Saturday, December 4, 2010

Otto & Anita's Schnitzel Haus

On the edge of Multnomah Village, a group of friends & I were at a gallery to meet up with an artist friend. Okay -- I'll admit the name of the gallery: it's The Geezer Gallery. Yes, that's correct. Anyway, after viewing all the lovely, cleverly creative, imaginative artworks, it was decided that we would dine at "the German restaurant across the street." I had an inkling of doubt, owing to my previous experience with German restaurant food here in town, but being the adventurous type, I hopped onto the caravan.
The lobby is a funky little area, with house-made pastries in prominent display. Though the few Christmas decorations were probably new, the feel of the lobby made it seem as though they were brought out for the occasion from last year.

We received wonderful service for our table of eight, and from the minute we sat down until the last bite of conversation, we all felt immediately comfortable. We had a merry time, and when the food was brought out, it was all a pleasant surprise. First was a sampling ‘round the table of a bowl of “The original Dill Pickle Soup” which someone had ordered. As most of us did, I really had some doubts about this one. But it was amazingly delicious and I promptly ordered my own bowl!

Next were the main courses, and all of them came with spinach with the butter already on it – a nice touch, I thought; I didn’t have to ask f0r butter! – and a serving of spaetzle, a kind of noodle that is short and bright yellow, resembling scrambled eggs. The spaetzle was tasty, but seemed rich, so a smaller amount on my plate might have worked better, at least for me. There was also a serving of carrots, sliced bias cut. They were cooked perfectly: not mushy but not a little too firm as so many places do. The best part was my halibut fillet, which was a house special just for me, because they were out of the two previous items I’d tried to order. It was lovely and tender, with a delicate Bearnaise sauce to complement it splendidly.

Those were the highlights. The prices were reasonable, the service attentive and on top of it, and the whole place had a homespun feel. One just had the sense that this little place advertising itself as “Bavarian/American Food and Pastries” had lots of regular customers. I don’t doubt that a bit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tabla Bistro

Tonight we were in search of dessert, and being near the famous "Restaurant Row" of NE 28th Avenue, we stuck our head into a couple of places --nah, way too crowded -- and with dessert on our minds, who wants to wait an hour just to get in? We wandered into Tabla, a charming bistro with medium-low, pleasant lighting, an interesting dinner menu, and a nice dessert menu. We immediately liked the place. And though it was nearly full, the hostess found us a seat at the counter with a view of the cooks at work. We ordered and sat back to enjoy the "show." We found it interesting simply because we're into food, and we were very quiet and well-behaved while the cooks and servers went about their tasks.

Steve ordered a slice of chevre almond tart, which he liked (I didn't, but that doesn't mean anything except that I'm not into chevre). I ordered the pound cake filled with mascarpone cheese (which I am into), blueberries on top, and a sauce of -- what -- caramel, I believe.

After trading tastes, we ate all of our respective dessert; not that we liked it or anything. Heh heh.

So of course after that I asked for a menu and was given one with the kind offer to take it with me. I of course did so, and no doubt we shall pass that way again.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Irving Street Kitchen

Last night we dined at Irving Street Kitchen. It's got great Southern-style food and a really fun atmosphere where you can look out 13th Street and watch the Pearl pedestrians amble by. I had the Draper Valley fried chicken -- came with "smashed" potatoes, collard greens, and Ken's Artisan Bakery bread -- with butter and a large-grain salt sprinkled on it. Draper Valley chicken is absolutely wonderful -- very tender and actually tastes like real chicken, which it is. The batter was nice and crunchy and looked like corn flakes. The taters were very good, and the collards were ok. Steve had the shrimp etoufee, which he liked, although it was light, he said, meaning the sauce is usually thick in that dish, but here it was a thinner sauce, and lightly seasoned. He also had a jambalaya, which had a thick tomato-pasty sauce and tasso (smoked pork). The jambalaya was very good, he said. As a side note, Steve is very picky when it comes to Cajun and Creole food, having lived in New Orleans and cooked this style of food at home for many years. I totally trust his judgment on this.
My only bitch is that although the beer was good (the Organic Red something or other, in draft), the 'tender did not pour it so that there was a head on it. I like a good head on my beer, and rarely get it in this town! It's the oddest thing. . . must be part of the Portland weird-ness.
Aside from this minor point, the servers seemed to be happy to be there, and were very professional. Most of the customers were very animated and enjoying themselves. I would highly recommend Irving Street Kitchen as a place to bring out-of-town guests or good friends.

In other news, I tried out a new brownie recipe today. It came out like a slightly dense cake, in an 8x8" pan, with frosting that you pour over it when they're just out of the oven. I call them Buttermilk Brownies, because the recipe calls for buttermilk -- big surprise there -- and it uses cocoa powder. I got this stuff that's a dark chocolate and Dutch chocolate blend. The brownies were so dark, they should actually be called Devil's Food Cake-Like Buttermilk Brownies. And so they are. BTW, they're half gone already. Yum.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lost Pastries of Portland

There are times when I feel a yearning for some of the lost pastries of Portland: bakeries that have closed and will never again offer their great wares. Some outstanding ones: at Le Panier there were several small savory galettes. I loved the tomato galette; the tomato center was a savory mixture made sweet from the tomatoes, and the galette itself was made of a lovely phyllo dough. Another gem was from a bakery in Sellwood some years ago. Don't remember the name of the place, but it was operated by a man with a British accent and a woman on SE Tacoma, just off 13th, I think. I would stop especially for their cinnamon roll. It wasn't one of those big puffy kinds, it wasn't a bun, but a roll; with lots of cinnamon and walnuts, and a wonderful but overly sweet frosting of an off-white color. I didn't go there that often, so it was always a special treat, but because I made infrequent visits, I had no warning that they would be closing. That had to have been approximately 1989, because I was working at a place near SE 26th and Holgate. I've been looking for that cinnamon roll recipe ever since.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September Song

Not exactly a swan song, but a nostalgic September song; school is out for the term and we have 2 weeks off. I'm excited that all exams and work is done for now, but oddly enough, it seems kind of strange to not be studying or have a project hanging over my head to be done. It's an odd mix of freedom, relief, and emptiness; but my head will get filled again soon enough with too much information to sort out.
In the kitchen lab, we mixed and baked a vast number of goods: breads, cakes, muffins, scones, croissants, Danish pastries, eclairs, tartlets, all or most during one class each. I love doing the little tartlets -- forming the crust within the mold, pouring the lemon curd or pastry cream into the crust, and of course the tasting afterward. Muffins and scones can be very similar to drop cookies: mix, drop, you're done. I liked the slightly bready but moist cream scones, which are thin and cut into shapes like long triangles, then brushed with butter while still hot.
The croissants were a thrill to make, and took two classes to do. First, the dough, which must rest in the refrig for a time. The next class time we rolled them out, spread the butter onto the flattened dough, folded, turned, and poked the dough to mark each full turn. Then back to the refrig, later retrieving for another full turn, for a total of three. For the last time, we cut the rolled out dough into triangles of a particular angle so that they would roll up into adorable little croissants! It's truly an art form, and wonderful to eat.
The Danishes were fun also, with all the different shapes you can make them. Then, using similar filling for tartlets, we topped them with raspberries or blueberries. Very nice.
Eclairs are a different way altogether. One makes the pastry, stuffs the mix into a pastry bag, and pipes the little guys onto a baking sheet. Once they are out of the oven, crispy and cooled, you fill them. The eclairs unfilled are no great shakes, and though we made traditional French buttercream, that by itself was rich, but not so wonderful alone. But -- when you fill the eclair with the buttercream, the combined taste of the two is out of this world. I totally ate -- well, eight -- so it was a full day, heh.
The most difficult thing about making sponge cake is getting it out of the pan.
I loved the mini loaves of French bread we made. They were very good, too.
It's all good.
Back to the restaurant-hopping for bites here and there, we had an oppty to go to belly, over in NE, after a show. I ordered the $12 (!) appetizer, but it was very yummy: potato gnocchi, with bacon pieces. The bacon was perfectly cooked, and the gnocchi -- well, I ate all of it, after lending a taste or two to friends. The glass of Barbera was nice too, but I much preferred the Cabernet I drank at Wildwood last month. I also liked the ambiance there better; at belly it was a bit chilly; could it have been, perhaps, because eight of us showed up near closing time? Well, not that close; but we did close the place. We weren't too rowdy, though; just enthusiastic about our appetizers, drinking wine and socializing.
I love school, but I also love it that I'm on break. 'Til next time!

Friday, September 3, 2010

August Eating

Farewell to summer almost, but not to good eating. This past August I sampled Korean food , albacore tuna, Haagen-Dazs Dark Chocolate ice cream (to die for, BTW), and various pastries, though not all in one sitting.

The Korean food was quite an adventure. My friend and I stopped into a Korean Barbeque restaurant in the Fubonn shopping center on SE 82nd. We both ordered the same thing: The tofu bowl with mushrooms and cauliflower. When we'd walked in we saw a server pushing what looked like a dim sum cart over to a table of customers. To our surprise (one of many), our order came out on such a cart: a colorful display of 2 bowls and various little condiment dishes. As the server was placing the vast array in front of us, I wondered what we were supposed to do with all the little plates of things. Were they supposed to go into the boiling bowls of tofu & vegetables? Or do we eat them individually? We decided to eat them individually, and most were quite delicious: Potato with hardened honey on them, kimchi, bean sprouts (probably mung bean), cole slaw, cucumber and seaweed salad; and 2 eggs. After grazing on the condiments for a time, my friend asked me, "Do you think the eggs are raw or cooked?" I said, "Of course they're cooked. But I could be wrong." She decided to open one to find out. It was raw! Oh, we said; so that's why the tofu soup was boiling -- so we could do an egg-flower-soup kind of thing and break the egg into it. Now, of course, the tofu soup had stopped boiling, so of course we didn't eat the eggs.

Then, for our 14th wedding anniversary, my husband and I treated ourselves to the fine dining restaurant Wildwood. This is where I had albacore tuna -- and when the server asked how I wanted it, I said "cooked." Well done? Medium well? Well done tends to come out dry, he said, so I opted for medium well. There were long green beans underneath the tuna when it came out, artfully presented on the plate. Best, it was all delicious. I ate every bite, and so did Steve, who'd ordered duck confit, which is roasted duck, and vegetables. Neither of our portions were a lot, but with the starter salad we ordered -- a frisee with bacon and curly greens -- it was just right. We even ordered dessert, and shared a splendid chocolate cake with chocolate icing, baked in a ring mold with a wonderful sort of vanilla-flavored sabayon (sauce) around it on the plate -- again, another lovely presentation, and with one lone, charming little candle to celebrate our union. We blew out the candle together, and each of us devoured exactly half the little cake. Yum. An excellent restaurant for our excellent adventure in dining out to celebrate. Great pick!

Technically, it was September -- 2 to be exact -- when I first tasted Haagen-Dazs's Dark Chocolate ice cream. What a treat. Just melts in your mouth, man. And there's still some left!

So, yes, I did go back to talking about food in restaurants, although those restaurant excursions have indeed been cut way back due to time and money considerations. However, I am still in Baking & Pastry School at the Art Institute, and boy, have we been busy. See my next blog for all my baking adventures in school!
Buon appetito!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cool School

I am so excited! It's time for a shift in the observations expressed in this blog. The focus will be less on eating out in restaurants, and more on daily life in Baking & Pastry school. I start classes tomorrow, July 12, 2010, and it will be a year-long program. This is the most exciting thing I've done since I started acting professionally! I am just completely pumped about it: there's so much to look forward to, lots of things to learn and make and create; and most definitely a lot of hard physical work, and academics, too: there will be lots of homework and studying. There was a day-long orientation at the college (Art Institute of Portland), where I met some of the students I will be working alongside in the BP program. Near the end of the day some of us Culinary Arts folks were in a classroom and had an informal talk with four instructors and the Academic Director of the Culinary Arts Department. It was lively, students were responsive, and for me it was the most fun part of the day. It gave us a chance to ask questions that directly involved the classes we would be taking from them, like, Will all the labs be in the kitchen? (Any time in the kitchen is lab time), and Will we need to sharpen the knives in our supply kits? (No; they are factory sharpened). The instructors were interested in us, too, wanting to know where we were from, what we liked to eat, had we ever worked in restaurants; and they gave us some background info about themselves and the different kinds of places they eat, from restaurants, to farms, to private homes, and more. One news item I found interesting is that the college will be opening an on-site restaurant in three months. I hope I will be able to be involved in that in some way. At the end of the day we picked up our supply kits, including our chef uniforms. I love it! Especially the hat! It's a cute little baker's toque, not the big tall kind that master chefs wear.

In anticipation of starting classes soon, this past month or two I've been making a lot of different things I'd never made before, most of them very simple! They were all from scratch. A big part of my background is that I'm a longtime scratch baker at home. I made pizza -- it was much easier than I thought -- and a Persian lime pie with meringue topping and a graham cracker crust; a blueberry crisp, also with a graham cracker crust, and six cups of blueberries! I made an old favorite, a zucchini quiche with mushrooms and Swiss cheese; and today for breakfast I baked heart-shaped scones made with cherries and cream. It's going to be a great day!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Clay's Smokehouse

This Memorial Day weekend we dined at Clay's. They have wonderful smoked barbecue chicken, and you get a complete dinner with their poppyseed slaw & taters. Steve had the short spare ribs, and they were delicious. I would always order the chicken, but 1/4 chicken just seemed excessive to me that particular evening (early eve on a Saturday-- the place was filled, even all the outdoor tables, by the time we left -- which wasn't that long!) So I went out on a limb and ordered the pork loin sandwich on a good seemingly-homemade bun. It had not applesauce, but a kind of apple filling inside that was just tart enough to complement the pork. I ate the whole dang thang.
I also had a microbrew on tap, which was a nice additive to the dinner.
We love Clay's because it is great food, a funky atmosphere not unlike Esparza's, with things hanging on the ceiling, unique artwork, posters, and lots of doodads to look at while one dines. With that kind of decor, there's a whimsical casualness that contributes to the ambience. One can relax, knowing the food will be good and that the service is not casual, but rather quite efficient; and that the place will be packed if you don't arrive early!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pok Pok

We ate at Pok Pok Saturday night. Wow. It's so great to dine out where the experience hits all the marks.
The food is extremely special. I had one of the house specialties, Kai Yaang, a charcoal roasted game hen, served with an addictive spicy sweet dipping sauce. It also came with a tamarind dipping sauce, which didn't quite ring my bell, although it was very unique to this diner. I ate the entire half hen, although one can order a whole bird as well. My companion had the short ribs, which he loved, and which also came with the sweet and sour dipping sauce I had, plus one other. They offer three kinds of rice: sticky, jasmine, and coconut. I chose sticky, which they serve in a sort of wicker or bamboo cup that you push up as you go along, and I was advised the way to eat it was with the fingers. My companion chose the coconut rice, which didn't have a strong coconut flavor, more of a slight hint, and that kind is not to be eaten with the fingers.
I should tell you there was a good chance we wouldn't have eaten there at all when we walked up and let the hostess know that it was a "dinner for two;" she said there would be an hour and 1/2 wait time. Steve & I looked at each other and he said "No." We turned to walk away, but then she said if you would like to eat in the bar, we have two seats there. Sounded good to us. We followed her into this densely-filled area where, indeed, two seats were waiting for us at the bar counter. On the way in we'd passed what seemed an almost carnival-like atmosphere at the outside tables, with the tarps and poles, outdoor pole heaters, and people laughing, talking, drinking, and eating. It's fun to be there -- the place is packed, but the tables are far apart enough where you don't feel literally packed in -- and people seemed to relish it all.
We loved the bar. It felt as though we were in Thailand or Bali or somewhere in Southeast Asia, but definitely not in Portland, Oregon. I love that, where a restaurant has so much atmosphere and ambience that you feel transported to another country just for the time that you are dining there. To be enjoying food in a place you've never been before can be truly enchanting.
The bartender, who was also our server, was very knowledgable about the food, how it's eaten and with what, and was a total whiz on the drinks. He worked nonstop while we sat there eating and drinking (me: canned guava juice; he: fresh Thai iced tea). The drinks were fascinating to watch being made; very different from a standard U.S. bar menu, and appealing to the eye. Since most of the food prices were moderate, we believe that Pok Pok makes much of their profit from their drinks menu. The bartender, by the way, was very professional, and friendly.
To go to a place because you're wondering what the fuss is all about, then find it is entirely devoid of pretentiousness or trendiness is so refreshing. Sure, it was voted Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian's Diner magazine approx 3 yrs ago. And sure, there's a line every time we've driven or walked by the place. But there are a dozen hints that this establishment is serious about its food and drinks. From the moment the hostess called us back, to the bartender telling us more about the menu than just a cursory glance, to the wonderful food placed before us, announcing to us what each dish was, to the moderate prices, here is a place that has it all.
Great food, great drinks, great atmosphere. What's not to love?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Broder is a fun place to go for breakfast, if you love all things Scandinavian! It's on SE Clinton, just a block or 2 from the famed intersection of SE 26th & Clinton where the Clinton Street Theater maintains its glory from past and present films and events, including, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ya gotta go at least once.
But back to Broder. The specials sounded lovely, and not one, but all three of us ordered the eggs breakfast special! It was baked eggs with aged gouda and bacon; walnut toast; and a choice of potato pancake, sauteed greens, or roasted apple (I chose the apple, my friends chose the pot. pancake). I loved the atmosphere -- a pleasing, artful interior with tables not too close together, a grand but not overimposing bar, wood beams and trim all about, and the kitchen was behind the bar at left, while the liquor was shelved on the right, near the picture window. It was somewhat like a small lodge, cozy and warm. I ordered a breve and it came with creamy foam, which I love, so of course I was delighted. I was 1/2 hour early because I forgot we were meeting there at 9:30, so I was right there at 9am when the restaurant opened. There was only a short wait to enter, because I was there 5 mins. before 9, but there were only 2 people at that time. A few minutes later, approx 6 people all showed up, and they kept coming until the place was filled 0n this Saturday morning. It's not a tiny place, but it's a very reasonable size, I think, for what they offer - a medium-size menu in terms of choices, including eats and drinks. The variations are wonderful fun to read, and if you can't find something to drink there, that would in itself be surprising. They have an array of Scandinavian liquors, and espresso drinks, and other choices.
The food came, in all its glory. I'd wondered what baked eggs were like, and I found out that they were great fun. With the addition of the gouda, the bacon, the walnut toast that comes with nearly any breakfast order, and my lovely little baked apple, I was in breakfast heaven. I heard many happy mumblings from my friends, too, and they loved their potato pancakes, as well as all the rest. With the tables filled, and all customers happy, including us, we could eat and talk and have a few laughs, and walk out smiling -- which we did.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sansei Restaurant

This is a popular restaurant, and for good reason. The food is delicious! Every time I've walked by or been inside, it's been full, or nearly so. A lot of coming and going, diners all. A lot of menu choices. The atmosphere is pleasing, open; bright, but not blinding. The staff is pleasant and professional, though not stuffy. The sushi is very, very good -- and I rarely say that about sushi. I was in there with my friend Kelly once and she ordered sushi that had cooked shrimp. She said the best way to eat sushi is to eat it all at once, not to take bites of it -- which was exactly what I had been doing. Maybe that's why I never came over to the sushi side of things. So I tried her suggestion. Ate the whole thing. All at once. Wow, what a big mouthful that makes. It was difficult to try not to look like you just swallowed an entire sushi. A rather challenging undertaking, because you just want to go munch, munch, as if you were home alone eating where no one could watch. Ergh. There go my cheeks bulging out, oh dear. But hey -- it made a huge difference! The taste experience was miles apart. Really good. (Duh. I'm still learning how to eat Japanese food.) Aside from all the technique, it really was outstanding. The ingredients were fresh, altogether tasty, leaving you wanting more.
When Steve & I stopped in to get a quick bite before a movie, we both had ordered miso soup, which came to us with plenty of seaweed and a creamy-colored broth that I hadn't seen before. Most Japanese restaurants have a fairly standard miso soup recipe, looking and tasting very similar everywhere. This was wonderful, and we drank it all. I especially liked the big pieces of seaweed because I love seaweed anyway.
Steve ordered some potstickers. They appeared to be deep fried rather than the way the Chinese cook them, which is to steam or poach them. The ones here weren't slimy-sticky like the Chinese potsticker dumplings, but lightly breaded and then fried. He loved them. I had spring rolls, three to an order, with vegetables inside, and fried with an outer coating that was nice and crunchy, a harbinger of the movie popcorn that was to come. The rolls were approx the circumference of nickels, and approx 1 and 1/2 index fingers long. This was all very filling, which we weren't expecting. After all, we were only ordering from the Appetizers menu. But everything was so good. That's why we ate it all. And even the most humble of orders -- a bowl of miso soup -- is very tasty.
We barely had room for that popcorn. Oh, and of course what also contributes to Sansei Restaurant's popularity is that it's almost kitty-corner from Cinema 21.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tani's - a Japanese gem on Woodstock Blvd.

This month we went exploring new tastes at a fave hangout. Tani's is an amiable Japanese restaurant in a rather obscure location right on Woodstock Blvd. They sometimes have a little sandwich board on the sidewalk, but often you will drive by it without even seeing it.

We usually order the Chicken Katsu (Steve), and either Vegetable Tempura or the Shrimp & Vegetable Tempura combo (me). This has been going on over the course of approx 3 to 4 years. We started right up again with our old eating habits when they reopened after a year's closure during complete and total construction of an entire new bldg on the lot, which also had UPS and a tanning salon as tenants. UPS has since moved way down the street, but Tani's still shines brightly with their new (though not so new by now) decor, a big improvement over their former, very modest restaurant.

But I digress, as usual. From the menu, I've tasted the katsu, a sort of breaded chicken that's then fried. It's fine, but my longtime favorite has been the tempura. I've had other tempura and this is outstanding -- light, delicious, and crunchy, with unique vegetables such as sweet potatoes, along with broccoli and carrots and others. Plenty filling, especially if you have a small bowl of their yummy miso soup too.

On the evening we finally tried other menu items, I ordered the Salmon & Onion Salad, while Steve had some sushi. He liked it, but preferred the old standby Katsu. I tried the sushi, and it seemed fine to me, although sushi is not a food item I would order.

I liked my salad, but afterwards felt like I had eaten something my body wasn't used to. What I can say with all certainty is that certain Japanese menu items are not comfort foods. Give me my Tani's tempura any day, or the miso soup, or their wonderful, tasty grilled chicken or grilled salmon, and I will continue to be blissed out in comfort, as will my stomach.

Tani knows his food, of that there is no doubt. We also appreciate the good, friendly service. They have a selection of beers, sodas, and sake, among other things. Worth a trip!



Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Glory of Chin Yen

After a very recent medical procedure, I was really ready to finally eat something wonderful and easy on one's digestive system: nothing hot & spicy, nothing difficult to manage, just some really nice comfort food. While I was resting up at home, my dear husband went to pick up some Chinese food.
Chin Yen is one of our favorite restaurants. The food is wonderful, reasonably priced, and the service is fast and professional. It is near the Laurelhurst Theater, so one can pop in for a movie and come out to eat there, or vice versa. Chin Yen has been in the same NE 28th location for many, many years -- as long as I can remember, and I have been living here in Portland, Oregon for some 34 years.
There is a vast selection of menu items, and I am extremely partial to their Seaweed Soup. For this jaunt, however, I opened the package and it contained what was immediately apparent to me was not Seawood Soup, but rather, Seafood Soup; a forgivable error. It was a slight miscommunication, since the two names sound so similar. Indeed, it was very forgivable especially because the soup was so delicious and comforting. I'd never had it before because I was always in my seaweed soup rut. What a nice surprise! Do try their Seaweed Soup also, though, because it is very tasty with many vegetables, bits of beef, a delicious broth, and -- my favorite -- black mushrooms which taste mysteriously like shiitake shrooms. In fact, they are. (More on that story in another blog; I'll tell you about the Lover's Eggplant story, too. We've acquired a bit of Chin Yen history over the years of going there.) I used to go to Yen Chang on SW 12th downtown, just for their seaweed soup. It closed years ago, and I found in Chin Yen the nearest replica.
Steve had General Tsao Chicken, which is a tangy, tasty chicken breaded and fried, as many of you know. It is nearly as familiar a menu item in Chinese restaurants as Kung Pao Chicken. I'd asked for the Bean Curd with Shrooms, a delectable dish. They deep-fry the triangular-cut bean curd, then stir-fry them all up with mushrooms and vegetables. It's a tasty vegetarian venture if you're not in the mood for, or don't eat, meat. We had white rice to pad it all into our stomachs, and last, but, I'm afraid, least, were the spring rolls. They were the only disappointment in this go-round, well layered, deep fried, but nary a spring vegetable in them -- only pork, and very little of that. I returned to the soup and finished with a sated feeling of bliss.
There is something very comforting about Chin Yen's food for Steve and I. We know we will rarely be disappointed, and sometimes one can try something new and adventurous, secure in the knowledge that it will be good food. For instance, I tried a special of shrimp with lobster sauce, all very fresh, stir-fried fare. Or the shrimp with fresh asparagus, in season. They have Shark Fin Soup on occasion, for a boisterous culinary adventure. I haven't had that kind of soup in 30+ years, so I can only say that in the hands of Chin Yen, it is a safe bet.
The restaurant offers specials, often written up on a separate flyer contained within the menu, and though their decor isn't flashy, the surroundings are modest, the booths and tables are comfortable, and they have fortune cookies.