Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

Another Sports Bar?  Yeah, well, I may not be a big fan of the decor but, I have been very happy with the food I’ve tasted in the various sports bars that we’ve visited in the last couple of years.  I think that Macadam’s Bar & Grill may just be the best yet.

MacadamsLocation: 5833 SW Macadam Ave., Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Macadam’s Dip (Turkey) and instead of fries, I opted for the Pear Slaw ($9.50), my husband and I ordered Beer Battered Onion Rings ($5) as an appetizer, and I had Iced Tea to drink.

What I Think:

Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, this is a sports bar, and the decor reflected that type of atmosphere.  However, if I were to rate sports bars on a scale of 1 – 5, with one being one of those sleazy, hole-in-the-wall sports bars where you felt like you needed a shower after you emerged from the bar, and five being a notch or two above acceptable and veering into almost upper class with its decor, I’d give Macadam’s a solid five.

It was clean and the decor was almost classy, at least for sports bar type of decor.  Although it was dark (which is why I couldn’t snap photos of the food, too dark and I can never get the flash to work right in my camera), it wasn’t unbearably loud, then again, we weren’t there while a game was playing so it would be hard to say how it would be during a game.  I enjoyed the blues music that played in the background.  I felt quite comfortable in this sports bar, and that was a definite plus.  The service was pleasant, and I enjoyed that there were Trivial Pursuit cards at the tables to keep us busy as we waited for our food to arrive.

The onion rings were some of the best thick cut onion rings I’ve yet to taste.  It was a tempura-like batter that cooked up light and airy … almost bubbly, which gave it a very nice crunchy exterior.  The ranch dipping sauce that came along with the onion rings was rather unremarkable, though, and I think that the onion rings would be even better if some thought were put into the dipping sauces.

I chose the turkey Macadam’s dip because I had never had a turkey dip sandwich before.  I’m a big fan of french dip sandwiches made with sliced roast beef, and the fact that Macadam’s smokes their turkey was particularly tantalizing to me.  And I am really glad that I chose this sandwich.  The turkey was delicious.  It was moist and tender, and it was smoked to perfection.

I chose the pear slaw to accompany my sandwich, mostly because the idea of a pear slaw intrigued me.  I don’t think I’ve had one before, and I love pears, so I wanted to try it.  It was a refreshingly light and sweet, crisp salad, and I enjoyed it, although I must admit that I did wish that the pear was just a wee bit more on the ripe side, as it was a little under-ripe for my liking.  Enjoyable, but, I think with a slightly riper pear it would have been fantastic … although it would have probably been a bit more difficult to prepare if the flesh of the pear were softer.

My husband ordered a burger and fries, and I snagged a few of his fries, and they were really good.  They were so good, in fact, I found myself wishing I had ordered the fries instead of the pear slaw, which I liked, but I liked the fries better.  The burger was a little too rare for my hubby’s taste, so if you prefer your burgers to only be slightly pink, you may want to mention this to the waiter/waitress.

My Final Thoughts:

Would I return to Macadam’s Bar & Grill?  Oh, absolutely.  I really enjoyed the food.  It is what I’d call an “upscale” sort of sports bar, and the prices seem to reflect that a bit, but, in my opinion, it was worth it because the food was delicious.

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

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!

I discovered the Pit Stop in Beaverton through Living Social, and to be honest, I don’t think I would have ever visited this establishment had it not been for Living Social.  It’s just not really my kind of place.  In a sports bar like this, I was a fish out of water.  What lead me to purchase the Living Social coupon was I thought it was a place my husband could appreciate because he does love sports.  Unfortunately, we chose to visit on a Sunday, and I was surrounded by football fanatics.  More than the food of this place, what surprised me the most about our time at the Pit Stop was the fact that there are people who are even more excitable than my husband while watching a football game (or in the case of the Pit Stop, all the football games at once).  

Thai Chicken Pizza

Location:  10245 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR

Order:  For an appetizer, we shared an order of Pulled Pork Sliders and Fries ($8.99 for five sliders).  I chose the Thai Chicken Pizza ($9.99 for a 9″ pie).

What I Think:

We had ordered the sliders without the cole slaw topping, and I guess this was overlooked on the ticket, because our first order of sliders arrived at the table covered in cole slaw.  We sent this order back (my husband does NOT like cole slaw).  A replacement (without the slaw) arrived pretty quickly, and I really did enjoy these sliders. The pork was incredibly tender, and they were not slathered with any type of sauce.  Instead, they brought out two different sauces (one mild, one spicy) so that we could top the sliders ourselves.  Since pulled pork is often over-sauced, I liked that I could control the amount and the heat of my sauce (I found that a ratio of 2 parts mild sauce to 1 part spicy sauce was just about perfect).

The french fries were REALLY good.  They were coated in a batter before frying – somewhat reminiscent of a curly fry type batter.  Normally, I don’t really like the curly fry batter, it is often overly seasoned and takes away from the flavor of the potato.  But this batter was spot-on … it enhanced the crispiness of the french fry without overwhelming it.

Before we arrived at the Pit Stop, I did glance at the online menu, and I figured I’d probably order from their barbeque selections.  However, when we got there, my eye kept going back to the Thai Chicken Pizza.  And I’m glad I decided to order this pizza.  Yes, I am sure I would have loved the ribs, but, I really liked this pizza.  The dough itself was just kind of average.  Nothing really outstanding… in fact, it reminded me a bit of biscuit dough but didn’t rise like a biscuit would have.

But the toppings made it for me.  The peanut sauce was yummy, and together with the pineapple chunks it provided sweetness to the pie to contrast the spiciness of the pepper flakes.  The chicken was tender although it was a little on the dry side (since it was probably twice cooked:  once prior to baking the pizza, and then in the oven with the pizza).  But I was able to overlook this because it had a pleasing tender texture, and the flavor of the peanut sauce was so appealing. The sesame seeds added a nice crunchy and slightly nutty element to the pie.

As delicious as it was, I couldn’t finish the pizza in one sitting, but I was able to bring the rest home and the left overs were almost as good as the fresh baked pie.

My Final Thoughts:

While I probably won’t ever be back to the Pit Stop, I certainly did enjoy my visit.  Unfortunately, hanging out in a bar full of screaming sports fans and wannabe sports announcers just isn’t something that’s high on my list of things I want to do.  That being said, if you are a sports fan living in the Portland/Beaverton area, you should definitely stop by the Pit Stop.  I was pleased at how delicious the food was.  The service we received was also very good – our server was very busy so there was some wait time, but, this was more than made up for with personable service.