Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Casa Naranja

Guess what! I learned a new word the other day. It is actualy Spanish. The word is tapas. Apparently, the word refers to what might be considered appetizers or snacks in Spanish quisine.

This brings us to our subject this evening.

Tonight we dined at a cozy little place called Casa Naranja. It is a new place in North Portland. The whole menu is filled with items that would normally be considered appetizers.

We ordered seven items from the menu. Each was small, meant to be shared, and tasty. This first image is of the Bacon-wrapped Painted Hills flat iron steak bites with cranberry coulis.

Next up is the Chicken and fennel- stuffed piquillo peppers with honey cayenne aioli.

Fried razor clams with romesco and lemon.

Painted Hills half lb. beef casa burger with escabeche and chevre.

Yam fries with lemon cayenne aioli.

Garlic sherry green beans topped with Argentine reggiano and served with a piece of toast .

Tiger shrimp with fried anchovies and garlic sherry sauce .

These were the orders which we made. I was pleased with each of the items we ordered. Each of them was pregnant with flavor and the chef employed a thoughtful eye in his presentations.

It was a completely different idea of how a meal should be served and I enjoyed each flavorful bite.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Laurelwood Public House and Brewery

I suppose that the name Laurelwood Public House and Brewery might give some people pause about entering these doors but let me put you at ease. These people are proud of the national awards they've received for their brewed adult beverages but they are equally eager to proclaim the quality of the ingredients that go into food which they prepare. They try to purchase their ingredients organic and locally if possible.

To begin with, I found it interesting to note that the parking lot was nearly full. In fact, I think we got the last space available. Once we got in the door it was apparent that the place was popular with young families. Many of the groups in the waiting area had very young children with them. Now the atmosphere was bustling and a bit noisy and people seemed to be enjoying their visit. The area where we ate had a number of monitors on and game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals was playing. Some people were viewing the game but it appeared to me that far more were engaged in conversations with friends over a meal.

The menu had an average number of selections with many that I'd have loved to try but alas, I only have so much stomach space and equally significant is the liquidity of my bank account.

Speaking of meals, I suppose it is time to let you know what we had and how we liked it. Now to be honest, I was dying to have the New York Steak but that is probably a little common so I reached outside the box and had the Mediterranean Sandwich. It really was good and it came with some deep fried onion rings which caused my tastebuds to sing with abandon.

Debbie chose not to go outside the box and had some really outstanding fish and chips which she really enjoyed but felt really guilty afterwards knowing that though they tasted good they were sooo not good for her. She promised that next time, and there probably will be a next time, she'll try to look for something a little less fatty.

Ok, here's the final score. For a casual and friendly atmosphere and really tasty food, I think we can place the Laurelwood in the winner column.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

La Petite Provence

The actual full name of this little place is La Petite Provence Boulangerie and Patisserie. This is a fun and kind of cozy little restaurant in the heart of SE Portland. The decor is simple and elegant and provides an inviting atmosphere. Let me quickly give a short lesson in French. A boulangerie is a bakery for bread and a patisserie is a bakery for pastries. One can purchace either or both in addition to a full meal here. I will add that in addition to the location to which I visited, there are three others. One is in North Portland, one in Lake Oswego, and one in The Dalles.

My wife and partner in this little endeavor had the special of the day which was an omlette smothered in a delicious creamy sauce. It was dreamy. I tried to help her finish it but, alas, after conquering my own selection, I was chagrined to have to leave some of it behind.

My selection was from the regular menu and titled Eggs Provencal. It was a delight to the palate. It was sufficiently addequate to appease the pangs gnawing relentlessly at my stomach prior to our entry. Pardon the pictures of our selections. I was remiss in not having my camera with me and had to take the pictures with my phone. Let me just say that each plate was as pleasing to the eye as it was to our palate.

We certainly will be returning again to at least sample some of these beautiful pastries!