Archive for the reviews category

review

The other office

Posted by chris on Feb 23rd, 2011 2 comments


Working at Cloud Seven Cafe in northwest Portland, OR (again)

My buddy Will just told me he spent $400 at Cloud Seven Cafe last year, according to his accounting at Mint. (It should be noted that Cloud Seven didn’t even exist until July 2010.) I’ve had the good sense to always pay with cash so I can live in blissful, untracked ignorance. I’m off the grid, baby.

Considering I’m there with him all the time, I don’t know if I should be more worried about the amount of money I’m spending or the amount of caffeine I’m consuming. Obviously at the end of this road is a bleak future as a penniless junkie who wanders the streets, disheveled and in disarray, holding a coffee mug that’s long been fused to my shaking fingers.

So anyway, they make good coffee.

review

Keep Portland Weird

Posted by chris on Oct 4th, 2009 1 comment

crema_coffee

Lemon poppy cupcake with raspberry buttercream. Double-shot Americano. From Crema Bakery & Cafe in southeast Portland, Oregon.

The cafe

I love the layout of this cafe. Big, open, lots of windows and lots of hardwood.

The coffee

Their regular house coffee is from a french press. So it’s very strong. In fact, they provide hot water, right next to the coffee dispenser. Puny, weak mortals use this water to wuss-ify their drink. Can’t handle a french press? Get in the hot water line — with the other small-boned children.

The characters

A very intense guy started talking to me about how his ex-girlfriend was trying to kill him. That was the first thing he said to me.

After 2 minutes of him ironically ranting about crazy women, I tried to feign sudden hearing loss. I became engrossed in whatever was on my laptop screen and prayed for the girl sitting on the other side of me to bail me out. No luck. The guy topped off his one-sided conversation by inviting me to “team up” with him and fight strangers.

I had to decline, for I was in Portland on vacation and had to fly back home immediately. But after all this, for reasons beyond understanding, I moved to Portland... And no, it wasn’t to team up and fight strangers.

review

Terribly good

Posted by chris on Sep 2nd, 2009 4 comments

The Reggie Deluxe

Today’s breakfast: A buttermilk biscuit sandwich, filled with fried chicken, thick-cut bacon, cheddar cheese and a fried egg, topped with sausage gravy. All before 7:30 AM.

I’m wandering around Portland, Oregon this week, trying all the local eateries. This behemoth of a sandwich is known as The Reggie Deluxe and is available at Pine State Biscuits. If you’re searching for a meal that can simultaneously start and end your day, look no further.

The Reggie Deluxe

Every component of this fork-and-knife sandwich is well-prepared. Biscuit? Freshly baked. Chicken? Crispy and moist. Bacon? Thick and chewy. All the individual ingredients come together to form this super sandwich (that requires super arteries, should you choose to eat the whole thing.)

I had to travel across state lines, but I finally found a morning meal that rivals the dangerous breakfast burrito from Rose’s Cafe. Thanks Pine State Biscuits!

Pine State Biscuits

review

Alarmingly good

Posted by chris on Jul 15th, 2009 3 comments

I never set an alarm clock. I work from home, on my own schedule and sleep very sporadically. I don’t plan things in advance so I rarely need to be somewhere at a specific time. But this morning, I broke my habit and set an iTunes alarm for 10:45AM…

All cause of Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts in Oakland, California. They’re open to the public one day a week: Wednesdays at 11:00AM (They close when they sell out.) Gregory’s is first & foremost a wholesale bakery, catering to hotels & restaurants. But due to public demand, they decided to open their doors to common streetwalkers — one day a week.

Ambiance

Their priority still lies with their corporate clients: They don’t have a “store-front” for the public. No fancy glass cases to show off their sweets like expensive jewelry. You basically walk down some stairs to a back room of the kitchen where they sell you cookies right off the baking trays.

No fancy printed menu behind the cash register (no cash register, either.) Instead, you walk by a human-sized dry-erase whiteboard just outside the door, filled from edge-to-edge with a huge list of cookies, cakes & cobblers. It’s not even pretty handwriting. It looks like I wrote it — And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of getting something handwritten from me, you know how shocking that is.

Fuck it. They don’t make menus, they make desserts. And you want ‘em.

My findings

  • Key lime pie
  • Peach cobbler
  • 3 dark chocolate coffee cookies
  • White chocolate blueberry oatmeal cookie. Tons of blueberry flavor. This is coming from a guy who’s still recovering from a cold.
  • Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie
  • Snickerdoodle

All for me.

review

Breakfast burrito, literally

Posted by chris on Jan 29th, 2009 3 comments

rose_breakfast_burrito

Rose Donuts & Cafe is the only place I know of takes an entire diner breakfast and wraps it in a tortilla to create their breakfast burrito. If you dare to finish the whole thing, it will surely put an end to whatever plans you’ve made for the day. Stuffed with eggs, ham, bacon, a sausage link, hash browns & cheese, it’s a giant pill of unproductiveness.

Highly recommended, as long as your affairs are in order.

Aside

I’m not sure why I bought this today. My fridge is so full right now, when I want to eat something, I have to take out 10 containers to access the food I want. Then play a game of Tetris to fit everything back in. I feel like I’m repacking a suitcase before each meal.

review

Baklava: It’s what’s for breakfast

Posted by chris on Jan 25th, 2009 7 comments

baklava2

Thanks to my homie, Bilal, at my local Farmer’s Market I scored the last of his baklava tray for five bucks (regular price would have been $14). Every week, he hooks me up with a super deal on his food. And all I had to do was be a loyal customer for a year — an easy task.

baklava

A quick story

A while back, Bilal was telling me how his sales were low that particular day. We talked for a while and I bought $15 worth of food, paying with a 20 dollar bill. After talking some more, I asked for my change. Turns out, I had accidentally given him a 10 dollar bill, shorting him $5.

Yes, I can count. But I’m usually half-awake (or as the pessimist in me wants to say, I’m half-asleep) when I stumble into the Farmer’s Market each Sunday morning. So I wasn’t thinking very clearly. Thing is, he didn’t even mention my mistake until I brought it up. He was prepared to silently take the $5 hit, even after a dismal day of sales, just to keep me as a loyal customer. Dude is a class act.

If you ever visit the Blossom Hill Farmer’s Market, don’t leave without visiting the Afghan booth, next to the (also great) cinnamon bread stand. Bilal, a young guy in his 20’s, will be there with his usual lively banter, giving you enough free samples to skip breakfast. Unless I buy everything first.

Related post: Grocery list #2 – Where I talk about some of the other food Bilal sells

review

Bouchon

Posted by annie on Jun 28th, 2008 3 comments

My good friend Richard was kind enough to treat me to dinner at Bouchon, which is a one Michelin star restaurant. For Ratatouille fans out there (like me!), Bouchon was opened by American Chef Thomas Keller, who consulted on the Pixar movie.

Remember the ratatouille that was made at the very end of the movie? That’s actually Thomas Keller’s recipe! So, when I saw ratatouille listed under the a la carte section of the Bouchon menu, I was pretty thrilled.

Our extravagant meal began with a braid of fresh bread (probably baked next door at the Bouchon Bakery) accompanied by hummus and butter. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good photo of this. I’m beginning to realize that food photos are especially difficult to take. Anyone got any good tips?

Next came the appetizers! Richard got a duck confit salad, and I ordered lobster consumme.

For the main course, Richard ordered the roast chicken on top of puff pastry and asparagus, and I had the lamb over cous cous in a mint jus. We also ordered a side of potato puree and ratatouille. The ratatouille turned out to be a different version than what was depicted in the movie. Thomas Keller has many other restaurants, so perhaps he uses several recipes.

roast chicken, potato puree, and ratatouille

lamb over cous cous

For dessert, we shared a chocolate mousse.

All in all, it was quite impressive. My favorites were the ratatouille, the duck confit, and (to be honest) the hummus. I’ve never had ratatouille before but I have to say it’s one of the most satisfying vegetarian choices I’ve ever had. It seems that texture plays a large role in this dish since the tomatoes and eggplant were cooked until soft and supple, but the squash and zucchini remained hearty but tender, which gave the dish a meaty quality.

Duck confit was also surprisingly tasty. I’ve had duck confit before but for some reason, when I had it, the duck was shredded. Perhaps the chef thought confit meant confetti?

Finally, though it was barely an amuse-bouche, I have to give credit to the hummus. This hummus lacked the acidic quality I usually experience with hummus (Trader Joe’s- I am now disappointed in you), but instead was smooth and modest. Mixed with bits of basil and a generous dose of olive oil, I couldn’t help but overload myself with bread.

review

Dark Chocolate Almond Laceys

Posted by chris on Apr 12th, 2008 6 comments

An extraordinary, crisp continental confection with rich smooth dark chocolate melted between two feather-light toffee wafers. WORD.

Think of it as the best sandwich in town. But instead of bread, it’s almond-toffee. And all that healthy stuff that goes in the middle has been replaced with dark chocolate. I highly recommend this evil concoction brought to you by a company called, Desserts On Us. (Bought from Whole Foods.)

There’s also a Milk Chocolate Macadamia flavor, which is quite good.

It’s pure fatty, chocolate-y fun. With no corn syrup. So you can eat a whole box and not feel guilty. And since it has 1 gram of fiber per serving, you might as well buy two boxes. Not to mention the 2 grams of protein. I can already see this treat being the basis for the next fad diet.

ingredients

Bittersweet chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin (emulsifier), vanilla), almonds, sugar, butter (milk), cream, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), honey, vanilla.