Tag Archives: portland foodie

Tasty n Alder

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I heard great things about John Gorham’s ‘Tasty n Alder’ restaurant when I was researching my Portland, Oregon trip.  I was eager to try it out as it was just down the road from my hotel, the Mark Spencer.

Tasty n Alder sits pretty besides it sister restaurants, Toro Bravo and Tasty n Sons.  I picked Tasty n Alder mainly for its relaxed vibe and foodie options.  Plus being a girl travelling on my own, I thought it would be a great fit to have a nice meal and still have time to do something after.  Three hours later…

My dinner reservation was for 7 p.m. and I was greeted with a full restaurant on a Thursday night.  People were eating, having drinks and having a laugh.  Perfect, I could slide into a side booth and have a quiet meal.  But I ended up being sat beside a sweet couple who had driven over an hour and half to have a meal at Tasty n Alder.  They stated their dog was waiting for them in the car.  It was the sweetest thing.  I was eager to hear more – why ‘Tasty n Alder’?

They proceeded to tell me ‘what was good’ on the menu and why they kept coming back to Tasty n Alder.  For them it was all about the tasty food, reasonable prices and a feeling like their service was always appreciated.  Wow!  For a couple that said, ‘they don’t eat out’ a lot.  They had firm ideas on what they liked and didn’t like on the menu.  That said, there wasn’t much they didn’t like on the menu.

With their suggestions in hand, I placed my order.


Grilled Spanish Octopus

The Grilled Spanish Octopus was beautifully prepared.  It was cooked just enough that upon biting into it, it was tender to the palate.  No rubbery texture.  Just supreme.  I noticed I kept staring at it like it was a painting in a gallery on my plate.  I appreciated the minimal dressing and sautéed garlic. The garlic brought out the flavours of the octopus and took it to another level.  Simple.  Gorgeous.  I could have had 7 plates of the Grilled Spanish Octopus and called it a night.

Saigon Brussels Sprouts

I’m not a huge fan of Saigon Brussels Sprouts but these prepared by the Tasty n Alder crew were robust and had a kick to them.  In terms of portion size – the plate was full.  It could have been easily shared between three people.  Even after I had finished my Grilled Spanish Octopus  and was heading onto my main, I was being distracted by the juiciness of the brussel sprouts.  It just kept on giving and giving.


Rawhide-  bourbon, salted bonal honey, genepy, lemon, boker’s bitters

The Rawhide will take you out.  I’m not kidding.  It is a powerful liquid potion guaranteed to make you smile.  I adored the bourbon and mix of the salted bonal honey and lemon.  It punctuated the flavour of the drink.  Tasty n Alder are employing the best Mixologists behind that bar of theirs.  This drink was the recommendation of my waitress who it seemed everything she gently suggested was bang on.  It always helps to pick the brain of good wait staff.  Thanks Kristen and Manager Katie!  They know what will make for a fine dining experience time and time again.

Improved Whiskey Cocktail- rye, maraschino, bokers bitters, herbsaint, demarrera

I sipped the Improved Whiskey Cocktail during the course of my entrée.  It was also very tasty and married well with my meal.  I liked the mix of the sweet and sour.  It made for a nice end note as I transitioned between my starter and entrée.  But again, it will take you out.


Seared Scallops with mint pesto

I encourage you to order the Seared Scallops with mint pesto the next time you are at Tasty n Alder.  The scallops were larger than a Silver Dollar coin.  Plump.  Full of intent.  They require time to dwell upon and pay homage to.  They were thick and juicy.  Cutting it gently into quarters was only kind.  I enjoyed the mint pesto sauce as well.  It was fresh and aromatic.  I felt like I could have been eating this dish sat on the side of a cove because it was so alive.  A true gem.


Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel

I was craving a decadent dessert and opted for the Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel.  The brownie was royal and Beyonce epic.  It was made from scratch and had the layers of flakiness to prove it.  It was pure chocolaty joy.  The vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel pulled the warm, cool and sweet flavours into a dance.  Even though I had already eaten an appetizer and main, this dessert was the perfect end.  I could have easily taken the Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel home with me and gotten into bed with it with a book and a big spoon.  It was all romance.

In terms of pricing at Tasty n Alder plates will cost you the following:  Smaller plates, $5-$15; meats, $12-$30; larger plates, $14-$19; desserts, $6-$7.  Indeed very affordable.  For the food quality and quantity you are leaving with not only your belly full but your senses opened to possibly trying out more dishes the next time you are at Tasty n Alder and whispering your good times to friends and family so they can join you next week.

If you find yourself travelling and want to feel like you are in a cool, family friendly with a dash of hipster resto – Tasty n Alder is for you.  The wait staff was great and left a lot of room for recommendations without the hustle to sell.  I appreciated their authenticity and genuine approach.  I also appreciated that the staff gently checked in on my progress without pushing me out the door.  Like a true family establishment they encouraged me to stay, keep enjoying and just take my time.

Lastly, the space at Tasty n Alder was warm and friendly which was amplified by their young, hip and trendy staff.  The re-claimed wood type table and chairs created a modern space but a space you can get stuck into with fuss.  The restaurant was lighted perfectly and the music albeit loud was not club pumping.  Tasty n Alder is a place for everyone.  Give them your business – you won’t regret it.

For the price, ambiance, service and food quality, Tasty n Alder gets a strong 5/5.

Tasty n Alder

580 S.W. 12th Ave.; 503-621-9251; http://www.tastyntasty.com


Mother’s Bistro & Bar

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“At Mother’s, we take traditional homemade favorites and refine them with classical cooking techniques, so they’re like mom’s cooking, only a bit better. Slow-cooked foods that take hours to prepare—hand-made dumplings, stews, roasts and braised dishes.

We make everything from scratch, using the best possible ingredients Pacific Northwest wild salmon, Carlton Farms pork, Painted Hills beef and the finest European-style butter in everything we cook and bake.

The best meals of a country aren’t in its restaurants. They’re found in its homes, made with love by mothers cooking for their families. That’s why each month we feature a Mother of the Month (or “M.O.M.”), and bring you some of her special dishes prepared in our kitchen.”

Owner, Chef Lisa Schroeder

Mother’s Bistro & Bar is located in the heart of downtown Portland, easily accessible from all directions with lots of parking nearby. Separate dining areas provide warm and cozy atmospheres each equally inviting, with gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers glowing with warm light.

The bright and sunny dining room in shades of yellow and green with gold accents make for a warm and fuzzy dining experience for all, from families with young children (there’s even a play area!) to couples sharing a night on the town.

The Velvet Lounge, our sultry bar, is the “dark side” of Mother’s, with gold and black flocked wallpaper and comfy banquettes in addition to even more crystal chandeliers and mirrors, making it a perfect spot for a happy hour bite, pre- or post-theatre cocktail or late-night dining.


When I arrived to Mother’s Bistro & Bar on a Friday night around 8 p.m. the restaurant was full.  It was brimming with families, young couples, couples on a double date, older folks on holiday and a smattering of regulars. Right away I felt like I was in a family establishment.  People were on their best behaviour and were wearing their Sunday best.

This is a nice feeling when travelling alone.  Being able to fit in and slide into a nice table without being noticed but noticing everything safely around you.

When I was seated and looked around the Mother’s Bistro & Bar’s space I felt like I was sat in a brasserie in France.  The soft furnishings echoed of buttermallow, gold, warm wood and chandeliers with diamond like earrings.  It was luxe but also very comfortable.  Comfortable enough for me to be alone and also to be sat with a family of four from Eugene visiting for the weekend.

The waiter was pleasant and gave me the day’s specials.  Everything looked great and something indeed my mom could make for me from scratch on a Sunday if I was still living at home.  I’m sure a lot of people can attest to when they are travelling, there is a tiny ache of home when really all you want to do is run away from it and have an adventure.  Food is a safe choice to satiate that ache.

I ordered the familial, Chicken & Dumplings (slow-stewed chicken (mostly white meat) with herbed dumplings) and the Carlton Farms Pulled Pork (slow-cooked natural pork topped with country gravy, (or gluten-free house-made barbecue sauce served with smashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables).

As I waited for my meal I made myself comfortable and listened in to a conversation from an older couple beside me.  The gentleman was saying to his wife that perhaps they needed to walk off their meal.  Her reply was simply, ‘No, I’m good.  I just want to sit with it.’

It’s true.  Isn’t ok, to just sit with the meal?  I want to love it and I want it to love me.  I’m on holiday, I thought,  I’m going to sit with it too and sleep well.

When both entrees arrived they were perfect.  They were just the right mix of hearty, protein and warmth that filled my belly but also gave me that extra love that only food can do for you when you are in a city on your own in November.  Satisfaction.

I thought the service was very good.  The wait staff was attentive, authentic and gave a lot of space.  It didn’t feel like an oversell to purchase food and drink.  Instead it felt like you were at home and a member of your family were politely asking if they could get you a plate from the stove.  It was a nice feeling to sit back, have a meal, people watch and contemplate the day’s activities and what else I had planned in the days ahead.

Mother’s Bistro & Bar should be on your travel itinerary when you visit Portland.  It is a fine establishment, with earnest customer service, offering time to reflect on your travels but also feel part of a new city family.  Lastly and most importantly, the food is definitely worthy of writing home about.

Mother’s Bistro & Bar

212 SW Stark St.

corner of Second Ave.

Portland, OR 97204


Thirty Four Flavours Goes to The Pacific Northwest: Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

So after weeks of writing posts hinting to my upcoming holiday – I’m sure you must be wondering, ‘where is this girl going?’. Well I’m going to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington next week!

Like my NYC trip last Fall, I have organized a finely curated journey between both cities and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.  I won’t tell you specifics right now – but let’s just say there will be lots of surprises.  My schedule is brimming to the surface with fun stuff.  So stay tuned!

As of this upcoming week – I will be off to Portland for 5 days and then Seattle for another 5 days.  I will be back in 10 days time with reviews, pictures and notes of adventurous shenanigans for your perusal.

In the mean time – check out my daily Twitter feed for thoughts and snaps at cool sites in and around Portland and Seattle.  Feel free to send me tips, comments and good energy.

See you soon!