Tag Archives: Family dining Portland

Taste Unique

Taste Unique

When you have a chance, I highly recommend a visit to Taste Unique. You’ll meet Chef Stefania Toscano and her husband Lawrence Mc Cormick– both gracious and charming.  They serve up delicious Italian comfort food, neatly-packaged to take out for lunch or home for dinner. And although it’s a small space, you’re welcome to eat there,  if you can snag a table.

A month or so ago, I received a message from another blogger in town, Josh of PDXploration. It was an invitation for dinner– a private party at Taste Unique.  Not only was the guest list made up of bloggers and chefs that I’d been wanting to meet, but the menu sounded amazing.

We were to enjoy  a five course Taste of Sicily:

Sfincione Palermitano. Focaccia made with Onions, Pecorino, breadcrumbs and tomatoes. .
Pasta ‘Ncatenata Rigatoni with broccoli, crushed peppers and anchovies. Spicy and delicious.
Sarde Beccafico This is a dish of baked stuffed sardines. Long preparation for one of Sicily’s most famous traditions.
Bastaddu Affucatu Cauliflower cooked ‘drowned’ in red wine with olives, anchovies and pecorino.
Cannoli Siciliana with pistachio and chocolate.

The menu intrigued me. Having not been to Sicily (yet!), I was not used to a menu of pecorino, anchovies, sardines, olives, anchovies, pecorino. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of all the above, but I could tell that the flavors were going to be bold and perhaps a bit brackish. I was correct, and I ate until I was stuffed and had to take leftovers home.

Chef Stefania took time to describe each dish.

My favorite dish: The sardines. I wasn’t expecting that this would be my favorite, but they were so silvery and beautiful to look at– a feast for the eyes.  Their sweet breadcrumb stuffing was delicious– a perfect compliment to the  assertive fish.

Great hosts. Great wine. Great food. Great conversation. Great night.

Taste Unique offers classes and private dinners like ours. I’ve also heard rumors that the tiramisu is not to be missed. I’m going to have that next time.

My iPhone pictures do not hold up to the pictures taken by my fellow bloggers, so check these sites out:

Eating is Art http://www.eatingisart.com/2010/04/taste-unique.html#comment-237

PDXploration  http://www.pdxploration.com/search/label/TasteUnique

Good Stuff NW  http://goodstuffnw.blogspot.com/2010/04/night-in-sicily.html

Taste Unique
2134 SE Division
Portland, OR 97202   (503) 206-7059

Happy (Family) Hour. Three Great Family-friendly Happy Hours in Portland.

You take your KIDS to the pub?

Was written on my Facebook wall after I posted a picture of us at the Lucky Lab, a few months ago. I felt like a bad mom for a millisecond, and then replied:

Yes. It’s Portland.

And it is. There are plenty of places in this town filled with kids sitting next to parents happy to be able to enjoy a cold pint. It’s one of the things I love about Portland: Family-friendly, Dog-friendly, Gay-friendly and Drink-friendly.  It’s also Happy Hour-friendly.

In these very tight economic times one of the few ways our family can afford to eat out is to enjoy Happy Hour’s discounted drinks and menu. We’ve been scouting out our favorites with the kids, and as soon as we can afford a babysitter we’ll scout out some choices for just us.

Here are three favorites:

the taproomMacTarnahan’s Taproom
2730 NW 31st
Portland Oregon, 97210

Telephone: (503) 228-5269

A bit out of the way tucked into the industrial section of NW, but we have yet to get there and find a crowd. From 3-6pm and from 9 – close,  $3.30 will buy you an Imperial Pint of any of their 12 beers on tap. Their Happy Hour food menu ranges in price from around $2 to $5 and choices include: garlic fries, Tap Room burger, fish tacos, pulled pork sliders and a hummus plate.  They also have a similarly-priced children’s menu, but my kids tend to go for the burger or the pulled pork (without the slaw). As an added bonus, on cold rainy days you can ask to sit by the large stone fireplace, and parking is NEVER a problem.

Laurelwood sets the standard for family-friendly eateries.

Laurelwood sets the standard for family-friendly eateries.

Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
5115 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213

The most kid-friendly restaurant in Portland since PB and Ellie’s closed, Laurelwood’s two kid’s play areas, stacks of board games and coloring children’s menu make it a favorite  of my kids. Their Happy Hour menu offers $3 pints and $4 meals. They also have a hummus plate, burger and fish tacos which are good. My favorite on the menu is the chicken fingers (something I rarely eat out because they can be a disaster). These are delicious– crispy, juicy and flavorful. It’s obvious that they are made in-house by someone who likes fried chicken.  My kids like the Chicken Ceasar from the hh menu and the pizza from the children’s menu.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro P.F. Chang's Home Page

Bridgeport Village 7463 SW Bridgeport Road Tigard, OR (503) 430-3020 Portland 1139 NW Couch St. I know. I know. It’s so corporate!  I have found it to be some of the best Chinese food in town which is a shame. We need a great  Chinese place here, but that’s a whole other post. In the meantime, from 3 – 6 pm PF Chang’s offers all of their starters for half-off. That means the lettuce wraps are only $4 and the potstickers are $3. Two orders of each with $3 green beans, and I’ve got a table full of happy campers. They do not offer drink specials, which is a bummer because their drinks can be pricey ($8 for a mediocre glass of wine), but they just introduced a children’s menu this summer. It’s somewhat limited, but also a great value and has pages for coloring.

I’ll post more soon– like the cheapest, strongest and tastiest lemon drop I’ve ever had. In the meantime, send me some of your favorites! I’d love to try them and post them.