Monthly Archives: September 2016

Hot Suppa – Portland South

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It was…oh I don’t know..maybe three years since I first said to myself, “Self, I wonder how that Hot Suppa place is.” Since then, I every time I drove by the Congress St. eatery, which was at least once a week, I noted that I had to check it out at some point and then just forgot about it until I drove by again. I never bothered to look at their menu or figure out what they were all about, though I had heard from reliable sources that they started out as a breakfast and lunch joint and had adopted a dinner service over the last few years. That all sounded well and good, but didn’t really matter unless I actually went to check it out for myself. I finally did on a nice Friday evening as my hunger was reaching its peak.

Walking into Hot Suppa, I was a little surprised at their layout. We entered into a sizable waiting room and when I peered into the seating area, I saw that the restaurant was small. With about ten tables and six or so seats at the bar, there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in there. The tables were full and the bar empty, so we asked to sit at the bar and were told that was fine. We prepared ourselves to enjoy some southern food, looking at the menus with great anticipation.

Though I saw some good options, I decided to skip a drink as I was both driving and a little sleepy after a long week. Mrs. Portlandeater eventually ordered a Congo Square Zombie – anejo rum, light and dark rum, pineapple, passionfruit and lime juices, angostura bitters. That sounded good to me, but I still opted out. She got her libation quickly and we slowly scrubbed the menu for the best possible eats. The bartender also described the specials which hung from a board on the wall and included a good selection of local beers. Usually I find myself focused on choosing from a few items that grab my attention, but their menu was full of food that looked both adventurous and delicious.

Among the items I considered ordering initially were Charbroiled Oysters, a Pimento Cheeseburger, and the Spicy Korean Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwich. I kept looking past those however, continuing to search for the night’s final selection. I knew it when I came to it, Deviled Eggs – three bacon, three Sriracha – to start. Then I wanted the Nashville Hot Chicken and Side with white bread and pickles. I chose the Mac and Cheese as my side for an extra buck. The chicken came with the message “Warning: This dish is painfully spicy; Order at your own risk!” I jumped on that risk with reckless abandon. My wife went with one piece of the Nashville hot chicken – reckless abondon included – and then threw in Hand Cut Fries and Cornbread – ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

As our requests got sent to the back, we discussed our busy week and observed the happenings around us. The restaurant was a cozy, little place and it’s diminutive size was a partial explanation for why it always seemed packed. The place settings included a great selection the standard hot sauce favorites – Tobasco, Texas Pete’s, Sriracha. The staff were running around getting everyone’s orders to them in a timely manner and it appeared that at least one novice server was in training mode. Despite my non-order of a beverage, the bartender had some good suggestions for others who pulled up to the bar for a drink and was able to describe them well.

Before long, my little devils came out and I was ready to get egg into my face. The bacon variety had a little piece of bacon sticking out of them and the sriracha were topped with a bit of pickled onion. I started with a bacon, shoving the entire thing into my mouth. The inch-or-so piece of pork somewhat overpowered the egg. It was undoubtedly good, but the pickled flavor in the yolk filling was drowned out slightly by the bacon. It’s hard to argue with the smokey swine, but I was hoping to get a little more fill flavor. Next I tried a sriracha egg. That one was beautiful with just the right amount of the hot and sweet red sauce. A more balanced flavor than the bacon, I thought it was awesome. Even though it’s tough to miss with sriracha, they played it perfectly and those were the sure winner on the plate.

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Once the eggs were done, I had the plate taken away and we waited a bit for our meals. I wasn’t starving any more after the starter, so the extra wait was no big deal. When the food came out, I had one slice of bread, two pieces of chicken, and four pickles all held in a stack with a large toothpick. I also had a large bowl of mac and cheese with it. That was good, because I love me some mac and cheese. My wife had the one piece of chicken with bread and pickles, two sizable pieces of cornbread, and a pile of the fries. It was time to get to work.

I took my fork and knife and got into the fiery fowl, grabbing a piece of the meat and skin together. It was juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, truly hot, and had an almost unnoticeable sweetness from being brined in sweet tea overnight.  I couldn’t think of anything wrong with it. It was a first class example of the burning bird. After that, I switched to the mac which came with a spoon; is is weird that I prefer eating macaroni with a spoon? Al dente without remorse, the cheddar cheesy, buttery covering gave the dish all it needed. I remembered how much I loved to eat boxed mac and cheese as a kid. This was what happened when someone tried to mimic that 25 cent box using real, delicious ingredients. It brought back my childhood joy and multiplied it many times over. I followed it up with a bread and butter pickle to wash it down.

Next, I wanted to try my wife’s food. Looking past the chicken, she offered me an entire piece of cornbread. It was cut into a wedge, huge, heavy, and cake-like. It was definitely different than any cornbread I’d ever had – more buttery, more moist, and almost a soft pudding-like base. It’s probably unfair to compare it to the traditional stuff, but this was the best thing I’d ever had called “cornbread”. After that, I took a fry to try. They were fine, but I was completely distracted by my previous bite of corn concoction.

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We continued to eat our meals. Each of us had a small fit of coughing at one point due to the spicy chicken, which got hotter and hotter as we ate. Toward the end, I started to sweat, probably from a combination of eating so much food and the hot, hot heat of the chick. We worked hard to finish all our food and I would have been comfortable leaving, but the wife had a hankering for dessert. There were three available and we went with the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with bourbon butter sauce. Bourbon makes everything better, so once we decided on that, I sort of changed my stance on a sweet finale.

The bread pudding came out and we both put our forks to it. It was drenched in the sauce and covered in whipped cream. I tried to get all the parts in a single bite. Holy mackerel! It was warm and gooey and the sauce was over the top. When I took my succeeding bites, I made sure to get extra bourbon butter on them and the wonderful whiskey shined through in a way that left me wanting a glass of it. This was good stuff, the kind that could cause you to waddle out the door if you ate too much of it, but also the kind that leaves a smile on the face long after dinner is done.

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With the last bits of dessert down the hatch, it was time to make our way to another dimension outside the restaurant. The meal came to $70 bucks after tax and tip. These days in Portland, anything under $100 after tip is is pretty low end price-wise, so our tab was super reasonable. Here’s the scoop on Hot Suppa – they’re absolutely awesome. The combination of service at the bar, cozy atmosphere, and really excellent food undoubtedly made this one of the restaurants I will return to regularly. Everything was so good, I have no doubt I could eat their chicken, mac or pretty much any of their food all day long without trouble. They’re open for three meals per day most of the week, so maybe that’s how many I’ll eat there next time I go.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

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Sapporo – Sushi Central

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Right in the heart of touristy street walking on Commercial sits an unassuming Japanese restaurant. Though I’d seen it busy on many occasions and walked by it probably 1000 times, I never had it in my mind to actually go in and eat there. But with my kitchen in pre-renovation shambles and a hungry wife craving some sushi, we thought a trip to Saporro might be just what we needed. She had been, so it wasn’t totally new to her, but would still have a little essence of newness since her last visit was years ago. We headed there on a Monday, which isn’t a day we usually go out, ready to eat some fine Japanese tidbits.

We walked into the restaurant and I marveled at the tiny space. A waitress greeted us and quickly took us to another room which was at least the same size as the one we walked into, removing the quaint atmosphere feeling I had when entering. We sat down and took a look at the menu. I was reminded by it how odd of a human I am when it comes to sushi. I wished I didn’t have such a distaste for raw fish and avocado and an aversion to chopsticks, but unfortunately, I was born that way. Luckily, as is always the case, Sapporo seemed to have at least some items of cooked and vegetable sushi.

I moved through the menu looking for something that stood out. I had a bit of teriyaki chicken running through my head, but I decided I wanted something a little more exciting. Then I saw the Yaki-Tori – grilled chicken and vegetable skewers. I thought that might be an novel way to begin my meal. My wife said she was going to start with some Miso Soup and Seaweed Salad – a variety of shredded and marinated seaweed. It was off to the races to figure our our main courses and we were both looking at some sushi, even though she also considered, as I did, the teriyaki clucker.

When the waitress came to take our orders, I asked for silverware and then we put in our apps and went with some rolls. I had the Umukyu – Plum paste and Cucumber Rolls and also the Fried Tuna Roll – deep fried tuna with wasabi mayo. My wife went with the spicy tuna roll, which is a favorite of hers, and also ordered a riesling. The waitress left to bring the orders to the sushi chefs and I noticed that the restaurant was starting to get pretty busy. It was a little surprising for a Monday night, but I supposed people needed to eat on Mondays too.

The wine came quickly, but otherwise service was slow and it was confirmed by our waitress that the rush had them scrambling. I finally received my chicken skewers, though my wife remained seated with only vino and her thoughts. Chicken, scallion, chicken, onion, chicken, red pepper. Nicely grilled and sizable, the chicken and veggies were topped with teriyaki sauce and a significant amount of the sweet, brown liquid also sat at the bottom of the plate. I grabbed some chicken and then scallion, dipping and dragging them through the puddle before consuming them. The starter reminded me of something I might have made in college if I had had a grill. The skewered bits with teriyaki topping were simple, but pretty tasty.

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After a few minutes of skewer madness, I had only two empty sticks and some sauce left. It was a while before we got the rest of our food, but when we finally did, it all came out at once. I poured some soy sauce into my little bowl and got to eating. I started with my umekyu. Wasabi on fork, fork into roll, roll into soy, roll into mouth, eat, consume pickled ginger. My sushi ritual was complete for piece number one. I was a little surprised by the sour plum paste, thinking I might have preferred just plain cucumber rolls, but there was something about the roll that I did enjoy. Maybe it was the change of pace from my usual cucumber rolls that provided a bit of a smile to my face.

As I worked on the sushi, I came upon two issues of minor concern. The first was that there was just barely enough pickled ginger to go with my plum and cuke rolls. Next time I’ll be sure to ask for more as I would have liked some for my tuna too. The other issue was that the wasabi was cut too weakly; it just wasn’t quite hot enough for me. I wanted a bit of that “scorch your nostrils and eradicate your tastebuds” sort of feeling I’m used to with the hot, green Japanese paste. I wanted to cough with tears running down my face while people around me gave that knowing look and I tried to catch my breath. I used a little extra on my rolls and it sufficed, but it wasn’t ideal.

Once I worked my way through the first rolls, I took the midnight train to tuna town. The fried rice and tuna roll was bland on its own, but I dipped a piece in the wasabi mayo that came with it. It added a creamy seasoning that took the sushi to some great places. Not very spicy, but still a nice addition, the mayo added a layer of flavor that worked well with the seafood. The outside crunch from frying provided a little extra touch. I crunched and munched the rolls, adding a dose of wasabi to every bite in order to get some heat through the cool sauce.

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My wife made her way through the soup and some of the salad, moving on to the sushi which she seemed to enjoy. Once I finished my rolls, I ate the rest of her seaweed and it was about what I figured it would be. I enjoy a good seaweed salad here and there and it fit the bill. She offered me some of the raw tuna, but I shook my head and gave a “No!”. She finished the sushi and we passed on dessert when asked. I was still a bit hungry, but figured I’d grab a snack at home.

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Our meal came to $40 before tip which was quite reasonable, especially since it included an $8 glass of wine. I liked my food, though I would have appreciated a more spicy, harsh wasabi and the service could have been a bit speedier. The rolls were good and my starter was basic, though worth the four bucks it cost. Sapporo has been around for a while and there seem to be a steady stream of patrons rolling in. I think they could improve a few minor items, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I felt they had a solid menu, good food, and a pleasant atmosphere. Go grab some rolls or a teriyaki of some kind and report back.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter. You can now also see me at pppe.bangordailynews.com.

Christopher Kimball 50% off promo code

Christopher Kimball will be appearing at the State Theater Thursday, September 8 at 7:30 and you can now get 50% off tickets to the event by using promo code MSK50.

To get tickets:

1. Start here: http://www.statetheatreportland.com/event/1235107-christopher-kimball-live-portland/

2. Click through to buy tickets and then select promotions and special offers when you get to Ticket Type.

More about Christopher Kimball and his appearance:

Spend an evening with Christopher Kimball, founder of America’s Test Kitchen and, most recently, Milk Street Kitchen. Participate in a live audience taste-test to discover whether you are a super-taster. Enjoy rare blooper footage including a disastrous Today Show appearance and Mr. Kimball’s TV moment as Carmen Miranda! And watch live experiments on stage as we magically whip egg whites to 50x their volume, drop Jell-O in slow motion to explore the science of gels, and demonstrate the theory of parallel universes using Angel Food Cake!

This is also an evening to share your cooking problems and memories with Mr. Kimball as he answers questions from the audience and invites audience members onto the stage to compete in a culinary quiz ($100 prize!). Plus, we smack down conventional cooking wisdom, reveal the worst ingredient substitutions ever made by home cooks, and go behind-the-scenes in Mr. Kimball’s Vermont hometown.

A limited number of premium tickets are available for each show which entitle the holder to a meet and greet with Mr. Kimball plus a personalized book signing for The Cook’s Bible and The Dessert Bible.

Stay hungry.

Hungry for more? Get notified whenever Peterpeterportlandeater releases a new blog entry by clicking the “follow” button on the right side of this page after entering your email address directly above it. Seriously, do it. What are you waiting for?

Feel free to email me at peterpeterportlandeater@yahoo.com with any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, or otherwise helpful info or post your thoughts below. Also, like the Peterpeterportlandeater page on Facebook and follow @portlandeater on Twitter.