Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Laurels for Lauro

I love to have friends come in from out of town. Especially when they live a fair distance away and I don't get to see them often. But picking a place for dinner can be fraught with uncertainty if there are dietary or budgetary restrictions, or if one person is an adventurous eater and the other isn't.

Portuguese pork and clams.

We recently had a couple of friends come to visit and wanted to take them to one of Portland's off-the-beaten track (i.e. not downtown or in the Pearl) places. Half the couple didn't like spicy or unusual food, so that nixed Mexican, Ethiopian or anything too ethnic. And we wanted to be able to chat comfortably, so it needed to be relatively quiet, as well. The food, of course, had to be great, and fortunately there is an abundance of spots that would fit the bill on the east side of town, so the task wasn't too daunting.

Burger and fries.

I'd just been working on an article for FoodDay about cooking large hunks of meat on the grill with the chef from Lauro, Jennifer Beuhler, and she'd mentioned some fabulous dishes she'd just put on the menu that would fit our friends' proclivities. And sure enough, when we got there and ordered drinks and appies, they were both able to find something to love on the menu.

One ordered a grilled pork loin and the other drooled over the burger, while Dave got their fantastic seafood paella (photo, top) and I had the lick-the-plate-it-was-so-delicious Portuguese pork and clams. Everyone was happy and satisfied and the catching up on kids, work and plans for the future was accomplished. I'd call that a very successful evening.

An added note: Lauro is now open for lunch with a seasonal menu featuring salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, a daily risotto special, a fish entrée and the much-loved Lauro burger. Look for a full report in the near future.

Details: Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen, 3377 SE Division, #106. Phone 503-239-7000.

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