Porchetta, you are mine!

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We have been meaning to go to Lardo since it opened in place of Johnny B’s, an early morning greasy spoon staple on the corner of Hawthorn and the mess of Ladd’s Addition.  Well, when I got off work on Thursday I didn’t feel much like cooking, so we decided to finally give Lardo a try.

As you can probably tell from the title of my post, the name of the establishment, and the logo on the napkin holder, Lardo sells pork.  Delicious, fatty, crispy, salty, piggy pork!  I had read the menu in the past, put apparently it had been updated.  There was no Porchetta on the menu before, and so I wasn’t looking at it.  I was reading the menu piece by piece, and my husband looked at me and said, ” Well I don’t even have to ask you what you are getting.”   I gave him a sort of quizzical look, because I had no idea what I was getting besides something called Dirty Fries.

He pointed to the bottom of the menu and said, “You are getting the Porchetta.”  At which point I promptly squealed loud enough that the people around me turned to see what the deal was.  I cant really describe the excitement I felt.  It was something akin to pulling into the Disneyland parking garage…. yeah, I know I have issues.  But hey, I have been seeing this sandwich on the food shows and lusting after it for months, and it was about to become allllll mine.

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Porchetta is the tenderloin wrapped in the belly, with herbs and spices, then bake or rotisseried or whatever, cooked, until the skin on the belly is crispy and of course the juicy delicious meat is done.  On the sandwich they put two heft slices of porchetta, some caper mayo, and a gremolata that is TO DIE FOR.

I mean just look at it.  The first bite sent pork juices, melty mayo and oils dripping down my chin and hands, and I was in love.  After the first bite, my husband asked me how it was and reached for a bite, and got the I WILL KILL YOU IF YOU TAKE THIS FROM ME RIGHT NOW look of death.  Eventually, I gave him some.  Actually, I only ate half of it because it was so rich, and he ate the second half for lunch the next day, so I consider that a compromise.

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These are the dirty fries.  They are tossed with coarse salt, parmesan cheese, fried pieces of pork scraps, fried sage and rosemary leaves and pickled banana and cherry peppers.  They were amazing, especially when you got a bite that had a little bit of everything.  It was a symphony of bold flavors that made you want to roll around in a tub of it…. or may that’s just me.  Like I said, I have issues.

I paired my food with a Kentucky lemonade which was house made lemonade and Evan Williams Bourbon.  It was quite the refreshing beverage, and perfect for the warm summer evening.

Needless to say, if you are in Portland, PLEASE go to Lardo.  Get the Porchetta sandwich.  Have a love affair with your lunch.

Portland burger week

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So this week,  Nicky Farms ( a high quality local meat distributor) is teaming up with the Portland Mercury and 13 local restaurants to offer $5 specially created burger masterpieces. This is a one week offering with 13 options to try. 
As a foodie my initial reaction is I MUST TRY THEM ALL!  As a weight and health conscious woman my initial reaction is “this is cool but I won’t be able to try them”. Where do we draw the line in food exploration so that we can help open up the amazing world of fine crafted foods to our public without sacrificing our bodies?  Can you be both a foodie and a health conscious “dieter” at the same time? 

These are my musings for today.

Fuel Cafe

“You know, a line out the door does not necessarily mean they have good food.  Hipsters cant discern good food from bad…,” said Henry as we passed the Tin Shed where we had originally planned on having breakfast, to walk in search of an establishment with no line.

“Since breakfast is the meal that I dine out least for, I don’t really understand waiting in long lines for it.” He said.

Ok, I get it.  I was hungry too, and really not thrilled about the party of 8 waiting outside of the Tin Shed either.  I agreed to walk down another block and see what we came upon.  Sure enough, just on the other side of the street was a small place called Fuel Café.  I looked in the window to see 4 or 5 tables filled, then peeked at the menu in the window to see if they had a decent breakfast menu.  All seemed to check out so we went in.

Upon entering we were greeted warmly, and I mean that in multiple senses of the word.  The staff was very nice, but it had to have been about 80°F in there, hence our decision to sit by the window.  After taking a closer look at the menu, I was first struck by their lack of breakfast meat selections.  They have… bacon.  Great, who doesn’t love bacon?  The other options were soyrizo, tempeh, or tofu.  Since my love for bacon is rooted deep, I decided that these selections were acceptable, and moved on to reading the actual entrée choices.  Two kinds of bene’s (eggs benedict), some scrambles, waffles and pancakes, and a breakfast burrito.  Bingo!  I love breakfast burritos, and since they are not hard to make, I am super critical of them when I order them in restaurants.

We ordered our mimosas and food and sat discussing how wealthy we would need to be before we thought it was acceptable to spend $200 on a piece of at hanging in a coffee shop. (Henry said he would have to be indoor pool in your home wealthy.  I thought that was a bit extreme.)

Our mimosas arrived just as I was peeling off my second layer of clothing due to the overly warm temperature in the café.  They were nicely balance, not too much orange juice, and garnished with orange and strawberry slices.  Very nice.  Then our food arrived.

My first reaction was that they actually serve you a human size portion, not the over-stuffed breakfast plates you get at a lot of places around town. (The little Jewish grandmother in my head was yelling, I’m paying $9 for this?  Where’s the rest of it?)  I was also thinking, gee I really hope there is enough bacon in this.  Maybe I should have ordered a side of bacon too.

The burrito was made with whole wheat tortilla and served with sour cream, salsa and avocado on the side.  Inside the burrito were scrambled eggs, Tillamook Cheddar and bacon.

I cut into the burrito to see if cheese starts oozing out (oozing cheese is sexy), no go.  There is however enough cheese to taste it, and it balanced nicely with the quantity of eggs.  Yes, I could have used more bacon.  I pile a bit on my fork, top some sour cream and salsa on it, then go to cut a piece of avocado to stick on the fork as well.  The avocado left much to be desired.  I mean, I understand that sometimes it’s hard to find ripe avocados, but this one was both unripe and old.  There were streaks of brown running through the fruit, and my knife clanked down on the plate whenever I tried to cut through it instead of gliding effortlessly through.

Don’t serve people old produce…. It’s gross.

I ate about half of it before I decided it probably was not worth the calories, since I was going out for dinner that evening anyway.

Well, it turns out that perhaps there was a good reason there were not people waiting in line to eat here.  I probably won’t be rushing back any time soon, mainly because it was too darned hot in there!

Bacchi’s Italian Delicatessen

My friend and fellow blogger Baby, don’t you cry, offered to show me the ropes on WordPress, since this is my first blog, so in return I took her out to lunch to this little gem that just opened up in Portland about a month ago.

Bacchi’s is located in an unassuming building, on an unassuming street, in an unassuming neighborhood known for nothing but Vietnamese and Thai food and random oriental markets.  Upon entering the tiny space you are immediately hit with the smell of cured pork and sweet gelato. The front case is filled with charcuterie, cheeses and pasta salads available by the pound.   Look up and you will see an adorable menu of both hot and cold sandwiches and salads, along with a soup of the day (I just typed fruit… who has a fruit of the day, silly brain)

Anyway, I was torn on what Sandwich to get, but my friend chose wisely and got a half of their veggie sandwich and a cup of soup, which was clam chowder today.

I couldn’t resist when I saw the Gabbagool on the menu, because the only thing I could think of after I read it was… that’s Tony Soprano’s sandwich of choice.  He’s a mob boss… he can’t be wrong.  So yes, that’s what I got.

Neither of us were disappointed by our selections.  The Gabbagool was an excellent combination of Prociutto, Hot Cappicola, Salami, Sharp Provelone, and pickled hot cherry peppers.

Honestly, I was so wrapped up in my sandwich that I forgot to even look what was in the half of veggie sandwich my bestie got.

This place has only been open for a month.  I really hope they make it!  Support your local businesses Portlanders, and go out of your way a little bit to visit this place.  You won’t regret it.

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