Tag Archives: vegetarian

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

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Crazy for Ramen

21 Mar

Having eaten my fair share of ramen, in both the restaurant and the horrible sodium laden bagged college dorm room variety, I have always had an affinity for the stuff. Upon hearing that food factory Miyake was opening a ramen joint, I knew I had to try it. No opportunities came up for a few weeks until we were supposed to meet our friends Marshall and Heather at Norm’s for some pub grub before the Bright Eyes concert on March 11th and found there wasn’t a seat to be had there for at least an hour. On our tight schedule that wasn’t going to cut it. We only had about two before the the concert to eat and have a few cocktails…so in the pouring rain we marched up to Local 188, where yet again, there was no room at the inn. So, as a last ditch effort (I thought it would be totally booked) we strolled over to Pai Men Miyake for some dinner. There was a free table right by the door as we walked in, so luckily, we were promptly seated and handed menus.

Pai Men Miyake Menu
Pai Men Miyake Menu from Urbanspoon

I neglected to bring my camera with me…so this menu will have to suffice.

The ambiance was very simple and tasteful with lots of natural wood accents and a less than expected feng shui vibe. The restaurant was bustling with life, but not in an annoyingly noisy way, but a carefree way that makes you feel like you can laugh with your table and not live in fear of being judged. The crowd was younger and urban, but seemed kid friendly if you have well-behaved little foodies who enjoy ethnic cuisine. The seats by the door were a little drafty, but there were heaters everywhere to cut the late winter chill.

Since it was Friday during Lent, my husband, being the good Catholic that he is started with the cucumber salad. Marshall, resident carnivore, had the Pork Belly Sliders, while Heather had the Pork Dumplings. I opted for nothing besides sipping my Japanese beer and waiting on my ramen! YUM!

When the appetizers came, they looked delicious and everyone dug right in. Marshall and Heather enjoyed their pork while Mark lamented the fact that he was forced to eat cucumbers…he claims he still liked it though. It did look delicious and fresh!

For entrees everyone but me opted for a sushi dish. Mark got a tuna and a salmon roll,and Marshall and Heather each got a tuna roll. I ordered the Veggie Ramen. When dinners were presented everything looked amazing and my ramen smelled divine! There were plenty of shitake mushroom pieces in my ramen and the broth was flavored, but not overbearing, and not as salty as I have had other places, which was a welcome relief.

The rolls each had about 10 large pieces to them with lovely almonds slices for garnishes and looked simple and delicious. My husband said he loved the sushi, but hey, who wouldn’t expect great sushi at a place bearing the Miyake name?

Overall, I felt it was a great meal at a great price point. The ramen’s are reasonably priced and filling. Had we not ordered several drinks a piece I think we could have easily squeezed out of there paying just a little over $40 a couple with apps, sushi and ramen. So, go ahead Portland, it’s been open long enough to work the kinks out! You won’t be disappointed.

Pai Men Miyake on Urbanspoon

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