Posts Tagged With: restaurant

Centralia’s Best “Surprise!” Food – Shanghai Café

Ready to eat! Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Ready to eat!

In your travels, have you ever noticed that the really good food is in the restaurant where you think you would least expect it? However, you don’t always have to travel to experience the great little joints – don’t overlook the ones in your hometown. Shanghai Cafe in Centralia, Washington is one of those places.

Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Shanghai Cafe

It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It barely looks like a restaurant. It’s very small, non-descript and whenever we tell folks what to look for, it’s the big butterfly on their sign. When you walk in, it still looks small, but cozy not cramped. The Asian décor is fun, but looks dated. It should be – it opened in 1929! However, don’t let any of this deter you – have a seat and enjoy the feast to come!

Inside Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Inside Shanghai Cafe

They will start you out with a mild tea while you are looking over the menu and of course, they have other beverages available. On the table underneath a plastic cover, is the Chinese Zodiak calendar. I always enjoy looking at it, picking out myself, kids and grandkids.

Chinese calendar, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Chinese Zodiak Calendar

David always does the ordering for us. He has been going there for years and introduced me awhile back – I have difficulties eating certain food and have to be careful, so luckily he knows what I can eat, and which of the foods won’t give me problems. It always sounds like he only order 3-4 dishes, but when the food starts coming out, it seems endless! First the Egg Drop Soup arrives, then the Kimchi, then Sweet and Sour Pork. Just as we finish that, out comes the Special Garlic Chicken, Orange Chicken and on and on.

Pot Stickers, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Pot Stickers

Kimchi, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Kimchi

Orange Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Orange Chicken

Mongolian Beef, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Mongolian Beef

Almond Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Almond Chicken

Sweet and Sour Pork, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Sweet and Sour Pork

Tempura Veggies, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Tempura Veggies

Spring Rolls, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Spring Rolls

Special Garlic Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Special Garlic Chicken

We can never eat it all! But that doesn’t break anyone’s heart, the leftovers are even better after they’ve soaked in the juices overnight. But I always leave room for the Fortune Cookies, of course. And here’s an unusual idea for you – Chardonnay wine and fortune cookies taste amazing together!

A great fortune!, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

A great fortune!

Shanghai is a family-run business (the current owners are only the second owners) and they always remember you and what you like to order. You don’t get that kind of warm, personal service most places.

Our motto when traveling is “always check out the local restaurants.” So don’t forget those in your own town – who knows what you might be missing!

Shanghai Cafe is located at 519 South Tower in Centralia.

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Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Original Taco House – Portland, Oregon

In my last post, I wrote about eating before we hit Voodoo Doughnuts, and said I would tell about it in a later post. So here it is.

Taco House OutsideYes, there are probably more “authentic” Mexican food restaurants, but the Original Taco House was the first Mexican restaurant in Portland that was open year round, so how can it really be beat?

 Chips

David really loves The Original Taco House so when we recently had an opportunity to be in the area, he followed his nose and took us right to it. Actually, he ate there about 30 years ago when he was living in Portland. At that time it was cafeteria style, where you got your tray and went down the line picking out what you wanted.  You can see from the pictures that it is still set up like that, but now it is regular sit-and-serve style.

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It opened in 1960, owned by Gene and Natha Waddle. They also owned and ran Waddle’s restaurant located in Jantzen Beach just off I-5. Waddle’s restaurant is now gone, but the Taco House is now ran by the Waddle’s grandsons.

On my first visit I was apprehensive. There are so many foods/textures/spices I don’t like. So when I asked the waitress what was in the burrito meat, she brought me a sample so I could see and taste. I really appreciated that because other places when I have asked that they said nothing else was in it and when I got it it was filled with peppers and onions. Note to restaurants – peppers and onions ARE something besides beef. So I ordered and devoured a beef and bean burrito and David thoroughly enjoyed his Mini Grande Tostada. Josh was in heaven with the huge enchilada and taco combo.

 BurritoFood

The restaurant is decorated in typical Mexican restaurant fashion, although the fireplace at the end of the room is a little out of place for the décor. But, hey, in the Pacific Northwest, not many of us are going to complain about a fireplace.

 Fireplace

The staff is very friendly and helpful. The portions are HUGE and delicious. You can get as bland as you want, the way I eat, or as spicy as you like. There’s quite a variety of foods, even gluten-free if you need it. Of course I added a Strawberry Daiquiri to my meal, a drink so cold the outside of the glass was frosty. Yum!

drinks

(Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

While it may have to compete with tons of other Mexican restaurants in the Portland area now, it says a lot about a restaurant if it still sticks in your mind 30 years later. The only problem now is that David wants to eat there every time we go to Portland!

The Original Taco House has three locations, two in Portland and one in Vancouver. This one is located at 3005 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, Oregon. It’s open every day from 11am-10pm. (503) 234-6401

http://www.originaltacohouse.com/

Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Keatons Out and About, Oregon | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Has Anyone Seen My Taste Buds? Great Balls of Fire at Salvador Molly’s!

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Adam from Man vs. Food – Pic on wall

1-IMG_1613On David’s 50th birthday we decided to head to Portland, Oregon to celebrate. While waiting for his mom, Sue, to come down to join us, we were watching Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. The host, Adam, was at Salvador Molly’s in Portland taking the Great Balls of Fire Challenge. He was crying – that’s a signal to people who like spicy food that it’s an enjoyable experience. The challenge involves eating 5 habanero chile cheese fritters covered in habanero sauce. So that’s where we decided to go for the birthday dinner.

The other thing that intrigued us about this restaurant is the variety of foods provided. Dishes are offered from Jamaica, New Orleans, Hawaii, Ethiopia, and Thailand. David was very excited for the variety.

Getting there is a bit of a challenge if you aren’t familiar with the area and even though David knows Portland pretty well, we were glad I had my iPhone with GPS and Siri. It’s easy to pass the restaurant. It is just the end part of a very small strip mall. After we went in, we immediately order just the three Great Balls of Fire. The challenge requires a person to eat five of them. Even my spice-loving guys thought that might be a bit much. When they came, first David tried one, then Josh kinda licked at his. After a few seconds, David’s eyes started watering and he was sputtering a little. Josh had finally eaten his in one whole bite and started regretting it. I have to admit Sue ate half of one and just said it was very spicy but no crying from her. She’s no wimp!

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Great Balls of Fire!

Of course, I just watched and recorded their reactions on my phone. I’m no fool plus I don’t like much of anything. I asked the waiter, “What do you have for people who don’t like anything?” and he looked at me kinda funny. Sue said, “She’s not kidding, she doesn’t like anything.” So I ordered pulled-pork sliders with the BBQ sauce on the side. When it came, I just sniffed the BBQ sauce and my eyes started watering. I said to the waiter, “I know this is probably bad to ask here, but do you have just plain ‘ol ketchup?” They did.

David and Josh ordered Jambalaya. When it came, they took a few bites and David said, “I can’t taste anything yet.” But after a few more minutes, it finally went away, and he said the food was delicious. At one point we saw a baby outside on the deck waving his arms around. David said he must have tasted the Great Balls of Fire and was waving his arms, crying, and asking if anyone had seen his taste buds that had ran off down the street.

1-IMG_1628Fast forward a few months. We told my daughter, Brandy, and her fiancé, Jason, about Salvador Molly’s and she loves spicy food and he likes some of it, so they wanted to try it. This time we ordered five Great Balls of Fire, expecting everyone (except me, of course) to eat one. David and Jason each ate one. Brandy ate ½ of one, Josh ate the other half. After about a minute Brandy’s eyes started watering, then she started feeling hot all over, then her sinuses cleared. Jason did pretty good for a guy who doesn’t like very spicy things. He was disgusted though when he took a drink of his beer and said, “Now I can’t taste my Corona!” We laughed and told him that would pass.

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Our meals came and everyone was pleased with their meals which were flavorful and spiced just right. Or maybe they just seemed that way in comparison to the Great Balls of Fire. This time I ordered the Chickidee Do Dah (chicken breast with mashed potatoes and carrots) off the kids menu. Yes, I most certainly am a wienie – that’s about as brave as I get.

Salvador Molly’s is a small restaurant, but has interesting, vibrant décor from around the world. The service is excellent and the ambiance is fun. Most of all, it’s just entertaining to watch other people eat the Great Balls of Fire!

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Getting there: Located at 1523 SW Sunset Blvd., Portland, OR, 97239. Rather than give directions, if you don’t know the area, I recommend using your GPS. It is very confusing to get to.

Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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