Not too long ago, it was declared that I would eat more Latin food. Well, being in Portland, where there are a plethora of Latin restaurants, this was a great opportunity. After a long and excruciating 6+ hours watching Viv shop at the Woodburn Outlets, I was both hungry and bit annoyed. A man can only take that much of: "How does this look on me?" I originally had the restaurants for our Portland trip laid out on an itinerary. Unfortunately, we had lost it somewhere between Cafe du Berry and the outlets. No matter, I used my Blackberry and looked it up on Urbanspoon. Yes, that's right, the place was Pambiche.
Entering the address in my trusty GPS, we made our way to NE Glisan Street for some Cuban food. Our first glance at Pambiche revealed a brightly multi-coloured building complete with actual street seating. When I mean street seating, I mean that the tables flanked the sidewalk. That's correct, people walking by would have to stroll right through the restaurant. How cool is that? A very good attempt to emulate the atmosphere and authentic Cuban dining experience. We decided to share Jamon Croquetas to start. Like the name suggests, it was a combination of smoked ham and spices fried up as a croquette. They didn't look like much when they arrived; but the crispy coating revealed a soft and fluffy interior.
One dish that caught my eye was the Rabo Encendido, which is oxtail stewed in a spicy red wine sauce. It was served with white rice and corn fritters. Being oh-so-tender, the oxtail practically melted in my mouth. The red wine sauce was a perfect compliment to the fatty meat. The crunchy corn fritters acted as a nice treat on the side. Viv opted for the Lengua en Salsa which is a plate of tongue (thanks Kim) and tender pork in a creole sauce with raisins and almonds. It was served with Tostones, otherwise knowns as plantain chips. The flavours of this dish were pleasant; but curiously one dimensional. Viv thought it tasted mostly of tomato and not much else.
Whatever the case, we enjoyed our meal at Pambiche. You just can't beat sitting outside right next to idling cars! Kidding aside, the ambiance was excellent and the weather cooperated. Chalk this up as another unique experience.
- Great outdoor seating arrangments
- Large selection of Cuban specialties
- Service was friendly (despite what others have said)
- A tad pricey
- Meat is a bit sparse