HodgePodge Catch Up. He Said Extra.

Bar 33 Brooklyn

After Richard III we tried Bar 33 Brooklyn. It is a sports bar, and I think it may be the first sports bar we have tried.  Sports on big screen , sports paraphernalia on the wall, games in the back.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the place: nice service, good fried chicken and fries, reasonably priced drinks. Sport bars just not my style.  They seem too….packaged.

Tryon Creek

I moved back to Portland in 1990 and I think that was the last time we hiked Tryon Creek. As the days get shorter there is less time to spend hiking and there is this  State Park sitting between Portland and Lake Oswego. It is a great hike up and down canyons, along creeks in what has to be the moss and fern capitol of the NW. For most of the hike you hear no city noise.

The hike around the outside of the park is 5.7 miles, just at the limit for a geezer and took about three hours. There are numerous shorter trials and loops in the park. It is nice to have such a wild area so close to home.

Stammtisch & Pix Patisserie.

After Tyron Creek we opted for round 2 at Stammtisch, which we discussed before.

German beers are definitely different than the US styles, but tasty in their own way. I had the jaegerschitzel with mushroom gravy, spaetzle and red cabbage.  That was the dinner, not the beer. Really, the germans to make the best comfort food.

And after the lunch/dinner (linner? Dunch?) we split a dessert at Pix Patisserie. If you are unaware of Pix Patisserie, they have a remarkable selection of the most sophisticated, elegant and delicious pastries in the city.

The Italians have a simple dessert, the affogato, which is an expresso poured over vanilla ice cream. It may be simple but it is often the perfect end to a meal with the bitterness of the coffee and the cold sweetness of the ice cream. And for me there is always room for ice cream.

At Prix they have an ice cream sandwich served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Combine that with an expresso and you have the worlds greatest affogato. They also have several Champagnes on the menu that are $515 a bottle. When I get my terminal cancer I am going back to try one.

Firehouse

Almost to the end of our quest to try the top 10 Italian restaurants. Two left.

We tried Firehouse in NE Portland. It could have been a bad night to go. We were watching the second presidential debate, it was dark and cold and raining. Everything was coming together to be a downer of a night.

Firehouse, though, was just the kind of place to get you to forget Trump.

It is, as the name would suggest, in an old hospital. Joke. An old, brick firehouse, ready to collapse on your head when the big one hits. At least you will die with a delicious meal in your belly.

While they have wood fired pizza on the menu, I have to admit it just didn’t seem like an Italian restaurant, more Italian inspired.

We sat near the kitchen, which was nice as we were warmed by the wood fired pizza oven.

They have a limited selection of cocktails with had numbers. I had a bourbon based #15. As the heat of the oven melded with the heat of the drink, the ennui induced by the debate lifted.

Some arancini made for a nice appetizer and for a change it came without a sauce, which I preferred. Just the flavor of the fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella and salami. My only problem with the arancini, as often the case with appetizers, is it comes in an odd number, 3,  to serve an even number of people, 2.   It is so hard to share.

For dinner was one of the best chickens I have ever had. A thyme scented rotisserie with charred sweet potatoes, almonds, cherries and greens. It was in my top three chickens of all time. The first was in a Parisian bistro, the second is my mother-in-laws fried chicken (the birds came right off the farm) and now this.

The dessert was a semifreddo with cookie crumbles finished the meal.  Delicious.  I wonder what a completefreddo would be like.  It would probably kill me.

The service was just a touch forgetful, but it is warm and cozy and the food was delicious, although I would not call it Italian in the same way Mucca Osteria is Italian. So while I would eat there any time, I wouldn’t put it on my best Italian list.

Rue

We saw The Nether by Third Rail at the Imago theater a few weeks back. It was an excellent, creepy and thought provoking show. But it has come and gone and so no purpose in reviewing it except to note I will definitely go back to Third Rail productions in the future.

After the show means food and drinks, and on the way to the theater we passed by Rue. It looked worth checking out after the show.

There is no area in PDX that has changed for the better more than the area around The Doug Fir. It used to he the worst place in Portland, you felt like you needed a shower after driving through . It still has Union Jacks as the last vestige of scuzzy, but now it is home to good restaurants and boutique shops.

Rue would be hard to stumble across as it one block off Burnside, on the ground floor of, as I remember it, a new apartment complex.

The style of the food is described as

A neo-bistro restaurant, serving a vegetable-forward, small plate format menu,

and it does have French bistro feel.

The atmosphere is the usual spare semi industrial look that seems popular. Not the comfy home feel of French Bistros. It does make it cold (literally, not the service, which was efficient and friendly) and echo-y. That makes it hard for geezers to hear and we entered at the tail end of a girls night out group who were having a boisterous good time, as they should. But as the hearing declines I think Kerry and I are going to have to learn sign language so we can communicate in these echo-y environments.

The cocktails were delicious. I do think there is a random drink generator that is used by the bartenders in town, or perhaps the world. Given the number of ingredients that can be used the potential combinations are probably close to infinite.

Every bar we go to has a selection of odd combinations with liquors that need a google search to know what they are. In the end? Just look for an ingredient that looks intriguing and go for it. I tend to go with the whiskey/scotch/rye options and I am rarely disappointed.

The dinner was a roast squab with vegetables, and you could see and taste the French influence. Crispy salted skin and tender meat. I had the misfortune as a child growing up with a cardiologist as a father at the height of the cholesterol fear. Skim milk, no butter, no bacon, two eggs a week and we would never, ever, eat the chicken skin. I am definitely making up for lost time, and I always remember that cholesterol is a testosterone precursor. I just need to will the cholesterol down the testosterone pathway rather than the atherogenic pathway.

I especially enjoyed the meal for its French aesthetic, however distant. French used to define the best in cooking. No longer, French is but one among equals. But it is nice to see the old man still has something to offer.

The answer to the question: where are we going to eat before or after shows at the Doug Fir or the Imago Theater now has a definite answer. Rue.

Three Doors Down

Back in the day, before children, we often went to Three Doors Down just off Hawthorne. We stopped going in large part because they did not take reservations and waiting around for seating is not our idea of a good time. That, we discovered, has changed. They take reservations.

Three Doors down is Italian, old school Italian, and delicious. They have been in business for at least a quarter century and they know how to cook.

We have been trying the 10 best Italian restaurants and Three Doors Down is every bit as good, if not better, than any of those on the list.

The one unique feature is the bread. They serve it not with butter or olive oil (Ick. The phrase is bread and butter for a reason) but with a wonderful warm white bean paste that is unfortunately filling. Combined with a cocktail, the bread and white bean is almost a meal.

The recipe for the bean spread is online, but I would suggest trying it in person. Then you can enjoy the entire menu.  Perfect Italian in a cosy restaurant.  If only there was parking.

Tear Drop

We finally made it to the Tear Drop Lounge, which is touted as one of the better cocktail bars in Portland. It is. I had made a mistake and did not pay attention when I ordered tickets for Patrick Lamb’s Earth Wind and Fire tribute. Usually when we go to Jimmy Macs we get the dinner package, which is important as it comes with chairs, but I spaced and did not notice it was the SRO tickets until it was too late.

So we needed a place to eat and have a cocktail before the show and Tear Drop is just around the corner.

It is a a small space, industrial chic with a circular bar. They were showing an old silent French movie (the subtitles were in French) on a sheet in the wall. Curious and entertaining. It is a bar where, as a geezer, we are at least 3 times the age of anyone else.

The cocktail menu is creative and comes with a glossary so I did not have to spend the first 5 minutes googling the menu to see what I might order. We kind of sort of judge a bar by whether they know what a penicillin (Kerry’s go to drink) is and have the ingredients. They did and they did.

The food is snack food, I had my first ever pickled duck egg with a Charcuterie plate; excellent but not a dinner.

A great place for unusual cocktails and a snack.

Patrick Lamb

This is the third time, I think, we have seen Patrick Lamb. He is a saxophonist who does what I would call light jazz but he also does some great horn based funk. Kind of an Earth Wind and Fire cover band combined with original music. This time he did not have a horn session but 5 very talented local singers who pounded through classic Earth Wind and Fire.  It is a blast.

It is always fun to hear the top 40 funk of my youth, even if you have to stand. Although I will note that if you are 6 foot 4 perhaps when you stand in front of everyone you may be blocking a fair number of views.

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