Memorable Food for 2005 – a random list of random things in random order.
Pizza – Apizza Scholls. Runner up, Basilico (which just closed)
Coffee House – Albina Press
Bean Roasters – Ristretto Roasters and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
Desserts – Gotham Tavern and Park Kitchen. Note that the pastry chef just left Gotham for Balvo, and the Park Kitchen pastry chef is taking a break from the business.
Lebanese – Karam Restaurant
Sushi – Restaurant Murata
Chinese – Wong’s King Seafood
Mexican – Nuestra Cocina
Greek – Eleni’s
Best comfort/American food – Fife
Favorite ‘hole in the wall’ – Pok Pok Thai
Best new restaurants for 2005 – Gotham Building Tavern and Siam Society
General breakfast place – Zells
Best hamburger – Café Castagna
Best place to be sinful – Sahagun Chocolates
Entrée of 2005 that made me want to bow to the chef – Pork Three-Ways at Paley’s Place. Runner up, Surf and Turf Trout at Gotham Building Tavern and Pork three-ways with watermelon sauce at Park Kitchen.
Favorite breakfast – chilaquiles with eggs, corn tortilla chips, salsa roja, cotija, and cilantro at Gotham Building Tavern.
Favorite dive bar – Lowbrow Lounge
Favorite classy bar – Vault Martini
Dessert of 2005 that made me want to get up and hug the chef – a donut at Park Kitchen
Restaurants I’ll really miss – Basilico, Upstairs Bistro breakfasts
Place with most potential that has yet to achieve it – Nostrana, D.F. in the Pearl
Most improved food – Saucebox
Worst service experience – Saucebox
Best service experience – Paley’s Place
Places I go when I’m not ‘working’:
¿Por Qué No? Taqueria
Pok Pok Thai
Albina Press, Ristretto Roasters, Stumptown Coffeehouses
(In the interest of full-disclosure, the owners of Ristretto Roasters are friends of mine, but that did not influence my judgment. It will, however, keep me from reviewing their shop.)
Tags: Food Writing, News
January 1st, 2006 @ 6:25 pm FD… “Mexican – Nostrana”? They undergoing a change of direction already, or did you mean Nuestra Cocina?
January 1st, 2006 @ 9:34 pm Is Gotham Tavern open every morning for breakfast or just weekends?
January 1st, 2006 @ 10:01 pm Gotham is open Tuesday – Sun
January 1st, 2006 @ 11:11 pm If the Lowbrow is a “dive bar,” then Paley’s Place is a taco wagon. In other words, I think that Lowbrow ceased being a dive bar when they started advertising themselves as such. Anyone that has spent two and a half hours at the now-closed Morrison Street Tavern chugging 85-cent Raniers while listening to the Starland Vocal Band on the jukebox can attest to that. Judging by the amount of stiletto heels and leopard-print cowboy hats one can find at Lowbrow on any given night, Lowbrow has seriously lost the right to call itself a dive bar. I hate to make stereotypes, but the Lowbrow is exactly what I think a west-sider would call a dive bar, even though there is a bonafide Dive Bar just a few blocks away known as Yur’s. I’m sorry, but Lowbrow jumped the shark from dive to hipster at least five years ago. It’s okay to like the Lowbrow Lounge, but calling it a dive is borderline blasphemy.
January 2nd, 2006 @ 12:16 am I preferred Hal’s Tavern or “The Halitosis” as we called it.A nicer group of indigent zero’s you will never meet.You could pass out at the bar and be assured a frosty cold one was waiting for you when you woke up.
January 2nd, 2006 @ 12:58 am apcow – it’s a dive bar compared to the places I’d go to review! Besides, I’ve been going there for years and remember how it was back in the day of the switching yard.
As for Yur’s, I spent a week there one night! I could tell you a good story about it, but then again, I’d better not. Amazingly enough, they still let me in.
January 2nd, 2006 @ 8:19 am “it’s a dive bar compared to the places I’d go to review!”
Ah, but is “dive bar” a relative term? Or are there specific indispensible elements necessary to categorize a bar as divey? FoodDude, I think you just accidentally gave me a homework assignment for the week.
January 2nd, 2006 @ 10:05 am Sounds like you really like pork three ways Low Brow seems divey to me. But then again I have never been there sober. But it is definately divey for the ‘hood. I want to hear about your week at Yur’s…
January 2nd, 2006 @ 10:37 am While I’ve never been a big dive bar aficionado, I’ve been in my share, especially in my younger years. So, as my first Top Ten List for 2006…the Top Ten Signs You’re in a Dive Bar:
10) The only item on the wine list is “Red”.
9) If you want food, you’d better be happy with stale peanuts.
8) If there’s anyone other than the bartender working there, it’s a middle-aged waitress with missing teeth, not a “server”.
7) The “decor” is 20 years accumulation of Budweiser promotional signs and displays.
6) It’s named after a former owner (Joe’s, Max’s, Tiny’s, etc.) who was killed in the bar.
5) They still have a real jukebox, and there’s nothing recorded after 1974 on it.
4) The only “mixed drink” available is a Boilermaker.
3) You frquently hear the phrase “You aren’t from around here, are you?”
2) The only women in the place are on the Budweiser posters.
1) You’re more likely to get hit than hit on.
January 3rd, 2006 @ 10:35 am Food Dude, you need to hit a place called Aladdins Cafe on NE 33rd. It is a few blocks north of the Kennedy School. I have only been twice, but the falafel is the best in Portland. I can’t seem to order anything else. The owner used to work at Falafel King which is now Ya Hala. The menu looks pretty ambitous but the falafel crushes Karam. I can’t speak for the rest of the menu though.
January 3rd, 2006 @ 10:48 am Yes, but a good falafel is really enough, when it’s truly good. Thanks for the rec., Bill.
January 3rd, 2006 @ 11:52 am I once got in a debate with a friend about whether Sewickly’s Addition qualified as a “dive bar.” I said yes, he said no. We then walked in there one night, and, no joke, who did we see in the corner, playing video poker and swilling beer? Tonya Harding.
Consensus: Dive bar.
As for best food for 2005, I’d have to go with chicken massaman curry at Siam Society. And, my perennial favorite, the sauteed chicken livers with bacon appetizer at Fife.
January 3rd, 2006 @ 12:20 pm I was introduced to Ristretto Roasters coffee at Siam Society. R.R.’s coffee is now exclusively served in our home and at our office. Sorry, Peets. We do miss Winterborne at their location but are certainly happy to have Ristretto Roasters in our Beaumont neighborhood.
January 3rd, 2006 @ 12:57 pm Bill, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve actually been to Aladdin’s twice, and have been fairly pleased. Look for a review in a couple of weeks.