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An Experience Like No Other ~ Genoa February 14, 2013

Simply amazing.

That pretty much sums up my experience at Genoa. The service and the food were impeccable and it definitely lived up to my expectations after reading so many positive reviews.

Genoa is known for special occasion dining, a place where people celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and such. They offer a 5 course prix fixe meal for $65 and the average dining time is somewhere between 2.5 to 3 hours so be ready for the time commitment. Don’t worry, it goes by fast especially if you are with someone you like! My Genoa occasion happened to be an anniversary and it didn’t feel like we were there as long as we were (just about 2.5 hours). The courses came steadily but you had time to digest a bit and talk about how amazing the dish was before the next one arrived. We practically had the place to ourselves because we dined on a Sunday night with only 2 other couples so it was nice and intimate. Our waiter was great. He took the time to explain the ingredients in each dish and was very attentive without being overly so.

On this particular night, the menu offered items I’ve never even heard of. Salsify? Uni butter? Thank goodness for google and my trust in the chef who did not disappoint. Our meal started with an amuse-bouche of beets with shaved smoked cod. A nice start to the evening  along with our cocktails (pear and prosecco for me and some strong madman drink for him).

Beets with Shaved Smoked Cod

Beets with Shaved Smoked Cod

Our primi course followed shortly after which was local salsify (a plant with an edible root), shaved beef tongue, horseradish crème fraîche and salsa verde. Incredible flavor and textures to keep each bite different yet always delicious. The tongue was rich and very beefy tasting, which  surprised me because I thought it would be a bit milder than it was.

Lingua di manzo e scorzobianca

Lingua di manzo e scorzobianca

Our primi course was a house made pasta with braised pork cheeks and mascarpone filling tossed in uni butter. Seriously one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten. It just melted in my mouth and it was light yet rich in flavor and I could have easily eaten another plate of it.

Agnolotti di maiale

Agnolotti di maiale

The insalata course was next and consisted of dungeness crab, satsuma, compressed endive and vanilla oil. Mad genius stuff going on here. I wouldn’t even think to put these ingredients together and it was divine.  When the plate arrived, I  could immediately smell the seafood and it was so fresh and we both took a moment to breathe in the scent before taking a bite.

Granchio e ararcia

Granchio e ararcia

For our secondi course I chose the roasted squab, balsamic sunchokes, pickled apple and brown butter sunchoke purée and the boyfriend selected the pan seared elk loin, braised and charred leeks, broken potatoes and ash. Neither one of us had eaten squab or elk so we were both very pleased with our main dishes. The squab (pigeon and dove family) reminded me  of well, chicken but the darker of the meat portion with an earthier taste.

Alce scottato (Elk)

Alce scottato (Elk)

 Piccioncino (Squab)

Piccioncino (Squab)

To end our meal we both ordered dessert and for the life of me I have no idea what he ordered even though I took pictures of it so I will only include mine which was a meyer lemon butter cake, sorbetto and satsumas. The cake was rich and buttery and the sorbetto was a tangy contrast to the sweetness of the satsumas and sauce. They also gave us salted truffles and a soft almond cookie to end the evening and both were delicious.

Meyer Lemon Butter Cake

Meyer Lemon Butter Cake

Truffles and Almond Cookies

Truffles and Almond Cookies

So was it worth the money? Yes!!It’s a food experience and unlike anything you’ll come across during a normal night out for dinner. Their menu changes weekly so it will always be a unique offering and if you are love food and trying new things then you must eat here one day. Worth every penny.

Genoa on Urbanspoon

 

Wild Abandon ~ Goat Cheese Torta and Ziti Ziti December 22, 2011

This restaurant’s exterior is pretty nondescript.  There is nothing fancy about it and I wondered if I was even at the right place the first time I went there.    The entrance can be partially obscured by trees. I know the first time I pulled into the parking lot I was having second thoughts on whether or not to go in.  Silly me.  It’s not what’s on the outside that matters right?  Located on the bustling street of Belmont, Wild Abandon can easily be missed if you are not looking for it.  Once inside it is a cozy space that may remind you of a 70’s /80’s basement.  The different colored lights that hang from the ceiling will make you reminisce about which friend’s house growing up had that exact light.  The fake “fountain” light brought back memories of family parties we had since most Asian households had a version of one in their house.  My house of course didn’t, only because it would have probably clashed with the ones made out of shells.  Grrr.

Anyways, back to the food….I highly recommend eating it on the outside patio after the rainy season ends as it’s a nice space to enjoy a meal.  I’ve eaten here a few times and I always order the goat cheese torta as an appetizer.  It comes with grilled bread and the spread consists of goat cheese (duh), sun-dried tomato and pesto with roasted whole garlic cloves (yum), olive oil and balsamic reduction.  Everyone I’ve shared this with loved it and it’s a great start to your main meal. 

Goat cheese torta

 

On this particular evening, I decided to share a pasta dish with a friend and we opted for the Ziti Ziti dish.   The pasta is served in a rich smoked mozzarella cheese sauce with mushrooms, roasted garlic, and scallops (veggie option available) then topped with bread crumbs and baked to a golden brown.  We were deciding between this dish and the butternut sage risotto and the staff told us the ziti was the most popular dish and recommended that for us.  We were definitely not disappointed.  It was more than enough to share (especially since our cheese intake for that day exceeded anyone’s recommended amount) and even though we were getting full, we kept going in for more which is always a good sign.  The staff person was super friendly and helpful.  I’ve never had terrible service here but he was exceptionally nice that night which always makes the eating experience that much better. 

 

Cheese-tastic

Address: 2411 Southeast Belmont Street Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-4458

Website: http://www.wildabandonrestaurant.com/

Cost: Torta – $11.50 (Dinner menu)  $8 (Happy Hour)

             Ziti Ziti – $19 w/ scallops; $13 vegetarian

 

Deep fried desserts ~ Deep Fried Twinkies and Oreos Uh Oh August 15, 2010

Filed under: Dessert,Food,Fried! — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When my love of sweets and fried food come together in perfect harmony it makes for quite the decadent eating experience. Elephant ears, nutella beavertails and Voodoo doughnuts just to name a few.  I’ve even had a deep-fried Mars candy bar in Canada (in a Sushi restaurant of all places) which was unbelievable. There is a certain amount of guilt that comes along with eating such things. It is so so bad for you but also so so good that it is almost naughty!

My love of food carts took me to the recently opened FC (food cart) community in SE Portland on Belmont St and although my coworker and I went there for lunch, we found ourselves eating equal amounts of dessert.  After our savory meals, we needed something sweet.  While waiting for the mango sticky rice from the Thai food cart, I noticed Rockabillies just opened up for business.  I wandered over there and perused the selection of sandwiches and then my eyes fixated on the 2 dessert options.  Fried Twinkies and Fried Oreos.  The dilemma for me was that I already ordered the sticky rice but I really wanted to eat their dessert too.  So I told my coworker she needed to split it with me and then it was goodbye dilemma!!

I just had to indulge in the Twinkie concoction after seeing it on tv.  Damn you Food Network!! I also noticed the offering of deep-fried Oreos and although I didn’t order them, the sweet man working there gave us each a sample.  He probably noticed I was clearly interested in it  but couldn’t bring myself to ordering both.  Thank you Rockabilly man.  That saved me from looking too piggish.  I think the Twinkie was ok but I probably won’t order it again. I’m more of a Ding Dong fan so I might suggest he try frying those babies up too. I think the chocolate coating on the Ding Dong will prevent a lot of the oil from seeping into the cake part which was the disappointment with the Twinkie. The Oreos definitely will be eaten again in the future. A regular order comes with 3 but I told him I need at least 6 with a side of ice cream and more sauces to dip them in. How incredibly decadent would that be? I’m crossing my fingers this happens one day!! He mentioned that  he will try teaming up with an ice cream cart  opening there soon so who knows?  I’ll demand credit for that one if I ever see it on the menu.  Name a dessert after me Rockabillies…please!!!

Location: Food carts on 43rd and Belmont

Cost: $3 for each but we got a sample of both for that price 🙂