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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Chicken Fried Steak’

Portland, OR – Bird Dog Review

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The “Bird Dog” name doesn’t come from any of the conventional or urban slang definitions of that phrase, but rather, one would imagine, as an homage to the cafe’s signature dish moniker, a hot dog prepared in the way occasionally people are used to hearing a different cut of meat prepared in some parts of the country.

The “Bird Dog”, is a “chicken-fried” hot dog, smothered in a rich, creamy sausage-laden gravy. It’s hard (for me) to imagine a more creative mash-up of some of my favorite foods.

The joint offers a wide variety of hot dog, burger, and sausage preparations, which increases in size with the addition of unique one-offs as daily specials.

Sausages are made in-house, hot dogs are 100% Carlton Farms pork, and the burgers Silvies Valley Ranch grass fed beef, no hormones or antibiotics.

The quality and care in prep shows throughout.

I’d been meaning to get to Bird Dog for some time, and had the opportunity when I was in their part of town around lunch time the other day.

I wanted to try a variety of things, including the signature dish, a side of chili cheese fries, and, having relocated to Portland from New Orleans, I was intrigued that they had a “muffaletta” dog, a tribute to the signature classic sandwich of New Orleans.

As I was already deep into committing to one hot dog with the Bird Dog selection, I asked that they prepare a plain burger patty with the olive tapenade from a muffaletta and a slice of provolone;  they happily agreed to my non-menu request.

The Bird Dog is an ample pork hot dog, immersed in a corn-meal and other flour batter, and deep fried, to produce a crispy coating; placed on an oversized, ample bun, with a generous topping of pork sausage gravy, all on its own, it’s a very satisfying and filling meal.  The ‘tubular nutritional delivery vehicle’ is a tasty frank, mild in seasoning, and the sausage gravy is some of the best I’ve had in Portland, creamy, no hint of a floury taste, with nice chunks of sausage throughout.

The burger patty was massive, hovering between 1/3 and 1/2 pound, I would imagine, obviously hand-formed, and the olive salad I asked for, spot on reminiscent of the New Orleans recipe.  A bakery-soft, but sturdy, toasted bun cradled the patty.

My side of chili cheese fries was notable, also one of my clear favorites in Portland.  A “hot dog” style chili, very meaty, good flavor, no beans, burying a mound of crispy shoe strings.

Dining in, you have access to a wide selection of toppings you can add yourself, from a pickled vegetable bar to a host of mustards and sauces.   Bird Dog’s website says all of the side dishes are made in house, and I imagine the toppings are as well.

This is a place, that if it was closer to my work, I’d hit all to frequently.  I’d like to try a number of their house made sausages, and might opt for the sausage sampler plate in the future.

Or a chicken fried burger?  Mac n Cheese dog?  Cuban?   They also offer their take on the Sonoran Dog, a regional favorite from the Southwest.

Too many choices of too many good things.

Perfect for Burgerdogboy, and you.

Bird Dog is snuggled  amidst a couple of long time hot dog competitors on East Hawthorne,  so now you have a choice of the old timey guys that wrest on their laurels and rep, or some bright, innovative, quality cuisine that dazzles.

I say the choice is obvious.

Bird Dog Portland Oregon

 

Bird Dog on Urbanspoon

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Portland, OR – Le Bistro Montage

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Le Bistro MontagePortland weekend brunch….if you’ve seen the skit on Portlandia, it’s pretty dead on. Long lines, high prices, “interesting” cuisine.

A lot of online reviews talk about how great Montage is, and to be prepared to wait.   We went for Saturday brunch with another couple yesterday, the wait was non-existent, there were about 8 tables taken on a Saturday morning, and the unique, interesting food?  Meh.

With “Cajun/Creole” influences, Montage serves a special brunch menu on weekends, and while the food is “interesting” it misses the mark in honoring its heritage.

We started with an appetizer of cubed pan fried Spam(tm) bits, with a special sauce, and as people are fond of saying these days “it is what it is.”

Two of us had the chicken fried steak and eggs, and prior to this outing I would say my favorite CFS in Portland was Country Cat, and after this outing?  It still is Country Cat.

Montage’s version is about a 6 oz meat patty, batter fried, the meat was fine, the batter nothing special.  It’s served with “cajun” potatoes (no clue why they are called that), and toast or a biscuit, I opted for sourdough toast.

Mrs. Burgerdogboy went with pesto Mac N Cheese, and a couple of oyster shooters.   Washed down the pasta with a couple of signature cocktails, the “Swell Looking Broad” (which she is) made up of Makers Mark, Lemoncello, Peychaud’s bitters, orange, rocks.  Nice. Stiff.

Two highlights.  Montage wraps your leftovers in foil creations, which are fun, and our over the top server Sylvia made our experience so pleasant that Mrs. Burgerdogboy would have liked her wrapped in foil for a take home treat.

I’d give Montage another shot with their full menu sometime, and to their credit, they are also open VERY late, which is rare in Portland.

But I’d go without the pretense of expecting the “Cajun/Creole” influence, as we moved here from New Orleans, and well….

Le Bistro Montage

Spam (tm) Appetizer

Le Bistro Montage

Chicken Fried Steak

 

Le Bistro Montage on Urbanspoon

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Portland, OR – Banning’s Restaurant and Pie Shop

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Banning's Cafe & Pie Shop

Banning's Cafe & Pie Shop

Every once and awhile, all I want is a good piece of pie and a cup o joe, and Banning’s fills that need, 24 hours a day. If you don’t know Banning’s, it’s right off 217 on 99W (southbound), just a couple blocks off the exit, on the right. It’s one of the few places in SW open 24 hours.

Mrs. BDB wanted to run out tonight for something “quick” and nearby, and I suggested three places, and she chose Banning’s, as I have been muttering about needing pie for a couple of weeks.

Banning’s is standard American coffee shop fare, from breakfast all the time, to fish and chips, burgers, and entrees like pot roast.

It’s the kinda place where you “get what you expect”, and you “get what you pay for.” Not exceptional, just coffee shop food.

She went with the roasted pork chop dinner, which comes with a choice of soup or salad, choice of potato, dinner roll or corn bread. While Banning crows about their pies being made fresh daily, one can assume that same is not true for their dinners. This is standard Sysco or simliar output all the way.

I went with the chicken fried steak, opted for soup, which was split pea with Italian

Split Pea & Italian Sausage Soup

Split Pea & Italian Sausage Soup

sausage, which was pretty darned good. The other choice tonight was turkey noodle. Oh, and yes, they do offer roasted turkey dinners. I’m sure Huber’s doesn’t have to worry, but it’s nice to know you can get Thanksgiving any day of the year in this end of the city.

The steak and fries were just ok, the gravy (our waitress informed me I could have a choice of white or brown) left something to be desired, really didn’t have any taste at all. Like thickened au jus from a French dip.

BTW, our server was fantastic, and after a heart to heart with Mrs. BDB, probably ran off to DSW after her shift in search of shoes.

We got a couple of pieces of pie to go, still sitting in our frig, as we were pretty full from the dinners – which neither of us finished.

Like I said, Banning’s is what it is, probably perfect if you are coming out of one of the nearby bars at closing, or just wandering around the city at 3am wondering where you can get a coffee and read the paper.

Exterior foto above from Banning’s website.


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Banning's Restaurant and Pie Shop

Banning's Restaurant and Pie Shop




Banning's Restaurant & Pie on Urbanspoon

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Portland, OR – Hillbilly Bento

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Fusion” cuisine, created in the US in the 70s, marries the foods and flavors of two or more cultures on one plate. An early example of this could be found in Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant “Chinois”,in Santa Monica, which wedded French and various Asian cuisines on one plate. Due to the decades long influence of the French in Vietnam, this wasn’t much of a stretch.

“Bento” is a Japanese word for a single boxed meal, usually to take away, comprised of rice, a single protein like fish, beef, or chicken, and a portion of pickled or cooked vegetables.

“Hillbilly” is a term for the people residing in rural mountainous regions of the US, particularly the Appalachians and Ozarks.

Put them all together and you have “Hillbilly Bento”, a small lunch room in downtown Portland, short on space, and long on flavor.

Choose a style of rice, and a type of meat, including chicken, bbq pulled pork, gulf shrimp, or chuck beef cubes, a traditional Southern side like black-eyed peas, mac n cheese, collard greens, and you’re off and running. Daily specials start at about noon and are available “until they run out.” There is a different special for every day of the week, including such Southern/Southeastern fare like catfish, gumbo, ribs, or, on Saturdays, Chicken Fried Steak.

The very affable proprietor arrived in Portland via North Carolina, and North Carolina has two types of “official” BBQ, “Eastern”, and “Lexington” styles. “Eastern’ is generally whole hog with a sauce made of vinegar, pepper, and sometimes mustard. “Lexington” tends to only use pork shoulder, and most often the sauce is a vinegar and ketchup mix. The latter seems to have the broadest appeal to most American diners, and its what Hillbilly Bento serves up.

Mrs. BDB and I had completed a swing through Portland’s fabulous Saturday market, and acquired a few new pieces trinkets, and were hungry for a little more fanciful fare than the market has to offer, although that’s all truly grand.

We wandered through the downtown streets lamenting the Saturday closures of most food carts, and spotted Hillbilly Bento on 6th Street, across from the US Bank tower. I had seen a few ads for it recently, and had sent out a Tweet to ask people if they had been, and the reports were very favorable.

And I’m all about any place that serves Chicken Fried Steak.

It didn’t disappoint. The friendly owner took the time to answer any and all of our questions, and help steer our indecisiveness towards ordering. He offered us small tastes of the bbq, which was totally delicious. Mrs. BDB ultimately went with the shrimp bento offering, and I with the Chicken Fried Steak with a side of collard greens.

All the food we had was good and in ample enough quantities. The intense flavors of the south have been muted a bit for the Portland palate, and that’s fine, because Hillbilly has a counter full of every possible southern hot sauce you can imagine. (Ask a typical Louisianan to choose between Crystal Hot Sauce and Tabasco Brand, and you’re in for a spirited debate!)

The steak’s breading was crispy and flavorful, the greens smoky and tender, the white gravy had depth and flavor, w/o any flourly undertone that one occasionally finds in this accompaniment. The gulf shrimp were perfectly seasoned and cooked, and the mac n cheese had a little kick in it that may have come from jalapeno cheese.

Mrs. BDB was treating, (left) and the tab ran to about $18, for two lunches, two sodas, and a piece of pecan pie (natch!) to bring home. A great value, in my opinion.

This is another place in downtown Portland I must have walked by a dozen times w/o ever noticing it. I’m sorry that happened. I’ll be sure not to let it happen again, I’ll be back! If you want to become an honorary hillbilly while you visit, print out this certificate, bring it with you, and the owners will sign it!




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Hillbilly Bento on Urbanspoon

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