Kudos for a Few of My Very Favorites

Jun 22


McMenamin’s….I have known Mike and Brian for quite a few years. I met them at the old Bishop’s House restaurant when they had a new venture importing a complete line of Italian wines to Oregon; I think it was ’78 or ’79. That venture didn’t continue ( a visionary idea, I thought) . Shortly after, they started on their well known journey to some amazing feats in the NW Food and Hospitality business. I thoroughly enjoyed the feature in a recent “Oregonian” issue. A class act across the board. Preserving history in their own way is grand! Now their empire can touch so many diners, travelers, lodgers, beer/wine/spirit lovers while saving some of that Northwest architectural flavor.

Phillipe Boulot…Bravo, I say. A fantastic chef ; a gentleman ; and a staunch culinary addition to Oregon for many years. Leaving the Heathman to concentrate on the transformation of The Multnomah Athletic Club food service- a new look and new energy to a special institution. I remember in 1981 when I hired a genius young  pastry chef at Belinda’s. She had a special touch and an obvious professionalism. How was I to know she would follow her dream to work in Paris and eventually bring her  husband back home…Phillipe. Bravo Susan!

Oregonian Diner-2012….Released today. I always look forward to who has made the scene. Who’s the rising star; restaurant of the year and all the rest. I have not read it completely through yet. I just know some of the places I like are not included….and they deserve it, without a doubt. I’m talking about CABEZON -just off NE Sandy and NE 50 TH. A most delightful, calming place. David Farrell-Chef/Proprietor has a deft hand with seafood. greatest fries in town. A warm earthy dining room. ROOST at SE Belmont and 14 TH is a quiet elegant, understated gem. Crisp, and warm inside…cozy and friendly . Chef/Owner Meghan Henzel will please you with her cuisine. Understated descriptions on the menu are more than that when you get your plates. A weekend brunch spot not to miss. THE FISHWIFE  on N. Lombard in St. Johns…off N Portsmouth Ave.- close to U. of Portland. Operating for more than 20 years , here is a super casual place that has been able to blend an old time seafood shack feel with a new exciting menu . Sweet and pleasant servers make it feel like you want to come back tomorrow. Last time I was there, they had a special 1/2 off on their wine list on Tuesdays…that is quite a deal. Ask for Lindsay. THIRST WINE BAR & BISTRO…..along the Willamette river promenade below the Mariott Hotel on Front. This is a very cozy spot to enjoy the tables outside with views of Mt. Hood, all the boats, plus great people watching. Wonderful menu, spectacular wine selection and tasting room. They are also equipped for banquets and parties. SELLWOOD PIZZA KITCHEN on SE 13 TH -on the antique strip, is the spot for a good pizza,  maybe a salad, and some of the lowest wine prices in the city. They have had gluten-free selections for three years. Ask for Dale and Diane. PORTOFINO is just one block away. Here you will feel like a king or a queen. The owner, Seth and his staff will serve you a great menu, present a wine list that is one of the best in town and you’ll end up feeling like you have been in a small Italian village experience. Like Seth says, there is a reason it is called the ” HOSPITALITY Business”. Last but surely not the least,  is a small gem tucked amongst the 28 TH and E. Burnside collection of eating places.TAPALAYA….where all these young folks were scurrying about with smiles and cheerful remarks. Not one was on their Smartphone texting while waiting for food or drinks. They spoke to you sincerely and earnestly. The Creole/Cajun menu of small plates is so darn low priced and the food is great. When you go, you must ask for the owner, Chantal; then you will  know why this is a little  pearl just waiting to be plucked from a New Orleans gulf oyster. Bring some friends on Tuesday/Thursday nights –LIVE JAZZ! Note! Some of the best drinks around too….without the inflated tariff you often see.

SUMMER IS COMING…… In the summer of my youth in Texas, we would pile into my dad’s old ’54 Ford sedan and head to Cincinnati Ave. in San Antonio; where there was a rickety overhead frame of old 2×4’s covered with some palm fronds-replaced every year. Underneath were several picnic tables. There was a row of odd shaped, old metal soda  coolers filled with big chunks of  floating ice and water. I loved all the soda brands like RC Cola, Grapette, Bireley’s and Nehi with their bright colors. Competing with the ice were immense watermelons-dark green ones and light green and white stripped ones that I thought looked like zebras. My dad would put in an order for all of us; the guy would reach in for a fresh melon (my dad only wanted one that was freshly cut) and laid it on his table. With a mighty whack, we each would get a big wedge of melon. The zebra ones had a beautiful peachy/golden sweet flesh. Big aluminum salt shakers were on each table…and a liberal coating of salt gave us the most delicious taste sensation. Each piece was a quarter! That was a good way to spend a hot summer twilight evening.



  1. Thanks so much for the kind words. Big hugs from the entire Tapalaya crew!

  2. Those kind words …well earned by a “cracker jack crew” and boss! Looking forward for more folks to have that Tapalaya experience.

  3. Julia /

    I remember picking raspberries for pocket money when I was a pre-teen. In the 79’s, Milwaukie still had lots of farms and right behind our house (I mean *right behind*)were acres of rhubarb and raspberries. To this day, I love the smell of raspberries on a warm summer day and miss hearing the pheasants in the rhubarb.
    And, Cabezon, wonderful! Phillipe Boulot, what a gentleman and so gracious.

  4. Julia /

    I meant in the 70’s, of course…

    • I knew when I mentioned the kid’s tradition of picking strawberry, blueberry raspberry etc. that it would resonate for lots of people; and those days of having fresh fruit on acres close by are probably a past memory too. I don’t believe I have ever seen acres of rhubarb. I just love rhubarb. Please don’t put it with strawberries though. So traditional, I know….but it is so much better if allowed to shine on its own – with minor players. My favorite is Rhubarb Ginger Butter; the trick is to add grated ,peeled, tart apples (which are just adding the thickening )and cook slowly for 2-2 1/2 hrs. Puree and jar…..keeps in the refrigerator for quite awhile. Very tasty on waffles, whole grain toast/pancakes or with roasted meats like pork, lamb,turkey or chicken. Try it as a filling for southern fried hand pies……YUM!

  5. Don Elliott /

    I LOVE fishwife!

    • You got that right! It’s cozy, unpretentious, friendly , affordable, and their food doesn’t get the attention it should. Hurray, Fishwife!

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