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.