30 December 2008

Eat Here: Country Cat

My sister and her husband decided to stick around for the weekend since my brother wasn't able to come down to Portland. Since she was down here, we met up with a couple of her friends who live in SE for dinner on Saturday night. I suggested the Country Cat, which I had heard was good from my friend Michael.

The restaurant is a lot smaller than it looks from the inside. The Web site says it seats 65. A few of those seats are in front of the kitchen--I will have to go back to try those out. The food and drinks were so good. I know I've been raving a lot, but seriously, this is worth checking out.

We started with the roasted wild mushrooms over chicken liver toast with pork confit & fennel-apple slaw, as well as the roasted chestnut & potato dumplings with grilled ricotta salata cheese, brown butter, & crisp sage. Both were delicious, but I think I liked the meaty one better. For dinner, I chose the Strawberry Mountain braised beef on a chanterelle mushroom & orzo pasta pilaf with caramelized brussels sprouts & red wine braised bacon. It was tough to decide between that and the fried chicken and steelhead. Luckily, I was able to try both and I think I still made the right choice. There was suprisingly a lot of meat on my plate. The prices were a little high, but for the quality and quantity you get, it's worth it. I was so full I couldn't even think about dessert...but it looked really good. Our server was awesome and tattoo-filled, wearing a fedora. Ah, Portland.

On a related note, I've heard some complaints about menus writing out the full description of their dishes including where the ingredients come from, but you know what? I like it. I like knowing everything that will be on my plate. I also like knowing that the beef comes from a local, natural producer.

And on yet another related note....In an effort to save money this year and pay off my debt so I can actually go travel and write about something other than food on this blog...I will not be eating out much more. Instead, you will probably be reading about creative concoctions I've come up with to tolerate my lack of eating out in the interim. Feel free to leave your cheap, healthy recipes!

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