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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Restaurants’

Portland Area Update – Pietro’s Pizza


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.

Pietro's Pizza Oregon


Portland, OR – Salty’s Seafood Grill


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!

Salty's Seafood Weekend Brunch Menu

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!).


Salty's on the Columbia on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa Meatball

Sub Rosa Meatball

Mrs. Burgerdogboy has taken to grabbing up Groupon and Living Social deals she thinks would amuse me, and I’m grateful for her thoughtfulness, as well as the opportunity to try new places.

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 had a small starter in the Country olive mix, a combo of blacks and greens of different ilks, served on a platter with a furnished demi-tasse cup for pits. The olives were great.
We opted to share a couple of entrees, a pizza with gorgonzola, bacon, and spinach, and the daily ravioli, a mushroom stuffed pasta pocket served with the house red sauce.
The pizza was definitely large enough for two people (a testament to the waiter, I overheard him cautioning another party to not order two, but to do “halfsies” on toppings).

The pie was oval shaped in the Neapolitan style, and crust light, thin, achieving the art of crispy and chewy at the same time, done in a standard pizza oven deck (Blodgett or Baker’s Pride), so it lacked the char one experiences from wood or brick ovens (which is just fine with me).

The toppings were fresh, and ample.

There being far more items on the menu that I wanted to order, but lacked the capacity for, I did ask the waiter if he would sell me “one meatball”, so I could try those, and he said he would be happy to give us one, and it’s a nice meatball, meaty flavor, tender, and it was presented in a small bowl with a little red sauce as well.

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.

There are lots of raves online about Sub Rosa’s weekend brunch, and I’d like to try that as well, sometime. Otherwise, they are open for dinner (no lunch service) – Tuesday thru Sunday.

The SE Clinton neighborhood is chock-a-block full of good eateries, with Broder, the Savoy, and NoHo located there as well.

But next time you are contemplating heading that way, give Sub Rosa a try.

Sub Rosa Pizza

Sub Rosa Pizza

Sub Rosa on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Newport Seafood Grill


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.

Newport Seafood Grill on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Theo’s (Chinatown)


Theo's Portland, Interior

Theo's Portland, Interior

One all-day, late night option in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown is Theo’s, on NW Fifth Avenue.

Offering a variety of burgers, sandwiches, sides, and so on, Theo’s is a great quick stop for a bite, or call ahead for take-out.
I was wasting time in the neighborhood, and stopped in to get a burger to go.  I had previously tried their Chicago-style hot dog.

In my previous post, I had referred to their service as “pokey”, and that hasn’t changed.  If you’re the only customer, or one of many, it’s gonna take a bit to get your food.
This day, I went with the “Bac-N-Blue” Burger, their 1/3 lb, all-natural beef, flame broiled, topped with thick-sliced bacon, chunky blue cheese dressing, and dressed with garlic mayo, lettuce, and tomato.  I upgraded for a side of natural cut fries, and Theo’s offers a number of dipping sauces for their taters, and I went with the Cilantro Mayo.

Examination?  Soft bakery roll, slightly toasted;  machine formed patty; crisp lettuce; meager bacon; tomato AWOL (so often these days, but they SHOULD tell you); more than ample blue cheese dressing with substantial chunks of cheese in it.
Natural cut (I still haven’t figured out what this means) fries, and a ramikin of the dipping sauce.  The fries are nice, lightly salted, crispy outside, soft inside.  The sauce, although flavorful, has me a bit worried.  It was squeezed out of a standard plastic condiment bottle into the ramikin.  Not refrigerated, in fact kind of warm.  I pass on using it.

The burger flavor is good, and it’s a fairly coarse grind, so there is some heft to it, which is nice.  I like the blue cheese dressing a lot, and give a thumbs up too, to the garlic mayo, tho for my taste, they could slow down on that condiment.  With the dressing and the mayo, you have a little bit of a mess on your hands.
Will I return?  Yeah, maybe.  I work in the neighborhood, which has a limited number of lunch options beyond the half-dozen Chinese restaurants.

Would I find Theo’s appealing late at night, if I was in the neighborhood?  I think at the same price point, and with similiarly pokey service, I’d probably opt for People’s Sandwich, a couple blocks away.
So have fun, check out these places, especially if you are in the neighborhood clubs, late.  But please, beware the local indigenous population of the ‘hood when you are walking around here late at night.  Menu on our menu page!

Theo's Bac-N-Blue Burger

Theo's Bac-N-Blue Burger

Theo's Bac-N-Blue Burger

Theo's Bac-N-Blue Burger


Portland, OR – Salvador Molly’s


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


Portland, OR – Golden Touch Family Restaurant


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.

Golden Touch Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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Portland restaurants on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Original Pancake House


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.

Corned Beef Mush, er Hash

Corned Beef Mush, er Hash

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.

Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket

Original Pancake House, Fried eggs and Ham

The Original Pancake House on Urbanspoon


Portland, OR – Tasty n Sons


Tasty N Son PortlandPortland 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,Tasty N Sons Portland “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.”

Damn, folks.

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Tasty n Sons Bacon Cheeseburger

Tasty N Sons Bacon Cheeseburger

Tasty and Sons on Urbanspoon

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