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Follow up to "What Portland does better than SF"


Restaurants & Bars 5

Follow up to "What Portland does better than SF"

Candice | Oct 3, 2006 08:26 PM

The original thread:

Sorry it's taken me so long to report back, I came back to jury duty and a deadline at work. Overall, I loved PDX this time around and found it to be so much cleaner and nicer than I recalled from my last road trip through in college (6 or 7 years ago).

Our favorites were Le Pigeon (dinner) and Simpatica for brunch. We were staying at the Jupiter and were stoked on how close both of these were to us. Our entire meal at Le Pigeon was enjoyable, the great bread and butter, interaction with the staff, salad, entrees, and especially the apricot corn bread with bacon dessert. It was perfect for me b/c I love salty, fatty, rich foods and am not so into the sweet. The manfriend deemed it a bit much for him, but I was very content. Simpatica didn't have that long of a wait for 2 on Sunday and there were plenty of newspapers around to keep us occupied in the mean time. I always have a fried chicken craving and saw some nice looking plates go by. However, since it was nearing the end of summer and I was in Portland, I felt like I should get something that focused more on seasonal produce. I went with the savory crepes with corn, bacon, and creme fraiche. Delicious, my only complaint is I could have eaten 2x as many. Also ate some of the biscuits and gravy, a very hearty and large serving, could have used a little more gravy in my opinion but everything was well presented, fresh, and made with quality ingredients. Service was friendly and unobtrusive; the meal was a nice way to end our mini vacation.

Unfortunately, we ate dinner at Le Pigeon before our dinner at Park Kitchen. PK was so charming when we walked up, I really liked the open air feel at the front of the bar, that being said our meal was very disappointing. We were seated in the back near the open kitchen and wondered why it was taking forever to get our entrees b/c we could see the kitchen staff joking around, having cocktails, chatting, and staring off into space. I'm a leisurely eater and don't mind some time between courses, but it was clear that somebody had dropped the ball with our entrees. When they did finally arrive, everything on my plate and the plate itself was cold, not warm, but cold. I had gone with the pork 2 ways with some watermelon accents, the pork belly that I was told was one of the 2 preps was almost completely indiscernible. When I showed it to my dining companion he said, "That's it? You're kidding me right?" Unfortunately not. I expected the watermelon salsa or whatever it was to be cold but not the roasted loin or accompanying potatoes underneath. I was pretty bitter at this point, and his plate of braised SuDan Farms lamb was warmer, but not hot by any stretch and also had some cold bites. It was getting near closing time at that point and nobody checked back for a while so we ended up eating what we had. We got a cheese plate to finish to see if we could try to redeem the meal even though we both sort of felt like we should just cut our losses. The cheese plate was fine and did end up perking me up a bit. I will say that I enjoyed the variety and range of prices of the wine list but I would not return nor recommend Park Kitchen to anyone.

The table next to ours asked for a brunch rec; their waiter and the two of us couldn't say enough good things about Le Pigeon. I guess our waiter heard about it b/c when he brought the cheese plate out he said the chef tried to make it extra special so it could measure up to Le Pigeon. He said it in a joking tone, but I was a little taken aback. We felt like two kids in trouble at that point, but tried to make the most of it.

Our other giant disappointment was that we tried to go to Apizza Scholls twice and they were closed both times! Arg, it was our own fault for assuming they were open for lunch. It sounded like a great place though. We ended up trying Hawthorne Fish House instead. It was fine but not exactly what we were looking for. I like a thicker crunchier batter on my fish but I was interested in trying the whole gluten free experience.

We also enjoyed the farmer's market on Saturday, some wine tasting, and tasty mezza and wonderful warm pita at Nicholas Restaurant. Also stopped by a tiny wine bar around the corner from the Brazen Bean. I can't remember the name of it but I liked it and my glasses of Cava. The weather was amazing and sunny for our weekend and actually warmer than our Indian Summer in SF at the time so it was a perfect getaway. Thanks for the advice and here's a link to my full reviews on yelp.

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