Posts Tagged ‘PDXeats’

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

I don’t know what possessed me to order another Sports Bar/Grill Living Social voucher.  I guess I am a glutton for punishment!  But, I was kind of excited about this place, if for no other reason than because it was in Vancouver.  We wouldn’t have to worry about the rush hour traffic if we’re a little late headed home after lunch, and even though I call my blog “Hungry In Portland,” I do love the city I call home:  Vancouver, Washington.  So I tried to remain optimistic, and hoped that this would not be a repeat of the past sports bar experiences (the food was great; the atmosphere just wasn’t my thing.)

The Adult Mac & Cheese

Location:  800 Main Street, Vancouver

Order:  I ordered the Adult Mac & Cheese along with a Watermelon Lemonade while my husband ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries.

What I Think:

My “sports bar” concerns were not assuaged when I first walked into the Main Event Sports Grill and to my left, I saw a stripper pole.  Oh great.  This place is SCREAMING sports bar with television screens on every wall at every angle so that no matter where you might be sitting, you can watch a game, and it’s dim lighting and dark decor.  However, after looking past the stripper pole and seeing that most of the patrons were actually female, my spirits began to lift.  Maybe this place might not be so bad after all…

I found a nice table (or so I thought) that was located near a window.  However, it happened to be located next to a table that had been occupied by several women, and my husband complained about their tendency to … well … talk.  A lot.  But that certainly is not the fault of the establishment.  I guess I should have chosen the other side of the booth, so that I would have been the one to endure most of the chatting.

We were served our drinks pretty quickly, and let me just say:  the Watermelon Lemonade ROCKS!  Oh my goodness.  So sweet and delicious.  The sweetness of the watermelon softened the tart lemon, and made for a very smooth beverage.

My “Adult” Mac & Cheese was also delicious.  The “mac” was represented by penne pasta that was tender and not mushy, and it had been smothered in a spicy cheese sauce … seasoned with what I surmised was chipotle pepper and onions.  Bacon was crumbled and tossed in with the pasta, and then the whole cheesy mixture was topped with breadcrumbs and then put under the broiler until it was golden brown.  Finally, the whole thing was topped with some Bleu cheese and served with a lightly buttered breadstick.

Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries

The first thing I noticed is that this bowl was HUGE.  Then, I noticed that the sauce was very … well, saucy.  That is to say, it seemed to be rather thin.  But by the time I’d reached the halfway point, the sauce had thickened up quite a bit and was no longer a puddle of sauce at the bottom of my bowl.

This Adult Mac &  Cheese is a delightful medley of flavors – but it is definitely not for sissies.  It has a real kick to it … and is one of the most flavorful macaroni and cheese dishes I’ve enjoyed in a long time.  The cheese was creamy and tangy, the spice sort of crept up on me, starting out as just an enjoyable warmth but before I knew it, it was a real kick in the mouth!  (It’s a good thing I had that watermelon lemonade!)  The bacon added a pleasing texture and smoky, bacon-y flavor to it all.  Even the breadstick was enjoyable – buttery and a little bit crisp, but warm and tender on the inside.  YUM!

My husband enjoyed his burger, but I think the atmosphere sort of wore on him, and I think he would have enjoyed the experience a bit more if I had selected a different table.  I did manage to steal a fry or two, and they were deliciously crisp, shoestring fries.

My Final Thoughts:

I think I enjoyed this experience a bit more than my husband.  I don’t think we’ll be back, because I think that the atmosphere left a very unfavorable impression on my husband, but as for me, I’d go back if only for the Watermelon Lemonade and Mac & Cheese … maybe a to-go order?  The menu is a bit pricy for us though, however, when one takes in to account that you leave there STUFFED because the portions are large, it seems to soften the blow of the price tag just a bit.  I enjoyed it, my husband not so much, and there are many other places we can go to that are just as good that my husband will also enjoy.

Main Event on Urbanspoon

I wasn’t too excited about visiting this place on the day that we did.  That day was actually reserved for Eat. Art. Theater. (E.A.T) but as it turned out, when we arrived at the address for E.A.T. the restaurant had been closed and the establishment had changed ownership.  I was sad, because E.A.T. really sounded like a place I would have enjoyed.  So, as we were headed back to Vancouver, I remembered that I had a voucher for El Valle and we decided to visit.  And even though this wasn’t the place we had planned on visiting that day, as it turned out, we found a great place for Mexican fare.

Location:  6700 NE 162nd Avenue, Suite #713, Vancouver, Washington

Order:  We ordered a plate of Nachos for an appetizer and I ordered the Combination Plate with a Chicken Enchilada and a Chili Relleno.   To drink, I ordered a HORCHATA!

What I Think:

Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, there was still some lingering disappointment when we first arrived at El Valle… not in El Valle itself, but in the fact that we didn’t get to visit E.A.T.  But my disappointment disappeared rapidly when we ordered.  I noticed there was horchata on the menu (and this tends to be one of THE deciding factors for me on whether or not I’ll revisit a place … whether or not they have horchata!)

But when it came time to order, our server informed me that they were “out” of horchata.  I was visibly disappointed, and my husband remarked “this happens every time we visit a Mexican restaurant.  She sees horchata on the menu, and they don’t end up having it.”  At that, the server said, “I can make more.”  And they did!  And it was delicious!  Yay!

The salsa served at the start (with still-warm, freshly made chips) tasted very fresh.  A lot of tomato in it, with very little cilantro and onion in comparison to the amount of tomatoes … but I like tomatoes, and it had a nice level of spice to it.  I was becoming more and more encouraged with each bite that I was in for some good Mexican food!

The nachos were also quite tasty.  They were smothered in refried beans and loaded with cheese.  Not a cheese sauce… but shredded cheese that was all melted and gooey.  They also had a dollop of sour cream and guacamole on top, and I love guacamole, so I ate the side with the guacamole, while my husband prefers sour cream … so guess which side he ate from?  This is really how I love nachos.  Sure, there could have been other toppings … maybe some fresh tomatoes or something, but, I liked these just the way they were.  Delicious and very filling!

So filling, in fact, that I found it difficult to finish my combination plate.  I did manage to eat a good portion of it, though!  The relleno was delicious.  Chili rellenos are another “deciding” factor for me when it comes to Mexican restaurants.  If their chili rellenos do not impress me, I won’t be back.  They are like a Mexican staple for me, and my stepmother could even make a decent chili relleno, so if a Mexican restaurant cannot make a good one, I won’t return.

But this one was good.  It was stuffed full of cheese, and it had a moderate amount of mild heat from the chili and the batter was light and cooked through (yes, I’ve had chili rellenos that had uncooked egg-y stuff between the cooked outside and the chili … and it was revolting.  Which is why, as I said above, if I go to a place with bad chili rellenos, I won’t be returning).

The chicken enchilada was also quite good.  The chicken was flavorful and very tender.  It seemed to melt in the mouth.  The side of Spanish seasoned rice was tasty, as was the side of cheese topped refried beans.  I didn’t eat too much of either of the rice or the beans, because I had really filled up from the nachos appetizer.

My Final Thoughts:

I will definitely be happy to revisit El Valle.  The flavors that I wanted were there.  I left full and satisfied.  And the fact that they had horchata and even made a fresh batch of it for me really REALLY impressed me.  So, yes, this has elevated El Valle to my favorite Mexican restaurant in this area.  Other Mexican restaurants, take note:  I want HORCHATA!  But as for El Valle:  We will be back.

EL Valle on Urbanspoon

My husband and I both love wings.  Spicy hot Buffalo wings!  YUM!  It isn’t just about the tender chicken and spicy sauce, at least not for me.  It’s the whole experience of wings:  the crisply fried wings that have been dredged in spicy hot sauce, and then dipping the wings generously in a cooling bath of creamy bleu cheese dressing and following it all up with a refreshing crunch of a celery stick.   So when I noticed that Living Social was offering a voucher to the newest wing joint in Vancouver, Pow! Pow! Wings, I couldn’t pass it up! 

Location:  5930 NE 4th Plain Blvd., Vancouver, Washington

Order:  for an appetizer, we ordered an order of Original Fries ($4) and a Veggie Boat ($3).  For the main event, we chose 24 Boneless Wings ($17.80) dredged in the Traditional Buffalo sauce.

What I Think:

My first impression of this place is that it is loud.  We went there on what appeared to be a slow afternoon, at the time we arrived there was only one other table that was occupied, but, that one table was noisy enough to compete with a bar full of drunks.

But then, their behavior wasn’t the fault of Pow! Pow! Wings so I’ll just leave it at that.  This place looks like it would be a good place to go to watch the game, it looked to be sporting a very sport-y theme with its decor and it has a bar and some of the best wings that I’ve ever tasted … so sports fans, take note!

Our appetizers came out first, but to be honest, since we were ordering items that were much more like side dishes than appetizers, I would have been fine with – and actually preferred – the appetizers to be brought out with the wings.  But we were hungry and a little pressed for time, so we started munching on the fries.  They were delicious, crisp and well, they were french fries.  Nothing all that special about them except that they were cooked until golden brown and delicious.

We ordered the veggie boat because I speculated that there wouldn’t be much in the way of celery sticks along with the wings if they were offering them as part of the appetizer.  So, I figured, just to be safe, I’d order the veggie boat.  We ate a few of the veggies, but saved most of them for the arrival of the wings.  The veggies were nice and fresh.

My only complaint about the Veggie Boat would be the carrots:  the carrots are too big.  Yes, they cut them into fairly decent sized planks and some are larger than others, but the problem is with the carrot itself.  They are starting out with whole carrots that are too large, which means that the carrots end up tasting less sweet and juicy and instead are a bit on the woody side.  They were still tasty enough, but they would have been so much better if the carrots were younger and smaller to begin with.

When it came to the wings, at first I was a little skeptical, because, I usually find that the boneless wings tend to be nothing more than glorified chicken nuggets.  You know, overly processed bits of chicken that have been lightly breaded and deep-fried.  Some places do this right (Applebee’s), others leave much to be desired.

However, THESE boneless wings from Pow!  Pow!  Wings are exceptional.  They actually look like wings.  They look like someone took the time to remove the bone and the skin from the wing while leaving the meat intact.  And what was left is amazing.  Usually the skin of a cooked chicken is my favorite part (love me some good, crispy, fried chicken skin!) but I didn’t even miss the skin on these.  In fact, at one point, I found myself questioning whether or not the skin was actually there.  Like I said, these boneless wings are exceptional!

The boneless wings were so plump and moist and meaty!  Juicy and flavorful, I didn’t miss the bones one bit.  In fact, the fact that there were no bones made these much less messy to eat, which is something I appreciate.  The sauce tasted very much like a classic wing sauce, it didn’t really stray much from the sauce that you’d get anywhere else, and was probably a blend of Tabasco (or some other hot pepper sauce) and butter. I’m sure my husband would have rather had a slightly hotter sauce, and I actually had my eye on a gentler sauce when we ordered, but, I’m glad that I stuck with the traditional sauce here.  It is hot, but, it isn’t so hot that I felt the need to constantly “extinguish the flames” in my mouth.

My Final Thoughts:

We will most definitely be returning, I think, because we both really loved these wings.  And if you go – and you really should! – I recommend ordering more than you think you can eat, because the left-overs are really good too.  I might even argue that the left-overs are better because I can use my favorite bleu cheese dressing on it (it’s the Marie’s brand, by the way, the one that you can find in the grocer’s produce section), and with wings, the bleu cheese is almost as important as the wings themselves!

Recently, my daughter and I visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  I have been wanting to visit this place since I learned of it several years ago, however, this was my first visit … thanks to LivingSocial!  And guess what?  The Chinese Garden has a teahouse!  Well, you know we had to stop in during our visit…

Location:  239 NW Everett Street, Portland

What I Think:

Portland is a busy city, and there’s lots to do and see (and eat!)  I absolutely love Portland, but even with all the time that I’ve spend in Portland, I really had no idea that the Lan Su Chinese Garden was a beautiful, peaceful paradise right inside the city.  This gorgeous garden is confined to the space of a city block, but, it managed to transport me from the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil, inspiring wonderland!

even the “mosaic – like” rocks of the paths have significance at the Chinese Garden.

We arrived just in time for a tour.  I’m glad that we took time to take the tour, because I learned so much about the splendor and wonder of this garden – knowledge I would not have gained if we had journeyed through the gardens on our own.  If you do ever have a chance to visit these gardens (and I highly recommend that you do!), do take the tour.  You’ll have a much greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you as you walk through the gardens!

After the tour, my daughter and I took time to have some tea at the Tao of Tea teahouse (conveniently located in the garden, with a view that overlooks the pond).  Therefore the atmosphere of the teahouse very much reflected that of the serenity of the gardens.  The afternoon that we visited, there was live music featured in the teahouse, which seemed to enhance the sense of calm even further.

I enjoyed the Dragonwell tea, as we snacked on sweet and savory treats.  The sweet tray was brought out with our teas.  It included pieces of dried fruit (including a sliver of mango, a kumquat, a date, as well as a piece of the most delicious candied melon I think I’ve ever tasted), and a confection-like piece that looked like the inside of a petit four but seemed to actually be made of layers of fruit leather.  Also on this tray was a chestnut and a rice cake that was a bit like a rice crispy square only not as sweet.

After we finished all the delights on the sweet tray, our savory steamed bun tray was delivered to our table.  The pastry of the steamed bun was tender and moist, and concealed within it a green vegetable – I think it was spinach, but it was chopped very fine, and looked a bit like the steeped leaves of Gyokuro, and since this was a teahouse, I wouldn’t have been surprised it it was indeed tea leaves!  Either way, these steamed buns were tasty, I really enjoyed them.

We finished up our visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden by stopping by the little gift shop just outside the garden, where you can pick up post cards, tea, and music that will help you bring a bit of the garden back to the home.

My Final Thoughts:

If you ever have the chance to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland – you should!  What amazed me, even while walking through these beautiful gardens, is just how much beauty they could pack into a city block.  It truly is a euphoric respite from the hurried, busy life that lies just outside the garden walls.

I’ve had the opportunity to try Brothers Burgers on a couple of different occasions, but didn’t bring my notebook with me to record my thoughts about the place until my most recent visit.  Therefore, this review will focus on my most recent visit to Brothers Burgers, although I might reflect on previous visits, although my thoughts on previous visits will be limited to my own memory and not my notes.

Location:  19206 SE 1st Street, Camas, Washington

Order:  I ordered the Black & Bleu burger bundled with roasted garlic topped fries and a root beer.  ($10.58)

What I Think:

The atmosphere at Brothers Burgers is what I’ll refer to as “casual upscale.”  The stylish decor and fireplace lent a certain upscale look to it; at the same time, there is a certain comfortable casualness to it all, and I didn’t feel under-dressed in my tee-shirt and jeans.

The service is friendly and attentive, perhaps too attentive.  It is something my husband pointed out to me, that three different servers came to our table at different times, making sure we were well cared for.  But, I don’t mind that, I think it might be better to be well care for than ignored.

The roasted garlic topped french fries were delicious.  The fries were golden brown and crispy, and the garlic added a pleasant zesty sweetness to them.  However, I did get the opportunity to try my husband’s tots (no topping), and I think I would have been happier with them.  Next time, I’ll keep that in mind.  As it was, the fries were not disappointing, the tots just were tastier.

The burger.  Let me say right now, bleu is one of my favorite cheeses.  It always has been, since I was a kid, and bleu cheese dressing was my favorite salad dressing.  So, I am always tempted when I see a burger featuring bleu cheese.  And of course, there’s bacon.  I think I’ve made it pretty clear just how much I love bacon on this blog, haven’t I?

The burger had a good ratio of gorgonzola  cheese to meat – I could taste the cheese but there wasn’t so much that it overwhelmed the entire sandwich. I could almost every element, from the lettuce, tomato and onion to the meat to the cheese … but I do wish there was more bacon.  I felt that if any ingredient was slighted, it would be the bacon, because while I could detect the chewy texture of the bacon, I didn’t taste it much amid all the other toppings.

While the burger was delicious, I found the meat to be slightly overcooked.  It was almost rubbery – but not quite – and it wasn’t very juicy.  In fact, the real “juice” of this burger came from the house sauce, which seemed to be overcompensating for the fact that the burger was overdone.  I found myself wishing I had requested a light amount of sauce on this burger … another thing to keep in mind for the next visit.

My Final Thoughts:

A tasty burger.  I’ll probably return at some point, but, I think it will be only if we are in the area or we have a coupon (I had a Living Social voucher for this visit), because we live closer to Burger Bungalow, and the burgers from Burger Bungalow are better, and since these two burger joints cost about the same, for my money, I’d prefer to visit the Bungalow.

Brothers on Urbanspoon