October Tasting/Drinking Notes

Some tasting tidbits from around Portland for the last month, nothing big enough to stand on it's own.


Lompoc Brew Pub, Oaks Bottom - Tachos, fish and chips: Lompoc is a place I've been meaning to try for awhile, but mostly for the beer rather than the food. However, they have this thing called tachos, which is quite pheonomenal to see. First off though, the fish and chips:

The fish was actually really good, beer battered halibut that wasn't overly greasy or too thick with batter. The fries, though, were kind of a mess. Don't they look burnt? They didn't taste burnt, so doesn't that mean the oil was old?

Now here are the tachos:

Yep, it's basically a giant nacho, but instead of tortilla chips they use tater tots. A very interesting idea, but the reality of it was just ho-hum. And it was insanely huge...

Hopworks Urban Brewery - BBQ bacon burger and side salad: HUB, as they call it around town, prides themselves on organic, fresh food, which is pretty unique for a brew pub. Too often these places don't put enough emphasis on the quality of the food - HUB gets an A. The burger was cooked just right, the tomatoes were fresh, the lettuce was crisp, and the side salad was much better than what you'll find at probably any other brew pub in Portland (yes, I'm looking at you McMenamin's). Now, that's when comparing it to brew pubs - in the grand scheme of Portland food it was probably just pretty good. I'd go back.

Tasty & Sons (dinner) - melon and ricotta salad with cured meat; pan-fried yellow potatoes with lardons, chives, and sour cream; Best Damn Chicken Strips Ever; Toro burger; chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream; vanilla bean panna cotta with brandy soaked berries; roasted apple with lardons and cheddar, Aunt Paulie's French toast (lunch): Everything except the roasted apple dish and French toast was birthday dinner for Wifey and I - and every dish was excellent. The ricotta and melon salad was a fantastic start and the potatoes ended up being a smashed and fried potato with the normal toppings - and cooked perfectly. The chicken strips were pretty good fresh (and their fries excellent), but they actually were better the next day for lunch. The Toro burger - from John Gorham's other restaurant, Toro Bravo - justified it's top-ten rating. And the desserts...wow. The chocolate chip cookies - while, still, not as good as the ones in our own kitchen - were crisp and chewy, which is difficult to pull off. The star of the night was the panna cotta - I could eat that every day.

The People's Pig (foodcart) - porchetta sandwich: I'd heard a lot of talk about how good this sandwich was - and it is good. It's also quite heavy and not something I need to eat very often, that's for sure. I'd go back, but probably try something else.

Happy Grillmore (foodcart) - spam musubi, The Chuck sandwich: I went to Happy Grillmore basically because it's right across the street from The People's Pig (which has since moved), and I'm glad I did. The spam musubi was very well done and the sandwich fresh and tasty - it doesn't seem like they try to overdo things like many places. If only they were closer to work...

Flavour Spot (foodcart, downtown location) - sausage and maple, MB9: We stopped here for a quick breakfast one weekend because we had Groupon coupons. The flavors were good, but we both felt the general quality was lacking. The waffle was decent, but could be better. The sausage was decent, but could be better. The bacon was decent, but could have been a lot better. Both of us just couldn't help feeling disappointed.

Pastrami on Rye (foodcart) - pastrami sandwich, Best Brownie Ever: I got the sandwich - again, yummy - because I was there, but I really wanted the brownie. Was it the best ever? Well...I'm spoiled to have been chosen by a very, very excellent baker to be my wife, so my standards are high. This wasn't as good as Wifey's, but we both enjoyed it.

Portland Soup Company (foodcart) - smoked salmon and sweet corn chowder, roasted tomato reggiano soup, Tillamook vintage white mac 'n cheese: The chowder had fairly good flavor, but I wanted a little more salmon in it. The tomato is always good - I could eat this for lunch every day of the week. The mac, though, was superb in its simplicity. They didn't go overboard on the cheese - in fact, some might be disappointed in the quantity of cheese - but the flavor profile was excellent.

The Sugar Cube (foodcart) - Hot chocolate malted, creamy tomato soup, Aric A Strata: Normally we go see Kir for sweet stuff, but she had something new last week so we said what the heck. And it was a cold, rainy day - typical Portland October weather. We both thoroughly enjoyed the soup and the strata, which she said was more of a savory bread pudding with goat cheese, spinach, and tomatoes - it was excellent. And the malted? These are to die for, honestly. They may seem spendy, but it's completely worth it.

Meat Cheese Bread - Park Kitchen sandwich, peanut butter and bacon rice crispy treat: The Park Kitchen is a staple for us at Meat Cheese Bread and it never disappoints. This stop, though, was for the rice crispy treat, which they had teased on their Facebook page. I just wanted to taste it, to see if it was yummy or just weird. I'm still not sure what I think. The peanut butter part was good, but the bacon almost seemed to be completely overpowered by the peanut butter. There was a touch of salty and a touch of smoky, but not much.

Little T American Baker - chocolate cake with chocolate ganache: We actually stopped by here for bread, but they didn't have what we needed that day. They did, however, have chocolate cake. And it was amazing. Wifey and I split a slice and we both wanted to lick the to-go container to clean up the ganache.

Bonus coverage - an entire post dedicated to the new Pine State Biscuits location.


Heart Coffee - El Salvador Borbollon: A little while ago Heart stopped carrying our favorite Guatemalan coffee. We tried a couple others but they just weren't what we liked. Then we read on their website they had some new varieties and this one promised milk chocolate, caramel, and orange flavors. Intrigued we gave it a whirl - and are now working on bag number four.

Lompoc Monster Mash Imperial Porter (bottle) - I wanted to get this beer last year but missed out by a few days - it's a small run. Picked it up at Belmont Station this year and while it was okay - the normal chocolate and coffee porter flavors were good - there was something else in there I didn't like, something that made it a tad too bitter for my tastes. Maybe that's what makes it Imperial? Not sure. I've since been told Lompoc's beers are better on tap.

Lompoc Sockey Cream Stout (tap) - Had this with tachos and fish and chips. This was a very thick, almost syrupy stout I personally thought was a tad too sweet. Normally I'm not a stout drinker at all, but this was better than a lot I've had.

Hopworks Urban Brewery Velvet ESB (tap) - This was from Tasty & Sons with the birthday dinner. It's an incredibly smooth beer and HUB's site claims it has caramel and chocolate with a tad of floral - perhaps that's why I like it, having the same flavor profile as my coffee. If smooth is your thing, try this one out. I think it's only available on tap - haven't seen it in a bottle anywhere.

Widmer Barrell-Aged Brrrbon (bottle) - I'm a sucker for beers aged in bourbon barrels. If that's part of what makes up a beer, chances are I'll try it - so when Widmer came out with this Brothers Reserve series issue, I had to check it out. It was disappointing. The bourbon flavor was almost nonexistent, leaving it just a well, regular Brrr, which I'm not a fan of. It's possible this beer should be left to age a little bit more, to really let the flavors develop - maybe if you buy one and keep it for a while it will get better. You can tell me if it does, because I won't be trying out that theory.

Winter's Hill Vineyard - 2006 Late Harvest Pinot Gris (dessert) - Dessert wines tend to be sweet by definition, but this was the sweetest one we've tried - too sweet for us. The funny thing is this is a bottle we bought after trying it at a tasting...so why did we buy it? Who knows.

Alaskan Brewing 2010 Smoked Porter (bottle) - After trying Great Divide's Smoked Porter last month I was excited to check out another; plus, I'd had a couple different Alaskan's in the past and enjoyed them. This one was okay, but I'd recommend the Great Divide offering. There wasn't as much smokiness to this one and it was more bitter - closer to the Monster Mash mentioned above. I've just come to the conclusion, I suppose that I'm a low IBU beer kind of guy. Perhaps that doesn't make me a true afficianado, but I can live with that.

Also returned to Deschutes' Black Butte Porter XXI after hitting the Best After date.

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