Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How I'm Still Alive

As you read the posts on this blog you've probably wondered how I manage to get anything done being such a drunk. Well, I'll tell you.

Here are my top methods for pulling yourself together when you're hungover:

1. GT Dave's Kombucha (Original Flavor)

"Living Food for the Living Body." Ok, sounds kind of stupid but this shit really works. It makes you feel like you've slept an extra three hours. I reccomend the Original Flavor because I believe you have to suffer through the ones that taste the worst because they are the most effective. Not that bad once you get used to it, kind of tastes like hard cider with floaties. Good enough for Lindsey Lohan!
You can get it at: Whole Foods

2. Maine Squeeze Juice Bar, Portland ME.
This guy's got what you need to help recover. I suggest starting with a ginger shot to calm your stomach, and then the "Belly Pleaser" - parsley, spinach, bananas, mango, soy milk, cider, and dates. I know that greasy food seems appealing when you're hungover, but that shit will just make you feel worse.

3. Water
Drink tons of it. I don't have to tell you why, right?

4. Zico
Pure coconut water, available in three flavors. I like the regular coconut, ice cold. It has a nice effect if you shotgun it, aiding heavily for re-hydration.
You can get it at: The Cheese Iron and One Fifty Ate

5. Pho
Nothing better than hot, spicy broth to bring you back to life.
I reccomend Thanh Thanh 2 on Forest Ave. in Portland for the beef-based broths, and if you prefer chicken got to Huong's on Cumberland Ave. - Also in Portland.

6. Weed
This can go either way for me. Sometimes, depending on the quality, it makes everything better. Othertimes, it makes me kind of ill.
You can get it from: Let me Know

7. The combination of a green tea, a beer, and a water.
Perfect. Now we're back on track!

8. Exercise
If you can muster enough energy without vomiting, this is truly the only way to completely banish a hangover from your system. God it sucks, though..

9. Not getting shit-faced, passing out on a friend's couch/bed, not having any water to wake up and drink, and falling asleep with my contact lenses in.
I usually feel alot better if I don't do all of these things at once.

10. Hair of the Dog
The quick fix that's guaranteed to leave your day in shambles!

Well, there you go. Ten ways to help you cope with your drinking habit.


Thursday, April 23, 2009



I've been able to recover from the alcoholic haze and blog again. Deathmatch never fails to throw my life into a maelstrom of shit, and this one was even bigger than the others. I thought it would be interesting to tell you a little about this thing we've created - let's start with the timeline for the most recent:

Deathmatch Last Meal 2009

3 Months Out:

The concept is born. Everybody at one time or another has discussed the last meal they would have if they were to die immediately after. This allowed for so many ideas, which would range from expensive luxuries to the humble dishes prepared by our Grandmothers when we were growing up. Also, I wanted to give my chefs a break after the difficult restraints of Deathmatch Grow! Kill! Forage! There would be no limits here.
I also begin planning a book, where every chef gets a photo shoot and answers these five questions:
1. What would be your last meal on earth?
2. What would you drink with the meal?
3. What would the setting be?
4. Who would be there?
5. Would there be music?
I also decided that every guest would give me three songs that they would like to hear on their last day, and the party soundtrack would be a shuffle of these selections. It was at this point I started feeling that this might be biting off more than I could chew..

2 Months Out:

Ideas are taking hold. I am fortunate enough to meet Zack Bowen one random night while I was working the bar at Hugo's. I took one look at his portfolio and asked him if he would be interested in being our new photographer. He graciously accepted and the book concept began to come to life.
At this point I leave for Argentina, knowing that when I get back I had to hit the ground running...

1 Month Out:

Zack and I begin the photo shoots. I start gathering songs and worksheets from the chefs. We had a tight time frame here, we needed to complete 17 shoots in 2 weeks. At this point Katie Selva stepped in to help us out for a couple of them, and Zack worked tirelessly to accomidate schedules to finish the rest. The photos and copy were then handed off to Marya Baron, our amazingly talented graphic designer. She put together an incredible book in 3 days and got it sent off to be published in time for the party. The first major obstacle has been overcome..

2 Weeks Out:

Nothing else matters outside of Deathmatch. Relationships, Bills, Family, and Reality all get put to the wayside for this last stretch. Alcohol consumption nearly triples and sleep becomes scarce. People try to talk to me about other things and I can barely even listen. Deathmatch is all that matters. We spend huge sums of money on massive and rare bottles of wine but can barely pay for modest day to day expenses. The party becomes a monster that grows out of control as we desperately try to keep the guest list in check. Chefs need to know numbers, I have to track everyone down for the second time and collect money, songs, and services.

Also - The easiest way to never be invited to Deathmatch is inviting yourself.

1 Week Out:

I'm to the point where I hope this party actually kills me. Thinking about the aftermath is so overwhleming that I just push the drinking that much further in order not to worry about it. All these fucking people want in last minute, I start to worry that there will be too many people and all my efforts will be fucking ruined..
Leslie makes the tent happen, which allows me to relax a little knowing that people will be mostly outside. Taylor comes through with the Iberico ham, and I realize that this is going to be amazing. Marya shows up with the books, and I get even more excited, I think we should go buy a 3L of 1990 Perrier Jouet La Fleur to go with our Caviar!

Day Of:

I wake up after 2 hours of sleep in a daze. I get up without thinking and immediately start making soup for my course. The decorating crew shows up around 10:30 and over the course of 3 hours makes the house look like a mexican funeral.
I am able to sit down and focus on creating the menu, which Marya gets printed for me. Zack shows up and sets up a photo studio upstairs. There is a dispute about whether or not to set up the tent because it was a beautiful day.
Chefs start showing up with food. I put on a suit. People compete for precious counterspace to prep their food. I go outside and start pouring drinks....

For what happens next, check out Johnny D's full e-gullet report here or Marya's report here

The Aftermath:

Monday is a write off, as I wasn't actually expecting to wake up. I don't go near the house because it's a fucking disaster. I go to work and then continue the bender after, which bleeds into Tuesday - also a write off. Wednesday the massive cleanup effort really begins, with help from several guests. We then do our traditional "Death Warmed Over" feast on Thursday, where chefs get creative with the leftovers.

Somebody asks me about the next Deathmatch. Not to say I don't love these parties, but I tell them to go fuck themselves....

all photos by Zack Bowen or Marya Baron

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Debauchery In Review...

Easter Sunday..

If it weren't for my family reminding me, and the liquor store being closed, I would have no idea when Easter was. It's a holiday that just kind of lost all importance to me once I had consumed my fill (at a young age) of Cadbury Cream Eggs.
My day started wildly hungover after getting 3 hours of sleep. Guests were coming over for breakfast. When I started to regain consciousness, about 25 minutes later, I found myself in the middle of making a coffee cake, which I've never done.

I bet the last thing you expected to find in a post with the word "Debauchery" in it would be a recipe for coffee cake. Well, now this is happening:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk (kate's is making this now. It's great)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used ceylon)
4 advil
2 16oz. cans Pabst Blue Ribbon
orange ouice
a positive attitude

1. Take Advil
2. Open PBR
3. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 10 inch springform pan.
4. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter in increments and whisk until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove one cup of the flour mixture and set aside.
5. After struggling through half of the PBR, realize that this would be alot easier if you add orange juice to it...
6. Add orange juice to your PBR.. Much better.
7. Whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture remaining in the mixer. Add the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Whisk until batter is thick, smooth, fluffy, and frosting like. About 1.5 - 2 minutes. Doesn't that feel good? Let's add some of that positive attitude now..
8. Scrape mixture into the pan, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula.
9. Add the blueberries, lightly mixing them in.
10. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved crumbs of flour, sugar, and butter; toss with a fork or your hand (wash it first). Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so they adhere. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a cake tester (you DO have a cake tester, right?) comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Let it sit for about an hour to cool or the center will be like napalm.
11. Slow down on the beer, you've got all day and it's not a race. Ok?
12. Get a little misty, realizing that if you applied yourself to other aspects of your life the way you did to the coffee cake, things could have been different...

And.... Fast Forward to That Night.

I was invited over to a friend's house for Paella. Thank god for the West End Grocer actually being the only place open, otherwise I was going to have to show up with wines from Rite Aid. I also decided to bring a couple of bottles from my own collection. These followed the theme of "The future is uncertain," because they each needed about 10 more years in the bottle to come around. I don't have the patience to wait 10 years..
A good rule of thumb is if you're going to consume three bottles of wine yourself at a dinner party, then show up with at least 5.

Here's the rundown:

To start:

Unibroue Trois Pistoles Strong Dark Ale, Quebec (about 7.99 retail)
I think everyone's pretty familiar with this beer. A good way to get things started.

To Eat:
Bacon Wrapped Dates

The wines that followed were:

2005 Boutari Naoussa, Greece (about 17.99 retail)
Honestly, until Emilitsa came around I knew nothing about Greek wines with the excpetion of retsina. I noticed that everyone who went to Greece on vacation wouldn't shut the fuck up about the wines when they got back. Well, now I know why. This is a delicious Pinot Noir stlye wine, with great balanced acidity and lots of strawberries and cream on the palate. 100% xinomavro.

2007 Pittnauer Sankt Laurent, Burgenland, Austria (about 20.00 retail)
Nice, bright fruit. Another Pinot Noir style wine, made from the St. Laurent varietal. God I love Austrian wine..

At this point, Paella is served. It was delicous, even though it was loaded with peas, the only food I don't like. In an effort to not behave like a 3 year old, I ate every one and you know what? I still hate peas.

The wine, however, paired up brilliantly:

2004 Georg Breuer Berg Schlossberg Riesling, Rheingau, Germany (about 80.00 retail)
This was the first of the "future is uncertain" series. Honestly, this wine could have aged 30 more years. Still it was amazing, with brilliant acidity and peaches and lime peel in the finish.

2004 Marchesi di Barolo, Cannubi Vineyards, Piedmont, Italy (about 80.00 retail)
The second of the "future is uncertain" series. This actually drank way better than I expected it too. Though definitely still tight, alot of the fruit came through and the tannins were fairly soft. If you have a bottle, wait about 5 years.

2005 Vinos Los Maquis, Lien, Colchagua, Chile (about 17.99 retail)
Chile's answer to a Super Tuscan. One of the best values in wine out there, and I'm not just saying it because I used to sell it. A blend of Syrah, Carmenere, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. Fruit from the Syrah and Carmenere, and the Bordeaux varietals give it structure. Amazing.

2007 Boncap Winery "The Ruins Red", Robertson, South Africa (about 10.00 retail)
A blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and Viognier. Nice, big fruit and smoky notes. Great for the money.. Perfect when you've had this much wine.

2008 Tisdale Cabernet, Someplace Shitty, California (2 for 7.00 at Hannaford)
I'm not even going to put a picture up of this one. We were drunk, what can I say? I didn't bring it. I'm sure I would have other things to say about it if it were the first wine I drank that night..

At this point the Yacht Rock and incriminating photography are in full swing.
We head to Cumberland Farms and it's time for:

Harpoon IPA, Boston (about 8.00 a six pack retail)
"At Harpoon, we have always worked hard at two things: brewing great beer and welcoming our customers to our breweries. Our beer styles were created to provide you, our beer-drinking friends, with fresh, fun and interesting choices. We draw on numerous brewing traditions to make our beers, but we always add our own “interpretation” of how the styles can be best matched to our – and your - tastes."

Get the door.. Who is it? Papa Johns? Gross. Of course I'll have some... Somebody should peel Chris off the floor..

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Just when you thought Miyake couldn't get any better..
Masa is now accompanied by Shinji. Masa will tell you that he is not a sushi chef and that Shinji Is. I'm now a believer..

While we waited for a spot at the bar (they'll call your cell when it's available), Dietz and I decided to head over to the Downtown Lounge. J.C. seemed confused to see us this early, so I made him more comfortable by ordering what I normally would at 12:45 a.m. A PBR and an enormous shot of Jagermeister (I know, I'm so trashy..) We got the call and headed back over..
The Meal

What we're drinking to start:
Rogue Brewery Morimoto (whom Shinji trained) Soba Ale 2x22oz

Kasu Jiru: a sake lees/miso based stew, with a base of tai/salmon/kimme dai head stock, meat pulled off bones, served with daikon, carrot, yam cake, and shitake.
This was a hearty first course, which was good because the restaurant was fairly busy so the pace at first was a little slow. Not that we were in a hurry...

2ndDeep sea glass eels Noresore (Korean) with ponzu and scallions. These were amazing, practically melting in your mouth.
3rdSalmon toro on Japanese gnocchi w/ mustard sauce and garlic parsly oil. I can't even describe to you how good this was... I've never had Salmon toro before, and it was perfect on top of the crispy gnocchi.

At this point we're drinking:
1x Saiya Shuzoten, Yuki No Bosha Limited Release Junmai Ginjo, Akita, Japan, 720ml

4thSaba tasting. Farm raised, fatty, with sesame paste. Wild lightly brined and vinegar washed with ume paste and shallot. Both Japanese. I've never had mackerel that tasted this mild and fresh. The farm raised in particular was insanely good.

5thTiny Japanese sardines marinated in soy, mirin, & lemon dried in cooler, with sesame seeds. Not only were these visually stunning, but delicious.

6thChanchan Yaki: A pile of deliciously crisp iceberg lettuce topped with salmon, ika, shrimp, hotate, tai and disturbing amounts of spicy, mustardy Kewpie mayo broiled to perfection. Looked awful. Tasted great,with some bizarre textures. Yay!
7thSkate and hotate salad with parsley garlic oil, and micros over rice. Presentation was beautiful. You'd think I would have had something that wasn't amazing at this point. Wrong.

8thPork Tasting, crispy Berkshire pork intestine, rolled marinated thin sliced pork belly w/ scallion & hot mustard. Seriously couldn't give a fuck about the belly (which was delicious) next to the sweet, dank, salty, crispy, carbon tinged but still gooey, delectable innards. These intestines were one of the best things I've ever eaten.

I decide we need more sake. I return from west end grocer with a bottle that I thought looked promising. The conversation went like this:
Me: This looked fun.
Dietz: I don't know that one.
Me: It's from SoPo, I've never had it either..
Dietz: I don't prefer SoPo's sakes.. Oh Wait. Shit. You see what you've gone and done here is purchased a Nigori (unfiltered) sake.
Me: Shit - I didn't notice because of the cloth wrapper around the bottle.
Dietz: What's wrong with you?
We usually don't love Nigori sake. This one turned out to be the best one we'd ever had..
Hitori Musume Junmai Nigori Sake, Yamanaka Shuzo. Ibaraki Prefecture. 720ml

9thnigiri: hamachi w/ minced jalepeño, bluefin loin w/ pickled sweet onion, tai with salad (enoki, pigñola, greens), sawara (Spanish mackerel) w/ shitake & enoki stuff. The Bluefin loin was mind-numbingly good.

10thCrispy fried eggplant "noodle" soup in a brutally flavorful, crystal clear, dashi w/ mirin broth. Ok - This was one of my favorite parts of the night. Shinji took a japanese eggplant, basically made a paper thin scroll out of it with his knife, then chiffonaded that into noodles. You've got to see this man work...

After all this, I was pretty blissed out.
Seemed like a perfect time to go over to Local and have a few Chambly Noirs from this guy. He generally puts up with me showing up hammered and insisting that he play "Flashing Lights" by Kanye West. This capped the night off perfectly. Thank you to Masa, Shinji, and Carl for a perfect dining experience!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Black Beans Recipe

These are versatile and delicious..

1 lb. good quality bacon, cut into 1" strips (the stuff from Pat's, or the Plumrose from Hannafords are good)
1 large onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
assorted chili peppers, chopped (I use a combination of cherry peppers, serrano, jalapeno, red fresno, and habanero. it's up to you how many, and whether or not to seed them. Sometimes I like to make them so hot, you start hiccuping immediately on the first bite. It all depends on how you want to feel in the morning. )
3/4 cup of dry white wine
2 large cans Goya black beans
2 regular cans Amy's refried black beans
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and a good amount of fat has rendered out.
Add onions, garlic, shallots, chilis, and bell peppper. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes.
Add wine and simmer until most has evaporated.
Add beans and stir to incorporate. Now add the spices. Cook until beans are heated through. You can adjust the spices however you'd like.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve with fresh fried tortilla chips and Mexican crema.

Also is a great filling for enchiladas, pupusas, nachos, and burritos.

Would pair with: Pacifico beer, Alsatian Gewurtztraminer, Horchata, Don Julio Anejo, Chilean pinot noir (alot of these wines have that smoky, bacon fatty characteristic), or Caipirinhas.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Brilliant Food Reviews Keep Coming From The Press Herald..

Don't be fooled by the name. The food's good. Seriously
Translation: I’m a Shithead.

Oh, those decadent vegans – always indulging in recipes crammed with olives, roasted red pepper, tomato and garlic slathered with basil sauce, or in tangles of rice noodles dripping with nut butter and squeezed lime. If only the rest of us could indulge ourselves the way they do.
The Decadent Vegans. If this opening paragraph doesn’t already have you reaching for something to cut yourself and/or others with... Read on! I’ve got some nut butter for you..
Wait – we can. The thick sugary frosting on that vegan black-and-white layer cake is just as creamy as you could wish for. Silly's Restaurant's vegan menu, likely the most extensive in town, is worth an investigation for nonvegans who have a love of vegetables – something only a few restaurateurs in town really cater to.
Non-Vegans who have a love of vegetables.... Anybody else getting upset at this point?
Silly's has been serving Portlanders since July 15, 1988. The small spot on Washington Avenue has been home base for 12 years, since a move in 1997 from 147 Cumberland Ave., according to Colleen Kelley, who bought Silly's in November 2002.

"I had never eaten here before I bought it," Kelley said.
Yeah. Because you probably wouldn’t have bought it if you did.
Kelley trained at Pizzeria Uno at the South Portland mall, where she was assistant general manager, and her parents owned a restaurant.
Pizzeria Uno? Really?
One of the most popular items at Silly's is the Slop Bucket – rice and beans, cheese and applewood-smoked pulled pork with barbecue sauce, coleslaw and dill pickles layered in a bowl.
Silly names are a specialty. Server Zak Taillon came up with "Tempeh of Doom," a special. "Chicken in a Boat" is "Tofu in a Dinghy" in its vegan version.
I still prefer “Moons over My Hammy” or “I’ve never Haddock Like this Before.”
Vegan customers dine on meals without any dairy, meat or fish, not to mention honey.
Yeah, don't mention honey. That gets them all riled up.
"I'm not a vegan, but it's fun to try different things. I want to be able to accommodate a lot of different people," Kelley said.
“It’s fun to produce food that I wouldn’t eat personally, but you people seem to enjoy.”
In early spring the patio out back is inaccessible, but the colorful Formica tables with chrome trim and even more brightly colored chrome chairs upholstered with vinyl are a perfect refuge inside. "Silly" framed photographs cover the walls – shots from foreign or funny places prominently displaying an "Eat at Silly's" bumper sticker.
The Chairs are even more brightly colored than the table? Now that’s pretty Silly. And Funny. And Foreign. And completely fucking irrelevant.The gorgeous stamped-metal ceiling is only one player in the vivacious decor, with lights – gaudy, feather-trimmed, some flashing – adding to the giddy ambience. Pokey and Gumby are likely perched in the table container with the napkins and paper menus. The teenagers who learned to like this place with mom are back with each other, completely at ease.
I’ve got some Giddy Ambience for you.. Ok I need to stop with that.. The brother and sister who use to come here on dates with Mom are back with each other. Great Nancy. That’s fascinating. We get it. It’s been here awhile. Will you get to the point??!! You know what, Don’t. if it’s good enough for Pokey and Gumby than I’m in. Damn It.,,
As they migrate from happy bliss at the end of a straw full of strawberry milkshake and become new converts of the vegan "silkshake" ($5.25) made with soy milk and soy ice cream, the transition should go smoothly.
What on earth are you talking about?
Wines called "House Red," slightly tart, "Good Chianti" and Arido, an Argentinian malbec as soft as velvet ($7 each for a generous pour) provide refreshment for grown-ups. A clear glass wine bottle full of water is set on every table, ready to quench one's thirst.
The clear glass wine bottle is going to quench the fuck out of your thirst. Whether you like it or not. Open up... Oh God!! YOU SHOULD HAVE OPENED UP!!! THERE’S BLOOD EVERYWHERE!! OH GOD! WHY DIDN”T YOU LET ME QUENCH YOUR THIRST!! STOP CRYING! PLEASE!
The Pokey Pig ($9.25) presents appetizing chunks of pulled pork dressed up in tangy barbecue sauce and piled inside a roll. Creamy coleslaw made with cabbage and carrots is perfectly good too, but the sweet potato fries (an additional $1) – wide, dark brown and creamy – are irresistible.
Well. Nice to know that the coleslaw, inexplicably made with cabbage, is perfectly good too. I’ve got something wide, dark brown, creamy, and irresistible for you. Sorry.
The pulled-chicken dish called Chickano ($8.95) wasn't much to write home about until the house hot sauce came to the rescue. Thick, creamy and deep red, the habanera-based sauce held a slightly sweet intensity in its burn, transforming the taste of the slightly dry white meat.
If only I could Actually Write..
But nothing could help the too-intense herbal flavor of the rice, which overwhelmed with rosemary and thyme.
Nothing. The rice was simply beyond repair. The too-intense herbal flavor of the herbs rosemary and thyme simply could not be tamed.
Much more fun to eat was the lamb dish called Mythos ($13.95), with a generous heap – and every plate is generously heaped – of browned lamb on top of tender couscous and not-so-tender chunks of zucchini, red and green peppers, and broccoli. Thick dill yogurt sauce provided its traditional cool presence beside the savory meat.
Well as long as you're having fun....
Sliced plantains ($5.50) fried to a dark brown still retained their creamy sweet texture under the crunch of the exterior.
The busy business, slammed on a Friday night, had run out of "Vegan Dreams" ($6.25) by the time the place emptied at 9:20 p.m. It's made of fried plantains with maple syrup, toasted pecans, toasted coconut and soy ice cream.
“The Busy Business” and “Got Slammed and Ran Out of Vegan Dreams” are the first two singles on my upcoming album. How did you know?!
Vegans and others can also enjoy a "whip" made with, on one visit, peanut butter and chocolate topped with broken pretzels.
Vegans will enjoy it more, though. Others – Look elsewhere.But the cake stands on the counter had been working their seduction, and we opted to try the vegan chocolate cake ($4.95) with chocolate frosting (except where it turned into white frosting, where the server said she could slice us a bi-colored piece).
Are you saying you want to fuck the cake-stands? This is a little much for me..
The icing was sweet as sugar – cane sugar, we learned, which might not address some vegan concerns about the use of animal bones in the charcoal filtering of cane juice.
The icing, made with sugar, was as sweet at sugar.It didn't bother us, however, although the relentless sweetness did. The firm-textured chocolate cake was more to my taste, its flavor verging on bittersweet.
It wasn’t the animal bones, but the inexplicably sweet sugar that bothered us.

Anybody? Please? Help?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tu Casa

I Love Tu Casa. I've been going to this restaurant regularly for almost 7 years and continue to do so. Why? Well, there's the obvious reason that good Latin food is scarce in this city. I think there's more to it than that though:

1. Pupusas - Both the meat and cheese versions are delicious. Covered in El Yucateco green sauce and Curtido (pickled cabbage), they are a perfect combination of rich, spicy, tangy, and crunchy.

2. Up until about a year ago they were BYOB. That was awesome, but I understand selling beer is probably better from a business standpoint. Still, they have Negra Modelo and Pacifico, so I'm happy. For 5 years I would come in and give Louis one of whatever beers I brought in. One day I was in the back and he had me get something, like a to-go container, out of one of the cabinets. On the top shelf were most of the beers I had been giving him over the years, covered in dust. Turns out, he doesn't drink. Oh well...

3. Enchiladas Salvadorena - Two perfectly fried tostadas covered in cabbage, avocado, cheese, and meat. These are just plain ridiculous with Tongue (see below).

4. Tongue - Lengua is the newest addition to the offerings at Tu Casa. You can get it in the taquitos (more traditional tacos on corn tortillas) or the taco (one big flour tortilla). It is so fucking good. Braised, tender, and full of flavor. The texture has a really nice snap to it. So Good.

5. The Rice - I don't know how they prepare their simple white rice. They must use lard or something. It's got great sticky texture and is seasoned perfectly.

6. The refried beans - Salty and delicious.

7. The Mountaineer's Plate - Flank steak, fried egg, fried plantains, avocado, rice, and beans. This is one of my favorite plates of food in Portland. It's a great example of a steak cooked well done that still flavorful and tender.

8. The Plantain Appetizer - Perfectly cooked plantains almost every time. They serve it with a dipping sauce of Salvodoran crema, which you can purchase at the Bodega Latina. We got some, proceeded to use it on everything we made, and then actually read the ingredients to find out what was in it. Heavy Cream, Cream Cheese, and Sour Cream. No wonder I gained ten pounds that month..

9. Jarritos - I don't drink soda, except for mandarin Jarritos.

10. Horchata - My drink of choice here when I'm on the wagon.

11. Mojarra Frita - Whole fried fish. I had this recently for the first time and was very impressed.

12. It's So Inexpensive - The most expensive item on the menu is about $12.00. Pupusas are $1.75

Sure, there are a few things that could use improvement, such as the speed in which you get your food. I suggest calling your order in if your in a hurry, even if you are dining there. My theory for the slowness is that every order they get, they take everything out, prep it, cook it, put everything away, then look at the next ticket and repeat. But you know what? The consistency of the food makes it all worth while.

I might actually go so far as to say this is my favorite restaurant in Portland. Now If someone could just open a decent fucking Mexican place...