**Lots of pictures of meat coming up. My vegetarian readers may want to jump back in to the mix another day… unless you think photos of delicious, well-prepared meat may sway you to the dark side!**
Recently I had the pleasure of trying out Fogo De Choa. Fogo De Choa is a Brazilian restaurant chain with a gaucho-style steakhouse feel that recently came to Portland, Oregon. My husband and I were invited to try out the restaurant for their recent opening. It was fun getting dressed up and heading out for an evening of fun… it isn’t something we get to do often!
I have always been the person that googles “theme restaurant” or “restaurant with an experience” when I search for special occasion dinners. I like enjoying the whole she-bang of an experience (give me fondue or traditional moroccan cuisine over a fancy schmancy restaurant that I enjoy a dinner in an hour and leave). Fogo De Chao is an experience! It isn’t just sitting down to order a meal and leave. You get to be a part of your meal experience in a dynamic way.
The meal started off with signature caipirinhas and a trip to the salad bar. This is not just any salad bar. There are mounds of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and sides. Guests go and grab their own selection of side items… beware, don’t fill up on all the sides! There will be so much meat that you’ll kick yourself if you’re too full. I was glad that I chose to fill my plate with things that I wanted to eat with my meat and I waited as meats came around so that I could enjoy it all together. We also ordered a shrimp cocktail that was one of the largest shrimp cocktails I’ve seen in my life. Big, beautiful pieces of shrimp!
And then came the MEAT. Oh me, oh my. Meat that is seasoned with sea salt and prepared over the fire is brought around to the tables and sliced right onto your plate. You simple flip over a small coaster when you want meat and flip it back over when you don’t. Flip as many times as you like! Nearly all the meat was made to perfection. One of the chicken dishes I tried was a tad dry– however, I tried it again when a different skewer came around and it was great! So much amazing meat though…
And, then… when we didn’t think we could eat ANY more came the dessert menus. My husband’s face in the photo below entirely describes how we were feeling about this whole dessert thing.
Whatever you do… save room for dessert! I had one of the best key lime pies I’ve ever had.
I obviously enjoyed my experienced at Fogo De Chao. The food was great and it was a lot of fun. Some things you should know if you are going:
* Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dinner at Fogo De Chao to experience the restaurant for possible review. All opinions are my own.
Holy heck y’all… Acadia was JUST the thing I’ve been looking for in Portland. I love me some really good cajun food. Soothes the soul and sets fire to the palate. I’ve been to a couple of places in Portland, including the well loved le Bistro Montage, and they’ve been good. Acadia took it up a notch in my humble opinion.
The simple but fun ambiance of the restaurant made it a much easier place to have a conversation than some of the competition. Tasty dishes were presented with thought to how they looked visually…which pleased the Instagrammer in me.The flavors blended well, but always had a surprising pop of flavor.
The above pictured Corn-Meal Fried Louisiana Soft Shell Blue Crab with Jalapeno Tarter, English Pea, and Mint Salad is the perfect example. The peas, mint, and perfectly cooked crusty-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside crab made for a surprisingly fresh and light tasting appetizer…perfectly rounded out by the surprising bite of jalapeno at the end.
Also highly recommended is the Louisiana Barbecue Shrimp with lemon, black pepper, white wine and butter. Seriously… save all the bread for yourself so that you can just sop up this sauce.
The entrees were just as drool worthy as the appetizers. The pork tenderloin with cornbread puree and rhubarb chutney was a favorite. They bake the cornbread and then puree it! Who would have thought?
Obviously, I enjoyed Acadia. But, it wasn’t just for the food. I was thrilled to be able to try a variety of the cocktails as well. From savory to sweet the cocktails worked as a starter before the meal, accompaniment during the meal, and an end of night topper. My favorite was the Mint Julep topped with a beautiful dusting of powdered sugar.
Study Retreat– cucumber vodka, blood orange, byrrh, port wine, salt. Any easy sipper whether you’re hitting the sand or hitting the books.
Young Sarandon– union gin, fresh rhubarb, house-made rhubarb sorbet. Frothy and live,just a touch of sweet. Surely an Oscar-caliber performance.
Portland Caprese– white rum, fresh basil, clarified tomato, cane vinegar, honey, lemon, salt & pepper. Somewhere between drinks and dinner, you’ll find this epicurean delight. Savory and smooth, get ready to fool your palate, signora.
Julep– bourbon, min, sugar. Nothing is better than one of these for helping pick your Derby winners. Ours has a secret ingredient that we think sets it apart.
Commander La Croix– Tequila, lemon, honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger beer. For easing out of your Master Cleanse…
If you’ve never had the opportunity to watch a group of food blogging women be served three decadent desserts then you are missing out. The entire table moved as we all stood up to see the desserts as they were being prepped with garnishes and passed around for photos. I’m pretty sure everyone in the restaurant was wondering what the heck the crazy gaggle of women were doing taking photos of these desserts instead of just digging in! But, dig in we did. We tried the following amazing sweet treats:
Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding– with white chocolate-brandy ganache, toasted pecans and thickened sweet cream
Tropic thunder: the dessert- banana cake with maraschino drizzle, coconut frosting, passion fruit cheesecake, and golden graham-macadamia crunch
Chocolate esspresso layer cake– with burnt marshmallow, fudge icing and white chocolate crumb
This dinner was provided by Acadia with purpose of potential review. My thoughts are my own. I will be going back!
A few years ago, when I was very pregnant with my son, my husband planned an elaborate night out for the two of us. It began with appetizers and drinks at a little art bar in Portland (no longer open) and then went on to dinner at a new-to-me restaurant called Serratto Restaurant and Bar. The date ended with dessert and drinks at a third destination that I can’t even remember now. While the whole date was amazing, and huge deal for the husband that never plans anything, the highlight of the evening was our dinner at Serratto. I had the most amazing Pork Ragu that I have tried to recreate a thousand times to no avail.
This past Fall I was invited to a blogger dinner to try out several of Serratto’s many different dishes. I jumped at the opportunity to try out the restaurant again. My evening did not disappoint! I can’t wait for my next date night at Serratto, but it sure did make for the perfect Girls’ Night venue as well.
Any meal that begins with a good, dry sparkling wine is my kind of dinner. We started the meal with a delicious prosecco and caught up on everyone’s busy lives. This meal was about two weeks into me starting my new full-time job… the glass of prosecco was just the thing to end a busy work day!
The meal that followed included a multi-course menu and wine flight. My favorite parts of the meal? Well, it was all pretty great (just how I had remembered it) but, my favorites were:
Beet salad with shaved fennel, orange supremes, Portland Creamery chevre and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette
Braised Carlton Farms beef cheek with porcini-potato gnocchi, smoked cipollini onions, braised leeks and carrots
Ravioli with forest mushroom, caramelized onion and goat cheese filling, grilled asparagus and preserved lemon cream
Vanilla Crème brûlée with candied pecans and fresh berries
More about Serratto: Serratto is a lively and elegant neighborhood restaurant serving authentic and innovative dishes from Italy, France and the greater Mediterranean region. The menu, which changes seasonally, is built around a commitment to using hand-made pastas, natural meats, the freshest seafood, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Serratto is located at 2112 NW Kearny Street (at 21st) in Portland, OR. Visit Serratto on Facebook and Twitter.