Monday, June 29, 2009



After enjoying some Willamette Valley pinot at Oregon Wines on Broadway, we needed a little fuel to tie us over until our late dinner reservation at Beast. With small plates ranging in price from $4.50 to $12, Hawthorne's relatively new establishment, Evoe, was both appetite and budget friendly. Settled into an extra space that specialty food store Pastaworks had used over the years for catering prep or storage, Evoe is casual and uncomplicated. Snacks are scrawled on chalkboards above the open "kitchen," which is equally straightforward--consisting of little more than Butcher Block counters, a griddle and an old school oven. The menu is constructed from the shelves of Pastaworks, and changes with the swipe of an eraser. My favorite detail about this "enlightened snack bar?" Customers can select a bottle from the retail store and pay a nominal $5 corkage fee to enjoy it at Evoe.

Deviled Eggs

The beginnings of an Artichoke, Fennel, and Guanciale Little Gem Salad w/Vinaigrette




...and the end result.

Peas on Toast

Chevre Chaud with Arugula

Pork Pâté

Front man/chef Kevin Gibson (formerly of Castagna) and his sidekick were not chatty by any means, but I'd venture to suggest that they may also be a bit misunderstood. Perhaps I have no right to say this, since we are alas just "visitors" to Portland and no longer call it home, but I think the handful of people who have flocked to web sites like Yelp to give this place the finger for being stuffy and pretentious just need to give it another chance. The gentlemen were indeed quiet and a bit reserved, and my initial reaction was to think our party was being vibed when we asked if we could sit at the counter and watch them work, only to be encouraged to take a table in the corner instead. But we were persistent and took up residence at the bar. After engaging them in conversation about their cutlery, kitchen and cuisine, we walked away feeling like these two are closer to being self-effacing bookworms than pompous foodies. In fact, the pâté was on the house.

- K

3731 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
Noon to 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Sunday

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MetroVino Bistro, Bar & Bottle Shop


Portland has been hit hard by the economic recession, as a walk through our former neighborhood, The Pearl, solidified. Stores once selling $40 candles are now abandoned, and the cover of a newspaper in a street bin reads, “Unemployment at 12.6 percent.” It seems everyone we know has a horror story to back up this figure, having either lost their own job or faced survivor guilt after watching colleagues lose theirs. “Have you been back up to NW 21st/23rd?” asked the host at Wine and Unwind. We shook our heads. “Don’t,” she cautioned. “Every other store is empty…it will break your heart.”

Yet for every business venture gone south there seems to be an inspirational story of a person who is seizing the opportunity to exercise their entrepreneurial muscle. One such silver lining is MetroVino. Housed at the ground level of the Bridegport Condominiums, in the curved corner space that was at one time occupied by DF, this new wine bar caught our attention with their Happy Hour, offered from 4-6--even on Saturdays. Small plates like roasted beet salad and salmon bruschetta can be enjoyed at a recession-friendly half-price, and a variety of cocktails and wines come in at just $5.

3 Oysters: Cucumber Mignonette, Ponzu Wasabi and Horseradish Cocktail - $5

Salmon Graviax Bruschetta: Grapefruit, Basil, Edamame Purée - $4

Tataki of Hawaiin Yellowtail: Radish, Meyer Lemon and White Soy - $9

Labeled as a restaurant, bar and retail shop all in one, MetroVino is the brain child of owner and GM Todd Steele. In a rather romantic nod to his love of wine, Steele purchased seven Enomatic wine preservation machines to preserve his “by the taste or glass” offerings before landing the actual space to make his restaurant a reality. While the Happy Hour menu is appropriately light, the dinner menu is rather hearty, with quail, pork shoulder and braised beef short ribs all making an appearance. This is definitely one stop to make a part of your own personal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

- K


1139 NW 11th Avenue (NW 11th & Northrup)
Portland, OR 97209

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Teru Sushi


When children first get their braces off they tend to rush to previously-forbidden treats like bubble gum and potato chips. For J, who spent the past year and a half of his late thirties sporting a grill, the two things he couldn't wait to sink his newly freed teeth into were sushi and a bottle of G.H. Mumm.

Salt Lake City has a collection of respectable sushi joints, but most of them can also quickly break the bank. After treating ourselves to the bottle of champagne we wanted to keep the party going -- but on a budget. Teru Sushi may be tucked away in a Fort Union area strip mall, but their sushi rivals that of other, more popular sushi restaurants in town. And whereas we usually leave some of the other establishments still hungry after dropping close to a c-note, we always manage to get out of Teru Sushi perfectly satisfied, and for nearly half the price.

Rainbow Roll: Salmon, Tuna, Yellowtail - $7.50

Spicy Tuna Roll - $6.75

Alaska Roll: Crab, Avocado, Fresh Salmon - $6.50

Smokey Roll: Eel, Crab Salad, Smoked Salmon - $6.75

Charley Roll: Deep Fried Ebi, Scallop, Tuna, Hamachi - $7.50

At Teru Sushi you won't find concrete slab countertops or servers who are emulating Lauren Conrad. But slip in on a quiet weekday night and owner Mrs. Luong will deliver miso soup like a doting mother, and make you feel as though you are dining at her kitchen table.

- K

Teru Sushi
1844 E. 7000 S., #3
Cottonwood, UT 84121
(Open for lunch M-F, Dinner M-Sat.)

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