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What Makes Wolf and Bear’s Falafel Epic?

Wolf and Bear’s has almost a cult like following.  I know that is claiming a lot for a humble chickpea dish.  But indeed, Portlanders just go gaga over the falafel pita wraps.  Currently, Wolf and Bear’s has two food truck locations.  One on North Mississippi (between Shaver and Failing).  And the other in Pod 28, which is on SE 28th and Ankeny, on the southern end of the renown Kerns Restaurant Row.

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Get Your Israeli Street Food Fix at Shalom Y’all

Through the years, I have watched John Gorham build his Portland food empire, one delicious restaurant at a time.  His business model it interesting, as he serves different cuisines, but they all have delicious dining in common.

The John Gorham empire expands

It all started with Toro Bravo which is Spanish influenced, although not in the strictest of ways.  Tasty and Sons and Tasty and Alder soon followed.  Then Tasty and Sons morphed into Tasty and Daughters.  They are excellent brunch spots, serving upscale and creative twists on traditional items like poached eggs, and French toast.

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A Slice of Hog Heaven – Tails and Trotters

Every time I walk into Tails and Trotters I comment (to myself), “this is a slice of hog heaven, well actually it is not heaven for a hog, but it sure is heaven for a human.”  Of course this assumes that you are not vegetarian.  And if that is the case, then keep reading!

Pork is nutrient dense and flavorful, not to mention adaptable to different cuisines.  Now imagine if those happy pigs were finished off on hazelnuts.  I bet you realize that would impart a distinctively complex and rich flavor to the meat.  Well that is exactly what you can discover for yourself at Tails and Trotters.

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Jasmine Pearl Tea Company – a tea lovers’ delight

I had already noticed signs at other local businesses displaying “We Serve Jasmine Pearl Tea” so I assumed Jasmine Pearl was a local company procuring and possibly making their own blends of tea.  There is a sign before you step in requesting you do not use your cell phone or other electronical devices.  How refreshing!  Somebody thinks tea is sacred and is bold enough to make others acknowledge the same.

The spacious room has plenty of varieties of tea and tea preparation paraphernalia.  Tea pots, tea cups, tea infusers, and other accessories are all on display in an appealing and uncluttered fashion.  There are different styles, mostly Asian inspired, but some European styles.  And there is a rack with the more popular tea varieties prepackaged in two ounce bags for customer’s ease. Jasmine pearls are a tea variety themselves. The leaves from green tea are rolled up into little pearls and blended with jasmine flowers, which are intoxicating in their own right.

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Portland’s Pizza of Many Origins on Restaurant Row

Pizza aficionados are very attached to their favorite type of pizza.  I grew up in NY and gorged on pizza for a couple decades, with the occasional hiatus to gorge on bagels, egg creams, and pastrami sandwiches.  So, I admittedly have a bias for New York pizza.  But when a wave of rationality sweeps over me, I am the first to admit there are other contenders for excellent styles of pizza. And Portland’s pizza is worth taking a closer look at.

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A Night at Erizo Is a Night Worth Remembering

I had been to Bar Casa Vale once before and liked it well enough.  But the announcement from its parent company that a second restaurant, with a focus on sustainable seafood was opening up next door really grabbed my attention. It’s name was to be Erizo.  It sounded like a fun place to eat in Portland.

Usually it is the fancy restaurant that opens first and the casual cousin comes next, to make the chef more accessible to the masses.  But hey, this is Portland, and things don’t happen in any particular order.  Someone creative gets an idea, goes with it and often, they are successful doing it their way.

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Providore Fine Foods – Visit on a Portland Food Tour

Providore claims to be a purveyor of fine foods and it is indeed just that.  It is actually a mix of several businesses that each occupy space in the same building.  And the synergy of the mix is awesome.  Providore’s website lists:  Pastaworks (fresh pasta, wine, and a deli), Arrosto (rotisserie chicken), Flying Fish Company (replete with its own oyster bar and soup samples), The Meat Monger (think duck, quail, hazelnut finished pork, and pasture fed beef), Rubinette Produce Market (with unusual varieties of usual fruits and veggies), Little T Baker (artisan bread and sweet treats) and Hillary Horvath Flowers (think seasonable like eye popping peonies and wild berry flowers).

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Pambiche – a Slice of Old Havana

I discovered this gem years before I moved to Portland.  It came to me through word of mouth in one of those classic “where are the fun restaurants in Portland” conversations.  Although I did not purposely move a few blocks from it to be nearby, it’s certainly an added benefit of living in the Kerns. And how terrific that on a rainy Oregon day, I can slip into Pambiche – a slice of old Havana with Cuban hospitality.

So Pambiche, touts itself as Cuban food, which I believe you will find to be very similar to other food from the Caribbean and Central America.  Countries in those regions are geographically small, therefore the overlapping of food crops that thrive there is to be expected.  And yet, each country develops its own customs of preparing food, creating a sense of national identity.

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Holdfast Dining — the Place for Re-envisioned Seafood

I love a good backstory and Holdfast Dining has all sorts, including the pop-up birth.  Currently the open kitchen seating is housed in the tasting room at Fausse Piste Winery.  Will went to culinary school with the man who owns the winery.  As befits a winery, the restaurant is filled with large barrels, as well as an old press, that, if I understood properly, is still in use in “the season”.  So its roots are woven into the ambiance of the place, which is very Portlandesque, I may add.  The winery and restaurant are tucked away in part of a non-remarkable looking building in close-in southeast, probably a building that had its roots in an industrial endeavor.

Holdfast,  evolved from a pop-up created by chef Will Preish over the past three years.  Unfortunately I only heard of it in the last six months.  I must have been busy chowing down on other worthy endeavors.  But you can be sure that I am delighted to be part of Holdfast’s 522nd dinner.  I know this, because they put that info on the menu for May 19th.

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GÜERO – The Home of La Torta

It’s a food truck turned restaurant.  It may not be the American dream, but it is the Portland dream.  Humble beginnings gather a loyal and excited crowd and eventually, the brick and mortar Güero restaurant is born.  I love it!

Güero has made its name by serving tortas, and more specifically, torta ahogada, which is a drowned torta.  This is the result of a happy accident that happened years ago in Jalisco, Mexico, when the contents of the sandwich fell into a pot of red chile sauce.

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