17 December 2009

Pancakes Please: Jam on Hawthorne

Lemon Ricotta Pancake with blueberry compote

Make Your Own Scramble: Bacon, Tomato, Green Onions and Cream Cheese w/ a Lemon Ricotta Pancake on the side= 10.75 split with a friend = 5.50

Another key player in the Portland breakfast scene is Jam on Hawthorne. A small establishment with a good size menu, including all the standard breakfast items: scrambles, omelets, egg sandwiches, sweets and Stumptown coffee. However, one thing separates Jam for the rest: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, smothered in blueberry compote.

Pesto Scramble, $8.25

Whoever came up with the brilliant idea to add ricotta to pancake batter is God sent, because the cheese makes the pancakes moist inside, but still allows them to get a good crisp on the top and bottom. The hint of lemon adds a touch of zest and then they sprinkle powdered sugar on top and smoother the entire thing in their homemade blueberry compote. These pancakes melt in your mouth and trust me; they are like nothing else you’ve ever tasted.

El Paso Scramble, $8.25

I like to split a “make your own” scramble and then add a Lemon Ricotta Pancake on the side for only $2.00. This allows me to get the sweet and savory combo I always crave at breakfast.

This holiday season, give someone the gift of pancakes. Tie a ribbon around a bottle of Trader Joe's maple syrup and attach a gift certificate for Jam on Hawthorne. Jot down my blog address for them and recommend the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!

Jam on Hawthorne on Urbanspoon

06 December 2009

Baby it’s Cold Outside: Moonstruck Chocolatier

Hot Cocoa $2.90

Nothing is more holiday-esque then hot cocoa and peppermint flavored chocolates. So this afternoon, in the blistering cold, my girls and I walked up to NW 23rd to get hot cocoas and chocolate. I felt like a child knowing that I was about to be served “special” hot cocoa, made from the very best chocolate in the world. Tim Allen in Santa Clause anyone? This little adventure actually brought up many movie references: Chocolat and of course Moonstruck. And so, we sat in the café, sipping our hot cocoas and gabbed and gabbed and gabbed until suddenly our cocoas were gone.

The cocoa was rich and creamy—even with my request of non-fat milk and no whip (I’m sorry, but I have some holiday dresses I need to fit into). Moonstruck is really something else and if you haven’t had a chance to visit their quaint little chocolate factory, this is the perfect time of year to do so. These chocolates are sent all over the nation and lucky for us, their only Chocolate Café’s are in Portland.

Each chocolate is handmade, exquisitely designed and their ingredients are from the Pacific NW. Needing to get someone a gift, want to get your wife in the mood, stocking stuffers. . . even one chocolate in their tiny single chocolate boxes are adorable and with one bite they will be transformed as were the French townspeople in Chocolat. These are not your everyday Hershey chocolates. And believe me, if there is a skeptic out there it is moi. I’ve been hearing for years these chocolates are too good to be true and in a sip I was made a believer. The chocolates are almost so delicate you don’t want to bite into them. However, at $2.00 a pop, you must take on the motto less is more here.

Ok, cocoa isn’t your thing—but I know wine is. A bottle of red with these chocolates will send you . . . well, straight to bed.

Moonstruck Chocolate on Urbanspoon

02 December 2009

Tis' the Season for Long Lines

Italian Cured Meat Sandwich, $9.00

A line outside of an establishment always means there is something delicious waiting for you inside. For the more tightly wound folk (my father), lines equal stress, anxiety, crowded places with inadequate safety exits and a change of plans. So you can imagine my dismay when, after circling a few times on Morrison, trying to find Bunk Sandwich that when we did and there was a line, I was in for some confrontation. Automatically he wanted to leave and go to Meat, Cheese, Bread (next on my sandwich endeavors). No, no no, I protested, just as I did when I was a child. I was determined to try a Bunk sandwich and the line only made me want it more.

After only a few minutes we were in the door and able to see their sandwich board—an entire wall turned into a chalkboard, with daily changing sandwiches. The shop is pretty small, with a handful of tables inside and out and a small bar with a about 8 or so stools. The roast beef with caramelized onions, horseradish and cheddar caught my eye. But then so did the Italian cured meats with Mama’s lil’ peppers and provolone. And if I hadn’t been so sick of turkey from the Thanksgiving, their roasted Turkey with Grandma’s sage sausage stuffing looked amazing as well. This is a sandwich shop that thinks outside the box. How do you feel about Grilled Chicken with Romaine, Garlic-Anchovy Vinaigrette & Spicy Avocado Dressing? Or what about Fried Mortadella with Teleme and Green Apple Mustard, Beans and Cornbread or Oxtail Confit with Celery & Hot Pepper Relish?

We settled on splitting the Italian cured meat sandwich. It came out on a black tray with butcher paper on top. Simple and to the point, with a handful of Kettles chips on the side. The sandwich was oozing olive oil, the meat slightly warmed and the provolone melted onto the rustic sub roll. The Mama’s Lil’ peppers were spicy hot and a perfect pairing with the salty salami and prosciutto.

I can’t wait to go back and try more of these sandwich geniuses’ daily creations! I would say it’s even worth the wait. You may be thinking that $9 is a little steep for a sandwich. You must understand these are gourmet sandwiches, made by people that call themselves: sandwich aficionados. You are paying for quality ingredients and more than anything a sandwich that’s out of the ordinary. Check out more of their “possible” specials online.

Bunk Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

28 November 2009

Is it true? Is Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Coming Back?

Drum roll please: three servers run to your table wearing old fashion vests, two are caring the Farrell's Zoo atop a wooden tray. The third lags behind bagging the ever famous Farrell's drum. What they put in front of you is nothing less then magic: a trough filled with five flavors of ice cream, three flavors of sherbet, five delicious toppings and whipped cream, cherries, nuts and bananas. Topped with little plastic zoo animals! Please tell me you remember this. Rumor has it that Farrell's, which used to sit on NE Weidler, will be returning . . .

After doing some ice cream research, this is what I found:

"In 1963, Robert "Bob" Farrell opened the first Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Portland, Oregon. It immediately became a huge success and by 1970 the company had grown to 58 restaurants. In 1971, Bob Farrell was approached by the Marriott Corporation who subsequently bought the company. He continued to work with Marriott as the company grew to 130 locations nationwide. Under his watchful eyes, Farrell's never experienced a restaurant failure.

Bob Farrell left the company just prior to its sale from Marriott to a San Francisco investment group in 1985. Bob became an author and motivational speaker. Now under new ownership, the Farrell’s concept was changed from a unique celebration restaurant to a traditional family style restaurant. By 1990 almost all Farrell's locations closed and the trademark reverted to Marriott who stopped development.

In 1996, a new company whose mission was to bring back the heydays of Farrell's past acquired Farrell's Ice Cream Parlours. From this purchase, a few legal tussles from 2003-2008 again stopped Farrell's development.

In 2009, now under the ownership of Orange County, California based, Parlour Enterprises Inc the company began moving ahead with the return of Farrell's. Their ongoing goal is to stay true to the philosophies upon which the original company was founded. Bob Farrell is providing input every step of the way as Parlour Enterprises brings Farrell's into the Twenty First Century.

Parlour Enterprises and Farrell's Pacific are dedicated to continue Farrell's legacy in the restaurant industry. You will once again step back in time over 100 years to see servers dressed in pin-striped vests, old fashioned ties, and cane hats. The restaurants feature the distinctive “old Farrell's” appearance of a century past ice cream parlor. The newspaper type menu, old fashioned candy and delicious food and ice cream will let you experience or re-experience what made Farrell's famous all across the U.S" (farrellsusa.com).

What it sounds like to me is that Farrell's may be making its way back up to its original city: Portland. I put a little message into the new company. If I were you, I would do the same--the more they know Portland wants Farrell's back, the better chances we have of eating troughs filled with goodness.

If you know any information about this email me: mangiapdx@gmail.com

15 November 2009

Wingin' It

Wings, 18 for 15.95

You those nights that don’t go exactly as planned? When you anticipate a perfect dinner in your head, with a hefty wait that makes you more excited with each passing minute, candle lit tables and unpronounceable entree names. Sometimes those nights just don’t work out and you have to throw out the agenda and wing it.

This is exactly what happened Friday night. Hunger struck a little earlier then hoped and suddenly Fire on the Mountain was thrown into the horizon. Not a disappointing venture in the least. I used to hit up the original Fire on the Mountain, on N. Interstate—this was before they became a big deal; back when their menu was itsy bitsy and they had no dessert. The new Fire on the Mountain, on SE Burnside makes their other shop look like a BBQ shack. Nonetheless, their fancy location continues to uphold amazing wings, yummy grilled and crispy sandwiches, interesting chicken salads and now more choices!!! Being pro-choice, I really value my restaurant friends that allow me this freedom on a daily basis. Sorry to get political on you, but sometimes, I want something specific and when it’s not on the menu, I feel cheated in a way and then like a snob for ordering something off the menu. This isn’t the case at Fire on the Mountain—because they are dedicated to giving their customers many choices. This begins with their array of sauces.

You must be thinking, array of sauces? Isn’t this a BBQ joint? Isn’t there just one BBQ sauce? But no, there isn’t just one, or two or even three—Fire on the Mountain brings the customer 12, count em’ 12 sauces and I’m here to tell you they aren’t all BBQ sauces either! They have Raspberry Habanera, Bourbon Chipotle, El Jefe and even a Spicy Peanut. Now that is some choice.

Since we were wingin’ it, and being the laid back, casual, non-planner that I am, I even allowed my date to pick the sauce, since he claimed the Spicy Peanut sauce on the wings to be “the best.” And although I really doubted this choice—I decided to continue on with my “go with the flow” attitude and trusted that someone else for a change may be right.

And he was right!!! The Spicy Peanut Wings were absolutely delicious—they were a little sweet from the peanuts, perfectly spicy (about a medium) and then with a little added kick when dipped in their sharp blue cheese sauce. I would have never thought of putting a Thai spin on these wings, but it worked.

Next I want to try their new Emma Sandwich, which includes grilled chicken, blue cheese sauce, bacon and the works. And for good measure I think its necessary I try their fried Oreo’s as well.

However, although you will want to lay down after these wings, I will not compromise next time—this is not a to-go meal, you must eat here, allowing for finger lickin’ and all in front of the other patrons.

Fire on the Mountain (E Burnside) on Urbanspoon

Fire on the Mountain (Overlook) on Urbanspoon

11 November 2009

Sophisticated Women

Pour Wine Bar & Bistro: Pour Choice glass of red, $3.00 & Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Gorgonzola sauce, $8.00

Candle lit tables, windows frosted with steam, white walls and vinyl chairs, a glass of red wine and sultry background music—how sophisticated. The atmosphere at Pour is unmistakably sexy; perfect for two things: a date or drinks with the girls, to talk about dates. During their daily happy hour they offer $3.00 glasses of wine, which they call “Pour Choice.” You mustn’t be a wine snob for this though—because as stated, they choose the surprise pick for you, which changes daily and sometimes even from person to person. Did you hear that--$3.00 glasses of wine! I just want to reiterate what a steal that is and that Pour is a Wine Bar, meaning their livelihood is good wine.

How do more people not know about this? Supposedly this mod bistro sits quiet on most nights, perhaps because Pour is a polished bar, on an uninviting part of NE Broadway. It goes unnoticed and forgotten with little to no walking traffic.

I ordered the “Pour Choice” and was served a tasty Italian blend. Their food menu is small but offers something for everyone. We ordered the bread and Trio of Dips/Spreads—which includes a honey, blue cheese spread, white bean hummus and a salsa fresco. All three were tasteful and unique. They also offer a cheese plate, a few salads and escargot. They have three small plate entrees: Macaroni and Cheese, Risotto of the Day and Ravioli of the Day. For $8.00 each, these are great options and incredibly flavorful. My Butternut Squash Ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce was the perfect blend of sharp from the cheese and sweet from the squash and butter. The pasta was cooked as it should be, al dente. This meal could have easily cost $25 at any restaurant and the quality was superb. I want to go back to try the Macaroni or their Smoked Salmon Panini.

I have a motto: no drinking until its dark outside. Now that it’s dark at 5:30, I think Pour will be my new sexy retreat.

Pour Wine Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

01 November 2009

Mamma Maria Got Old and Now Smokes, But her Pizza is Still F*&$ing Good

Small House Combination Pizza, $13.00, split.

Caution: If you’re a vegetarian you might be offended by what I’m about to suggest to you, so you should probably stop reading right about now.

For all of you that don’t mind layers and layers of succulent meat, you must try Mamma Maria’s Combo. This pizza is legit, but not everyone can handle the offerings, which consist of medium thick crusty crust, with of course sauce and thin slices of Molinari salami, spicy pepperoni, and chunks of Italian sausage. The De Marco’s then add olives and the pizza is topped with whole pepperoncinis. Delicious.

Now for the difficult part; Mamma Maria’s is on 52nd and Powell. If that’s not discouraging, it’s also a very stinky, dingy, middle aged bar/restaurant. I’m sure you’re wondering where I came about this mouth watering pizza, in a dirty little bar. Well I’ll tell you. Mamma Maria’s used to sit as a simple, but cute restaurant on SE 21st and Powell. It was at this time that the youthful Don and Linda De Marco used to come for date night; splitting a large Mamma Maria Combo and beers. As Don and Linda got older, they had three children and I was one of one them. The whole family would come to the restaurant and eat this fabulous pizza, the children sipping sodas and Don and Linda now sipping vodka on the rocks.

Ignore the pineapple; the person I was with only eats pizza with pepperoni and pineapple, weird, I know.

Disaster strikes—Mamma Maria’s is forced to move and the De Marco’s pizza joint is moved up to 52nd and Powell and now turned into a shady bar. That didn’t stop them though; Linda would and still does get an inkling and drives across town to deliver the family their Mamma Maria’s combo. “Mamma, why can’t we go to Mamma Maria’s like we used to?” my brother would ask.

On Friday night, I found out why we always bought the pizza to-go. As I walked into Mamma Maria’s to order a pizza, the bar smelt like a smoked in retirement home. The restaurant on one side sat empty and three middle aged men sat drinking in the bar area. Duck paraphernalia scattered around the room, a fish tank behind one table and a non working radio behind the bar. The bathroom stall doors hold six inch spaces between the sides—allowing for little privacy (but who’s to worry, since no one is here?).

Check out the overload of pink. Not so appetizing.

As soon as our pizza was ready, we rushed out and grabbed some to-go drinks at the connected 7/11. The counterman saw our pizza. “AAAAhhh, you got pizza from next door? That place if F*&$ing bomb. It’s sick inside but that pizza is F*&$ing good. You wouldn’t F*&$ing know, but F*&#ing is!” If the locals like it, it must be good.

Once home, with my pizza in front of me, all was resurrected with one bite. The spicy salami and juice from the pepperoncinis and the crust that’s unmistakable, is all too good to be true.

The moral of the story: if you want a sketchy night with incredible pizza, go to Mamma Maria’s and eat there. If you want crazy good pizza and don’t want to wince at odd smells and middle aged men, then take your pizza to go.

5234 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97206-2950
(503) 788-4698

18 October 2009

A Night for Soup: Alameda Brewhouse

Cup of Whisky Crab Bisque, $3.95 and a Small Side Salad, $4.95. Total: $8.90

NE Fremont has a few staple restaurants that every family in the Neighborhood frequents: Amalfi’s, Staniches, McPeets, Alameda Café, Red Fig and then at the end of restaurant row sits Alameda Brew Pub. Growing up only blocks away from these little eateries, I have acquired a standard meal or two at each one. Today we will discuss the Whisky Crab Bisque at the Pub.

I don’t know a thing about beer. I like Sessions and Coors Light, but besides that, I’m pretty clueless. I do however know a thing or two about soup and Alameda Brew Pub has the most amazing bisque I’ve ever tried. Note: you will find it under, Homemade Soup of the Day, which is funny considering it’s the soup of the day everyday—stated on the menu as being available 350 days a year. Hmmm, interesting. The tomato based soup is strewn with plump crab meat and spiced with the perfect kick to keep you on your toes; finished off with a sprinkling of chives. The best part of the meal: soaking the warmed French bread into the soup.

I like to pair the bisque with their small side salad, which technically is a large salad, since its served on a large dinner plate. Their homemade blue cheese dressing is a few notches down from Amalfi’s garlicky blue cheese dressing down the street, but still a competitor.

Oh, I hear they make their own beer here too—I’ve just been too busy with my soup to care.

Alameda Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

12 October 2009

Skip the Corn Maze—Eat a Caramel Apple Instead: Kruger’s Farm

Carmel Apple, $3.00

Apples picked from trees only yards away. Carefully placed in wooden buckets and brought into the farm. One by one they are washed and dried. Then the farmer, wearing jean overalls and a straw hat takes a wooden spike and sticks it into the bottom of the apple. He then dips the glowing red apple into a near boiling pot of homemade caramel sauce. It’s turned multiple times to make sure the caramel dries evenly and smooth. Small children wait patiently.

In a mere 20 minutes, you too can be out of the city and enjoying one fall’s greatest pleasures: the caramel apple. Kruger’s farm knows just how to make these, with giant apples and soft, creamy caramel. These aren’t the caramel apples mom used to buy at Halloween that just about ripped your baby teeth out. I would say skip the creepy corn maze and come to Kruger’s to enjoy a nice fall afternoon.

On the weekends Kruger’s bar-b-que’s excellent Zenner hotdogs, Polish dogs, pulled pork sandwich, burgers and an incredible veggie burger. Step inside the farm to find your caramel apples, pumpkin pie and other goodies. Don’t leave without saying hello to the frightening cow sized pig in back.

Kruger's Farm
17100 NW Sauvie Island Road
Portland, Oregon 97231
(503) 621-3489

Open Hours:

Sunday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Friday + Saturday: 9 a.m - 10 p.m.