Monday, November 02, 2009

PDX Quick Bites: Wy'east Pizza; Good Taste Noodle House; & tidbits

Besides stuffing my face with leftover Halloween candy....damn my newfound love of $100Grand bars!!...I've had a couple of worth-mentioning eating experiences here in Portland that you should take note of....
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Imagine the most unlikely place you would think of to get a great pizza in Portland. If a darkened parking lot on a lonely stretch of SE 50th Av just north of Powell Blvd. didn't enter your mind, join the club. But at just such a parking lot, lit only by the cheery lights strung outside the trailer that houses Wy'east Pizza, you will find some of the best pie in PDX! I'd driven by many times, only to be foiled by their limited hours of Tuesday-Saturday, 4-8pm. Not their fault, mind you, it just seemed I was always too early or too late. But last Wednesday w and I decided to make a point to sample the goods, so on my way home from the wine shack I pulled into the lot next to the trailer. You do three things when you walk to the open trailer window. The first thing you do is check out the menu (probably after a very welcoming "hello" from co-owner Red); the second thing you do is think to yourself "this is too cheap to be good", with 12" pies going for $11 to $14. But after I ordered our margherita and one pepperoni (made with pepperoni from Otto's Deli on SE Woodstock)...and watched other owner Squish toss and stretch their homemade dough out on the tiny prep space on the counter and carefully place toppings on it before sliding it into their propane oven, while having a conversation with both he and Red (I learned their names when I was leaving. I asked them, and they said "Red and Squish" They asked me mine, and I was almost embarrassed that I didn't have a cool name. "Um, I'm Bruce....sorry about that....") the word that popped into my head was "earnest". These two work the cart by themselves, source as much of their ingredients as they can locally, make all the dough by hand, only make 22 pies a night, and do it all with the conviction of people who not only care about what they make, but the people who eat it. Pretty cool. Oh, and the pies? Freaking delicious! With their slightly thick crust that gets nicely crisped and slightly blackened in their 800* oven (and yes, I also wondered about the sanity of having an 800* oven in a tiny trailer) yet still retains a good chew and nice flavor, the pies have plenty of heft. Generously topped especially the pepperoni with that smoky Otto's sausage, and with a pretty fabulous tomato sauce, the pies were satisfying in every way. And at $12 a pop, ridiculously affordable.
That's Squish performing some sort of pizza making incantation over my pie.
Whatever witchcraft he's practicing, it works!
Wy'east Pizza food cart on Urbanspoon
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These guys have three spots around town. If the other two are as good as their strip mall outpost at SE 82nd & Harrison, then you probably have one near you, which also means you have some of the best noodles in town at your beck and call. For whatever reason, even after hearing many of our friends mention how good Good Taste Noodle House is, we hadn't made it out. Sunday, after a brisk morning hike, we made sure to correct that oversight. With that, here is a the pictorial review (and keep in mind that everything here is exceedingly affordable, running $7-$8.50)...
Roasted pork, which I loved in various Hong Kong versions last year, seems to be most elusive. The Good Taste effort, while appropriately crackly and salty on the skin side, was a bit dry and not quite fatty enough. Also served somewhat cool. Close, but not quite there. Next time I'll order the roast duck, which I saw go by our table on a couple of plates and looked delicious.
Five Spice Beef Brisket Pot was excellent. The meat was super tender, with tendon still attached to give it a nice chew. The sauce was really spectacular, deeply colored and richly flavored, not too salty, with a complex back flavor. Very impressive.
Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup had an excellent broth, perfectly done noodles, and very tasty wontons, although w thought they were a bit too big, with the wrong ratio of wrapper to filling. Also the filling could have been more shrimpy and less porky, but it was still a pretty tasty bowl of noodles.
And today I came back for the Shrimp Chow Mein with pan fried noodles. I saw it on the menu yesterday, but we already had too much on the table. I couldn't shake it though, so today made it a Sunday/Monday Good Taste doubleheader. And boy, am I glad I did! This was an exceptionally satisfying plate of noodles. Lots of tender shrimp with piles of crispy veggies, all on top of spot on pan fried noodles with just the right amount of crisp tender texture. I loved this, probably the best version I've had since our China trip!
Good Taste Noodle House on Urbanspoon
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Just read in this article in our local fishwrap about the new café to be attached to the soon-to-reopen Genoa, which will be called Bar Accanto. offering bar bite small plates and downsized entrée portions, this should be an opportunity for chef David Anderson to experiment with things that might find their way on to the Genoa menu, and provide a much needed more affordable and casual dining experience. Both Genoa and Accanto hope to open by the end of November in what will definitely be one of the most anticipated restaurant moments of the year.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: Hong Kong views


The Guilty Carnivore said...

I bet the roast pork probably sat hanging too long.

I've picked up some on a Saturday morning (downtown location) that were freshly warm and were the equivalent of meat crack.

dds said...

If someone who lives a block from Apizza raves about cart pizza, it's got to be great.

Glad you tried and liked GT's 5-spice brisket; loved it! Were the wontons too much filling-to-noodle ratio or the other way round? I have no idea what's "right", but I love the generous, silky fillings. The duck's decent, but don't waste time on the bland curry noodle (though their pepper sauce is yummy, peppery flavored without a lot of heat). Decent Chinese in Portland...I'm so heartened!

bb said...

GC....I will absolutely take your advice this Saturday! It was such a shame, because I knew it could've been so good.

dds....wy'east is worth it! w thought the wonton's had too much filler-to-wrapper. I didn't think they were that off, but like you I don't know what's right (in SO many ways!!). It is nice to see decent Chinese making an appearance. We should plan our Ocean City rendevous!

The Guilty Carnivore said...

Here's a photo of the pork:

bb said...

gc....dude, THAT is what I'm talking about. Fucking meat crack, indeed!!

Anonymous said...

if its good taste, its salt and pepper squid. thats the real good taste crack.

Lucas said...

Imagine my good fortune that I live within a five minute walk of the new location in Hillsboro. Finally some good food in my hood. I will save a fortune on gas.

janiner said...

We had dinner at the Good Taste Noodle House in Hillsboro last night and it was pretty bad. Did we just mess up by ordering from the combo menu? There were some Chinese folks eating there which makes me think there must be something worth ordering, but we didn't get any of it.

dining room tables said...

Great menu and great food! The fried pork was cooked well and nice.