Great Date Night Dinner in Portland: Serratto Restaurant and Bar

Great Date Night Dinner in Portland: Serratto Restaurant and Bar

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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.

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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!

Our Bloggers’ Dinner at Serratto Menu:

WINE FLIGHT:
Mandrarossa “Bonera” Sicilia ’09  NERO D’AVOLA/CAB/CAB FRANC
Els Guiamets “Isis” Montsant ’06  CARIGNAN/GRENACHE/SYRAH
Fidélitas “M100″ Columbia Valley ’11  CABERNET/MERLOT/MALBEC
AHI TUNA TARTARE “NIÇOISE” chopped egg, capers, olives, housemade potato chips, tarragon aioli
KALE SALAD pine nuts, honey crisp apple, sour cherries, Grana Padano, apple cider vinaigrette
SEARED SEA SCALLOP roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apple butter
MARGHERITA PIZZA & PIZZA DEL GIORNO
BRAISED TAILS & TROTTERS PORK SHANK RAVIOLI caramelized onion, baby arugula, stone-ground mustard cream sauce
MUSCOVY DUCK
PAINTED HILLS BURGER brioche, white cheddar, bacon, aioli, bbq sauce, crispy onions, pommes frites
DESSERT & COFFEE

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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:

  • The seared sea scallop with roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, apple butter was an inspired combination. I would have NEVER have thought to put apple butter with a scallop… but, it worked! It was actually my motivation to try making Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Fig Butter.
  • The Painted Hills Burger with brioche bun, white cheddar, bacon, aioli, BBQ sauce, crispy onions, and pommes frites… probably the BEST burger I’ve eaten in a long, long time. The restaurant smartly cut the burger into quarters. Several of the bloggers (including myself) went in for seconds!

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Want to try Serratto? There is no better time than this month, March 2014! It is Portland Dining month and Serratto is participating.

Enjoy three courses for $29.

FIRST COURSE
Beet salad with shaved fennel, orange supremes, Portland Creamery chevre and lemon-tarragon vinaigrette
SECOND COURSE
Braised Carlton Farms beef cheek with porcini-potato gnocchi, smoked cipollini onions, braised leeks and carrots
-OR-
Ravioli with forest mushroom, caramelized onion and goat cheese filling, grilled asparagus and preserved lemon cream
DESSERT
Vanilla Crème brûlée with candied pecans and fresh berries


A Well Crafted Party was invited to a complementary tasting dinner at Serratto with purpose of review.  All thoughts and opinions belong to Jenni Bost of A Well Crafted Party.

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.

Hand Crafted Ice Cream in Portland, Oregon: Fifty Licks

Hand Crafted Ice Cream in Portland, Oregon: Fifty Licks
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Fifty Licks owner Chad Draizin sharing about his packaging choices for the ice cream cartons they sell in store. I’m in love with the clean design and square packaging.

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Bee Pollen as an ice cream topping? Yep, I tried it. I even liked it. Other toppings include potato chips and ghost pepper salt (which by the by is amazing if you like spicy and sweet!)

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You read that right….cocktails at an ice cream shop. Fifty Licks has cocktails developed to enhance the flavors of their sorbets. I was completely wowed by the complexity of a couple of the cocktails.

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The cuban coffee is another speciality of Fifty Licks. Coffee cans line one of the walls and a cuban coffee order includes getting to watch the process of making the sweet, sweet coffee.

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Sometimes I struggle with putting way too much in a post. I try to get down EVERY little thought I had about a place that I’ve visited, an experience I’ve had, or item I love. I thought that for Fifty Licks the photos above spoke volumes. I had the fortunate opportunity to join several other bloggers in trying out Fifty Licks, a Portland small-batch ice cream shop, for a tasting last November. Since then I’ve been back to share the adorable little shop with friends and family on several occasions. Both the ambiance and the flavor deliver each time I’ve gone.

If you’re looking for some great combo ideas for ordering at Fifty Licks, please let me recommend:

  • A scoop of Passionfruit with Sichuan Peppercorn sorbet sprinkled with the Ghost Pepper Salt (WOW)
  • An order of cuban coffee with a scoop of Toasted Milk ice cream on the side (heck, I think it would make a pretty amazing affagato as well!)
  • Want your ice cream to remind you of the best part of the holidays? Try one scoop each of  Candied Yam with Toasted Marshmallow Swirl & Butternut Squash with Spiced Apple Swirl. 
  • Need something to make you look forward to Summer? Try the Nordic Palmer cocktail with a Rhode Island style Frozen Lemonade and Sparkling Iced Tea Mead.

Flavors and toppings may change on a seasonal basis. If you’ve tried Fifty Licks I’d love to read (and try) your favorite flavor or order. Comment your suggestions below!


A Well Crafted Party received a complimentary tasting for the purposes of review. All opinions and thoughts are those of Jenni Bost of A Well Crafted Party.

 

More about Fifty Licks: Fifty Licks began in 2010, as an innovative ice cream company, in a mobile food cart. Today Fifty Licks has a mobile cart available for events and catering, a stationary cart at the Good Food Here Pod at SE Belmont & 43rd, and scoop shop at 2021 SE Clinton in Portland, Oregon. Visit Fifty Licks on social media: Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram.

 

 

Family Friendly Dining in Portland: Pronto Pizza

Family Friendly Dining in Portland: Pronto Pizza

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I’ve now had the pleasure of trying Pronto Pizza in SE Portland twice. It is one of those places that I was thrilled someone told me about, because I had never heard of it and probably wouldn’t have thought to look for a local-loving, in-house making pizzeria and kitchen in a strip mall on 82nd.

The first time I visited I brought my family out for a meal. My second visit was as blogger visit to sample and learn about the kid’s menu. I brought my husband and fairly picky 2-year-old to taste test the new menu items. It was difficult pulling him away from the kid’s area filled with toys and a train table. (Whoever that first person was that thought restaurants should have train tables and kid areas was a brilliant, brilliant person.)

In both visits I found that Pronto Pizza does a great job at being the type of family restaurant that I would frequent. So, I thought I’d share WHY I think Pronto Pizza is a great Portland-area restaurant for families.

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Five Things that Make a Great Family Dining Experience:

1. Affordability

I cannot go out to a family meal and enjoy myself if I am spending a full day of pay! On my family outing to Pronto Pizaa my husband and I were treating visiting relatives to a meal out. Four adults and one toddler enjoyed an appetizer, large Brussels sprout salad, two pizzas, wine, beer, and beverages, and a dessert all for under $100– just over with a tip. The meal served all four adults and the kiddo with leftovers. The prices were entirely reasonable and the value was high from our experience.

2. Choice

I like to have a variety of quality items to choose from (without so many choices that I am stuck reading a menu for an hour) when I go out with my family for a meal. On date nights I am much more likely to order a “chefs choice” or “prix fixe” menu that has very little choice involved. I’m all for trying new things… but, when I am going out with my toddler, it is nice to have a good variety of menu options. I will inevitably choose a restaurant with choices of both healthy items and gooey-cheesy goodness when we want a nice, easy family meal. I was very happy with Pronto Pizza’s menu selections. They had interesting and tasty salads (could be ordered in large or small sizes), pastas, pizzas, and more. The menu changes up based on availability and season (LOVE THIS) but, if you go and they have the Brussels Sprouts Salad on the menu you must try it! The salad had perfectly cooked (in my book) Brussels sprouts, thick pieces of bacon, and a house-made vinaigrette.

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3. Convenience

Nowadays, when we are thinking about restaurants, convenience of location and ability to reserve a table or get seated quickly are very high on our list of needs. Pronto Pizza has a large seating area and we never had to wait long either time we’ve been. Now, we would have to have visited several more times to be totally sure, but our experience so far was great. The SE location may not be super convenient to all our Beaverton friends, but it is GREAT for us! Plus, it is right off a highway, so that works for those who are making a trip out.

4. Kid-Friendly Atmosphere

Portland is pretty great about kids in most restaurants. I never really thought of it much before kids, but I really appreciate it now that I do have a child. Enjoying a nice meal out every now and again is important to me. It would be terrible if I couldn’t bring my toddler out to a meal! Pronto Pizza is one of the Portland-area restaurants that really bring that kid-friendliness up a notch with their play area for younger kids, video games for older kids, and Monday night screenings of cartoons. Hey, and the fact that kid’s eat free on Monday evenings* is pretty sweet too.

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5. Healthful Options (Especially on the Kid’s Menu)

Have you seen kid’s menus at most establishments? Mac & Cheese, chicken nuggets, pasta/butter/cheese… oh, and don’t forget the sides of french fries and bread! Typically the healthy option is  a side of apple slices or grapes. My son definitely eats pasta and pizza on more occasions than I’d like to admit. But, I really do try to get him some nutritious food items in EVERY meal. Limited kid menus make me want to pack a lunch for him from home. We will often just have to get food items for ourselves that are healthful and more kid-friendly. But, I really appreciate it when a restaurant puts thought into the nutrition, taste, and kid-friendliness of their kid’s menus so that I can have the meal I like and order my son a meal that he wants and that will be good for him!

So, this is the part about Pronto Pizza that I am MOST excited to share with readers…Pronto Pizza partnered with Jacki Abbott, medical educator and nutritionist with Northwest Primary Care, to help create their new kid’s menu. Pronto Pizza also invited 12 youngsters in to do a taste test of possible kid menu items when developing their new menu to ensure the food offerings weren’t just highly nutritious, but also palatable for kids. My kiddo totally loved the baked cauliflower sticks and marinara sauce. (Check out the new kid’s menu below)

The entire menus is something that I did as well. Besides the food being good. It is filled with ingredients purchased from local farms and farmer’s markets; seasonal pizza toppings with imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes, double zero flour and olive oil; and daily handmade pastas.

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* Kid’s EAT FREE at Movie Night on Mondays starting Monday, February 10th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Kids under age 12 are invited to enjoy a complimentary pizza with one topping with the purchase of an adult meal.
Classic Cartoons playing on the big screen!

What do you look for in a great family dining experience?


A Well Crafted Party was provided a free meal with purpose of review of the kid’s menu. All opinions and thoughts expressed are those of Jenni Bost of A Well Crafted Party. 

More information about Pronto Pizza: Pronto Pizza, formerly Sunshine Pizza Exchange, located off highway 224 and 82nd Drive, offers deliciously simple Neapolitan-style pizzas, fresh house made pastas and farmer’s market salads. There is a private banquet room, ample space for large parties, a kid’s playroom and various retro arcade games to keep the younguns’ entertained. The overall philosophy of Pronto Pizza is to serve fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable food to families at an affordable price.

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