jonoropeza's Profile

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Van Hound Marching on Portland next month

A dozen oysters at Block + Tackle followed by the chicken wings at Whiskey Soda and then finishing off at American Local is our favorite Division St. Food Crawl... I really like finishing at American Local, their food has that '3 drinks in' feel to it to me, especially the brussels sprouts and those bacon beignets...

Mar 23, 2014
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

It's nothing to be ashamed of but.......


Sep 27, 2013
jonoropeza in Not About Food

Vote: CH Cart Picks for PDX - Fall 2013

Yeah, I noticed that about Samauri. They haven't had Takoyaki lately either... always liked to take an order of their Takoyaki down to Bailey's Taproom for a late afternoon snack-n-drink.

Sep 13, 2013
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Vote: CH Cart Picks for PDX - Fall 2013

Viking Soul
Built To Grill
People's Pig
Fuego de Lotus

It's a tough question... many of my favorite carts are my favorite carts because of the people who run them and the comfort aspect of having had the same good food over and over again... feel that way about a lot of the carts at the 10th and Alder spot especially: Altengartz, Mai Pho, Frying Scotsman, Samauri, 808 Grindz... some of my favorite carts, but none of them make a dish that's going to necessarily blow a visitor away or make you feel like "Wow! That was an amazing meal!", know what I mean?

I like the idea of a list, but I think you might have a better time if you hit some pods and just let your nose guide you...

Sep 13, 2013
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Best Sushi in Portland

I've been to Hokusei twice since the post last summer. It's what you're looking for in terms of top-notch traditional Japanese sushi. A favorite.

I also still like Boxer, it's my #2 spot behind Hokusei. Much more of a modern-West-Coast kind of sushi spot.

I like Wafu a lot for drinks and snacks, and I'm sure the food at Roe is very good as well. Not sushi bars though, and I'd put them on the far modern end of the modern-traditional spectrum.


May 08, 2013
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

What basic cooking skills should a beginner know?

I'd say patience and willingness to fail. You'll learn much more from breaking a sauce or overcooking a steak than you will when you nail it accidentally in a beginners luck moment.

Get the failures out of the way in low pressure situations. Make sure you're really good at a technique before trying it 'when it counts'... cooking for parents, date, SO, that work potluck etc... IOW, don't try to nail a beurre blanc for the first time cooking Valentine's dinner for your sweetie. It will break, guaranteed. Some dishes can smell fear.

For meat cooking I'd start with braising: It's easy, you can do it with cheap cuts, it lets you practise and think about two seperate skills (browning and then slow cooking), and the results are often incredible. Zuni Cafe Cookbook has a good segment on braising that really breaks down what you're trying to do and how to go about it.

Good luck... have fun!

Feb 13, 2013
jonoropeza in Home Cooking

Daikon-- what to do with it all?

Thanks for the idea! Made these today, 2/3 daikon 1/3 carrot, diced bacon, eggs and a little flour to bind it. Sriracha mayo on the side. Football watching snacks... they were devoured. Never seen this particular group of friends go after veggies like that. :)

Dec 16, 2012
jonoropeza in Home Cooking

What type of restaurant would you like to see open in PDX?

Here's my wish:

I'd love to see a new place that would do Burgundian-inspired food. Something like a marriage between St. Jack and Toro Bravo. A focus on dishes that traditionally go with pinot, as well as new ideas for pairings with our Oregonian style of pinot. Obviously, an awesome wine list, pinot-centric, with selections from Oregon, CA, NZ and Burgundy.

Sep 28, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

What type of restaurant would you like to see open in PDX?

I've lived here in Portland for three years now, and I have to say that, in my opinion, we have a pretty darn good restaurant scene here for the size of the city we are. From the low end to the high end, and especially in that middle area where you can have a nice dinner with drinks for $30-$40 / person. There's so much here. And it just seems to be getting progressively better.

With that in mind, I was wondering: If PDX Chowhounders were to be granted one wish, and the wish had to be for a new restaurant of any genre to open somewhere in the city, what would you choose? Would you wish for an upscale Dim Sum house? Eastern European fine dining? An Argentian cart? Etc.

Sep 28, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland


Awesome. Thanks Jill!

(Not sure how Chowhound has resisted the urge to put in a +1 / thumbs up button... such a neat little trick to let people know what they've posted is appreciated)

I'm going to raise you one and post a 'prompt' on the board... looking forward to your response!

Sep 28, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Two people ordering the same dish; ok?

Ha! Maybe time to renegotiate the sharing rules? We try only to give, not to take from each others plates. Ok, *she* only gives. I try to keep to the rules, but sometimes I'm a pig and reach across and steal something from her plate. Lucky for both of us, she's forgiving... and very good about just ordering two orders of nachos if she senses I'm going to eat 3/4 of the order if we only do one.

Good luck!

Sep 17, 2012
jonoropeza in Not About Food

Two people ordering the same dish; ok?

"Does anyone feel the same" - Sorta. Maybe not dogmatically, but my SO and I rarely order the same thing.

We like to share across plates quite a bit, so we often reach some sort of agreement on what we're going to order together. Usually works like this: I choose two dishes that I might order. I let her go first, then if she picks one of my choices, I'll order the other one.

Why do we do this? Why try just one dish when you can taste two! Life is short, only so many meals, and a lot of times we like to 'steal' dishes from restaurant menus to recreate at home. 'Research'. Ordering two different items in a course doubles the haul. ;)


Sep 17, 2012
jonoropeza in Not About Food

Ideas for creative use of pre-planned leftovers

We do quite a bit of roasting, braising and stewing, so yes 'leftovers' are always part of the plan.


Sunday's roast chicken becomes Monday's chicken sandwiches and Tuesday's chicken enhiladas, or pasta sauce, or pad thai, etc. Then on Wednesday the chicken gets stocked and some of the stock becomes risotto. The rest of the stock becomes the base of a lamb stew on Thursday, and that lamb meat gets sutffed into ravioli on Friday. On Saturday the extra sauce for the ravioli joins the last of the stew and becomes the braising liquid for pork shoulder, which is then going to be the meat for Sunday's tacos. And on and on.

So there's this kind of sequencing that we've developed, kind of like rolling a rock down a hill, if that makes sense. Less thinking of it as 'leftovers' and more like an essential ingredient in tomorrow's meals and beyond.

Sep 02, 2012
jonoropeza in Home Cooking

Taking my hipster friend out for one night (researched)

People are people here for the most part. Just like everywhere else. All the places you listed are really good. Relax about the hipster stuff and enjoy.

Aug 26, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Waterside Dining in Portland Metro

More atmosphere than great food. Much better than middling. Maybe I came off too harsh. I'd put them on a par with McCormick or Ruth's. That sort of food and value.

Aug 06, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Waterside Dining in Portland Metro

Aquariva is nice in the summer, especially for cocktails and snacks. It's on a quiet bend of the river. Maybe a little odd to recommend on Chowhound as I wouldn't call the food particularly 'chowish'. For me, more of the type of place to take someone from out of town, a client or vendor who maybe isn't as into food as I am but will appreciate decent food and drink in a lovely setting. At least that's the purpose it served for me when I was living in John's Landing.

Aug 06, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

In PDX again! 3rd time in 4 years! A little bit of help needed...

I've gotten dinner from Artigiano a few times. Pulled pork sandwich and the same pork I believe as an entree. Pretty good. But I live four blocks away. Not sure I would cross town for this one, if that makes sense...

Across the street at D Street Noshery, Fuego de Lotus is my go-to cart in the neighborhood. Delicious arepas. When the choice is between their pork belly plate with an arepa, rice and beans versus Artigiano's pork plate? I go with the Fuego almost every time.

Thursday night is a nice time to visit D Street as Captured By Porches does dollar-off on pints of beer.

Aug 06, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Best Sushi in Portland

Have you been to the new place Boxer on 20th and Hawthorne yet?

We went there this weekend and were fairly impressed. Among the sashimi and nigiri we ordered, the salmon, tuna and mackerel were particularly good. They don't have much in the way of non-sushi items, and the rolls on the menu at least were fairly limited, but the quality and presentation of the fish were very nice.

Thanks for the idea on Hokusei. Haven't been there yet. Plan to remedy that soon.

Jul 29, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Liquor Privatization in Washington

Went to BevMo in Silverdale today, first time since the new regs took effect.

Bought a liter of vodka, liter of whiskey, bottle of white wine.

$45.47 + $20.20 sales and spirits tax = 44% tax rate.


Jul 20, 2012
jonoropeza in Pacific Northwest

Lox/smoked fish locations

We got some of Flying Fish's smoked salmon this weekend. Think it might be the best smoked salmon I've ever had. Nailed the balance between that deep smoky flavor and still being able to really taste the salmon. He's on Hawthorne and 20-something-th. Be aware if you do go that it's just a fish market (fish shack?) and not a restaurant or cafe.

Jul 03, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Portland and nearby wine country questions

Wine stores:

Vinopolis has a huge selection. Searchable on Prices on the high end. Guys can be a bit stiff or even gruff I suppose, but they know their wine and that's all that matters to me.

Mt. Tabor Fine Wines is my neighborhood spot. Sandy the proprietor is almost always behind the counter. Very good selection of local pinot and Washington Bourdeaux-style blends.

I like E&R in Johns Landing a lot. Not the biggest or best selection, but they're very friendly and they know their wines.

Seems appropriate to discuss WV wine country here in Metro Portland to me... I spose people in McMinnville or Newberg might disagree, but I pretty much consider that to be 'Outer Metro Portland' :). See a few recent posts on here for winery / wine tasting ideas.

Jun 20, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Sunday Farmers Market in Portland?

King is a good market. I go to PSU most weekends when I'm in town. When I can't make PSU on Saturday, I usually go to the King market on Sunday. Their vendor list here:

Groundworks is there; IMO, they have some of the best produce at PSU. Ditto Jacobs Creamery and their dairy products. Other good vendors on the list as well. Should have no problem finding lots of deliciousness to stock up on.

Jun 20, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

What's good in Kitsap?

Some new (and old) ideas after spending a week in Kitsap. And because this ol thread needed a bump.

The best food in Port Orchard still comes from a pair of farmers. Farmer George's meats on Bethel. Tom Farmer doing his oysters and clams at the weekend farmer's market. Wholesale prices at both for meat and seafood that stands up to anything you can get in Seattle. Farmer George also stocks local eggs and raw milk.

Nattamit in Silverdale is still awesome. A bit of a victim of its own success? I tried to go one afternoon. Packed. 3 deep at the counter to order, two parties waiting for tables. Too bad. Su's cooking is wonderful. I just wish she had a partner to handle the logistics.

I was impressed by Toro Lounge in Bremerton. A solid take on Local/Spanish/Pub Grub. Nothing earthshattering, expect maybe the idea of getting food like this in Bremerton.

Whiskey Gulch Coffee is a new coffee shop in Port Orchard next to the Annapolis foot ferry. Victrola coffee. Well made macchiato. A slice of civilization in the north woods? :)

Super Wok on Mile Hill in Port Orchard is fairly new. They're doing the Pacific Northwest version of the Chinese-American canon really well. Particularly liked the General Tso's. Pho was good. Didn't care for their Thai dishes.

La Fermata and Brix 25 are still my favorite fine dining on the peninsula. Between the two, I prefer La Fermata. It's a lovely little space and the food, especially the seafood, has been excellent each time I've been.

Jun 19, 2012
jonoropeza in Pacific Northwest

Vancouver BC Hound returning for more Portland chow

Jill: Speaking of that neighborhood, what are your thoughts on Bar Avignon and Savoy? Have had both on the to-try list but just haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

Grayelf: Another one for your wine-and-apps list is Kir. They have a fantastically nichie rose-heavy wine list and the dishes go well with the type of wine. Close to Le Pigeon. A night starting at Kir and finishing at Le Pig is a GOOD night. :)

May 11, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Vancouver BC Hound returning for more Portland chow

I like to do the same thing. St. Jack in the SE - as if you need *another* name - is a favorite happy hour spot of mine. They have a fried tripe dish that I can't get enough of, a salad, cheese plate, moules, and a burger. We'll get all five and that's dinner for the two of us. Good bartenders, good drinks.

Navarre is yet another spot. Much more like places in Spain than TB is. Owner knows a good deal about Spanish wine. Have had two very nice meals there, just sitting at the bar eating tapas and enjoying a bottle that he's picked out.

I was in San Francisco last weekend. Ate well, don't get me wrong. But this town - especially now with SF booming due to the social media IPO buzz - the value we get at some of these happy hours here in PDX, compared to what you get in SF... it's really, really nice.

May 11, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Vancouver BC Hound returning for more Portland chow

Nice plan! Enjoyed reading your report from your last trip.

re: Toro Bravo

To me, it's pretty solid. Much more so if you go in thinking Spanish-influenced PNW food rather than 'I want authentic Spanish'.

My experience has been that the best stuff tends to be at the beginning of their menu. Their pintxos, tapas, the 'french kisses' prunes stuffes with foie gras. Moving down the menu I've found a few more disappointments.

May 10, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Visiting the Willamette Valley for the first time in September !!!

If you're looking to taste amazing Pinot: Broadley, Soter, Sokol Blossor, Domaine Serene and Et Fille are some of my faves. Several of those (as well as many of our smaller producers) are by appointment only. Call ahead.

Carlton Winemakers Studio is a good visit; you could probably spend an afternoon there.

Torii Mor has a nice room, open most days of the week, and they make wines outside of the region if you need a break from Pinot.

Be careful with some of the producers that are open on a drop in basis. I've tasted in Burgundy, Napa and Sonoma and have never seen such outrageous tasting fees as I have in the Willamette Valley. Penner Ash and Adelsheim in particular are offenders; $20-$25, small pours, and neither apply the fee towards bottles purchased. (Both make nice wine though, just try them in town at a wine bar not at the tasting room)

If it was me, I would either stay around McMinnville / Newberg if I wanted a quiet wine country vacation, or in Portland if I wanted to have fun at night.



May 09, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Portland Food Trucks and Food Cart Tour

66 bucks buys a lot of food cart food.

Top of my head five cart tour:

9th and Alder: Porchetta Sandwich at People's Pig.

5th and Stark : Samosas at Real Taste Of India

12th and Hawthorne: Fries with your choice of sauces at Potato Champion

42nd and Belmont: Smoked salmon lefses at Viking Soul Food

50th and Division: Tiger prawns and chips at Year of the Fish

That's probably $40-$45 worth of food and you will likely be stuffed out of your gourds if you get through it all.

Or you could just hit four or five carts at 9th and Alder.

JMHO there's not one or two 'can't miss' carts here in Portland... it's very hard to go wrong as the carts that just are flat out bad tend to fail pretty fast... when all else fails, choose the cart with the long line... a lot of the magic is just in exploring the different pods, smelling, looking, talking to people, trying things on a whim... anyway, have fun...

Apr 21, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Vancouver Hound's first trip to Portland -- help a hungry elf out?

Well greyelf, how did you find our city? Tasty I hope?

Mar 08, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland

Downtown food carts

Hi Melissa -

A few recs for the 9th and Alder pod:

Khao Man Gai, yes try that
808 Grinds does really nice Hawaiian plate lunches, one is enough for two people
People's Pig: The porchetta.
Frying Scotsman if you like fish and chips
Altengartz does great brats and backyard-style burgers
Samuari Bento: Takoyaki
Mai Pho: I like her dumpling soup, best thing on a cold day
Addy's Sandwiches, European-style baguette sandwiches, reminds me of Paris
Huong's: 4 bucks for a tasty chicken banh mi
Eurotrash is there as well... they have some interesting ideas but I've never really had anything there that wowed me... might just be me as plenty of others seem to really like it.

I moved out of the neighborhood late last year, so there may be some new stars that have opened up recently, but those were my favorites of the bunch that's been there for a while... have fun exploring,

- JO

Mar 08, 2012
jonoropeza in Metro Portland