Josey's Restaurant 2009

You're right, Jonathon and I are a little nuts--attending the Wednesday Farmer's Market and eating lunch elsewhere. How could we possibly turn down all those food choices? We went to the market early and my oatmeal was still holding steady. Besides we needed to run an errand on the north end of town. So a stop at Josey's for lunch really did make perfect sense. My only regret is not having one of their shakes, but a hamburger and a shake in the afternoon on a warm day would turn me into a lawnchair potato until sundown.

We sat in one of their small booths by the front window across from the bar. The waitress who is always ready with a smile and a welcome, handed us menus. I asked her which burger she'd recommend and she suggested both the Manhattan or Bacon & Swiss. I ordered the Manhattan with tots and an iced tea. Jonathon ordered a club sandwich with fries and a cola.

Our food arrived, looking freshly prepared and inviting. My hamburger sported a soft, fresh, sesame seed bun, with a succulent, flavorful patty--oozing meaty goodness. The lettuce and pickle were crisp, the cheese melted just right and the grilled onions were delicious. I wish the tomato had been a bit riper, but at least it was a healthy slice. The generous serving of tots was crisp and not overly greasy. What a great burger!
~Take it away, Jonathon~

Nothing was life changing about my Club Sandwich, but who can argue with bacon? The bread was nicely toasted and the lettuce was nice and crisp, but it was the bacon and mayo that make this sandwich one of my all time favorites. I know that there was also turkey and ham on the sandwich, but it could have been anything. Seemed like standard deli slices. I suggested to K that it would be better with a good cheese. She said that that phrase is going to go on my tombstone! Overall, I'd say it was about average, nothing special, but satisfying all the same.

My biggest disappointment was the fries, though. While they were plenty in quantity (as you can see), they had very little flavor or texture at all. I prefer crispy fries, which you can only get by frying them twice. They were void of any seasoning at all. I had to add plenty of table salt and steal some of K's really good tots to get my fix.

Josey's Restaurant
2280 Broadway Street Northeast
Salem, OR 97301
503 399-0046
At the intersection of Pine and Broadway
Hours: Monday - Saturday 7AM-2PM, Sunday 8AM-1PM
(I did notice that they're open until 8 PM on Fridays--maybe summer hours?)

Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner at La Capitale

This is a Twitter feed that happened live on Sunday night.
For more information on Ninkasi Brewing Company, visit their website:
Follow my live feed tonight from the Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner at La Capitale at 6pm or follow at

Just a test for tonight's dinner if the laptop doesn’t work. Its at 6pm!

Vic D here. It’s a bit early but I wanted to say hi while I set up the laptop and try to find a signal.

Everyone is milling in and being seated for tonight’s Ninkasi Brewers Dinner.

We met the chef and the hostess Alison. I see a few faces I recognize like the owner of Wandering Aengus.

Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi is setting up the meal with an intro and a surprise. An appetizer and summer radiant. My first time to taste a premiere beer.

Summer radiant is very flavorful and well radiant. Cant wait for the beer to be in stores. The fried cheese and salami was a nice combo...

next course up is a non traditional pale ale their spring release Spring Reign

The food will be tuna seared and accompanied by corn puree tomatoes and arrrugula

Light and beautiful is how I describe the next course. Very spring like. ooh i think I hear jazz in the background!

just waiting for the next course...what a lively crowd

Just learned that Ninkasi is truly a local beer with local ingredients. They are not organic so they can use local ingredients

Next up is a darker pale ale with proper American beer food...dogs and tots

The quantum pale ale is a bit sweeter and tastes German with the grain mustard and tater tots. mmmmm...

the more beers i see placed in front of me the louder the conversations...and now they bring us steak knives

next up is the flagship domination ipa. sounds great

beer tip: IPAs and cheese (fondue) go really well together

Wow. The beer and fondue with the beef are perfect together

so creamy with the right amount of bite

Did i mention this beef is local from Knee Deep Ranch

waiting for the shell fish and learning about IPA..hops a antibacterial. I didnt know that

ninkasi is the sumerian goddess of case you were wondering

the next course will be light and not complex so it doesn’t overpower the desert. bring on the believer double red ale

Salty pork, shellfish and red pepper. Different but still tasty

beer and food is wonderfully paired

I haven’t left, we are getting a short break before desert is announced

oat meal stout up next. Yum one of my favorites

beer float! omg! how awesome is that

beer floats are not for the meek. they are bold and tasty. I feel like im a judge for iron chef with this course

down to the bottom of mu float. who knew vanilla ice cream and oat meal stout would be so good together

Great dinner! Lots of applause for the chef, kitchen staff and the brew master as well as the waitstaff

Very glad my first brewmaster dinner was such a well planned and executed one

thank you so much for joining us at this special event. This is Vic D signing out. Happy eating

I'd like to send out a huge thank you to @kidcapitale for inviting us to the dinner last night. Im so glad it was such a success

follow me on

Vicarious Diner at La Capitale's Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner

Update 6/28/09
Stay tuned right here at 6pm tonight for a live twitter feed from the Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner at La Capitale. The Vicarious Diner will take you inside the festivities. Here's how it works if you haven't participated in this before.

If you're a member of Twitter, follow the @vicariousdiner twitter and tweets will start at 6p tonight.

If you're not a member of twitter, no problem, just stay tuned to this site and refresh often. You can respond by posting comments in the section provided below.

See you at six!

Eat Salem's own Vicarious Diner will be attending the Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner this Sunday night and tweeting live at 6p. Stay tuned to for more info or follow on Twitter.

Sushi Kyo

I'm guessing the inventor of the sushi conveyor belt doesn't get mentioned in the same sentence as Thomas Edison too often, but, in today's high tech environment, the sight of raw fish rolling by is an ingenious marketing tool. If I gave my kids a choice of eating at the best sushi restaurant in all of Oregon or the one in town with the conveyor belt, the decision for them is easy. The restaurant with the conveyor belt. Sushi Kyo is a small Japanese restaurant in a newer building near the Winco on Lancaster. Eating there, in an assembly line situation might remind you of the classic scene in I love Lucy where Lucy is trying to wrap the chocolates coming out from the kitchen.(see video below) At Sushi Kyo, you don't have to eat everything that is passing by your table. Just be patient. If the item you like passes by, there is sure to be another one coming soon. On this visit, the restaurant was fairly busy with almost every table and stool filled with customers. Some of those restaurant patrons gave me odd looks as I held out my point and shoot camera to take a video of the entree stream quietly selling themselves as they passed by our table. The video is the best way show how the system works. Each item is priced based on the color of the plate the food is on. For instance a red plate is $1.25, the cheapest item, and the blue plate is $2.35, the most expensive. Here's a link to their menu. The roll pictured here with the avocado is a Caterpillar Roll. The one below is called Lchi Shrimp. It's nowhere near the best sushi I've ever eaten but it's reasonably priced and the conveyor belt novelty brings big smiles to the faces of my children. It's fun to see them learn about making decisions on the spot about what they want to eat. Occasionally a slice of chocolate cake would roll by and the kids would get excited. We promised they could have a slice at the end of the meal. My son is very picky and raw fish is nowhere near a possibility with him. Instead he had four plates of Cucumber Salad and a bowl of miso soup. My daughter, who has a more adventurous appetite, went for the California Rolls and Edamame. The conveyor belt is such an attraction in the dining room, that I had to look up and around to get a sense of the whole atmosphere. Up on the wall, hanging like framed art, is the pricing menu for the plates. Music was playing quietly in the background and a low murmur of conversations gave some energy to the ambiance. The service was very good until the end of the meal when we were waiting for someone to bring the check. It got me thinking about what other sorts of ways could food be delivered to a table. How about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich restaurant where the food comes up out of an elevator in the center of the table. Maybe a pizza parlor where the slices are dropped down from a minature remote control blimp flying a circular path overhead. Robots, R2D2 like droids on a random path like the Roomba vacuum cleaner bumping around the dining room serving appetizers. Just some thoughts. What do you think.

French Press or Breakfast in Paris

From Paris in June

Two strokes of luck gave me the opportunity to try French Press for breakfast on Tuesday. Thanks to one of our sweet school families (that I've been lucky enough to have 3 of their children in class), I had a French Press gift certificate and thanks to excellent internet timing, I had a breakfast date with my dear friend, Shirley. We synchronized our watches and decided to meet a little after 9 AM the following day. Even though it was a beautiful, blue sky morning, we opted to eat inside--I have a tough enough time hearing without the steady hum of Commercial competing with voices.
Before leaving the house, I wanted to check out their online menu, to get an idea of what the offerings were. I didn't have any luck with the menu link on their website, but remembered Salem Man had scanned and posted a copy of their menu during their opening. Thank you, Salem Man! (side one, side two)
We both decided on one of their breakfast crepes. Their menu directs you to choose one from a list of different meats and to choose two from a list of vegetables and cheeses. I chose Black Forest Ham, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese for mine and Shirley chose Black Forest Ham, avocado and mushrooms. We both ordered a mug of their house coffee.
Their coffee is deep, dark and strong--just the way both of us like it. My crepe was thin with a very slight sweetness with the nice combination of an egg, the ham and sauteed mushrooms, tucked inside. Shirley commented that her crepe had a generous amount of both avocado and mushrooms.
It was nice to enjoy a warm breakfast of lighter fare with a friend--which made for less eating and more visiting.

Dolliaz Cafe and Deli

~by KandN & Liseanne

I've been hoping for an opportunity to to try out Dolliaz Cafe and Deli ever since the first time I spotted the business next to Fitt's Seafood on 12th. Their hours (Monday thru Friday, 8 AM - 3:30 PM) make a visit difficult on a regular work schedule, but now I have plenty of opportunities since I'm off work for the summer. So one of my goals is to make an effort to visit some of these lunch spots in town.

Lise and I had finished running our freezer jam errands and realized it was 1:30 and past time to eat. After our first miscalculation on which part of 12th the cafe is situated, we drove around the block and pulled into the parking lot. My first impression upon walking through the door was a good one. The nicely decorated, modern interior was nice on the eyes - from the photo displays on the walls to the wood laminate floor. The menu, hanging above the order counter, is easy to read, bright, appealing and well lit.

The Reuben was beckoning to me from the "hot sandwich" portion of the menu, but the owner (?) pointed to another sign below the main menu that stated you could get half a sandwich from their "gourmet sandwich" menu and a bowl of soup. I had spotted the four soup tureens on our way to the counter. The Baja Chicken soup sounded tempting - as well as the Loaded Potato with Bacon. I asked which sandwich he would recommend and he suggested the Turkey, Avocado and Bacon on wheat.

After ordering I walked over and stood in front of the soup tureens trying to make up my mind between the Baja Chicken and Loaded Potato soups (there was a seven bean and chicken noodle, too). Another customer came up and was faced with the same decision. I remarked that they should have a bottomless soup bowl. "They do! For $9!", the customer replied. He came up to our table later to check if the Baja Chicken had been the right choice. :>) My father would love a place with a bottomless soup bowl! {making mental note to take Dad here}

The Chicken Baja soup was delicious with a touch of heat and the bowl was a nice size. The sandwich was made with a soft wheat bread and shredded iceberg lettuce. The bacon was flavorful and crispy and went together nicely with the tomato and avocado. Overall it's the kind of place I'd like to have in my neighborhood - local, well done, and friendly with delicious soup!

And now it's Lise's turn . . .

Hi all! I thought the same thing when we walked in. I loved the deep red color on the walls and black and maple furniture with spot lights positioned well to see the menu at the back and the art on the walls. Their outside sign is pretty cool looking too.
I ordered the Garden Veggie sandwich on 7 Grain bread. The bread was soft with an herb cream cheese spread on one side. There was a good assortment of veggies, which tasted great with the cream cheese and maybe a slight bit of herb infused vinegar(?). My preference for veggie sandwiches is for a bit more exotic array of veggies or at least the addition of olives and sprouts, but the sandwich tasted good and they didn't skimp on bell peppers and cucumbers. Each sandwich came with chips. As with many things in life we must sacrifice quantity for quality, and that's how I felt about the chips. They were very fresh and crunchy Kettle chips, but there were probably only six in each of our baskets.

I saw Dolliaz served a large selection of Espresso and other cafe drinks. My test for all coffee places is the mocha. Their mocha was not too sweet but the espresso was a bit too light for me. I think I'd go back for coffee sometime, maybe for breakfast. (Yes, they serve breakfast!)

My one problem was the number of unbussed tables. You could tell it had been a few minutes since someone was sent out to bus. If I could, I'd suggest to the Dolliaz owners to put a self bussing station out somewhere to help with this issue. Other than that, the server, cashier, and the barista were very nice and helpful. Friendly service is often the best part about family owned and run restaurants.

1555 12th St SE # 130
Salem, OR 97302-2854
(503) 363-6077

Breakfast with Jonathon at WOM

We needed milk and everyone in the household had forgotten to buy a gallon the day before. Poor N had to do without his usual oatmeal and had to settle for strawberry shortcake for breakfast
- on a chocolate muffin
- with whipped cream.
Poor, poor N! {A memory of a Bill Cosby routine just popped into my head; "Dad is great, he gives us chocolate cake!"}

Fran's Jon had some errands to run (yes, milk, too!) and we were both up and ready, so off we went. Little did we know that Word of Mouth would pop into our heads once we were on the road. As soon as we walked up the steps and opened the door we were greeted. A spot at the bar? Sounds perfect! Their eggs benedict holds a special place in Jonathon's heart/stomach. One of his favorite breakfast spots in Ashland offers eggs benedict, but he says they pale in comparison.

Becky treated us to a taste of their split pea soup while we waited for breakfast. Oh my word! I am not a split pea soup fan, but this was full of (OMG) delicious ham flavor and just the right amount of pepper to bring it all together. Who would've thought pea soup for breakfast?

I had to turn down the toast, (which I love) due to my chewing handicap, when I ordered my accidental omelet. The wonderful marriage of mushrooms, sausage, cheese and eggs tasted so good! This is the only place where I order an omelet. Omelets, in my book, have to be fluffy and not overcooked and not over stuffed. WOM knows how to make an omelet. {yup, I'm gushing!}
Jon and I enjoyed our breakfast, sipped our coffee and watched Rachel Ray peel potatoes, until it was time to get busy on those errands. Thank you, Word of Mouth, for a great start to our day!

Salem Relay For Life - 6/19 Noon to 6/20 Noon!

By Vegan's Nightmare
The 2009 Relay For Life of Salem is Friday, June 19 (12:00 noon) to Saturday, June 20 (12:00 noon) and the event will be held at Chemawa Indian School.

Some of the activities on the docket:
- Pajama Fashion Show
- Ms. (Mr.?) Relay Contest
- Human Ring Toss
- Dancing Laps
- Musical Chairs (very early in the morning)
- Limbo
- Wake-a-doodle-do (Have your best “rooster” to the stage at 5:30am!)
- Bands: “Third Time Around”, “American Nobody”

There will be several food options available, including the Exchange Club, Maui Wowi, Ricky's Tacqueria, JD's Lots of Dots (Dippin Dots), and A Taste of Holland. Check back here for a totally biased review of the food vendors at Relay.

Relay For Life is a 24-hour event to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who lost their battle to cancer and fight back to find a cure for all cancers.

Christo's Pizzeria-Restaurant

Review by M2D

Christo's Pizzeria-Restaurant
New Broadway location
1108 Broadway ST NE
Mon.-Thurs: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-8PM
Fri.: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-9PM
Sat.: 5-9PM
503 371-2892

On my way home from work on Tuesday at about 4:45 p.m. my son said, "you want to get something to eat mom?” I said, "OK, what do you want?" After the usual offerings of Mexican, Italian, etc. I asked if he wanted to try the new Christo's location. He said, OK. We had never tried the old location so this was an opportunity to try the "new" improved location.

The pizzeria/restaurant is housed in an older building with very high ceilings and a fresh coat of paint. They lack any air conditioning that I could see (or feel for that matter). In fact the front door was wide open w/ no screen present allowing flies to come in. It was very hot in there especially with the large pizza oven placed very near the dinning area where you can clearly see it. Some customers who arrived after we did wanted to sit near the window and were told they may not want to because it gets very hot in that area. We arrived early so there were only 2 other people seated in the dinning room at that time.

Apparently they have expanded their menu to include a small dinner menu with such offerings as chicken picate or Marsala (also available in veal), as well as some pasta dishes, steak, salads and appetizers. I noted that they do have a small bar as well. They also have a small selection of wines by the bottle or glass, beer, imported sodas, fountain drinks, Torani Italian sodas and espresso drinks. My son ordered an Italian soda; I ordered a glass of Pino Grigio.

We then placed our order for a side Caesar salad for my son and a side dinner salad for me. The salads took a very long time to arrive. They were a nice size and very fresh. Although I thought the Caesar dressing and croutons seriously lacked flavor. The blue cheese dressing was obviously bottled. I'd love to see them make some good from scratch dressings to set themselves apart from the rest.

We ordered 2 small 12" pizza pies so that we could both have the toppings we wanted and have a little left over for take-home. My son ordered the pepperoni @ $12.25 I ordered the Attilio's Garden @ $18.25 which consisted of mushrooms (didn't see any though) olives, red & green onions, artichoke hearts and garlic. I could taste the garlic which I really liked a lot. I noted that the pepperoni pie had a layer of grease floating on top. The garden pizza was quite good though. I thought the pizzas also took a long time to arrive.

What bothered me most about my experience though was the lack of service. I constantly had to twist and stretch my neck looking for my server. Although he was very pleasant I had to hunt him down for an additional glass of wine because he was busy chatting endlessly with the pizza maker never once glancing our way. He didn't bring plates or grated cheese and crushed red pepper seeds when he delivered our pizza. Once again we had to hunt him down to procure those items as well.

The real deal breaker for me was when we had finished our meal. We were ready to go and wanted the pizza boxed up and a check. Our server was no where to be found. I flagged down another server and asked to have our pizza boxed up and to drop our check. She did so promptly. However, she stated that our check was "lost" and could we give her a run down of what exactly we had so she could reproduce a new check. For reals? The place wasn't even busy! The server ran my debit card, I signed it and purposely left the tip portion blank. I rarely dine out anymore because like many others our family has been hit by the financial crisis and we just can't fit it into our budget. This was to be a treat since we just came into some tax refund dollars. I spent $50.00 on my visit and frankly I'm in no hurry to return or recommend it in the future.

Upon exiting we headed for our van parked in the rear parking lot behind the restaurant. There was our disappearing server! He was having a cigarette and texting on his cell phone. Too bad for him he just lost out on a potential $10.00 tip. I always tip at least 20% especially if I get stellar service. And too bad for the owners who lost a potentially good customer as well as some free word of mouth advertising. What a disappointment.

Best of the Worst

Here's some more rejected comments from some of our less then nice online neighbors.

Shut up Bitches ********* IS THE BEST. Don't go if you don't like.. more food for me!

************** has gone way downhill since the owner is always drunk

hi, i like the place but i don't like the older women because she looks like a mean person,she gave us a bad service but thank you ******. i like your tacos.

At least its better than teh **********.....i've always go out and eat there because i go and get my nails done .....and i've seen couple of new managers....there is one mexican guy hes short and cubby and my opinion and he was just on this young worker she was doing her hardest to attend all the people and had no help from the drive thru or the manager.....i cannot believe she as alot to deal and i over heard he is such an **s in my opinion now i go to ******** ....because i just hate to see such and unfairness to this girl......

Top Dog Sports Grill

Again, the car pulled out of the driveway without a destination set. My family likes to decide at the last minute where to eat. It's kind of unfair to my family because, having this site, I need to eat at new places all the time. The car rolled toward Commercial St. with names like Bigfoot, Word of Mouth, Thai Beer, even Popeyes and Carl's Jr, being suggested for potential places to eat. One requirement needed to be filled for this all to work, a TV monitor to watch the NBA Championship. Oh yeah, it can't be a bar because we have two children. They don't drink. When my wife suggested "that new sports bar over on 12th St." I was convinced they would never allow kids in there. We gave it a try. I peeked in the door and saw signs that indicated only part of the restaurant is off limits to minors.
It's called Top Dog Sport's Grill. I noticed they left the word "bar" out of the title. Lavachickie did a great job reviewing this place in March so my apologies for writing about it so soon. I might not have written anything if it wasn't such a great deal. The food was very good and reasonably priced. I ordered Kung Po Chicken for under $8 and one of my kids got this order of two Whimpy Burgers and fries for about $5.50. The owner of Top Dog used to own a Chinese restaurant on Commercial next to "Big 5" called Eng's. So, it was no surprise that my spicy asian dish turned out so good. The cheeseburgers, I ate the leftover one that was too much for my daughter to eat, were juicy, served next to an abudance of crispy fries. We sat at a tall table with stools just far enough back to get a good view of the game on a bank of widescreen monitors. Each of the tables along the front window also had personal monitors playing the game.
Just about every table was full on a Tuesday night, probably a crowd of folks rooting for the Lakers to lose. I was a little worried about the service at first, not seeing many people working there, but we got our food fast. Having the option of good Chinese food along with typical bar fare in an enviornment that is appropriate for kids is unique. The rest of the reviews from other members of my family confirm that we will be back. Maybe tonight.

Guess Where I Ate

Can you guess where I ordered this terrific bowl of Kung Po Chicken?

Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner at La Capitale

Here's one from the inbox.
Ninkasi Brewer's Dinner at La Capitale
Master brewer Jaime Floyd of Ninkasi Brewery in Eugene will be on hand. All of our taps will be pouring Ninkasi and we will pair the craft brews with five courses of La Capitale's food. Think house-made garlic & herb sausages with "Double Red Ale", grilled steak with "Total Domination" IPA and Ancient Heritage Dairy's "Adelle" cheese fondue, "Oatis" oatmeal stout ice cream float and much more. Each course will come with a different Ninkasi beer. Ninkasi's summer seasonal beer "Radiant" will also make it's debut at La Capitale this evening. This promises to be a fun, one of a kind even.

Where: La Capitale Brasserie, 508 State St., Downtown Salem, Oregon
When: Sunday, June 28. There will be one seating at 6:00 pm. By reservation only. Space is limited to 50 seats.
Cost: $48--not including gratuity.
For more information or for reservations please call 503-585-1975 or visit our website at

Panezanellie's -Sublimity


(ownership has changed) On our way back home to Salem, a Sly & the Family Stone song, "It's a Family Affair", began running through my head - seemed so appropriate after dining at Panezanellie's, Wednesday evening. The thunderstorm, with it's whipping winds, made for a dramatic drive on the back roads to Sublimity, but thanks to google maps street view, we knew exactly what landmarks to look for and drove right to the restaurant. We parked in front and dashed to the front door.

The small shop/restaurant reminded me of grandma's house. It's jam packed with cookbooks, tea pots, knick knacks, etc. In the front dining area there are 3 small cafe tables. The order counter has a small display case with a pizza you can buy by the slice, right beside is a rack with loaves of bread for sale. On the opposite side is a larger deli display case with salads and if you turn around you'll find a small refrigerator with cannoli and gelato. Whew! So much to see and eat!

The friendly young woman behind the counter greeted us and handed us a menu. We compromised on a pizza pie - half Nellie Belle and half Old School. Then we each picked out a bottle of beer and sat at a cozy table for two next to a table with another couple. Our beautiful pizza arrived about 15 - 17 minutes later. The crust was thick, soft and slightly sweet. The sausage on Old School had a nice flavor with a zing, the peppers were sweet and fresh. I couldn't find one thing I didn't like - it was delicious pizza. Although, I will admit, the slight sweetness in the crust took a bite or two to get accustomed to.

N enjoyed the pizza, too, but wasn't as enthralled as I. He wished the sauce had some Italian spices added to it and overall more flavor.
The pie was so filling, we were only able to eat half. (I'm not complaining - I
love leftover pizza.) Also, due to our late arrival it was closing time - another reason to think about hitting the road. One of the owners, came out to the dining area to tidy up. He stopped and asked how we were doing and told us that the entire family works at the restaurant. As if on cue, a quarrel between siblings began in the kitchen. That's when the song began to run through my head -
"It's a family affair . . ."

{P.S. leftover update - It
was better fresh .}

111 NE Starr St.
, Oregon
503 767-7849

Christo's opens in new location

Mon.-Thurs: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-8PM
Fri.: 11:30-2PM, 4:30-9PM
Sat.: 5-9PM
503 371-2892

Christo's Pizzeria debuts its new location this weekend, with a soft opening available by reservation only. The gourmet pizza joint was formerly housed in a tiny, intimate storefront on Church Street downtown. Patrons stood in line to order at the cash register, and then jockeyed for one of the few tables.

The new location - formerly Dick's Appliances on Broadway Street - is everything the old location was not. It's large and spacious, with a lively bar and a large kitchen. It feels upscale with a nice ambiance. There are plenty of tables, and at Friday's opening night, every one of them was filled. Waiters and waitresses buzzed about the dining room.

The most drastic change at the new Christo's is the expanded menu. Previously, they focused mostly on pizzas, with salads and breadsticks thrown in. Now, the menu includes pasta, steak, veal, chicken plates, appetizers and desserts. The pizzas are still there, but there are lots more of them.

It's always sad to lose a restaurant from downtown, but Christo's neighborhood is an interesting mix, and getting more lively all the time: The beautiful new Salem Cinema is across the street. Willamette Noodle Company was down the way, but that location just closed for good ~ with a cryptic promise of a new restaurant taking its place.

Next door to Christo's is their lounge, a lively 21-and-over music venue. 

As of Friday, reservations still were available for Saturday night: (503) 371-2892.

Christo's Pizzeria 1108 Broadway St. NE, one block south of Market.
Facebook page

Bikini Barista Gone in South Salem

Our options for seeing scantaly clad women are becoming more limited in South Salem as the Bikini Barista exits their location on Commercial SE next to the Mongolian BBQ. It's been replaced by the more patriotic All American Coffee Co. which boasts serving brew from the Capitol City Coffee Roasters. Anyone know the story behind this?


Review By Michael Rice
You know when you are in new york or chicago or even portland and you find one of those great authentic ethnic restaurants.  Where the combination of ingredients and spices and skills results in an almost magical combination that creates something more than just a meal.   I have discovered just such a diamond in the rough hidden right under my nose in downtown salem.

I have walked by Saigon probably 2000 times and never given it a second glance.  Then a client took me there for lunch and I was blown away.

The flavors are hard to describe, they are just "right".
The right combination of spices and ingredients.  And skill.

Ate there last week:

My wife had curry chicken and just raved about it.  She shared with me and the curry was as good as I have ever had.

My sister had a noodle soup and commented on the balance of flavors and said it was delicious.

I had the lemon grass tofu and the tofu was just right and the vegetables were delightful.  I just can't stop craving it (been back three times this week).  The lunch buffet is wonderful (and quick!).

It is hard to write a review because I keep wanting to write awesome, perfect...etc.  But it really is that good.

The owners are the servers and are very friendly.

I can't find a single fault and I should mention that I own restaurants, have been in the industry all my life, and can be very critical.

Bottom line:  AAA plus.  The only other restaurant in town that gets that rating from me is Mortons.

Located next to the Governor's Cup on Court St. Downtown.

Jamba Juice, It's Local to Me

Way back when, in the last century, I lived in a state that was closer to the equator then Oregon and a bit drier. There was a juice craze going on. It was healthy and as you walked down the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo, the sound of blenders could be heard as people lined up in storefronts all over town to have their fruit pureed. The most popular locally owned place was Juice Club. A co worker of mine, at the time, ordered a drink from them over the phone for pick up almost everyday. Just as the company was starting to open up more franchises around the state, they changed their name to Jamba Juice. I'll confess to being confused by the name change, believing that the original name was better at explaining what the product is. Soon, Jamba Juices started setting up shop all over the country, usually next door to another beverage mega chain, Starbucks. Jamba Juice has really found a niche in the restaurant industry. Maybe their name recognition has given them the ability to squeeze out the competition.(just had to write that line) The restaurant they have in South Salem is never terribly busy. It's bright and cheery with loud upbeat music playing in the background. I often wonder how the working environment of that place changes one's personality. I just imagine after an eight hour shift of squeezing juice from wheat grass, listening to George Michael's hits from his days as the lead singer for Wham! and being exposed to shades of colors not seen in Salem from November to March, that a person might come home more energized then when they went in. We go there, on occasion, when we feel the need for a quick healthy meal to go. Razzmatazz is my drink. It's what I've been ordering for years. Way back when, I believe it used to be about $3 for a 16oz cup. Now it's over $4.50. The one health hazard you should know about before sucking down a cup of this nutritious meal, brain freeze. It gets you every time, especially on a warm afternoon. The Jamba Juice website has a couple of fun games on it here's the links. Jamba Maze Craze and Functional Breakdown

Super Pho, Where Did You Go?

Reviewed by: Liseanne
Update: The downtown Super Pho closed due to family issues. You can still find them on 1630 Lancaster Dr NE Lancaster

For the past week I've been thinking that its about time I get down to the new Vietnamese restaurant on Lancaster to taste some super pho. I heard it was supposed to open on April 20th. I didn't know how or when, but I knew I'd get me some tasty noodle soup.

Today, as my family wondered what we should do for dinner, I offered Super Pho as an option. I had to add the caveat that it may or may not be open. We drove down Lancaster as I tried to remember exactly where Super Pho's location was, past Kyoto and Big Lots. Then, suddenly, there it was. As we approached I noticed the blinds were drawn and the "Super Pho, Coming Soon!" sign was still hanging off the roof.

There was no way it was open yet. Every blind was drawn, hiding scattered booths and haphazard interior decorating. The front door appeared to be half boarded up, but when I took a closer look i noticed it was a grass-skirt type decoration covering the lower half of the window. In spite of the effort to give this place a tropical feel, the boards leaning just inside the foyer gave off an unfinished vibe.

Maybe its a sign of the state of the economy or an investment in a bad contractor. Needless to say, none of us tasted the noodley goodness this place promised to offer. Hungry and slightly disappointed we turned around and headed toward the land of kitchy memorabilia, never ending fries, and big juicy burgers....let me know if this place ever opens and I'll be there to try it out.

* The following photos were sent in recently via "photo your food"-