Friday, August 20, 2010


Once again we have dined outside the box, as it were, and lived to dine again another day!

This time the cuisine was from India. We chose a small restaurant in NW Portland called Swagat. It had a kind of quaint, friendly look on the outside. The host greeted us as we entered and promptly seated us in the dining area. There were only a few other guests but that was certainly ok because the dining room wasn't a really large place anyway. Very quickly the waitress was at the table ready to take our beverage order and to place a tray of three different sauces on our table.

We admitted our ignorance of Indian cuisine early on and she patiently explained the various terms, types of food, and how it is normally enjoyed.

We each received a cracker like this and were told it was proper to dip it in the various sauces which we did. It was good. I am a bit more tolerant of spices than Debbie. The green sauce was the hottest but it was good. I think she was ok with it too. She did comment that the cracker was good and I completely concurred with that assessment.

We decided that we should at least try an appetizer. We chose the assorted vegetable pakoras. The vegetables came in a deep fried batter cocoon so it was sometimes difficult to identify each but I'm guessing that at least one was a slice of potato, perhaps a slice of eggplant, a couple of varieties of pepper, and some onions. This was very good and also dipped well in our three sauces. I am afraid that we were becoming full by the time we completed our appetizer and perhaps weren't hungry enough to truly enjoy our entree to it fullest.

This was Debbie's choice. It was called Chicken Saag. Essentially, it is chunks of chicken breast cooked in a mild spinach curry.

My selection, far more spicy I might add, was called Lamb Karai. It was lamb cooked in a tomato and green pepper curry.

This is the bread that was served with the meal. I believe it is called naan. It was a lot like a pancake. Apparently, the dough is splattered on the brick oven to cook. It was good and relieved the effects of the spices on my tongue.

This image portraits the two desert selections that were included in the price of the meal. Debbie chose the white rice pudding. It was tasty, kind of thin, and an appropriate end to this meal. My choice was the pastry. Essentially, it was a cake doughnut hole with a thin honey sauce spread over the top. It was good and if I hadn't already had far too much to eat I would have enjoyed it more.

The service was fine. I believe the food was good as well. Debbie is not a friend of curry generally and though I can appreciate curry, I was too full to enjoy my entree to its fullest. Actually, we brought significant portions home and I enjoyed it far more the second night. I have to think that it was good both nights and that overeating on the first night tainted my overall opinion. I would encourage you to try the Swagat and see for yourselves.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I was grateful that it was once again time to go out and find a new establishment to try. Somehow, it seemed like it had been a long time since our last post and I was looking forward to this visit. We were out Friday doing a little hobby income business when it occurred to us that it was past dinner time, we were hungry, and the outside temperature was somewhere in the nineties. Cooking didn't sound like a great idea so we chose to go "exploring".

We thought between us for a few moments and then the suggestion of German cuisine was offered and agreed upon. Gustav's is an off shoot of the Rheinlander but is a bit more casual. That was perfect as we weren't exactly dressed to the "T" if you know what I mean. When we arrived, we noticed that the parking lot was full which is always a good sign. Of course, here in Portland Gustav's patrons share parking with Rheinlander patrons. I probably should note that there are four Gustav's located in the greater Portland area if one includes the Vancouver, WA annex across the river and the Washington Square location on the westside.

We entered the doors and gave our name to the hostess. At this point we were asked our preference between eating inside or out. We chose outside but somehow the wires got crossed and they ultimately seated us inside which to be honest was probably better due to the ambient temperature outside. It probably took 20 minutes to seat us which I think is pretty good on a Friday evening at around 6:00 pm.

The waiter was friendly, helpful and knowlegable regarding the menu. We chose to start the evening with the swiss cheese fondue. It comes with at least three different european style breads to enjoy.

Debbie's selection was:
Mushroom schnitzel ~ grilled chicken breast & portabella mushroom, roasted garlic, feta cheese 13.95
She enjoyed her meal and I also got the opportunity to appreciate a taste of the mushrooms and the chicken. I concurred wholeheartedly with her opinion. It was delightful!

My selection was:
Jagerschnitzel ~ top round veal or chicken breast grilled, with shiitake, button and oyster mushrooms, creamy paprika sauce and seasonal vegetables (veal 15.25,
chicken 13.25)
In english it means hunter's schnitzel. I chose the veal as (don't tell anyone) I had never had veal before. It was tender, flavorful, and a true joy to consume. My plate also came with green beans which were done perfectly to my palate and spatzel, an egg noodle starchy food that was ok I guess. It apparently is popular in some of the middle european countries. To me, they were like tiny doughy dumplings. They weren't bad, only different than food to which I am normally accustomed.

Overall, the experience was completely pleasant. We were never rushed which I always appreciate when I am eating. I would go again in a minute and believe that I can recommend this place without reservations.