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Blended Tastes at Portland’s Navarre Restaurant

Last evening we walked to a restaurant a few blocks from our son’s house in Portland, Oregon. Navarre is a small and busy restaurant located on North East 28th Avenue between Couch and Burnside. The restaurant has an extensive wine list, mostly French with a few wines from Italy, Spain and the United States. Since there were six of us we decided to order small plates of food. The food is served family style and is passed around the table for all to sample and enjoy. For the wine we went with a red blend from Italy that was lighter bodied. We had several foods that we wanted the wine to pair with.

Our food plates included tuna in a tomato sauce, lamb that was slowly cooked and tender, steak slices paired with lemon slices, a potato casserole, A combination of cooked greens, an arugula salad and olives and mushrooms. At first there is a tendency to keep everything separated on your plate. After a time, however, the foods begin to mix together and soon you have an assortment of tastes. The wonderful thing is that they all blended nicely together.

The wine selected was a 2009 Cabanon Augurio. This was quite a blend including Bonarda, Barbera, Merlot, a Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Syrah. The wine was fruity and slightly sweet. The name “Augurio” means “good omen” and the wine lived up to its name pairing well with the tuna dish and the lamb. It was a bit challenged to pair with the steak, however if you doused the steak with lemon juice and then had the wine the pairing was better. For the wide assortment of foods on the table the wine from Lombardia, Italy matched well where a bolder red would have overpowered some of the dishes.

We had a delightful time at Navarre Restaurant. They work with a csa and the specials on the menu are made with food that is delivered during the week. Both the small and large plates are based on Italian, French and Spanish cuisines.


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