Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stumptown Tart 2017 - A Review


Subject: Stumptown Tart 2017 | Date: 06/24/2017 |Photographers: James Kiester & Dani Cogswell | This picture was taken by the author of this blog. |
Every summer Bridgeport Brewing releases a new version of their Stumptown Tart, which features a different berry blend every year.  I have been focusing on my other blog for quite a while, so I thought I would review this year's blend and have something good to recommend for summer time drinking. Of course, you know they say about the best laid plans of mice and men; we don't all get our proverbial rabbit farm.

My favorite version of this beer was 2013's blend of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries which delivered a light fruity beer that was easy to drink.  Jumping ahead four years and we find a blend of black raspberries and blueberries, which was barely perceptible under the harsh bitter hoppiness of the beer.

To be fair, I am not one who enjoys hoppy beers such as IPAs.  So, in order to do this beer justice I gave it to a friend, Michael, who loves IPAs.  He didn't like it either.  The sweet tart undertones of the berries ruined it for him.  Thus, it's not a good beer for IPA lovers or fruit beer lovers.  Therefore I have to give this years blend 4 out of 10 stars.

I did not want leave my readers high and dry for the summer.  With this in mind, I mixed two parts ODWALLA's Hotter Melon (juices of watermelon, apple, lemon, raspberry and jalapeño) with one part Smirnoff Grapefruit Vodka. What I got was a sweet tart beverage that delivered a spicy burn on the back of the throat.  This would be great for pool parties, camping trips or your son's little league ball game.  Er...maybe not that last one.

Drink responsibly and have fun this summer!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mr. Bento - A Review

I was talking to my friend Mary, and she told me about a restaurant that Google named best burger in Hillsboro.  Naturally I had to give it a try.  I arrived at Mr. Bento (7568 NE Shaleen St Hillsboro, Oregon) around noon on Thursday.

The long, narrow restaurant was so packed with customers that people had to walk sideways to get to the back to order which is always a good sign. I wanted to know if they had the best burger in Hillsboro so I ordered their basic cheeseburger (half a pound of ground beef marinated in teriyaki sauce, topped with sweet grilled onions, arugula, Swiss cheese, American cheese, and mayo).  It's no use asking for ketchup or mustard because there is none on the premises.

The burger comes with three potstickers with a soy dipping sauce and an Asian salad for $11.  For traditions sake I ordered the fries as well for $3.50 and I washed it all down with a 16.9 oz glass bottle of Coca-Cola for $2.

The burger was sweet and the onions made it sweeter but it had a nice grilled flavor to the beef. The two kinds of cheese worked well together to give it a richness which counterbalanced the fresh taste of the arugula.

The potstickers were deep fried to a crispy golden brown and tasted like normal potstickers do.  The salad was a bit off-putting with a thick, gloppy orange dressing which was not at all appetizing.

As for the fries, they came spread out on a large metal tray with a nice coating of seasoning.  They were crispy, salty and delicious, reminding me of the fries KFC used to have in the early 90s.  Yet, with no ketchup on the premises one cannot dip, which I like to do.  I am a dipper.

All in all Mr. Bento serves a good burger with some unique sides.  Is it the best burger in Hillsboro though?  I don't think so.  It does not beat the burgers at Helvetia Tavern.  It takes a while to get used to a sweet hamburger. All things considered I give Mr. Bento 7/10 stars.
The photographs below were taken on 05/18/17 for this blog. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Westgate Bourbon Bar and Taphouse - A Review

Due to health problems I have not blogged for the last 9 months. While I'm not back to my old self I am blogging again.

Recently I had lunch at 3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. Beaverton, OR. Long time readers will notice I've eaten at this address before. Back then it was an Irish pub. However, since December 3rd, 2016 it has been Westgate Bourbon Bar and Taphouse. After driving by it for four months I decided to stop in.

When one walks into the bar they will find a long hall off to the right. This hall serves as a beer and wine shop with over 750 varieties of beer, 300 red wines and 100 white wines. At the end of the hall there is a cash register manned by a very knowledgeable clerk. I chose a couple beers to take home and went to the dinning room for lunch.

The L-shaped bar displayed well over 1,000 different liquors and 40 beers on tap. Since this was a bourbon bar I decided to start with a glass on the rocks. I asked for one that was sweet and smoky. The bartender recommended Wild Turkey: Forgiven for $12.50. I got a lot of the smoky flavor but I did not taste any sweetness. Still, it was a good strong bourbon.

I ordered the Poison Ivy Sandwich (melted brie, grilled pears, and watercress on marble bread) for 9 dollars, and fries. Richness of the brie played well against the sweetest of the pears and the freshness of the watercress. It was a delicious sandwich. The fries were hand-cut   and were served with an Angry Russian Dip (house made thousand island purred with smoked jalapenos). The dip was sweet and spicy without being overly hot. However, you had to dip because there was no salt on the fries, nor on the table.

My friend ordered the Boring Betty Burger, which was their house cheeseburger also for 9 dollars. To be fair, she had them leave the garlic aoili off, yet the burger itself had no seasoning. On top of that she ordered the burger to be well done and it came on the rare side of medium rare. They took it back and it came back chewy, as if it had been microwaved.

Westgate Bourbn Bar and Taphouse is a great place to get your drink on, but there food is very hit or miss. I give Westgate 7/10 stars.
The photographs below were taken on April 26th for this blog. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Good Service Is Part Of A Good Meal

I enjoy eating out.  Yes, I just heard the collective "WELL DUH" from my regular readers; anyone who's read this blog knows that I love having a good meal served to me in a comfortable setting.
Subject: Waitress | Date: 03/27/2008 | Photographer: Json |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

However, lately I've been irked by, what seems to be, a new trend in service.  I'm referring to wait staff bringing the entrée 2 minutes after the appetizer, forcing me to abandon my appetizer or let my entrée get cold.  I hate that.

Keep in mind, if it only happened occasionally this blog entry wouldn't exist.  Waiting tables is a hard job, and flukes happen.  I get that.  Yet, it's happened every time I've eaten out this summer.

This is an industry wide problem, so I'm not interested in bashing individual restaurants.  Without naming names, the worst example took place last week.

I received my Cheddar Bay biscuits and steamed muscles appetizer, and had eaten three of the twelve muscles when my salad arrived.  I shrugged and figured I'd finish the muscles and eat the biscuits with the salad.  Two minutes later my lobster bake arrived.  I gulped down the muscles and skipped the salad to keep my main dish from getting cold.

A diner should never feel the need to gulp.  A diner should be able to enjoy the meal they've purchased,in a leisurely relaxed fashion.

The training website WaiterStudent.com teaches, "Before you deliver the entrée(s), you must make sure that the table is ready for the entrée(s). Make sure you remove any appetizer plates or other dishes to make room for the main course. Nothing is more uncomfortable than a pile of dishes at the table that the customer must navigate around to enjoy their meal."

The one remedy diners have is the adjustment of the tip.  Unfortunately, restaurateurs, such as Portlander Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick, are leading the movement to ban tips.  The idea is to raise prices 15% across the board to ensure a level of payment to the server despite the diner's assessment of service.

While I agree servers should receive a living wage, the ability to incentivize servers to deliver quality service isn't something I'm willing to sacrifice.