Some great food in Portland and Salem and Online

mr chips
Filet Mignon
2012/09/02 18:09:41
This has been a week where I took care of myself. I had laser surgery on my right eye and got my teeth worked on by a dentist. This was combined with some excellent food to make for a nice holiday weekend.
       The McMenamin brothers have made quite a splash in Oregon. They were one of the first people to set up brew pubs in the Oregon and Washington area and they have a career out of rehabbing schools, funeral parlors, old folks homes and other buildings and turning them into restaurants and places for decent beer. my eye surgery was two blocks from one of their pubs and i stopped there for lunch before my eye surgery.
      I had a surprisingly good grilled cheese. it featured smoked bacon, a fried egg and pimento cheese on sourdough bread. The combination of flavors was quite a treat. The smokey bacon and the egg flavors mixed well and the pimento provided a nice contrast. Sometimes McMenamins can be hit or miss but this sandwich was a definite winner.
       Friday trudy and i went to the Mekong Bistro, a Cambodian restaurant across the street from my son's old high school. I asked for guidance from the owner's daughter as i have had very little experience with Cambodian cuisine.. She recommended I try the Ah-Mok, catfish steamed in a banana leaf and served with coconut cream and homemade curry. it looked a lot like Chilean sea bass I have eaten and the flavor was wondrous, sweet and spicy but the heat did not overwhelm the fish.And coconut is a flavor I very much enjoy.
      Trudy had Som La ga Go(Khmer combo soup) with a lot of mixed greens and chicken. It was heated over an open serving dish and was nice mix of flavors.Trudy and i shared a dessert of 3 colors jello, a mix of tapioca, jackfruit, Asian jello and water chestnuts that soothed the stomach and interested the taste buds. Our first visit but it won't be out last.
   Saturday we drove to Salem to sample a newly reviewed roadfood place and also eat at a place that was chased off the review section by massive criticism from a lot of people who never ate there. Los Temos is a recently reviewed Mexican place just north of the most northern Salem freeway exit and Brooks. it is near an auto junkyard and an R.V dealer. its speciality is birria(goat) tacos and a most excellent birria soup. The food is mildly spiced but served with a lot of condiments that can spice it up considerably. Many folks dip the tacos in the broth to provide a very satisfying taste. Trudy had a shrimp plate with a dozen boiled shrimp, excellent rice and beans, fresh veggies and an order of 6(sic) homemade tortillas. Both meals were excellent, very filling and worth the short drive north of the city.
          Our second stop was reviewed on the website a few years ago. One day it was the restaurant of the day and was attacked by a large number of roadfooders for a couple days until its review was removed from the website. I'd been meaning to eat there  to see if all the fuss had been justified.
        The worst thing about the place was its difficulty to locate. it is located in the bottom floor of a utility company office building and there is no sign indicating the restaurant's presence. The place is well-reviewed on yelp but has no real personality. Its hummus was good as was a macaroni and cheese dish with smoked cheese and bacon. My garlic toast was burnt and served with the worst marinara sauce i have ever eaten. The other entrees were  basic American, the salads looked good and the baked goods were an eclectic mix. it had the feel of a place that was a small town owner's idea of big city sophistication. Not horrible food but a kind of place you might want to eat at if you wanted a classy feel to your meal. my ultimate verdict, it wasn't road food but you could do a lot worse.
post edited by mr chips - 2013/06/30 10:57:27
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/09/03 09:26:31
Mr Chips, happy to see you and Trudy had a fun weekend..........You are seeing Birria, more and more in the PNW. I had a favorite taco wagon in Mexico that sold out of Birria everyday by 1pm. We would have to get there for breakfast in order to get them.............I can feel the chill in the air over here, fall is just around the corner.................take care,...........Bill
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/09/03 09:55:59
I stayed at one of those repurposed schools a couple of years ago--very fun and conveniently located.  With the help of friendly bus drivers, I was able to easily navigate the city without having to drive into it.  And there's so much good food in Portland, it's crazy.  I especially enjoyed the desserts at Papa Haydn on 23rd, and vow to get back there.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/09/07 19:14:42
Ordered some beef jerky online from Green Light Jerky Company, a 500 Things recommendation. The package even highlights the endorsement by Jane and Michael Stern. The flavor was PRD  which is supposed to taste like prime rib. There is a nice flavor and a good crunch. it cost $33.00 for delivery and a 2 pound package. Tasty, chewy i like it and the question is if it is worth that much money for a food i only eat on impulse and not very frequently. it was decent but I'd be more curious about buffalo, elk or venison jerky.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/09/07 19:15:49
Fire Safety Admin
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/09/14 13:13:37
Very nice write up mr.chips!  I can't imagine a restaurant with no sign being in the bottom floor of utility company building.  How in the world are people supposed to find them?
How is your right eye after the surgery?
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/11/25 18:47:03
Ordered a package of"classic " candy bars from the Vermont Country store. It was a total of 12 bars for a cost(including shipping ) of $ 25.00. Included in the package were Sifers Valomilk, a 500 Things reviewed item that was a delightfully messy mix of milk chocolate cups and marshmallow filling usually only available in the midwest and produced in suburban Kansas City , Kansas. Mallo Cups are milk chocolate cups with a whipped cream center that is very tasty, Necco Sky Bars were included as were  Ice Cube candies, Clark Bars,and  Zagnut bars.  A nostalgic mix with some new candies(to me) that I really liked. Worth an order if you like older style candy.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/11/25 20:22:28
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/11/26 13:28:02
Interesting report, Jim.
How's the eye?  Sharon had both eyes done this year due to cataracts.  Hers were easy operations.  Hope yours was as well.
I never let the opinions of others lead my way to eating establishments.  Some highly touted, I've detested and some I love others would not set foot in.
When you're in the Palm Springs area make a trip to Palm Desert (a little east) and visit Rocket Fizz for a fun trip back in to candy history.
They have sodas to match Galco's and candy to take care of all your other teeth.
Rocket Fizz opened up next to my store about 4 years ago and I thought they'd never make it selling candy and soda pop.  They're not only still in business, they're opening up franchises all over the place.
Hard for me to pay the high price of jerky even though I realize it takes a whole cow to get one pound of jerky. 
As for re-purposed buildings my favorites are a toss-up:  A brothel in New Orleans where I slept or a sewer in France where I dined.
Glad to see you reporting again.  I enjoy your reports.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/12/20 23:18:35
Took up the Sterns's suggestion and got 6 Dutch letters from the Jaarsma Bakery in Pella, Iowa. Almond paste delicious. sweet but not overly so,  pastry substantial but not heavy. yum 
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/23 00:19:15
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/12/21 02:45:34
Just a shout out to Mr. Chips for the marvelous tour of Portland Dining he took me on this last Friday. Awesome! In thinking back, though-------shouldn't we have squeezed in a local gyros place in after the Portland Art Museum show. You know, an appetizer before Pal's and a food follow up to Herakles?
Thanks again!
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:some great food in Portland and Salem 2012/12/27 23:35:15
Thanks for the kind words, rd. I'm going to post a fuller commentary in the road food meet-up section.