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Bites for Rights Report - PDX - Mother's and Blue Monk

Jill-O | Jul 2, 200402:14 PM

Every year Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) does a fundraiser where a list of local OR Restaurants (most in PDX, some in other cities) will donate 15% of their take on that day to BRO. If any of you ate out for this fundraiser yesterday, especially if you ended up someplace you normally might not have otherwise (like me), post and let us know what you found! Change the city designation on the subject line if you didn't eat in PDX, but keep the restof the title the same.

Bites for Rights Day report:

Lunch @ Mother's Bistro (SW 2nd & Stark)

I had the chopped liver sandwich and iced tea; coworker had grilled genoa salami and provolone sandwich and iced tea. Coworker LOVED sandwich, and it did look good. My chopped liver was great - very much like my mom's with the chicken livers sauteed with onions and the onions chopped into the livers for maximum natural sweetness. The sandwich was also made like we made them at home way back when - on thick sliced and toasted challah with ripe tomato. OY, so good! Iced tea, service and atmosphere (shabby regency chic) all good too. Owner/chef Lisa Shroeder is opening a red sauce Italian on the south corner of the block soon (in the old Elephant & Castle space), BTW.

Dinner @ The Blue Monk (SE Belmont betw. 33rd/34th)

Was not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised by a good dinner. Not great, but definitely good. The outside tables were full and the inside empty at 7:15; when we left around 9 or so, the inside was mostly full. Most nights they have live jazz starting around 8pm, but there wasn't any music there last night. It also bears mentioning that they serve their full menu until 1 am Tues-Sun and are open until 2am those nights...making it a great choice at a time when your choices are very limited in this city.

Lots of folks outside were having drinks, and this is a nice place to come for drinks if you are seeking beer or mixed drinks (oenophiles, we got lots of other places catering to us - take a walk on the wild side here). They infuse their own liquors and H.'s margarita made with a blackberry infused tequila was great. They have a bazillion beers in bottles, some from very far away, some very expensive and some not. I'll let H. tell you about the beer, though, I'm no expert. This would be a great place to come for a drink and a snack and some jazz, if you didn't want a full meal.

I had a "small" serrving of clams in white wine, butter and garlic that was a large bowl overflowing with tasty finger-tip sized clams - a great deal for $8 (I'd be scared to see the $13 version!) and with a Caesar salad, could be a whole meal. Jamesongrrl's (who will be known as H. so I don't have to keep typing that) SO had that Caesar salad ($5/7) which was made with hearts of romaine that were cut into quarters and left mostly intact and though he said the housemade dressing was a bit odd, he seemed to like it as did H. H. ordered the "ahi carpaccio" over salad with a wasabi aioli ($7). It was good, but carpaccio to me means raw slices, not seared and sliced and mostly raw. The ahi was coated with pepper and fennel seed and had a nice bite and flavor, though.

For main courses H.'s SO had eggplant parmagiana over penne($10), H. had beef tenderloin with garlic mashed and a pomegranite/balsamic sauce ($14), and I had pork tenderloin with spiced yams ($13). H.'s and my entrees came with sauteed green beans and red pepper strips that were still a bit crunchy and we cheered for that!

The eggplant, well, it was the loser - H.'s SO commented that the sauce was mediocre and the dish was merely OK. H.'s beef tenderloin was good, but it was ordered rare and came closer to medium rare. The sauce made the beef taste better than it did alone and the mashed spuds were very good. All around a good plate, though. I liked my pork tenderloin the best. It had a garlicky hoisin glaze and the mashed yams were GREAT - really, just very yummy. The pork was done perfectly, just cooked and no more so it was juicy and very tender.

We asked for a dessert menu, thinking we proabably wouldn't order anything anyway, and the server said, "Tangerine Dream cake - white cake with a tangerine icing." (Heh - Tangerine Dream cake at a jazz club...) Yup. That was the whole dessert menu. So, on nights where they have jazz, have an after dinner drink and stay for the tunes...on nights where there's no music - go to Pix for dessert, or go play at the nickel arcade a block east on Belmont!

Money wise, it seemed just a bit high, but not too bad for what we got: bill was $88, with a bar bill of around $30 for 2 drinks ($7 ea) and 2 Stella Artois. That means about $35 ea for a drink, a first course and a main course...not crazy, but not really inexpensive, either.

A very nice evening with H. and her SO, overall (who have a lovely new town home, y'all!) and all for a good cause!

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