March Tasting Notes


Kenny and Zuke's - biscuits and pastrami gravy, Day After Thanksgiving sandwich, cheesecake: Honestly, both of these items fell a little flat for us. The pastrami gravy was just too salty, which if I had to guess may be because the gravy was properly salted but then the pastrami (plenty salty on its own) was added. I'm probably wrong, because I'm not a chef, but that's how it tasted. It was great for a few bites, but after a while the saltiness was overpowering. The turkey (and everything) sandwich was good, but the elements seemed to cancel each other out, if that makes sense. And it needed more gravy - as in, more than none. The fries with the sandwich were very good. We'll absolutely go back, just order something else. And, as usual, the cheesecake was to die for.

Alder Pastry and Dessert - chocolate croissant, chocolate peanut butter cake: This was our first visit to the new Bakery next to Ate-Oh-Ate on East Burnside and it absolutely will not be the last. Both items were fantastic.

Alma Chocolates - chocolate chip cookie, Maker's Mark bourbon bon bon, salted peanut butter cup truffle: All three of these items were good. The cookie, well, was fine, it's just not as good as ours. I will say it's probably not as easy to make large amounts as it is one dozen, like we do at home. And that's fine, it really is, but it just means we'll probably stop buying cookies. I really liked the bourbon bon bon - had a solid but not overpowering bourbon flavor - and I would get again. The salted peanut butter cup is excellent.

Yuzu - gyoza, tori karaage, kakuni ramen, wiener sausage fry, gyu negima: The gyoza was good, the karaage excellent, and the gyu negima (thin sliced ribeye seared and wrapped around green onion) fantastic. I will say, I prefer the rib eye wrapping asparagaus instead of green onion, but that's a seasonal thing - have to go back in a few months. The sausage fry was interesting, a little greasy, and we probably wouldn't order it again. We both loved the ramen. The broth was rich and flavorful, the pork a little but not too fatty, and the sesame seeds and garlic they serve on the side unexpectedly added a whole other dimension. Definitely recommend.

The Dump Truck (food cart) - "Mr. Ma's special" pork dumplings: These dumplings were, well, marginal. The wrappers were thicker than ideal and we could barely taste the pork inside; the only flavor I picked out was onion. The dipping sauce was okay. Probably won't go back.

Ziba's Pitas (food cart) - combo plate with meat burek and cufte in white sauce: The meat burek we've had plenty of times, but this was our first time trying the cufte (pronounced "chuf-tee"), which are meatballs with various spices. Fantastic! The white sauce was very good with it and the ustipaks (bread - but much better according to the menu) I wanted about 12 more of - they were that good. Very moist, but dense. Next time I might order just cufte and no burek (gasp!).

The Whole Bowl (food cart) - Big Bowl, chips: Continue to love Whole Bowl. Fantastic meal, hearty, and fairly healthy. Great change of pace for us.

Mojo Crepes - S'mores crepe: We've been hearing about Mojo for a long time now, but since it's out on SE 84th and Division - far from home - we hadn't been. Finding ourselves in the area we had to stop to check out these stuffed crepes. And honestly? Not impressed at all. The crepe itself seemed soggy, undercooked, and lacking in flavor. Maybe it was our choice of flavors, but it did nothing to convince us we should go back.

The Country Cat - beef brisket sandwich with onion rings, "Hot Brown" sandwich: The brisket was well cooked with great flavor. It had a bit of heat with it which I wasn't expecting but wasn't unpleasant. I'd order it again. The onion rings were very, very thinly sliced - more like ribbons than the rings I expected. Light and fluffy with good flavor. The Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich with mornay sauce and bacon topped with  bit of romesco. One would think all the flavors would make a rich whole, but for some reason the end result was a tad bland. The turkey seemed a bit dry. Maybe it needed more mornay? Not sure. The home fries are excellent (this was a substitution on our part - who wants salad?).

Immortal Pie and Larder - garlic herb chicken pie, creme brulee pie: Immortal makes pies similar to Pacific Pie Company - small, perhaps individual-sized meat pies, in plenty of flavors. And they do dessert pies. The creme brulee pie was nothing short of fantastic. It seems like it's hard to find good creme brulee around Portland, but this is absolutely good creme brulee and their crust is so light and fluffy. The herb chicken pie was very hearty - Wifey and I split it with a side of veggies and filled ourselves up. AND - it's half a block away from The Country Cat. How convenient. They also sell wines, chocolates, and Belgian beers, among other things, so we picked up a French cotes du rone for a later meal.

Dove Vivi cornmeal crust pizza - corn, quattro fromaggio, pepperoni classico, sausage classico: Dove Vivi won't satisfy a real pizza craving, but it creates one all on it's own. The corn continues to be my favorite, but the sausage and pepperoni slices were excellent as well. The quattro fromaggio, to me, needed something. Maybe more sauce? Seemed a tad dry.

Violetta - corn dogs, yukon gold fries: Corn dogs are absolutely not on my diet (then again, what of this page is?), but when Violetta posted a special for two for $7.50 with the dogs being Kobe beef from Snake River Farms we couldn't resist. Most corn dogs are bad, doughy and greasy disgusting blobs on sticks, but these, these are what people remember when they talk glowingly about the dogs of childhood (provided that childhood was many, many moons ago, and included Kobe beef). That is to say, not my childhood, where I grew up not liking the massed produced crap some pass off as corn dogs. The corn crust on these was very well made, crunchy with a tiny big of sweetness. So. Damn. Good. Oh, and the fries are good too.

Little Big Burger - burger with bleu cheese, burger with cheddar: Something changed with LBB since our first visit, in a good way. The first time we went the burgers were pretty dang good. This time they were excellent. I have no idea what the change was, but I like it.

A visit to Pok Pok merited it's own post.



Bergstrom's 2009 Old Stones Pinot Noir: We tried a tiny bit of this wine, but really only bought it to have a red to make boeuf bourguignon. Nothing jumped out at us about the wine itself, but it did great in the whole pot dish.

Ponzi's 2007 Pinot Gris: This was fine. Citrusy a bit, a little sweet, no complaints. Not sure what we liked in it at the Ponzi tasting that made us feel like we had to have a whole bottle though.


Bridgeport's Cafe Negro Porter: I wanted to like this one, but it didn't move the needle for me. The coffee was there, chocolate flavors were there, but they didn't seem to mesh very well. I'd drink it again if someone gave me one without any whining, but wouldn't buy again.

Full Sail's Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout: I liked this stout, with a nice bourbon flavor and rich chocolate and caramel flavors, but I wanted to love it. I wanted to drink it and say, "Damn - I need to stock up!" That didn't happen. I drank it, liked it fine, and forgot about it. Maybe at $12/bottle it's better that way.

Kona Brewing's Koko Brown: I read about this beer finished with toasted coconut a couple months back and had been keeping my eyes open in the stores I shop at - normally New Seasons and Whole Foods, which stock Kona's other offerings - but finally found it at a closing Haggen grocery. Picked up a six pack for 20% off. It reminded me a little of the Beertown Brown Bridgeport Brewing did last year, which I also liked, but the big difference was the aftertaste of the toasted coconut. Excellent. It's not as good as the Pipeline Porter, but it lives up to the standard Kona has set for itself.


Edenway Coffee - mocha: Shrug. It was near my dentist, so I tried it. I don't need to make a special trip to get it again, and in six months when I go back to the dentist I'll probably try somewhere else. Okay flavor, slightly sweet, nothing special.

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