Recent Portland and Seattle trips produced a bounty of fine food. In Portland, after a hard day wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, we bumped in to (we were lost!) Bluehour, rated as one of Portland’s finest. We wandered in and were lucky enough to be shown to a free table in the bar by a waitress who looked like Ana Lucia from Lost – I suspect she could’ve been just as dangerous.
The food lived up to its reputation. Kathy’s poissin was divine, succulent and delicately cooked. Jan continued her duck-a-thon spectacularly, and I slowly ripped apart a sizeable veal shank which must’ve cooked for hours. The food here is seriously good, and we need to return with a reservation to sample more of their menu.
In Seattle last weekend, we went to Assagio on Saturday night and Flying Fish on Sunday.
Assagio serves classic, hearty Italian food in a crowded and noisy dining room. The atmosphere was actually most enjoyable compared to the anodyne, booth-oriented dining experience that prevails in so many restaurants in the USA. Like the wonderful Pazzo in Surry Hills, I’d love this as my neighborhood Italian restaurant, where excellent osso bucco could be relied upon to sustain me through winter. Alas, Seattle is 200 miles away.
It’s probably a good thing for our finances that Flying Fish is 200 miles away though. This was the discovery of the weekend, and one the Belltown locals certainly like to frequent. We arrived at 5.30pm on a Sunday, and were lucky to get a table. The staff were a little serious about life, and the waiter was mortified when he tried to open our Cloudy Bay 2004 chardonnay (screw cap) with a corkscrew. But no complaints could be made about the food or service that followed. The spicy tuna poke was as good as I’ve had, and extremely generous. Jan’s scallops with black rice and yellow curry was an attack on the senses, with all the ingredients beautifully complementing each other. And my sailfish, a waiter’s recommendation, was a dark, meaty wonder paired with a mushroomy, spicy broth. We’ll be back here, for sure.
And yes – we have a Thai restaurant in town that is good enough to qualify as a THE cheap local Thai that everyone should have. It’s spartan in decor, but the food shines as pretty authentic, freshly cooked, spicy dishes. So they call Gang Pa ‘Wild Curry’, and the fish cakes are made of chicken, but the food at Taste of Thai is well worth seeking out. Regularly.