It was a relatively light month out for us in November. With the Thanksgiving holiday and us having various study requirements, we actually stayed home a lot.
Maki - buta kaku (braised pork belly), gyoza, Philadelphia roll, ten don donburi: This little izakaya in Tigard is a neat little find. Very clean, modern lines inside and the service was very good. The braised pork belly was nicely tender with not too much fat and the Philadelphia roll - which they claim to hold close to their heart - was quite tasty. The gyoza was a new flavor for me, filled with shrimp and nira. Nira is like green onion but different, if that makes sense. A Japanese-English dictionary will tell you it's green onion; a native Japanese person will tell you it's different. Either way this was yummy. The ten don donburi had all sorts of items: onion, shrimp, carrot, potato, kabocha (squash), lotus root...and a hot pepper. That was unexpected. There should be some kind of warning... We'd absolutely go back, they have a very extensive menu.
Little Big Burger - cheeseburger with cheddar, cheeseburger with bleu cheese, fries: LBB, as the foodies in the know refer to it, serves up a pretty good burger. It's a good size, perfect for a meal on the go without filling you up. The fries were excellent, the service was quick, the burger cooked and seasoned well, the toppings fresh, and the bun perfect. Now, all of that said...I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to head to the Pearl District just to hit up LBB, like I might other places. If I was down there and wanted a quick bite, this would make me happy. If the rumors are true and Micah Camden does open one out in Beaverton, we'll probably hit it up every so often, since Beaverton is a culinary wasteland. Camden's ketchup, which will be available in stores in early spring, was interesting. At first I didn't like it all that much with the sweetness and alternating spicy kick, but it grows on you fast. They sell it at the shop, and if it's in stores the next time I need ketchup I might get it instead of Heinz. I can't believe I'm saying that.
Ate-Oh-Ate - Korean chicken: Went back to Ate Oh Ate with my dad and sister for lunch. This time I opted for the Korean fried chicken, which is deep-fried hot wings slathered with a spicy sauce. It actually was excellent, better than I thought it would be. Unfortunately I ate the entire plate and that probably wasn't the best of choices. By the way, this dish is quite messy - plan accordingly if you want to order it. Sister got the teriyaki steak which she thought was salty; after a taste I had to agree. Dad had no complaints about his teriyaki chicken, and both really liked the macaroni salad. While I liked what I ate, I don't necessarily think Ate-Oh-Ate is a place I'll be going to back to super often...though I do still want the loco moco.
Bunk Bar - meatball parmigiano hero, fries: Wifey and I were in the area, hungry, and wanted fries. We had heard they had fantastic fries, so we popped in and got them and the hero to go. Now, the fries were fantastic - I'd put them ahead of LBB - but if you eat in you get gravy and cheese on them (poutine! but not called that). To go we didn't get that - sad. Still, excellent fries, the meatball hero was awesome as always, and we will be going back - and eating in - very soon.
Public Domain Coffee - mocha, Kona "Cloud Forest" pourover: Wifey and I had some time to kill downtown last weekend so we stopped by here. I've been wanting to check it out for awhile. It's a very clean, bright, modern space, but not necessarily comfortable. This is a coffee shop that doesn't really seem to encourage you to linger. The mocha wasn't anything to write home about, but the Kona was good. Might have to go back and buy a bag of these beans, but probably won't get any more drinks there.
Blue Kangaroo Coffee - mocha: This little shop in Sellwood, by contrast, begs to be lingered in. Not that I did, but it seems like the kind of place I could sit down and do some writing. Unfortunately the mocha was not pleasing at all. It had cinnamon in it - or, as Wifey said, something that tasted more like Red Hots - which simply isn't acceptable to me at all. Mochas with that flavor in them better come with a warning, so I know not to get them. Honestly, it's a little nauseating when you are expecting chocolatey goodness.
Jade Tea House and Patisserie - raspberry and white chocolate/sea salt macaroons, Vietnamese wedding cake, barbecue pork bahn mi: I stopped here after a haircut to get the cake, which thankfully they had. If you have never had this cake, you need to head over there and get some. Now. The green pandan cake is light and fluffy with wonderfully crunchy layers mixed in. The macaroons were pretty good, but not as good as ones we've had from Pix Patisserie here in Portland or Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. Then again, at $1.25 each compared to $2 at Pix, maybe it's a good tradeoff. The bahn mi was fantastic. Most of the ones I've had around town the content of the sandwich is pretty weak, but this one had think cuts of tender, juicy barbecue pork and fresh veggies. At $7 it's the most expensive bahn mi I've had, but well worth the price. The bread, which I believe Jade bakes themselves, was much better than many of the others I've had.
Coffeehouse Northwest - egg nog latte: Yes, this is still my favorite coffee place in Portland, and no, nothing has changed. Well, not really. Since it's the holiday season Coffeehouse NW has their egg nog lattes which are just plain awesome. Others try to make them, but once you've had this one nothing else will ever be good enough again. Get it. Thank me later.
Way late update...
After looking at the blog posts for November, it wasn't that light at all. We actually ate out a few more times... Here are some places that merited their own single posts:
Japanese food at Shigezo Izakaya.
Japanese curry at Kale, which I can't recommend highly enough.
Must have been Japanese food month, because we also hit Biwa's late-night menu.
And we tried a highly anticipated Hawaiian place, Ate-Oh-Ate.
Any food goes well with a 2010 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.