Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Portland Weekend of Food

Portland has too many amazing chefs!

I know this will taint my taste buds for the rest of my life.

Whether is was celebrating our recent financial goal being met, or the five bags of clothes (and other 'stuff') we took to Goodwill after cleaning out our closets, my wife and I needed some good food!


On Saturday we started with Gravy and ended with Ava Gene's.


If you haven't been to Gravy yet, go early! By 9 a.m., there is a line down the street.

It's conveniently located down the street from us (lucky us!) on N. Mississippi Avenue.

Everything we've had on the breakfast menu has been delicious! (Just a personal preference warning, we cannot say the same for the lunch menu.)

This time we had the half-order of french toast and an omelet. This was more than enough to share, as the plates are gigantic!

If the food can't get you in, then the coffee will! I definitely broke my 'one cup of coffee a day' rule on Saturday.

A regular stop for us...Gravy is perfect if you're looking for comfort breakfast food and good coffee.

Price = $
Food = Thumbs Up

Ava Gene's

We have a list of Portland restaurants that we're working our stomachs through and, with Saturday's dinner at Ava Gene's, we can cross another location off the list!

Whenever we go to a new restaurant, it's hard not to try everything on the menu! I just want to taste it all!

Luckily we went with friends, so we were able to order several more dishes than usual.

Since the menu included a 'few' words that we did not understand, we made the 'mistake' of asking the waitress a few questions about the menu.

I say mistake, because everything she told us about sounded like heaven! With each explanation came another tug on our stomachs and hearts. The food sounded...beautiful...

And it was!

We ordered all over the menu - appetizers, salads, first course, second course, sides, desserts!
  • Formaggi - Rush Creek Reserve (from the waitress' explanation, we'd really appreciate it if we were cheese nerds)
  • Fritti - Beet Arancini, Humboldt Fog (fried ball of beets and cheese)
  • Giardini - Brussels Sprouts, Chanterelles, Frikeh, Pumpkin Seeds, Anchovy, Chiles (I seriously need the recipe for this salad. Raw brussels sprouts with a kick!)
  • Primi - Fusilloni, Pork Sausage, Kale Pesto, Ricotta
  • Primi - Tagliatelle, Duck Ragu, Escarole
  • Secondi - Beef Short Ribs, Carrots, Apple, Horseradish, Hairbender (melts in your mouth)
  • Secondi - Barramundi, Mushrooms, Prosciutto, Mussel Maionese (fish)
  • Contorni - "Misticanza" Sauteed Greens, Olives, Chiles
  • Dolci - Panna Cotta, Saba (I'm not usually a fan of desserts and I couldn't stop myself from eating half of this.)
The perfect combination for our 'next time' meal would be a formaggi, the brussels sprout giardini, the fusilloni primi, and the beef short ribs. Of course, followed by the panna cotta!

Being wine novices, but knowing we definitely needed a bottle of wine to fully embrace the ambiance, we asked the waitress for a recommendation. This definitely worked in our favor, as we ended up with a red that complemented all of the dishes! Silky, smooth...now if I would have only taken a picture of the bottle or written the name down!!

The waitstaff were spot on. Offering and filling up our (sparkling) water glasses, refilling our wine glasses, offering help with any questions on the menu, and being very knowledgeable about the food and wine selections.

I definitely understand why Ave Gene's has received such praise!

I recommend a visit, though watch out for the line. Highly recommend reviewing the watering-holes close by for a pre-meal drink while you wait.

Price = $$$
Food = Thumbs Up


We continued our culinary experience on Sunday.

We were in Downtown Portland taking photos (specifically Chinatown) and decided we needed dim sum for lunch.

It's been almost five years since I last had dim sum, in Hawaii...ahh, Hawaii, I will see you again soon!

House of Louie

I'm not sure if Hawaii spoiled me, or if we did a terrible job of picking out the restaurant (what?! Walking around looking for the busiest spot usually works!). In either case, this was not the place for dim sum.

Enough said.

Well, not quite. My wife picked up a fortune cookie while we were running for the checkout counter. Fortune read "you will demonstrate poor judgment today."

Well, that was spot on!

Price = $
Food = Thumbs Down 


We decided that the only thing that could make up for the lunch experience was french macarons!

And there is nowhere better for french macarons in Portland than Nuvrei! Literally, they are better than in Marseille.

It was the longest six block drive ever, as we picked out the flavors in our heads.

Alas, they were out!

Deflated but not willing to give up, we went with plan B. Plan B was made up on the spot, but it worked!

Papa Haydn

Papa Haydn is great for desserts.

Huge portions, fancy atmosphere...and for those on the move, a counter where you can order and go.

The day was salvaged!

We were able to get our french macarons - pistachio, salted caramel, and (the family favorite) espresso.

We even bought a few extra and ate them again that evening!

Price = $$
Dessert = Thumbs Up

I cannot wait to have more to celebrate! I still have a long list of restaurants to try!

Any suggestions for Dim Sum in Portland? We're still looking!

Yours in exploiting life!

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