September 25, 2007

Yoko’s Is Some Good Sushi!

Filed under: Food, Portland — Tags: — Tom @ 6:06 pm

I went out looking for some sushi last night. I’m typically a creature of habit. We’ll hit up Sushiland and watch the sushi go round and round; it’s fast and not too expensive, and the sushi’s OK. (You can even find me in the list of plate champions!)

But I’d been past Yoko’s several times and always wanted to try it out. Last night we did. It was awesome. We waited about 20 minutes to get a seat in the cramped little place. The food was great. The freshwater eel was some of the best I’ve had anywhere. The rolls might (might!) have benefitted from a little less rice, but I loved everything I had.

Service was typical Portland. Citysearch paints the sushi chefs as chatty but we found them the opposite. My questions were answered grudgingly and I wish the guys were a little more gregarious. They did send everyone off with a friendly wave and thanks, though. The servers were very nice but could have checked in with us a few more times. These are relatively small complaints in Portland, though — service is usually pretty lackluster in this town.

I’m definitely going back.

Yoko’s, 2878 SE Gladstone St


May 23, 2007

I Am Missing Chicago Food

Filed under: Chicago, Food, Travel — Tom @ 12:47 pm

One of the things I miss most here in Portland was the Chicago food scene. While Portland has some great food, the pizza here is no match and I have some other favorites that I wish I could find.

Last weekend, my girlfriend was in Chicago. That left me begging her to bring back some blue cheese steak fries and buffalo chicken strips from Leona’s and a stuffed pizza from Giordano’s.

Leona’s has always been one of my favorites even though they’ve become a little more corporate as they’ve expanded. There was a time when Leona’s had the best pizza in the city — its stuffed pizza was second to none. I suspect it was sacrificed to move the customers through more quickly. A popular dish with an hour-long cooking time can really slow things down.

While I understand the business logic behind the stuffed pizza assassination, I’ve always been puzzled by Leona’s decision to replace ordinary hot fudge with Ghirardelli chocolate sauce a few years back. I don’t understand businesses that buy into the idea of having a named brand on their menu for its own sake. I like Ghirardelli chocolate, but their sauce was a nasty substitute for the delicious hot fudge it replaced. I asked the wait staff about it; they also didn’t understand the change and confirmed that my reaction was pretty common.

Leona’s redeemed themselves shortly after the Ghirardelli incident by introducing the blue cheese steak fries. Wedge fries. Alfredo sauce. Blue cheese. Bacon. Awesome. Not health food.

Unfortunately, we decided that the blue cheese steak fries appetizer wasn’t going to travel well and an entire pizza was a bit awkward to bring back. I did get a couple orders of buffalo chicken strips and some blue cheese sauce. Extra buffalo sauce to be used in the reheating didn’t make it to Portland — the O’Hare TSA confiscated it, keeping America safe from that particular tub of spicy condiment.

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