It's places like Blue Rooster that make me feel blessed to be plugged in to Chowhound. Bobbert, he of the 'rarely wrong' Portland food advice, was responsible for steering us here; otherwise I am quite sure we never would have found it. After all, it's alley-like street presence is un- noteworthy, and inside, it bares a distinct resemblance to many tiny Pizza/sub shops back home in Boston. Seating is minimal and not very comfortable. Service is typically brusque.
So, you have to get past all that and concentrate on the food. Ahhhh, the food. After we had it once. we kept going back. We would be convinced that the Chicken PBLT sandwich was the best thing we ever tasted, but then we would bend to suggestion and have the new Pork Etta James , and decide that THAT was the best, while the other of us seesawed between the Chicken and the Beefsquatch. (Hey, what can I tell you....it's a tough life! )
The owners may not know it, but, according to my 'word of the day', they are logophiles. They love words. And I do enjoy the names they have cleverly devised for their offerings.
--The Chicken PBLT is a fried chicken thigh topped with pork belly, pickled green tomatoes, shredded lettuce and chipotle mayo, on a fresh substantial kaiser roll. I love the textures and the elements of spice and acid to balance out the richness. Man oh man, this is one hefty sandwich! (* Warning: Do not try to eat this while wearing a suit and tie, or while driving. Lobster bibs are a good idea!)
--The Pork 'Etta James' shows a kindred awareness of the interplay of acid and fat, as they pair their crispy herbed porchetta with
braised purple cabbage, pickled fennel, and apple butter on a Portuguese Roll.
--The Beefsquatch is seared marinated steak, salsa verde, shaved ice berg lettuce, queso fresco, pico de gallo, crema, and cilantro, served on naan . That may sound 'too many' but they all complement each other perfectly.
And those are just the three that we settled on. There are more, and then a whole hot dog thing, and then a whole TaterTots thing. Throwing caution to the wind, we thrice indulged in their Three Little Pigs- tater tots, melted cheese curds, bacon, pork belly and sausage, topped w/ chicken gravy. Call it drunk food (they are open til 2AM when the local bars close at 1), lumberjack food, whatever, it is darn satisfying on a blustery day!
And what makes Blue Rooster stand out, in my mind, is the QUALITY they put on the plate. They make in-house all/almost all of their components and condiments. Lesser sandwich places might subscribe to the "they won't know the difference" philosophy, but Blue Rooster chooses to offer, instead, high quality ingredients and generous portions. When you consider all the components , this may be the most labor-intensive sandwich menu you are likely to see. And I'm not sure you'll ever get more for your $9. It certainly is in the top tier of sandwich places I have ever been to!
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