February 26, 2008

Simpatica Dining Hall - Best Breakfast in the Country?

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Okay, so I don't read men's magazines very often. Although I did explore the website of Details when I received this link via email and I think it is a male version of Cosmo. Lots of talk about style and sex and apparently, food. They compiled a list of best breakfasts in the country, which does seem like a rather useful article. Portland's own Simpatica Dining Hall made it on the list.

I've never eaten at Simpatica Dining Hall. It's on my list, but haven't been there yet. Have you eaten breakfast there? What's your take? Is it the best?
The March issue of Details is on newstands this week.

February 25, 2008

Shout Out to Glen and Marketa

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I was hoping you would win! Falling Slowly was an amazingly beautiful and emotional song and your speeches were inspiring. Now Oscar can help you make even more music.

You can read about my night with Glen and Marketa in November here.

February 22, 2008

Cooking Light Top 20

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Cooking Light Magazine named Portland their #2 favorite city, second to Seattle. Usual reasons, great food, great outdoors, Powell's and the environment. Of course Portland rocks.

February 17, 2008

Lizzy's Weekend Dish

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More restaurant detail later, but for now, here's the scoop on my weekend: (Yes, I am still on a diet. It was a challenging weekend.)

Cha Taqueria and Bar: So-so bueno, pero es un poquito loud y es un hot spot para hipsters en un evening de Friday. (Lo siento por el espanol mal. No estoy muy bien en espanol.)

Split: Great panini. Too much fat. But very delicious.

Pudding on the Rice: A store for rice pudding. In Bridgeport Village. It was good. For rice pudding.

Definitely, Maybe: Alanis Morrisette's ex tells a story to Little Miss Sunshine alum Abigail Breslin. Great movie. For a romantic comedy. It's not 100% predictable. Maybe only 97.5% predictable.

No Reservations: This movie sucked. The acting, the lines, everything was absolutely painful. Aaron Eckhart, what have you done with your good looks and your good acting? And what possessed you to wear those brightly colored parachute pants in this movie???

Law and Order Criminal Intent: I can never get too much of Vincent D'onofrio.

Knight Rider (the new series): Laughable, yet strangely addicting. Glad to see that David Hasselhoff made it out of his drunken stupor to do a guest spot at the end. "Will I see you again?" says son Mike to father Michael. "I hope so," says Michael Knight. Really? Cause I was kind of thinking you'd be better off dead. (In the show, not in real life.) Favorite lines from tonight's pilot episode: "Welcome to the world of being human!" (says girl to KITT). "Cool!" (says girl as KITT morphs into a different model of a Ford car in unbelieveably unbelieveable special effects). So $10 for anyone who can guess who is sponsoring this new series?????

MAC Cosmetics: Clownish looking salespeople who sell awesome makeup. It makes me feel a bit wild walking into their store.

Nirvana: I bought my first Nirvana album. Love it. Was reminded of how much I love them when Come As You Are was featured in Definitely, Maybe.

February 11, 2008

Lizzy is on a Break

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I'm on a restaurant blogging break for a couple of weeks. Catch up with me at my other blog: Is There Such a Thing as a Skinny Foodie in the meantime.

See you in a few!

February 8, 2008

Country Cat Dinnerhouse (7937 SE Stark)

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There's this Christmas song called the Cat Carol. It's all about this cat that no one would let in on Christmas Eve. She makes friends with a mouse who is also stuck outside and tells the mouse to come near and she will keep him warm. So the mouse huddles with the kind cat in the cold. Then Santa comes and wakes up the mouse. They try to wake up the cat. But, that's right folks, the cat is dead. Merry Christmas.

Anyway, everytime I hear about the Country Cat Dinnerhouse, that damn song starts going through my head and before I know it, my eyes are tearing up because the cat is dead and Santa can't wake her up.

Tonight though, there was no reason to cry. We got to the restaurant on time for our reservation (restaurant group tonight), but they weren't quite ready for us. So, we hung out at the bar for a while and talked to Daniel the bartender, who was very knowledgeable about the food. He told us how they butcher their own lamb now and that the arctic char on the menu is so fresh - only 24 hours old. The potato dumplings are the best appetizer, he said.

When we were finally seated about 25 minutes later, I thought I was well prepared enough to choose what I wanted, but alas, the menu, though small, looked great from every angle. There was just no way to go wrong. I skipped appetizers (I munched on Sara's potato dumplings and Jeff's warm trout potato salad, both amazingly delicious) and ordered the braised beef with sour cream mashed potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. The beef was so tender it fell apart at the mere suggestion of my fork touching it.

I had bites of the pumpkin sour cream crepes and a sweet cream biscuit. The biscuit was so flaky - as flaky as my flakiest of friends. With honey on top. The pumpkin crepes were almost like a dessert. Which I had. One bite of a chocolate truffle cake. Which it really was. A giant chocolate truffle. With orange sauce. Delicious. One bite was all I needed.

Now at least I have a happy memory to replace that cat song.

Country Cat Dinner House on Urbanspoon

February 7, 2008

New Year, New Blog, New Me

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Some of you who know me know that I have been losing weight (albeit slowly) over the past year. Well, it's time for me to take things to the next level.

I have started a blog to document my struggles as a foodie on a diet (heaven help us all). I'll be posting less on Lizzy Dishes Portland during the next 12 weeks while I jump start my new journey.

I'll still be writing about food for StumptownInfo.com, so be sure to visit me over there.

In the meantime, check out my new blog: Is There Such a Thing as a Skinny Foodie. And maybe cheer me on. If you feel like it.

February 2, 2008

Autentica (5507 NE 30th)

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The last time my brother Michael was in town he wanted to go to Autentica. We didn't go then, but I'm sure he would like it. I read a review of it that said that it is a pretty bold move to name a restaurant Autentica unless it really is authentic.

My brother leads a pretty authentic life. He has grown up, marinated in a religious household, to create a life that reflects some of his upbringing, some of his new found beliefs and discovery of new perspectives. He doesn't mince words, he says what he thinks, no matter who he is around. Sometimes it is awkward. But mostly it is refreshing because with him, there is no guessing. I love it when he shows up at my parties, which are mostly filled with conservatively dressed conservatives, with a few edges of liberalism showing here and there. He will just walk in, wearing his Carhartts, unshaven, sometimes unshowered and almost always barefoot. The people who don't know him might be a bit alarmed when he walks in. But he will engage everyone in the most intriguing conversations and storytelling within minutes, putting even the most uncomfortable person at ease.

Michael lives his life doing what he truly wants to do. Most of the time that involves traveling to exciting and sometimes dangerous places. He was mugged in Romania and beat up pretty badly. He spent some time with some shepherds in the Georgian mountains, slept under olive trees in Greece and hitchiked down the coast of Mexico. He's met all kinds of people, rich, poor, generous, needy, scarred, traumatized, sick and well. He catalogues them in his head and in journals - so many characters.

He is macho and careless, taking unnecessary risks, trying to prove points, but also loving and caring, helping people out when they need a hand. On Thanksgiving Day, my nephews had planned to re-create The Music Man for us one night. Then, stricken by a sudden bout of shyness, they needed a little help. Michael and my sister Chelsea jumped in and played a part in their little play, singing loudly 76 Trombones, marching around the living room until the little boys were laughing and going along with them. He will give money to a stranger on the street, no questions asked. He'll try to make you happy when you are crying. It's all part of who he is.

He's in Africa now, building things, meeting people. He writes and calls on occasion, but we never know for sure how long it will be until we hear from him again. Sometimes I think he is a little homesick, and sometimes I think he is supremely happy. He always remembers to say I love you to each person in the family when he talks to us or writes.

Authenticity is multifaceted with layers of complexity shining through. It's the childhood religion, the Music Man and interacting with people at their level, the risk-taking, the hitchhiking and the adventures, the homesickness and the I love yous. It's the chemical reaction of you and all of your combined experiences. And it's living your life without trying to change the reaction; living life unashamedly.

The catfish steak I had at Autentica was multi-layered flavor - soft, sweet, succulent flesh falling off the bones, covered in peppery tomatillo salsa, flavored with bay leaves. It was warm, spicy, beautiful and tender. I took a long time to eat it - I wanted it to go on forever. My friend had Pazole - a Mexican soup with hominy and pork, with avocado, oregano and radishes on the side. I tasted it at the beginning and it was hot and soupy and delicious. Then after all the additions of the sides and letting it sit for a few minutes, it's flavor enhanced and deepened, it tasted homier and more complex.

I don't know if the food at Autentica is authentic to Mexico or not, but I do know that it is authentic to Chef Oswaldo Bibiano - the food is clearly a result of not just his background of growing up in Mexico, but also his experiences as a chef in some of Portland's best restaurants and some pretty deep love for what he is doing. I could taste it. That's authentic enough for me.
**Note: the queso fundido with chorizo rocks.

Autentica on Urbanspoon


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My Zupan's tab today: $68.74
Number of grocery bags: 1