For that home-cooked flavor without messing up your kitchen, head to New American.
Getting a tasty, wholesome weeknight dinner on the table is the bane of many parents’ existence. Enter New American, the new North Portland restaurant started by a busy, working mom and dad duo with culinary chops, Faith and Aaron Dionne, who are both alums of Higgins. While you can dine in, you can also order online, then pick up an order to go. That’s just what my family did shortly after they opened.
New American is near my husband’s work, so I gave him the order and he swung by on his way home. All the menu items travel well, and were still hot and delicious by the time he arrived home in Southeast PDX. For entrees we sampled the braised beef ($6.50 small) and potato dumplings ($5.50 small). All entrees and sides come in large (serves four) or small (single serving) portions. The beef was full of flavor and well seasoned. New American wisely pairs the slow-cooked dish with a fresh chimichurri to liven things up. Also smart, it’s on the side so picky eaters aren’t forced to eat it. I’d pass on the slightly gummy dumplings next time.
For sides we tried the rich and creamy mac ’n’ cheese ($16 large), which served as an entrée for my toddler, who also liked the braised beef. The escarole salad ($6.25 small) with big hunks of crunchy bacon and chopped egg was satisfying and fresh. Everyone enjoyed the roasted broccoli ($3.25 small) and the braised greens ($3.25) spiked with a dash of vinegar.
While the food was delicious and just the sort of the meals my husband and I like to cook when not in a rush, the true genius of New American is the ease factor. Of course you’re paying for that convenience. But as much as I actually enjoy cooking, shortly we’ll have a newborn and 2-year old, and I can envision many late afternoons in which I’ll call my husband and ask him to bring something home from New American for dinner.
New American, 2103 N Killingsworth St. Monday-Sunday 3 – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 3-10 p.m.; Brunch 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 971-229-0570, newamericanpdx.com.
To go or not to go
Taste Unique: About as authentic as you can get without going to Italy, this tiny Southeast Division Street storefront has a case stacked with tantalizing to-go entrees, from arugula lasagna with béchamel sauce (no Americanized ricotta cheese here) to minestrone soup. Prices start at just $7 for smaller servings. tasteunique.com.
Pacific Pie Company: Your kids might get distracted by the tempting dessert case at this trendy eatery featuring foods from Down Under, but we love their Aussie-influenced spins on pot pies. Try the cottage pie ($12), which comes topped with Tillamook cheese, or the lentil-and-veggie shepherd’s pie ($13). pacificpie.com.
Urban Pantry: A Metro Parent Facebook friend turned us on to this cool “home prep kitchen” in the Pearl. It’s got a menu full of tempting “heat and eat” choices, like ginger-sesame chicken with chopped kale salad and rice ($10 for a single serving) or cheese enchiladas verde. Or, you can get the ingredients for an entree pre-chopped and measured, so all you have to do is put it together (and take the credit). urbanpantrypdx.com.
New Seasons: For those days when you just can’t get it together to cook, don’t overlook the prepared foods at your local New Seasons. We love the rotisserie chickens, and they’ve usually got some sides of roasted or steamed veggies available in their hot food-to-go counter, too. newseasonsmarket.com.
– Julia Silverman