I kept reading about this new spot on E28th Ave's restaurant row called Spints Alehouse. The foodie police had been raving about it, so I figured I would drop in for lunch and give it a gander. They offer European style food, which generally means heavy meaty stuff. This doesn't really agree with the fact that I am trying to start a diet, but I made it work. Their menu is certainly interesting with many items I haven't heard of. The lunch menu is neutered, which is appropriate, since in Europe dinner is the largest meal of the day. I got a chicken salad with pickled vegetables and celery over a bed of asparagus, which was delicious and fit my "diet" perfectly. They also have interesting beer taps, wine, and cocktails. They had a beet mary, as a lunch cocktail, which sounded awesome. They also offer happy hour from 4-6, with many of their regular items and drinks at a discounted price. I look forward to trying the "Dirty Pretzel," which is a pretzel covered in something like a Welsh Rabbit stew(this weeks), and rotates weekly. I am interested in returning to see what else is happening here. Spints Alehouse 401 NE 28th Avenue Portland, OR 97232
Somehow, the opening of John Gorham's (of Toro Bravo fame) new place, Tasty & Sons in NoPo, flew under my radar. I knew that it was opening, but for some reason I just did not care about another brunch spot. Fortunately, a good friend of mine suggested we check it out for lunch and see what they were putting out. They just opened last week and they seem to be doing everything right.
Stepping into the space, I could immediately tell that Tasty and Sons was going to be great. The high ceilings and reclaimed wood bar give a modern, yet inviting feel. We sat at the chefs table/bar and were presented with the menu. The menu and ordering process is very similar to Toro Bravo, where they encourage you to share small and large plates. They bring out the food as it is finished. They also offer a wide range of breakfast cocktails, beer, and wine. We settled on a round of Tasty Maria's, essentially a Bloody Mary made with tequila. These were great and came with pickled cucumber, pearl onion, beet, and a celery stick. We then started our food orders. We got spinach with a fried egg, and candied yams. The yams were out of this world. They were caramely, sweet goodness with just the right amount of char on the skin. The spinach was also delicious and simple after mixing in the perfectly fried egg.
Next we got a Carolina Cheese Steak, Chocolate Potato Donuts, and French Toast. The Cheese Steak was delicious. It had the cheesy, gooey elements of a Philly, but with PNW flair. Apparently, the meat is salted and aged in house. It accompanied by the obligatory mushrooms, pepper, and onions mix and on a nice light, crusty hogie roll, of unknown origin. (I forgot to ask) A modest serving of satisfactory fries accompany the cheese steak. The Donuts were delicious, warm and gooey, quite rich and unnecessary if you have French Toast coming, but great none the less. These may serve as a good follow up to a lighter breakfast or lunch at Tasty and Sons, but completely uncalled for considering the gluttony of our undertaking. The French Toast was equally rich, with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and a incredibly delicious syrup. If you are a fan of French Toast, or sweet things in general, do not miss this. We actually ordered a 1/2 order and they accidentally brought us a full order. Instead of returning it to the kitchen and bringing us a 1/2 order, they left the full order and COMPED the entire order! Wow, talk about service. They were definitely looking to please.
As we were starting to feel completely stuffed, out of nowhere another plate lands in front of us. They brought us a plate of the Fried Pork Cutlets, with spinach and a fried egg, on the house. As if the French Toast wasn't enough, we were now getting another large plate comped. This was perfectly moist with a nice crispy exterior. We found ourselves stumbling out to the car, in utter food bliss.
In the middle of our meal, I looked at my buddy and said "God, I love Portland!" I try to keep my hand on the pulse of the Portland food world, but so many great places are popping up that I find it difficult to stay on top of it all. The Portland food scene has become a well oiled machine, with great local chefs putting out blockbuster spots and following them up with new blockbuster spots. I'm glad I was reminded to check this joint out. It is great to have a lunch time counterpart to Toro Bravo. It seems they were looking to get people excited in their early existence, and have definitely succeeded. They have taken the same style and care that made Toro Bravo famous and moved it into the noon time slot, with a brunch time twist. I could not be more impressed.