Tag Archives: Thai

Green Elephant—Turning Carnivores to Herbivores, if only for the Night

26 Aug

Last week I went to dinner with my new friend Shelly. Shelly just moved to Portland from the New Orleans area, and even though she’s a Saints fan, I’ve decided that all her other amazing qualities outweigh this one negative (Go Steelers!). She’s quickly hopping on the foodie bandwagon and when I suggested we meet at Green Elephant she exclaimed, “I love that place I have been dying to go back.” This coming from a gal who’s been here all of a month. She stole my heart there on the spot.

So we met at Green Elephant on a Tuesday, and it was surprisingly busy. I hadn’t been there in a while and there were some new offerings on the menu that I was excited to try. We started the evening some wine—Pinot Grigio for me, Pinot Noir for her. Shelly is a big wine connoisseur, which I have to admit was slightly intimidating. I am a beer girl and I can tell you all about beers around the world, but when it comes to wine I am as into a glass of two buck chuck from Trader Joe’s as I am into a bottle of Opus One. I know the kinds I like, but it pretty much stops there. I can tell that I can learn a lot from this little Southern Belle about being a wino.

I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, but that doesn’t matter. I think even the most carnivorous person in America could leave here feeling satisfied. The food is flavorful, and the tofu is very filling. After the wine ordering we sprung for some Green Leaves Wraps with Mango and Herbs. The “wrap” part is actually collard greens (how could two girls from the south resist?) and were uncooked (huh? Neither of us has experienced uncooked collards before). This appetizer was absolutely delicious and filled with cilantro and fresh julienned carrots. The tamarind sauce was not overly flavorful, but was necessary to wet the veggies, otherwise it was far too dry. Overall, this appetizer seemed lacking. I felt like I could make this at home, and while eating it I questioned if it would have been better wrapped in lettuce instead of collard greens…

Collard Green Wraps

Shelly opted for the Hot and Sour Noodle soup for her main course. It comes with rice noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, and cilantro all with fried wantons on top. Genius. She asked for it moderately spicy and I could tell from her cough after the first few bites that the heat was on! She said she really enjoyed it though.

Hot and Sour Noodle Soup

I ordered the Char Guay Teow, which had the pronunciation printed on the menu and I still didn’t get it right. I’ll really have to brush up on my phonetic spelling/pronunciation skills before I go next time. It comes with wide rice noodles, egg (I didn’t go vegan), bean sprouts, scallion, red chili paste, tofu and this amazing soy ham. Seriously it was delicious, you could fool anyone! It was then topped off with shredded lettuce and cilantro. Overall it was a great dish and I find myself craving it now, which is what it’s all about for me—finding the next great obsession.

Char Guay Teow

Each time I dine at Green Elephant I find even more reasons to return. Their food is inventive and packed with flavor, the prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is great. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone—from carnivore extraordinaire to vegan lettuce lovers there really is something for every appetite.

Green Elephant on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Mid-Week Dining at BODA

7 Mar

Yet again we find ourselves out and about with Ben and Laura! Our friends planned a double date to Boda on Congress Street, a place we had all been talking about going for a while. I must admit, when we got there, the menu was OVERWHELMING–everything sounded amazing. We went on a Wednesday night at 7 o’clock and there was no wait for a table. My husband and I nabbed a prime spot in the front window to people watch and wait for our friends. The restaurant was smartly decorated with benches at the tables instead of the oft opted for back supporting chairs, I will admit after about an hour we were all complaining about our backs hurting, but that was nothing another Singha wouldn’t fix.

When our friends arrived, we decided on three tapas plates to share. Ben and Laura opted for the bacon wrapped dates and crispy quail, while Mark and I opted for the pork belly skewers. When they arrived at the table, we got a nice surprise when we received the portabella mushroom skewers instead as our waitress misunderstood what we ordered, but the situation was quickly rectified and we got the portabella skewer for free. The portabella skewer was very meaty and came with a sesame sauce that was killer. The bacon wrapped dates were the clear winner, the juxtaposition of the salty bacon wrapped in the sweet and savory date was unexpected. Everyone agreed they would “definitely get those again.” The pork belly skewer was a bit on the fatty side for me, but was very flavorful nonetheless. The quail looked amazing, but we let our friends dig into that on their own as it was very small, much better for two people to share. I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures of the appetizer, sorry for my gluttonous mistake.

After stuffing ourselves full of tapas, we still had entrees to dive into. Mark ordered the crab rice, which came with chunks of Joanah crab in jasmine rice. It was a very solid dish, but lacked the fresh crab flavor that one would expect considering we were eating a quarter of a mile from the ocean…I don’t think I would order that dish, but he seemed satisfied.

Sorry the pictures are lackluster, I forgot to bring my good camera and was stuck with the good ‘ole phone camera, but you get the gist, right? Laura and I both opted for the Beef Panaeng, which was nothing short of spectacular. It came with beef from Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport served in a curry paste with coconut cream and a side of jasmine rice. The meat was melt in your mouth tender and the sauce had a nice background hint of coconut milk and peanuts, it was spicy, but mild. I know we both really enjoyed it! Finally, Ben decided on the Pork Hocks braised in Star Anise, which the menu told us is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand! Score! The pork was so tender it came apart easily with a fork, and it tasted great, with just the slightest hint of licorice from the star anise. All in all I thought it was one of the most interesting combinations of spices I have ever had in a dish. I would consider it a must try for anyone.

After we all thought we had gorged ourselves to the point of no return our waitress came and asked if we wanted dessert. I already had my mind set when I came in and saw Sticky Rice with Mango on the specials board. I had saved a small part of my stomach all night for it, but sadly they ran out. I will tell you though, if you are ever at  Thai restaurant and they are serving Sticky Rice with Mango, EAT IT! Seriously, you will not be sorry. I was disappointed, but instead opted for the Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream. Mark and I shared one and Ben and Laura shared another one. It came out warm with the coconut cream on the side to put as much or as little as one would like. Mark and I, not focusing on the unhealthiness of the cream, opted for dumping it on practically every spoonful, it turned out to be a great decision. The dessert was simple and satisfying–I would have it again.

Overall, I felt like BODA was a great choice and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try a Thai fusion restaurant in Portland. It was reasonably priced, with beers, apps, entrees and dessert, we walked out of there spending roughly $60 a couple with tip. Not bad for a delicious mid-week double date with our adorable friends.

Boda on Urbanspoon

%d bloggers like this: