Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Amazing service. Phenomenal food. A charming neighborhood. A singing bathroom!
All for the price of $29!!
Welcome to Portland Dining Month!
The 2014 Portland Dining Month has something for just about everyone. With nearly 100 restaurants all across the city, the list can be a bit daunting. While I would love to eat at all of the restaurants, it would require visiting three spots every day for the month of March. A delightful thought, but highly improbable. I will file that under eventual life goals.
Lucky for me, PDX Bloggers and Watershed Communications partnered up so 12 local bloggers could experience Portland Dining Month. I was pleasantly surprised when a gift certificate to Songbird arrived in my mail last week! Since I am a creature of convenience, I tend to pick restaurants that are in my neighborhood or Streetcar-able. Anyone who knows me, knows parking is one of my least favorite activities. So, when I found out I would be dining at the Mt. Tabor spot I immediately started researching the cafe. Every review I came across was top notch, and, I was assured parking would be a breeze. Going in, my expectations were extremely high...
And I most certainly was not disappointed! Upon arrival, I knew it was going to be better than I had hoped for. We were seated right away and quickly began chatting with our server. Even though I asked for the Dining Month Menu before sitting down, he gave us plenty of time to chat and peruse the full menu. I have attended quite a few dining months across the country and have experienced rushed service.
Roasted Beet Salad With Baby Greens, Housemade Ricotta and Popped Quinoa
Before eating this salad I was under the impression I hated quinoa! I can now tell you, that is a false statement. The popped quinoa was the perfect salty crunch to compliment the tender beets and creamy housemade ricotta. The real star of this dish was the light, tangy dressing on the greens. It really pulled everything together and kept the dish nice and light. The perfect lead in to the second course.
Potato Gnocchi With Seasonal Vegetables and Brown Sage Butter
Texture. Flavor. Portion. This dish gets an A+ in all categories! First off, the gnocchi! While light and fluffy inside, the pan fried potato pillows had a golden crunch on the outside. The seasonal veggies of red chard and spring asparagus were cooked perfectly. The right amount of bite and still bringing out the best flavors. Perhaps, the most impressive part of this dish was the butter sauce. More often than not, butter sauces can be more bath like than a well tailored dressing. Over saucing is a serious predicament. While every bite of food was perfectly kissed with the sauce, it was in no way overwhelming. After cleaning my plate, there wasn't a single puddle of sauce. And no, I did not lick my plate. But I thought about it.
Chocolate Pot D' Creme
My friend and I both agreed the chocolate pot d' creme was absolutely perfect. I will go so far as to say this is the best pot d' creme I have ever had!! The chef clearly understands that a well executed pot d' creme should be simple and let quality ingredients shine. There was nothing heavy, overwhelming or decadent about this. It wasn't overly chocolaty.
Slightly sweetened. Light. Smooth. Creamy.
On the side, Absinthe Tea Cookies helped round out the dessert. I had never heard of such a cookie, but trust me, I've been researching recipes ever since.
It would probably be easier to stop back and just buy a dozen. Portion control.
As I previously mentioned, the service was really amazing! Our server was so kind and funny. He was easy to chat with and let us have a long, leisurely meal.
Through all of the chatting, they picked up on the fact that it was my friend's birthday weekend! Almost every member of the staff made sure to stop by and wish her a happy birthday! Some of the other patrons even noticed and wished her a happy birthday as well.
Did I mention the thoughtful decor? The finishes are subtle, with pops of red and turquoise. With a large front window, it would be a lovely place to tuck away on a rainy day and people watch while noshing; or, to cozy up in the corner for a romantic dinner. Perhaps, my favorite touch, was the light bird chirps in the bathroom. In case you forgot, bathroom decor is weighted heavily on my restaurant scoring scale.
I have no doubt that if I lived in the neighborhood I would be a regular at Songbird! They are open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday; and, for breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Sunday.
They also serve coffee and pastries Tuesdays-Sunday.
Portland Dining Month is taking place the entire month of March.
Thank you again to PDX Bloggers and Watershed Communication for coordinating my Portland Dining Month Experience!!