How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Echo Restaurant... a delicious experience in Portland

Good morning, my darling little gourmands~

Here's my review from on the restaurant in which we celebrated my daughter's birthday. It was a lovely, lovely dinner with everything you could want from wonderful conversation to creme brulee.:)

ECHO RESTAURANT, 2225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, OR 97212

This is one of those neighborhood places that in the most fortunate of circumstances, one of you will happen upon accidentally. You want them to be successful but you sort of hope nobody else discovers them. At least for a while as you want to enjoy the friendliness of the place and feel like you're special to them without giving up your seat before you're ready.

I guess by reviewing them, I'm letting the secret out, but I think they would treat you well even if they were swarmed by a battalion of customers. From my experience, the people at Echo are total pleasers and they mean business.

Uh-huh, baby, this place rocks with cool jazz and other appealing music that takes the crinks out of your neck after a hard day's labor. Our little one was the only kid around, but she was treated well and behaved that way as if to prove that kids were people too.

She was the one who noticed the mirrored, disco ball in the ceiling and counted three ceiling fans. The ceiling is very high in a warehouse-style, so although this isn't a huge place, you have so much head room you don't feel crowded. And the tables are well-spaced too, come to think of it, so nobody's chair is whacking yours when they get up to use the 'comfort' station.

There is a soft lingering odor of wood chips from the grill and patrons seem as at home here as anyplace else they might be. I felt like there should be a river flowing by somewhere, as everyone seemed rather joyous and happy there, including us.

The classic, early 1900's ambiance is completed by a traditional heavy wood cocktail bar as you enter and bricked walls that make you feel like the place has been there forever. Who knows, maybe it has been.

The service? Friendly, responsive, intuitive, gracious and just slow enough to give you real ownership of your table. If they have someone waiting, they don't make you feel hurried so it doesn't matter.

Come to think of it, they don't take reservations, which works just fine anyway. We went there at 6:30 pm and six of us were seated right away. Of course, it is Tuesday, but it's an important one - International Labor Day.

So you want to know about the food? First of all, if you are on a diet or abhor the huge portions many American-style restaurants serve, they offer 'half plates'. We ordered their half plate grilled pizza and it was the size of a dinner plate. It was the perfect appetizer for the six of us.

The menu is intriguing and offers a wide variety of choices for different palates. The only thing on the menu that would really qualify as comfort food, however, was the very tasty, homemade mac & cheese our four-year-old ordered.

Yes, it was a large serving so we 'shared' a little. Honestly, I was just going to taste it, but I couldn't help myself. She nailed it completely when she said it was "really yummy".

Two in our group dined on the fresh halibut, which was cooked in a parchment paper pocket on a bed of kale with carrots and red potato slices. Our fish eaters said it was sublimely poached and the fish remained properly translucent, flaky and moist. I should mention here that all our food arrived at proper heated temperature at the same time. This is an accomplishment as you know for many smaller restaurants with just a chef or two to manage everything at once.

I had the pork chop topped with a sweet relish of oranges and nuts, served with roasted red potatoes and fresh, seasoned green beans. It was lovely, truly, and the pork was properly cooked through yet still moist and succulent.

My true love had a Yucatan dish, cochinita pibil, which tasted similar to a Mexican version of pulled pork, called carnitas. It was served with tortillas and the most delicious black beans I've ever tasted. They surely had bacon in them and were garnished with authentic cotija cheese, to our delight. Three of us tried them, remarking on how delicious they were, until the owner of the dish raised his fork in a threatening manner to warn off the barbarians.

May I say here that some people should learn how to share?

Anyway, our birthday girl had the sirloin steak, draped across a bed of mashed potatoes and gravy. She had originally wanted to go to a steakhouse. We knew she was very happy when they over-cooked the sirloin exactly to her specifications. (Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do) Then again, for the first time in ages, she was able to eat beef without complaining that it contained blood.

The wait staff assured me that they cook all meat according to their patrons' tastes, even hers. How unique, I remember thinking.

So, let's see, what else? Drinks! Oh, my, they have some wonderful cocktail recipes from the 1920's. One of them is the infamous Singapore Sling, which requires that you appoint a designated driver before you hit the straw or twirl the umbrella, okay?

And with dessert we ordered a lovely, rich capuccino, with just the right amount of foam and roasted flavor. They have delicacies like creme brulee (to die for!) and a chocolate covered pretzel dish that ended up the table favorite. I can't vouch for either, as I don't eat dessert, but suffice it to say there were no leftovers.

If you want to have dessert but can't make up your mind? They serve a 'trio', which has three small desserts. It is perfect for sharing or keeping that waistline under containment.

The food is reasonably priced with 'half plates' in the $6 to $10 range and most entrees between $14 and $21. Before gratuity, with cocktails, entrees, desserts and after dinner coffee drinks, our average cost per person was only about $32. Of course, one of us had mac & cheese and ice cream for dessert.

Here's the link to Echo, which will give you their hours and lunch and dinner menus:

See you there.:)

Clark County Diva



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