Rogue Brewery

Rogue brewery in Newport has been making some of the best beers around for 20 years.  Some of my favorites are the Hazelnut Brown, Dead Guy and Mocha Porter, but I must say the best thing that they have if you have the huevos for it is the Old Crustacean Barley Wine, it is amazing!  I haven't had too many beers from Rogue that I didn't like, and I've had most of them.

Now for the bad news.  I was passing through Newport a few weeks ago and decided to stop for lunch at the Newport Brewery, well, that was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made.  They had a Kobe Burger on the menu and although I'm not sold on American Kobe, I decided to go with it.  I not only had a hard time eating this garbage, I didn't even finish it, and after that plate of vomit, a beer and a very small tip, I spent $22.00.  The Rogue brewery  has never been known for it's service and this visit certainly was no different, but I couldn't believe how awful the food was, and to be honest, I was really pissed.  

Good Beer + Bad Food = Rogue Brewery

Rogue Brewery
2320 OSU Drive
Newport, OR 97365


Food & Ink

A buddy of mine recently asked me why I only give good reviews when I am talking about restaurants, when the reality is that most of the meals I have at restaurants pretty much Suck!  I guess the reason is that although I always have my Nikon with me, I rarely want to take a picture of a shitty restaurant after I have just had a bad meal there.  I don't want to bad mouth anyones food just because I don't like it, well, the fact of the matter is that I do bad mouth a place when it sucks but it's only to my friends and of course to my wife, and then I don't go back.  I do hold grudges when it comes to bad food, I haven't been to a Outback Steakhouse in 10 years because they pissed me off and to this day if someone mentions Outback, I bad mouth them and will until the day I die.  So I guess the way that I am looking at it now is, if I write about a crappy restaurant, then you wont have to waste your time and blindly try it out.  So restaurants be warned, if your food sucks and I eat there, I will write about it, if the service sucks, I will write about it, if you don't want to hear about how much your restaurant Sucks, then don't read this blog.


Michael's Italian Beef

Michael's Italian Beef is at that crazy intersection where Burnside, Sandy and 12 all collide, the first time I tried going there, I got frustrated because I didn't know how to get to the parking lot, but once you can master that intersection, you are good to go.  Michael's is one of my favorite places for lunch, it's in Inner Southeast and they have parking, so that's not an issue like downtown, the staff is really nice and the food is killer.

So the first thing I ever had from here was the Italian Beef Sandwich and if you have ever had one, you know what it is, and if you haven't, well you need to go to Michael's and have the real deal.  A Italian Beef sandwich is some tasty wet Top Round Steak, Peppers, and Onions on Italian Bread, some places will dip the whole thing back into the Jus, but luckily Michael's doesn't do that, it's a bit too wet!  The Sausage sandwich here is my favorite thing on the menu, they make their own sausage, throw some Peppers and Onions on Italian Bread and that's it.  The Meatballs are great and they use them to make their version of a Burger and it too is delicious.  I am fairly certain that everything on the menu at Michael's is great, I just haven't had time to try everything yet.

Michael's Italian Beef & Sausage Co.
1111 SE Sandy at Burnside,
Portland, OR 97214


Tillamook Cheese Factory

I love Cheese!  There are hundreds of different cheeses that I love, but the cheese that I buy the most comes from Tillamook, the Cheddar is sharp, the Swiss is tangy and the Jack is smooth.  Don't get me wrong, Point Reyes, Rogue Creamery, Humboldt Fog and Firefly Farms are always found in my refrigerator, but Tillamook Cheeses have their place.  If Tillamook made Manchego, Sage Derby, Cotswold, Gruyere, Taleggio or Stilton, I would buy it.

The Factory where they make Tillamook Cheese is a must when you pass through this sleepy little town, the folks are nice, the cheese is good and they have a ton of local crap to spend your money on.  They have been Farmer owned for almost 100 years, and I am yet to have a Cheese from this place that didn't Rock.  I am all about buying local and Tillamook is certainly local, if you haven't had Tillamook Cheese, well, you have been living under a rock and you may as well go back under your rock.

Tillamook Cheese 
4175 Highway 101 North
Tillamook, Oregon 97141


Bread & Ink Cafe

Ten years ago Bread and Ink was my favorite breakfast spot, I used to go at least once a week and told everyone I knew to do the same.  Well, I don't find myself at Bread and Ink very often these days.  The food is still good, the service is good, but the main reason I don't make it over to Hawthorne for breakfast anymore is one reason, the Coffee!  They have been using the same coffee for probably 20 years and it Sucks, I thought that maybe it was just me and the people in my circle, but when I checked out City Search, the first two reviews I saw were not positive and they both mentioned the Crappy Coffee.

When I do hit up Bread and Ink it's always for breakfast and I always get the Biscuits and Gravy,  they aren't your every day B & G, they are packed with Herbs and Black Pepper and have Italian Sausage instead of your normal Breakfast Sausage.  My Wife and Son both love the Pancakes with the Blueberry Compote, and the Huevos Rancheros are pretty OK too.  

I'm certainly not saying to pass by Bread and Ink next time you are looking for a decent breakfast, all I'm saying is walk down to Cup & Saucer and get a cup of coffee before you head into Bread and Ink.

Bread & Ink Cafe
3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214


My Carnitas

A Carnitas Taco is a simple and beautiful thing, Pork, Queso Fresco, Cilantro, Lime and Tortillas, thats it.  The way I do my Carnitas is easy, braise a Pork Shoulder in Beer, Cilantro Stems, Garlic and a couple of Peppers for about 4 hours or until the Pork is fork tender.  I then Caramelize a Yellow Onion and Saute a Pasilla Pepper, add the Pork to the pan and then season with Salt, Pepper and Cumin to taste.  I assume this isn't the way Carnitas is made, but it works for me!

As if the bitchin Carnitas Tacos weren't enough, the morning after I cooked the Pork, I made a Breakfast out of the leftover Pork and it was (from bottom to top) Corn Tortillas, Refried Beans, Carnitas, Soft Scrambled Eggs, Queso Fresco, Cholula and Cilantro.  Oh my, I have found a new way to get Pork in front of me for breakfast.  


Helvetia Tavern

So when I walk into Helvetia Tavern I know that my experience is going to be a solid one, this place is kind of sketchy, it's way the hell out on the west side of Hillsboro and that "drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry" song is playing.  As I was walking in, I was hoping this wasn't one of those Cash Only places, cause to be honest, I'm not real hip with that program.  Well it is a Cash Only place and like all Cash Only places there is a ATM in the corner.  So I have heard enough about this place and after reading about it on Portland Hamburgers site,  I decided that it was time to make the trip, so needless to say, I was going for the Double Jumbo Burger, and that is exactly what it was!

Helvetia (pronounced Hell-Vee-Sha) Tavern is now on my Top 5 Portland Burger List, this place Rocks!  Next time I will know a bit better what to expect and I will take cash, it is a destination restaurant and I didn't even notice if they have anything other than Burgers and Fries and to be honest, I don't care.  If you are a Burger Freak like I am, Helvetia Tavern is a must, oh yea, and the fries kick ass too, hand cut and almost perfect.

Helvetia Tavern
10275 NW Helvetia Road
Hillsboro, OR 97124