Category Archives: Local Restaurants

Paley’s Russian Tea Experience at Headwaters

The Heathman’s Tea Court has been transformed into the Russian Tea Experience at Headwaters by Chef Vitaly Paley. He brings his native Russian inspiration and grandma’s recipes to the beautiful and comfortably refurbished tea room.

Debuting in time for the holidays, three seatings were available, and our group snagged a 1 pm seating on January 1, 2017. It was a lovely way to start the year.  We were seated in some of the cozy easy chairs and a banquette along the wall. The tables were set with colorful Russian linens and a menu explaining our tea choices and what would be served on the tea tray.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Headwaters Russian Tea Experience

It was very pleasant to be seating in a room where we could hear each other talk and also not be bumping elbows with other diners. It’s much more conducive to intimate conversation as befits high tea.

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The tea is from Steven Smith Teamaker, and choices included Bai Mu Dan, Georgian Caravan, Bungalow, Lord Bergamot, Sencha, Chocolate Peppermint Pu’erh, Meadow, and Peppermint Leaves. I chose the smoky Georgian caravan. Each diner gets to select a tea rather than having to make a choice for the whole table.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Headwaters Russian Tea Experience

The teacups were a mix of Russian glass cups in a metal holder and china cups. The tea arrived in white pots with a strainer provided as we poured. Sugar and jam were provided for sweetening, but no milk.  I enjoyed the Caravan with a little jam; it was perfect.

The tea tray arrived with three levels, each with five delights. The middle and bottom were savories and the top were the sweets.

img_1975The bottom tier included buterbrodi – various open-faced sandwiches on rye bread. There was also khachapouri – Georgian cheese bread with local honey.

Buterbrodi
Buterbrodi

The second tier had mushroom piroshki, deviled eggs, walnut-stuffed eggplant roll, and blini with house cured caviar and sour cream.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Piroshki, Blini, Stuffed Eggs, Eggplant roll

The sweet tier featured steopka – grandmother’s sour cream and walnut cake, Bird’s milk cake with marshmallow and chocolate, chocolate and orange halva, tort po kievski (hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate cake), Zapekanka Russian cheesecake, and Kulaga belorusskaya fruit gelee.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Sweets

The teapots were refilled between when we finished the savories and started in on the sweets.

There are bubbles and cocktails available, but our server didn’t push them, and we didn’t order any. It would have been fun to try the Pixie Dust with aquavit and brut sparkling wine or the K’vass Punch with rum and Russian bread wine.

For $38, it was a delightful and pleasant afternoon. The biggest drawback was the phone-only reservation system. Fingers crossed that the Paleys decide to allow online reservations.

Park Kitchen’s Astonishing Expanded Happy Hour Menu

Park Kitchen sits unobtrusively in the middle of a block in the North Park Blocks in Portland, near the corner of NW Glisan and 8th.  It has been an incubator for great Portland chefs since 2003 when it was one of the pioneers of the farm to table movement.

Salt cod fritters and lamb pastrami with beets
Salt cod fritters and lamb pastrami with beets

The tradition continues with Chef David Sapp at the helm of the kitchen, bringing Southern nuances to the flavors, as owner Scott Dolich continues innovations such as the tip-free One House service.

Chef David Sapp
Chef David Sapp

But let’s talk the expanded 14-dish Happy Hour menu, available every day from 5 pm until 6 pm. Yes, that means weekends as well as weeknights.  The menu includes some of the favorites from the dinner menu at a steal of a deal, especially when you factor in the gratuity-free pricing.

If you’re eating gluten-free, 10 of the 14 happy hour offerings are gluten-free. Meanwhile there is Ken’s Artisan bread with Bee Local honey for those of us who still do gluten.

Kiyokawa pear salad, curried lentils, yogurt, pistachio, papadam
Kiyokawa pear salad, curried lentils, yogurt, pistachio, papadam

Who wouldn’t want to stop in for one of the city’s best steak salads and a side of chickpea fries with a glass of wine or one of their excellent beer selections? Or the beets with lamb pastrami and a side of the best pimento arancini you’ve ever had. Or the pork terrine slider at the low price of $5, perfect to steel you for the commute home.

Charred Brussels, fried wild rice, soft egg, young ginger
Charred Brussels, fried wild rice, soft egg, young ginger

I also appreciate the cozy atmosphere at Park Kitchen. You can enjoy the long bar as a solo diner or for two, with table seating also available. The dining room seats 40 and there is a patio for 20 and a private dining room. You can hear your fellow diners, a feature that is getting more and more rare in Portland.

Salmon & beet tartare, beet chicharron, kombu
Salmon & beet tartare, beet chicharron, kombu

Of course, the drinks are also stellar. The happy hour pricing is appreciated. I was happy to see their IPA choice was Good Life Descender, one of my favorites.

HAPPY HOUR DRINKS
Rotating Tap Beer  5
Call Me Old Fashioned  6
Gimlet  6
Park Martini  6
Champagne Cocktail  6
House Red, White, Rose, or Sparkling  6

Whether you work downtown or you find yourself traveling through any day of the week, stop by and sample this excellent menu.

HAPPY HOUR SNACKS
Grilled pork terrine slider, secret sauce  5
Jimmy Nardello peppers, peanuts, scallions 4
Pimento arancini, green tomato chow chow  3ea
Salmon & beet tartare, beet chicharron, kombu 6
Ken’s bread, our crackers, ricotta, Bee Local honey 5

HAPPY HOUR SMALL PLATES
Salt cod fritters, agedashi style  11
Chickpea fries with roasted squash ketchup 7
Charred Brussels, fried wild rice, soft egg, young ginger  9
Bob Richard’s biscuits, shave country ham, sorghum butter  9
Lonesome Whistle barley,smoked beets, pomegranate, chevre  10
Boquerones, castelvetrano olive, potato chips, salsa verde aioli  11
Kiyokawa pear salad, curried lentils, yogurt, pistachio, papadam  11
Heirloom squash soup, savory marshmallow, pickled mustard seed 13
Sheldon’s beets, lamb pastrami, pumpernickel, celery, sour cream  11
Carman Ranch flank steak, blue cheese, parsley, sherried onions  13

The One House concept means that the person bringing you the plate may be the chef. By going gratuity-free and pricing accordingly, Scott Dolich is able to give his staff full-time hours, a decent wage and benefits. You can feel good about how the people preparing and serving your food are treated while enjoying some of Portland’s best cuisine. We’ve been able to feel great about how the produce, meat, and seafood has been sustainable raised and humanely harvested. Now we can be assured the restaurant staff are also sustainably employed.

Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen
Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen

Pine Street Market Now Offers Daily Brunch

Portland’s indoor foodie refuge, Pine Street Market is now open daily for brunch. Doors open at 8 am for coffee service, followed by brunch starting at 9 am,  and the market closes daily at 10 pm.  Pine Street Market is located at 126 SW 2nd Ave., in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Each of the vendors will have their own brunchy offerings from 9 am – 11 am before swinging into their regular lunch and dinner menus. Of course, you can start at Brass Bar for coffee, tea or espresso done with care, or pickup a pastry from Trifecta Annex. But now, there’s more.

Shakshuka and Pita with Shalom Mary
Shakshuka and Pita with Shalom Mary from Shalom Y’All

For those who want to skip the lines at John Gorham’s Tasty n Sons or Tasty n Alder, you can enjoy the shakshuka and delightful fresh pita or the Jerusalem bagel sandwich  at Shalom Y’all. Or, go Spanish at his Pollo Bravo with breakfast offerings of sopa de ajo, Catalan sausage bocadillo, or potatoes bravas. For adult early morning drinks you can have a Shalom Mary or La Tomatina Bloody Mary.

Sopa de Ajo from Pollo Bravo
Sopa de Ajo from Pollo Bravo

The ramen house Marukin offers ochazuka, a Japanese dish made by pouring green tea dashi over cooked rice, with savory toppings. You can enjoy more soulful Asian at Kim Jong Smokehouse with Korean pork and daikon soup.

Marukin Ochazuke
Marukin Ochazuke
Kim Jong Smokehouse Korean Pork and Daikon Soup
Kim Jong Smokehouse Korean Pork and Daikon Soup

For a healthy but delicious starter, check out Kure Juice for their Acai bowls, smoothies, and organic juices. I tried the acai bowl that included peanut butter and was delighted with what is basically a very thick frozen smoothie on the bottom of the bowl featuring healthy juices and fruits, topped with fruit, granola and other ingredients. It’s something I will definitely have again.

Kure Acai Bowl and Smoothies
Kure Acai Bowl and Smoothies

OP Wurst offers up some fun breakfast dogs, suitable for kids or adults. The Monte Cristo on a stick or the pigs in a blanket would be easier eating for the kiddos. Their French toast dog was a sweet and savory choice on a French toast bun with apple butter. You can also get fried or scrambled eggs, pancakes, or link sausage on the side.

OP Wurst Breakfast Dog and French Toast Dog
OP Wurst Breakfast Dog and French Toast Dog

Besides gorgeous pastries, Trifecta Annex serves individual breakfast pizza that has potato, pancetta, fontina, eggs, peppers and sausage. It was like a flat quiche lorraine on their excellent crust and would make a quick breakfast. But you may not want to skip their signature toast on rustic bread with Trifecta butter.

Trifecta Annex Breakfast Pizza
Trifecta Annex Breakfast Pizza
Trifecta Annex Pastries
Trifecta Annex Pastries

The brunch offerings should serve hungry Portlanders before most food carts open. I loved it because I am often in downtown early on the weekends and would like a breakfast without the formality of waiting in line for brunch.

Urdaneta Serves Basque/Spanish Tapas on Alberta

Javier Canteras brings his Basque regional Spanish cuisine to Portland at Urdaneta, 3033 NE Alberta. The cozy space was previously home to Natural Selection and opened in July, 2016. Here, you can enjoy tapas that feature the rustic comforts of the Basque region as well as the sophistication of Madrid tapas bars.

Long Walk Home
Long Walk Home

Drinks play a large role in tapas culture, and I tried The Long Walk Home- Bourbon, Basque Sidra, Amaro, citrus. As a walker, I found it both refreshing and intricate, quite satisfying to savor. They have a variety of Spanish wines by the glass, cider, sherry, and cocktails.

You can select tapas by size, with the Pintxos del Bar being the smallest and best enjoyed by one person.  We started with the Molleja – crispy sweetbread with dad’s marinated peppers and espelette crema, and the Ajo Verde – cucumber almond gazpache with pickled grape and sunflower seeds. Like the rest of the dishes, these were big flavors and very satisfying.

Molleja - crispy sweetbread and pickled peppers pintxo
Molleja – crispy sweetbread and pickled peppers pintxo

For larger tapas primeros, we ordered up the traditional Pan con Tomate and the croquetas de chorizo. The tomato bread had a great garlic punch and the croquetas were rich with dry cured chorizo, bechamel and sherry aioli.

Pan con Tomate
Pan con Tomate

The Tapas Segundos are larger and even more intricate. We gave top marks to the Filete de Culotte – culotte steak with romesco, leek marmalade and valdeon foam. The Pulpo a la Plancha – grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes, fennel and grapefruit was also excellent.  The Cordero – lamb shoulder skewered on sinnamon sticks with kalimotxo glaze, pickled cherry and citrus espuma was a little too dry, but took a lovely photo. The low light at our table resulted in poorer photos of the other delicious dishes.

Urdaneta - Cordero lamb shoulder skewered on cinnamon
Urdaneta – Cordero lamb shoulder skewered on cinnamon

We shared two desserts. The Arroz con Leche bruleed lavender rice pudding and the Helados Y Sorbetes ice creams. The were lovely.

Desserts
Desserts

You can view the work going on in the open kitchen. We made a reservation for their opening time. The place filled up by 6:30.  They are open every day at 5 pm. Add Urdaneta to the exciting Spanish cuisine scene of Portland.

Paiche – Peruvian Splendor from Chef Jose Luis de Cossio

Paiche chef Jose Luis de Cossio honed his skills as the Executive Chef of Gaston Acurio’s “La Mar” Restaurant in Lima, Peru. He and partner Casimira offer elevated Peruvian dishes on Corbett in SW Portland. Their restaurant is notable for being open for lunch Wednesday through Friday noon – 4 pm and then for dinner on Saturday 3 pm – 8:30 pm.

This schedule allows them to have time for their family, and leaves diners eager to catch a seat in their tiny spot nestled below Pill Hill. Chris Angelus brought 20 diners together to fill up the dining room for a Portland Food Adventures Peruvian feast.

Chef Jose Luis de Cassio and Casimira
Chef Jose Luis de Cossio and Casimira

You’ll have to keep your eyes open for their sign, so it’s best to navigate with the street address, 4237 SW Corbett Ave. Portland, OR 97239. Inside there are tables and counter/window counter seating.

I was not familiar with Peruvian food and on my first stop enjoyed the Pastel de Choclo – Peruvian corn pudding with mushrooms, olives, carrots, peas and cacao nib crumble. I wanted to come back to enjoy more.

Our 8-course meal began with a snack of toasted corn kernals and then the flavorful empanada de papa seca with aji amarillo spread.

Paiche - Empanada
Paiche – Empanada

Next, Tiradito de Pescado – California halibut with aji habanero leche de tigre. The offerings were all either fish or vegetarian, as Lima is an area with abundant seafood.

Tiradito de Pescado - California halibut
Tiradito de Pescado – California halibut

Now for Potato Causa – colorful potatoes with sauces and seasonal vegetables.

Potato Causa
Potato Causa – colorful potatoes with huancaina sauce, escabeche, veggies

The regular menu offers three cebiches – mixed, pescado blanco and vegan. We enjoyed the Cebiche Mixto with mixed seafood, aji rocato leche de tigre, purple sweet potato, onion, corn and cilantro.

Cebiche Mixto
Cebiche Mixto

The crab croquette, Croquetta de Cangrejo, included red quinoa, octopus and nectarines salsa criolia.

Crab Croquette
Crab Croquette

The Chupe de Camarones included bay shrimp with shrimp jus, trigo, peanuts, shallots and berries.

Chupo de Camarones
Chupo de Camarones

The final savory course was Sudado de Pescado – avocado and seaweek leche de tigre, corn cider poached fish, rocoto pepper, yuca rot, tomato and seafood salad.

Sudado de Pescado
Sudado de Pescado

We were quite full from the savory courses, but the dessert was worth saving room for. The alfajor cookie had house caramel with fruit.

Alfajor cookie and fruit
Alfajor cookie and fruit

The meal left us very much filled and tantalized to return to explore more.

See: Paiche

Chesa Serves Paella from the Heart in NE Portland

Portland paella lovers can enjoy Chef José Chesa’s second restaurant, named Chesa for his father, on NE Broadway.  Chesa blends Catalonian tradition with modern techniques for tapas and paella from a Josper charcoal oven. Along with business partners Cristina Baéz and Emily Metivier, it’s a great place to enjoy Spanish tapas and paella with a modern twist.

Chesa dining room
Chesa dining room

The restaurant is larger than Chesa’s Ataula in NW Portland. The dining room has bench seating along the west wall, all the better to line up tables that can be combined or separated to allow for a variety of sizes of groups to dine together. The east side of the restaurant is a stand-up tapas bar, with bar stools and a bar program from bartender Tony Gurdian featuring sherry and vermut cocktails and sangrias, and a wine list from Metivier and Chesa Senior.

Josper Grill at Chesa
Josper Grill at Chesa

The open kitchen allows you to see the paella and tapas action if you decide to sit on the southern end of the large space. The noise level was boisterous but didn’t drown out conversation or force you to yell to your dining companions.

Jose Chesa Senior at the tapas bar at Chesa
Jose Chesa Senior at the tapas bar at Chesa

Chesa’s tapas are works of culinary art, each with a story and legacy of a childhood spent creating and appreciating authentic Catalonian food and the freshest, purest ingredients.  Try Almejas Chesa – dad’s Sunday clams, and savory Nuestra Croqueta with porcini mushrooms and a sage and porcini dipping aioli.

Chesa clams
Chesa clams
Chesa Croquettes
Chesa Croquettes

The paellas are the heart and soul of the menu, with six featured on the preview menu. The size was perfect to fill one person, especially after a few tapas. Costs for the paellas were in the $22-29 range. It is hard to choose between paellas featuring local Carlton farms pork shoulder, sherry marinated rabbit, seafood, braised oxtail, or vegetarian options. The flavors are deep and intricate, to be savored with each bite.

Mallorca paella with Carlton Farms pork shoulder
Mallorca paella with Carlton Farms pork shoulder
Montana i mar paella
Montana i mar paella with braised oxtail, bomba rice, prawns, sofrito, scallions

For iberico ham buffs, you can get slices from the carving station next to the open kitchen, inspired by Chesa’s grandmother’s kitchen.

Chesa jamon
Chesa jamon

Chesa offers dinner service Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Address 2218 NE Broadway St.,Portland Ore. 97232.

It is next door to their 180 xurros bistro, where you can enjoy the Spanish pastry, dipping sauces, drinking chocolate and coffee for breakfast and lunch hours.