Saturday, September 30, 2006

Pazzo Ristorante

OK, another tradition has begun. We just finished a very nice dinner at the Pazzo Ristorante in downtown Portland.

Laurae and I had a pre-race dinner here in 2001 and then last year, Jill and I enjoyed another one, even though we had to eat at the bar because the restaurant was full. This year we arrived at 4:30 and found the restaurant to be pleasantly quiet. (It wouldn't last!) We ordered and our waiter quickly had our salads presented. I had ordered a beet and cucumber salad, but I wasn't prepared for the sight of yellow beets? It was quite good and now I wonder where I can find yellow beets.

For entrees, we had ordered pasta of course; Laurae had a saffron pasta with smoked pork and prosciutto ragu while I had the black and white ravioli stuffed with salmon. All very good. And yes, we will be back. It's a tradition.

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar

... Family-owned since 1907

After a great breakfast, we decided to walk down to the Oyster Bar. Not to eat, but to see what was on the menu. With Laurae's allergy crisis only a few weeks old, we thought it made more sense not to tempt fate and so we were looking at the menu to see if there were items other than seafood on it. There were; a 5 ounce steak with 2 sides and only $11. This will be our destination on Sunday evening, after the marathon. This is where we ate last year, so I suppose we're trying to make it a tradition. Why not? It's great food!

Here's my photo


Bistro & Bar
This was our choice for breakfast and it was a good one! I wasn't sure of where to go, so I Googled "Portland breakfast" and one of the first reviews I saw mentioned this place. It was only about 4 blocks from the hotel, a pleasant walk.

There was quite a crowd when we arrived, but it only took about 5 minutes for us to be seated in a pleasant sun-lit location. Laurae had the Grilled Portabella Mushroom & Asiago Cheese Scramble while I had a Beef Hash...not corned beef, but the real thing. The service was super and the food was excellent. What else would you need?

Give Mother's at least 4 stars.

Here's my shot of the exterior. See the people sitting at the sidewalk table? Our table was right behind them (but inside, of course)

And right across the street, this unique looking building.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ah! Coffee!

I suppose I should mention some of the food we enjoyed while we were touring New Mexico, beginning with the coffee we found while shopping at…Trader Joe’s. Yes, even in the wilds of Santa Fe, you can find the Trader. We spotted a coffee with the name, “New Mexico Piñon Coffee”. A little investigation reveals the fact that the ingredients are High Altitude Arabica Coffee Beans and Piñon Nuts. Well, we were in New Mexico and the name of the coffee seemed promising, so we bought and ground a package of the beans. I can tell you that we all enjoyed it thoroughly! Each mornings brew brought fresh comments about the aroma and flavor.

And this morning, back home and shopping at Trader Joe’s in Chico…there it was! So I now have a package, freshly ground and will make a pot for tomorrow morning. Here’s the link to their website. And from what I just read, they have a new coffee, “Colorado Piñon Coffee.” I may have to order some of that!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A tale of two restaurants

Last Friday we returned to Grilla Bites on Cohasset and enjoyed a pleasant “birthday” meal. Since it was my birthday, I decided to splurge with the Organic Bison Rib Eye steak. (Is bison ever, not organic?) Anyway, the meal included fresh sautéed vegetables and garlic mash potatoes. We sat outside near the fountain and enjoyed the splashing sounds that masked any noise from street traffic. The restaurant is located so far from the street; there is very little noise anyway. The bison was delicious as were the vegetables. The garlic mashed potatoes were smooth and creamy…but where was the garlic? All in all, a good meal and the tab for the steak was $19.

On a different note, we tried the newest restaurant in Orland last night; the Farwood Bar and Grill. First, the surroundings. The building immediately to the south is condemned and has a large sign on it to indicate that it shouldn’t be occupied. Parking for the new restaurant was absent as the parking lot hasn’t been paved yet. So far, not so good. We were greeted courteously and shown to the table that had been reserved for our party of 5. Oops! That was going to be a tough fit. So we were shown to another, near the front of the restaurant. As it turned out, the table would fit two diners nicely; so why were there 4 chairs? And 5 diners make for a very crowded dinner. And since they hadn’t included window shades in the design, the two of us had to squint or shade our eyes with the menus. We ordered and I had a small sirloin, some vegetables and a baked potato, while Laurae had Mahi Mahi. (Dorado) We struggled to enjoy the appetizers which had taken up all available table space. Dinner arrived after a reasonable wait and it was fine. Except for the vegetables, which were al dente…but cold. The size of the sirloin was right; maybe 6 oz? Laurae said the fish was dry, a symptom of overcooking.

Although the restaurant is lovely to look at; the back bar is magnificent! There are too many failings for us to try it again this year. The place is extremely noisy; as there are no soft surfaces anywhere and the bar is separated from the diners by a low wall. Maybe, after they have had some time to correct things, we might try it again. But, with the $$$ dollars that they have invested in the place, they may not make it till next year.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Review

The Shipping News

A very good movie. We were pleasantly surprised by it and found it enthralling. But here I am finding it difficult to describe?…There was some profanity, but it served its purpose by shocking us when we heard it. Sure, some parts of the story were not credible, but overall I would give it 4 stars out of 5, and I wish we could find more films just like it.