dinner at Chez Machin

Portland has been attacked by an official Winter Storm. Unfortunately there’s no snow, just wind and ice. Lucas and I are going to attempt to walk over to Safeway to do some grocery shopping in a little bit.

Last night we had dinner at Chez Machin, a French bistro/creperie on Hawthorne. It’s a completely adorable little hole in the wall, with cement floors and small tables topped with red checked tablecloths, the sort of place you could walk past all the time without noticing what you’d missed. It felt like someone took my afternoon daydream of sitting in a cafe in France and made it into an actual place.

I ordered French onion soup and brie en croute, which came with a balsamic vinegar reduction that I’m going to make for myself, because I loved the tangy sweet flavor, while Lucas had cream of mushroom soup and the savory crepe special, filled with ham, garlic, feta, roasted peppers, mozzarella, and dijon creme fraiche. All of it was cheap ($3.50 for a cup of soup, ~$7 for the entrees), and delicious. We didn’t order wine, and I only briefly glanced at the wine list, so I can’t comment on that, but I’m sure they have some nice choices on there. I would highly recommend this place.

The only negative thing I can say wasn’t the restaurant’s fault. There was a mother with two kids at the table next to us, and the older child (she was about ten, I think), kept turning around in her chair to stare at us, asking first if we’d eaten there before, and later about what I’d ordered. It was pretty weird, especially since the mother seemed oblivious. Otherwise I’d say that the place has a quiet, intimate atmosphere. There was only one other couple in there most of the time we were eating, and while they seemed to be having a conversation stolen directly from the latest movie about hip, witty twentysomethings, it wasn’t terribly distracting.

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