Using this enquiry thread, I was able to finetune our plan http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/965740 and we had a great visit with our 5.5 year old niece.
We went straight to Mr Green Beans on Mississippi to pick up our Hot Top roaster and 16 lbs of green beans. It had moved but luckily only half a block. Then it was off to the hotel to check in and get ready for an early dinner at Davenport.
We arrived at 6 or so to a quiet room and were smilingly seated at a perfect table with a banquette on one side. The Girl was v. happy colouring on the bench beside her and everyone was fine with a small being on the premises (we had emailed in advance but still a relief).
She had a bite of everything that arrived at the table per our agreement, but mostly focused on the outstanding cauliflower soup. The grownups enjoyed the salt cod fritters, the scallops and my beloved beet salad, a holdover from Evoe days. The standout for the evening was the nettle dumplings which, though not hugely attractive, were executed with finesse and tasted delightfully green, hearty without being heavy. We'll be back for sure.
After dinner we went to Zupan's to get some yogurt and fruit, and some baked goods since it was someone's birthday the next day. Yes, we had birthday cake for breakfast on Friday at Courier Coffee (not our finest hour as childminders but fun). We augmented our cappuccino and housemade vanilla syrup steamed milk with one of their wonderful muffins.
There is a cool sculpture across from Powell's that had to be explored, then it was time for a return visit to the Portland Zoo, where much merriment ensued. It really is top drawer, whether you are big or small.
Lunch found us at Burrasca's, located in one of the cart pods we had visited last June. It's a nice one, anchored by Captured by Porches' beer truck. The review I had read was spot on: this gentleman knows his onions.
We enjoyed a handmade tagliatelle with beef ragu, inzimino (squid and spinach in tomato and red wine with cart-made bread) and peposo (beef shank stewed in tomato, red wine and black pepper, served with polenta). The pasta was tender and cooked to a turn, the ragu was rustic and delicious, the squid was al dente and exotic with the spinach, the bread delightful, the beef stew homey and the polenta cheesy good.
And all this for $24. Outrageously good value. The small had a grilled cheese sandwich and pronounced it very fine, especially as this repast was eaten in the top of a double decker bus.
After lunch we wandered in the nabe a bit, poking our heads into several stores, including a wool shop that the little niece found enchanting. We found ourselves at Heart in time for an afternoon coffee and one of our beloved buckwheat scones. The weather just got better and better, and we were able to sit in the window. We also got to see the end of a roast in their big ol' Probat.
We walked back to the car on the side streets, admiring the spring blossoms and checking out the homes and gardens. Next stop: Hawthorne, for a bit of retail therapy. We had earlyish reservations at the Farm Cafe for a birthday celebration with my brother and sister-in-law, who were due in from Vancouver.
This restaurant seems to fly a bit under the radar, and nothing looks cutting edge, but we loved pretty much every dish -- beet salad, deviled eggs, cauliflower fritters, gratin, flame-grilled Idaho trout, cabbage roll and gnocchi. The standouts were the fish, mushrooms and gnocchi, whereas the beet salad was a bit pedestrian.
We all shared a tasty berry cobbler dessert as we were pretty stuffed. Beer (Mt Hood Hogsback oatmeal stout, Feckin Brewery's Dublin Pale) and cocktails (RCTID, with Douglas fir eau de vie) weren't too shabby either :-). The room is very cozy, inside a heritage house, the service is casual but attentive and the prices are very reasonable. Great place to celebrate the aging process with family.
Some photos: the big one is the Evoe (now Davenport) beet salad, then their salt cod fritters, the scallops and the nettle dumplings; birthday cake for breakfast!; Burrasca offerings x3; the roaster at Heart on Burnside; mushrooms, eggs, trout, gnocchi and dessert at Farm Cafe
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