Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen’

When I found this restaurant on Living Social, I was quick to purchase the voucher.  I think I was most enchanted by the name.  I consider myself to be somewhat eccentric or odd (my family just calls me “weird”), and I like it when some place embraces their uniqueness.  So, I was very intrigued by the name, not to mention by the fact that Eclectic Kitchen boasts a “Local – Seasonal – Comfort Food” type of menu.

The #2 Scramble

Location:  4936 NE Fremont Street, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the #2 Scramble (Bacon, Red Pepper, Caramelized Onion, Sun Dried Tomato & Gorgonzola – $8.50) while my husband ordered the “Big Breakfast ($9.50)

What I Think:

The atmosphere at Eclectic Kitchen is a very homey one, in fact, it appears that it plays “home away from home” to a child or children on a regular basis with a corner set up with toys and the artwork on the walls appearing to be created by a young artist.  The walls are painted a bright, cheerful yellow, and maybe it was just me and my interpretation and consideration of the name of the establishment, but it felt very eclectic.

The water and coffee self-service station

I was kind of surprised by their self-service water and coffee station.   I don’t think I’ve been in a restaurant that has no real drink service … one either served themselves water or coffee, or grabbed a cold soda from the refrigerator located next to the cash register.  The only drinks that appeared to be “served” were fancy, latte style coffees or teas.

I didn’t let this lack of drink service dampen my excitement for this restaurant though, I didn’t mind getting my own water, as that is what we wanted to drink anyway.  I still looked forward to some local comfort food.

Unfortunately, much of the meal was somewhat disappointing.

My husband’s poached eggs were woefully overcooked (he likes a runny yoke, and this one looked almost fully congealed), the potatoes that were on both our plates were about barely warm, and my husband mentioned that his second piece of french toast had an almost meat-like taste to it that he found unpleasant.

In fact, the only bit of food that had any redeeming quality at all as far as my husband was concerned was the biscuits which were really good.

The Big Breakfast

My experience at the Eclectic Kitchen was a little better than my husband’s.  I, too, really enjoyed the biscuits, and especially tasty was the biscuits and gravy which came with my husband’s big breakfast platter.  I would have been happier, I think, had I ordered just a platter of biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits are tender, flaky and buttery.  Like something gramma would have made.  And the gravy was rich and thick and had a certain spiciness to it.  These biscuits were indeed something I’d call “comfort food.”

My scramble was alright, but it wasn’t anything I’d rush back to the establishment to eat again.  The eggs were cooked well enough, and I enjoyed the filling.  But, it wasn’t exceptional or really very memorable in any way.  It was just “OK” – not great, but not bad either.  I did enjoy the bacon, which my husband offered me off his plate because it was a little overcooked for his taste (I like my bacon crispy and he likes it a bit on the chewy side).

The potatoes were not really all that enjoyable, although they did have promise.  They had a nice amount of spice to them, but I think they would have been better if they were served at a warmer temperature and maybe if they had some crispy edges to them.  They were very tender, and cooked through, but, they tasted as though they were prepared earlier in the morning, and put on a steam table or something to keep warm, and the steam table wasn’t turned to the right temperature … resulting in lukewarm potatoes.

My Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, with the biscuits being the only thing worth talking about, this is a place I won’t return to again.

OK… I’m a little behind on my restaurant reviews.  Fortunately I do take notes … these aren’t based on my memory!  My memory just isn’t that good!  I do remember though that on the day we visited this restaurant for lunch it was a dreadfully HOT day.  I think we both just wanted to get out of the house, and out of the heat, which is what brought us to Ducktales Kitchen in Vancouver.   And the fact that we had a LivingSocial voucher was certainly another incentive…

Location:  612 N. Devine Road, Vancouver, Washington

Order:  I ordered the special of the day which was an Artichoke and Feta Cheese Ravioli with chicken and pesto sauce.  The special came with a choice of soup or salad – I chose the Caesar Salad.

What I Think:

The atmosphere at Ducktales Kitchen in Vancouver, Washington is very comfortable, very homey.  From the artwork from local artists hanging on the wall to the friendly waitstaff that treats you more like family than like patrons, it is a very warm and inviting kind of place.

The service is pretty quick, too.  My salad seemed to arrive almost immediately after placing the order.  The salad was composed of very fresh, crisp romaine, Parmesan shreds, croutons and dressing.  The lettuce was ice cold, and this was especially refreshing on such a hot day.  But … there was just too much dressing!  Had I known that the Caesar salad would be so drenched in dressing, I would have preferred the soup (although, it might have been too hot to really enjoy the soup!) or the house salad with dressing on the side.  It was still a tasty salad, but, there was just way too much dressing.  The croutons on the salad were a little “off” too, they tasted stale and they were kind of chewy.  I appreciated the freshness and chilly temperature of the romaine lettuce, but the rest of the salad was kind of disappointing.

Fortunately, the ravioli made up for whatever the salad was lacking.  When the plate was first brought out, I noted that the pasta sauce was a little soupy, but it was incredibly flavorful.  So flavorful, in fact, I was kind of wishing I had a soup spoon to dish out the sauce and eat it by itself!  By the time I was about halfway finished with my dish, the sauce had thickened up nicely, though.  The chicken was very tender, and the ravioli was delicious, filled with lots of tangy feta cheese.  There wasn’t much artichoke in these pillows of pasta, but, I like feta cheese, so I couldn’t really find a whole lot of fault with them, except that I did notice that the pasta of the ravioli was just a little bit chewy.  Other than that, though, everything about this dish, from the sweet, juicy tomatoes and olives to the juicy chicken and flavorful sauce was really, really enjoyable.

My husband ordered a burger, and he really enjoyed it.  At the time of our visit, Ducktales was in a competition with one of the local radio stations where patrons would vote on their favorite burger, and Ducktales was in the top three.  We helped out by texting in a few votes, and in return we got a free dessert!

For dessert, we chose the berry cobbler, and it was so yummy.  Filled with marionberries, this dessert tasted like something that would have come out of my gramma’s kitchen.

My Final Thoughts:

I think that the dessert exemplifies what I really liked best about Ducktales Kitchen.  The food may not have been perfect, but it was really good.  It tasted like it was made with love and care … just like gramma would have made.  It tastes like a good, home cooked meal that I didn’t have to cook, and I really like that!

Ducktales on Urbanspoon

I was so excited when Living Social offered this deal that I ordered without even stopping to check where Abella Italian Kitchen was located … Wilsonville?  Yikes!  My husband has been really awesome about taking me to these different restaurants but he doesn’t really like it when I select a place that’s outside Portland.  So, I asked my daughter to join me instead, and I had a nice luncheon with her. 

Broiled Polenta

Location:  8309 SW Main Street, Wilsonville, Oregon

Order:  For an appetizer, we ordered the Broiled Polenta ($6.95).  I ordered the Chicken Piccata entree ($13.95) and a refreshing glass of Marionberry Lemonade.

What I Think:

It was such a lovely day when we visited Abella Italian Restaurant that we decided to dine outside on the patio.  Our server, Cody, was an exceptionally nice and attentive server.  Very friendly and personable.  If you’ve been reading many of my restaurant reviews, you know that I don’t make it a habit to comment on the service unless it really stands out for being either very good or very bad … here, it was VERY good.

My daughter ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad and she loved it!

We were served our drinks right away, and the Marionberry Lemonade was really good.  I liked that while it was a little on the sweeter side than your typical lemonade (thanks to the marionberries), it wasn’t too sweet.  Cody told us that he makes the marionberry puree himself with fresh marionberries, and the freshness of these berries could be tasted.  A nice balance between sweet and tart, and I enjoyed it so much that I’d revisit this restaurant for nothing more but a glass of the refreshing lemonade.

The Broiled Polenta was delicious.  The polenta was creamy on the inside with a slight crispiness from the broiled crust.  The gorgonzola cheese added a palate-pleasing tangy note to the dish, and the tomato sauce tasted freshly made.
I found it to be very filling, though, I think I would have been satisfied to order just this as my luncheon appetizer.

But then, I wouldn’t have had the Chicken Piccata, and really, this was the highlight of the lunch.  Not the service (which was exemplary), not the lemonade (which was stunning), not even the polenta that I enjoyed so much.  The Chicken Piccata outshined everything, and really, isn’t that what you want when you visit a restaurant?  For your entree to be the crowning moment of the event?

The best Chicken Picatta I’ve ever had.

I love Chicken Piccata anyway, it’s one of my favorite dishes, but it’s one that sometimes just isn’t done right.  Even when it’s not done right, it is still good, but, it isn’t something that I’d sing praises over like I’m doing with this dish.  The chicken was so tender it seemed to melt in my mouth, and the sauce was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.  I could taste the garlic and the touch of wine, it was buttery and sweet and the capers gave it just the right amount of salty taste.  The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce was a creamy delight.  It was a medley of flavor and texture.  Sublime!

My Final Thoughts:

While the place is a little pricy, if I had the chance to visit again (hopefully another Living Social voucher will come my way!) I would.  And, while I’d like to say that I’d explore the menu and try something new, I probably wouldn’t.  The Chicken Piccata was just too good, I would order it again in a heartbeat.  Perhaps my exploration will take place with the appetizer!

Abella Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon