Are you going to Bite?

Ready for The Bite of Oregon this weekend? We are!! It’s our favorite summer food weekend of the year. We love to taste-test delicious tidbits from all around our beautiful state. Great food, delightful drinks, rockin’ entertainment and a fun crowd…all that, and it benefits Special Olympics Oregon! Awesome! :)

Here are the deets:
FOOD
WINE/BEER
ENTERTAINMENT

WHEN
Friday, August 12, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 13, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

ADMISSION
$15 Weekend Pass
$10 One Day Pass
$5 Early Bird Special (Friday entry before 2 p.m.)

[NOTE: Admission does not include the price of food or beverage.]

We sadly missed the 2010 event, but check out our seriously fun photos from 2009. Gallery: Bite of Oregon 2009

Review: Silver Dollar Pizza II

Silver Dollar Pizza II
225 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
503-241-3465
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Rating: ★★★½☆

I’m not going to try to fool you; Silver Dollar Pizza II is not an upscale restaurant by any means. In fact, the place is pretty much a dive bar, serving up their stiff drinks to the often-smoking and drinking clientele. But there is a good reason to try it out: their pizza is very, very delicious!

I have been coming here off and on for almost two years, and I’ve never had a complaint with the service or the food. Sure, it’s a little bit smoky at times, but what can expect from a bar with a façade of a pizza-serving sports bar? They do in fact have several TVs showing sports, so, yes, I would call it a sports bar. Continue reading Review: Silver Dollar Pizza II

HH Review: Dragonfish Asian Café

Dragonfish Asian Café
909 SW Park Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205
503-243-5991
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Rating: ★★★★½

It’s rare that I go to sushi places where you order off the menu, as I’m a diehard sushi train fan. But the Sushi Hour at the upscale Dragonfish Asian Café is absolutely worth a visit.

Sushi Hour is their version of happy hour (4 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close daily), and it’s a terrific way to sample the restaurant’s upscale fare without breaking your budget. Located in the lobby of the Paramount Hotel, the restaurant on one side and the lounge, where Sushi Hour is offered, on the other.

The best part of Sushi Hour is that you can enjoy an array of the selected nigiri, sushi rolls and small plates for possibly less than a single entrée over in the restaurant. There is a minimum drink purchase requirement, but the specialty cocktails, beer selections and the sake and wine lists should easily cover that.

On our recent visit, my HH friend and I were pretty hungry and ordered four out of the five sushi roll options, a couple pieces of nigiri, two orders of pot stickers and a plate of the caramel ginger chicken. If that sounds like a lot of food, it was! But the food was so good we ignored our filling bellies and chowed down. Continue reading HH Review: Dragonfish Asian Café

Review: Pastini Pastaria

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Pastini Pastaria
(Six locations in the Portland area)
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Rating: ★★★½☆

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Pastini Pastaria is pretty much my go-to spot for any sort of family or friend function that entails a large group going out to a restaurant. Sure, some people might consider it Portland’s local version of Olive Garden, but the food is consistently good (even if it is a little on the bland side) and there is something on the menu for everyone-even those picky eaters and vegetarians.

What I love about Pastini is that they offer an excellent variety of pasta, from capellini to ziti and everything in between! They even offer whole wheat pasta, which is typically what I order. They have just about every combination of delectable pasta dishes, from the simple spaghetti agli e olio (the classic with sautéed garlic, olive oil, basil and parmesan) to the more decedent baked manicotti (filled with beef, pork, ricotta and spinach, then baked with alfredo sauce and marinara). All pasta dishes are served with the equally delicious ciabatta bread from Pearl Bakery. Continue reading Review: Pastini Pastaria

Review: Kenny & Zuke’s

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Kenny & Zuke’s
1038 SW Stark Street
Portland, OR 97205
503-222-3344
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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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A lot of people have been raving about Kenny & Zuke’s. So much so that I was extremely excited to try Portland’s new “authentic” New York-style delicatessen. On a recent sunny day my lunch companion and I decided to stroll over and check it out

Kenny & Zuke’s is located in the same building that houses the all-too-hip Ace Hotel, so that might have been the first sign of what I was about to experience. The restaurant itself is bright, clean and airy. The entire waitstaff is decked out in t-shirts with deli-related humorous sayings. There seemed to be a very large staff on duty, but it took forever to be seated, have our order taken and then actually get our food!

I’m not saying Kenny & Zuke’s was bad. I’m saying that Kenny & Zuke’s is expensive and overrated. By comparison, one of my favorite really-in-New-York-City delis, Ess-a-Bagel, has a very similar menu, but everything is about half the price! And they are in New York City! Something is very wrong about that! Continue reading Review: Kenny & Zuke’s

Update: Virginia Cafe’s move

Here’s an update from Virginia Café’s MySpace page:

Dear Virginia Cafe Family,

Well, the time has finally come to say adieu to Park Avenue. It’s been a great 86 years here on Park Avenue and we are sad to say good-bye, but you can’t stop progress. All of us are looking forward to our new digs on 10th avenue, well sort of new digs. The old booths will be there, a bit fresher. The chandeliers and all the light fixtures on Park Avenue are making the move with us so when I say new, I mean not so new but a fresh new light on an old lady.

So the bar stool crawl will be happening on Monday, February 25th. The time frame is still up in the air but I will keep you posted. Cmon some things can be kept a secret right? So if anyone wants to come down on Sunday night the 24th to have a drink with me for one of the last times on Park Avenue, I will be here that evening after I’m done working on the new place. Myself and the entire crew will be there saying good-bye to an old friend and looking forward to our future on 10th avenue.

I hope to see all of you soon.

Yours Truly,

Leah Douvris
GM
Virginia Cafe

Valentine’s Day Lunch Pick: R Palate

We have been trying to get an R Palate review up, but the Lunch Lady has been busy! But this is one of our VERY FAVORITE places to eat in Portland. The food is wonderful, the prices are reasonable, the waitstaff is super friendly and helpful and it’s such a great new find! So if you are still looking for a Valentine’s Day lunch (or dinner) spot, give them a call. It’s a meal you won’t forget!

R Palate
219 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, OR
503-227-8875
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Review: Virginia Café

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Virginia Café
NEW ADDRESS: 820 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR
503-227-0033
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Rating: ★★★★☆

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[Editor’s Note: It’s official, the Virginia Cafe has moved to 820 SW 10th Avenue, just across from the library. We are planning to check out the new digs and let you know what we think very soon!]

Over the weekend I had probably my last lunch at the Virginia Café at its current location on SW Park Avenue. You see, just over a year ago the landmark restaurant and bar announced they would have to close down or move because the building within which they are housed is going to be torn down to become yet another shiny retail/condo high-rise. Luckily, the owners have found a new location for VC, but now it’s time to say goodbye to the old dwelling.

Sure, the place itself is nothing fancy; the décor is kitschy, the upstairs bathroom is pretty scary and nonsmokers curse the free-for-all smoking policy (that will change in the new location as they will be going non-smoking).

But there is something undeniably charming, cozy and Old Portland about the location they are vacating. Where else hipsters mix with preppy downtown workers mix with 50-somethings without batting an eye? If Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland’s “living room” then VC is Portland’s den with a wet bar. Continue reading Review: Virginia Café

Review: Bellagio’s Pizza


Bellagio’s Pizza (Goose Hollow location)
1742 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR
503-221-0110
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Rating: ★★★★½

Most of us have been there, that day when you really just struggle to get out of bed because maybe you stayed out a little too late the night before and, just maybe, had a few more cocktails than you had originally planned to imbibe.

Well, Bellagio’s is one of my favorite hangover-curing lunch spots. Not only is the pizza completely flavorful and stomach-filling, but they offer a unique variety of combination pizzas or you can create your own pie. So, even if you don’t have a hangover to cure, Bellagio’s is a great place for Portland-style pizza.  Continue reading Review: Bellagio’s Pizza

Review: E-San Thai Cuisine

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E-San Thai Cuisine
133 SW Second Avenue
Portland, OR
503-223-4090
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Rating: ★★★★½

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As Rachael Ray would say, Yum-o! When I stopped by E-San Thai Cuisine I was starving, so I probably would have devoured anything they put in front of me. However, the food was outstanding–so I pretty much ate until my stomach could not hold another bean sprout!

First of all, I was pretty overwhelmed by the menu. They offer more than 70 dishes! Wow! But don’t be scared off by all the options, each dish is carefully detailed for those who aren’t completely familiar with all the Thai delicacies they offer.

My lunch companion and I started with the appetizer combination plate, which for $8 is a pretty good deal if you are sharing a meal. It includes three dipping sauces (peanut sauce, cucumber sauce and sweet and sour sauce) for the deep-fried egg rolls, the fried tofu, satay (choice of chicken, beef or pork) and the fried wontons. Continue reading Review: E-San Thai Cuisine

Review: The Cheesecake Factory


The Cheesecake Factory
(At Washington Square)
9309 SW Washington Square Road
Portland, OR
503-620-1100
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Rating: ★★★★½

OK, the moniker The Cheesecake Factory is a little misleading, because this place serves WAY more than just cheesecake. In fact, for a chain restaurant, it’s some of the best food in the burbs!

I try to avoid reviewing chain restaurants, but this is the one and only Cheesecake Factory in town, and if Portland ever gets an In-N-Out, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Pinkberry, you can bet your life I’m reviewing those places (sometimes I miss L.A. for more reasons than just the constant sunshine).

But back to the Cheesecake Factory, it’s pretty darn impressive. I’ve been there for lunch more times than my waistline likes to remember. The menu is, literally, heavy, and probably 20 pages long! Continue reading Review: The Cheesecake Factory

Review: Big Red’s Western Cafe

Big Red’s Western Café (Sylvan Hill location)
5515 SW Canyon Court
Portland, OR
503-297-5568
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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Oh my. Well, here’s a real disappointment. Big Red Western Café looks like a chain restaurant from the outside, feels like a sports bar from the inside and the food was, well, pretty terrible.

Situated atop Sylvan Hill, the location could not be better, except you almost need GPS to get to the place after you exit Highway 26. It’s right next to the John L. Scott office that used to be my childhood weekend breakfast favorite, Coco’s.

When we stopped by Big Red for lunch it was almost empty, yet the numerous servers were slow and not very friendly or helpful. It took more than 10 minutes just to get water and get our drink order in. Continue reading Review: Big Red’s Western Cafe