Dinner with old friends are the best. They know you too well–> pre happy hour cocktails, dinner at your current obsession and followed up with dessert at your all time favorite (<–Post to come). So what is this current obsession? Oven & Shaker’s is a place I’ve been raving about for a while, with its constant packed house, upbeat and engaging environment, outstanding food and well “shaken” cocktails it is sure to please. Weather the people next to you are girlfriends catching up, business men letting loose, a sexy date, or the occasional family outing there’s something for everyone.
My first experience was with a rather large group, so I got tossed right into being able to try everything! Besides the food one of my favorite things about this place is the atmosphere, although it’s constantly packed there are plenty of places around the corner to grab a drink while you wait for their call. Upon arriving you are most often sat right next to others at joint tables. In fact last time I was there we were seated almost simultaneously with a young father/daughter couple so close to us that we practically were dining together. The gentleman was friends with the owner and had ‘the in’ on what to order. Although I do like to try new things, I can’t seem to stray far from his suggestions. Here’s what seems to be my reoccupying order lately.
Although pizza does pair perfectly with beer or wine, their cocktails are just divine and worth trying. What seems to be most popular by guests is the Pineapple Trainwreck pictured on the left. But if you like something with a bit of spice… who me?… it’s a daring choice but the Pepper Smash (with freshly extracted yellow bell pepper juice) has the perfect touch of spice to pair with any pizza.
Caesar salad has always been a staple of mine and when my new friend/dining neighbor suggested I try the Nostrana salad it was a sure bet. Piled with Parmesan and radicchio it did not disappoint.
Although I’ve always been a huge Caesar salad fan and it was highly recommended, what I can’t seem to get away from is the kale grapefruit salad. So unique and simple yet the flavors pair perfectly together. Once again a little more adventurous but well worth the risk, haven’t found anything like this elsewhere.
Now to the important stuff (the lovely i-phone pic does not do it justice)… I’ve tried many pizzas here but my favorite that’s a must order every time is the salami. Glazed in honey it has that perfect sweet and savory combination. Your fingers are left sticky and worth licking… even in public. Another favorite of mine is topping any pizza with fresh arugula, there isn’t a pizza it doesn’t pair well with. Oven & Shaker is the perfect place for large groups (although be sure to make a reservation) to go and share share share. When you go on a date there’s just too many appealing things to try you end up with a smorgasbord of delicious eats that’s impossible to finish.
So if you’re a fan of thin Italian pizza and in the Portland area I can’t recommend this place enough! Next on my hit list… The Octo-Pie: garlic, octopus, mussels, clams, calabrian chili and agretti. Quite adventurous but what is life without a little edge?