Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cat on a Hot Tin Shed

Next, our intrepid hunger demolishers utterly decimate the food at Tin Shed on Alberta.

Abbe's Meal:  
   After looking over the menu for a few minutes I realized I must have been sounding exactly like a broken record because every time I opened my mouth I was either saying "Oh my god" or "This sounds amazing." I felt so indecisive I almost considered getting two items just so I could have breakfast and lunch and get the full experience. Finally I decided on the Mcobb Salad: Crisp romaine, grilled free-range chicken, candied bacon, blue cheese crumbles, avocado, tomato & hard-boiled egg, served with a side of wasabi and blue cheese dressing. Ordering this and not asking for regular cheddar cheese instead of blue cheese crumbles was hard for me, I'm not a blue cheese fan, but I didn't want to compromise any flavors and I figured the brilliant minds at Tin Shed knew what they were doing. Needless to say, I was right. Never have I tasted a more joyous dish than this salad. When I think of salads I think of fresh, cool, crispy ingredients, I think of sunshine and grassy knolls, puppies and rainbows and frolicking through wheat fields. Why? Because a salad should epitomize all of those things, a salad should make you happy and contented, fulfilled and satisfied all in one sitting. This salad did all that and more. In fact the only thing this salad didn't do was move in with me and become my life partner. 

     I stared at the heaping plate of glistening lettuce piled high with a whole sliced avocado, a huge portion of grilled chicken, sliced egg and a beautiful helping of sticky and sweet candied bacon and began thinking of my wheat fields and rainbows. Everything in this salad was at the peak of freshness and kept me yearning for another bite. The avocado was pristine, the chicken was tender and succulent and even left behind some of it's juices on the plate, an egg is hard to mess up, and the romaine lettuce was crunchy and cool against the warm chicken. Don't even get me started on the bacon, I gave Jebby a piece so she could understand why I was staring up at the sky with a blissful expression on my face and she about fainted face first into her biscuits. 
     I was skeptical about the wasabi-blue cheese dressing. First of all, I don't really like blue cheese, secondly, I feel that wasabi overpowers anything you put it on, so how was this dressing going to be remotely enjoyable? I have no clue how they did it, but hot diggity dog, I'm in love. I want a swimming pool of that dressing and a bathing suit made out of vegetables. The dressing perfectly complemented everything the salad had to offer and added a small kick to each bite. The pairing of that spicy and salty dressing with the sweet candied bacon was a sinful experience that one seldom encounters in a meal. It's the kind of flavorful genius that you pray for whenever you go out to eat at a new venue. 

     With my salad I went for a cocktail that sounded nothing short of epic. A Passion fruit Mimosa: Champagne, fresh squeezed OJ, and passion fruit puree. That's right. Do I even need to talk about how good it was? I got shivers up my spine because I don't have enough taste buds in my mouth to do this thing justice. I almost cried. 'Nuff said.

                                                          Kiya's Meal:    
     Paw-Lickin' Good: Rice and free range chicken served up in a doggy bowl. As a dog, I don't ever get to enjoy a restaurant like my mom does, so when she brought me into the outdoor patio at Tin Shed with her I was excited. All the smells and people were nothing short of an amazing experience and I couldn't have known what was in store for me next. When the lady brought my mom her food she put a big metal bowl on the floor for me, I figured it was water until I smelled the sweet aroma of chicken! Oh juicy, tender chicken pieces all nestled in a bed of rice, oh happy day! I couldn't believe this was for me, I looked up at mom for approval and she said "good girl Kiya, eat your lunch." I think I got every last grain of rice off of that bowl, then gulped down my water and fell asleep under the table. Not to mention everyone at Tin Shed said I was cute and gave me scratches. Best day ever! 

Jebby’s Meal: Everything Naughty
Will there ever be a day when I can successfully resist the urge to order biscuits and gravy at a restaurant I’ve never been to before? Probably not. It’s no secret that I love the stuff, but it makes it difficult to try anything new. Still, I feel like biscuits and gravy is a pretty good barometer of restaurant quality. If you can’t make something simple like sauce on bread right, it’s likely you can’t make anything else right either. Before I left my house, before I ever saw Tin Shed’s menu, I knew that if biscuits and gravy were on it, that’s what I’d be eating.

Before our meal came, our waitress served us the mimosas we ordered. It’s hard to go wrong combining juice and champagne, but Tin Shed’s “Grapefruitopia” tasted as though someone had literally wrung a huge, juicy ruby red grapefruit into a glass and poured champagne on top. Which is likely what happened. Needless to say, it was delightful, and so was the food. The biscuits were flaky and tender inside with a crunchy exterior. I generally prefer cut biscuits to drop biscuits, but these were great, as far as drop biscuits go. This may come as a surprise to all of you who know me for the bacon connoisseur that I am, but the rosemary-mushroom gravy was far, far superior to the bacon gravy. GASP, I know. Fungus gravy is better than bacon gravy? Blasphemy. But it was… brown, flavorful and herbaceous with none of that unpleasant pine tree taste you sometimes get when the chef goes crazy with the rosemary. The bacon gravy was white, floury and surprisingly bland – the kind of gravy my mom makes when she needs to use up leftover Easter ham (sorry mom!).

While the biscuits and gravy are the most important part of any meal for me, Everything Naughty also came with a Shed potato cake, scrambled eggs, and a patty of pork sausage. The potato cake was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, which is just how I like my fried potato products. The exterior may have been too done by some standards, but I loved it. It reminded me of the outside of a marshmallow after you stick it in the fire. Yeah, I’m one of those. The eggs were good. Standard scrambled eggs, nothing special, but they weren’t too dry or too wet – very enjoyable. Unfortunately, the pork sausage patty was salty nearly to the point of inedibility and cried out for some sweetness. I gotta say… it’s hard to mess up pork. Tin Shed, I am disappointed. But truly, this was the only disappointing thing about the place.  Playing Sherlock with the menu, I discovered that the restaurant features many vegan and vegetarian options. Sometimes restaurants that cook a lot of meat-free fare don’t do meat very well, and this seems to be the case at Tin Shed. But coming from a person who thinks bacon can cure all the world’s ills, saying that mushroom gravy is better than a bacon gravy is high praise indeed. 

 Our Overall Review of Tin Shed:
Have Abbe and I mentioned that breakfast is our favorite meal of the day? If not, consider yourself informed. We feel that it is our special calling in life to find the perfect breakfast. We have found a few places that come close, and Tin Shed can now be counted among them. How do we love Tin Shed? Let us count the ways…

One: Tin Shed is one of very few dog-friendly restaurants in Portland. Abbe brought her canine companion and she enjoyed a tasty meal with us. Dogs are allowed both indoors and out, and there are dog-specific menu items. We oohed and ahhed over myriad adorable puppies before our brunch was up.
Two: The food and drinks are delicious, and the menu is varied. We are fans of cruelty-free meat, and so are the folks at Tin Shed. The prices were more than reasonable, the portion sizes were just right, and the food is mouthgasmic. In other words, Tin Shed fulfills every aspect of our trifecta of awesome. The cocktails we ordered were as well-crafted as the food. We decided to split a Snow White after lunch. This amazing little cocktail contains Kahlua, Vanilla Stolli, Godiva chocolate liquor, and a dollop of cream. All warm, boozy and creamy – perfect for a cold day like today. We highly recommend it. The coffee is Portland Roasting Company, which is always good, and is self-serve, which is also good, because Abbe and I like hecka refills.
Three: The staff was friendly and attentive, but not too clingy. I have a feeling that hiring prerequisites are: former owner of a fashion mullet and 50% or more of apparel must be purchased full-price from Urban Outfitters, but you shouldn’t hold it against them.

Four: location/décor/physical space. This may just be the best part about Tin Shed. The restaurant features an outdoor patio with plenty of heat-lamps and a little shed full of blankets for patrons, making it possible to enjoy a warm, cozy meal outside while watching the customary Portland drizzle. The patio fence is a work of art, and the milk-bottle lights lining the patio are cute. 
Tin Shed is located in the middle of the Alberta arts district and is surrounded by little shops. We took a leisurely post-lunch walk before going on a wild goose-chase to find a cute wallet shop we had heard of.  Which brings us to our mini-review of Tinymeat!

Tiny Meat!
After frantically searching the entire internet and walking up and down Alberta in search of a handmade wallet shop we thought was called "little meat," we finally found Tinymeat - and Michael Wood, the genius behind it - in a bizarre discordian strip mall on N. Williams street. Michael was kind enough to indulge our chatter about how adorable and awesome all of his wallets were, and even chatted with us about No Reservations, Etsy, and the best burger in Portland. Michael claims the best burger in Portland comes from Le Pigeon. As we have not been there, we cannot substantiate these claims. However, we now have cute wallets. You can find Michael's awesomely awesome work all over the interwebs, but mostly at

You can view Tin Shed's completel menu and cocktail options on their website at

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Michael is a friend of mine and he and his wallets are awesome!

    Y'all should check out Blue Pig in SE sometime. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! It's my favorite place in town and there's never a wait longer than 15 minutes. The drinks there are awesome, too.