Tag Archives: portland

Honeymoon: Portland, OR – Kingdom of Roosevelt

17 Jul

Mike did a lot of great restaurant research for our Honeymoon, and one place he was excited to try was Kingdom of Roosevelt. He read about them, yet again, in our great resource for all things dining out: Eater Heat Map. The description mentioned that the menu “features an adventurous, foraged menu teeming with game animals. Vegans need not apply, but rich flavors abound.”

Once again… sold!

The place is pretty far out of town and the cab driver wasn’t quite sure how to get us there. But GPS prevailed and we found our way to this hip version of a hunting lodge (check out the antler chandelier).



And the fox and game bird.



And the table stands.



Even though we had been drinking at craft breweries with some friends all afternoon, we (stupidly yet gleefully) opted for the wine pairing along with the 6 course menu. Apologies in advance for the slowly degrading story through this meal as we got drunker and drunker.  This was not our finest hour, but thank goodness I took notes!

We started with “bread and fat” which was local bread along with duck fat that had potato and herbs in it.  Awesome.


Next up we had oysters, which were Netarts Bay oysters with mignonette sauce and microgreens.   (We actually wound up at Netarts Bay the following day when we went to see the coast… loving local)


The greens and sauce were complimentary without overpowering the delicate oyster flavor.


And the shells were absolutely beautiful.


It was paired with a wine that was from Southern Oregon. I believe it was called an Albariño. Great pairing.

Our next course was beet cured Chinoock salmon with pickled beets, steelhead roe, yogurt and a bit of fresh horseradish.  The horseradish was not at all overpowering (which I usually find it even in small doses) and it all went very well together.  The beets were cut into different sizes (shaved, quartered, and cubed) which led to a differentiation in textures and mouth feel. Very nice.


The wine pairing was a Rose Pinto Noir from the Patton Valley. This went very well with the salty roe, sweet beets, and salmon and brought out new flavors in both the dish and the wine when paired together.

Our next dish was confit (!) rabbit with an asparagus puree and veggies (asparagus, carrots, radish).  This dish made me finally “get” rabbit. We’ve had it before (a few times actually in different forms: ragu, terrine, terrine sampler, and braised) and were underwhelmed.


But this was different. I didn’t know rabbit could taste that good.


And it was paired with a gruner veltliner from Johan Vineyards.  It was a bit heavier than the gruner veltliner we have had in the past and, again, paired incredibly well with the rabbit, each bringing out flavors in each other that enhanced the dish overall.

Up next was quail stewed with morels, allium, acorn dumplings, and quail egg.  The acorn dumplings were a lot like gnocchi and I loved the earthy flavor.


I was picking quail feet out of my teeth… and enjoying it.  I wanted to suck every morsel of quail off of that leg I could.  This dish was just great.  We asked for more bread just to be able to lap up the sauce.


It was paired with a sour ale, which, again, was great.  They told us it came from a brewery in Southern California and was a wheat beer that was barrel aged to have a sour finish.  This dish tasted like it was made for this beer.

Our final dish was wood pigeon liver custard.  It was topped with elderflower jelly, pickled huckleberry, and lettuce.  I am very sad that I had overdone it as much as I had at this moment and have very little recollection of this amazing part of the meal, but I did write myself one very telling note, all in caps: “WHY IS PIGEON LIVER SO GOOD??????”

I guess that says it all.



This was paired with a dry hopped cider from Square Mile Cider Co.  I forgot to write down what we thought of it, but I trust it was as good as the rest of the pairings.

Our final dish (surprisingly not a dessert, those are separate from the Tasting Menus) was deer saddle wrapped in lettuce with birch syrup baked beans and porcini syrup with mustard seed.  You will notice something missing from this review… I have no idea how I managed to take pictures of every last thing (including the candles, the water bottle, the floor… which I didn’t include since they were simply boring photos) but not this last dish.  I have a feeling that the amount of alcohol I had up until this point was the reason.  I wrote down that we loved the baked bean texture and that it was paired with an Omero Pinot Noir, but sadly, the rest is lost.

At this point… I’m not going to lie… things were very blurry.  I had far too many beers before starting on this adventure and while these pairings were some of the best I ever had, my head was swirling.  I did have the wherewithal to note 2 more things, however:

1- The soundtrack at this restaurant was fantastic

2- How on earth was this amazing restaurant empty?

This was the only time I really overdid it on the honeymoon, and it was not a pleasant experience, but the meal was worth every uncomfortable moment.

I am still shocked that this place wasn’t packed.  Sure, it’s on the outskirts, and sure “game meat” is a scary thing, but this was so damn good and so damn different than I can’t imagine why a place like Portland wouldn’t be all over it. I’m pretty sure it’s only a few months old, so I’m going to assume that the reason is that this is a well kept secret, but I highly recommend that you head to the outskirts and try some amazing, flavorful, incredibly paired, and well cooked dishes that you have never had anywhere else.

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5


Honeymoon: Portland, OR – The Nines, Food Carts, and Deschutes Brewery

15 Jul

From Seattle, we took a leisurely drive to Portland, Oregon. We had booked The Nines hotel (thank you SPG/Starwood points!) and were told it was quite the sexy hotel.  It did not disappoint, with not just a sexy (if not small) room but a lovely gift of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries from the hotel.

F-in classy The Nines Hotel. Complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries from the GM. #theaxelbaums #thenines #baller by @nycnomnom

We had heard that Portland was famous for their foot trucks, which congregate in specific squares around the city.  We set off to find one but were dismayed to find that they are not a dinner thing and most were closed.  We found one Korean/Hawaiian cart open and decided to try some the special of the day (and one of my favorite dishes of all time), Bibimbop.  We were ravenous and surrounded by weird homeless people (I guess that’s what we get for trying to do this for dinner… now we know) so we devoured it and forgot to take a picture of it.  Basically, it looked like cut up vegetables and beef over rice… pretty much like every other bibimbop you’ve seen. And it was good, but nothing too out of the ordinary, and sadly, even though it was flipped around in a wok, cold.  It did not satisfy.

photo (24)

So off we went to a famous brewery (that is actually out of Bend, Oregon, where we were heading in a few days), Deschutes.  We were surprised to see that this was actually a very large place and was packed.  We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table to come up.  Waiting was fine… we had so-so bibimbop to hold us over and just got a beer at the bar.  I tried the Imperial Smoked Porter and absolutely loved it.

Deschutes Brewery Imperial Smoked Porter. Awesome. #nycnomnom #theaxelbaums by @nycnomnom

Our first snack was the pretzel, which came with a mustard and cheese sauce. Now I don’t like mustard, but I LOVED this.  I don’t know what the cheese and salty pretzel did to change my mind, but this mustard was fantastic.  And the pretzel itself tasted exactly how you want a fresh baked soft pretzel to taste.

Pretzel with cheese and grain mustard to dip. Yes. Yes. Yes. #nubulous #nycnomnom #theaxelbaums by @nycnomnom

We also decided to try the macaroni and cheese, which came with cavatappi pasta tossed in a rich stout cream sauce with grilled red onion, baby spinach and sharp white cheddar cheese topped with bread crumbs. And we added bacon, as if macaroni and cheese made with beer wasn’t already indulgent enough.

Killer stout Mac and Cheese. #nycnomnom by @nycnomnom

This was insanely good. So good, in fact, that I commented on Instagram/Facebook that even though we were beyond full, we couldn’t NOT finish it and the only thing that was left was the bacon.  And when I leave bacon over anything else, you know it was DAMN GOOD.

You know the mac and cheese was something special when I’m too full to eat the bacon but the mac is all gone. #nycnomnom #theaxelbaums by @nycnomnom

Deschutes was everything you want a craft brewery restaurant to be.  Great food, great beer, and lots of space for people to socialize.  We said how much we would love a place like this in the city (it would never have the same feel though) and I realized that this place is everything Heartland Brewery tries to be and fails absolutely miserably at.  Shame.

If I lived in Portland, I would spend many evenings here.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

nomscale- 07.0

Portland, ME: David’s Opus 10

11 Apr

High on the list of places to try in Portland, Maine was David’s Opus 10. I have been hearing about it more and more since it opened this past November, and it made a few appearances on the Soup to Nuts: Maine food experts dish about their restaurant favorites article.

The menu is a 9-course Tasting Menu and Mike and I split a wine pairing between us (I drank more since Mike had to drive home).


The Opus Ten part of the restaurant is actually behind the main restaurant, David’s. They do a small seating in an intimate space with beautiful draping along the ceiling. They also put a cart of goodies in the middle of all the tables.


While we weren’t right at the window, our table afforded us a peak into the kitchen.


And the table was beautifully set with a dark purple calla lilly (one of my faves!)


Even the butter was beautifully styles (and very tasty with smoked salt on top).


With a lovely variation of rolls and some very nice olive and balsamic to dip.


Our first dish was not on the menu, but was certainly more substantial than your usual amuse bouche. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t written on the menu, I cannot recall the specifics beyond the fact that the meat was shaved off of a beautiful piece of hock on that middle table and tasted delicious with the cheese, olives, and bread.


It was beautifully marbled and had a great tenderness to it.


My first cocktail necessitated a quick froth (and tasted great).


The first official menu item came out, and this was the dish that everyone in that article was raving about. Morel and exotic mushroom gratin with Mushroom and Madeira cream shooter.


This had a very lovely mushroom flavor and was incredibly enjoyable, but I think I would have loved it a whole lot more if we hadn’t just had the mushroom of a lifetime at Local 188.


Next came a butter poached lobster, risotto cake, citrus truffle miero greens.  This was very tasty, but I feel a bit like I might be struck by lightening for saying this… I don’t really “get” butter poaching lobster. It’s so much more flavorful when you just boil it in its shell and then dip it in butter. Somehow the poaching seems to take away some of the great lobster flavor.  (Sorry food gods)


Our next dish was seared scallops with bowfin caviar and smoked salmon.  I really liked the addition of the matchstick potatoes in this. It created a really awesome contrast of textures and flavor without distracting from the delicious fish.


I really enjoyed our next bite, quail egg ravioli with kale, hedgehog mushrooms, and foie gras butter nage [sic].


I didn’t really taste the foie gras, but this was rich and creamy and very, very nice.


Our next dish was a nice intermezzo with strawberry-basil sorbet with frozen vanilla and basil infused vodka.



The vodka was actually poured overtop from a bottle that was frozen into a block.


Even though I don’t love vodka, I really enjoyed this light palate cleanser. Very refreshing and a nice way to head into the rest of the meal.


Grilled quail, foie gras medallion and “buttered” toast with cranberry-pear gastrique. Usually I find quail hardly worth the effort. A teeny bite without much flavor.


This was a more substantial portion and it all went together well, and this time the foie had a really nice flavor that was prominent without being overpowering.


Our last savory course was my favorite: Lamb saddle, lamb presse, sweet potato hash, and kale braise.


There was an amazing crispy top on the one piece of lamb, and everything was cooked, flavored, and spiced perfectly.  Really great dish.


Our dessert was Feuilletage “beignets” with peppered strawberry and Grand Marnier creme chantilly.  These were quite tasty. Not too dense and nice flavor.  I enjoyed the strawberry balanced with the pepper.


Our final bites were chocolate, caramel nut bark, chambord and chocolate truffles, and pecan, orange and cranberry sandy.  I thought these were all pretty good, but nothing too outstanding.



The truffles were my favorite of the trio.


They also offered us some after dinner drinks, and Mike chose to have some Twenty Year Old Sandeman (which he really enjoyed).


Overall, our meal was really great but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding.  Solid, great flavor, nice pacing, and great service. But there was no dish that really stuck out as a huge WOW.  It felt like a really nice, celebration of a meal, however, and is a fun way to spend an evening. I actually wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had we not had such a great experience at Local 188 the night right before. But as far as tasting menus go, I would say it was worth every penny (though they didn’t tell you how much any of the extras cost, which was mildly annoying). It’s a really nice treat right in Portland.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

nomscale- 08.0