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
Tasy & Alder
580 SW 12th Ave.
The best biscuits and gravy I’ve had
A few months back we visited Tasty & Sons on Williams street and knew there was a second location closer by that we would eventually find our way to, but it wasn’t until we were driving down 12th street that we saw just how near it was to some of our other destinations. Past experience taught us there would be at least a 40 minute wait so after putting our names on the list we took a walk around the block with the intent of stopping in at Blue Star donuts for a couple of sweet appetizers. About 45 minutes and two sweet treats later we were seated at the bar in front of where all the delicious treats were being prepared inside Tasty & Alder. We were seated with our backs facing the restaurant which made it somewhat awkward to place our order with our waitress but it was a minor issue that certainly didn’t detract from us enjoying our meals. Carly picked a tasty roast beef melt and I chose their special of biscuits and gravy with a side of fries just to make sure I would be clogging some arteries. The waitress let us know that the plates would be brought out as they were prepared rather than all at once which was fine by us since bar space was somewhat limited. Previously I had ordered a Bloody Mary at their other location that was phenomenal but I decided to stick to coffee this time but I did see quite a few Bloodys go in and out of the bar as we waited. The plate of biscuits & gravy showed up a few minutes later and we hungrily forked in. At first I was a little disappointed by the rather small size of the biscuits but one bite of the fluffy baked goods along with the super succulent sausage gravy made me focus on the quality over the quantity. Carly’s sandwich arrived along with our fries a few moments later but were still distracted by the amazing biscuits to the point where I almost wanted to order a second plate. We sopped up the bits that remained and then moved onto the next plate. The fries were skinny and crispy and the sandwich was moist and tall and stuffed with flavor. I had spied a side of baked beans on the menu and requested that as well since I didn’t want to steal too much of Carly’s sandwich and the fries weren’t going to quite satisfy my hunger. A little tiny cast iron skillet arrived about 5 minutes later sizzling and popping and topped with crumbled cheese and sprinkled with bits of pork. If only I hard ordered the biscuits with the beans and topped with two over easy eggs I might have found the worlds best meal. Next time.
Present but not hovering plus since we were sitting with our backs to the restaurant we had to wait for her to come to us most of the time.
AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Nice unfinished open space with surprisingly comfortable metal seating.
Never had a bad bite, and I wish we had ordered a few additional items.
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