Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thanh Thanh 2, Happy Teriyaki, and Papa Johns....

I know i've stated several times on this blog how much I enjoy the Pho at Thanh Thanh 2 (782 Forest Ave, Portland - (207) 828-1114), but I've been trying to branch out and try other things on the menu as well. My friend Otis had suggested I try the Duck Soup, a huge bowl of broth with the whole leg falling off the bone and traditional pho garnishes. I wouldn't suggest eating it before you go to work, as I proceeded to do what I could only consider as "waddle" around Miyake for about 30 minutes trying to get things done. I also like the Bo Thai Chanh, a rare steak salad with lemon sauce, onion, basil, jalapeno, and peanuts. I definitely miss the BBQ pork at Houng's though....

Another recent obsession for me is the Korean food at Happy Teriyaki (630 Congress St Portland,(207) 771-2000). I ate there twice in one day last week because I just couldn't get enough, and I wanted to finish reading the People magazine they have from 2008. On my first visit I had the Bibimbap - a rice, egg, beef, and mushroom dish that arrived sizzling in a stone bowl. You mix the ingredients together with hoisin-ish sauce, and the rice on the bottom crisps up like good paella. That evening I had the pork, soft tofu, and kimchi stew, served with an egg poached in it and a side of rice. Later, I got really fucked up and ordered Papa Johns.

This was just one of the many late-night pizza adventures that me and my ever-expanding waistline get tangled up in. I've actually figured out how to force Papa Johns (207-878-9100) to make a decent pizza: you order thin crust with extra cheese and extra sauce followed by your favorite toppings. Avoid the garlic butter sauce that is neither garlic nor butter - you'll still wake up feeling shitty and dehdryated, but with less heartburn. Keep in mind that I only suggest Papa Johns for delivery between 12:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. If it's earlier go with Leonardo's or, if you're lucky enough to be within walking distance, Pizzeria Otto. I recently decided it would be a good idea to drink an $80 half bottle of riesling with my pizza at 2 in the morning, and why not? If you agree, I suggest:

2004 Hexamer Riesling Eiswein, Nahe, Germany 375ml (80.00 retail)
Brilliant acidity balances out the sweetness perfectly. Will age for a very long time if you've got the patience to not open it up when you get drunk late at night. The finish in this wine goes on forever, to the point where you may be unaware that you're making a ridiculous lip smacking noise while enjoying it. You can rest assured that any wine from Germany, Austria, or Champagne imported by Terry Theise (pictured, right) is going to be of excellent quality.

Another perfect pizza wine is:
2001 Taurino Notarpanaro, Salento, Italy 750ml (21.99 retail)Single vineyard negroamaro that epitomizes everything I like about Italian wine and S&M Porn - a little fruity up front with a nice amount of dirt and leather.


  1. Caligula,

    Thanks for the post. I am a Riesling nut and love Theise's selection.

    I am also a winemaker and made a wine that I think is worth considering for pizza called "Autumnus Red". It is at Fred Meyer Holywood.


  2. Thanks Nicolas!

    I've always enjoyed the Pacific Rim Wines, and I especially like what you're doing to promote Riesling. I'm the wine buyer for a store up here in Portland, ME and I do my part trying to spread the word.

    Glad You Enjoy the Blog,


  3. Hoisin on bimbimbap? Scandalous if it's true.
    Really, there ought to be a good supply of kochujang next door at Sun Oriental if they run out.

  4. Yeah, they instructed me to put the hoisin on it, which tasted good, but I will explore the kochujang option next time if that's the way to roll.

  5. I'll have to go back and try the bibimbap at Happy Teriyaki; was disappointed in a lack of sizzle the first time I tried it, and I remember thinking Fuji's version was superior. Just an off day, perhaps?

    One thing I do know is that the jjigae at HT is marvelous. I plan to eat gallons of it this winter.

  6. Askann is right. Considering how I've had that bibimbap multiple times there and I know the owners, I'm pretty sure they didn't just give you hoisin. It's similar to hoisin in that sweetness, but it's a sweet red chili bean paste that's specific to bibimbap.

    And hopefully Mary ordered the bibimbap in the stone bowl - they offer two kinds because some people don't like it getting so sizzly too quickly. I personally think it's the best part!

    Joe, you were awesome at the Food Films for Sideways. Didn't know you also did comedy!

  7. you know, I love your blog. You are so smart, very funny, know wine (you were wunderbar at Evangeline) but the mom in me ( 2 boys, both in their 20's) wants to take you home, make you eat some vegetables that are not deep fried, have you work in the garden with me (sun, fresh air...), and then have you can chutney with me...and make you go to bed before midnight. Not possible, I realize...but at least eat a salad.

  8. Meru-Neechan:
    Yes, It would appear that I was assuming that I was eating hoisin, which was actually the bibimbap sauce. Thank you for the clarification. Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the Sideways talk, that was really fun! I'll be returning to perform more regularly at the Comedy Connection, and I'll post my show schedule on the blog.

    Beth Caroline: I think I need more people like you in my life. I will eat a salad (with no dressing) in your honor.

  9. Dah, sorry, I probably should've used my normal username instead of the weird Livejournal one. Kudos to you actually typing out "meru-neechan" with caps no less.

    By the way, did you see the 100 rules for restaurant staffers that Bruce Buschel published in the New York Times? He just put out the second half of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on his 100.

  10. This is the comment I left for Bruce Buschel:

    I would love to get a job at your restaurant just to break as many of your rules as I could before I got fired and caused a scene on the way out. This would include telling many customers that they were my favorite to touch inappropriately and giving specials with no prices.

    — Joe Ricchio