Buki Food Cart and Takoyaki

When I heard there was takoyaki available in town, I felt the magnet pull immediately.

Buki is part of the new food cart pot on Division and SE 28th called Tidbit… as if Division Street wasn’t already kicking it in high gear with lots of delicious eats along those 10 or so blocks. The food cart just opened maybe a month ago, but it feels like a neighborhood center already. On my visit on a Friday, I saw many people arriving pushing a baby stroller or with some toddlers or with a dog, with several people greeting each other with hugs as they ran into each other. There is lots of seating, live music, and quite a lot of options with the the more than dozen carts situated here.

I resisted temptation when I saw the offerings of the other carts to focus on Buki and their takoyaki as a snack before dinner. So unfortunately I also restrained myself from their dessert offerings. Gee, I’ll just have to go back. I also noticed that Buki has the most ADORABLE DOG. He’s perfect.
Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki
Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki

I haven’t had takoyaki in 2 years, after all! Takoyaki are basically a flour ball made in a special takoyaki pan which is very remiscent of a aebleskiver pan (Aebelskivers are Danish filled round pancakes) in that the pan is full of round wells that the batter is poured in, followed by the filling, and then the rest of the batter to form the ball.
Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki

A traditional Original Takoyaki is filled with pieces of steamed octopus (Tako), and topped with lots of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, ao-nori seaweed and bonito flakes.
A traditional Original Takoyaki is filled with pieces of steamed octopus (Tako), and topped with lots of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, nori seaweed and bonito flakes. From Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division

The food cart Buki does offer alternates such as a Western Blend that has sausage and cheese on the inside with the same toppings as the Original. Or, there is the Bomber, with jalapenos on the inside and nacho cheese sauce and bacon bits on top. To up the spiciness, you might consider the Volcano version that has kimchee inside and a house special mayo sauce on top.

So it seems either way, there will be a lot of toppings. You will notice they serve the little hot balls in a little boat, and there will be a little stick that is used to poke the takoyaki and carry it to your mouth. DO NOT EAT THEM RIGHT AWAY IF THEY ARE FRESH as they will be SUPER HOT. You don’t want to burn your tongue and not be able to taste these!
A traditional Original Takoyaki is filled with pieces of steamed octopus (Tako), and topped with lots of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, nori seaweed and bonito flakes. From Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division A traditional Original Takoyaki is filled with pieces of steamed octopus (Tako), and topped with lots of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, nori seaweed and bonito flakes. From Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division

Each order has a generous 8 pieces, but it is made fresh so may take 10-15 minutes so place your order then wander over to get your beer  and perhaps a dish or two from other food carts to make it a “progressive” food cart dinner, with Takoyaki as your appetizer.

In addition, also from their menu Buki also offers bubble tea and Taiyaki, a waffle that is shaped like a fish and which inside is filled with sweet red bean paste (Original) or chocolate or nutella, your choice. So perhaps you might consider Buki for dessert as well.

The Takoyaki are crispy on the outside and meltingly soft and a bit gooey on the inside.
A traditional Original Takoyaki is filled with pieces of steamed octopus (Tako), and topped with lots of takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, nori seaweed and bonito flakes. From Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division

Buki is open for lunch and dinner, with hours Wednesday and Thursday of 12-3 PM and 5-9 PM, and weekend hours of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of 12-3 PM and 5-10 PM. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Buki food cart in the Tidbit Food Cart Pod on SE 28th and Division, offering some Japanese Street food, most importantly Takoyaki

Signature

Autumn Farmers Market, a Photo Essay

Autumn Farmers Market – Hollywood Farmers Market, at NE Hancock between 44th & 45th, a block South of SE Sandy in the Hollywood neighborhood. Still running on on Saturdays, 9 AM – 1 PM
Autumn Farmers Market - Hollywood Farmers Market Autumn Farmers Market - Hollywood Farmers Market Autumn Farmers Market - Hollywood Farmers Market Autumn Farmers Market - Hollywood Farmers Market Autumn Farmers Market - Hollywood Farmers Market

Then off to the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, at the South Park Blocks between SW Hall & SW Montgomery, running 8:30 AM. – 2 PM until it switches to 9 AM in November. Look at those giant cabbages!
Lavender at Portland Farmers Market PSU Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Fresh Artichokes Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Rainbow Chard Chantarelle mushroom mountain at Portland Farmers Market PSU Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Peppers Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Peppers Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Padron Peppers Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Eggplants and Peppers Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Japanese Eggplants Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Tomatoes and Eggplants Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Roma Tomatoes Interrupted Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Ginger Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Fresh Ginger Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Radishes It's Kraut Time - giant cabbage at Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Autumn Ancient Heritage Dairy, cheese Choi's Kimchi, Kimchi cream cheese Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Autumn Portland Farmers Market at PSU, Autumn

I’ve been particularly smitten with the Portland Farmers Market at PSU because for the past/next few weeks, Westwind Gardens from Forest Grove have been roasting peppers right there at the market, and the aroma is incredible. You can buy the roasted peppers in various heat levels in all the varieties you know and maybe want to be introduced to, still warm in the ziploc bags, which I take home and just plop right on plain rice and enjoy! They have a wonderful variety of peppers as well!

Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. The aroma of the freshly roasting peppers is incredible

Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. The aroma of the freshly roasting peppers is incredible

Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. The aroma of the freshly roasting peppers is incredible Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn. The aroma of the freshly roasting peppers is incredible Organic Roasted Chli Peppers from Westwind Gardens, Forest Grove, OR at Portland Farmers Market PSU in autumn.

Come visit the autumn Farmers Markets of Portland during this wonderful time of year where there is still sunshine and you can layer up in comfy sweaters and scarves, before winter comes and the markets start to take a break!

Have you ever smelled freshly roasted chili peppers, what do you think of it?

Signature

Angry Unicorn Food Truck and their Unicorn Burger

I’m currently enjoying my sister’s wedding week, so I have a food porntastic post that is more pictures and for once, not a huge essay since I always talk so much when I write. Today, I am highlighting The Angry Unicorn food truck. I’ve been in love with it since I heard the name. And, it is as fun as I had imagined when I finally visited.

The Angry Unicorn Food Truck in Portland, Oregon The Angry Unicorn Food Truck in Portland, Oregon The Angry Unicorn Food Truck in Portland, Oregon

The Angry Unicorn’s namesake Unicorn Burger, made with ‘Unicorn meat’ (a magical meat with ground bacon), strips of bacon, cheddar on a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut!

The Angry Unicorn and their Unicorn Burger, 'made with 'Unicorn meat' a magical meat with ground bacon, strips of bacon, cheddar on a  Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut The Angry Unicorn and their Unicorn Burger, made with 'Unicorn meat' a magical meat with ground bacon, strips of bacon, cheddar on a  Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut

 

There isn’t really a lot more I have to say. Maybe this sounds weird to you to have a doughnut bun on a burger. I admit it sounded weird to me too, and I’ve had a doughnut burger before and didn’t like it.

But, I liked this one. The grilling of the doughnut gave it a bit more heft than a softy doughy doughnut, and because of the strong savory contents the little bit of sweetness was a complementary additional flavor with each bite. You should try this out!

They do have other offerings, such as various special other burgers they will concoct, or varying from a brisket patty to turkey to pastrami burger to “roast beast”. They have a cart as part of the cart pod of Carts on Foster at SE 52nd and Foster, but they also have a moving truck, so check their social media to see where they might be!

The Angry Unicorn on Urbanspoon

 

Signature

Au Pied de Cochon Montreal Recap

Tomorrow my youngest sister is getting married!

As I mentioned in a previous post earlier this week, for my sister’s bachelorette party we went to Montréal in September. The restaurant Bouillon Bilk, as I wrote about in a previous post, was both of one of our favorite restaurant experiences. The other one for her was Au Pied de Cochon, which I nickname to just “APC” in this post.

Plate and Knife at famed Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon

First I should say almost none of these photos are mine, they were accumulated from the cameras of many of the other lovely ladies, of which total there were 10 of us, who were dining that evening. All I did was a little bit of cropping and lighting touch-ups for the sake of this Au Pied de Cochon Montreal Recap post.

APC is a very narrow restaurant – it reminded me of New York in that way – and I was impressed they found a way to seat our party across almost the entire front of the restaurant (there was actually another 2 two-tops just to my right). Even with tables and the related chairs close behind us, they scooted very carefully to get to all of us even on the inside wall end.

Even at APC a vegetarian was able to dine. I didn’t take a photo of the vegetarian’s food, but I believe we all stole some of those super buttery potatoes and she enjoyed her tomato tart and salad washed down with Pied de Cochon’s own beer. So it is possible, though they can’t be the type of vegetarian squeamish about seeing a lot of meat because most of the menu is meat. I would draw the line at vegan as everything the vegetarian had included dairy like butter or cheese.
A visit to famed Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon- the menu cover A visit to famed Montreal restaurant Au Pied de Cochon- the napkin rings

One of the things we (who were not vegetarian obviously) were pretty excited about at APC was the foie gras. In particular, some of the ladies are from California, where foie is illegal. So we maybe over-indulged a little here…

I liked APC, but for me the richness wasn’t balanced and so it felt too much, an excess of fat in the experience. Usually I am usually a lover of fat as it brings so much flavor,  but this went over the top for me because the dishes were so intense. It may have had to do somewhat with our ordering, but looking over the menu now, I don’t see a lot of dishes that offered another flavor – something spicy, or citrus… a counterbalance of flavors in food form and not just Cocktail or Dessert at the end.

Part of it might have just been palate fatigue on my part, since as a normal diner you probably wouldn’t be eating ALL of these dishes we did! We ordered family style and with 10 of us we justified getting a lot of dishes. This may have meant most of the section labeled Foie Gras.

Anyway, I would not have thought of APC as my top dining experience this trip – that honor for this trip goes to Bouillon Bilk. However, it was definitely memorable as so indulgent and lavish.

Suffice it to say if you come to Au Pied De Cochon, you better love fat in your food. You should love foie gras and also love pork and be ready to luxuriate in those 3 things –  fat,  foie gras, pork. If you can’t say yes to those criteria, you may not have as good of a time with your dinner because of the food they showcase here.

Not pictured below are additional dishes we ordered of Accras de morue (salted codfish fritters), Tarte de tomates (tomato tart, for the vegetarian), or the Salade de Bleu, pommes, endives (also for the vegetarian) and Purée de pommes de terre (the super buttery mashed potatoes I mentioned earlier).

Starters

  • Foie Gras “tout nu”
    Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Foie Gras 'tout nu'
  • Mousse Foie Pintade
    Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Mousse Foie Pintade
  • Soupe A L’Oignon, French onion soup. I don’t think I tried this…
    Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Soupe A L'Oignon, French onion soup with foie gras
  • Pain De Viande, a meatloaf with foie gras… perhaps you detect a theme
    Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Pain De Viande, a meatloaf with foie gras
  • Cured foie gras and boudin tart
    A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Cured foie gras and boudin tart
  • Tarte de Foie Gras, it gets two photos so you can see it from both sides
    A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Tarte de Foie Gras A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Tarte de Foie Gras
  • Poutine foie gras, this was my favorite of the starters… so it gets two pictures in this recap too, a dish of fries, gravy (the most refined gravy for a poutine we had the whole trip), cheese curd (they were much more restrained on the cheese curds) and two big hunks of foie. I would recommend ordering this dish,  even if you’ve had other foie gras poutine elsewhere, because the APC version is like no other.
    Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Poutine foie gras Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Poutine foie gras

This next dish I guess could be counted either as a starter or a main, it was listed in the Foie Gras section in the menu that as you saw above, mostly are starter or shared plates. This burger was amazeballs. When we came back late after our evening/morning out, this was what several of us were so looking forward to warming up slightly and eating… the Hamburger Foie Gras. There is so much to eat here though, I could see trying to split this in half or quarters to try to eat as a starter. This is before our table mauled it… Recommended, but share it.
A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014 - Hamburger foie gras

Mains

  • Coupe PDC (0.5 kg), or PDC’s Cut, a pork loin seared in duck fat with mushrooms and onions because you can’t just have pork simply alone…
    A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014- Coupe PDC, a pork loin seared in duck fat
  • Pied Cochon Foie Gras. The namesake dish of the restaurant, fried pig’s foot, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffed with foie gras inside after deboning and then topped with foie gras. Pretty much if you are going to order this, you need a big party. Even with the 10 of us we had some left to take home, though admittedly we did just eat a lot of starters… We who did eat it called it “the Best Thanksgiving Dish ever”. Recommend if you have enough dining friends to make this work!
    A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014-Au Pied de Cochon, stuffed with foie gras. The namesake dish of the restaurant, fried pig’s foot, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffed with foie gras inside after deboning and then topped with foie gras. A meatstravaganza dinner at Au Pied De Cochon for 10 ladies on September 13, 2014-Au Pied de Cochon, stuffed with foie gras. The namesake dish of the restaurant, fried pig’s foot, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffed with foie gras inside after deboning and then topped with foie gras.
  • Canard en Conserve – the famous Duck in a Can dish. They open it tableside with a can opener, turn it upside down on the platter, and slowly pull the can up, letting the cooked duck breast and foie gras just flow out of the can into what you see below. Seriously. I would recommend this as a dish to share.

I also have to say that the service was amazing and so friendly at APC the entire time we were there, and they dutifully packaged all our leftovers… Yes, four boxes of leftovers. Warning though they have no bags (what, do people not carry leftovers?) so some ladies stopped at a convenience store to acquire a big paper bag for our boxes… which we then carried to multiple destinations later that evening (cough cough).

Whatever, we were happy to do so because as soon as we got home late/early that morning we were already looking forward to eating it. Even though I believe we made 3 more stops and had lots of liquids that evening, there was always someone making sure we were still carrying our leftovers to eat once we reached home.  When that time finally came, yes we did rip open the bags and containers and did continue the meatextravaganza!

While at the restaurant we did finish most of the dishes, minus the foie burger, and the main dishes as they were so large. Each of those main dish portions could have been for four people at least. I felt like I should have spent the whole day working out to help build the animal hunger for this dinner.

We never felt rushed during our dinner at APC even as we saw a line of guests line up out the door. In terms of table service, we were constantly kept refreshed with waters and other beverages. Most of us were trying beer and cocktails to take a break from the wine during dinner of the previous 2 days, and personally I thought the cocktails were a nice refreshing contrast to our heavy dinner plates- most of us were having mojitos with ground cherries.

Overall our dining experience was a stay at APC of 2.5 hours and we left about $500 lighter.

I highly recommend sharing dishes, as the flavors of each dish are intense, so you will want to sample around and break up your flavor experience.

A member of our group called towards the end of July in order to secure our reservation for September 13, so keep that in mind too. Our group size, at 10, is the largest they can accommodate- at first we thought we might be a group of 12 and they would have split us into two tables of six. Whatever the case with your dining party, you definitely want to make reservations, and it took her a couple calls to confirm that we were set (thanks Elaine!).

Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

Congratulations to my sister tomorrow, I can’t wait to be a part of your Big Day!
Judy's Bachelorette Party in Montreal, September 13, 2014

Have you ever had foie gras? Have you ever gotten together in a big group and ordered most of a menu than eaten family style like this?

Signature

First National Taphouse, Portland

After months of walking by and peering at the construction, finally the Eugene outpost of a taphouse in a bank has come to Portland, although the Portland location is not in a bank. It still carries over the official looking lettering in money-looking gold, as well as the First National coin symbol (with its slogan “In Beer & Wine We Trust”, which you can also find on the tables.)
First National Taphouse in Portland, located at 1962 SW 5th Ave by PSU, the Portland outpost of the original Eugene location First National Taphouse in Portland, located at 1962 SW 5th Ave by PSU, the Portland outpost of the original Eugene location

The First National Taphouse in PDX at 1962 SW 5th Ave, is a welcome addition to the area by Portland State University, where so far the main beer drinking options have been a McMenamins Market Street Pub, Rogue Hall, and if you wanted to go upscale, the bar at Higgins, or a few nice selections at Raven & Rose.

First National is just right, filling in with a wide variety of brew options (as well as wine and cocktails and food) that is more than any of these options, offering some great food just like Higgins, but at a price point that is more amenable to those who would dine at Market Street or Rogue.

And, First National has a big space, one that would be great for groups, be it professionals relaxing at a happy hour after work, or a group of friends needing a break after some time studying. And, the decor is on par with a restaurant – no worn carpets and sticky tables like a brewpub, though admittedly it does have the volume of one.
First National Taphouse in Portland First National Taphouse in Portland

Garage door windows give them the option to throw them open so everyone feels like they are dining al fresco in good weather, the front feels like a bustling restaurant with a view of the many pours going on at the bar and 3 large screen TVs.
First National Taphouse in Portland has a a taplist of 30 options First National Taphouse in Portland has a a taplist of 30 options First National Taphouse in Portland has a a taplist of 30 options First National Taphouse in Portland has a a taplist of 30 options

Meanwhile as you head towards the back, it’s a bit more romantic with an area that can be curtained and with light fixtures made from various liquor bottles.
First National Taphouse in Portland First National Taphouse in Portland front area, which then leads to a side area by the bottles and then the best area I think is the back with the bottles of liquor lights and curtain First National Taphouse in Portland

I personally like the peaceful vibe back there with the liquor fixtures the most. Don’t worry, there’s even still a view of the TV here, if you need it, without the bustle by the bar area.
First National Taphouse in Portland, the back area has the most privacy, with less tables, still access to a TV, and these lovely light fixtures of various liquor bottles First National Taphouse in Portland, the back area has the most privacy, with less tables, still access to a TV, and these lovely light fixtures of various liquor bottles First National Taphouse in Portland, the back area has the most privacy, with less tables, still access to a TV, and these lovely light fixtures of various liquor bottles

Similar to Raven & Rose, First National seems to want to support special events as well. My first visit was when Breakside Brewery was having a special Farmhouse/Wild Ale tasting night. They offered 8 wild ales and saisons from Breakside, of which each guest could get a tasting paddle with your choice of four 5 ounce pours, and if you bought a flight, you got a $1 any pint. There were also some selections of cheese from Steve’s Cheese, though we did not partake.
First National Taphouse Portland hosted a Breakside Farmhouse/Wild Ale tasting night. They offered 8 wild ales and saisons from Breakside, of which each guest could get a tasting paddle with your choice of four 5oz pours, and if you bougt a flight, you got a $1 any pint. First National Taphouse Portland hosted a Breakside Farmhouse/Wild Ale tasting night. They offered 8 wild ales and saisons from Breakside, of which each guest could get a tasting paddle with your choice of four 5oz pours, and if you bougt a flight, you got a $1 any pint.

During that first visit, we kept it small for food, sticking to the appetizer of Irish Rarebit, which is basically a beer cheese spread on bread and then broiled to melty goodness. It’s vegetarian, so satisfied both F and I.
First National Taphouse Portland, Irish Rarebit, which is basically a beer cheese spread on bread and then broiled to melty goodness First National Taphouse Portland, Irish Rarebit, which is basically a beer cheese spread on bread and then broiled to melty goodness

We also indulged in a dessert after our waitress mentioned twice how good their desserts were. She did not steer us wrong, because by the time she came back to ask us how the dessert was tasting, we actually were already done eating it, haha. This is the Taphouse Bread Pudding with vanilla custard, brioche, raisins, and whiskey crème anglaise. The waitress, F, and I heartily recommend it.
First National Taphouse Portland, Taphouse Bread Pudding with vanilla custard, brioche, raisins, whiskey crème anglaise First National Taphouse Portland, Taphouse Bread Pudding with vanilla custard, brioche, raisins, whiskey crème anglaise

For our second visit, we tried a different menu- a pairing of food and beer in 5 courses. They even had a vegetarian version, so F could have the same fun as me!
5 courses of food and beer at First National Taphouse, Portland 5 courses of food and beer at First National Taphouse, Portland

For our first pairing, while I enjoyed a Prawn Boule with Brunoise Vegetables, Prawns, Brandy Nosh in a Potato Roll with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer, he had a smaller sample of their regular main dish, a Baked Acorn Squash with grilled seasonal vegetables, goat cheese, and sun dried tomato tapenade with that same beer. The beer is a hefe style so had some yeastiness, but also some sweetness with a tinge of tart, though not as much citrus tone as I would have liked. And clearly, both these first courses are eye pleasers.
First National Taphouse Portland, Baked Acorn Squash with grilled seasonal vegetables, goat cheese, and sun dried tomato tapenade with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer First National Taphouse Portland, Prawn Boule with Brunoise Vegetables, Prawns, Brandy Nosh in a Potato Roll with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer First National Taphouse Portland, Prawn Boule with Brunoise Vegetables, Prawns, Brandy Nosh in a Potato Roll with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer First National Taphouse Portland, Prawn Boule with Brunoise Vegetables, Prawns, Brandy Nosh in a Potato Roll with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer First National Taphouse Portland, Prawn Boule with Brunoise Vegetables, Prawns, Brandy Nosh in a Potato Roll with Wild Ride Brewing Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer

For our second course, we both enjoyed Artisan Cheese Terrine with Brabander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear and a baguette, paired with Duche De Longueville Cidre Antoinette. A jar of cheese you say to eat? Yes please. The cider was also wonderfully refreshing and tart, balancing the cheese but also carrying its own hint of funk that also worked well with the cheese. I don’t know if it was a one off cheese dish for that evening, but it was tasty.
First National Taphouse Portland, Artisan, Cheese Terrine with Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear and a baguette, paired with Duche De Longueville Cidre Antoinette First National Taphouse Portland, Artisan, Cheese Terrine with Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear and a baguette, paired with Duche De Longueville Cidre Antoinette First National Taphouse Portland, Artisan, Cheese Terrine with Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear and a baguette, paired with Duche De Longueville Cidre Antoinette First National Taphouse Portland, Artisan, Cheese Terrine with Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear and a baguette, paired with Duche De Longueville Cidre Antoinette

Next, we enjoyed Honey Root Vegetable Boxty with parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, and spiced honey paired with Elysian’s The Great Pumpkin Imperial. Again, these were visual delights full of autumn color, and when they placed our plates down the aromas of the spiced honey was intoxicating. First National offers boxty as part of their brunch, 5 different ways varying from with Irish Whiskey and Granny Smith apple and ricotta to with Smoked Wild Salmon Candy… something to consider for a future brunch possibility. At dinner, the boxty comes with an Irish Whiskey Pepper steak. In terms of pumpkin beer this one by Elysian, the Great Pumpkin Imperial, is all right but leans more towards cinnamon and nutmeg than any pumpkin flavor.
First National Taphouse, Portland Course 3 of Honey Root Vegetable Boxty with parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, and spiced honey paired with Elysian's The Great Pumpkin Imperial First National Taphouse, Portland Course 3 of Honey Root Vegetable Boxty with parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, and spiced honey paired with Elysian's The Great Pumpkin Imperial First National Taphouse, Portland Course 3 of Honey Root Vegetable Boxty with parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, and spiced honey paired with Elysian's The Great Pumpkin Imperial

Fred had been tempted to order this soup of the moment on our last visit, so was happy to see that his next course was the Cannellini Bean IPA Stew with Irish Cheddar, scallions, and fried onion straws. Meanwhile, I enjoyed a smaller version of their regular dinner plate of Irish Whiskey Pepper Steak with my course of Irish Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite with pepper crusted hanger steak, Irish Whiskey demi glace, and microbrew fries. Both dishes, all meat and vegetarian, were paired with Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA on Nitro.
First National Taphouse Portland, Cannellini Bean IPA Stew with Irish Cheddar, scallions, and fried onion straws paired with Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA on Nitro First National Taphouse Portland, First National Taphouse Portland, Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite with pepper crusted hanger steak, Irish Whiskey demi glace, and microbrew fries paired with Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA on Nitro

For our last course, F saw cocoa glitter for the first time with our desserts of Chocolate Porter Ice Cream and Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Foam with a side of hazelnut brittle paired with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout beer
First National Taphouse Portland, Chocolate Porter Ice Cream and Young's Double Chocolate Stout Foam with a side of hazelnut brittle paired with Young's Double Chocolate Stout beer First National Taphouse Portland, Chocolate Porter Ice Cream and Young's Double Chocolate Stout Foam with a side of hazelnut brittle paired with Young's Double Chocolate Stout beer First National Taphouse Portland, Chocolate Porter Ice Cream and Young's Double Chocolate Stout Foam with a side of hazelnut brittle paired with Young's Double Chocolate Stout beer

Besides the 30 taps, there are supposedly some 400 some bottles of beers and ciders to select from. The bottle prices you see in the cooler are to go – if you drink them at the restaurant, expect a $1-3 corkage fee, depending on the size of the bottle. We were impressed by some of the bottles in their selection- they are ones we haven’t seen at other bottleshops in Porltand.
First National Taphouse in Portland has a pretty good bottle selection. Corkage fee is $1-3 depending on size of the bottle First National Taphouse in Portland has a pretty good bottle selection. Corkage fee is $1-3 depending on size of the bottle First National Taphouse in Portland has a pretty good bottle selection. Corkage fee is $1-3 depending on size of the bottle

First National Taphouse also has a happy hour everyday 4 – 6:30 PM, and serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30AM – 2PM. Brunch includes several Boxty topped with eggs (a boxty is an Irish Potato Pancake), such as the one I tried below with smoked wild salmon, poached egg, capers, tomato, and touch of  Hollandaise.
First National Taphouse Portland Brunch includes several Boxty topped with eggs (a boxty is an Irish Potato Pancake), such as the one I tried below with smoked wild salmon, poached egg, capers, tomato, and touch of  Hollandaise First National Taphouse Portland Brunch includes several Boxty topped with eggs (a boxty is an Irish Potato Pancake), such as the one I tried below with smoked wild salmon, poached egg, capers, tomato, and touch of  Hollandaise First National Taphouse Portland Brunch includes several Boxty topped with eggs (a boxty is an Irish Potato Pancake), such as the one I tried below with smoked wild salmon, poached egg, capers, tomato, and touch of  Hollandaise First National Taphouse Portland Brunch includes several Boxty topped with eggs (a boxty is an Irish Potato Pancake), such as the one I tried below with smoked wild salmon, poached egg, capers, tomato, and touch of  Hollandaise

Mine was ok- I think the tomato ruined the experience for me because I had to walk through the Portland Farmers Market to get to brunch, and knowing the delicious heirloom tomatoes available there, this regular beefsteak tomato was unappealing and flavorless when it could have really made the dish. I didn’t take a photo of it, but after saying he wasn’t sure how hungry he was, F completely polished off his Oat Grouts with Irish Oatmeal, Fresh Barries, Spiced Honey, Candied Walnut and Maple Cream. Also on their brunch menu are several hashes (including a salt roasted beef or a duck confit). There was a vegetarian version of the boxty and hash as well, and I appreciated that thoughtfulness to think of vegetarians for every section of the menu.

Various sandwiches such as a triple grilled cheese with marscarpone, white cheddar, and Cashel Blue, a Cannelini Bean Rarebit, Mushroom Barley Burgers or Kobe Beef Burgers, Country Ham Scones and other savory selections round out the brunch menu. There are also two versions of a bloody mary- a regular one with Vodka, Tomato Juice, Tomato Consome, Veal Stock, Lemon, Aardvark Hot Sauce, Cerignola Olives, House Pickled Green Beans and Smoked Salt. There is also a Vegan Bloody Mary with Vodka, Tomato Juice, Shitake Kombu Dashi, Bragg’s Aminos, Aardvark Hot Sauce, Horseradish, Lime Juice, Castelvetrano Olives and Giardiniera Relish. There are 4 other brunch cocktails as well.
First National Taphouse Portland Bloody Mary with Vodka, Tomato Juice, Tomato Consome, Veal Stock, Lemon, Aardvark Hot Sauce, Cerignola Olives, House Pickled Green Beans and Smoked Salt First National Taphouse Portland Bloody Mary with Vodka, Tomato Juice, Tomato Consome, Veal Stock, Lemon, Aardvark Hot Sauce, Cerignola Olives, House Pickled Green Beans and Smoked Salt

Pours from the draft depend on the size as you would expect, but there are also two tiers depending on the beer (a regular and premium price point) , though I can’t quite ascertain if it’s based on difficulty to get the keg or price of the keg or what. I suppose more investigation might be necessary…

First National also offers a full bar,  including cocktails and wine. Cocktails include those named Banker’s Manhattan, Frank Nash, The Greenback, Cat Ballou, and Bonnie Parker.
First National Taphouse, cocktail First National Taphouse, cocktail

With the 3 tvs at the bar playing different games, it’s not a bad place to cheer with other fans while enjoying a wide variety of selections, but other customers also included an age range of students, work professionals, and those who live in the area so it’s not just a sports bar or for the twenty-somethings. With seating for probably 100, you’re likely be able to easily get a seat and start enjoying. The only caution is though it would be fine for a casual date, since it can be a bit boisterous except for on the back or for brunch, it may not be suitable for a romantic rendezvous.

Welcome to Portland, First National Taphouse!

Disclosure: Thank you to Watershed Communications, as one of the four meals was complimentary, but the other three visits I came on my own and paid for myself. I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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