When people think of casinos, they think of usually the lights and sounds of the slot machines, the padded green tables and sound of shuffling cards or the roulette wheel. Me, I think of the food. It’s true in Vegas, one of the premier destinations in the US for eating I think – and it’s true at the nearby to Portland Ilani Resort and Casino. Don’t let the Ridgefield Washington location put you off – it’s 30 minutes or less drive from Portland. I want to go there to eat. In particular, I’m a fan of Line and Lure Seafood Restaurant.
Line and Lure may be most known by those in the know with their brunch buffet, available on weekends. It’s where I’d take my parents or other relatives if they were in town. But there’s more reason to come- for instance come enjoy the calmer vibe at happy hour or at dinner. You can enjoy Line and Lure and Live Music every Friday & Saturday from 6-10 PM: see the schedule here. The musicians are local, and in a good sign, it also helps bring in some local regulars along with the casino members. And now that better weather season is here dine out on their patio with firepit to start out a casino date night.
They have multiple lovely libations, but my favorite is both a drink and a snack: their Admiral Bloody Mary in concocted with their housemade bloody mary mix and Tito’s vodka, crab leg, prawn, bacon, pepperoncini, olive, onion, spicy pickled bean, fresh lime
Start with a seafood forward appetizer like Dungeness Crab Claws served your choice of either chilled on ice or steamed. Basic preparation but the best ingredients show off the fresh tastiness of the crab.
But, don’t afraid to go with a lot of prepared flavors – like the complex layered starter of the BBQ Shimp and Griddled Corn Cakes with grilled prawns, seared polenta cakes, spicy BBQ sauce.
What I most appreciate about Line and Lure is that they have a seafood option for everyone. My recommended pick is the Seafood Boils served with corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, andouille sausage, cheddar cheese biscuit & honey-cayenne butter. You can choose your seafood star to be Garlic Butter Tossed Crab, or Shrimp and Clam, Dungeness Crab Claws, or a Lobster – or a mix by upgrading your base seafood foil with prawns, clams, half a crab, or throw in a Maine lobster. Even with just the garlic butter crab I saw many tables admiring my well chosen selection for my meal.
If you prefer a more elegant plated dish, look for the Steelhead Wellington, using Columbia River Steelhead, creamed spinach, puff pastry, cilantro rice
Or check out the Pistachio and Bacon Crusted Northwest Salmon served on jasmine rice with seasonal vegetables, lemon-herb cream sauce, and fried leeks. Another favorite the staff reported is the Cedar Plank Roasted Sea Scallops, which I hope to try next visit – the scallops come wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, parmesan cheese, roasted fingerling potatoes, beurre blanc
Or go for simple and rustic like the classic Fish and Chips with Great Lure Kolsch beer batter, house-made tartar sauce, fresh coleslaw. Choice of: French fries, sweet potato tots or house-made ranch potato chips. Fish options might include rockfish, halibut, or pacific cod. Or below get a combo package via the Captain’s Plate which uses that Great Lure Kolsch beer batter with, rockfish, pacific cod, breaded clams strips, panko prawns, house-made tartar sauce, chipotle-lemon cocktail sauce, fresh coleslaw. Other classics include Cioppino, or Linguini and Clams, or Baja style seafood tacos.
Try to save room for dessert, which they bring before you old school style on a tray so you can visually gaze and be tempted by the options, which may include chocolate espresso cake, Florida key lime tart, lemon souffle cake, salted butterscotch pudding, or my pick for a summer ending,the seasonal housemade ice cream sandwich (my visit this was strawberry). The salted butterscotch pudding is a nice finish as well.
The interior seating provides space for you and your meal guests to have an enjoyable conversation in an airy feeling space like you sit on a dock but without the weather elements to contend with.
While I was in Singapore during my 4 days, I had a wishlist of all the hawker centers and within those multiple stands I wanted to visit. Of course then reality hits that I get tired from multiple stops a day, and I’m not as hungry as I hoped. I am going to give you the benefit of my wishlist and why each hawker center is unique as well as provide you my tips in my full guide to visiting Hawker Centers in Singapore.
Hawker centers are a possibly dying phenomenon in Singapore. Many of the hawkers are getting on in years. The oldest hawker in age was profiled here– she is 90 years old and still going! Many stalls will close when the current owners pass as their children will not be taking over. Some of this may be intentional as they want a better life for the next generation, and better education doesn’t usually lead to a hawker life. But, it is also a great loss that many recipes will be disappearing.
Many people are rightfully concerned whether there will still be the same thriving hawker centers for the next generation. Even if it endures with government help, it is doubtful that the insanely cheap prices being offered now can continue as food costs and rental costs of spaces rise. If you visit Singapore, don’t miss your chance to visit hawker centers while you can to try some of these original generation of stalls.
Now, let me share my biggest tips for visiting hawker centers based on my experience visiting ones in Singapore recently, as well as previously in Thailand.
Tips for Visiting Hawker Centers
Cash is king – most of the dishes range from $2-10, so don’t assume all stalls will accept card. It is polite to have small bills if possible or you better be ordering a big bill so you don’t demolish their change drawer. Some hawker centers are starting to modernize, but many old school ones are not there yet so be prepared with cash.
Walk around the whole hawker center to see what the offerings are. You don’t want to eat at the first stand you see and go a row down and see that same dish but with a line! I also look at what people are eating, not just the stands. If I see a lot of a certain dish being eaten by a lot of people, you bet I’m going to look for it or ask where they got it!
Look for a line. If there is a line, it is a testament to that it is good. Not only does that mean that there is a demand at this particular stall, but that others believe it is worth queuing for. I also have no shyness in asking people in the line what is the dish they are in line for, and what else is good in the center overall.
Fresh, made to order is best. I like to order where I see that what I am about to eat is going to be made fresh to order. This rule can’t always apply fully – obviously roast pork will have been roasted before – so look for cleanliness too, are they well organized? When the government moved street vendors into hawker centers they took care of health codes, but I think it reflects the attitude of attention to detail to the prep and cooking and serving.
Early lunch or dinner hours are better then later since some stalls sometimes run out and it will be easier to find a table, and the lines will be shorter. Keep in mind food stalls have various hours so if you have your heart set on a certain dish you may be disheartened to find out they are closed Mondays. So have backups rather then going out of your way to a hawker center for just one dish – or make damn sure that stall is open first.
Do initial research online for opinions of others. If you know you are going to a specific hawker center ahead of time, google and read listicles and blogs on recommendations of food stands there. Keep in mind of course food stalls can always change their menu offerings, quality may change, or maybe you have different taste then the food writer. I jotted notes on hawker centers down to help me remember, but would make the call based on what I saw when actually there. Sometimes when I’m walking around I will also see news clippings on some hawker stands, which may sway me too.
Look for the stall numbers. Some of the stall names may be hard to distinguish and some centers are huge, so look for a stall number to orient you on where to go or a photo to help you recognize it.
Drinks are separate. Drinks are a separate stand from the food. In some centers someone with a pushcart also comes around with beverages.
Bring your own napkins/tissue pack. If you are eating food with your hands consider wet-naps also. This is a given rule for me for when traveling overseas, carry your own travel tissue. If you do forget or run out, there may be a vendor walking around selling these packs for $1 or so – the food vendors themselves won’t have any. These tissues are useful not just for when you are eating, but some public restrooms did not have TP at every stall so good to have your own backup. Also look in the hawker centers for sinks to wash your hands.
Be aware of halal vs non halal utensils and trays. Many centers have separate tray stands to put away your food after depending on this designation – they do not want to mix the two, so please pay attention and respect it.
Note your table number. Some stalls hand you your food when your order (usually has a “self service” sign on it), but others may bring your food out to you and will ask your table number. So once you have a space for your party, have someone stay there or leave something non-valuable to mark it as taken – for instance a napkin pack, or I had a hotel umbrella extended across one, before you go to get your food. That said, this is a food court so depending on crowded it is you may be sharing tables with others.
Don’t feel guilted or intimidated by touting, aka hard sale pitches from some hawkers. Some food stalls are more aggressive at marketing to call customers in and if they see you even glance their way they will start their pitch. You are the boss here and you are on vacation and will never see them again . So keep in mind you make the calls, don’t feel forced or irritated. No reaction is the best reaction and keep enjoying your food adventure.
Now on to the summary list of hawker centers I had – there are a lot of hawker centers in Singapore, but I rounded up these for specific experiences, as described. Another key for me was that they had to be easily accessible by MRT line/public transit train as I was going to be use that as my means of travel, so some famous centers (like Old Airport Road Hawker Centre) did not make my list.
Singapore Hawker Centers List
Tiong Bahru Food Centre. This hawker center is teeming with high quality hawker stalls, of the 80+ that includes ~20 stalls who started over 50 years ago as street hawkers. For a starter or breakfast check out Jian Bo Shui Kueh (Stall #2-05) serving up since 1958 shui kueh (steamed rice cake with diced preserved radish and say yes to the sambal chilli) at a bargain 8 pieces for $2.50. This dish is highlightedby many foodies, including during Anthony Bourdain’s Layover episode here.
Head to the legendary Tiong Bahru Char Kway Teow (Stall #02-11) to meet Mr. Tay Soo Nam, who started frying noodles at the age of 24 and although isn’t doing the cooking now (he leaves it up to his daughter and husband) is still manning the hawker stall at 90 years old. The only dish to get here is the Char Kway Teow with chinese sausage, fishcake, cockles and beansprouts. They don’t have a $2 dish anymore but $3 and #4 is still pretty cheap.
Castagna has been serving up fine dining prix fixe modern gastronomy menus for two decades now. Castagna and owner Monique Siu and head chef Justin Woordward have been nominated for James Beard Awards under the categories of Outstanding Restaurateur and Best Chef Northwest multiple years in a row. This past spring, they have decided to offer a new alternative to the tasting menus, one that is even more accessible in cost and time commitment. Now, besides the 13-20 course chef’s tasting menu, two days a week on Wednesday and Thursdays there is a new option of a six course Castagna Explorative Dinner Series menu.
For the Explorative Dinner Series, the dinner courses have a theme that changes every two months. During my visit the theme was Surf and Turf (the first themed the series), but the new theme for July 2019 is the Green Menu. Unlike the chef’s tasting menu which sits at $165 with $85 wine pairing extra as an option, a Castagna Explorative Dinner will run $75 per person, with the optional wine pairing featuring west coast wines at $45.
Here’s a look at what a Castagna Explorative Dinner was like for me during my visit to give you an idea of the kind of dishes that might be created for a theme.
Kale, asparagus, saffron bagna cauda, sorrel, fine herbs, seaweeds. This was an ok dish but nothing about it stood out to me, though my dining friend loved it- I don’t get super excited about salads Haha.
Squid ink brioche toasted in smaltz, anchovy aioli and roasted chicken juices flavored with lemon and thyme was my favorite course of the night. I never thought I would say a bread course was a highlight, but it was! The brioche was delicious just on its own, but then you were given the competitive choices of a dip in either that aioli or the jus, both which were rich in different ways. Or, put all 3 together and you’re having a fancy flavor party of chicken caesar?!
Tidal pool of beets, charcoaled onions, mussels, chicken jus, sea beans was so beautifully plated.
Next was a course of crispy pork belly, lamb jus, butter clam, spicy black bean, jasmine congee. The flavors of this dish were intense – I almost wish there was a little bit more of the plain jasmine congee so I could get some recovery between bites to appreciate the umami and salt of this course.
The main protein course was grilled pork jowl, little gem, oyster potato salad. I thought this was an interesting twist with the grilled pork jowl on the lettuce seemingly a nod to Korean pork that you would normally eat wrapped in lettuce, though then I didn’t quite know how the oyster potato salad fit in, though it did offer a creamy soothing contrast to the other components.
Finally, the dessert: Yuzu, dulse, molasses
We were also very fortunate enough to be given a preview of the Green Menu that started in July, as our visit was on the last day of their June menu offering. Based on the taste and textures, I think the Green Menu will be more creative visually and in putting together flavors while remaining within the theme. Here is the Green Menu dessert of green apple, pineapple sage, melon, cucumber, lime, olive oil.
Castagna also shared another gem from the current Green menu theme: green garlic knots. Seriously the bread course of the Castagna Explorative Menu are looking so fun right?
A post shared by Castagna (@castagnapdx) on Jul 9, 2019 at 6:01pm PDT
I thought with the less courses, I would have room to go next door to the more casual OK Omens to try the new addition to the menu of this natural wine bar of the dish of “Late Night Girlfriend Spaghetti”, described as tarragon, scallion, capers, jalapeño, lemon, taleggio cheese. But despite what it looks like this is all extremely filling. Don’t worry I went back for it- check out my Instastories (bonus a second trip also meant I had room for that addictive brie butter on their menu)!
I hope to come back again for the full chef’s tasting menu, which in any other city would be under Michelin star consideration, sometime later this year. Probably in another metropolitan, the cost of the dinner would be 2 or 3 x as much – so we in Portland are getting a huge value. If you have not been before, consider treating yourself once a year and dressing up to the top fine dining restaurant in PDX.
Each of the themes if the Castagna 6 course Explorative Dinner Series changes every two months- so make your reservations soon to catch the Green Menu. Other upcoming theme ideas Chef Justin has are listed at the Portland Monthly article by Karen Brooks. One theme idea of Bird that includes a dessert conceptualized with a “black crow” definitely have my curiosity.
Today I continue on with my series from my travels in Singapore. This time, I’m going to give you all the background I learned before and during my trip so you can appreciate the Peranakan Style buildings in Singapore, and share what they look like. I find them incredibly intriguing and eye-pleasing and took a lot of photos – this is a long photo post!
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the home of what is called Peranakan culture. Peranakans are descendants of Chinese traders who immigrated into these countries and married local women starting in the 15th century.
These descendant families were later also influenced by the British and Dutch colonialism and education systems of the 19th century, giving most the reputation of “The King’s Chinese” because they had more loyalty to Britain than China. The end result is a unique mix of Asian with Chinese and Malay, Indian, Arab, and other Southeast Asian influences along with Western European over multiple generations.
This has manifested itself in language (unfortunately most of it lost because of the dominance of English and Chinese), in the labor-intensive fusion of flavorful spices and ingredients and techniques in food (as you saw as part of with my dinner at Candlenut), and in the architecture. It’s quite a contrast between the clean lined styles of modern high rises of Singapore built over the past few decades with these all pre-WWII heritage buildings’ colors and decorative detail.
The typical Peranakan style building in Singapore has the same basic structure in which the first floor is the shophouse with living quarters above on the higher floors. The front has a small covered walkway that the 2nd floor living quarters extends over. This originates from an idea of founder of Singapore, Thomas Raffles, to have a “five foot way” for pedestrians to be protected and walk. Below: some examples of Peranakan shophouses from Chinatown
Below: some examples of Peranakan shophouses from Teo Hong Road and Bukit Pasoh Road (where a scene from Crazy Rich Asians was filmed) and Cantonment Road /close to Neil Road
Or, the first floor of the home has an initial courtyard before entering the receiving room. The first floor is set back from the main street. Peranakan style buildings are rectangular, long and narrow but deep. Multiple homes or shophouses tend to be built one right next to the other in a rowhouse. Some say the smaller street frontage is a reaction to how the Dutch taxed and measured land historically, or it may have been a tradition brought in from Chinese longhouses. Below: some examples of Peranakan homes on Neil Street
The mosiac tiles and ceramic and plaster decorative element that intersperse neo-classical western motifs and Chinese traditional symbolism and Malay eaves combine together with bright colors into Singapore eclectic that is like nothing else and I find completely charming.
I did go to famous destinations in Singapore during my 4 day visit in June such as Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa, and various hawker centers – I will cover all of these in future posts. But today I wanted to spotlight something I didn’t see in any guidebook but I noticed as a cool sight based on Instagram posts in Singapore: the Old Hill Street Police Station. And, conveniently, it is FREE. And in this same area you can visit JUMBO Seafood for iconic Singapore Chili Crab for lunch or dinner before or after your stop here.
The Old Hill Street Police Station is pretty easy to get to if you are taking the public transit – aka MRT train, which is how I mostly got around during my visit. You only need to walk a couple blocks away from the Clarke Quay stop. Clarke Quay is an area you probably will hear about in researching Singapore – it’s a historical landmark area and home to a lot of restaurants, nightlife spots, and river cruises.
But somehow the Old Hill Street Police Station didn’t get a mention even though it’s only literally a block or so away.
Part of this may be because although it is a sight, it is all there is – there isn’t much to do here except for admire how it looks. There are a couple glassed in posters with a little information within the inside arch of the building, but no other resources. You cannot even go into the building that houses what was originally Singapore’s first jail, then a former police station (both as offices and as living quarters for officers and their families). The building was erected in 1934.
During the Japanese Occupation, it still held a similar though darker version of the original jail concept: it was used by the Kempeitai as a holding area for prisoners and some say also as torture chambers. After the occupation it was a police station again. Then over time it turned into a location for various government departments until today when it is used by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.
It as in the year 2000 that the building was renovated and the became “the building with the colorful windows”.
Still, the 927 windows in a rainbow of colors are extremely photogenic be it daytime or nighttime, right?
The colorful Peranakan colors with the British colonial neo-classical 1930s architecture might make you wonder why there isn’t a lot more color in our lives in buildings when something as simple as this can be appreciated by everyone and anyone.
And don’t forget one of the JUMBO Seafood locations is here! If you want your version of Singapore chili crab to be a little less spicy and have an intriguing savory nuttiness to it, JUMBO is a great bet, and you could choose to sit on their covered patio to dine with a view of the Singapore river. Or enjoy air conditioning inside, totally understandable choice.
If you can, try to get a party together and order their second signature crab, the Black Pepper Crab. In fact they offer six different crab flavor preparations. They also offer you an option of which kind of crab to use for that preparation style – I recommend the Mud Crab because I didn’t travel 20 hours in flight (not counting on the ground and layover time) to eat Alaskan or Dungeness crab that I could also get here in the US. The Mud Crab is also very meaty and not as delicate as the other two types.
Bring your own napkins wherever you go – they are not provided in any hawker center and not at JUMBO either. They’ll have a wetnap for you but you’ll want to use that at the end, so in the meantime make use of the lemon water bowl and your own tissues as you dissect this delicious mess. The little bowl of peanuts they offer at the beginning with the tea are not free, turn it down if you don’t want to be charged.
Another tip is you only get a few pan fried buns with each crab but the sauce is soooo good you’ll want to eat it with a spoon and rice. They have a variety of fried rice and noodles but the simple cheap option is $1 plain white rice per bowl to not fill up and miss other meals. Additional pan fried buns are a little less then $1 each.
Also do not wear white, that red sauce may splatter as you crack crab, despite the bib! As an extra credit, if you have a vegetarian in your party Jumbo does offer a separate vegetarian menu too with vegetarian seafood. And, in worst case, it looks like JUMBO Seafood offers delivery through certain services.
This is my second post of my travel series from my trip to Singapore – stay tuned for ones on Peranakan style architecture, Hawker Centers, and Gardens by the Bay and more in the coming weeks!
Have you been to Singapore, or have Singapore Chili Crab and if so where did you try it? What did you think of it as a crab preparation and flavor dish? Would you stop to visit the Old Hill Street Police Station?
Candlenut is a the world’s first and only Michelin–starred Peranakan restaurant. Peranakan cuisine is unique to southeast Asia and comes from a tradition of Chinese who came to the Malaysian/Indonesian/Singapore area in the 15th and 17th centuries and married the local women here. The culture became intermixed between Chinese an Southeast Asia, including the cuisine. On my recent whirlwind 4 day stay in Singapore, I had a chance to enjoy dinner at Candlenut for Peranakan food.
We ordered from Chef Malcom Lee’s Ahma-kase menu, a play on the Japanese word for omakase which is chef’s choice, and the word for ahma which means grandmother. The Ahma-kase menu is a prix fixe menu which starts with fish crackers, a small sampler of starters, soup, a family style set of dishes to share for a main course to be eaten with rice, then multiple little bites for dessert. There is a also an a la carte menu available, and Candlenut serves both lunch and dinner.
We started with four intense little small bites served on a wooden plate. In order from top to bottom you see (my favorite were the 2nd and 4th bites for how they were such upgraded refined takes on the familiar southeast Asian classics of curry and satay)
Homemade Kueh Pie Tee Shell with Boston Lobster, Chincalok Dressing, Laksa Leaf
Kueh Bakar Berlauk with Spiced Chicken, Mum’s Curry
I had a chance to get a preview of the new offerings of the new Providence Park after renovation. Besides the obvious expansion of seats (which blend seamless into the rest of the stadium), there are more screens, larger screens, more cover from roofs, the $85 million dollar renovation also extends to the food and beverage stands. Here’s the scoop for the June 1 opening!
There are now 19 new dining destinations., and 30% more point of sale locations that have been added offering food and beverage services and hopefully reducing lines. Classics and favorites are on the menu, but so are over 20 new menu items this year. The managing hospitality brand, Park Provisions (powered by Levy which has experience managing other sport arenas as well) includes new restaurant partners and beverage providers, as well as partnerships with local companies that provide ingredients going into the food.
For example, the hot dogs and sausages you;ll find at Providence Park are from Zenner’s Sausage Company, made just half a mile from the park. I didn’t get to sample it on my preview visit, but I’m pretty excited for the Tillamook Mac and Cheese Hot Dog with Zenner’s Smoked Sausage that I saw on the new Tillamook Grill concession stand I believe they call Evergreen Corner by Section 113. I’ll have a Mac and Cheese Hot Dog and a side of Mac and Cheese please.
You will see Tillamook in general in a few offerings, ranging from the classic cheeseburgers and Tillamook Salted Caramel Bar or Strawberry Sandwich to a Philly or Breakfast Quesadilla to Tillamook Bacon Queso Nachos. The nachos are legit, and although I admit I’m not sure why there was a breakfast quesadilla I was also digging it (I liked it better then the Philly quesadilla which tasted more like meat versus the classic egg bacon cheese combo). No complaints about more cheese available ever.
Not to worry vegetarians and vegans – they also offerTofurky Chorizo with Heidi Ho Cheese Sauce at the Box to Box Nachos kiosk. I also saw offerings of Vegan Dogs andBeyond Meat Vegan Bratwurst, and even a Garden Bar Salad. Gluten free buns can also be substituted for a small fee. Rose City Paninis offers grilled vegetarian paninis. At the PTFC Grill, you’ll find the IMPOSSIBLE burger. They do a good job with the IMPOSSIBLE “meat” here – I mean look at it, you can barely tell it’s not real meat patty.
At the Spring Wood Rice and Noodle Bar Section 99 also on the main concourse, you can order a Vietnamese Noodle Salad with glass noodles, edamame, green onion, cabbage, cilantro, and sesame dressing which is super refreshing.
Food partner Hot Lips Pizza offers a cheese and veggie pizza (besides the popular pepperoni for omnivores).They will also be offering their rotating specialty pizza by the slice too. Besides the classic pizzas and hot dogs I’ve already mentioned, look for rotating burgers of the month (example here is a Western Burger with bacon, cheddar, onion ring, bbq sauce), tots, Cuban sandwiches, and turkey and brie paninis among the food offerings at the new Providence Park.
From Tamale Boy, besides the Tomatilla Black Bean Tacos, find Chicken Tinga Tacos, and of course the Chicken Tamale. Also new restaurant friend at Providence Park is Podnah’s BBQ with brisket and pulled pork sandwiches
New renovated booths have more taps where I saws taplists of a dozen local beers while there are still simple kiosks for those looking for Coors. You’ll also spot Widmer Brothers, Modelo, El Jimador Tequila, Aviation Gin, 2 Towns Cider, and Dutch Brothers Coffee and more.
As an example of another local business partner, Gonzalez Berry Farms is providing strawberries now for the Underwood Wine Berry Spritzers that as the season progresses will grow to include more from their berry farm – blueberries, marionberries, blackberries, even gooseberries.
Not to worry about what is your personal cost for all the newness. The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC announced they have frozen concession prices from last season for this year, so you won’t be paying more then last year. There will also be some special “Park Pricing” games sponsored by Coors Light offering $2 hot dogs, $2 nachos, and $5 16 ounce cans of Coors Light at the six games on July 18, July 24, August 14, Sept 11, Sept 18, and Sept 25.
That said, some of the new items are located in the new premium area called Tanner Ridge. Here is where you’ll find La Hacha Cocina offering Tocino Pico hot dogs (bacon wrapped 1/3 lb Zenner’s Hot Dog, housemade pico de gallo), House of 75 with hand carved turkey and prime rib sandwiches, and Goose Hollow Bowls with made to order yakisoba noodles, rice, and mixed green bowls with choice of housemade pork char sui, roasted pineapple teriyaki chicken, or sweet chili tempeh.
They did a great job in adding the new levels with 4000+ new seats – it blends right in with the look of the rest of the stadium. Even though there is more capacity, I’m not sure if it’s because I was at a preview, but the park still seemed roomy, partially because the roof has a smaller footprint now but also because there seemed to be a few open areas.
The new scoreboard is huge – now 1920 square feet of LED versus the original 800 square foot of LED signage. There have been replacements to use LED in more lighting and long “ribbon” LEDs also added along areas.
It’s only been a little more than a year since King Tide Fish and Shell made its debut along the South Waterfront, within the Riverfront Hotel, replacing the previous Three Degrees Waterfront Bar and Grill. The modern American food has been upgraded to seafood that takes its inspiration from the Pacific Northwest and American classics with intriguing touches of Japanese and Mexican.
The patio is my favorite of those offering a view almost literally steps from the Willamette River, while still also having the convenient location of being right downtown. The bar even offers rocking chairs with heaters. Even if dining indoors, floor to ceiling windows provide a view.
Here’s a look at how close to the water King Tide’s terrace patio is
Now that waterfront festival season is here, I would recommend instead of paying for overpriced fried festival food, consider the short walk to eat and drink here or at it’s summer pop-up of ceviches and fish tacos outside that takes you that extra few feet closer to the river.
Treat yourself with a seafood tower and sparkling – they have Seafood Platters ranging from 1-2 people to 3-6 people.
For a step up in sophistication, and more layers of flavor carefully crafted, I highly recommend the Kanpachi. Chef Lauro Romero adds intriguing layers of texture and flavor with sesame croquant, sudachi ponzu, bird’s eye chili, and finger lime
Another excellent bites are the Pickled Deviled Eggs with dungeness crab, and smoked salmon roe. I love how the eggs come in regular and mini quail sized, so precious!
For something warm, look for the Mussels with guanciale, smoked pork dashi, bonito, crispy bread, or the Chowder Fries with razor & manilla clams and bacon. Yep, shellfish, bacon, and a carb to soak up the juices from both are always a good combo.
Vegetables for your table, I highly recommend the Roasted Beets with carrot, candied walnuts, glacier blue cheese, avocado-habanero crema, and IP8 vin.
And then the main event, which is the recommendation I give everyone who comes to King Fish and Tide – my favorite fish in Portland is the Seasonal Catch whole fish they offer here. The fish obviously varies, but it is grilled in the kitchen, and then de-boned and fileted tableside for you. The fish is served with truffle potato purée, wild mushrooms, and a rich chasseur sauce.
King Tide Fish and Shell also serves lunch, breakfast, and brunch. Happy hour is available in the lounge daily from 2 – 6 PM. Tacos + Tequila, the pop up for the summer I mentioned earlier, is open from Wed – Sun noon to 8 PM but weather permitting so check their social media on whether they are open the day you plan to go.
They also do private parties – in fact in mid-June I helped to organize my work team’s scavenger hunt to end up here for celebration along with food and drink. Here are a few more dishes I’ve had at King Tide Fish and Shell which I don’t see currently on their regular menu, but might be something to think about requesting for your private dining and are examples how King Tide Fish and Shell can go beyond the regular American classics.
Sweet Prawn Crudo with yuzu-vanila, quince preserva, trout roe, or Tuna Poke with avocado, papaya, sesame candy, limu, spicy soy
At a party, they put together party platters of Tostadas with Dungeness Crab, smashed avocado, pickled ahi dolce or Steelhead rye toast with chipotle cream and hibiscus, pickled onions, sift egg, caviar; and a Tower of Ceviche with Surf Clam and Avocado Aguachile, served with Sweet Potato Chips
While I was in LA a week ago helping to host my youngest sister’s baby sprinkle, my 2 sisters and I, as well as my brother in law and niece, went on a lunch excursion downtown to Maccheroni Republic.
There are so many delightful eats in LA, and Maccheroni Republic stands out for its homemade pasta being made fresh and that it is all organic, made with organic flour and organic semolina. I wanted to order the whole menu. In fact that’s partially why we went with us 3 sisters, to give the opportunity for my LA resident sister to rationalize ordering even more pasta!
It was a mind-blowing pasta meal. I hold the same opinion as my sister that if this was closer to me I would definitely be a weekly regular. There’s enough on the menu plus throw in the daily specials to keep you coming back all the time for favorites and what’s new.
Here’s a look at what we thoroughly enjoyed. Start off with some great complimentary bread, along with regular olive oil, chili olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. My almost 3 year old niece started gobbling up a slice with no persuasion needed, even though she had been nibbling on a local bagel only 45 minutes before.
Service is exceptional as they refill your bread basket knowing you will be using it to wipe up all that sauce with your pasta. Grated Parmesan comes in its own little pitcher for you to spoon the mountain of cheese you deserve onto your plate.
In case you are looking for more bread though, check out the very fresh Bruschetta di Panzanella with grilled ciabatta with tomatoes, cucumber, basil, mozzarella and onion
If you are looking for something rich, you might find favorites like the Ravioli di Zucca, Pumpkin ravioli with butter cream truffle cheese sauce
Or check out the Agnolotti di Osso Bucco, tortelloni filled with osso bucco meat & marrow in a salsa verde
For a little acidity try the Rigatoni Pom ‘Amore, rigatoni with a creamy tomato sauce topped with burrata, though I believe what pastas is topped with this wonderful hunk of burrata rotates around
My highlight of the meal and also a highly recommended dish from the waiter we had was this Bianchi & Neri, Black and white pasta thin vermicelli, shrimp, mushroom & roasted pancetta in a creamy bisque
From the specials menu was this simple and delicious Spaghetti Moringa Alla Checca, organic Khorosan Moringa spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, garlic, chili peppers and basil.
We also got the pasta shape of the day, which is available with your choice of sauce ranging from choice of tomato sauce, spicy tomato sauce, meat sauce, bail pesto sauce (with cashews) and creamy parmesan sauce .
Maccheroni Republic is walk ins only, but you can see the wait and join the waitlist from their website, or order from Grubhub. Pro-tip: we parked within Grand Central Market across the street, and one the way back we picked up some carryout for dinner later from one of the GCM vendors…
What do you think of the pastas above, which one would you like to try? What is your regular pasta place?