish was that this could be a permanent addition to the Grassa menu! One can dream (or just buy the book), although I’m 100% expecting a “NAILED IT” post in the near future.

http://grassapdx.com/menu

1205 SW Washington Street
Portland, OR 97205
503 241 1133

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