25 March 2010

Better in a Bowl: Por Que No

Bryan’s Bowl, $6.50

Since the beginning of Mangia, Por Que No has been on my “To Do” list. For some crazy reason though, every single time I go, I’m without my camera. Finally last weekend, during the most beautiful spring day, Por Que No’s Bryan’s Bowl was finally caught on tape!
Por Que No has been packed since the moment they opened and known across town for delicious authentic Mexican tacos. However, the budget foodie will notice the Bryan’s Bowl—a splittable meal for two.

The Bryan’s Bowl unites all of their fresh Mexican ingredients into one delicious meal: shredded or grilled chicken or beef, with rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, cojito cheese, lime and salsa. Take your pick of chips or soft tortillas to dip and fill—kindly ask for double to make sure there’s enough for two! This bowl will make you want to implode it’s so tasty. Squeeze the lime on top and savor the moment.

Tuesday night’s Por Que No celebrates being cheap with .50 cents off tacos and $1.00 off drinks and chips and salsa! If you’re not anxious about the crowd, take advantage of the steal. One more word to the wise, perhaps it’s an obstacle illusion, but I’m almost positive the “to-go” bowl is much smaller than the piled high one “for here,” so opt to eat there!

One down side (which to some may be an upside): walk up counter and little signs on all the tables asking you not to sit down before ordering. This challenge is enough to make anyone stressed, especially when the little shack like restaurant is packed and you are starving, suddenly imaging you will have to eat in your car. Tables seem to always open up and even if you do have to eat in your car, I promise you—even your car will thank you!

¿Por Qué No? on Urbanspoon

¿Por Qué No? on Urbanspoon

24 March 2010

A Little Bite of Paris: Saint Honoré Boulangerie

Brie Bartlett $7.40 and a Mini Pain au Chocolate $1.75

Sometimes life gives you lemons and as the old saying goes, you are supposed to make lemonade. Well today my friends, I did something even better—I decided, as life was throwing me lemons, I would pick them up and head to Paris.

Saint Honoré Boulangerie has become my dear lemon avoiding friend. Saint Honore’s wraps me up and suddenly I’m engulfed in sweet smells of buttery croissants, rich coffee and sandwiches with names I cannot pronounce, but that I know sound beautiful.

Simply going into Saint Honorés is enough to take every ounce of sadness in the world away; I mean come on you’re in Paris in Portland, sadness is not allowed. The high vaulted ceilings, the tower like brick bread oven, the pastry cases filled with Canelet, Pain au Chocolate, Choquettes and Coffee Éclairs. Mouth watering goodness from the people that know sweets best.

And then you walk further, to the sandwich case and realize you mustn’t just eat sugar for lunch, mainly because they have a baguette that is drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and then layered with prosciutto, large slices of brie and then topped with caramelized pear, onion and arugula. Bon appetite.

Now I know, when life throws me a lemon, I’m heading straight to Paris, sitting outside of Saint Honoré's, surrounded by smiling people soaking up the spring sun, enchanted in conversations and taking delicate bites of Parisian food.

St. Honoré Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

04 March 2010

Desserts Galore: Mother's Bistro

For the specialist of occasions, you need a night with champagne and multiple desserts. Papa Hayden's is clearly known around Portland for their fabulous desserts and although they almost never disappoint, I have found that Mother's Bistro not only matches their dessert echelon, but succeeds their dry, white table ambiance. Mother's bar, The Velvet Lounge offers a hip spot to sip champagne with sophisticated velvet-flocked wallpaper and crystal chandeliers.

What a better way to celebrate then to pass around four delectable desserts, and that's exactly what we did--passing them around frantically not able to get enough and practically getting in a fight over which four to choose.

Mother's dessert list is much larger than most restaurants and constantly changes. All desserts are made in house as well. You can be certain they will always have a Pie of the Day, Dessert Du Jour, Crème Brule, House made Sundae with homemade ice cream and sauces, Seasonal Fruit Cobbler or Crisp and a changing M.O.M Dessert.

We had the scrumptious Coconut Cream Pie, which was both light and richly textured with creamy, fresh shredded coconut filing, a moist chocolate crust and piled high with whipped cream and drizzles of chocolate sauce.

Brownie Sundae. This take on a typical brownie and ice cream was almost too good, with a homemade fudge brownie hot out of the oven, a large scoop of homemade Kailua ice cream (so unique and interesting), fresh whipped cream, topped with spoonfuls of homemade chocolate and caramel sauce. A table favorite and the only dessert with nothing but melted ice cream left.

Hot Apple Crisp. Large slices of green apples topped with hot crunchy crisp and a large dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Three Layer chocolate cheesecake. I know someone who loves cheesecake so much he once ate an entire one to himself in less than a week. I will be bringing him here for this to die for cheesecake. The bottom layer is made with darker chocolate—leading up to the two top layers that are lighter. So rich, so delicious.

The staff was incredibly nice, as they always are at Mother’s and they even comped us a dessert for the birthday girl; what a gentlemen. Can’t wait to come back for more.

Mother's Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon