Portland Dining Month: Tabla

March in Portland is Portland Dining Month, which means restaurants all over town offer a $29 dinner that usual incorporates a sampling of different choices from their menu. Most restaurants pick one appetizer, one main course, and one dessert to highlight, but some have other variations on the $29 deal.

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of dining at Tabla. Tabla calls themselves a “Mediterranean Bistro,” but for the geographically confused this might make you automatically think “Greek food!” It’s more Italian based fare here, though not the heavy red-sauce based Italian, a lighter, less Americanized Italian. Tabla’s Dining Month selection actually allowed each diner to choose their own appetizer, pasta, and main course from the entire menu. Options!

I started with the winter salad:

photo 1

I picked the salad because it has my favorite olives, castelvetrano. They’re those big lime green olives you see at the fancy olive bars at Whole Foods and New Seasons. They’re almost buttery in taste, and definitely a common indulgence of mine. The olives complimented this salad well, and it was a nice, crispy, fresh start to my meal. Although I did find the inclusion of celery in a salad odd, it actually worked well and added a nice crunch.

For my pasta dish I chose the crab tortellini: 

photo 2

I have been to Tabla a few times before, and always ordered the Tabla Ravioli, which I highly recommend. But I’m glad I decided to change things up. The tortellini is made from fresh pasta, and each one was stuffed nicely. Sometimes I’m afraid of ordering things like tortellini or ravioli at restaraunts instead of actual pasta because the servings tend to be skimpier, but this was just right. The crab was actually hard to taste at first, so if you’re wary of seafood this dish isn’t overly seafoody.

For my entree I went with the Braised Pork Braciole:

photo 4 

It’s basically a pork ragu. The sauce was good and tomatoey, and the pork was tender. There’s polenta on the bottom, and I was surprised and delighted by how creamy it was. The entire dish was delicious. At this point I was rather full, so I’m happy to report that the leftovers heated-up nicely the next day.

I highly recommend Tabla, even after Portland Dining Month is over. After March they still have a Three Course Dinner option on the menu that is only $33, which for what you get is a fantastic deal. The service is fantastic, the dining room was nice and quiet even though the restaurant was full, and most importantly the food is consistently good.

In case you’re interested in other PDX Dining Month options, Eater PDX put together a list of the best deals.

Stay tuned as I continue to eat my way through Portland!

 

Tabla on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

I’ve got the Remedy…

Last week I had the pleasure of going to Remedy with some of my Bar Method friends. Remedy is a a fabulous wine bar on the corner of Everett Street and Park Avenue. It’s kind of tucked away, but one of my friends lives in the building and is a regular. I’m so glad she told me about it, because it has that perfect combination of ambience + food + wine. And they serve wine in beakers, which is totally my kind of science:

Screenshot 2014-03-05 22.02.43I don’t really know all that much about wine, but both times I’ve been to Remedy I’ve enjoyed what I’ve had. This time around, we got a bottle of red. I conveniently took a picture so that I wouldn’t have to remember exactly what the wine was. So let’s have a peek, shall we?
photo 1 (3)Yep. Whatever that wine is, it was great. Remedy also has some pretty amazing food. They have a somewhat limited food menu of snacks and small plates–good drinking food. But if you’re wanting dinner, they have a “plat du jour.” When we were there the daily dinner was chicken pot pie. It was a dreary Portland day, and the chicken pot pie was exactly what the weather ordered…errr… what I ordered:

photo 2 (4)You know you need a close up:
photo 4 (1)It was so good. The crust was buttery and flakey, but not too flakey. The inside was filled with chunks of chicken, potatoes, and other veggies. It was perfect, and it went surprisingly well with the wine.

Remedy is in the Pearl District, and yes it is immaculate, airy, and clean, but for some reason I don’t get a pretentious Pearl District Vibe (which I honestly don’t get in that many places, despite the Pearl’s reputation). The staff is incredibly friendly–I’m pretty sure I met the chef the first time I went, and she was very sweet and helpful. Rumor has it she’s a cheese genius, and I believe it because the cheese plate we got was amazing.

Everyone at Remedy seems like they’re really enjoying what they’re doing, and I truly wish them the success they deserve. It is a bit pricey, but according to this article on Eater, they’re starting up a happy hour deal–$6 wine pour and a $4 snack. Cheers!

Remedy Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

All I Do Is Eat

When I decided to stop focusing this blog solely on books I was afraid that I would run out of things to write about. Turns out I should just quit my day job and become a professional eater!

Last night I went out for a friends birthday. We had dessert before dinner. I would share with you my terrible iphonography, but honestly, my scoop of ice cream looks like… a scoop of ice cream! But it was from Salt & Straw, so clearly it was delicious. I tried a bunch of their special seasonal flavors, including the bizarre “Universe II” which was chocolate pudding and lime and something else weird. It of course tasted way better than it sounds, but I ended up going with my old standards of Olive Oil and Salted Caramel. Boring can be delicious too. Oh, right, you non-Portland people are like, Olive Oil ice cream, WTF?! Well, let me tell you. IT IS SO GOOD. It’s just smooth and yummy and…mmmm. It really does taste like olive oil, but it’s subtle. I really like it because of the texture. It’s not overly sweet either. It’s kind of like eating butter flavored ice cream, but not as gross and rich as that sounds. After Salt & Straw we headed over to the Whiskey Soda Lounge.

afterlight (2)

Yes, I had a little fun with photo filters. It was really dark!! One of these days I’ll start taking my good camera out with me and the quality of photos around here will be better, I promise. Anyway. Whiskey Soda Lounge is owned by the Portland-Famous Pok Pok, and is a “bar/lounge serving Aahaan kap Klaem, the drinking food of Thailand.” Translation: They serve really cool/unique thai food and delicious delicious drinks. The lounge opened up across the street from Pok Pok when that shit got SUPER popular, so people can go across the street and have a drink while waiting for their Pok Pok table. But it’s a great place on its own, and they have delicious chicken wings.
afterlight (1)They. are. so. good. They’re cooked with fish sauce, so they’re slightly sweet, and tangy. And they’re really nicely sized, so a few chicken wings is really all you need. We also got drinks. afterlightI had the Pok Pok Gin & Tonic (left), which uses their house infused Kaffir Lime gin. Refreshing and delicious, and tall! Not your average tiny g&t. But that tiny cup on the right? It was so cute and full of something alcohol I don’t remember what. But come on, it’s a tiny cup!

In summary: Salt & Straw + Whiskey Soda Lounge = Delicious Portlandy Night. I love that Portlanders get really attached to their local restaurants/ice creameries/coffee shops, and when these places do well they multiply like bunnies–there are three Salt & Straw locations, and a bunch of different Pok Poks–including a Pok Pok in New York. Because Brooklyn is the new Portland. And if you didn’t think I could get more Portlandy: I just read that last year’s Salt & Straw/Breakside Brewery Salted Caramel Stout is back and being released at Belmont Station this week, so guess who will be saving up her weight watchers points? (answer: it’s me!)

I do love Portland. I really do.

Farm Cafe

Once a month two of my best friends and I go out to monthly drinks. A) It’s nice to schedule a fun night out because we’re all so busy, it’s good to know we have one night for us! and B) We dress up and go explore Portland. We select a special drink that we all have, and this month due to the New Year, we decided on champagne cocktails. After a little bit of research we headed out to the Farm Cafe for Goldenrods. The Farm Cafe is a restaurant in a house in inner SE Portland that boasts a fresh farm to table menu.

photo 1Our Goldenrods were indeed golden, and consisted of: sparkling wine, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and a splash of lemon juice, with a twist of orange.  Yum! The drinks were delicious. We also started out with baked brie, and despite being in the middle of a gluten-free experiment, I was an idiot and ate some bread. It was so good. Yay bread. The brie was good and gooey, and I ended up with a very sticky hand from the honey the whole thing was soaked in.
baked brie
I ordered the seafood cioppino for dinner. I love seafood. I was torn between the cioppino and the trout, and well, maybe I should have gotten the trout. The cioppino had clams, shrimps, and big chunks of salmon… and it was so so salty. I still ate the entire bowl and didn’t feel like I got cheated on seafood bits (as can be the case), but man. I can salt my own food. I find that this is often a problem for me, so maybe I’m just overly sensitive to salt.

Cioppino
We couldn’t end the meal without dessert.
chocolate souffle That is a chocolate souffle with coffee ice cream. Which, I am happy to report was not too salty. While I had a lovely evening, and there are many other interesting items on the menu that I want to try, there are so many other amazing restaurants in Portland that I would probably choose over Farm Cafe. If someone suggests it, I won’t shoot it down, but I’d say it’s a solid B restaurant, and pricy at that.

And yes, this meal was courtesy of my Weight Watchers Flex Points. I have been super strict with WW, and I’m trying to let go of that a little bit because this has to be a lifestyle change. And sometimes in life you need chocolate souffle.

The Farm Cafe on Urbanspoon

Dessert Stomach

career-day-1

It is no secret to those who know me that I have a sweet tooth. And that I have the ability to call my Dessert Stomach into action even after the biggest of meals. Oh Dessert Stomach. You are my favorite. So lucky for me and my dessert stomach this week, I went to not one, but TWO of Portland’s World Famous Places To Eat Sweet Things. First off, Pix!

photo-2

photo-3We had our book club meeting at La Calaca Comelona (perfectly fine mexican food, nothing to write home about… or blog about), and afterwords we were all craving something sweet. So we walked the .5 mile to Pix, where I got the Queen of Sheba Truffle Cake:

photo-1Damn straight, I got ice cream on top. And I was surprised, their ice cream was REALLY good. I’m an ice cream snob (it runs in my family, my grandfather owned an ice cream factory in Brooklyn), so when I say it was good, it was good. Vanilla-ey but not too much, creamy, and delicious. And the cake. From the menu: “Moist chocolate almond cake with bittersweet chocolate center. Warm slightly for molten chocolate center.”  Chocolate almond deliciousness. Gooey and warm and just right. Macarons were also had:

photo-7

Kalamansi Lime, Coconut Curry, Tawny Port, and…two others that I don’t remember the flavors. (Blog fail. They weren’t MY macarons. I just have smart friends who let me try them. Because they like to not get killed.) The stand-out was the Port flavored. Not to be a Huge Asshole, but I’ve had better macarons. These were good. Very good. And I respect all macaron makers, as I am one. But there’s this place in Santa Barbara. OMG. They fucking melt in your fucking mouth. Renaud’s, I think?
Want more sweets? Yay! Follow me:

photo (2)The very next day I went to Salt and Straw because they currently have Beer Flavored Ice Cream:

photo-5

photo-6I got the Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout and the  Bretta Fermented Pears and Fudge. So weird. So good. Possibly overhyped? But still, so good. I mean, I love beer, and I love ice cream, so this was a win in my book. But. Beer flavored ice cream is WEIRD and hard to pull off. Also, I’m regretting not getting the Smoked Heff, because I of course tasted them all, and I tasted my friend’s Passionfruit Berliner Weise and am now craving those two instead of the two that I ordered. Guess another ice cream trip is in order! Good thing for all of that Bar Method.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite dessert? Favorite place to get dessert?
I’m actually going to have to deviate from the above two places and say Papa Hayden for cake! So. Good. So. So. So. Good. Ok clearly if I want to be a food writer I’m going to have to find better discriptors. Orgasmic cake. There you go. That place makes me go all Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

And on that note, I hope you all have a sweet weekend! (ha….)