Pok Pok

Pok Pok NY had made quite a splash in the NY dining scene, so of course I was keen to check out the original Pok Pok on our Portland Trip.  We arrived at Pok Pok around 9pm and were told that the wait was approximately an hour and half.  The good news was that we could wait at the Whiskey Soda Lounge across the street (also owned by Pok Pok), have some cocktails, and order their famous chicken wings. 

We got 2 orders of the fish sauced wings, one spicy and one mild. The flavors of these wings are very distinctive and super yummy. Easily the best chicken wings I have ever tasted!

VIETNAMESE FISH SAUCED WINGS

VIETNAMESE FISH SAUCED WINGS

After about an hour wait, our table was available! Yay! We ordered a bunch of items and shared family style. 

This pork curry dish was definitely the group's favorite.  The Pork was very juicy and tender.  I could have easily had this dish all to myself. 

KAENG HANG LEH - Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry 

KAENG HANG LEH - Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry 

We also enjoyed the flank salad.  The lemongrass, mint, and cilantro really gave the dish a refreshing flavor. 

NEUA NAAM TOK - flank steak salad with fish sauce, lime, and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, and toasted rice powder. 

NEUA NAAM TOK - flank steak salad with fish sauce, lime, and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, and toasted rice powder. 

The rest of the dishes fell a little flat.  They were good, but nothing special. Nothing that we couldn't get at any other Thai or Chinese restaurants.  

SII KHRONG MUU YANNG - baby back ribs.  KAI YAAGE - charcoal roasted natural game hen   CORN ON THE COBB KUNG OP WUN SEN - prawns and rice noodles cooked in a clay pot. 

SII KHRONG MUU YANNG - baby back ribs. 
KAI YAAGE - charcoal roasted natural game hen  
CORN ON THE COBB
KUNG OP WUN SEN - prawns and rice noodles cooked in a clay pot. 

Verdict: A+. The group's consensus was that Pok Pok was not worth the 1-2 hour wait.  Instead just go to Whiskey Soda Lounge and order the killer chicken wings. 

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division Street
http://www.pokpokpdx.com

Alder

Has anyone ever noticed that it often takes an out-of-town guest to bring together in-town friends.  Well...this was such an occasion.  An excuse to get together with a few girlfriends and reminisce our "Sex and the City" years.  We decided to give Alder, the relatively new, hip restaurant by Wylie Dufresne of WD-50, a try.   

True to Dufresne fashion, none of the dishes looked like what you would expect based on the name. Each dish was reinvented with an unique twist. The Scotch Quail Eggs were interesting.  I liked the Pigs in a Blanket, but found the Japanese mustard a bit overwhelming.  The Foie gras was nice and smooth. 

Scotch Quail Eggs - Pork Sausage, Ricotta, Onion Marmalade, Watercress Pigs in a Blanket - Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, Sweet Chili Sauce Foie Gras - topped with pineapple, almond, arbol

Scotch Quail Eggs - Pork Sausage, Ricotta, Onion Marmalade, Watercress
Pigs in a Blanket - Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, Sweet Chili Sauce
Foie Gras - topped with pineapple, almond, arbol

The Squid was fresh and cooked perfectly. The hummus mixture was good, but not memorable.

Squid Salad, with Black Chickpea Hummus, Summer Squash, and Lovage.

Squid Salad, with Black Chickpea Hummus, Summer Squash, and Lovage.

The New England clam chowder was nothing special. 

New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers

New England Clam Chowder with oyster crackers

I quite like these jalapeño poppers. 

Jalapeño Poppers topped with Roe.

Jalapeño Poppers topped with Roe.

Many reviewers have said this dish tastes just like a pastrami sandwich. I'm not sure if I would agree with that.  I would have liked to have more pastrami in the dish. 

Rye Pasta with pastrami

Rye Pasta with pastrami

The steak was excellent!

Hanger Steak with moo shu vegetables.

Hanger Steak with moo shu vegetables.

Verdict: A-.  Overall the dishes were interesting, but the portions were a bit small for the price.  

Alder
157 Second Avenue
http://aldernyc.com