Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trébol is Trés-chic!

Ladies and gentlemen, bust out your wallets and your socks for kncocking off, 'cause Trébol's epic food is in the hizzie and Abbe and Jebby are hungrier then ever!

Appetizers: Guacamole con Chiles y Ajo & Tacos Probaz de Jabali, Pescado y Rez.
The guacamole we ordered was probably the most flavorful guacamole either of us has ever eaten, and we are pretty spoiled by Alton Brown’s delicious recipe. It was spicy and creamy, full of big chunks of roasted garlic and caramelized onions that perfectly complemented the flavors of the other spices while still allowing them to shine. The chips… oh, the chips. They were good, obviously house- made, but they were tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny chips fit only for Keebler elves. We sat around the crock of guac for a good five minutes before attempting to attack it with the impossibly tiny chips. In the end, it was a success but… why? Why make chips so small? It’s not like tortillas are expensive.
The taco sampler came with one taco each of wild boar, braised beef and seared tuna. The tacos came in petite, crunchy shells unlike any other taco shells we have ever eaten. Neither of us had ever tried wild boar before, and we found that it had an amazing sweetness and wasn’t tough at all like we were expecting. The braised beef was rich and flavorful and the fish was seared, very well-seasoned and extremely flavorful. The crunchy cabbage and creamy guacamole were perfect complements. We could have sat at Trébol all night eating nothing but these tacos. They were perfect in every way that a taco should be – crispy shells, perfectly bite-sized, easy to eat and exploding with flavor. Hats off Trébol, you really knocked our socks off with these wee beauties.

Jebby's Meal: Caldo De Mariscos
          A friend of mine who I consider to be very knowledgeable about food pointed me in the direction of Trébol and their Oaxacan-style cuisine. I wanted to eat there but was a little intimidated by the price tag on their entrees. Fortunately, in Portland, the difference between really good food and fast food is just a few dollars. But when you’re buying drinks and trying to have a night out that involves more than water and a single entrée, those few dollars of difference add up quickly. Thankfully, Trébol paired up with Groupon and I was able to snag a great bargain - $25.00 for $50.00 worth of food.
The moment I bought the Groupon I began scoping out Trébol’s menu, and I knew from the moment I saw it that I was going to order the Caldo de Mariscos. I love seafood and I’m a sucker for dishes that combine as many types of seafood as possible. When it arrived, the broth was fragrant and steaming. I was happy to see a bowl loaded with seafood and massive cross-sections of corn cob, all swaddled in a rich red broth. I sipped a spoonful of the broth first. It was hot, tomatoey and tasted (I thought) like saffron, but it was somewhat underseasoned. I felt that it would’ve been infinitely improved by  a dash of salt. There are no salt and pepper shakers on the tables at Trébol. I would have felt extremely gauche asking for salt, but I’m not gonna lie… it needed it. If you are going to ask your diners to implicitly trust your seasoning, your food had better damn sure be well-seasoned.
Anyway, that’s enough of my griping about seasoning. The seafood was perfect. The mussels and clams were plentiful, tender, and juicy. The massive spot prawns were succulent and not overdone, which is something of a feat when the prawns are that large. There were two slices of expertly cooked albacore tuna in my stew, but no calamari, as the menu indicates. I actually didn’t even miss it until I sat down and looked at the menu once more to write my review.
Overall, it was a good stew. Was it worth the price? Maybe not. Would I order it again? No. Next time I go to Trébol, I’m ordering the fish tacos that the exhibitionist lesbians at the table next to us were snarfing down like it was their last day on the planet. Fish… tacos… yeah.
            I should mention that the cocktail I ordered, La Loca, was one of the top 3 cocktails I’ve ever had in Portland. It was well-blended, and I LOVE me a cocktail with cucumber in it. But add gin and basil and you have yourself a true winner. It was tart, refreshing and unexpected. Even Abbe wept a tear of admiration and she usually hates drinks with herbs in them

Abbe’s Meal: Layered Enchiladas (Spanish name = I can’t remember)
I probably spent 10 minutes looking at the menu thinking everything sounded amazing ( like I do at pretty much every place we eat that has a bomb looking menu), and I decided that a classic Mexican dish like enchiladas would be a good choice since A) I’ve eaten a lot of enchiladas in my day and B) They’re enchiladas. I think I chose wisely. This dish was amazing in all aspects; it was beautiful first of all. My own little tower of layered and crisp corn tortillas, mounds of melted jack cheese, succulent chicken, corn, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes and cilantro all drizzled with a unique enchilada sauce I have never encountered in my enchilada eating expeditions.
Everything was so flavorful I don’t know where to begin talking about it. Obviously made by skilled professionals, the ingredients in this dish were each important components and had one been missing, I believe it wouldn’t have tasted so good. The Zucchini was either grilled or pan seared, the flavor was smokey like it was grilled, but also buttery and crisp like it would be from a pan. The tomatoes were fresh and not soggy, the cilantro tasted as if they had just plucked it from its plant and tossed it onto my food, it was that good. The garlic was roasted with big chunks of clove peeking out from under the tortillas and the corn was light and crunchy, complementing all the other textures.
The chicken exceeded my expectations here. I was expecting something good, anything reminiscent of the appetizer meats we tatsed and I would have been perfectly content, but it went beyond that. Perfectly tender and shredded, this bird must have died happy, because it was better than good, it was extraordinary. Perfectly spiced and cooked to it’s full potential, I was in poultry ecstacy when I finished this meal and just thinking about it makes my tongue tingle. I highly recommend this experience.
I also had a cocktail called “Kaliman” which contained Vodka, Cranberry Juice, and Raspberry Pureé. What can be said about fruity girl drinks where you can’t taste the booze, but you do taste a rainbow of sweet flavors that make you feel like a 5 year old stealing strawberries from the grocery store when mom isn’t looking while simultaneously running hand in hoof with a unicorn towards a sparkling rainbow?
Not much except what I just said.
This drink was brilliantly crafted by some mastermind, who must have been a girl herself, or a very girl drink oriented male. Fresh raspberries all blended together with a splash of cranberry and a bit of vodka make this drink a new favorite to add to my long going list of cleverly made, Portland girly drinks. Our waitress was tempting too because she dutifully checked on us numerous times and asked “Would you like another cocktail?”
I had to say “No, I’m fine.” Through my teeth like a liar so I didn’t end up punch drunk on Kaliman and raving like a crazy lady about how delicious everything was.

                                                                Dessert: Sopa Pillas
          Hey, I've got an idea. Let's take some dough, deep fry it, coat it in cinnamon and sugar and dump a bunch of honey on top of it. YES.
These genius little pastries were the perfect ending to our luxurious eating experience at Trébol. Soft and piping hot with a crisp edge and melt-in-your-mouth flavor, Jebby and I could not get enough. I was literally pouring mounds of honey all over my portion and frantically shoveling it into my face like any minute someone was going to take it away. It pretty much doesn't get any better than sugar and cinnamon covered deep fried anything. Then add the honey and you've got a simple dish that'll blow anybodies mind. Very enjoyable, you should all give them a try.

Our overall review of Trébol:
“Do you have a reservation?”
Jebby and I haven’t yet eaten at an establishment that is so trés-chic so we pretty much just looked at the waiter with a “What is this reservation you speak of?” kind of look.
Trébol isn’t reminiscent of a posh and upscale eatery, it is a posh and upscale eatery. Prepare to feel like royalty when you sit at your reserved or non-reserved table and have re-used bottles of wine filled with water brought to you, the finest in cocktail-ery, and food so pretty you almost don’t want to eat it out of fear you’ll mess it up. Jebby and I were confounded to say the least, this being our first experience (as far as our food blog goes) eating at such a fine dining establishment.
The atmosphere is nothing short of gorgeous with eclectic décor, romantic lighting, rustic furniture and various cacti that line the corners. Half of the time we spent waiting for food, we also spent admiring our beautiful surroundings and making comments such as “I would want that in my house, oh, and that too. That is awesome, I want that.”
The minds behind the limited, but imaginative and unique menu at Trébol have more than just food to offer their patrons. They compost, use local and sustainable ingredients, and they have an Eco-Roof! This neat little idea incorporates the use of native grasses and drought-tolerant plants to absorb excess rainwater to insulate the roof top. Pretty neat eh? So if that wasn’t enough to make you say “Oooooh, they sound cool”, listen to this, they have a full Tequila bar and I’m talking, every tequila you ever imagined existed. Jebby and I both looked on in awe at the mile long list of tequilas ranging in price from $25 a bottle to $400.
Despite the bustling bodies we encountered during our stay, our waitress was friendly, insightful, and very attentive. She came to check on us multiple times, while we ate our appetizers, entrees, and dessert. She offered more cocktails, gave us feedback on the various dishes we inquired about, and was all around a hospitable gal. We were impressed to say the least at how well she paid attention to our needs despite how busy she and the restaurant in general, obviously were. You probably know by now that Jebby and I pay close attention to how close attention is paid to us as patrons and in this area, and well, every other area for that matter, Trébol gets an A++++++!
Trébol offers cooking classes, nightly specials, taco Tuesdays, Burger Wednesdays, and about 500 other awesome things you can enjoy at their restaurant. This place is inventive and local minded which creates an undeniable combination that draws Portlanders to its doorstep. I have no doubt Jebby and I will visit again, but have some dough ready, Trébol is not on the cheap end of eats, but its well worth the extra cash.
Trébol's lovely menu can be viewed at


  1. You two never fail to make me hungry. Lol'd at the fish tacos. brb dinner!