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Portland Food Tastes [Split from Ome Calli]


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#41 crepeguy

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 02:50 PM

That's helpful, thank you!

#42 nervousxtian

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 03:07 PM

My favorite site to host pictures is abload.de    

 

Especially if it's just for posting something on a forum that I could care less about ever remembering I uploaded it.

 

The sites in German, but honestly it's super easy to figure out how to use it..  it's 100% free.. the pictures don't disappear if even viewed a bajillion times by others.. they don't change the files or stop letting them be hot-linked.

 

Seriously, best site I know of to just upload a photo to and paste a link onto a board.

 

If you need help the first time crepeguy, let me know.. but I just made this photo (uploaded and hosted at abload.de just now, ha) to help.

 

howtouseabload4wlbi.png

 

Copy and paste the one that says:  Direktlink



#43 mymil

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:19 PM

Loved reading this thread! Hello, fellow curmudgeons.

 

I've been getting pissed off at Portland food trends, too. What irritates me the most is the popularity of bland and/or one-note things. Main offender: Lardo. I know some of you like it, but I'm consistently disappointed. Where's the acid? Where are the herbs? (hmm...) Where's the spice? I've been over a dozen times, and the main (or ONLY) thing that comes across is fat. So boring and so easily improved with contrast! (Grassa does a much better job with this in my opinion.)

 

I've vaguely considered started a video blog of alienatingly intense editorial-while-eating but I don't know how to avoid getting kicked out of restaurants while doing it.

 

Somebody mentioned chocolate chip cookies. Portland needs better cookies. Apart from the dried blueberry corn cookie at Roman Candle, I can't think of another interesting one in this city. That's another thing I've considered—more seriously. I have a handful of recipes and the beginnings of quite a few more but no food industry experience...



#44 Jill-O

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 11:25 AM

I've had a good cookies from Lauretta Jeans and a good ones from Little T's...but they are always the usual suspects - choc chip, oatmeal, ginger...very good versions of them though.  

 

I agree, more interesting cookies would be a nice addition to the baking scene here in town.


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#45 jennifer

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 12:23 PM

I've had a good cookies from Lauretta Jeans and a good ones from Little T's...but they are always the usual suspects - choc chip, oatmeal, ginger...very good versions of them though.  

 

I agree, more interesting cookies would be a nice addition to the baking scene here in town.

 

I can only think of 3 memorable cookies, mymil is correct.  For me it was the ginger-molasses from Kim Boyce's Bakeshop, the oatmeal-cherry from Pearl, and the browned butter cookie at Alma. 

 

Oh and one more, that ginger-molasses at Bread & Ocean in Manzanita.

 

And with all the fascination that there was with Two Tarts, I only ever liked 2 cookies from them: the cappuccino cream and their baci.  The rest were all WAY too sweet for me. 

 

Alma's peanut butter choc chunk cookie is almost good, just a little too soft for my liking but the flavors are great. 

 

Off the top of my head, 3 cookies that SHOULD be way better than they are:

Ken's Valrhona chocolate chunk cookies

Grand Central's big chocolate chip cookies

Baker & Spice shortbread cookies

 

For whatever reason, I've always thought that Maurice and Two Tarts would have awesome cookies.  I've yet to get to either place though to find out. 

 

And whatever that farmer's market stand is that sells tables full of underbaked oversized oversweetened yuk cookies...I can't remember their name, they should be banned. 



#46 mymil

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 01:18 PM

It's so simple to make good cookies, I'm always confused by why there aren't more good ones! You can put anything dry in them, and you can dry almost anything if you really want to... I find myself compulsively buying weird food powders for this reason.



#47 levbarg

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 01:29 PM

Loved reading this thread! Hello, fellow curmudgeons.

 

I've been getting pissed off at Portland food trends, too. What irritates me the most is the popularity of bland and/or one-note things. Main offender: Lardo. I know some of you like it, but I'm consistently disappointed. Where's the acid? Where are the herbs? (hmm...) Where's the spice? I've been over a dozen times, and the main (or ONLY) thing that comes across is fat. So boring and so easily improved with contrast! (Grassa does a much better job with this in my opinion.)

 

I've vaguely considered started a video blog of alienatingly intense editorial-while-eating but I don't know how to avoid getting kicked out of restaurants while doing it.

 

Somebody mentioned chocolate chip cookies. Portland needs better cookies. Apart from the dried blueberry corn cookie at Roman Candle, I can't think of another interesting one in this city. That's another thing I've considered—more seriously. I have a handful of recipes and the beginnings of quite a few more but no food industry experience...

 

Great observation.  The first sandwich I had Lardo was great.  But as I worked my way through the menu over my visits to PDX, I found myself feeling heavier just thinking about it.  

 

During my final visit a few weeks ago, I tried the meatball "banh mi", which tasted in absolutely no way like any banh mi I'd ever had before (other than that it was a sandwich-- the similarities ended there).  Flavors, textures, etc. all wrong, too rich, none of the wonderfully contrasting bright, rich, spicy, crunchy notes that make real banh mi such a treat.

 

Love the video blog idea :)  I'd watch it.

 

Mr Taster



#48 StMaximo

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 10:04 PM

 I tried the meatball "banh mi", which tasted in absolutely no way like any banh mi I'd ever had before (other than that it was a sandwich-- the similarities ended there).

 

Hands down, my favorite meatball banh mi is at HA & VL, which also has the best Vietnamese or for that matter any type of soups in town. Go early though or "No Soup for you!" They often run out of soup by 1100. They're closed on Tuesdays.



#49 levbarg

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 10:09 PM

 I tried the meatball "banh mi", which tasted in absolutely no way like any banh mi I'd ever had before (other than that it was a sandwich-- the similarities ended there).

 

Hands down, my favorite meatball banh mi is at HA & VL, which also has the best Vietnamese or for that matter any type of soups in town. Go early though or "No Soup for you!" They often run out of soup by 1100. They're closed on Tuesdays.

 

Thank you for this!  This is going on my short list to try.  Do they bake the bread in-house?  Also, do you know if they sell the French style baguettes as well as the lighter, crispier VN kind (the ones mixed with rice flour)?

 

Mr Taster



#50 StMaximo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 08:11 AM

I don't believe they bake the bread in house. I think the bread is from An Xuyen, but I may be wrong.



#51 Flynn

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 10:34 AM

I could be remembering wrong, but I think they use bread from Lanvin.

My favorite banh mi is still from Binh Minh on NE Broadway.

#52 StMaximo

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 12:55 PM

Flynn, 100% on banh mi in general from Binh Minh, but I still think HA & VL rocks the meatballs.

 

You may be correct about Lanvin, but I generally find their bread lacking compared to the bread from Binh Minh and An Xuyen.

 

 

Binh Minh

6812 NE Broadway St
PortlandOR 97213

(503) 257-3868

 

Hours

Sun Closed

Mon Closed  

Tue 8:30 am - 5:00 pm  

Wed 8:30 am - 5:00 pm  

Thu 8:30 am - 5:00 pm  

Fri 8:30 am - 5:00 pm  

Sat 8:30 am - 5:00 pm



#53 ExtraMSG

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Posted 12 April 2015 - 11:33 AM

Yeah, HA & VL gets their bread from Lanvin.  For me, it totally depends on which filling.  I like An Xuyens xiu mai a lot, but not very many of their other fillings.  I like the size of the sandwiches, the drive-thru, and the saigon bacon at Best Baguette.  I think they do better than the more famous Lee's with pretty much the same menu (and there's now one just down the road).  Overall, I probably prefer Binh Minh, especially for thit nuong, compared to the other good places.  Bonus is they have the best nem chua I've found in town, although the last batch Pablo picked up was a bit pinker than previous versions, suggesting they might be going with a commercial seasoning now.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#54 Jill-O

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 08:52 AM

I like Binh Minh best for bahn mi (inlc. meatball), though I go to the one on SE Powell.  Good pate chaud too.  An Xuyen is my second fave (also good pate chaud).  Both bake their own bread. Third would be Best Baguette (who also bakes their own bread).

 

Never tried Lanvin...though it is closest to me at work...once I park in that lot, I can't resist Pho Oregon.  ;o)


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#55 StMaximo

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 10:56 AM

Never tried Lanvin...though it is closest to me at work...once I park in that lot, I can't resist Pho Oregon.  ;o)

 

Don't resist Pho Oregon.



#56 Jill-O

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 02:39 PM

I don't!  That's why I have never been to Lanvin!  ;o)


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#57 Dan

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 12:01 AM

I'm getting the impression that the typical Portlander sees themselves as being open minded and progressive but is really deep down rather provincial. Is that an accurate assessment?

Mr Taster

 

Well, our most-lauded ethnic restaurants tend to be operated by people who are, ahem, not of that ethnicity. (I'm looking at you, Pok Pok, and you, Bollywood Theater, and Boxer/Boke/Biwa [though I really like Biwa]...there are others, but you get the picture.) So yeah, I think your description is right on -- people here want to be daring, but they want someone who looks like them to hold their hand as they timidly venture outside their comfort zone. Look at the insane line for Whole Bowl in the 10th Avenue cart pod, while Ziba's Pitas went under. 

 

You're right on about Lardo too -- there's a lot of that here -- one-note food that hits you over the head with salt and fat. Don't get me wrong, I like salt and fat. And unlike LA, we have pretty dismal winter weather, that drives you towards comfort food. But still, a few years ago, pork belly entrees became a running joke in our household. It's like the overhopped IPAs -- you can only have so much of it until it starts to look lazy / unimaginative. 



#58 ExtraMSG

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 01:28 AM

Well, our most-lauded ethnic restaurants tend to be operated by people who are, ahem, not of that ethnicity. (I'm looking at you, Pok Pok, and you, Bollywood Theater, and Boxer/Boke/Biwa [though I really like Biwa]...there are others, but you get the picture.) So yeah, I think your description is right on -- people here want to be daring, but they want someone who looks like them to hold their hand as they timidly venture outside their comfort zone. Look at the insane line for Whole Bowl in the 10th Avenue cart pod, while Ziba's Pitas went under.

 

No. First off, you ignore that other places like Nuestra Cocina, Lucky Strike, Luc Lac, and Autentica/Uno Mas are all just as successful and run by people whose ethnicity matches the cuisine. A place like Nong's has been a media darling and quite successful precisely BECAUSE the owner is Thai (and came from a cart). If hand-holding was the issue, a place like Pok Pok wouldn't be so unwilling to dumb-down its dishes.  Pad thai would have been a mainstay of the restaurant. You mention Ziba's Pitas going out of business, yet Aybla, owned by a Syrian who has always been the face of his business, has one of the most successful chain of carts in Portland.  Ziba, otoh, is white!

 

It's not about the ethnicity of the owner.  That can play an indirect part only because a Mexican or Vietnamese immigrant, eg, is less likely to have the experience, education, or capital to make a successful restaurant. They may be disadvantaged, but not directly because of their race. They may also be more focused on feeding their family than realizing a vision, thus making them more willing to provide whatever the customer says they want (which is why the regionality of Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican restaurants is so often lost, resulting in menus that all look the same), perhaps making their restaurant less likely to fail, but also less likely to blow up. 

 

Por Que No would not be less successful if the owner was brown.  Same with Pok Pok, Bollywood, Biwa, etc.  It's hard to say that Pok Pok would be more successful with a Thai owner given how successful it is, but I bet Ricker wouldn't have his credibility questioned if he was Thai. David Chang would be no less successful in Portland because he is a very good businessman and restaurateur.  That's the key.  It's not ethnicity.  It's location, restaurant design, menu, price, capitalization, business fundamentals, and luck. But it's not a white face, as you assert.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#59 nervousxtian

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 06:43 AM

Besides, while the internet and foodies might be obsessed with chef's... the people who keep the lights on in most of the places mentioned don't have a clue who the chef is, what they look like, etc.   

 

Great post Nick.  

 

What's with the hate of Whole Bowl?    It doesn't try to be anything but what it is.. and it's a good hearty filling meal that's somewhat healthy.   There's a reason it's successful.



#60 levbarg

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Posted 14 April 2015 - 10:56 AM


Well, our most-lauded ethnic restaurants tend to be operated by people who are, ahem, not of that ethnicity. (I'm looking at you, Pok Pok, and you, Bollywood Theater, and Boxer/Boke/Biwa [though I really like Biwa]...there are others, but you get the picture.) So yeah, I think your description is right on -- people here want to be daring, but they want someone who looks like them to hold their hand as they timidly venture outside their comfort zone. Look at the insane line for Whole Bowl in the 10th Avenue cart pod, while Ziba's Pitas went under.

 

No. First off, you ignore that other places like Nuestra Cocina, Lucky Strike, Luc Lac, and Autentica/Uno Mas are all just as successful and run by people whose ethnicity matches the cuisine. A place like Nong's has been a media darling and quite successful precisely BECAUSE the owner is Thai (and came from a cart). If hand-holding was the issue, a place like Pok Pok wouldn't be so unwilling to dumb-down its dishes.  Pad thai would have been a mainstay of the restaurant. You mention Ziba's Pitas going out of business, yet Aybla, owned by a Syrian who has always been the face of his business, has one of the most successful chain of carts in Portland.  Ziba, otoh, is white!

 

It's not about the ethnicity of the owner.  That can play an indirect part only because a Mexican or Vietnamese immigrant, eg, is less likely to have the experience, education, or capital to make a successful restaurant. They may be disadvantaged, but not directly because of their race. They may also be more focused on feeding their family than realizing a vision, thus making them more willing to provide whatever the customer says they want (which is why the regionality of Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican restaurants is so often lost, resulting in menus that all look the same), perhaps making their restaurant less likely to fail, but also less likely to blow up. 

 

Por Que No would not be less successful if the owner was brown.  Same with Pok Pok, Bollywood, Biwa, etc.  It's hard to say that Pok Pok would be more successful with a Thai owner given how successful it is, but I bet Ricker wouldn't have his credibility questioned if he was Thai. David Chang would be no less successful in Portland because he is a very good businessman and restaurateur.  That's the key.  It's not ethnicity.  It's location, restaurant design, menu, price, capitalization, business fundamentals, and luck. But it's not a white face, as you assert.

 

I don't know, Nick.  Merely as a statement of fact, and not a judgment at all on the quality or deliciousness of the food, I have certainly noticed this recurring formula for, as Dan says, of Portland's most-lauded non-American restaurants:

 

1) white guy goes to foreign land

2) white guy learns to cook said foreign land's food

3) white guy serves foreign food to other white people

 

Again, you can say "why the hell does it matter what color the chef is", and you'd be right, but that's addressing a different point than the observation I'm trying to make.

 

The longer I'm here in Portland, the more & more I'm finding those non-American mom and pop restaurants cooking food for their own countrymen.  What I'm also noticing is that those restaurants don't get *nearly* the same buzz as the "white guy cooks foreign food for other white people" formula. Maybe it's simply a matter of immigrant restaurants not being as savvy at playing the marketing game.  Look how much more buzz Pok Pok gets over Rama Thai, for example.   That's why I think what Dan says is accurate.  People want to feel worldly, but they also want to feel safe.

 

The only point I'm trying to make here is that I think Portland has a greater diversity than it gets credit for, largely in part because the immigrant mom & pops are so far off most white peoples' collective radar.  I've long observed (both in LA and now PDX) that if the hipsters were sincerely concerned about being different and unique, they'd spend their time riding their extra tall bikes to the Asian suburbs of Beaverton (or San Gabriel) instead of sticking to the strikingly uniform grunge of the East side :)

 

Mr Taster