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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Bars’

Portland, OR – Lotus Card Room & Cafe

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Cooling my heels waiting for Mrs. BDB to finish a courtroom date in downtown Portland, wandered around a little before perching myself at an outdoor table at the Lotus Card Room & Cafe. According to their website, they have been around since prohibition, when they opened as a “soda bar.” (Why don’t we have soda bars today?).

Lotus is part of Portland’s Concept Entertainment Group, which operates 8 unique, local restaurant/bar concepts.

The menu offers the standard variety of bar fare, appys, burgers, sandwiches, and a few larger entrees. Lotus’ menu claims there are committed to using local and Northwest ingredients; for instance, it’s the second time in a week I have seen a restaurant promote local sausage manufacturer, Zenner’s.

Service was good for a bar; sitting where I was, I had one server and one server-in-training wait on me, so the duty was performed cheerfully by rote.

I ordered the trio of beef sliders, which come dressed with chipotle aioli, shredded lettuce, (and you know how I feel about shredded lettuce on a burger!) and a pickle slice. The server said that fries (or tots) were extra, even tho the sliders are in the same price as the regular burgers, which come w/ fries. She asked if I would like anything else with the fries, like ketchup or hot sauce, and I replied “just salt and pepper.”

After a short wait, the burgers and tots arrived, and the waitress said, “I couldn’t remember what condiment you said you wanted, so I brought ranch dressing for the tater tots.” Ambitious, but off the mark, and I repeated my request for salt and pepper, which she fetched promptly.

The burgers were pretty tasty, the chipotle aioli not so much, and one thing I liked about the burgers is they were hand-formed patties, with buns sized to fit the burgers. Often restaurants idea of a slider is to take one of their standard-sized burgers, cook it, and tear or cut it into two or  three pieces. Unacceptable!

The soft buns were bakery fresh, and the tots, evenly deep-fried to the crispness factor I prefer.

I finished my plate, and the waitress brought the check, stating she was going off duty, and could I take care of it, which I did. With a Diet coke, the burgers and tots came to about $12, avec gratuity. The waitress said she would tell her shift replacement I was outside, so if I wanted anything else, the next server would take care of me, but I was there another hour, and didn’t see hide nor hair of another server.

I’m not sure if Lotus has a happy hour menu, these sliders would be great at about $4, but were a little spendy at $7.95.

I have had a couple of good burgers at another Concept Entertainment bar, but haven’t scratched the list of all their offerings around town, and the menus seem fairly similar.

But the Lotus is a nice oasis for that part of the city, with the notable exception being the parking ramp across the street is $5 per hour, so look to park on the street near by if you are driving.


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Lotus Cardroom and Cafe

 

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lotus card room portland

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Oregon – Linnton Lighthouse Inn Review

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Lighthouse Inn, Linnton, ORMy second visit, a quiet place to discuss business or have a tryst discreetly (or have business about your tryst), and also home to one of the most massive burgers in the Portland area. The Lighthouse Burger features a ginormous patty (a full pound?) on an oversized roll, and is topped with bacon, ham, cheese, fried egg,  lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

This sucker weights in at about a gillion calories no doubt. Comes with a size of fries, tots, salad, or fruit. I can’t even make a dent in this beauty without discarding the bun, first, a shame, but true.

Lighthouse Inn, Linnton< OR

Lighthouse Inn Linnton on Urbanspoon

 

Linnton Lighthouse Inn Review

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Portland, OR – Salvador Molly’s

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Salvador Molly’s is a casual bar featuring “world cuisine”.   That is, menu items reflect a whole host of different countries and cultures.  I might not have ever noticed this place, at it not been featured on an episode of “Man vs. Food”, where the chief gluttoneer, Adam Richman, took on a challenge to eat five spicy habanero fritters.  Did he make it?  Watch the video.

Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I had a vague plan to meet after work and grab something.  I had proposed a place or two, but when the time came, I didn’t really have a yen for going out, and I picked her up, and we started home.  On the way, she said she was feeling a might peckish, so purely on impulse, I pulled into “Mollys.”

They had me for three reasons right off the top:  1)  a pitcher of ice water brought to the table;  peanuts in the shell to munch on;  2) Stella Beer.

We perused the menu to narrow down the choices, which wasn’t that easy.  I came to a decision, which was a tie between a Cuban Sandwich and a Vietnamese French Dip (menu).

Prepared to offer one of those up to the server, I surprised myself, but mouthing those words, but out came “Djibouti Injera Platter”, an Ethiopian melange of richly flavored sauces, vegetables, shrimp, and the local spongy flatbread.

It was incredible, and I couldn’t finish it. If I have a ‘complaint’, (don’t I always?), I would have preferred larger shrimp (they used salad size), but they did make up for it in quantity.

Mrs. BurgerDogBoy went with the Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad, and also found the experience filling to the point whereby she wanted to take her homes (it conveniently comes served in a Chinese take-out box), but alas, in the hubbub of leaving, we left it on the table.  DOH!

I am sure Molly’s will become a regular stop for me.  I was hard pressed to find a single item on the menu I wouldn’t like to try.

Salvador Molly’s uses a couple of tag lines “Food without Borders” and “Pirate Cooking.”  Both suit them.  Good job, folks.
Salvador Mollys Portland

Salvador Mollys Portland

Salvador Molly's on Urbanspoon

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Portland, OR – Lotus Card Room

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Lotus Card Room and Cafe, Portland

Lotus Card Room and Cafe, Portland

I have written a more extensive review of the Lotus Card Room previously,  this post is just an update on a couple more items from their happy hour menu.  Mrs. BDB and I were in Pioneer Courthouse Square (Portland’s Living Room!) for the 26th annual giant Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, on black Friday.

Generally, the fete went off without a hitch, and a totally packed square and the surrounding streets enjoyed Christmas music from a variety of acts, including Portland’s own “Pink Martini,” (their first Christmas album available online and everywhere now) and brief addresses from politicians and local hoo-haws in general.

After the event, we walked the streets for a bit, decided to have a drink or something, and walked into the Lotus Card Room on 3rd.  While joints nearer the Square were backed, the Lotus was just far enough away as to not get the crowd.  As is her habit, Mrs. BDB ordered a gin martini with vermouth and olives, and I splurged for a Stella on tap.   (In case you are  a new reader, ‘splurge’ doesn’t mean $ for me, but rather food and caloric choices.

From the appetizer menu, we went with coconut shrimp atop Asian slaw, and a basket of bar fries.    Our server was very genial, and we enjoyed the efforts of her labor.

The four large shrimp in the appy came in a bath of sweetened Thai Chili sauce, with a small portion of the slaw beneath a similarly-sized small portion of onion strings.   The fries, rather pedestrian,  hot and salty (I would have preferred them at a more mature ‘done’ stage, came with a ramekin of ranch, and I enjoyed them despite their ‘immaturity.’

Lotus is part of a local ‘entertainment’ group, and you can enjoy the same fare at any of their locations, including their newest “Thirsty Lion,” which recently opened at the out lot at Washington Square (across Greenburg from Gustav’s).

Lotus Card Room & Cafe, Portland

Lotus Card Room & Cafe, Portland



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Portland, OR – Stanich’s

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You know I am loathe to go into any place that is “the best in the city,” or as Stanich’s would claim, the “Greatest Hamburger in the World.”    While I am all about places 50 years old, most times, my personal experience is that the rep they made their bones on, a couple decades ago, is long since a memory of days gone by, as owners, ingredients, methodologies have changed.

Certainly a place like Stanich’s, when they opened in the 40s, was using fresh ground beef, and the meat would have had a distinctly different taste to it than today’s institutionally prepared, hormone injected, meat patties.   Back in the day, the cook probably had a Lucky hanging from his lip, perched above his stubbled chin, as he took a fistful of ground beef, and squished out a patty in his armpit.  Or something like that. Or so I would surmise, since I wasn’t in there 50 years ago.

Nor was I in there last year, the first time I tried to visit this Portland “institution.”   They were closed for vacation.   Wish they would have told me before I drove over there.  Easy enough to put up on their website.

So I went back today, for a biz lunch, it was as convenient a location as any for the both of us, the crowd was thin at high noon, and the old bar stools worn from the posteriors of neighborhood regulars.

We both ordered “The World’s Greatest Hamburger,” which the menu describes as fresh ground chuck patty, cheese, ham, bacon, fried egg, tomato, lettuce, onions, etc.”    Turns out the “etc” was pickle chips perched in the basket.

These thin patties are griddle-fried, flipped once, not smashed, as the sesame buns toast along side of them, and a heapin’ helping of onions is sauteed next to them.  The ‘fixins’, the meat, cheese, and such,  are on the dress table to the left of the griddle.

Service can be described as ranging from “pokey” on the good side, to “can I get fed before I qualify for Medicare, please?”   And this on a slow day.

Fortunately, there are picnic tables out front for one to enjoy a rare sunny day in Portland, so the wait is made more pleasant with that.

Is it the “Greatest Hamburger in the World,” as the menu claims?  No.  Is it the “Greatest Hamburger in Portland,”  as the menu does not claim?   No.    It doesn’t even make the top 5, for me.   That’s not to say it’s not a perfectly adequate burger, and a good value for the price.

Fries come on the side for a little more dinero, they are fresh cut, unseasoned, and pleasant enough.  I did see people that had ordered the “large” fries, and that would keep a family busy for awhile.

Will I return?  Doubtful.  Not because anything was really “wrong,” but because each week, it seems, Portland has a new sexy burger to discover.

My top five?   Foster Burger has dethroned Violetta for the number one spot, Bamboo Sushi at number three, and I’ll have to muse over the other two for a day or two.

The weather is beautiful.  Lots of Portland restaurants have outdoor patios, for these few rare days the sun DOES shine.  Get out there and support the local food economy, folks.  Menu below.




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Stanich's on Urbanspoon

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