Monthly Archives: August 2012

Portland Restaurants: Burgerville

Burgerville is a small-ish fast food chain in the Portland area.  It is .1 mi (3 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center and about .2 mi (4 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  I had hoped to not visit chain restaurants on this trip but, as this was a chain that was most definitely not one that I would not encounter on the east coast, I decided to check it out.  It had a decent restaurant interior and the staff were friendly.  I was most impressed by their trash and recycling system.  The directed their customers to sort their trash by type for either:  compost (food waste, paper, corn-based containers), recycling (non-corn based plastics and paper), or trash (certain cups, lids, and condiment containers).  I found this, as well as their local and sustainable food sources, pretty forward-thinking and worth paying just a little bit more.

I decided to try out the spicy anasazi burger, a vegetarian burger with a black bean patty, pepperjack cheese, chipotle mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and a sesame seed bun.  It was quite good for a fast food burger!  It was one of the restaurants that I considered visiting more than once, but I decided that there many more places to visit for the brief time I was in Portland.  I would definitely recommend visiting Burgerville if you are in the area.

Pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum)


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August Week 2: Over DRESSed for this

Week two of August was spent in Portland, OR (Check out my posts on Portland Restaurants!) and so it turned out to be rather fortuitous that most of my clothes were dresses.  Dresses take up much less space than pants and shirts.  I was able to pack all my meeting clothes, work out clothes, and other necessities for a week-long trip in a carry-on and back pack!  The night before my flight out to Portland, I stopped by Kohl’s to try to pick out some slacks and maybe look at the dresses to find some that were meeting appropriate and in my size.  I’ve never really owned many dresses and have been looking for an excuse to purchase a few that would be appropriate to wear in different situations.  I did find a couple of dresses and made it easily through the meeting and looked pretty good!

crimsoneyed rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)

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Portland Restaurants: Pastini Pastaria

After having Asian food three times in three days I decided that it was time for something a little different.  Pastini Pastaria is an Italian restaurant about .7 mi (15 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and about 1 mi (20 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center.  I arrived for dinner and most of the customers appeared to be local.  The restaurant serves your typical anti-pastas, sandwiches, salads, and pastas.

I ordered the Spaghetti con Gamberetti, which was spicy shrimp and spaghetti noodles with small chunks of mozzarella, tomatoes, and spices.  There was no marinara or cream sauce, so probably just a bit of olive oil to lubricate the noodles.  The portion size was just right for dinner, I felt full without being stuffed and no left overs to worry about taking back to the hotel.  The spaghetti was cooked just about right as was the shrimp, nothing was overdone which can be a concern with this type of dish.  The shrimp had a decent amount of heat but there was also a balance of flavors to mingle with the spiciness of the shrimp.

The meal was about $11, which is comparable to other restaurants for dinner.  I would definitely recommend visiting this restaurant.

Here’s a random picture for this post.

A lily I saw in the Botanical Garden in Athens, GA (Lycoris chinensis)

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Portland Restaurants: Pho Broadway

This little Vietnamese restaurant sits a corner on NE Broadway in Portland, about .4 mi (10 minutes walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and about .7 mi (15 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center.  It is pretty easy to find, especially with the giant banner outside proclaiming their specials.  I’ve never had Vietnamese before, so I decided to pop in and check it out for dinner.  Well, it may have also been because they were one of the few restaurants open Sunday evening.

The restaurant wasn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing in terms of decorum, but that isn’t something that has any bearing on the quality of the food.  There appeared to be just one person seating customers, waiting tables, busing tables, taking to-go orders, and serving as cashier.  However, even with a reduced staff, I didn’t have to wait long for my meal.

I ordered the pho ga (chicken pho) which came with bean sprouts, lime, sliced peppers, and Thai basil on the side. It tasted quite good with the lime and bean sprouts added, though I wasn’t a fan of the Thai basil.  Some of the comments on the various restaurant review websites said that the pho was a bit bland, which was not the case in my experience.  It was broth was flavorful and the condiments added more texture and flavor to the pho.

Other than perhaps being a bit under staffed, I rather enjoyed my first experience with pho. The small order of pho ga was about $7 and was plenty for dinner. I would recommend trying it out.

No camera in Portland, so here a random picture from some other adventure!

Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

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Portland Restaurants: J & M Café

J & M Café is about .6 mi (10 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center and 1 mi (20 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  It was a quaint little café that seemed to be serving locals and as such may not be on the radar for your typical tourist.  As with most cafés, it only has 2 and 4 person tables and so probably wouldn’t be a place that I would easily recommend for large groups and families.  If there are eight of you wanting to go out for breakfast and must sit together, there is a Denny’s not a mile away.  The food won’t compare, but what can you do?
I had intended to go for lunch, but it was a Sunday and they were serving breakfast until 2pm.  Good thing I could eat breakfast for every meal and still want it the next morning.  I ordered the French toast, five slices of baguette cut on a bias, with fresh seasonal boysenberries and blueberries and real maple syrup.  Sounds yummy, right?  After consuming two of the slices and heartily working my way through the third, I noticed an issue with my meal which required sending back.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever sent my meal back before, so I felt a bit bad doing so.  They remade my three remaining slices of French toast, but I think they were either a bit embarrassed or rushed to do so and they came back a little under-done in the middle.  I decided to not bother them again about the meal and trust that I probably wouldn’t be taken out by some French toast.
The prices are comparable to other locally owned cafés that I’ve been to, though they didn’t give me a bill due to the issue with my meal. I’d like to say that I would go back, and I probably would give them another chance if I lived here, but I didn’t go back to the café on this trip.

No camera in Portland, but here is an unrelated picture!

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) from a trip on the Suwannee

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Portland Restaurants: Biwa

Saturday evening I visited Biwa for dinner with a fellow convention attendee.  The restaurant is about .7 mi (15 minute walk) from the convention center and from the Crown Plaza it is about 1.2 mi (25 minute walk).  The restaurant is fairly easy to find and appeared to be patronized mostly by locals, which I took as a good sign.  We were seated quickly and handed two menus, a drinks menu and the other menu I had anticipated would be all food.  It turned out that the “food menu” was a single, double-sided page with only about 2/3 of one side devoted to food, the rest of that menu (1/3 of the front and all of the back) was for drinks as well.  The main focus of the restaurant seems to be a bar with a limited meal offering.

After receiving the menus we were given cool towels for our hands (I suppose because they didn’t seem to have the air conditioning on) and some spiced popcorn, about 1 cup worth for two people.  I was saddened to see they didn’t offer sushi, even though I had eaten sushi just the day before.  One cannot have too much sushi.  We both ended up ordering the chilled ramen with chicken and I also wanted to try the onigiri with a plum in the middle.
The onigiri was larger than I thought it would be and quite good in its simplicity.  Instead of having a small strip of nori,it had a whole sheet which covered most of the onigiri, which I thought helped keep it all together and from making a big mess.  The rice was slightly salted and the plum added a nice flavor to the rice, well once I got to it.  It was a pretty big ball o’ rice!

The chilled ramen with chicken was delightful!  This was not a soup, like you might make at home, but cooked noodles, a few types of vegetables, and some chicken (though I am not sure how it was cooked, perhaps stir-fried?).  I’ve never had cold ramen before and I quite liked it.  The vegetables were crisp and fresh tasting and the dish was not greasy or too sticky, which I was concerned with since it wasn’t a soup noodle dish.

The restaurant filled quickly while we were eating but the service didn’t slow at all.  The prices were reasonable, I think they may rely more on their alcohol sales for profit.  The two of us ate for $25 for two dinners, one side, and tip, we both had water to drink.

Overall, I would go back, just not if I’m on a sushi kick.

And another picture which has nothing to do with Portland or food…

These dudes are so awesome. A ragged seahare (Bursatella leachii pleii) from Destin, FL!

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Portland Restaurants: Hungry Tiger Too

The Hungry Tiger Too is a café that has a normal menu and also a nice vegetarian and vegan menu.  The restaurant is about .9 mi (20 minute walk) from the conference center and 1.3 mi (25 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  After much decision I ordered the Hawaiian vegan burger and a side salad.  My meal arrived pretty quickly and was as delicious as it was attractive!  The “meat” was a Boca burger and the “cheddar cheese” was a brand called daiya cheese, makers of vegan “cheese” and more yummy than you might think. Also on the burger was grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and the standard hamburger veg. This had to be one of the best hamburgers that I’ve ever had. The flavors blended together so well and the burger was juicy without soaking the bread and creating a mess. The side salad was a mix of baby greens, croutons, and dressing (I chose balsamic vinaigrette). Everything was excellent!
The restaurant was rather small, a trend in downtown restaurants. About a third of the tables were occupied and service was rather quick. The menu was split between their standard menu and their vegan menu, with different colored and oriented sheets. The atmosphere was kind of punk and interesting without being obnoxious. The cost was comparable to other independent cafés I’ve been to.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience and would definitely recommend visiting! I mentioned this restaurant to a fellow conference attendee, she ordered the vegan meatloaf and really liked it, so two votes for this place.

Hey, a picture!

Taken on my cell phone and the only picture I could get. My cell phone chooses to corrupt most of my pictures 😦 However, this was the best vegan burger I’ve ever had!

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