11.30.2007

¿Por QuĂ© No? Taqueria

Por Que No is one of my top 5 favorite Restaurants in Portland, I try to find myself there at least once a week.  The food is great, the servers are awesome and this place is busy, so if you want to sit inside, go early.  I order the same thing every time I go there, I know that I need to try other menu items, but the Tacos are so damn good that I cant think about anything else.  My "usual" is 2 Carnitas Tacos and 1 Carne Asada Taco, oh yea, and a large Margarita!  I was never a big Margarita fan until my buddy Shea took me to Por Que No for the first time, and now I am hooked, in my opinion there is no better Marg in Portland.  So, if you want the best Tacos in Portland, or you are thirsty and you want the best Margarita in town, you must go to North Portland.

Por Que No Taqueria
3524 North Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227
503.467.4149

11.29.2007

Pork



Back when I used to spend 14 hours a day in professional kitchens, I would ask young cooks a lot of questions that they rarely knew the answer to.  Quite often young cooks, especially the new graduates of a Culinary School need to be humbled on a daily basis.  Although sending a young cook off to find the Bacon Stretcher, a can of Steam or a Grill extender is fun, I like to ask the simple question,  what is your favorite meat and why.  I can, without question say that my favorite meat is Pork and there isn't a close second.  I LOVE BACON !

11.26.2007

Lobster Bisque



Thanksgiving at my house was 1/2 traditional and 1/2 not so much. Some of the food tasted like it was straight from my Grandmothers house in Alabama, my wife cooked quite a bit and some came from spending years in restaurant kitchens. The best dish of the day started with some Lobster Tails, Miripoix, Shrimp Stock and Heavy Cream. Luckily I had a Chinois to make this beautiful Soup the right consistency, I added some Sherried Caramelized Onions and some Smoked Paprika Oil to finish it off, I can honestly say that it was one of the best soups I have ever made.

11.24.2007

2007 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence



This is some Nicaragua #2 Cup of Excellence Coffee from the La Union farm in the Nueva Segovia region. This coffee is sweet, complex, acidic and well balanced, it hangs around for a while with a great Caramel finish. If you groove on Cup Of Excellence Coffees, this is one worth checking out. DON'T DRINK CRAPPY COFFEE!

11.23.2007

Ken's Artisan Pizza



I have already said that Pizza A Go Go is my favorite place for a Slice and a Beer, that hasnt changed. But I think that I can honestly say that Ken's has my favorite Pizza in Portland. It has a lot of things going for it: The Staff is awesome, The Space is great and the most important thing, The Crust is killer! I usually go for the Caramelized Onion and Fennel Sausage Pizza, but I have had a few others and they are always great. I truly believe that Ken's can go toe to toe with any Pie in town and come out on top. Don't settle for bad Pizza!

Ken's Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
503.517.9951

11.21.2007

Aybla Mediterranean Grill



Food Carts Rule! If you are looking for some good Mediterranean grub and are tired of eating bad kabobs and gritty Hummus, you must hit Aybla for lunch sometime soon. The Super Lamb Gyro is the best in town and at $6.00, you cant beat it. I love the Food Carts and some of the best food in town comes out of them, the kids across the street at Western should pay attention to what these guys are doing instead of dreaming about Truffles and making Tomato Concasse.

Aybla
321 SW 2nd St.
Portland, OR
503.490.3387

11.17.2007

Belmont Station



I love Beer! The Bayern Octoberfest this year is pretty good, Bayern is out of Missoula Montana and until recently, you could only get Bayern in Montana. The Deschutes Jubelale is bitchin this year, I must warn you, it is really hard to only drink one and they are potent! Newcastle, what can I say about this killer Brown Ale, Newcastle is my favorite beer.



Unibroue is a brewery in Quebec, they have been doing some of the best beer around for quite some time now. My favorite beers of theirs are the Maudite and La Fin Du Monde, both very complex and super big. If you are a beer Dork you are familiar with Unibroue, if you havent had it, go give it a try.



Elysian Brewery is Brewing some of the best beer in the Northwest and I am yet to have any of their beers that I was dissapointed in, and oh yes, the Original Bathbeer from the Brandenburg region of Germany, by far my favorite German Beer, I don't have it very often, but when i do, its a good day. Drink more Beer!

Belmont Station
4520 Se Belmont St
Portland, Oregon
503.232.8538

11.16.2007

Julia Bakery



When I want tasty tasty bread I always go to Ken's, Pearl Bakery, Grand Central or Elephant's, but last week I found a bakery in the strangest place, Vancouver. I rarely go to "The Couve", I havent found many reasons to make the trip over the border, but Julia Bakery might be my reason. I tried the Challah and a stuffed sandwich type of thing that had Salami, Green Olives and a couple of different Cheeses in it, everything was killer!

Julia Bakery
2614 Ft. Vancouver Way
Vancouver, WA
360.993.0505

11.12.2007

La Sirenita



With so many restaurant choices on the North East Alberta strip, I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon La Sirenita, but I am glad that I did. Although my career in the restaurant business was always in a Fine Dining environment, I deep down wanted to work at a Taquera and learn how to make the food that I love. I dig Foie Gras as much as the next guy, but honestly I would rather have a bitchin Carne Asada Taco than perfectly braised and sauteed Sweetbreads. I am yet to have anything from La Sirenita that I wasnt happy about, I love this place, Dig it!

La Sirenita
2817 Ne Alberta St.
Portland, OR
503.335.8283

11.06.2007

Clyde Common



So the new Ace Hotel is pretty sweet, it has a Stumptown Coffee in it as well as a great restaurant. Parking in that part of downtown sucks, but after driving around for 30 minutes trying to find a place to park, I landed a 90 minute spot and met some friends at Clyde Common for lunch last week. Normally I don't care for the long common tables, it seems as though the person that has the loud laugh and wont shut up always ends up sitting next to me, but it was a pretty good crowd at Clyde Common. Lunch was great, the service was excellent and the food was delicious, the beer, wine and cocktail list is damn fine too. I really like the space, it's a good place to go with a bunch of friends, I don't think that it would be a good place to go on a first date, I didnt see a deuce or even a 4 top, it's all big tables. I will go back, next time it will be for dinner.



Clyde Common
SW 10th & Stark
in the Ace Hotel
503.228.3333

11.01.2007

Frito Pie



A few weeks ago I made my bitchin Chili, and if you have ever made Chili, you know that it is always better a couple of days after you make it. As I make my Chili, the only thing that I am thinking about, is how awesome the Frito Pie is going to be the next day, thats not to say that I always wait until the next day. I am proud to be from the South and my Southern roots certainly come out in my cooking, and I am the first to say that we cook some strange stuff in the south, but that is also one of the few things that I miss about the south. I have heard it called quite a few different names, but if you arent familiar with Frito Pie, its pretty simple. In a bowl, throw in a hand full of Fritos, ladle in a cup or two of your favorite chili, top that with Cheddar Cheese, Onions and Sour Cream and there you have it. Quite a few places serve it in a small bag of Fritos and you just eat it out of the bag, genius!