My parents vacationed in Spain a while back and testdrove the tapas style of dining, where the focus isn’t on the food but on enjoying each other’s company. The dishes are small and multiple are meant to be ordered and shared. Toro Bravo in downtown Portland has rave reviews and has won way too many awards for us to pass up a chance to dine there, despite the fact that we couldn’t get a reservation.
The hostess gave us an estimated wait time of up to 75 minutes so we left our name and number (they offer to call, even long distance, when your table’s ready) and (and when I say we, I mean I) hit up my guilty pleasure Anthropologie, just about a five minute drive away.
Making a habit out of shopping here would do a good job of cleaning out my professional student line-of-credit in the blink of an eye but it’s ok because just being inside this place makes me happy.
It’s like this mythical garden, a country French kitchen and my dream bedroom all mixed into one. Every little detail is lovely, delightful and undeniably charming. Ten years from now I’m going to be dialing up an interior designer to make my future home look just like this.
Then possibly the most fantastic meal of my life began.
It started with melt-in-your-mouth Sauteed spinach with raisins and pine nuts.
And continued with House Lamb Bacon & Grilled Bread with apple butter, harissa & buttermilk cheese. We didn’t know what harissa was but fortunately the waitress did, it’s a Tunisian hot chili sauce. A delicious one. And yes you read that correctly, apparently lamb produce bacon too. Whoa.
And then came the Octopus a la Plancha “Becerrita”. It was nothing short of amazing. 99% of the time, octopus is overly chewy but this one was perfect and sat on a delicious potato pedestal. This ties for first place for my favorite of the night.
Then was the most amazing thing I’ve ever had that only contained three ingredients, the Grilled Flat Bread with black truffle cheese & arugula. Since when does bread, cheese and greenery taste this good? These people are geniuses and makes this one tie for first place with the octopus.
No this isn’t apple pie, it’s Tortilla Espanola with piperade. The tortilla itself was alright but the sauces were fantastic. Where can I get bottles of those sauces, I need a bottle of those sauces!
The House Smoked Coppa Steak with confit potatoes, chopped olives, caramelized onions & salbitxada was both my dad and sister’s favourite tapas of the night. I didn’t have the steak but the rest of it was pretty darn delicious.
Forgive this horribly unflattering picture of the Potatoes Bravas that makes it look like watermelon. These tomato sauce coated lightly fried potatoes are definitely in my top three for the night.
I was too distracted by how great this meal was and forgot to snap a pic of the Salt Cod Fritters with aioli. Not too distracted to remember how great they were though.
Verdict? Toro Bravo is unequivocally my new favorite restaurant, even if the people standing outside as we were leaving said they were down for a two-hour wait. Sounds like a two-hour Anthro trip to me!
The hardest part was declining the dessert tapas menu, especially from the looks of what the next table over was having. But we had other plans. . .
Plans of sugar,
at Voodoo Doughnuts.
I read about this place online about a year ago and brushed it off as one of those places that sound really neat probably never get a chance to visit. I mean, I read about of places like this all the time, places like Hershey, PA or the land of Ace of Cakes, Charm City Cakes, you know? But then I realised that Voodoo Donuts is in Portland, and that I, also am in Portland and I did a little syllogism magic and hence, made it my mission to not leave this city without a pretzel-stake-impaled-jelly-bleeding-voodoo-doll.
He came with a Portland Cream and Neopolitan entourage.
There [really] is no love sincerer than the love of food.
-George Bernard Shaw