Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cruising In to the Bike

It wasn't like we didn't have food in the house. There are always eggs. Or cheese and bread for sandwiches, or rice stir-fried with whatever's left in the vegetable drawer.

But my friends Ali and Evan at the Little Red Bike Cafe had been teasing me for a couple of weeks on their Twitter feed with mouthwatering descriptions of their new dinner menu. So it seemed an opportune time to make a run over there and give it a try.

We pulled up to the tiny café and found it full of happy diners, and Evan told us we could hang out at the window seats and wait a few minutes for a sit-down table. We parked ourselves on the comfortable-enough chairs at the counter, and I ordered a Bloody Mary while Dave got a bottle of Full Sail's Session brew.

Almost everything these two offer is made in-house and sourced as locally as possible, and the love is evident. The Bloody Mary mix is fresh and juicy and, since we're all adults here and know that with Bloody Marys it's all about the condiments, packed with their house pickles that appear as garnishes on most of the plates as well.

Black bean tostadas with house pickles.

And the food is as hearty as it is heart-warming. For instance, my lamb meatloaf was two big slabs of mouthwatering ground lamb, full of comfort and flavor, leaning against a pile of smashed potatoes and a spoonful each of stewed garbanzos and wilted greens, making this a plate to write home about.

Dave's black bean tostadas were just like the ones we'd had in Mazatlan, with slices of perfectly ripe avocado, crunchy greens, zingy beans and…you guessed it…some house-pickled onions. With a side of more of those ubiquitous (and delicious) pickled carrots, cabbage and root veggies.

The Situation isn't normal. But it is delicious!

Mr. B chose The Situation, a meatball sandwich that breaks all the rules by including not only lushly seasoned meatballs and sauce, but bacon, a fried egg and goat cheese inside a ciabatta roll. Luckily he was up to the challenge (he does have a metabolism, unlike his father and I) and even had room for the remainder of my meatloaf. Lucky guy.

Oh, and by the way, we stayed at those window seats even when a table opened up. With a view of the street action outside as well as the kitchen inside, it seemed the perfect spot to share the love.

Details: Little Red Bike Cafe, 4823 North Lombard St. Phone 503-289-0120.

In the "Wouldn't You Know It" department, I finally got the post above done only to find out that on the same day it posted, Ali and Evan decided to put dinner service on hold for the remainder of February (for a complete explanation, read this post on their blog). But despair not! If this has piqued your interest, you can still find them putting out some of the best breakfast and lunch goods Monday through Saturday, 8 am till 2 pm, with a Sunday brunch from 9 am till 2 pm. Dinners should resume in March, and rest assured I'll keep you apprised!

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