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Monday, 27 January
e-San

Great thai in a nice atmosphere. Order the mild spices, as even the medium is a bit much. Just across from Kell's, which is very convenient. And they deliver!

La Terraza
Roxy
Jake's
Alessandro's

TARTUFO!

This is the best dessert ever. Well, so far.

Solid Italian, haven't been disappointed by anything thus far. Be careful of the table in the corner--it's too low.

Saturday, 25 January
Manzana

Ignore the snobs who automatically think chain = bad. I recommend first hand experience before passing judgement on the remarkable Manzana Rotisserie Grill.

The atmosphere is calm and rich, with a beautifully designed interior. Everything works together so well you need an eye for it to even notice.

Service was excellent, perhaps with one more visit to the table than I might have liked. The waitstaff were relaxed and seemed happy to be there--but not artificially perky.

And then: foooood. Wow. I have a burger once every few years, and decided to try one here. A light barbecue flavor enhanced the perfectly prepared burger, which was accompanied by yummie matchstick fries. My husband had the fish tacos, and his only complaint was that it was impossible to eat them and retain any scrap of dignity.

For dessert, I had an apple crisp, served in a thick-glassed dessert goblet, with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce melting over the top. It was eye-rollingly good. Bill was outdone by his chocolate-banana cream pie. The desserts were so good that when offered, we both refused bites of the other's dish. Next time, we'll just order the opposite.

And there will be a next time. I want to try a steak.

| Cat Connor | 25 Jan, 2003  
Wednesday, 22 January
Swagat

2074 NW Lovejoy

Samosas should not have cilantro in them. The chicken tikka masala and the dhal had a smokey flavor that Bill didn't like. Other than that, it was delish. Still looking for good Indian.

Sunday, 19 January
Ling Garden

Up on NW 21st, in goat cheese land. Okay, but no better than Ming's. They forgot our egg rolls, and the fried rice was a side dish. Bleah. In other words, not worth going to again.

Wednesday, 15 January
House of Louie
Sunday, 12 January
Pasta Bella

Nice ambiance, food, bleah. There was too much gorgonzola in my homemade ravioli, and too much oil in Bill's risotto. No good reason to go back.

Thursday, 09 January
Piazza Italia

Portland is a city of restaurants. Really, really good restaurants. Mediocre food doesn't survive for long in our competetive market. I love this place. The hubby and I have developed a habit of trying at least one new restaurant per week. Because we live in the River District, we're unlikely to run out of new places--within walking distance!--in my lifetime.

Last night's foray was to the delightful Piazza Italia, at about 11th and NW Johnson in the Pearl.

The Piazza has a very casual, cafe-like atmosphere. Thursday is Italian-only night, but you'll still hear mostly Italian on any other night as well. The lighting is bright, and soccer plays on a television in the corner. Prices are very reasonable--dinner and dessert for two was about $30. And oh, what a dinner.

Bill and I both had specials, of which there were several. He went for the puttanesca bolognese, and I had the lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce. The flavors were strong--Bill's puttanesca was full of wonderfully pungent olives, mushrooms, and anchovies. The ravioli was sneaky--only after chewing for a second or two did I get the "oooh--good lobster!" sensation. We usually share a dessert, but we couldn't resist trying two here. We naturally had to try the cannelloni, but I'm a big gelato fan, so we had the cherry gelato as well. The cannelloni was very good, but the gelato made my eyes roll back into my head. Excellent.

Piazza Italia also embraces one of my favorite restaurant practices: feed one person, not six. I loathe the American habit of serving enough food for a small independent nation. Piazza's servings are perfect for the flavor and richness of the dishes.

Great service, casual atmosphere, and authentic cuisine makes Piazza Italia one of our favorite finds so far.