In my search for the perfect burger, I went to "The Couve" to a place that I had heard a lot about.  Chef Brad Root has been rockin it out here for quite some time and it must be doing alright because they just opened a new Pizza spot across the parking lot from Roots.  I went for lunch and the burger was pretty decent, the fries were excellent and the TG IPA was great.

The main buzz around Roots right now is coming from the pastry kitchen, Caralee Blazina Whitmore is busting out some killer pastries, I didn't try anything, but I will certainly go for dessert next time.  How about Scharffen Berger Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with Sour Cherry Compote and Whipped Cream, DAMN!

Riverstone Marketplace
19215 SE 34th Street
Camas Washington



There are very few things that I miss about the East Coast, but one of things that I do miss is the unique style of sandwich that people call a "East Coast Sandwich" out here.  There are a few places around town that unsuccessfully try to recreate these sandwiches but remain busy, I don't understand it.  What I do understand, is that every time I go to Tributes, I end up waiting, I can't find a place to park and usually have to take my food with me because its so damn busy.  There aren't many places that I think are worth waiting in line for, and certainly not many that I will drive around trying to find a parking spot for, but if I am in the mood for a decent Philly or Reuben, I will gladly circle the block and stand in line at Tributes.  The sandwiches are great, the Pizza is good and the service is always awesome.  By far, the best sandwich in Portland!

2272 NW Kearney Street
Portland, OR 97201



So Castagna is on the Corner of SE Hawthorne and Poplar and I didn't realize until I stopped in for lunch last week, but Castagna isn't open for lunch, only the Cafe side is open during lunch.  Well, luckily for me, the Burger that I had heard so much about was on the menu at the Cafe, so without really looking at the menu, I ordered a Cheeseburger with Blue Cheese and Fries.  The fries that someone told me about were better than I expected, they were hand cut and damn good, and the burger, it was quality meat cooked to temp on a tasty bun, one of the better burgers that I have had at a restaurant in Portland.  So a couple of things that looked good on the Cafe menu are: Frisee, Lardons, Egg and Toast, and a Leek, Thyme, Pancetta and Sheep's Milk Cheese Pizza.

Next time I hit Castagna for a meal it will most certainly be for dinner, the menu looks killer!   The New York Steak with Marrow, Parsley and Shallots with Watercress and Shoestring Potatoes and the Quail with Porcini-Parsley Salad and Roasted Potatoes sound awesome.  The dessert menu looks damn tasty too, the item that stuck out on the menu that I was looking at is the Chocolate Chestnut Pave'.  So just remember, if you want to eat at Castagna, they are only open Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30, but Cafe Castagna is open 7 nights for dinner and Tuesday through Saturday for Lunch.

1752 SE Hawthorne
Portland, OR 97214

Cafe Castagna
1758 SE Hawthorne
Portland, OR 97214



Bernie's Southern Bistro

I remember going to Bernie's 8 years ago and loving it, so when I moved back to Portland, I was anxious to go back.  Not much has changed at Bernie's, the neighborhood has changed, but the food hasn't changed a bit, its still very tasty.  So if you want some good old southern food that is classed up a bit, Bernie's is the place to go.  OK, so once you are there you must try the Hush Puppies, Fried Pickles, Fried Okra, Crawfish Cakes, Oysters and Fried Chicken, yes I know, everything is fried, well that's how we do it in the South, eat Salad for a week and you should be OK.  The Happy Hour Menu at Bernie's kicks ass too, not only do they have great drinks, but they have a $3.00 food menu that cant be beat, Po Boy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Sweet Potato Fries, Hush Puppies and Red Beans and Rice are all Three Bucks, damn man!  This isn't the food that you will find at my Grandma's house, this is the food that you will find at a hip spot in Buckhead while sipping a nice glass of Bourbon in Atlanta.  

Bernie's Southern Bistro
2904 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211



Crema does a great job pulling shots of espresso, they also rock out some tasty sandwiches and the French Press Coffee is a nice touch.  But what they are really great at is the baking, I have had a killer Ham and Cheese Croissant, some sort of Vegetable and Egg Turnover thing that was a bit messy but damn if it didn't hit the spot!  The best thing that I have had from Crema is the Manchego and Mushroom Biscuit, this jewel isn't to be overlooked next time you are druling over the pastry case.  Yea Yea, they have your Soy Latte, but I suppose if you are drinking Soy, then you should stay away from the Manchego anyway, right?  Anyway, Manchego is one of my favorite Cheeses, as far as Spanish Cheese goes, Manchego is pretty "middle of the road" but I have a soft spot in my belly for tasty Spanish Cheese no matter what it is!  So, Crema rocks, they have good Coffee, decent service, a cool space and great Baked Goods, they are on the corner of SE 28th and Ankeny next to Noble Rot,  give it a try.

2728 SE Ankeny Street
Portland, OR 97214


Tattoo - A Couple of Mine

This one is a custom piece under my arm, it took three sessions and a total of eight hours, and every minute of this one hurt!  It took a couple of tries, but he finally was able to understand my vision and draw it the way that we both saw it.  The Reverend Todd at Triumphant 2 in Coeur d'Alene did both of these pieces as well as about ten other of my tattoos.

The Bagpiper is on the inside of the same arm, this arm is devoted to my Scottish heritage, there is plenty of knot work and Scottish art on this sleeve.  I need to get going on my other sleeve, but I haven't found anyone in Portland to go to town on my right arm, I look forward to photographing and posting the evolution of my next tattoo.  I need someone to turn me on to a bitchin tattoo artist in Portland, help me out.  If you are ever passing through North Idaho and need to get drilled on, stop by and see Rev at Triumphant, he is one of the few things that I miss about Coeur d'Alene. 


DiPrima Dolce Italian Bakery

DiPrima Dolce is one of the best bakeries in town, not only for its Bread, but for its Pizza, Sandwiches and Pastries too.  David from Flavor Spot turned me on to this place and I'm stoked that he did, I actually need to thank him.  The first time I stepped foot in to this bakery I bought some Ciabatta and a Brioche, not really expecting much, I got it to go and didn't even open the bag for an hour.  Well, little did I know, the Brioche was stuffed with Ham and Fontina Cheese, DAMN MAN, I went back twice that week!  The Sweet Brioche stuffed with a nice peppery Ham and Salty Cheese is so damn tasty, I now don't go to DiPrima Dolce for bread, thats not to say that I don't leave with bread, but the Brioche is what I tell people about and its why I drive out of my way to North Portland for a delicious little baked ball of awesomeness.  Last time I was there I picked up a Crystalized Ginger and Caramel Eclair, Damn!

DiPrima Dolce
1936 North Killingsworth St.
Portland, Oregon


Tabor Authentic Czech Cuisine

So if you haven't had the pleasure of eating a Schnitzelwich, you need to hop in your car and head down to Southwest 5th & Stark to Tabor and give it a try.  This place is awesome, its one of the many killer Food Carts downtown.  I have only had the Schnitzelwich, but the menu also has some classic Czech items, Potato Pancakes, Sausage, Goulash, Spaetzle and a Eggplant Sandwich are also on the menu.  The Schnitzelwich is breaded Pork on a Ciabatta Roll with Caramelized Onions, Lettuce, Paprika Sauce and Horseradish, sounds good, hell yea it's good!  They are open Monday through Friday from 10 to 3 and the folks there are really nice and will answer any questions if you aren't familiar with Czech food.  

corner of SW 5th and Stark
Portland, OR


Russell Street Bar-B-Que

Having grown up in the south, I have eaten my share of Barbecue.  I have had just about every type of Barbecue there is, including Kansas City, Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, the strange Mayonnaise based Alabama White BBQ and my favorite, Texas.  I'm yet to find a true Texas Barbecue in Portland, there are a few that try, but I have had more bad BBQ in Portland than good, mind you, I haven't tried every place in town, but I have had quite a few Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Brisket Platters.  Big Daddy's is Bad, Buster's is OK and Podnah's Pit is great, but in my opinion, Russell Street Bar-B-Que nails it.

I've had the Brisket, Pulled Pork and Sausage, I haven't tried the Pimento Cheese, Hush Puppies or Frito Pie yet, soon enough!  I can't mention Russell Street Bar-B-Que without talking up the Fries, they are the best in town, hand cut and served with a Cajun mayo.  Overall, Russell Street BBQ does a great job, good food, good beer and nice folks, that's enough for me to go back.

Russell Street Bar-B-Que
325 NE Russell Street
Portland, OR 97212


Park Kitchen

Although there are plenty of awesome restaurants in Portland, Park Kitchen has proven to be a great experience every time I eat there.  Last time I was there I started with a tasty Terminal Gravity and some killer Clam Chowder that was full of big ass Clams, the Duck Confit Reuben that I had for my lunch was just as good as it sounds, as always, the food was excellent and the service was perfect.  Park Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants and I look forward to my next meal there. 

Park Kitchen
422 NW 8th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209


El Brasero

Oh yea, I stumbled upon another bitchin food cart and this one is on the corner of South East 12th and Hawthorne.  El Brasero serves your basic Taco Truck cuisine and they do a great job.  As always, for my first meal at a new Taco spot, I went for a couple of Carnitas Tacos.  Pork, Onions and Cilantro is what it's all about!  I am such a sucker for Food Carts and needless to say, I'm really glad that I found a new one.  There are a couple of other Carts in this parking lot and although I am yet to give the Wings or Soup Carts a try, I think that next time I find myself looking for a quick bite in Inner Southeast, I will again go to the back of the parking lot to El Brasero.


My Best Of 2007

So here is my "Best of" for 2007, I'm stoked to be back in Portland and I have so many favorite places, it was hard to narrow it down and I apologize to anyone that I have left off.

Best Restaurant - Park Kitchen
Best New Restaurant - Biwa
Best Chef - Kenny Hill at Trebol
Best Lunch - Nu Cafe
Best Burger - Stanich's
Best Taco - Por Que No
Best Barbecue - Russell Street Bar-B-Que
Best Pizza - Ken's Artisan Pizza
Best Bagel - Kenny & Zukes
Best Fish & Chips - Highland Still House
Best Sandwich - Tributes
Best Food Cart - Aybla
Best Pub - The Horse Brass
Best Coffee - Portland Roasting
Best Coffee Shop - Crema
Best Desserts - Papa Haydn
Best Breakfast - Bread & Ink Cafe
Best Bakery - Ken's Artisan Bakery & Di Prima Dolce Italian Bakery
Best Chinese Restaurant - Hunan
Best Dim Sum - Fong Chong
Best Thai - Thai Mango
Best Italian - Pazzo
Best French Restaurant - Carafe
Best Brunch - Papa Haydn
Best Cheese - Steve's Cheese
Best French Fries - Russell Street Bar-B-Que
Best Vegetarian - Laughing Planet
Best Vegan - Who Cares?

And just for the hell of it!

Best Album - Planet of Ice by Minus The Bear
Best "New" Band - This Will Destroy You
Best Concert - Zappa Plays Zappa at The Roseland
Best Movie - Superbad
Best TV Show - How I Met Your Mother
Best Reality TV - Beauty & The Geek