Two dinners – Bangkok Kitchen and Renaissance

I spent most of the day Friday craving Thai food, so on the way home from work I decided to stop in at Bangkok Kitchen (2534 SE Belmont St, Portland OR, 97214) for take out. It’s just a few blocks from the apartment, but I hadn’t gotten around to trying the food there. Lucas and I ordered Pad Thai with prawns, and their vegetarian red curry. The Pad Thai was on the bland side, with most of the flavor coming from the chili paste and peanuts, but I’d order it again. That red curry, though, was fabulous. Creamy, spicy, just a little sweet… it was so good I ignored my low tolerance for hot peppers and had seconds. And then more for lunch the next day. And today. Possibly tomorrow as well, if Lucas doesn’t finish it off first. Mmm.

Saturday our plan was to have an early Valentine’s dinner at Pambiche, also within walking distance from home, but we got there well into the dinner rush, and even the live music outside didn’t make me want to wait most of an hour to get a table. So we wandered back along 28th, where there are several restaurants we haven’t tried yet, and after peering at the menu posted outside Renaissance (334 NE 28th Ave, Portland OR, 97232), we decided to go inside.

Here are the key things you should know about this restaurant: they serve basic Italian dishes at a good price, it’s comfortable and well-decorated and looks like it ought to be more expensive, and they have a fabulous martini happy hour ($3.50 martinis from 5-8 PM, with a second late happy hour on weekends).

I ordered clam linguini, and Lucas had penne with marinara sauce and sausage. We were both very happy with our food (even though I started to weird myself out by thinking about the visceral details of eating clams, this wasn’t the restaurant’s fault, and they tasted just fine). My only complaint is that our server cleared away my martini while I still had a sip or two left. With the orange slice in there, she probably didn’t realize I wasn’t finished, but I wish she had asked.

On our way out the door, Warren, the owner, came up and introduced himself. He’d been working at the bar all evening, so maybe the fact that we were nearly the only people ordering martinis (despite the happy hour prices) attracted his attention. We told him we’d enjoyed the drinks and meal, and will definitely return.

Toward the end of dinner I started pondering dessert, but I didn’t really want to eat it there, so I was trying to think of someplace we could get a nice fudgy brownie to go (Perry’s on NE Fremont was my favorite for that sort of thing, when I lived near there in middle school/high school–are they still around?). In the end, I decided to try the Wild Oats on Burnside, which turned out to be the perfect choice. We got a triple chocolate brownie, a lemon cheesecake cupcake, and an almond florentine cookie. All three were carried home to enjoy with one of the remaining bottles of bubbly we received at our housewarming party. Just writing about this is making my sweet tooth act up again.

And there ends my weekend restaurant adventures.

If you’re wondering why I suddenly decided to list the addresses for restaurants, it’s because I’m completely in love with Google Maps, especially the way it links together with Google Local, and I want my reviews to be indexed. At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a recent review of either place in there.

One response to “Two dinners – Bangkok Kitchen and Renaissance

  1. Hi Audrey,

    I found you via a textile site (or rather a blogger to a site, through to another — well , you get the drift.) Anyway, I’m in Portland and an artist who works mainly in quilted textile pieces. I found your comments on restaurants wonderful — the ones in SE are just around the corner from us. Our blog is http://southeastmain.typepad.com
    Come by and see us.

    cheers,
    June