Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chesterfield and Thatch

This week I hit two places I'd never been before, Chesterfield over on Burnside, and Thatch on NE Broadway. My friend J and I met at Thatch at 4:00pm, and they didn't open till 5, so we headed over to Chesterfield. You might know Chesterfield by its big red paint job. It's in the same building as rocket - Chesterfield on the bottom floor, rocket on the fourth. Still haven't been to rocket but it doesn't sound like I'm missing much. Chesterfield is brightly decorated, with plastic stools. I didn't like them at all! Stupid stools.... Upstairs there's a round coke den table in black leather. It looks just like the ones at SubTerra, only not white. There's also a counter lining the loft ledge with more plastic stools, perfect for sipping solo, gazing down at the pretty young things below. Speaking of pretty young things, there were none in sight. In fact we were the only ones in the whole place when we walked in, and then a table of 3 showed up. The space is a lot smaller than I'd imagined, and I would not like to be there on a busy night. The best surprise was the bartender Russell. He's an old friend from my Red Star days back in 2000, and a terrific bartender. My friend had a perfectly balanced Pimm's Cup and I tried the Wendelini - peach bitters and prosecco with an lemon twist. J and I shared some curried mushrooms and a greek salad. Good portions for cheap. It was happy hour, too, so our drinks were $3 off. I will go back, soon, to see my friend Russell and try more drinks, like the Miss Sassy Rack or the Queen Bitch.

We had made a commitment to get into Thatch, so we headed back to my 'hood just after 5pm. It, too is smaller than it appears. Maybe 6 tables, and the bar. To enter, walk over the little wooden bridge spanning the "grotto". Some people find it annoying, but I love the tiki motif. It reminded me of being in Mexico. Sniff. There are tiki idol gods everywhere, and a thatched roof and a private table in it's own little hut. I can see heading there in the depths of February when ya just need a little cheering up and a mai tai is what the doctor ordered. J dared me to try a Donkey Punch, a drink so dangerous they are limited to two per customer. And the ingredients aren't listed, but the main one is Bacardi 151. And I drank two. I felt pretty good when I left. The food menu is pretty limited and there isn't much of a kitchen, so I don't know if I'd make it a food destination.

1101 E. Burnside
Portland, OR 97214
Open Daily 4pm - 2am

2733 NE Broadway
Portland, OR 97232
Open daily 5pm-close

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Helser's on Alberta

This past Thursday, we slept in. Like until noon. A slothly morning begets a late brunch. After debating where to go, bf and I hopped in the good ol' Hyundai and headed north to Alberta, vaguely thinking of Francis but not committed. Passing Tin Shed and Helser's, both looked busy so we continued on up to Francis. Parked the car, went inside and found...a zoo. I didn't know Thursday at 1:15pm was so popular for breakfast/lunch. Don't these people work? I don't like to wait, plus I never thought Francis was THAT good, so we drove back down to Helser's. Never been there anyway and wanted to try it. There was only a group of 2 in front of us, so we were seated within 5 minutes.

Right off, I liked the menu. Breakfast is served all day, a bonus for those who break their fast after noon, like me. It wasn't your standard bacon-and-eggs-and-benedicts menu. I wish I had one to post. Pancakes were on there, and maybe waffles, and a mushroom hash, bacon hash, a breakfast sandwich with crumpets, uh.......Oh wait, the menu is on their website. Clever. Ok, so no waffles. Potato pancakes, three hashes, steak and eggs, brioche french toast, scotch eggs, three different bennies, a Louisiana Hot Sausage Scramble wrap, the breakfast sandwich, a pear and Havarti pie, black bean chili scramble, and a dutch baby! Lots of things I might want to try for future visits. On the lunch front I spied a shrimp ravioli and a potato cake torta that looked interesting. Also, for the early birds, Helser's offers a $3.95 breakfast special from 7am-9am daily. Why can't there be a "late birds" special? I'm just sayin'.

Did I mention adult beverages for breakfast? Bf ordered a coffee nudge, and I was persuaded to get a hot buttered rum. We are lushes.

It was one of those times when I saw what I wanted right away, and only read the rest of the menu for kicks. Mushroom hash with criminis, scallions, garlic, Yukon Gold potato hash tossed with melted Havarti cheese. I added two poached eggs because, oddly, it was the only hash that did not come with eggs. And a side of hollandaise, just cause.

This was after I finished. It was huge! The mushrooms were more than plentiful, they were abundant. The scallions added a bright crunch to each bite; they didn't skimp on those either. Different from most hashes, the potatoes were sorta smashed and fried. I liked the soft texture. The cheese held everything together, although it didn't really need cheese. Next time I would sub the Havarti for chevre and add spinach. That would be perfection. I didn't really need the poached eggs, either, but it was good to have some protein.

Bf ordered the spinach, mushroom and tomato benedict. The eggs and veggies came atop a nice crumpet, but with very skimpy hollandaise. He was glad I had some to share. Speaking of, the hollandaise was heavy on the butter, but had no lemon taste at all. Not the best but at least it wasn't Knorr's. Bf liked the benedict, especially the crumpet. I "helped" him with some stray clumps of spinach. Very good. He commented that the tomatoes were especially good. Wonder where they get those this time of year?

At $28, it wasn't the cheapest breakfast, but it was really the drinks that did it. Otherwise it would have been under $20. A standout breakfast all around.

Helser's on Alberta
1538 NE Alberta St.