The bar!

Review – Pepe le Moko (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

407 SW Tenth Ave

Portland, Or 97205

Pepe Le Moko

Getting in

Pepe le Moko is a pretty awesome little bar.  And I do mean little – it seats a maximum of thirty-four.  Thirty-four people who don’t mind getting in each other’s personal space.  The bar is hidden away around the corner and down a flight of stairs underneath the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland.  Before you head down the stairs (I recommend making a reservation), you enter through a door that sits next to an oyster shucking station and a hostess stand. If you have a reservation, or if there is space, they will take you down the flight of stairs to your table. Continue reading →

Ramen from Marukin

Review- Marukin Ramen (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

Pine Street Market

126 SW 2nd Ave #109

Portland, OR 97204

Marukin Ramen – Pine Street Market Location

Since we were going to be in Portland, and there are some really great restaurants there we decided to get some Ramen.  I am of course speaking of the real kind of ramen, not the stuff you get ten of for a dollar at the grocery store.  I am talking about the real honest to goodness Japanese slurping kind of ramen.

So after a bit of research, we headed to Marukin.  Marukin is the first US outpost of a Japanese ramen chain.  They make their broths and noodles in-house and with a fair degree of care.  Besides ramen, they also have dumplings (gyoza), fried rice bowls, and several other sides.  Intriguingly (I never did get a chance to sample any) they also have a fairly extensive selection of Japanese whiskeys on hand at varying price points (~$10 to ~$50 a glass).

The Pine Street location is part of a dining hall that also features a burger shop, French restaurant, pizza bar, ice cream shop, coffee bar, and a couple other eateries.  Everything is open and seating is shared – pretty much like a food court but with much nicer food available. Continue reading →

Review – Hale Pele (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

2733 NE Broadway St

Portland, OR 97232

Hale Pele is one of those fun places you find and then keep to yourself.   It’s a dark bar with a smallish sign out front and not a lot of outside light.  From the street, you can’t really see what’s inside.  You walk in the door and see a low set bar, lots of dark wood, tables to one side, and umbrellas.  Lots of umbrellas.  What you have found is something of a dying breed.  This is a Tiki bar.

Tiki bars used to be the rage twenty to thirty years ago.  To the extent that they now have a bit of a bad name.  People scoff at them and refer to them with derision.  In all fairness, there are a *lot* of bad Tiki drinks made out there.

If you are lucky though, you find a place like Hale Pele.  Hale Pele harkens back to the good old days of real Tiki bars like Trader Vic’s.  Craft cocktails, not mass mixed cocktails.  This is the good stuff, let there be no doubt. Continue reading →

Review – Frank’s Noodle House (Portland, OR)

Visit Date: March 15, 2018

822 NE Broadway St

Portland, OR 97232

Bill with tip: $45.30 (3 entrees, 1 appetizer, 1 beer)

Frank’s Noodle House is located a bit off the beaten path in Portland’s Eastern district.  A lovely old home has been turned into a den of earthly noodle delight.  I first heard about Frank’s in an article in the Oregonian about cheap places to eat in Portland.  The pictures and the description hooked me.  Later on, I learned it had also been featured on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives – a fact that probably would have taken it off our list of go-to places had I learned of it early on.  Happily, for all of us on a Thursday in Portland, I didn’t find out about it until a few days prior.  Also, we had seen the menu. Continue reading →

Review – The Jupiter Hotel (Portland, OR)

The Jupiter Hotel

800 E Burnside St

Portland, OR 97214


The Jupiter Hotel is located on the East bank of the Willamette River in Portland, OR.  By car, it is about a 5 min drive from the Pearl District and downtown.  You can walk to Powell’s bookstore in about half an hour.  We never used the public transportation to get around, but I can recommend Lyft in Portland for speed and value.

There are lots of great restaurants and bars nearby that you can get to in minutes.  While you might not be in the heart of Downtown or the Pearl District, you also aren’t that far away.  And there are *plenty* of excellent food options nearby (Le Pigeon is right next door). All in all, it is a great spot to be in if you’re looking to explore Portland. Continue reading →

Review – Douglas Fir Bar (Portland, OR)

Douglas Fir Bar, Jupiter Hotel, Portland OR

Visit: March 15, 2018

Web: Douglas Fir Lounge

800 E. Burnside St

Portland, OR 97214


The Douglas Fir is part of the Jupiter Hotel and serves triple duty as an event venue, bar, and restaurant.  There is a seating area in the restaurant for minors, but be warned it is adults only in the bar area.  This seems to be a common theme throughout Portland – everywhere we went had signs saying where minors were permitted.  Considering the overall theme of the hotel, as well as the more adult nature of the lounge itself, this makes sense.

The interior is made is reminiscent of a log cabin inside.  Lots of golden wood and glass.  To the left of the entrance is where you will find the restaurant.  Anna did not make it in to eat at any point during our trip since Portland is great for food.

The beer selection is heavy on local beers (a plus in my book) and features a good selection of liquors as well as some pretty nice sounding craft cocktails.  My wife went for a glass of wine, while I went with a Deschutes NWPA.  The price was good (happy hour) and we were waiting for a friend so it was a good spot to spend some time.  I particularly enjoyed the punk music playing while we were there.

While I admit to not having spent much time there, I enjoyed the beer I had and the atmosphere.  From observations going to and from our hotel room at the Jupiter, I don’t doubt the place gets rowdy.  That being said, the menu sounded good and on another trip, I wouldn’t mind giving the Douglas Fir a shot for food if we didn’t want to wander far.  Decent beer selection of microbrews and booze though looked a bit high on some things.


  • Location if you are staying at the Jupiter
  • Good Happy Hour deals
  • Beautiful decor


  • A bit loud inside
  • Awkward seating in the bar area
  • definitely gets rowdy when there is a band playing

Easy Oven-Baked Rice Pilaf with Vegatables

The Dish:

The roots for this recipe come from a video Chef John did for his Youtube Channel Food Wishes.  The guts of the recipe have not changed much from his recipe.  It’s a solid recipe, and frankly the family and I love it.  The pilaf pairs well with just about anything, and makes a great vegetable delivery vehicle for our two youngsters.  There is nothing like having two vegetable adverse children asking for more helpings of this vegetable pilaf.  Also, did I mention it is delicious?

I recommend pairing this with some nice pan seared pork chops or my own Cajun Chicken with Wine Sauce. Continue reading →

Blackened Chicken with Wine Pan Sauce aka My Favorite Roast Chicken Recipe

Get the recipe here.

The Story:

I love blackened chicken.  Hell, I pretty much love everything blackened.  I always have some sort of blackening seasoning in the cupboard where its easy to get to.  Generally I am partial to and ‘s line.  As with most things, you should try a couple and find one that makes you happy. Continue reading →

Blackened Chicken with Wine Pan Sauce Recipe

Read the article here.


2lbs Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins

16oz Buttermilk

1/2 Cup Blackening Seasoning + 1/2 cup for dredging

1 tbsp Kosher Salt

3 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)

1/2 cup Chicken Stock

1/2 cup Red Wine


In a large mixing bowl or a resealable bag, add buttermilk, salt, and chicken.  Add 1/2 cup blackening seasoning and mix to combine.  Marinate at least 2 hours – but best when done for 24hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees if your chicken is particularly thick.

Drain chicken.  Dredge or dust with remaining blackening seasoning.

Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, and sear chicken on both sides.  Remove from pan and let rest on a plate.

Add wine, broth, and butter to pan and stir to incorporate the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan.  Simmer over medium heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your tastes.  You’ll want it thicken a bit so it will lightly coat a spoon.

Return chicken to pan and baste with your pan sauce.


*If your chicken is particularly thick, pop it into the oven for 20-30 minutes with the pan sauce to insure doneness.  Raw chicken is bad.  Clear juices running out of the chicken = done.