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Hello Lardo! August 30, 2012

Ok, I have to share my dinner last night.  Sometimes, the bf and I like to dine “tapas style” and just eat little bits of all kinds of goodness.   I happened to be in the Hawthorne area so I dropped by Pastaworks for all the fixings.  Well, almost all of it.  I left the bread at work by accident (grrr from Pearl bakery no less) so we had to make a trip to Trader Joe’s for that.

As I entered, I was greeted by a deli case of meat and was a bit mesmerized and overwhelmed by it all.  I did happen to notice the lardo sitting right in the front and knew I had to try it because it is such a ridiculous food item that I was compelled to buy it.  Lardo is essentially cured strips of fatback seasoned with herbs and spices.  Pure fat!!! The gentleman at the counter suggested 5 strips per person and to simply schmear it on bread.  We tried it with that, wrapped around the meats and also with the cheese and it was really good.  Not something that should be eaten on a regular basis and by all means, don’t tell your doctor about it.  Don’t let the $25 a pound price tag scare you either because the cost of my portion was under $2.   I also picked up 3 different kinds of cured meat: Fra’Mani sopressata, a Venetian Abruzzo and a Citterio spicy sopressata to round out the meat section for about $5.50.

Next up was the cheese counter.  I picked up some “piave vecchio”  cheese recommended by the staff to go along with my cured meats.  It’s has a nice sweet and nutty flavor and the taste reminds me a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano.  A great hard cheese for salads, fruits and appetizers.   It’s about $25 a pound but well worth the small block I purchased for $8.  The nice lady also helped me pick up some sardines from Italy (her favorite being a tomato based “pomodoro” one) which was delicious.  Now I have to admit, I splurged a bit on this one.  I remember Anthony Bourdain eating some during an episode of  “No Reservations” filmed in Spain and he couldn’t get over the difference from sardines typically sold in American supermarkets.   I had to at least try it even though it was an Italian brand because I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.  The small tin was super delicious and was  just under $7.  (Like I said, it was a splurge).

Lastly, I got a nice farro salad because I felt a vegetable was needed (kale, pine nuts, vinegar based dressing, cranberries and other healthy things) and then my eyes focused on the white fish spread.  I’ve had a trout spread at The Observatory restaurant and loved it so I inquired about it and the staff told me it is was the whipped cream of the sea.  How could I pass that up!  And for under $2 it was a generous portion that we still have leftovers of.  Also fantastic!

I clearly remember walking out of the store with my little bag of groceries weighing next to nothing and paying just over $30 for it all.  Oh well, well worth the money for sure and a nice treat for a random weekday dinner.

Website: http://pastaworks.com/

Locations: Currently 3: Hawthorne, Mississippi and NW Portland

Pastaworks on Urbanspoon

 

A Waffle Like No Other…The Liege Waffle ~The Waffle Window May 6, 2012

 

Seasonal Peach Strawberry Waffle

Liege Waffle: Named after the city of Liege in Eastern Brussels.  This waffle is dough based rather than batter based which creates a denser and chewier waffle than the traditional variety.  It is also smaller in size and sweeter in nature due to the incorporation of pearl sugar in the dough.  Once baked, the sugar creates a hint of caramelization on the outside and crunchy bits of sweetness in the inside. 

I tend to develop food snobbery from time to time only after eating something so good at one place that I can’t go back to what I’ve had previously had at other establishments.  It’s happened with coffee and calamari and now it’s happened with waffles.  Yes waffles!  A regular waffle will no longer do.  Only a liege style waffle will satisfy my waffle cravings because they are simply the best I’ve ever had.  The Gaufre Gourmet food cart introduced me to them and now I’m forever hooked. 

My friend from Vancouver Canada was in town recently and wanted to check out the Gaufre cart but it was closed on the last 2 days of her trip here.  I happened to introduce her to these waffles the last time I was visiting Canada and she wanted some during her visit here.   The prospect of eating a liege waffle seemed unlikely until we spent her last day walking down the streets of Hawthorne and spotted the Waffle Window.  We were happily surprised that they served the magical liege waffles!  I’ve heard about this place and walked by it many times but never stopped to take a look at their menu until now. 

My friend opted for the Guittard dark chocolate dipped waffle and I decided to try their seasonal peach and strawberry waffle drizzled with lime curd and strawberry sauce then topped with whipped cream.  Sounds pretty fantastic doesn’t it?  The chocolate dipped one was pretty rich and I don’t think I could  eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting.  I did, however, manage to polish off the fruit one with relative ease and I wasn’t even hungry.  They have a great selection of waffle toppings and they get them out pretty quickly.  The only thing they could improve on is yelling your order out louder since the outside seating picnic tables are far enough away that you can barely hear them. 

Location: 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd 503.239.4756

Website: www.wafflewindow.com

Cost:  Chocolate dipped $3.00  Peach/Strawberry around $4.00

The Waffle Window on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Waffle

 

Poutine in Portland at The Hawthorne Hophouse August 9, 2011

French fries.  Brown gravy.  Cheese curds.  Simply amazing if you ask me.  I grew up in Canada eating this carb-tastic creation and was shocked that it was nowhere to be found when I moved to the USA in the early 1990’s.  My new stateside friends gawked at the sight of me dipping my fries in brown gravy so I knew that had no clue what poutine was.  Poo what? Was their response.  Yeah, they had no idea what they were missing out on. 

Good anytime of day

I’m happy to report that this dish now popping up in more and more restaurants menus around town.  I’ve had good, bad and so-so ones but so far the best I’ve had in Portland is at the Hawthorne Hophouse.  The bonus is their gravy is vegetarian and it tastes so good that the carnivores won’t even notice. They hand cut their fries and top them with a generous portion of curds and gravy. 

Location: 4111 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard Portland, OR 97214  – (503) 477-9619

Website: www. hawthornehophouse.com


Cost: Happy hour $4/$6 small/$8 large

 
Hawthorne Hop House on Urbanspoon

 

Apizza Scholls March 27, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Eat Anytime,Food,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Best pizza in P-town

  • When I first went to Apizza (pronounced ah-beetz) Scholls many, many years ago there were a few things that stood out to me:
  • 1. Take out was not an option; sit down only
  • 2. They were open 4 hours a day/5 days a week (M-F)
  • 3. If they ran out of dough they closed even earlier
  • 4. There are limitations to the number of toppings you could have on your pie (no more than 3 toppings total and no more than 2 meats per pie). 
  • 5.  The wait could be hours and everyone knew it.  They also knew that if #3 happened they were shit out of luck. 
  • Fortunately, some things have changed, notably #1 (there are still some restrictions though.  You have to walk in and order it and that option is only available Monday through Wednesday) and #2 on that list (they are now open everyday, 4 hours on Sunday and a whopping 4.5 hours the rest of the days).  Everything else is still the same.  I hate to say it but the owner could make us all stand on one foot the entire time we wait on a table and I think we wouldn’t question it.  Why?  Because the pizza is that phenomenal and all of us in the know would do just about anything for it.  He knows it, how could he not? We stand patiently outside well before it even opens because the line will snake it’s way down the street if we don’t.  Yes, it can appear utterly ridiculous and yet it is completely normal.  We comply happily with whatever rules are thrown at us and we will wait however long we have to because in the end, we all know it is worth it. 

I’ve only eaten the “Margo”rita pizza, their version of the classic Margherita pie made with tomato sauce, whole milk and fresh mozza, pecorino romano, fresh garlic, olive oil and basil.   They make their dough by hand daily and allow it to slowly ferment for 24 hours which explains why they sometimes run out.  The process makes for the most unbelievable crust this side of Italy.  Crispy~charred~chewy goodness that I would stand on one foot for. 

Website: http://www.apizzascholls.com/

Location: 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland Oregon

Cost: “Margo”rita $20