Q Restaurant & Bar

I used to eye this restaurant after I started working in the downtown area. It looked so modern inside and out and I used to just wish having a meal there someday with my people.

Inside Q Restaurant and Bar in Portland Downtown
Inside Q Restaurant and Bar in Portland Downtown

First time I stepped inside  Q Restaurant and Bar was with a friend for dinner. We both had seafood dishes…seafood stew and pasta with seafood (I think). Both were fantastic and made to perfection. We got some freshly baked warm bread and butter to accompany the dishes. Finally to finish off we had a pomegranate dessert and home-made Turkish coffee ice-cream.

Seafood pasta in Q Restaurant and Bar
Seafood pasta in Q Restaurant and Bar

Next time I was in Q Restaurant and Bar was with my uncle and kids for a late Saturday brunch. Their brunch is open until 3pm on weekends. Although the menu is short and may seem like doesn’t have much options, you can create your own breakfast from their side orders. While one of my daughters was up for seafood stew for her breakfast, rest of us had vege benedict which came with potato cake, sauted vegetables and 2 eggs.

Vege benedict in Q Restaurant and Bar
Vege benedict in Q Restaurant and Bar

Their menu covers from soup and salads to variety of main entrees. Small plates are available under appetizers. Their main entrees change almost every night…but whatever you order, I can almost assure you that you won’t regret it.

Our desserts in Q Restaurant and Bar

My first impression of this restaurant is WOW. They have the best customer service with very friendly waiters/waitresses and a perfect location in downtown near the water front. Park your car inside the World Trade Center underground parking or by the street. This is a fantastic place to celebrate a special occasion or take someone for a date night or just for a cozy brunch with family on weekends.

The Tao of Tea – Inside Lan Su Garden

We are in the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland downtown this past week, taking one of my uncles to see the local Chinese members celebrating the year of the pig. We were there in the late afternoon, mainly to see the International Lion Dance. After the lion dance, we walked around this small but beautiful garden that is located in Old Town Chinatown, which is the official Chinatown of the Northwest section of Portland.

Inside The Tao of Tea in Lan Su Chinese Garden Portland
Inside The Tao of Tea in Lan Su Chinese Garden Portland

The Tao of Tea is int he middle of Lan Su Chinese Garden inside the Tower of Cosmic. You do have to buy ticket to the garden to go inside the tea-house. This is a very calm and peaceful place to enjoy hot traditional Chinese tea and snacks. With two levels of sitting area, this has a plenty of space to accommodate enough guests. I loved their heavily wooden interior decorated with tons of teapots and cups.

Decoration Inside The Tao of Tea
Decoration Inside The Tao of Tea

We ordered both spicy and roasted peanuts and two plates of vegetable dumplings for snacks.  For our tea, we had golden monkey (black tea), Eight Treasure (mixed of different herbs), and bamboo leaf tea. The teas were served individually in tiny teapots and cups with some rock sugars. The presentation was beautiful and the tea tasted perfect.

My spicy peanuts and Eight Treasures tea in The Tao of Tea
My spicy peanuts and Eight Treasures tea in The Tao of Tea

This is a unique place to enjoy hot beverage and will ask you at least to try this place once if you are inside the garden. If you don’t have time to sit-in for tea, buy some of their signature flavored teas and enjoy them at home.

Vegetable dumplings in The Tao of Tea
Vegetable dumplings in The Tao of Tea

Pix Patisserie

Pix Patisserie is one of the most elegant and beautiful coffee shops I’ve ever been to in Portland. There should another one of this near my house…but no wait, I don’t want it close to me, otherwise I’d spend all my money and time buying their oh-so delicious goodies.

Inside Pix Patisserie
Inside Pix Patisserie

Pix Patisserie is a little slice of Champs-Élysées, Paris on the Burnside St. of Portland. With it’s trendy interior and wide variety of dessert menu, this is a perfect late night hang out place where you can indulge in macaroons, gourmet chocolates, artisan cakes, French pastries, and hot beverages. If you are looking for after-dinner snacks and something before desserts, try their tapas.

Inside Pix Patisserie in Portland
Inside Pix Patisserie in Portland

I clearly don’t remember what I or my friend ordered when we were there (pictures should give you a nice idea). But whatever they were…each of them was incredibly good. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but even then…I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Desserts in Pix Patisserie
Desserts in Pix Patisserie

Finding a parking here can be a bit tricky if you hate parallel parking. But for all the trouble you are going to get thru to come  here will be all better once you step your foot into Pix Patisserie. If you have enough time, walk around and have your meal somewhere in this neighborhood before your dessert…the whole street is packed with lots of ethnic restaurants at every corner.

Desserts and tea in Pix Patisserie
Desserts and tea in Pix Patisserie

I will take every chance I get to come to this place again. I bought some fruity gum drops for my kids which they loved. Now planning to bring them for some macaroons and other pastries.

Kachka – Russian Style Dining

When was the last time you went to a restaurant that is perfect in every aspect? If you haven’t experienced that recently, then you should check out Kachka in Portland. Kachka is a very popular Russian/Ukranian restaurant or maybe the only one of its kind here worth trying out.

Inside Kachka in Portland
Inside Kachka in Portland

Last week we had our annual company kick-off. Thursday was the team-dinner with all of our on-site and remote colleagues. We all met up at Kachka after work in the evening and for me, this was the first time there.

From outside, Kachka may not look all that fancy. But it does have a modern office-type brick and glass exterior. Once I was inside, it looked very opposite from it’s outer look. Interior was fancier with more colors, had loud music, closely arranged tables, and cheerful customers. The waitress who was serving us was very friendly, polite, answered my questions very patiently, and even suggested some items to try.

Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland
Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland

We were eight of us and if I am not mistaking, we ordered about 7 or 8 different types of appetizers to start with. The best part was that we all tried and shared little bit from each plate. And I am not lying a bit, every single appetizer that I’ve tried was made to perfection. Some appetizers you must try here are the herring “under a fur coat”, imerulian khachapuri (smoked cheese wrapped in a crunchy dough), variety of dumplings…especially the sour cherry dumplings, assorted pickled vegetables, and Uzbek-style brindza bread with sheep cheese spread.

Herring "under a fur coat" at Kachka in Portland
Herring “under a fur coat” at Kachka in Portland

For the main course, I had chicken skewer. And again…another tasty kebab dish that came with shredded carrot salad. The dish doesn’t come with any carbs which may seem small for some people. But for me, since I had the opportunity to taste multiple kinds of appetizers…the size was perfect for me.

My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland
My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland

I’ve been telling all my friends in Portland to try Kachka. I loved their food, customer service, atmosphere, decoration, and everything. I still crave their pickled vegetables and sour cherry dumplings…sooo good. This is a place where I would bring someone near and dear to my heart to treat them in a special place…this is how much I loved this place.

Antoni’s Restaurant – Beaverton

I officially have a teenager at home now. I say officially because, all this time she was pretending to be a teenager (pre-teen). This is an exciting phase for me…don’t really know what to expect other than what I experienced myself as a teen and what teenagers from this generation face.

To celebrate her 13th birthday, she wanted to keep it simple (compare to her last few birthdays) and wanted to take her few friends to a restaurant. We had total 17 people with her friends and families. After contacting few places from Italian to Middle-Eastern, we finally settled on Antoni’s (and not the Italian place in Portland, called Antonio’s). I’ve dined here before and I loved their food and atmosphere.

Cheese on flame in Antoni's
Cheese on flame in Antoni’s

Antoni’s is a Greek/Mediterranean place in Beaverton area on Canyon Road. It was love at first sight for me with this restaurant. I loved their food and interior when my friend took me there last year. This is a great place to celebrate an occasion or just go for soul Greek food or just love having breakfast/brunch outside of your house once in a while. Their menu pretty much covers wide variety of breakfast items, appetizers, all types of mouth-watering Greek salads, more than 10 different types of burgers, gyros, souvlaki, mousaka, seafood, kid-friendly menu, and other traditional Greek dishes.

Lamb and chicken skewers at Antoni's
Lamb and chicken skewers at Antoni’s

First time I was at Antoni’s, I had gyro, which I absolutely loved. This time we decided to go for Family Style Dinner for a big crowd. There 2 kinds of dinner platter that you can choose…Greek Dinner and Grilled Family Dinner. We ordered few of both platters. Both are slightly different and included cheese, salad, mousaka, dolmas, spanakopita, rice, mashed potatoes, lamb and chicken skewers, grilled shrimps, and veges. They were all great and all the kids loved the meat items as well as the salad and rice.

While everything on the dinner platter was great, I wouldn’t recommend wasting your money here on desserts. The birthday girl received a free sundae ice-cream which was great. But most of the other kids who got ice-cream or lava-cake or cheesecake…they all complained the desserts weren’t that yummy. But most of all those desserts weren’t really traditional Greek or Mediterranean sweets.

Dolmas, spanakopitas, and mousaka at Antoni's
Dolmas, spanakopitas, and mousaka at Antoni’s

But other than that Antoni’s’ had a perfect customer service and dealt with this big group very professionally and patiently. The kids especially loved when our waitress flamed a block of cheese on fire in front of them and gave the younger kids some birthday goodies.

Antoni’s is in my list of favorite restaurants for Greek food in Portland. Check it out and do let me know if you come across any other good Greek restaurants in town. I like any kind of Mediterranean dishes any days of the week.

 

Verde Cocina

Last Sunday night was the girls’ night out (only dinner though) and one of our friends was determined about going to Verde Cocina. Unlike many of the Mexican restaurants, this place is a gluten-free and vegan friendly place with more of healthier choices in the menu. I guess what I mean by that is that they use more locally grown ingredients, have less dishes with refried beans and sour cream and some dishes with EVOO.

Verde Cocina in Sylvan Highlands
Verde Cocina in Sylvan Highlands

Verde Cocina has multiple locations around Portland and as far I know, all of those locations have option to dine outside and are well known for their brunch selections. But what I loved during my first visit there, was their interior decoration and coziness of this place. It has a casual family-friendly atmosphere and service is awesome too.

Inside Verde Cocina in Sylvan Highlands

I ordered guacamole and tortilla chips, crab soup (was their soup of the day), and shrimp ceviche. Another friend ordered Pollo Con Papas. Yes, the guacamole had the option to add jalapeno (which we forgot to add), but I thought it tasted slightly flat…nothing that stood out for me. The tortilla chips were very good and fresh. I loved my soup of the day thoroughly and another friend who ordered that loved it too. It was creamy and very well balanced. The ceviche had only shrimp option and it came with garden salad. I liked it, but again I’ve had way better ceviche with lot of kicks of flavors. My friend’s Pollo Con Papas was really good. The chicken was grilled perfectly and tasted amazing. The dish came with boiled potatoes and fresh garden salad. I din’t try anything else other than the chicken from her plate. And that was one good slice of chicken.

Soup, shrimp ceviche, guacamole, and Pollo con Papas in Verde Cocina
Soup, shrimp ceviche, guacamole, and Pollo con Papas in Verde Cocina

If I ever go back to Verde Cocina, it would be for brunch next time. I am all for big brunch yums and love places where they offer brunch until late afternoon. Overall, I thought this restaurant has a very nutritious menu with traditional Mexican items and use better ingredients to cook their dishes. I am not sure if this place would be ideal if you are looking for messy tacos or mouth watering diablo dishes. But if you are looking to enjoy Mexican food without too much cheese or grease or refried stuff, I would highly recommend this place.

Dragonwell Bistro – PDX Downtown

About a block away from my workplace and very close to the Portland downtown waterfront, Dragonwell Bistro is probably my new favorite Asian place for now (not that I’ve explored much of Asian restaurants in this area). This would definitely be my go-to place whenever I am craving Chinese/Thai/Mongolian food for lunch during weekdays.

Dragonwell Bistro in PDX Downtown

Plan to park at a nearby garage or find a street parking if you want to dine in Dragonwell Bistro. Once you are inside and seated, it is a nice place to sit down, relax, and enjoy the downtown atmosphere. This would also be a great place to bring your friends or family to hangout or celebrate an occasion. The price is reasonable and the restaurant has wide variety of options from soups, curries, vegetarian plates, seafood, meat, gluten-free, and spicy dishes. Their dinner menu definitely has more items than the lunch menu.

Inside Dragonwell Bistro in PDX Downtown

My first time at Dragonwell Bistro, for lunch, I had scallop in spicy tangy sauce with white rice. I received the perfect portion of rice with scallop and mixed veges. To be honest, this was one of the best scallops I had in an Asian restaurant for a long time. I could feel the crunchiness outside of each scallop and tender/juicy bite inside it. It was perfectly seasoned with little bit of thick gravy mixed in with different kinds of vegetables.

Scallop in spicy tangy sauce in Dragonwell Bistron in Portland Downtown

As I mentioned before, I would go back there again to try some of their other dishes, like Mongolian spicy beef or miso soup. If you are in downtown and looking for a reasonably priced yet beautifully decorated Chinese/Mandarin place to eat, I would recommend to check this place out. Finally, my waiter was awesome and very friendly, although can’t say the same for the guy at the cashier. But overall it was a good run for me and I could go there, sit down, order food, and finish my food…all in half an hour, perfect to get back to my work right on time.

 

Gandhi Restaurant

Gandhi Restaurant is about a block or two walk from my work. It’s a popular place and a fairly crowded during lunch time on weekdays. The days I don’t bring lunch are the best time for me to look around downtown and taste different places.

Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown

This is a Panda Express style Indian fast-food place. They don’t have buffet or menu items. You have the option to choose from chicken, lamb, or different kinds of vegetable dishes. I had spicy chicken with eggplant curry. The amount of rice, curries, and naan I got for $9 is amazing. I walked over to the chutney/raita place to add some on my plate.

Dishes in Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Dishes in Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown

Both chicken and eggplant tasted nice for the first few bites. Then I kind of lost the appetite. I started feeling like I am just eating very mediocre type Indian food made for people who never had gourmet or good quality Indian food. The rice was completely buried and got mushy under all the gravy from chicken. Half way thru, I didn’t even feel like packing the rest of my food to bring it home, because I knew I wouldn’t eat it anymore.

I haven’t tried the other items here at Gandhi Restaurant but I doubt if I will ever go back there again. The customer service is great here and couple people at my work actually recommended this place…just not my type of Indian food.

Tangier Restaurant – Downtown PDX

Last Friday, we had a group lunch to welcome a new team member at my work place. Someone threw the name Tangier as an idea and thank God, it was a good choice all the way.

Tangier Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Tangier Restaurant in Portland Downtown

Located in the heart of Portland downtown near the water-front, Tangier is a Moroccan/Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern restaurant. It’s a medium size place with warm and relaxed environment. We arrived there a little before noon. I guess lunch is very busy here. It took a while for the waiter to give us water, menu, and finally get our orders. Their customer service is fantastic and the waiter kept apologizing for the delay.

Inside Tangier, a Moroccan Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Inside Tangier, a Moroccan Restaurant in Portland Downtown

But it was all worth it when we got our food…it was so dorn good. The new employee ordered a mashed egg-plant dip (not baba ganoush) with a big circle bread as an appetizer for us all. When I see vege dip like that, a fear crawls up that will it be too garlicky or too herby. But this was a very well-balanced and well-spiced egg-plant dip that tasted fresh and tasty with the warm bread.

My Lamb Tagine in Inside Tangier, Portland
My Lamb Tagine in Inside Tangier, Portland

When I ordered my lamb tagine (they also have salmon tagine, but waiter suggested lamb is better), I visioned my dish would be served in a tagine (like the way I was served in Marrakesh). Not the decoration of the plate, but not getting my lamb inside a tagine did disappoint me a bit, but my first bite in that tender lamb chop was a heaven. I usually don’t eat lamb, except only for lamb gyro, but I would go back there to have that slow-cooked lamb with rice and egg-plant again. Maybe a small portion of tzatziki sauce would have made that dish even better. I think four other of my co-workers liked their dishes too…at least they licked their plates clean. One ordered a mezza platter, another one an artichoke soup, and I think another one was with lamb too. We also ordered some Moroccan hot mint tea and Turkish coffee.

One of my co-worker's vegetable mezza platter in Tangier

Their menu has a wide variety of options from Moroccan dishes to Lebanese to traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern plates. This is a great place If you are a vegetarian or a vegan or a meat-lover…you will get many options from soup/stew, salad, appetizers, sandwich, platters, pizza, kababs/koftas, and other traditional Moroccan plates.

Be prepare for some street parking or garages when coming to Tangier. It is a perfect place to bring a small group for lunch or dinner…for a nice family dinner on a Saturday night or to celebrate a special occasion with few people. Looks like weekdays during lunch is busy but the restaurant does take reservation. I thought, the price was very reasonable too. I would absolutely bring some of my family members or friends to introduce them to this place.

Si Señor

I have been to this place multiple times with my kids before. And again last week, when I was craving for some Mexican food, I went there with one of my friends to try some new stuff. I don’t go to Si Señor for the food actually, because I’ve had more authentic and better Mexican food other places. Si Señor’s food is good too, but I love their colorful and fresh interior.

Si Señor, Cedar Hills
Si Señor, Cedar Hills

After they changed their location, the place looks amazing. All the furniture and decors are adorable. The customer service has also improved a lot. You will be treated with a bowl of tortillas chips, bean dip, and salsa after you sit down. BUT do walk to their salsa bar for more dips and sauces.

My Shrimp a la Diabla in Si Señor
My Shrimp a la Diabla in Si Señor

We’ve tried their carne asada, guacamole (pre-made), and tacos before. This time I had shrimp a la diabla (shrimp in red hot sauce) and my friend had mixed grilled beef, chicken, and shrimp. They all came with rice, beans, salads and fresh avocados. But next time I know I should order my shrimp diabla really hot and not medium. My friend’s grilled beef was smokey and tender. From my previous visit, I remember my daughter loved their carne asada too and finished it all. I wasn’t a big fan of the chicken BBQ…but then again our waitress mentioned that their beef is more popular there.

Mixed grilled - beef, chicken, shrimp in Si Señor
Mixed grilled – beef, chicken, shrimp in Si Señor

Si Señor is a nice place for celebrations or just to hang out with the loved ones. It is a bit pricey for the food quality. Again, food was great but I think they can kick it up a notch with some fresh stuff and not pre-made things sometimes for the price they charge. I would recommend this place to anyone actually. Try it out and decide. I will definitely go back there for no reason really. I always have had a great experience when I go their from their waiters/waitresses and managers.

Mixed platter in Si Señor

Food and culinary Adventure in Portland, Oregon

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