jefferson street grill?

What happened to the Jefferson St. Grill on Jefferson and W. 19th, and even more importantly, what will happen with the space? It just opened last year and friends say it’s now closed. We have eaten there a couple of times, and although it’s unquestionably nicer than Jake’s Place, which preceded it, there was something dissonant about a moderately upscale restaurant (e.g., prime rib, full bar) next to a convenience store. Or maybe it was the big OREGON LOTTERY sign on the restaurant marquee.

I’m going to cross my fingers that a neighborhood restaurant will open up that has more of a neighborhood feel — a lower-priced menu, more casual food (but not pub food, or wraps-n-sprouts in them, since we have way more than we need of those types of restaurants). It always felt too formal for us to eat there mid-week, on a budget, and yet too casual to go there when we wanted to splurge. It just didn’t fit the space. I guess others agreed.

Why not a sweet little bistro along the lines of The Vintage? Or even a café that serves soups and sandwiches? It’s too far away from downtown to be a bar of any weight or traffic, but it’s a busy and central enough location for folks commuting from work downtown or from the university to grab a bite.


dining with Porkchop and Meatball

My husband had two imaginary friends when he was little: Porkchop and Meatball. I decided to give them an honorary banquet yesterday. Or rather, eat them at an honorary banquet yesterday.* Inspiration is a treacherous thing. And yet, it all looks so normal, donnit? The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie.

dscf7022.jpgLe Menu

Moroccan carrot purée and pita

Harissa spiced meatballs with lemon sauce

Green herbed couscous (kale, dill, parsley, scallions)

Pan-seared brined porkchops over white Russian kale with Noris butter and garlic

Retrogrouch’s salad with lemon mustard dressing

Store-bought cookies, Dagoba chocolate, and Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream




(Not pictured: Meatball.)

We had over a colleague from his work, and the evening was full of wine. I’m now feeling too full and lazy to post recipes, so I won’t.

And I’m so full of CSA love right now…I had never prepared Russian kale before, just regular, and it’s much more tender and pretty, with ruffly, small leaves. I used CSA dill in my couscous, their carrots in my purée and in the meatballs, their garlic and their kale, and their lettuce for the salad. Yay for local vegetables! Yay for nutritiony goodness!

The Russian kale was fantastic. I seared the pork chops, then sauteed the kale in the same pan, so it picked up the drippings. If you’re not going to simmer greens in pot likker with ham hocks, this is a method I would absolutely suggest.

*Hey, my imaginary friends were cats. It could be worse.