Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Hour: Clyde Common

Clyde Common
1014 S.W. Stark Street
Portland, OR 97205

I slid into Clyde Common for happy hour the other day. This was my first time checking out this swanky restaurant connected to Stumptown and The Ace Hotel. Surrounded by suits and upper-echelon hipsters, I ordered a beer and watched bar prodigy, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and his team of bartenders pump out some great looking drinks. He writes an interesting blog, dissecting the world of the bartender. It was relatively quiet when I arrived, and by the time I left all of the bar stools were occupied. I obviously couldn't walk into a swanky happy hour without trying just a little food. I split a burger with blue cheese and bacon and some fries with a buddy of mine. The burger was right up there with perfect. It was cooked slightly more than I would have liked, but not to a point of dissatisfaction. The tomato chutney was nice and tangy, while not overpowering the flavor of the burger. The fries came with a spicy African dipping sauce and some creamy white sauce, perhaps ranch. I'd imagine its something slightly fancier, as that appears to be their style. I also had a Bloody Mary to add some data to my new project. As I expected, it was a delicious Bloody, as all of the cocktails produced at this place are done with great care and consideration. I'll be back to try some more of their cocktails and maybe other food items

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Hour: Davis Street Tavern

Davis Street Tavern
500 NW Davis St
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 505-5050

I had been hearing good things about Davis Street Tavern for quite some time. The folks over at rave about it as if they would like to have their last meal there. I heard rumors about a high quality happy hour, so I rounded up a posse and we headed into Old Town to see what we were missing out on. Don’t worry mom, I brought my mace and locked the doors immediately after I returned to my car.

Old Town really is experiencing “urban renewal”. Good upscale eateries like Davis Street Tavern and Ping are coming in and remaking old run down buildings. There are also modern bars, clubs, and boutiques all around. Old Town is still home to several missions and social service organizations. There is no question that Portland is chock full of crazies.(Myself included) It will be interesting to see what happens as more money is poured into Old Town and it gets a makeover. One cannot help wondering if the crazies will get relocated.

The interior d├ęcor of DST is upscale and contemporary, while not being overly stuffy. There is no shortage of exposed brick and wood throughout the building. It has an open layout. We were promptly seated at a table as it was not very crowded at five on a Thursday. They have a good selection of beer, whiskey, and wine. I started with a Walking Man “Hoptoberfest”, which was is a delicious fresh hop beer. I hadn’t tried it before and it was so good that I never moved up to whiskey. I started to get a little lifted after two pints of it.

My main objective was to try out their happy hour grub. I had heard their oysters were the best preparation in town so we started off with two dozen between the three of us. Man, these things did not disappoint. They were little Kumamoto oysters with cucumber, pickled shallot, and rainbow trout row. They made for the perfect little oyster treats. The slippery saltiness of the oysters was chased by little bites of the cool and tangy oysters and shallots. These would be good for an oyster beginner, as they are pretty small and just as the texture begins to get slippery it is chased by the slight crunchiness and tanginess of the toppings. We loved these and ended up getting another dozen just for safe keeping.

My next objective was to try their burger, which has a high reputation. It is marked as a “Strip Loin Burger,” with braised pork belly, sharp Tillamook cheddar, crisp romaine, tomato jam, and pickled vegetable salad. What could go wrong when a burger supplements pork belly for bacon? Well, they could of course overcook it… And overcook it they did. As opposed to the red and juicy center one would expect when a burger is ordered medium rare, it was a solid grey throughout. I split the burger with a buddy of mine and we were too bashful/hungry to send it back. This is an issue for me. As a person so passionate about food, I owe it to myself to send back something that the kitchen messes up, especially at a nice place. The issue is that I don’t like wasting food and I don’t want to sound whiny like some older people that I know. Next time I order a burger, I will be sure to put great emphasis on how I want it cooked, that way if it comes out overcooked, I won’t feel bad about having it fixed. Despite the burger being overcooked, the toppings and everything else attributed to the burger were pretty flavorful. The pork belly was not a large amount and it was hiding under the melted cheddar, so I didn’t get a good view of it. This burger would be pretty damn good if it were cooked properly, but that really put a damper on my whole experience.

Between the three of us we also managed to take down butter lettuce and baby spinach salad with grape tomatoes, Rogue River Blue, and cider-pink peppercorn vinaigrette. This was a solid salad at $4. The dressing as very light, as if it were misted on. This was simple, fresh, and delicious. A Bbq pork sandwich with apple fennel slaw and blue cheese potato salad was good but not great and the fish tacos housed large, think pieces of fried fish in them. I think it was mahi mahi or some sort of Hawaiian fish, but I forget. These were good quality and good value, even at $5 for two.

I would definitely return to Davis Street Tavern. The oysters were all stars and the drink selection is solid. I want to return to try the burger again. That misstep turned an excellent experience into a good experience. This is partially my fault for not stepping up and the issue resolved. Nonetheless, this bruise will last until I go back again and either forget the burger or get one properly cooked. This, however, should in no way stop you from getting down to Davis Street Tavern for a meal. I look forward to trying their dinner menu and having more of those delicious oysters.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hey There, Long Time No See!

Hey buddy!

How ya doin? Ya, I know, it's been a while.

You seem well! I've had a crazy summer, ripe with travel and all sorts of adventure. I traveled in Oaxaca, Mexico and throughout Europe, in Austria, Czech Republic, and Italy. Ya it was a lot of fun. I know I should have been blogging from all these cool places. There was certainly a wealth of different great foods. I managed to eat everything from home cooked meals, to street food, to high quality restaurants. I even managed to pick up a recipe or two while I was there. Fortunately, I took a bunch of pictures. I'm on the hunt for new spots around Portland too. There seems to be no shortage of new restaurants, food carts, and happy hours popping up around the Stump. I hope I didn't let you down by being such a flake. It wasn't you, it was me. I promise! If you would only give me another chance I think we could do some great things together. Anyways, see you soon old friend.