Tag Archives: American

Southpark Seafood on Salmon St, Portland Downtown

Couple weeks ago, four of my travel chicas and I went out for a dinner get together in one of the best seafood places in Portland downtown. FYI, our travel pack, which consists of 5 girls, has traveled to Cabo, Mexico and Punta Cana, DR so far, our next trip is coming up soon later this year for some girl time fun.

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Seafood/oyster bar inside Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

For dinner that Sunday evening, we wanted to go to Tusk at first, then stopped at Mediterranean Exploration Company…but waiting time was more than an hour in both places. So, while looking for something nearby and considering a previous recommendation, we ended up going to Southpark Seafood on Salmon Street…only couple minutes drive from Portland waterfront. The restaurant is about 20 years old but it has upgraded its reputation recently in the last few years.

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The bar inside in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Southpark Seafood is a contemporary and stylish restaurant where you want to bring your loved ones for a grand treat or to celebrate an extra special event. It can be a bit noisy but I admired that casual ambiance here. The restaurant features sustainable seafood with a daily changing menu. They not only compost all their food waste and practice the reduce/reuse/recycle diligently, but also use straws made from corn and bar picks made of wood. If you happen to be an environmentalist AND an oyster lover, like me, they have one of the largest selections of oysters in town.

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Clam chowder with gnocchi in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

For appetizers and entrees, we had half a dozen oysters, clam chowder with gnocchi, Salmon Poke with seaweed/radish/nuts with sesame crackers, burger, Manila Clams with garlic/chili flake, Fried chicken with peanuts/maple syrup, Garlic Confit brick oven pizza with lemon zest/parsley, and Squid Ink Fettuccine with manila clams/tomato/scallions. At the end, we had an order of Warm Banana Bread Pudding which came with caramel, candied walnuts, and bruléed bananas. I tried every single dish from my friends’ and my small plates, except for the clam chowder and the Manila clams, and I don’t remember tasting something and going “Oh, I don’t like this one” for any dish in Southpark Seafood. Everything that I’ve tasted had unique flavors and signature touch to it.

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Manila clams and oysters in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Oysters that we had were the freshest, although, taste-wise, I probably liked the ones in Dan & Louise better. What I’ve heard from my friends about clam chowder was that it was creamy with the perfect combination of thickness and flavor that came with small sizes of gnocchi. Salmon Poke was probably the best one that really stood out on our table. It’s raw salmon with crunchy nuts and seaweed…a simple yet so yummy small plate that we could eat it for a main portion of dinner. I don’t usually eat burgers at a seafood restaurant but it was definitely beyond my expectation. Same for the fried chicken…something I wouldn’t have tried at a seafood place, especially I with maple syrup (bummer). But my friend requested the syrup on the side…therefore, the fried chicken alone tasted excellent crunchiness outside and super soft inside texture. The oven baked thin crust pizza was also very authentic and aromatic. My second favorite here, after the Salmon Poke, was my dish “Squid Ink Fettuccine”. Phew, the dish came with some gorgeous manila clams in a medium portion. The added tomato and scallion kicked this squid ink pasta dish to another level of elegance…totally got my umami effect from this. To end the mean, bread pudding was presented delicately on a wooden board…warm with candied nuts and caramelized banana slices, couldn’t have been any better.

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Salmon Poke in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Some of the other highlighted items in the menu were seafood stew, fish and chips, different kinds of salads, soups, sandwiches, habanero aioli fries, grilled octopus and scallops, Ahi Tuna, dungeness crab, King salmon, seafood tower that includes oysters/crab/tuna/scallops/prawns with assorted sauce, pasta with lamb ragu, beet + goat cheese ravioli, and a whole lot of other very appetizing dishes. For the dessert menu, other than the banana bread pudding that we ordered, it also includes lemon cheesecake, German chocolate cake, cookie plate, gelato, sorbet, and some more.

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My Squid Ink Fettuccine dish in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

It’s not just the food, but their friendly and fast service also that gave all of us a beautiful evening. Plan to park in a paid area or find a street parking for this restaurant. It’s a big restaurant…mostly likely, you won’t reservation for a small or big group. No doubt, I would highly recommend this to all of my people…come and check it out, let me know which dish you liked the most.

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Our dessert – Warm Banana Bread Pudding in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Canard in E. Burnside, Portland

Our mother-daughter date could not have been any better last Saturday night. My younger one was at a play-date (which turned into a sleep over) and my older teen daughter was fancying a posh restaurant with elegant yet casual vibes. What better way to fulfill that wish other than taking her to one of the best places in Portland?

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Inside Canard, Portland, OR

Canard is owned by the same talented team as Le Pigeon, which is a French restaurant located right next door. Canard is chef Gabriel Rucker’s most casual place to dine in an elegant yet relaxed mood. The dishes in the menu are from all over the world, but mainly French-inspired. The portion, taste, delicacies, presentation…they all scream OUI in every possible way. Rightfully so, the restaurant won “Best restaurant of the year” within couple weeks of opening it in 2018. I would categorize this as a street side European-style bistro where the food is fine-dining quality. The service is as fantastic as the food and the ambiance, we barely waited 5 minutes to get to be seated and the overall service was fast and friendly.

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Foie Gras Dumplings in Canard, Portland, OR

So, now to the best part…the dishes we ordered. We had half a dozen of mignonette oysters with green chili juice, their signature Garlic Fries with home-made sauce, Foie Gras Dumplings with celery root, black garlic, and orange cubes, and Thai Fried Trout with green curry guacamole that came with thinly sliced picked carrots and butter lettuce. If you are there just for snacks or drink and want to try only one item…it should be their garlic fries. This is probably the most addicting french fries I have tried so far which is perfectly cut, infused with garlic flavor, seasoned with the right amount of herbs, and fried for the right amount of time. The oysters were fresh and small, but the hint of the chili sauce added a delicious kick. For Foie Gras dumpling, I have never tried it before even after living in Belgium for few years. The ones in Canard were not only creamy and flavorful but also it managed to prove my skepticism about foie gras. Black garlic with the dumplings were just small pieces of savory heaven in that bowl…something I’ve never tried before either. Another main entree, Thai Fried Trout, was crunchy outside, yet soft and moist inside…not greasy at all. Every piece of trout in the bowl was aromatic and classy. Finally, to the finish the meal, we had one order of Paris Brest to share. This was probably a regret there and we should not have ordered it after eating all those above. It was fantastic with cookies & cream and chocolate sauce. But the size and consistency didn’t work well, since we were already too full.

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Thai Fried Trout in Canard, Portland, OR

Overall, we had an excellent experience here. This is a great place for date, to hang out with friends or colleagues or for girls night out. But I wouldn’t bring small kids here…I don’t think my 10-year old would have appreciated this place or its food to the fullest. You will get the oysters for half the price if you come here during happy hour. Next time, I got to try the next door sister restaurant, La Pigeon to see what the hype about is about this place. Plan to park parallel on nearby streets when you want to come here.

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Our dessert – Paris Brest at Canard, Portland, OR

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

Located few blocks from the water front and the World Trade Center in downtown Portland, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery is an ideal place to hang out with your friends or coworkers on any night of the week. I was there with few of my girlfriends on a Saturday evening without a reservation. But thankfully, we didn’t have to wait even 5 minutes to get a table. The service here is very fast, friendly, and professional.

The Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Portland Downtown
The Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Portland Downtown

Rock Bottom Restaurant has a wide variety of menu from appetizers, soups, salads, seafood, steak, pasta, burgers, sandwiches, and many Mexican dishes too. And if you are like me who is always looking for spicy food, their menu may fulfill your taste buds.

For appetizers, we had Rockin’ Guac and Firecracker shrimps to be shared with 5 of us. Rockin’ Guac came with nachos and freshly made delicious guacamole. But I loved the firecracker shrimps more…they were really crunchy outside and perfectly tender inside. It wasn’t spicy hot as I thought it would be, but were very addicting.

Guacamole & nachos and firecracker shrimps at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Portland Downtown
Guacamole & nachos and firecracker shrimps at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Portland Downtown

For the main course, I had Cajun pasta with shrimp without the sausage. My friends ordered chicken tortilla soup, mango habanero chicken, cajun fish taco, and jambalaya. Out of all 4 dishes, the mango habanero chicken was the best (although I didn’t try the soup or the taco). It came with pico de gallo and avocado and the chicken was cooked/grilled to the most perfect way. Jambalaya was very good and was very spicy too. The sauce hits your tongue and burns your mouth after few bites. I loved my Cajun pasta that had perfect spiciness but was a bit too saucy for me. Next time, I know for sure that I’ll go with that habanero chicken.

Mango habanero chicken (left) and cajun fish taco in Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Portland
Mango habanero chicken (left) and cajun fish taco in Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Portland

All the dishes were very proportionate, at least for me. I usually can’t finish my plate most of time I go out to eat. I couldn’t finish here either, but did better this time.

My cajun pasta (top) and jambalaya (bottom) in Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Portland

I wouldn’t really bring my kids here for a meal but I thought it was a hip place to hang out and have good food with my adult peeps. Parking can be tricky in downtown…use paid garages or street parking if available.

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This restaurant closed down its downtown location.

Urban Fondue on Glisan St. Portland

My eight-grader finished this year with more than 3.5 GPA (yes, I’m a proud mama) and we were delighted to attend her “Honor Student and Family Breakfast” this week where she also received an award for outstanding community service. What better way to acknowledge her achievement other than taking her to her favorite restaurant?

Inside Urban Fondue on Glisan St. in Portland, OR
Inside Urban Fondue on Glisan St. in Portland, OR

My daughter has been mentioning about  Urban Fondue for more than a year now. When I asked her to pick a restaurant to celebrate finishing up her middle school successfully…her first choice was Urban Fondue.

Located very close to the downtown area on Glisan St, this is a nice neighborhood to explore few other restaurants and stores. Bad part is that you have to find a street parking but good part is that once you do, it’s all worth the headache.

Cheese fondue with bread in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR
Cheese fondue with bread in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR

We made a reservation for four people on a week-night. Although they have option of sitting outside, we sat inside which was simple with vibrant red walls and furniture. Before you try out this place, keep in mind that this is a fondue place…with cheese, chocolate, and different kinds of broth to cook your meat/seafood/veges. Basically, a dip and dine place.

Raw meat/fish/vegetable platters in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR
Raw meat/fish/vegetable platters in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR

While you can order single entrees from the menu, we ordered a combo for 3 people ($37 per person) where we were able to choose 2 different kinds of cheese fondue, 1 side, 3 main entrees with beef, chicken, seafood, and vegetables, and 1 dessert.

All the dipping sauce with dinner in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR
All the dipping sauce with dinner in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR

Our 2 choices of cheese fondue came with small pieces of gourmet bread and a side of vege-roasted cauliflower. Then the main dishes with raw meat/seafood and vegetables came with 2 different kinds of broths that we chose – roasted beef and urban Yosenabe broth. We were given a cooking time card and few timers. Most of these ingredients take about 3 minutes to cook properly in the broth. The dinner platters also came with more than 10 dipping sauces…each being completely different from the others. After the dinner items, we moved onto the dessert part…chocolate fondue with raspberry puree (called Raspberry Swirl). And it came with combo platter with strawberries, banana slices, delicious cheesecake squares, and few other yum bites.

Cooking our dinner items in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR
Cooking our dinner items in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR

Not to exaggerate, but from the appetizer cheese and bread to dinner items in broth to sweet morsels dipped in chocolate/raspberry fondue…everything tasted just PERFECT…exactly the way you would imagine and how you know you would feel when you dip your food in scrumptious cheese fondue or cook in the broth or having fresh fruit in melted chocolate. Everything here tasted fresh and sizes of the plates were very proportionate too.

Raspberry Swirls with combo platter for dessert in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR
Raspberry Swirls with combo platter for dessert in Urban Fondue in Portland, OR

Urban Fondue is a perfect place to celebrate any occasion for any ages or just to hang out and try a different kind of dining with your loved ones. My kids were thrilled to be there and we all absolutely loved their food. The customer service is very professional and speedy also. Overall, all of us had a very nice experience here. And now that I’m hooked to fondues, I will have to come back here again to try their other kinds of cheese and chocolate recipes.

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.

Great Harvest Bread Co. in Downtown

It is that time of the year for the ugly sweater contest and cookie exchange at my job. I am not a baker and didn’t even have time to bake last night. Therefore, the hunting for a cookie place begins. A block away from my work on the 2nd Street in Portland Downtown, there is a bread and bakery place, called Great Harvest Bread Co. It’s time to put them to test (muhahaha).

Great Harvest Bread Co. in Portland Downtown
Great Harvest Bread Co. in Portland Downtown

This is a little corner bakery shop with few other locations in Oregon, including one in Clackamas, Oregon. As soon as you enter the shop, you see all sorts of different breads and cookies being displayed. It looked like couple of their specialties are fresh milled and grind wheat bread and fresh challah bread. YUMMM. FYI, I’ve made challah bread before…my kids loved it. But then again, who doesn’t like freshly made warm bread right out of the oven???

Great Harvest Bread Co. in Portland Downtown
Great Harvest Bread Co. in Portland Downtown

I was in there for some holiday cookies and from many options, I  picked 1 ½ dozens of eggnog snickerdoodles. They also had oatmeal, chocolate mint, and tons of other cookies in the selections. But remember, these are jumbo sized cookies…bigger the better.

My jumbo sized snickerdoodles from Great Harvest Bread Co.

If you are not up for breads or cookies, maybe try one of their sandwiches, which would be my next adventure in this restaurant. There are only few high chairs to really sit down and have a meal. Most of the customers were there to buy different breads or grab a to-go cookie. But yeh, I would go back there to get some sandwich breads next time and try the chocolate mint cookies, because you can never go wrong with chocolate and mint together.

Slappy Cakes – Flip your own pancakes

Yes, you read that right. Slappy Cakes is a fun place to enjoy a brunch, especially for the kids. You get to shape, design, and flip your own pancakes the way you want it and then top it off with your favorite toppings. If you are not a pancake lover, not to worry…they have a whole bunch of other full-service brunch items in the menu that you can order while your family or friends make their own pancakes. It’s a crowded and noisy restaurant…a perfect family place where I would rather be on a Saturday morning with my cubs.

Slappy Cakes in Portland, OR
Slappy Cakes in Portland, OR

Each table in Slappy Cakes comes with a hot table-top griddle to make your pancakes. Customers order whatever types of batter they want for their pancakes, including chocolate, buttermilk, seasonal flavors, gluten-free batter, and etc. Then order your toppings and extras and voila. Each of you will get a spatula to flip your pancakes. It’s a  fun and sleek place for the kids to explore their creative cooking sides.

Inside Slappy Cakes in Portland, OR
Inside Slappy Cakes in Portland, OR

We ordered 2 bottles of buttermilk pancake batter, few toppings like strawberries, bananas, blueberries, scallions (for savory pancakes, and they are pretty good), and whipped cream. My girls also got sides of scrambled eggs with cheese and turkey bacon. I had vegetable hashbrown which is a bowl of potatoes, mixed vegetables with scrambled eggs on top. I added few drops of hot sauce and it was a bowl of perfect deliciousness. Oh, and the batter for the pancakes…my daughters and I were talking about how good the pancakes tasted.

Kids are making and flippin' their pancakes in Slappy Cakes
Kids are making and flippin’ their pancakes in Slappy Cakes

Slappy Cakes are open weekdays until 2pm and weekends until 3pm. Plan to stand in the line for at least half an hour at any given day and time. We were there on a Saturday morning around 10:30am and waited about 40 minutes to get a table. But at the end, it’s all worth it. And despite of the large crowd and waiting customers, we got a great customer service and a friendly waitress. Also, be ready to park on the street-side in this neighborhood…sometimes couple blocks away during a busy time.

My vege hashbrown in Slappy Cakes
My vege hashbrown in Slappy Cakes

I would go back to Slappy Cakes a thousand more times if it was closer to where I live. I would recommend this place to anyone who loves having big breakfast any day of the week. Bring your kids or your loved ones and have fun flippin’.

Joe’s Burgers

Joe’s Burger is an artisan burger place in the courtyard of Bridgeport Village in Tigard. It This was my second time there and this is somewhere I’d always go back for some GOOD ol’ traditional burgers and fries.

Joe's Burgers in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard
Joe’s Burgers in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard

Last Friday night I had the Guacamole Burger while my daughter had the Joe’s Classic cheeseburger. After first bite, my daughter’s first comment was that this was very close to famous In ‘N Out’s animal style burger…that means, it was extremely good for her to even compare it with In ‘N Out.

Joe's Burgers Menu in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard
Joe’s Burgers Menu in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard

My Guacamole burger was big and deliciously mouth watering. Since their burger patties are grilled after the order has been placed, they are hot and juicy . And their fries are always fresh and crunchy too. If you are not up for burgers, try their hotdogs or chili dogs.

My Guacamole burger from Joe's Burgers in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard
My Guacamole burger from Joe’s Burgers in Bridgeport Mall, Tigard

Menu here may be short but it has some variety to offer. For me, This is definitely a place to come in summer time, sit outside in the mall courtyard and enjoy live music with a perfect bite of simple gourmet burger. This is the place for a cheap, old fashioned, and fast burgers…definitely one of the best in town.

My friend's spicy chicken burger with chili fries from Joe's Burger in Bridgeport Village, Tigard
My friend’s spicy chicken burger with chili fries from Joe’s Burger in Bridgeport Village, Tigard

Mr. Bento Burger – Hillsboro

I’ve been hearing about this Mr. Bento Burger for a while from my manager. I didn’t exactly know what it was…is it Asian or is it a burger shack or both? I had to know what’s going on there.

Outside Mr. Bento in Hillsboro

So, Mr. Bento Burger was my last night’s dinner spot. It’s conveniently located very close to Intel’s RA location on Cornell Rd. This is a Japanese inspired gourmet burger place that offers all sorts of burgers including the regular ones and something called “Rice Burgers” (?)…that’s something I got to try next time.

It’s a small and modish place with indoor and outdoor sitting arrangements. I loved the Asian style interior design with regular tables and bar-like high chairs. Service here is A+ too; I saw the cashier (they don’t have servers or waiters ) coming to every table and asking if everything is OK.

Inside Mr. Bento in Hillsboro

This can be a bit expensive for burgers, at least more than what I was expecting. I paid little more than $20 with the tips for my salmon steak burger and a drink. Yes, it came with a side of Asian salad and 4 pieces of pot-stickers. Regular or sweet potato fries are separate if you want them with your burger (and they can replace your pot-stickers with fries). But that dressing on the Asian salad…OMG, it was unexpectedly delicious. My burger came with a big chunk of perfectly cooked salmon steak, slices of jalapenos (which I ordered extra) and other stuff. And man, it was hot but good.

My salmon steak burger at Mr. Bento Burgers, Hillsboro

Some of the other burgers that caught my eyes were kimchi burger and Hawaiian burger…maybe next time. But you can spicy up yours with extra ingredients like jalapenos, kimchi sauce, grilled mushrooms, and etc.

This would be a perfect place to come for a quick yet gourmet bite. I have to bring my burger-lover daughter here to try some of their other items in the menu, especially, their Thai iced-tea for sure. Fusion eatery at its best.