THE DINING REPORT – Mediterranean Exploration Company
Where Israel is no father away than the Pearl (Oye Vey!)
As many people who have read my blog know, I love John Gorham’s restaurants. Toro Bravo has been in my top five since it opened, and Tasty N’ Alder moved way up on my list the first time I ate there. It was with much interest I watched the headlines for the opening of the Mediterranean Exploration Company in the summer of 2014. For one thing, any John Gorham restaurant opening strikes me as definite cause for celebration. Couple this with the fact that his new place was introducing a selection of food from Eastern Mediterranean locales little explored here, places like Israel, Turkey, Morocco and Greece, how could a Portland foodie not be excited? We have a small amount of Middle Eastern food in Portland, largely represented by Lebanese, but as far as countries like Israel and Turkey, we just do not get that kind of food here, and the main Moroccan spot is the rather goofy Marakkesh. We have our Greek places, but none is a standout. Levant has an unusual menu that touches on these regions, and is generally recommended, but I haven’t eaten there, as it’s another place that makes it really hard to take a group, especially on the weekends.
This was my second dinner “back from the brink”, and interestingly, except for two carry-overs from LeVieux, a totally different group from last time out. It was so nice to see Heidi and Julian again, I had not seen them since late Summer of 2014, and Hank has changed from a toddler into a pretty adorable “little man” in that time frame. I had a couple of newcomers at the table, Wendy, whom I had met at a Portland Food Adventures dinner a couple of years ago, and Greg, a potential fellow hiker who conveniently (and expensively) now lives in the Pearl. Both appeared to have a good time. And speaking of the Pearl, also in attendance, Michael, my first ever RR member, and a veteran Pearl dweller. We also welcomed old friends Sylvie and Harvey, Glenda, my stalwart, and old pros David and Shuhong. Later you will hear (read??) from Wendy, who I asked to do a guest review for me, as she is both a really experienced group diner and a contributor to examiner.com where she often writes about food and fitness (Wendy is also the “voice” behind walking.com.) (more…)