Monday, September 3, 2012

Pambiche Cocina & Reposteria Cubana – Portland, OR

It was the morning after a roller derby bout and some of the girls wanted to meet up for a good breakfast. Babo had suggested going to Tasty n Sons, but we weren’t sure if it was going to be a large enough space to allow us all to eat together. We got a suggestion from Rita that she’d like to try Pambiche – a Cuban restaurant – since she had studied in Cuba a while and missed their delicious cuisine. We passed some texts and made it happen.

The place is brightly painted on the outside. It’s got a huge mural on the wall of the parking lot and e3ven the outdoor sidewalk patio is brightly painted. The inside has all kinds of bright colors and decorations inside, as well as a delicious-looking case of Cuban bakery items. The place has a really fun vibe to it. Multiple servers came over to help us out and make sure we were happy.

It was breakfast time, and the menu items for breakfast sounded fantastic. Some hints of Americana were in some of the dishes, but I think the dishes were pretty authentic. Rita seemed thrilled with the selection, so I can only assume it was on-the-mark. At the last minute I decided against the Torrejas con Frutas (Cuban French Toast) and went with the Picadillo Cua-Cua (Cuban Hash & Eggs). A lot of the menu items are made (or can be made) vegan or vegetarian or gluten free, for those that have those eating constraints.

They brought out small baskets of Cuban pastries as a sort of appetizer and we all split various breads and scone-type things amongst the group. The really sweet wet bread was fantastic and we all fought over it. We tried not to fill up on the sweets before the meal, since we weren’t sure how big the entrees were going to be.

My food arrived very quickly and had beautiful color. Most of the dishes were garnished with a mango and pineapple fruit salad that went perfectly with all of the other more heavy flavors. My hash had beef with some Mediterranean seasoning, some olives, and vegetables. It had a side of rice, avocados, and fried ripe plantains. The dish also comes with eggs (I got them scrambled) on a side dish. It almost didn’t need the eggs, since the rest of the dish was plenty filling. The eggs weren’t anything special (no special seasonings or cooking mechanics), but they were tasty. The hash had plenty of meat flavor, but the seasoning was really quite good. Not like any seasonings I’ve had before. With some bites of avocado and rice, it was a perfect breakfast. The fried plantains were a good addition to the plate, as well and the caramelization on them was pretty delicious.

I know other people had double fried green plantains on their plates and raved about those. I wouldn’t change what I got this time around, but I know there were other things I wanted to try on the menu. D.Rough got an empanada and was really pleased with it. The bite I had was fantastic and I’m glad she shared with me. Rita got the croquetas and was really happy with those, so I’m guessing there isn’t a lot here that you’re not going to like. The servers were very helpful if you had questions about things and were present without being overbearing.
I’m a big fan of this place, so do yourself a favor and go have some delicious Cuban food.

Top 5 things about Pambiche Cocina & Reposteria Cubana
1. Cuban hash and eggs
2. Empanada
3. Ripe fried plantains
4. Mango and Pineapple fruit salad could be my new thing
5. Excellent descriptions of every food item on the menu – thank you!

Bottom 5 things
1. People were really excited about the plantain mash, and were disappointed
2. Lots of onions in and on everything
3. Didn’t really need the eggs with my dish
4. By not having lunch, happy hour, and dinner menus combined, it is difficult to tell if you should come back for other meals besides breakfast (I’m guessing YES based on the breakfast we had)
5. I wish anyone had room for the OTHER fancy bakery items so we could have reviewed them

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