50 Plates - Tasty Portland Eats

Before my husband and I even moved to Oregon we'd already been scouting the Groupons for Portland in hopes we could find some good deals to venture out and try new places on a dime. One of the groupons we purchased was for an eclectic and adventurous downtown Pearl restaurant, 50 Plates. Tonight after a week of being inside from the rain and enjoying getting out on Friday the only day of sun we saw this week. We ventured downtown to eat to our hearts content and enjoy a few cocktails at the bar. Featuring a happy hour menu we couldn't resist we head out early and grabbed a seat at the bar, which at a little after five was still pretty much empty.. but within about ten minutes the doors flowed open and people began pouring in for the last few minutes of $5 classics house wine, and food specials.

We were greeted by a very courteous hostess as well as two lovely bartenders (I wish I could remember their names), who were not only patient with my gratuitous questions about the menu but also offered some great suggestions for first timers, like ourselves.

The plates were very modest and at happy hour prices it was hard to to try a little of everything, so we didn't hold back. At All.

The Sampling for the night included:
Dirty Rice Beignets, these were actually so good we had to order a second set of them, they're basically a savory hush puppy filled with creamy rice, sausage and veggies. YUM!

Shrimp and Grits, two shrimp topped with a creole ragout served on creamy white Cheddar grits. Double Yum!

R&R Chopped Salad, a nice refreshing salad along side all the rich goodness we ordered.

Artichoke Rolls, these are goat cheese and artichoke egg rolls served with avocado dip. What's to go wrong with this? Nothing, they were great!

We also enjoyed ourselves some farmers market pizza, and the daily prepared house chowder. Both outstanding! The pizza is light and perfectly fired, served with house made cheese, arugula and topped with mushrooms. A great way to round out small eats or feed a hungry couple like ourselves.

The chowder, which varies nightly was a roasted red pepper and tomato chowder with potatoes, cod, halibut, mussels, a couple clams. All in all is was a twist on NE chowder that was welcomed in my book, let the seafood glory shine! The only thing it could have used was some toasty bread on the side to dip in the soup remnants, but given everything else we ate, it was probably a good thing.

Later in the night we ended up realizing we were sitting next to the owners, who were there for a meal of their own. Two very sweet people from southern California. Ginger and Joe have been in Oregon for the past ten or more years and own several restaurants across town, in fact they were just telling us about a new place they opened near Tigard, called Joes Burgers, when we're on that side of town we will have to check that out. It's always nice when you get to meet the owners, we've been fortunate to meet a few owners and I always find the story of their journey so intriguing and it's nice to know when you're out, and you have a choice to support the real people who make any city special with their willingness to go out on limb risk themselves to express and desire they have in food, art, handicrafts, whatever it may be. Local places provide the details to a city that cannot be provided by the "big box" establishments, to me, it's important to do what you can to promote entrepreneurs, and support your local culture by participating in it.

So after our fabulous night of food, drinks, and good company it is without hesitation that I highly suggest you check out 50Plates on NW13th Ave in downtown Portland... riding that line of after work happy hour drinks, a romantic night out and a great first date. Order lots, and share everything.

Happy Eating.


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