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PDX report - pok pok, metrovino, boke bowl, toro bravo, sweets

babette feasts | Dec 25, 201109:30 PM

Spent the first part of the weekend in PDX seeing what's new, here is my report.

Pok Pok - was there between lunch & dinner, so limited menu. Had the pok pok special, which is half a grilled game hen, papaya salad, and sticky rice. The bird was juicy and nicely seasoned but not spicy (but dipping sauces take care of that). Papaya salad was excellent, not too sweet and the long beans were thin and tender (old tough long beans can detract from the dish). I did not find it overly spicy or Thailand-spicy, but could see how non-lovers of chile could be overwhelmed. Loved the tamarind drinking vinegar. I'm not normally a huge fan of vinegar, but the fruity blend with soda had a nice lightness and complex acidity that went well with food. I could see such a beverage performing well as a non-alcoholic wine pairing at a more expensive restaurant. Affogato over condensed milk ice cream was a nice pick-me up after driving down from SEA, but the chinese donuts on the side were a little oily (more desireable in rice porridge than with already-rich ice cream). Fun twist on a classic, though.

Metrovino - recommended on, but I was disappointed. Sparkling wine flight was nice, but my entree of steelhead on yam puree with cauliflower, brussels sprouts, shaved bonito, capers, and a few other things didn't work for me. Too many soft textures, and too many flavors more in competition than harmony. Was excited by the concept of parmesan pound cake, but the cake itself was too buttery, to the point of being greasy. Interesting idea, mediocre execution.

Boke Bowl - beef and pork broth with ramen and smoked pork. Nice rich broth and chewy noodles. Only complaint is the side of kimchee seemed a little sweet, not as piquant as I was hoping for. They had a brand of coconut water I hadn't seen before - Amy and Brian's - that had no added sugar and was more refreshing than most. Had there previously been a bakery in that space? I remember going to some cute new bakery near ClarkLewis on a PDX trip circa 2006 and was trying to place it

Pearl Bakery - got a good rugelach and a macaron with chocolate hazelnut filling that made me finally realize why people go crazy over macarons. Light crisp shell, chewy/creamy interior, rich chocolate - perfect and delicious.

Voodoo Donut - Was in the neighborhood and figured why not. Nothing anywhere near special. I got two, ate most of one and half of the other. Not worth the calories.

Toro Bravo - Fried pocha beans were an interesting take on beans, lightly crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle. Seared cauliflower with olives and green sauce was just a tiny bit more cooked than I like cauliflower (maybe it had been blanched before searing?). Flatbread with truffle cheese and arugula was my favorite of the three dishes. All were good, but a little rich from oil (not necessarily bad, maybe it was too soon after donuts). The dish of chocolate covered almonds was very generous for $3, I was expecting like 5 or 6 almonds but there must have been 20-25.

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