November 2009

The Dining Report – MetroVino

Great Food, But Don’t Forget Your Asbestos Oven Mitt

This dinner took place October 24th

It was strange for me to visit MetroVino, as I remembered the place that was in this space before, the unfortunate DF (good margaritas). As far as dinners in the P.District go, I must say I appreciate the ease of parking in these farthest northern reaches, you don’t have to drive around for an hour looking for a space. I also like checking out what’s going on in Tanner Springs Park, that cute little wetland park that I could gaze out at from our window booth at MetroVino.

So far MetroVino has had two claims to fame. Their original claim to fame, their Enomatic Wine System, this allowing MV to keep a multitude of open bottles of wine fresh, and consequently serve 64 varieties by the taste or glass. The Dining Report – MetroVinoTheir second claim to fame? Although no one expected it, once they opened their doors it became clear that their food was every bit as good as their wine selection. No little wine noshes at this place (although they do have small plates of varying sizes) this is full on high-end food coming out of this kitchen.

IMG_1310Five seems to be our lucky number these days, I can’t remember the last dinner where I had more or less than five, but a slightly varying five each time. At MV, our variance was long time member Jody, MIA for 10 months but raring to eat on this evening. Jody seems to prefer fine, rather classy dining, so I was glad that MV came along at the right time for her schedule. It was fun reminiscing with Jody on some of her past RR dinners, especially as her first dinner with the group was perhaps our most ill-fated dinner ever, Menji-En, the sushi place that ran out of rice (although experiences at Assaggio and Elenis (both in the same block, and both now closed – hmmm) were pretty lousy too, but Jody missed out on those, poor woman). (more…)


The Dining Report, Nuestra Cocina

A Night of Spicy Food and Freaky Infants

This dinner took place October 9th, 2009
Okay, I’ll admit I’m not great with children, especially babies. This baby, though, was straight from a horror flick, and was totally freaking me out. It’s not that this baby was ugly by any means, it was just your basic really infantile humanoid, but that scary look on its face was creepy movie deluxe, those bulging eyeballs, I had to keep turning around to make certain an alien had not entered the room behind us. Actually there were two scary looking infants at that big table at Nuestra Cocina, seemingly twins, but while one looked only mildly alarmed, the second was completely Twilight Zone material, so otherwordly, could any other explanation be in order except that perhaps its diaper was jam packed?

Well, at least I know this infant sending me to my wits end wasn’t just a figment of my imagination, as our well-revered new regular, Heidi (now with 2 RR dinners under her belt) brought this horrifying spectacle to my attention, mentioning how discomforting she found this tiny, creepy little gaze, mostly directed at our table.IMG_1297 And once you saw it, it was so hard to avert your eyes, you could just image circular waves radiating out of this baby’s face and boring into your head until your brain exploded, or you went insane, or your food was set on fire right before your eyes. But like I said, I’m not really good with the kiddies anyway.

Scary infant aside, our evening at Nuestra Cocina went relatively smoothly. Although it’s been my favorite Mexican restaurant since it opened five or six years ago, I had not been to NC since I had a RR dinner here three years before. Nuestra Cocina is like many good Portland restaurants, you hear a certain amount of buzz about it for a couple of years after it opens, but then newer places open that garner more immediate buzz, and while you might always look upon it fondly, you don’t return for quite a long stretch of time, so you aren’t sure if it has maintained the quality and popularity it used to have.