Dining Adventure – Urban Farmer

While plotting our next dining adventure, Ms. A. suggested Urban Farmer, one of two restaurants at the Nine’s Hotel. She’d hosted a dinner for friends there a couple of years ago and really liked it. It’s a steakhouse with an emphasis on Pacific Northwest cuisine. Last year we ate at their other restaurant, Departure, and though the food was decent, the experience overall wasn’t spectacular. I don’t recall what I ate but I do recall the place was noisy and the tables were uncomfortably close together.

The first thing that struck me when I arrived at Urban Farmer was that it was much roomier, and much quieter than Departure. I admit, I’m unhip, but I want to be able to chat with my friends when I go out to eat. The cocktail menu caught our eye, a fun list of interesting concoctions with witty names like the Rude Barbie and the Man Crush. We both ordered the Feast of Love, a combination of Clear Creek cranberry liqueur and prosecco with a lemon twist. We both agreed it was a delightful libation – not too sweet but very flavorful. It was pretty, too.


Since Urban Farmer is a steakhouse, I decided I should order red meat of some sort. The menu had a wonderful selection of steaks, but I chose the prime beef tartare. It was elegantly served in a little glass bowl on a plate with homemade chicharones (fried pig skin), fennel, parmesan cheese, and garlic toast. I’d never had steak tartare before but I am now a convert. The flavor was a succulent combination of raw meat, salt, and a light touch of leek or shallot. The chicarones were tasty, too – crunchy, salty, porky goodness.

Ms. A. ordered the Dungeness crab salad, which was a scoop of crab with heart of palm and carrot decorating the plate. She liked it because it was mostly crab and wasn’t bound together with lots of mayonnaise or other fillers.

For our second course, we both ordered starches – Ms. A. had the macaroni and cheese and I had the twice baked potatoes. They were both really flavorful and very hearty.

Baked macaroni and cheese
Mac n cheese

Twice baked fingerling potato tart

The dessert menu looked interesting but we were both full and happy, and settled on cups of coffee. It was one of our best dining adventures yet- delicious and interesting food, great service, and a pleasant atmosphere we could actually talk in.

Urban Farmer
525 SW Morrison


Boeuf Bourguignon in Paris and Portland

Photo 2010 Todd Mecklem

We had a wonderful dinner at Cafe Daguerre in “our” neighborhood in Paris, the 14th arrondisement. We’ve eaten there a few times, and really like the local feel to it.  I ordered the boeuf bourguignon and Todd had a croque monsieur and carrot salad. The beef was incredibly tender  and the bacon and wine melded together to give the meat a hearty, delicious flavor. We had a local red wine for dinner.

When we got home, I made a pot of it using the recipe in Paris in A Basket: Markets – the Food and People written by Nicolle Aimee Meyer & Amanda Pilar Smith. It turned out pretty well though I’d like to simmer it longer next time because the flavor wasn’t as good as the Cafe Daguerre’s. Maybe they used real burgundy or maybe everything just tastes better in Paris.