Monday, November 7, 2011

On the Oregon Trail Part II: Voodoo Americana

Hello readers! How are you all doing? Drinking enough water and getting enough rest? (You don’t want those unsightly under eye circles now do ya?) The time has come again that I must begin another review and again I find myself reflecting on the amazing food I had in the Oregon-side of things. I literally ate for a week straight and, in doing so, gained some much-needed west coast perspective on food. But the city is about much more than that. Portland, Oregon itself is a sprawling network of old growth forests holding hands with its city boroughs, (aw how romantic) where it seems dogs outnumber people, where those same people are crazy about being outdoors (Biking, hiking, skiing… the list goes on and on…) and where you can often find hole in the wall shopping gems around every turn. (For serious guys)

Ultimately though, the city simply has good eats. The cuisine of the Pacific Northwest is vast catalogue of evolving, internationally derived and often locally sourced vittles. I was actually overwhelmed by how many choices I had while eating out here. Even at Voodoo Donuts, the food network famed donut shop as eccentric and badass as its’ home city. Or the food carts that, like the trees of the city itself, spring up from every street corner, every alleyway, every street. This city loves food and enjoys it in droves.

Such is the case with our restaurant today…

Chez Machin
3553 SE Hawthorne Blvd,
Portland, Or, 97214
(503) 736-9381

The Novice Fork gives this East Side Portland spot
4 forks for fresh Bistro food and a fun,
relaxed Provence atmosphere

The inside of Chez Machin, love the color

On my last day in town, after more shopping, sightseeing and oooing and ahhhing than I can even describe, my family and I decided to check out the East Side of Portland OR, where the young, hip, and all artistic like congregate. On a little road named Hawthorne you’ll find a hole in the wall bistro called Chez Machin. With amazing French bistro fare, including an inspired crepe menu, this spot that will have you speaking the language of love in no time (Ohh La La).

The best thing about this little Bistro is that, well, its not large. Step inside the yellow painted room and you are greeted with French flair all over the place and only a dozen or so tables, with little elbowroom. (Even the wait staff here has authentic accents, so it keeps it fun.) With chalkboard specials on the wall and a back patio covered in a lattice arbor, the space is charming, warm and gracious. With decent prices and a good vibe, I was excited to eat.

With a small but robust menu, it was hard to choose just one thing to eat. So of course I didn’t. Our table started with an olive and bread place with feta. This was so good I was practically licking the plate. (Yikes). Then, once I saw my most favorite of menu items, a Salad Niçoise, my decision was made for me. The salad here might be the best I’ve ever had. Rare tuna, al dente salted green beans, soft boiled egg, new potatoes, roasted red pepper, and the star, those little black olives. It was uber fresh, tasty and the perfect healthy/incredibly satisfying lunch. You heard? My cohorts both ordered crepes, which looked great too (I’m not big on the thin pancakes, so I refrained). All washed down with lemon water and good conversation, I felt, for a moment, as if I was transported to Provence. (One can dream).

Over all, with the ambiance, the food, and the super friendly wait staff, the experience here is solid and worth the trip across the river to East Portland (again this is the Oregon trail after all). 4 Forks it is, this place is amazing and you’ll agree, I hope. 

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