mr_pandakun (mr_pandakun) wrote,

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Another food posting

So last trip up to Portland wasn't really for new restaurant experiences, at least for me. Roger, however, got a treat with eating at Pazzo and Toro Bravo - my two new "favorites when money isn't a biggie" up there. Also ate at Mother's Bistro for breakfast this time, and take out at a Lebanese place for dinner (portions are absolutely huge there). Breakfast was also had at "the Original", which was attached to our hotel - the Courtyard Marriott. I like the city center Marriott, but I think I'll be trying to book that Courtyard when I can in the future. It's a bit more modern, and I like the rooms more.

What did we eat?

Pazzo --
I had the Anatra; roasted Sonoma muscovy duck breast, savoy cabbage, mustard seed and kumquat. The cabbage was a bit *too much bitter* with the kumquat, I might have paired dandelion greens or roasted leeks instead. Otherwise, quite fantastic - especially the duck meat!

We both had the Barbietola; sea-salt roasted beets, brussels sprouts, horseradish, mascarpone and pistachio. The beets & horseradish made the dish, and I can see why they added the mascarpone - to add creaminess and temper the strong horseradish - but I felt the beets smoothed out the horseradish with their sweetness and didn't need so much creamy texture. Thankfully, one could easily pare down the mascarpone to their desire.

Roger had the Gnocchi; handmade potato pillows with a wild boar sparerib ragu. The ragu was perfection, the earthiness of the meat went perfectly with the rich plum (I think) tomatoes, and everything clicked.

At the lunch carts --
We split a dressed sandwich at Wet Hot Beef - sliced Piedmontese beef au jus, housemade pickled vegetables (beets and carrot), caramelized sweet onions on a French roll. Also picked up some of their potato chips, which were absolutely wonderful - just the right amount of salt, and sliced very thin. The only downside to the sandwich was that it wasn't piled high with meat, and that's fine - the cut they used isn't cheap, and I appreciate the sacrifice of quality over quantity.

Just in case, we also picked up some teriyaki chicken at a Hawaiian BBQ place that was eh.

At Mother's Bistro --
For breakfast, I had the Migas - which was scrambled egg, tortilla, mushrooms and peppers. Basic, and very tasty as it's sort of a comfort food of mine.

Finally, Toro Bravo --
Again I had the tasting menu and encouraged Roger to get the same. He'd already had a drink, so I figured ordering a pitcher of sangria would be an excellent choice. It was, as the wine was watered down enough by fruit juice and ice that it didn't totally overpower everything.

The tasting menu consists of standards, which I'll * below, and some which are switched out depending - I'm sure - on season.

* Grilled bacon-wrapped date. Just like last time, and always a hit!
* Singing pig greens (with grilled asparagus, chopped egg and hazelnuts). The standard salad, although this time with egg and asparagus. The asparagus was delightful, as it was first steamed to al denté, then grilled. The egg I avoided, but that's a personal preference.
* Grilled Shrimp with chilies - just like the last time, again wonderful.
- Seared cauliflower with olives and salsa verde - Personally, I don't think there's a cauliflower dish out there that strikes me as anything more than "okay", this was no exception. The salsa verde, however, made it more interesting.
* Sautéed spinach - like last time, still good.
- Chorizo & Manchego with country bread - the chorizo was surprisingly mild, but the selection of manchego more than made up for the flavor there.
- Duck liver mousse terrine with morels and house made sidra mustard. THE only liver I will ever eat again, which should speak volumes to people who know me. Liver was incredibly smooth flavored, well balanced especially with the mustard (which had a just a bit more than a hint of cumin - nicely done).
- Baked polenta with roast beef, peppers and onions. I could not recommend this dish enough, so creamy and rich it'll make you wish the plate was twice the size. The roast beef complimented the polenta well, although the onions got lost in there somewhere. That's the problem, I think, with such a combination.
- Grilled Hanger Steak with arugula and potato salad - the spices used for the steak rub really pulled off the flavors of the meat, and the rarity helped here. Just enough fat, too, to help keep it juicy. The potatoes and arugula got lost underneath, and lended very little to the meal other than bulk. If they were a bit spicier, maybe... and why arugula?

Anyhow, we had to wait for an hour for our table, so we walked upstairs to the next-door "Secret Society", listened to some (free) 20's & 30's jazz and had a drink to pass the time. Perfect!
Tags: food portland
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