Portland Trip Report - Karam, oysters, and sunshine....
Thank you hounds for the suggestion to eat at Karam...we enjoyed our meal there greatly. Tony and his wife were very hospitable...they treated us like family. We started by splitting an order of Ful Mudamas (Fava beans)...delicious. Nice flavor, and the home-made pita bread IS delicious. Well, actually, I started with the Karam cocktail: It is based on an anise liquor....akra? (I forget the liquor name). Sort of like drinking straight black licorice. An acquired taste I think I could acquire....
Second course was soup: spinach and lentil. Both were delicious. For mains hubby had the falafel plate: what a bargain for 10 bucks! About six very large falafel balls, along with hummus and tahini. The falafel were perfectly prepared: spicy and crispy on the outside...soft inside. yum! BTW, the hummus was some of the best I've ever tasted...delicious. I found myself wishing I'd ordered it for an appetizer.... For my main I decided to experiment with the Molokhie...something I had never heard of much less tried. Molokhie is a dark green-leafed vegetable...simlar to kale. It is served in a rich, brothy stew that you spoon over rice and lamb. Lebanese comfort food.
We were too stuffed for desert. They sounded great, however! Dinner for two including the drink and tip (No sales tax in Portland!) was around 50 bucks. Highly recommended!
Saturday night we weren't terribly hungry, but were craving oysters. I asked around, and was told to try out Dan and Louis'. I was a little skeptical, since it seemed a little too much like Berkeley Spenger's when we walked in. But the oysters were wonderful! We ate a dozen ($15.50 for a sampler of six types) and they were so good we had a second dozen. All were fresh: some from Oregon and some BC. I think my favorites were the kumamotos...small but sweet. We finished our meal with bowls of New England clam chowder (lots of potatoes, not much cream, tasty) and then polished off some marionberry pie. If you want good oysters, I don't think you'll go wrong here.
All in all, a great weekend. Weather was perfect....we got lucky. My only complaint is the food at the Oregon Convention Center. Portland Hounds: if you want to do visitors a favor, make a tip sheet of places to eat within a few minutes of there (When you only have 45 minutes there isn't enough time to wander around and explore.....meanwhile hubby was enjoying walking around downtown and reported having decent tacos from a taco truck...life isn't fair). Not only is the food awful and expensive, but we discovered that ALL the salads (including chefs and chicken salads) at the food court had expired "serve by" dates by at least three weeks. eeeww.........
lol.....well, now we know where to start a restaurant! Seriously, the stuff at the convention center is seriously foul. The "free lunch" that came with my convention registration wasn't worth it: A stale tostada shell, ground beef with no discernable spice, undercooked spanish rice, canned refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes (probably the best part), black olives, sour cream and a "salsa" that tasted like stewed tomatoes straight out of the can. No cheese, and no vegetarian alternative (well, there were the beans...). Nothing else. You made your own tostada. No side dishes. Drinks were bottled water, and they had about half of what they needed for the crowd...so the last half or so didn't even get that. Ditto with the cookies that were "desert." For this they were charging ten bucks for those who forgot their lunch tickets. Oh, and only one server for 500 people, who spent his entire time hand-carrying out the taco shells, twenty at a time.......Meanwhile everything else was running out.
Seriously, Portlanders, for a city that prides itself on its cuisine, this is no way to "put on your best face" to visitors. I do intend to write a letter to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.