Posts Tagged ‘Portland Restaurants’
Few things you can count on consistently in Portland. One is, it’s likely to be dreary. Second? If the weatherman says its going to be nice, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be dreary. Third? Pietro’s Pizza coming back from the dead.
I’d previously stopped in their Milwaukie outpost, and wrote it up.
But today’s story is just to call attention how sometimes a mom-and-pop can grow into a sizable company, attract Fortune 500 investors, grow to dozens and dozens of outlets, and then devolve back into a mom-and-pop.
And that’s what happened to Pietro’s, started by locals, owned by Campbell’s Soup, BJ’s Pizza, corporate investors, and now back in the hands of a couple of local guys, doing just fine thank you.
There’s a great story in the Oregonian about this interesting ride.
Was invited by Portland’s garden consultant extraordinaire, Sara Pool, for brunch at Salty’s on the Columbia River.
We’ve wanted to hit this brunch for a long while, as it features at least three of Mrs. Burgerdogboy’s favorites – crab legs, raw oysters, and bacon!
And I’m all about any place you can eat pounds of bacon and sausage and not be admonished or penalized (in some regards) for doing it.
We arrived for the 11am seating (make reservations via OpenTable), and were seated promptly, tho the restaurant was very crowded. (Note, it seemed to thin out a bit around 123o). Our affable server Austin (named after my mother’s home town) took our beverage orders and explained our options.
We were seated upstairs at a window overlooking the marina, the river, and flightpath for PDX. It was a lovely sunny day.
The buffet is on the main floor, and the choices are too numerous to even start a list. Suffice to say that anything you could imagine being on an American Sunday brunch buffet was there in full force, very high quality, attention to detail and presentation. Whether you wanted to focus on a “breakfast” or imbibe in solely seafood, or chomp on chocolates – have at it!
Just the seafood alone is enough to drag me to this place (full menu link below), this is a feast!
The Salty’s brunch is a bit spendy ($45 plus drinks), but take a gander at their brunch menu online, and you’ll want save your pennies to hit this place as soon as possible.
I haven’t been very happy with my food pix lately, and today was no exception. This is just one plate of many that we had. The foto looks “foggy”, as you can see. I had a lightbulb when I got home, and cleaned the lens. A lot of old burgers and pizza covering that piece of glass, apparently. A new camera is on my wish list for burgering in 2012.
The quality will improve! (Thanks Spool for a fabulous day!).
Last nite, we hit “Sub Rosa“, a small neighborhood Italian joint over on SE Clinton.
This worked out great, as she had another coupon for the Clinton Street Theater, and we saw the movie “Happy” after dinner. (Recommended).
We hit the cafe at 5:15 and were the only diners to start. Our server was affable and helpful about the menu, started us off with the comp bread and infused olive oil. The bread comes from a bakery down the block called Little T, and we’ll have to revisit that during daylight hours, some great bread, for sure!
Mrs. Burgerdogboy started off the beverage service with a glass of the house red (served Euro-style in small glasses), and I went with a bottle of Stella.
We didn’t finish the pizza or ravioli, and you know we have large appetites, but fine with me, that means I am having left over pizza (GREAT) as I am typing this on a Sunday morn.
Something’s fishy here, and it’s not the food. Restaurants Unlimited, a dominant operator in the Northwest, has closed a lot of their Portland outlets, and they should give up on this one as well.
Lackadasical service, ho hum food, and spendy prices for what’s delivered on the plate.
We wondered in last Saturday afternoon at Washington Square, and within ten minutes I was both committed to staying and regretting it.
We had a few of the appetizers, including the cajun chicken w/ ketchup, and some kind of mustard sauce, with overseasoned fries.
I think I’ve been in there once before, it wasn’t memorable. I won’t be back.
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.
Mrs. BDB wanted lunch, out, on a weekday, always delighted when that happens. We wanted to stay close to home, but go to someplace “new.” We drive by the Golden Touch most every day, but had never stopped in. It’s an obvious throwback to old time diner days, the exterior looks like it may have been a Denny’s, or Sambo’s.
We entered and were promptly ushered to the ‘back room’, replete with huge yellow semi-circular booths, covered with good old fashioned leatherette, complete with matching duct tape to patch some of the tears that had occurred over the years.
Perusing the lengthy menu revealed all of the usual diner favorites, like hot beef sandwiches, Monte Cristos, breakfast, gravies, and of course, burgers.
I went for the traditional club with fries. The Touch offers a wide variety of included sides to choose from with most orders. Mrs. BDB went for the Monte Cristo, tried to order the “fruit cup” as a side, but the waitress cautioned her it was ‘just fruit cocktail,” so she opted for cottage cheese.
I lamented to the waitress kiddingly that it was too bad the Club didn’t come with gravy, and she promptly offered me samples of the different ones that they sold. I opted to taste the sausage gravy, and it was good, very mild, not much black pepper as so many folks tend to include in their own recipes.
The food was more than adequate. The highest compliment I can think to give them is, “it is what it is.”
Go here for some quick comfort food, cheap, and without expectations of greatness. It’s better than the chain coffee shops, for sure, even tho the interior has seen better days.
But then so has this reviewer.
The other day, one of my reviews on Yelp was called “mean and sarcastic” by a reader. I am known to be a sarcastic person by nature, but I tend to soft soap a lot of these posts, and really look for the good in each place I visit, and talk about it, regardless of the entire experience. Well, spoiler alert for the Original Pancake House – I’ll try not to be “mean” or “sarcastic”, but in general, in my opinion, this is one of the most overrated places in local food lore.
Started in 1953, and having now spread across the country to dozens of locations, I have to admire the owners and management of this company – they have extracting cash out of the customers and operation down to a science! Whomever owns this chain now have to be some of the most successful business operators to ever come out of Portland!
The assets that the company crows about are invisible to the customer – fresh home made recipes, quality ingredients – while what is not stated, but is obvious, contributes to the downside: embarrassingly high prices, apathetic service, skimping on basics in order to boost profits.
Where else in Portland can you pay $3.25 for a cup of filter coffee? And have to beg or shout for refills? Meat sides from $5 and up? TOAST $5.50? WTF? $5.50? I passed on ordering, but for $5.50 I better get a whole damned loaf of bread!
Mrs. BDB was up for treating me for breakfast, and we live nearby the Original Pancake House but have never stopped by. A Saturday morning visit requires a 45-60 minute wait to be seated, another 20 minutes to be waited on, 20-30 minutes for the food to come, and so it goes.
These guys are SO cheap, they have chosen not to even spend money on a reservation book, for fear they would have to constantly resupply the hostess with pens, I suspect. Instead, they give each party one-half of a numbered ticket, and call your number when a table is ready. But of course, since they have also chosen not to spend the money on a P.A. system, and the crowd frequently spills outside, you can easily miss your chance at your table, since the hostess doesn’t wander outside to repeat what number is in the queue.
Being outside waiting isn’t so bad – it gives you the chance to wander next door to the 76 station, or across the street to 7-Eleven to hit the ATM, because, although the owners are TOO CHEAP to print a side for the door that says “Cash only,”, if you have gazed at the menu while you are waiting for your table, you’ll note that little tidbit in small print at the bottom of the menu. Yep, cash only. No plastic. No ATM machine in the lobby. I don’t understand them skimping on not installing an ATM, hasn’t anyone told them they would get PAID to have that facility there?
Obviously trained in the European fashion of food service, waitresses are slow to serve (even tho the place doesn’t seat that many), and water is furnished to each diner sans ice. (Ice machines cost money).
Specialty syrups are extra I noted, you are not offered a carousel of toppings as other pancake houses supply.
There are lots of reader reviews on the various food sites that talk about how tasty the pancakes are – and I will concede that point, these are pretty tasty pancakes, but that’s just the point. THEY ARE PANCAKES! They cost practically NOTHING to make! $6 for 3? or even pricier options? You’re joking, right? $6 for a side of corned beef hash, which is the taste and consistency of Dinty Moore? Oooooooh, ouch.
The menu also boasts about the restaurants ‘special recipe sausage’, and as a “sausage guy”, I was less than impressed. Considerably less.
The nothing special coffee at $3.25, damned near impossible to get a refill on, despite a gaggle of help wandering around, no one person was simply dedicated to drinks (couldn’t the hostess do this?) – it reminds me of the Simpson’s episode of the “all you can eat” buffet. The management has apparently decided one cup of coffee for breakfast is enough for me, and have laid down the law on that policy.
Final gripe. Where do you buy your eggs, the midget chicken farm? These were the smallest fried eggs I have ever seen.
The bottom line – two diners, pancake breakfasts and coffee, in the north of $30 range????? Jokes on me, right?
I started this post talking about trying to “find the good” in each place I go.” The “good” at the Original Pancake House, as I said, is my appreciation for the owner’s ability to squeeze every last farthing out of a customer and processes.
Food? Eh. Service? Double Eh. Prices? Yowie!
There are so many great places for breakfast in Portland, and so many inexpensive choices….there’s no reason whatsoever to patronize this “legend.”
As a regular reader, you know it is my habit to place a map in each post. Not today. If you insist on visiting, find it yourself.
Portland is big on brunch, and Tasty n Sons aims to satisfy those urges, offering a “brunch only” menu all the time (open 9-3), which is both interesting AND tasty!
Brought to us by the fine folks who gave us Toro Bravo, Tasty’s menu is so fascinating to me, I think I could eat there over and over again and not get bored. However, being that I am the “Burgerdogboy”, I was invited by Portland’s rising star attorney, William Duval, friend and counsel to small business, to have a burger at Tasty, and since this man has impeccable taste (in both burgers and friends), I took him up on the suggestion.
The burger on the menu is not described, as Portland restaurants are wont to do, lately, that is, they don’t say it’s “house ground blended blah blah.”
Nope, the menu says simply “house bacon cheeseburger with cheddar or smoke bleu,” not even mentioning where the bacon comes from (who cares, anyway?) or that the sandiwch comes with a side of incredibly tasty, fresh-cut, nicely cararmelized fries.
The menu doesn’t even describe the standard dressing, chopped lettuce, “sauce”, onion, bread and butter pickles, one of the softest, sweetest burger buns you will ever encounter, and a dollop of thousand on the side.
We both requested the burgers to be medium rare, but the server cautioned us the patties were thin, and it was tough to keep them on the rare side. Nonetheless, the chef mastered whatever he had to and accomplished this on our burgers.
This is now easily in my top five of Portland burgers. I’ll have to have 6 or 13 more before I decide on its ultimate placement.
The space is ‘cavernous’ and has a number of ‘family style’ tables, and with an open kitchen, can be pretty damned loud.
But just like looking at a pretty woman, put a beautiful burger in front of my face, and I go deaf, anyway.
So thanks, Wil.lia.m, for turning me on to “one tasty burger!”
If there is a single problem with Tasty, it’s the location. Oh, it’s not bad, but rather, it’s a few doors down from one of my other favorite Portland restaurants, “Eat- An Oyster Bar.”
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