Monday, January 30, 2012

The Breakside Brewery

This weekend my dining companion Debbie and I were out sifting through local estates for treasure and we found ourselves in the part of Portland that is the changeover from Northeast Portland to North Portland. It is a part of the city that has seen a significant effort to reclaim it from the rundown ghetto to which it was devolving. It was early afternoon and we were the kind of hungry that one finds themselves when coffee and a doughnut is all of the nourishment that we had experienced that particular day.

I had only the day before accidentally stumbled upon the website of a eat and drinkery in that part of the city and was eager to give it a try. I mean, that is what this "Dining In the Dark blog" is all about, right?

Well apparently, Debbie was just hungry enough to follow my lead so we parked the "rig" and strolled right into the Breakside Brewery like a couple of rockstars.

The place had a fun, homey kind of atmosphere and the sign at the door said "Seat Yourself" so like the rockstars that we were beginning to believe we were, we did just that.

With almost no wait at all, a smiling and cheerful waitress came over and asked if she could bring us something to quench our powerful thirst while we perused the menu. We made our orders and continued to look over the menu. There were more than a few things that I wanted to try but I decided to go with the Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Debbie chose the Blackened Chicken Burger.

I really enjoyed my selection, Debbie reported that hers was really spicy. Her tolerance of spice is somewhat limited and I never got to taste her sandwich so I can't give a second opinion. She did say it was good so I'll have to go with that.

The bottom line is that it was a good experience and if I am in that neighborhood when the "hungry" hits me, I will not be hesitant to enter the doors of the Breakside Brewery again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jam on Hawthorne Cafe and Arthouse

I've written a couple of times about our visits to Grand Central Bakery. Whenever we've been to the Hawthorne location we've been amazed by the apparent crowds of people waiting to be seated at a little restaurant across the street. As it turned out, this last weekend we were at the bakery again and this time it looked like there wasn't a huge line across the street so on a whim we jaywalked across and entered the doors.

Now this place is anything but fancy but don't let that discourage you. There are secrets hiding behind all of that plain Jane decor.

We quizzed one of the servers (each of the wait staff that we interacted with was friendly and helpful) regarding the restaurants current situation. Apparently, they recently expanded into the space next door. The city gave them trouble about modifying the walls so they just went ahead and decided to use both spaces without taking out the connecting wall. The espresso maker is still in the original unit so if a patron orders one the waiter walks outside and east a few steps and makes one and brings it back to you. You just have to shake your head when you think about how difficult Portland tries to make it for the small business person. OK, I digress.

You're probably wondering what kind of secrets lie inside the restaurant. The menu was pretty diverse. There were a lot of interesting options including a number of vegan possibilities. I, however, am a carnivore and tend to look for food made at least in part with meat. My dining companion, Debbie and I each chose something called a scramble though they each had different ingredients other than the eggs, of course.

Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn't have a web site for me to offer a link to their menu.

All I can say is that the food was really good and there was far too much for either of us to finish our portions. We inquired as to whether or not they would offer a half plate if it were requested and we were pleased to hear that they would be happy to serve half portions. That is good because normal people just couldn't possibly want to eat all of that food in one sitting.

Oh yeah! Since they don't have a web site yet, let me just add their address. This place is located in Southeast Portland at: 2239 Se Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214

Sunday, November 27, 2011

4th Street Brewing Company

The other night we took our 19 year old to Sandy, OR so he could watch a play that a friend of his was in. We were a bit hesitant to drive all the way out to Sandy, back home, and then all the way out to Sandy again. In lieu of all of that driving, we decided to kill some time in Gresham, OR. We had two stops to make but more time than that to kill so realizing that it was way past dinner time we decided to troll for a place to eat. Using my cool Android phone, I discovered a place nearby that had potential. It is called The 4th Street Brewing Company. My wife who is my regular dining companion thought I was being kind of coy when she asked where we were going and I responded "4th street".

Well we pulled up to this establishment and noticed that the parking lot was full. Of course that is always an encouraging sign. We walked in and it appeared that there was a choice of restaurant seating or an even more casual kind of bar seating. The bar area was where the tv monitors were tuned in to an apparent football game. It sounded like a fun place immediately as every once in a while a cheer would sound. Apparently, there had been a great play or perhaps even a score. I don't know, we were there to eat.

We were not prepared to spend a lot of money, however, so our eyes drifted to the part of the menu that was a little more on the casual side. There were some selections that sounded really good that were a little more than we wanted to spend that night. Maybe next time.

I know it doesn't make good blogging fodder, but we both chose the same item off of the menu. It was the Black and Bleu Cask Burger.

It came looking great and it was very tasty with the emphasis on black pepper but what surprised me to the core was the fries. I don't know what they did to them and I'll need to return to verify that it wasn't some sort of anomily, but they were arguably, the best fries that I've ever tasted. I can't begin to describe to you how wonderful they were in my mouth.

We didn't eat everything off of our plate and asked for a take home box. Our thoughts were to share our dinner with our kid, Jonathan, when we picked him up from the play. His immediate comment upon tasting the food was "Oh my goodness, these fries are great. Where did you get them?" Enough said, we have to go back there and order something that comes with fries. I mean, I have to know. Was it some sort of anomoly or are those the best fries in the world. One of these days I'm definately going back to check out those fries. I'll let you know how it went.