Salvador Molly's and the Portland, OR, food scene

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a HOOT! I've lived a bunch of places, and visited more, but after two years here I am SO in LOVE with Portland funkiness.

If you haven't heard, we Oregonians are a bunch of tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, Prius-driving granolas who believe you should be able to decide when to kick off and how, IF you want to smoke (and grow) pot, and wear dreadlocks even if you're white. There is a local bumper-sticker that reads, "KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD." My Oregonian countrymen do a FINE job of it. :)

I'm a Foodie. I did not achieve this girth through Kraft macaroni and cheese and coke. I love, love, love cooking AND eating.

I'm from Seattle, and my most recent stint there was nearly 25 years, so I had fertile ground to develop my tongue.

Portland is so different! TINY restaurants - NO RESERVATIONS - LONG LINES. The operative word here is 'locavore' - chefs only want to cook with ingredients from a 100 mile (or less) radius at many restaurants.

Wildly experimental fusion.

Tonight, we went to Salvador Molly's with our neighbors across the street. Now, let me explain. They're both Indian, and they LOVE spicy food. We went to a party at their house two weeks ago, and Chandrani had made a habanero dip that she said was really spicy.

I cook a lot of very spicy food, and I EAT a lot of very spicy food. I cook Thai, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, and I like HEAT. I was married to a Bengali for 12 years. I know hot food.

I had one tiny Tostito with a bare dab of that dip, and I was over the sink with my eyes streaming, drinking buttermilk shots, and hoping I didn't spew in front of thirty people.

Chandrani and her husband Madhur, and my husband were eating it and enjoying it.

So, tonight, we go to Salvador Molly's. The menu is so eclectic as to be a paradigm of eclecticism.

A menu that includes flavors from South American, the southern US, Africa, India, Bali - it goes on.

This menu is not exactly the same as what they're currently serving, but gives you an idea. We had a Nigerian rice dish that I seriously could NOT discern what spices were in it - and I'm pretty damned good at copying recipes from ethnic restaurants.

So see up in the left hand corner of 'Small Plates' where it lists 'Great Balls of Fire'?

Chandrani and Madhur had told DH about those. After the habanero dip, I didn't even want a TASTE. C & M said they could eat ONE each, and then they were on fire the rest of the night.

DOOD - DH ate SIX. He didn't even break a sweat. He got his picture on the wall. There was a table of three young doods behind us and they were clapping - then THEY tried. No beans! lolz!

And I brought home not one, but TWO little boxes of food from my Pampas Chimichurrie Steak - WAY too much food, but WAY fun. :)

I gotta go tuck my six-baller into bed - nn!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Welcome to Portland! I'm a native Oregonian. I will have to subscribe to your blog to hear about all of your food adventures. Have you been to the Montage yet? I asked for my food spicy and I REGRETED IT! They don't appreciate that sort of thing around there. It's cajun, so good!
    3249 days ago
    Rooby, you have given me a new concept of "burning calories."
    Congratulations to your dh for outdoing the three young dudes!
    3250 days ago
    That is TOO funny, I thought maybe he was multi-talented and you were a lucky girl, or that maybe he had a 3 way split personality, but then I read the blog and dood, I really had to laugh. I LOVE HOT. I lived in Mexico for 3 years and I was raised in New Mexico where when you sit down to eat a Mexican meal you have a hanky and it's not to blow your nose but to wipe the sweat off your brow! Habaneros , love em but those suckers are HOT HOT HOT! If your husband can eat hot like that, I would say he's got more than six balls! ( Colorado is cool like that too, I wear Birkenstocks all the time, even in the snow!)
    3250 days ago
    If He is 6 balls does that mean you are two kitties????? (didn;t want to use the "P" word hee hee. ) emoticon
    3250 days ago
    Dood, I read this already and forgot. LOL!!
    3250 days ago
    I love Salvador Mollys! The Balls of Fire challenge is insane (one of my friends attempted it a few weeks ago). Their dining room could be a little bigger, but it just adds to the Portland flavor :)

    Have you tried Bunk Sandwiches on SE Morrison and 7th? Also funky little place with no reservations and lines, but totally worth it. Yum!

    One of my favorite Portland establishments (that -does- take reservations and is -not- funky in any way, shape or form, but is special in its own 112 year old way) is Jake's Crawfish on SW 12th and Stark. Their lunch special is always amazing, especially at the steal of a deal of $7.95.

    Yay, PDX! :)
    3250 days ago
    I would love to try that restaurant. Sounds fun to my. However, I'd be eating there alone as my other half has trouble with the standard "mild" picante sauce that had almost no heat at all. Oh well.
    3250 days ago
    JEALOUS!!!! After last week I am so dying to go back... Portland is on the short list for next year, if we ever recover from this one. Okay, so SCHWINN, you and me pack up the families and leave for the West Coast tonight.

    Anyhoo... I have a bit less tolerance for hot food than I once did, but that doesn't stop me from making myself miserable on a regular basis. Prevacid is my friend!

    Go Foody Rooby!

    3250 days ago
    I guaran-dang-tee you I'll be in that restaurant before two full moons have passed! Been looking for an excuse to hop on the Amtrak (my favourite way to get to one of my favourite cities!). I'll bring my Portland-born daughter, who has never eaten anything hot enough...yet!

    Love your blog!!!
    3250 days ago
  • _VALEO_
    I think I'm in love with Oregon!

    I like the little leave before the vegetarian dishes, but I feel cheated with the menu: where are the desserts??? Ice creams would be more than welcomed after those Great Balls of Fire.

    And did he eat your two boxes for breakfast?
    3250 days ago
    Oh man, you are so encouraging my urge to move to the Pacific Northwest! Further proof that that I belong there - your second paragraph describes me to a tee! I even wear my Birkenstocks to work :)

    Anyhoo, wow, those fritters sound yummy but flamey!! Wow. If the Indians can't even handle it, you KNOW it's hot!!! So cool your hub got his picture on the Wall of Flame!! :) Love it!
    3250 days ago
    Why am I not surprised that even your taste in food is a bit mad?!

    3250 days ago
    And the energy behind the "Keep Portland Weird" campaign got a major boost when you and Mr. Roobster moved to town.
    3253 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    "Salvador Molly"? Hell, that alone is worth the price of admission.

    In my wildly misspent youth I had the proverbial cast-iron stomach (palate, throat, and could eat whatever was offered regardless of Scoville rating.... until that fateful night in the Thai restaurant where I met - and consumed - The Atomic Carrot. Like you, milk shots, streaming eyes, etc.

    I don't digest fire and flame as well as I used to, unfortunately, but I have fond memories. And congratulations to your husband - and to you, for mate selection.
    3253 days ago
    So sorry to laugh at your misfortune ;) It sounds like a great night out on the town. And woohoo for bringing all of that food home!
    3253 days ago
    I can't believe he ate six!! OMG! I wonder what he'll feel like in the morning? Great story. Thanks for the belly laughs!
    3253 days ago
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