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Wednesday
Mar252009

Bread, Ink and Wine in Portland's Hawthorne District

By: Valerie Brockbank  East-side Portland, Oregon has been getting a hip makeover the last few years, and the SE Hawthorne District was one of the first to lead the way. Known as the “bohemian hub” of Portland, the Hawthorne area is an eclectic mix of craftsman houses in various stages of upgrade, neighborhood pet- friendly pubs, retro design shops, and a vibrant restaurant scene.

The Bread and Ink Cafe is just down the street from the historic Bagdad movie theatre, and has been on the corner of 36th and Hawthorne for twenty-five years. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At Bread and Ink, every dish is created using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. They serve only natural meats, poultry and wild seafood, local vegetables, and breads and pastries that are baked fresh daily in their bakery. Some of their suppliers include Walnut Hill Farms, Queener Fruit Farm, Veridan Farms, Spada Farms, Groundworks Organics, MEO Farms, Draper Valley Chicken, Carlton Pork, and Strawberry Mountain Beef. Their comprehensive wine list features local Oregon and Washington state selections.

I wandered into Bread and Ink Cafe because it beckoned to two things I love in life—bread and printmaking. I felt sure I could get a good sandwich and an art experience at the same time. I wasn’t disappointed. I ordered the black bean burger with mango salsa on ciabatta, a curry lentil soup and a pecan mixed green salad, and paired the lunch with a glass of the house Cabernet Sauvignon. The walls were full of lino prints, acid etchings, and lithographs by local artists. The service was friendly and fast. The server asked me if I wanted ketchup or mustard; I hemmed and hawed a bit, and said “sure” and I’m glad I did. The condiments are homemade, and the ketchup was fresh, chunky and tangy.

The waiter said the Cabernet Sauvignon was from Tunnel Hill Winery in the Lake Chelan Wine Valley, in Washington State. It had enough tannin to stand up to the spicy lentil soup and enough herbal, dark red fruit flavors to match the earthiness of the black beans.

Prices are reasonable with many dishes under $10; portions are large and the décor is upscale casual, with linen napkins and tablecloths. I will go back to try their breakfast crab bruschetta, and their Bailey’s Irish Cream and Chocolate Mousse.

otv rating (0 to 20)

food: 17
service: 16
vibe: 16
price: Breakfast/lunch $  Dinner $$

Bread and Ink Cafe
3610 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, Oregon
(503) 239-4756

 

Friday
Mar202009

Bunk Sandwiches – If You Build a Sandwich, They Will Come

By Laura Sabo  I’m going to let you in on a little family secret – my family doesn’t eat sandwiches! No, not the family I grew up with, we had our share of sandwiches, but my immediate family. The ones I live with now. Much to my dismay, and not for lack of trying, my 9-year-old son has never had a sandwich. His reason: because the bread is touching something. Never mind that his fish eggs touch rice on a weekly basis. Go figure. My husband, on the other hand, has the attitude that he’d rather have something other than a sandwich, that sandwiches are too common. Too bad he didn’t accompany me on my trip to Bunk Sandwiches. He would have had a serious change of heart.

Sandwiched between the Sway Bar and an electronics store lies the much-touted Bunk Sandwiches in SE Portland. Much-touted for good reason. Fans line up and order inexpensive, but generous, fare off the ginormous chalkboard, which changes frequently. Bunk has less than a dozen tables, but patrons can also watch the action on bar stools overlooking the kitchen. The day of my visit, I had a mouth-watering pork belly Cubano sandwich while my friend ordered the pulled pork with coleslaw slathered between grilled poppy-seed hard rolls from the neighborhood bakery, Fleur de Lys.

There is nothing usual or common about the sandwiches here. Possibilities include tongue on rye with onions and spicy mustard, bone marrow and snails on toast and salt cod with chorizo and black olive. For the less adventurous, offerings include meatball parmigiano hero, Italian cured meats with provolone picante and hot peppers, and roast beef with crispy onions and horseradish.

On the side I ordered a dill pickle - not just any dill pickle. This is the kind I’ve been seeking for what seems like eons. Bunk gets their pickles from Picklopolis, “The Kingdom of the Brine”, made fresh and cured in Portland. Additional sides are red beans and green rice, roasted butternut squash agro dolce, and potato salad with bacon and eggs. Save room for one of their delectable desserts, locally made cupcakes and pies. If breakfast is on your mind, you’re in luck. Bunk serves breakfast all day. Think egg, cheese and bacon combinations on hard rolls.

Partners Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood opened their doors in November 2008. They met at Portland’s Meriwether’s Restaurant where Wood was the sous chef to Chef Habetz. Habetz learned the ropes working with well known chefs Mario Batali and Bobby Flay, in New York City, while Wood was busy studying the craft at Brennan’s, a culinary phenomenon in New Orleans.

As Bunk Sandwiches’ website says, “we figured we would let your tongues do the talking … it will be virtually impossible for you to go away disappointed.” I couldn’t agree more.

Bunk Sandwiches
621 SE Morrison Street
Portland, OR
(503) 477-9515

www.bunksandwiches.com
www.picklopolis.com
www.meriwethersnw.com

Fleur de Lys (3930 NE Hancock St, Portland)