Tuesday, April 8, 2008

PDX Eats: Pok Pok


Okay, I'm done with the Caps key. But seriously, folks, this was delicious Thai food and we can't wait to go back. Buried deep in the Division Street neighborhood, this tiny basement eatery feels absolutely naughty, like say, if you were having an affair and wanted to eat in a dark, subterranean space the size of a Bento box where no one knows your name and doesn't much care, then this is your spot. Because the food is so damn good. And the cocktails...well now I better understand the root of THAT word.

Pok Pok is the kind of place that makes you eat and drink things you wouldn't normally eat or drink because it smacks of why-the-hell-not, a philosophy I can totally get behind. First, I had a whiskey sour, which I haven't ordered since college and that ended badly what with the rug burn on my face and me waking up on a pile of coats next to twins...but I digress. This was, however, no ordinary whiskey sour. Shaken and stirred, bourbon meets fresh squeezed lime, palm sugar and tamarind. Like a tropical party in your mouth.

Dinner was Kai Yaang, a charcoal roasted game hen (I know! I know! I never eat chicken! And I never use exclamation points!) stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro and served with a tamarind dipping sauce. The skin was lacquered and crisp, the meat juicy and flavorful. On the side, forest mushrooms tossed with soy sauce, lime, razor thin shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, chiles, and toasted rice powder. I'm making this one at home. Amazingly hot. We went through two pitchers of water and a basket of sticky rice, but it was worth every gasp.

I tried to take pictures, but the Ranger kept grabbing the camera out of my hand, insisting folks in such close quarters didn't want a flash going off while trying to relax, so sadly I have nothing to show you. You'll just have to sneak over there yourself. But get there early. The line is long.

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