Recently, we visited a few places that I had previously visited, enjoyed and reviewed, but, I think that most restaurants deserve a second visit, don’t you? I like to see if my first impressions of places hold true to the second visit…
Kesone Thai Lao Bistro
Shortly after redeeming our first LivingSocial voucher for Kesone Thai Lao Bistro, I got an opportunity to purchase another one. Since both my husband and I enjoyed the place, I jumped at this opportunity … I mean, hey, it’s Thai food! This time around, I definitely wanted Pad Thai, mostly because I knew my husband had planned on amplifying the heat on his Pad Thai plate, and while I do enjoy the spicy, I wanted to enjoy it a little less spicy than he desired.
With this visit, I noticed that again, our appetizers were brought out at the same time as our entrees. Again, this is not a complaint, because the food was brought out so quickly it wasn’t as if we were waiting very long at all for anything.
This time, we selected the appetizer sampler plate ($9), which included three different appetizers – two summer rolls, six golden bags and two chicken sa-tay. I found the chicken sa-tay to be somewhat dry, but the golden bags were crispy and delicious, and I loved the fresh crunch of the summer rolls. I have been wanting a good summer roll for a while now – I mean, sure, I love the crispy, golden-fried deliciousness of a spring roll, but, there is something about that fresh, minty taste of a summer roll that really brightens the palate.
The Pad Thai was just as delicious as I remember. The chicken was cooked nicely – a little dry, perhaps, but not to the point of being overly chewy. And really, when it comes to Pad Thai, it really is less about the chicken for me and more about the noodles. I love the delicious rice noodles that have been coated with the spicy sauce, the crunchy texture from the bean sprouts and the crushed peanuts… Pad Thai really is a culinary delight.
Will we be returning to Kesone Thai Lao Bistro – YOU BET!
GRILLED CHEESE GRILL
We’ve actually been to Grilled Cheese Grill a couple of times since my last review. What can I say, I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, and I really like how the folks at Grilled Cheese Grill take a good thing (the classic grilled cheese) and push the envelope with it!
Case and point would be my newest favorite sandwiches from GCG: The Jalapeño Popper ($5.75)! Oh. My. Goodness. This sandwich is GOOD! Spicy, yes. Be ready with something refreshing to cool the palate.
The sandwich is made with freshly roasted jalapeños (not the jarred stuff), colby jack cheese, cream cheese and corn tortilla chips sandwiched between two pieces of sourdough bread and grilled to golden perfection. I ordered mine with bacon (add $1.75), because, what doesn’t taste better with bacon, right? This sandwich is absolutely incredible.
I think that the GCG prepares the jalapeños themselves, because I didn’t notice any of the seeds or membranes of the pepper in my sandwich. This helped to reduce the heat a little in my sandwich, and thus allowed some of the fruit notes of the pepper to emerge. It was still HOT, make no mistake, but it wasn’t too hot.
The colby jack is melted and gives a nice, chewy texture to the sandwich. The cream cheese is a little on the light side, but, I don’t think more cream cheese would have made this a better sandwich. As it was, the cream cheese added a little bit of sweetness and curbed the heat of the jalapeño just enough. The tortilla chips did not add any real crunch to the sandwich (although the crispy, grilled outer crust of the sandwich certainly did!) but it did add a nice dimension of flavor, and really added to that “popper” kind of taste as promised with the name of the sandwich. The bacon … well, let’s just say that without the bacon, this sandwich was delicious. But WITH the bacon, this sandwich becomes insanely irresistible, absolutely memorable, and completely crave-able. I really, really liked this sandwich, and I’ll definitely order it again sometime.
On another visit, I ordered the Southsider ($5.75), which is artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms with mozzarella on sourdough bread. This sandwich is also really outstanding, tasting a bit like a gourmet pizza in sandwich form.
The artichoke hearts were pickled and added a tangy flavor to the sandwich from the pickling, while the sundried tomatoes gave this a delicious base flavor … although, if I had been putting the sandwich together myself, I think I would have added more tomatoes (but then, I love sundried tomatoes). The mushrooms I think would have been a little better if they were thicker cut, but they still added a nice, earthy flavor and pleasing texture to the sandwich. This sandwich was very filling and satisfying, and one I’d recommend if you’re really hungry. This one filled me up.
Will we be visiting Grilled Cheese Grill again – ABSOLUTELY! It’s become my favorite cart in Portland … although, I admit that I’ve not visited many carts YET!
I’ll be reviewing a couple of “revisits” again soon … specifically, the Burger Bungalow and Soi 9 Thai Eatery.