9309 Washington Square
I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad meal at the Cheesecake Factory and I’m still searching for the one item that I have togo there for but I do have some favorites after a decades worth of visits. We had just gotten out of seeing the Hunger Games: Girl on Fire and were looking for something a little more creative and less corporate but the traffic on the freeway led us to divert to the closest option at the Washington Square mall. It was only a 20 minute wait and we really only visit 3 or 4 times in a year so I figured making this our 52nd brunch stop wouldn’t be a horrible thing. So far the best meal I’ve had with Tha’ Factory is their Stuffed Chicken Tortillas but this time around I wanted to really have something breakfast adjacent so I selected the breakfast sandwich on toasted brioche with a nice big bowl of creamy chicken and mushroom soup. The waiter spend 4 minutes trying to talk me out of getting a bowl of soup and the breakfast sandwich and I appreciated him trying to swap my potato side for the soup but I’m an American adult and if I want to over consume its my constitutional right to be gluttonous occasionally so I rebuffed his suggestions and reiterated I wanted the whole damn thing. Carly went with more of a plain choice of spaghetti with the sauce on the side and we shared the soup with their tasty bread that is ever present. My potatoes were only so/so but at least they were very crispy but I probably should have swapped them for the soup in hind site. The sandwich was actually quite decent even with it’s simple ingredients but of course when you fry bread in butter it’s hard to take issue with it.
The server was friendly but he was rattling off so much in each sentence that it was hard for him to understand himself sometimes.
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
High ceilings brights colors but not a lot of opportunity for variance from the corporate template
Very tasty and large portions plus there is always dessert
8136 SW Hall Blvd.
Decent little neighborhood grill, but no fireplaces
First off, there is no fireplace at the Fireside restaurant but there are giant plasmas with flickering flames which in and of themselves I guess count as two forms of fire. This little pub/restaurant was pretty empty when we first arrived with just one bar fly buzzing around a warm beer but it was bright and inviting inside so we decided to stick it out. We were warmly greeted by a bouncy little hostess/waitress who encouraged us to choose where we wanted to sit so we chose a table near the front in a sunspot. Online reviews encouraged us to try their burger selection even though there were quite a few selections in the brunch category that sounded delicious. Because of the location of the restaurant it was actually a little difficult to see from the main road and I wondered if that’s why even with it’s high reviews it was relatively empty inside. Our burgers arrived about 12 minutes after placing our orders and I got a side of rather tasty clam chowder with mine while Carly’s came with some homemade chips topped with blue cheese dressing that actually was a surprisingly good condiment for them. It could have been my tastebuds were still asleep but I was rather under whelmed by the flavor of the burger and as good as the clam chowder was I was left wanting more than the little 4 ounce cup they served it in. Carly’s chips were very good and we certainly both left filled form the meal but I wouldn’t consider them the best burgers I’ve ever enjoyed. Still a solid visit and decent meal.
One lone server for the whole place but she was really on it.
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Decent interior layout but no fireplace in the fireside restaurant?
Excellent burger but not the best I’ve had
211 SW 6th Ave.
Tiny but tasty all the way around
We had planned to visit a pasta place downtown near Lardo but decided to spin the wheel o’Ness to see what suggestions might pop up and divert us, about halfway to the tunnel Carly said let’s get a sandwich at Bunk. A tiny, tiny shop just next to the max tracks we almost walked by it thinking it wasn’t even open but the amazing smell of toasted bread and meat let us know we were at the right place. I counted and there were seriously only 11 tiny stools inside and two counters on opposite sides to sit and eat at but we had the place to ourself so it certainly didn’t feel crowded. The girl behind the counter pointed to our left side where a giant chalkboard was filled with everything they offered almost all of which contained pork according to the disclaimer “except for the tuna & vegan options”. There was not a single item I didn’t want so I let the waitress/hostess/chef pick her favorite which was a Pork belly Reuben while Carly ordered a traditional roast beef “hold the horseradish”. They both came with chips but I also heard the girl say they were known for their bacon potato salad and decided I would judge for myself. Awesome is definitely a way to describe their salad but also limited quantity since I wanted to make it the entirety of my meal after just two bites, it was so delicious. Carly had a cold sandwich so it was handed to her within just a couple minutes while mine took about 5 so it could be properly toasted in their oven. What followed was the best sandwich I have had since Capriottis in warm springs Las Vegas close to a decade ago. While Carly’s roast beef was tasty it certainly suffered from not having the horseradish but she’s not a fan and it wasn’t my sandwich so who was I to object. The size of my meal was a little underwhelming but as a normal on the go lunch I think it would be more than satisfactory. Don’t be turned off by the tiny interior and if it really does bother you just take a couple sandwiches to go and eat on a bench.
11 Stools in a place smaller than most wardrobes so you almost no choice but to make eye contact with the fella that just made your meal
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A small narrow lunch spot with wonderful sandwiches but not much space for more than some album covers on the wall.
Amazingingly tasty sandwich and everything comes with pork
Taste of Szechuan
16261 NW Cornell Rd.
Amazing Food, Lackluster service
Some of the best pot stickers I have ever had in my life came from this restaurant and often we will order just that as a meal along with some rice. This day Carly was battling a bit of a hang over from a girls weekend at the beach so I offered to drag home some of her favorite asian food to speed her recovery. Occasionally when they first opened we’d goto the restaurant to sit down for a meal but after constantly getting slow service we decdied to put this place into our take out category or eateries. I highly recommend the Kung Pao chicken which is right up there with their pot stickers as some of the best flavor I’ve had in Oregon but seriously consider just picking it up to eat elsewhere.
It’s never really been great so more often than not we just do take out
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A nice interior with an open floor plan but more modern than traditional
Quite possibly the best Pot Stickers and Kung Pao Chicken I have ever had
5507 NE 30th Ave
Hip-spanic Restaurant Brunch
A friend at work has raved about Mexico Autentica’s dinner selections and on their site I saw they had begun offering brunch as well so I figured we could give it a try to see how it matched some of the other southwest themed destinations we had visited. It was on Killingsworth on an area of town we weren’t very familiar with so it also gave us the opportunity to rubberneck at a few other destinations along the way. We arrived and parked street side just in front of the rather tiny restaurant entrance and ventured inside. Despite all the hustle and bustle within we were seated immediately at a small wobbly table in front of the window and given a couple of glasses of warm water (why doesn’t anyone give ice at these breakfast places)? We scanned over the tabloid sized piece of paper containing the menu items which seemed odd considering the minimal amount of selections for brunch it could have easily filled a legal sized or double sided letter sheet. I recognized most of the words and found a few items of interest but still waited to hear what the waitress recommended. Carly is not a fan of mexican spice of any kind so I was surprised she did not protest more when I told her our destination. The waitress gave me a list of 3 different “specials” all of which sounded delicious and to varying degrees dangerous on the Scoville scale. I finally settled on the safe choice of steak and eggs with a side of black beans with some coffee. A short time later along with our drinks came a little trio of sauces, the green ones seemed harmless enough but a whiff of the glowing reddish oil made me tear up a bit with happiness. Our meals were a little slow to arrive but I attributed it to the extra influx of large parties that arrived shortly after us. I do love black beans with a meal so I was extra happy with my selection especially the side of chorizo which went very well with the slightly crispy fried eggs. The steak was a little tough even despite how thin it was but very tasty. We also received a basket of tiny fresh tortillas to sop up the flavor and assist with getting the tiny bits. Carly was less enamored with her mole’ chicken enchiladas and I’m not really a fan of the chocolate flavor of them either but I assume that’s part of the “Autentica”.
Tiny Coffee cups but friendly warm reception
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Modern interior with nice color scheme but a rather simplistic menu design
Wonderful steak and eggs with plenty of flavor and heat