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Affordable Affluence

Eat Like a King, Without Pawning a Ring

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The Farm Café

10 SE 7th

736-FARM

I know how it is, Romeo: you're tired of taking your sweet Juliet to the burrito shack. You want to treat your bon bon with a little tenderness, for once, and the lunch buffet at Swagat just isn't cutting it anymore. Only problem is, you're broker than the spine of a canary in a cat's mouth. Genoa's out. Blue Hour's out. Buying groceries and cooking dinner is out since every recipe your clumsy finger touches turns to ash. What to do, Romeo, what to do?

Actually, the answer's surprisingly simple: just head on down to The Farm Café and make your baby happy again. Whether intentionally or not, the brand new Farm (and I do mean "brand new"; as of this article's publication, the place has been open for two weeks) is the epitome of an affordable romantic dining experience.

Located just off Burnside and MLK, The Farm is a miraculous sanctuary from the carbon monoxide haze of Portland's inner Southeast. Cool and gently lit, with deep, soft chairs and a small, but beautiful counter/bar area, it offers a comfortable eating environment without a speck of too-cool-for-you sass. The place uses all local and organic ingredients, and is open until midnight every night of the week, so you can drop by there at any point during your evening for a full-blown dinner, or just a drink and a snack; The Farm is perfect for either.

And as you've probably already guessed, what's really amazing about the Farm is that it's been open for less than a month, and it's already nailing its menu items with delicious accuracy. The sautéed mushrooms, dripping with a garlic and parsley marinade, provide a perfect appetite-whetting starter dish, while the salads range from a light appetizer-like Romaine and Apple combination, to an intensely scrumptious Seafood Caesar as filling as any entree. The tiny list of main dishes keeps it simple, maintaining a nice balance of vegetarian and seafood dishes. There's a Spinach Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Tarragon, a Mixed Nut Pesto Pasta, and a Grilled Citrus Halibut so tender the weight of your gaze practically knocks it apart.

It's all very simple, but perfectly prepared and elegantly served. What's more, it's relatively inexpensive for being so delicious. The fish options range from $10 to $12, while the vegetarian dishes are no more than $8, and as cheap as $6! Plus, glasses of perfectly decent wine are only $3. (The only possibly overpriced item are the desserts, which are all $6, though I must say the Mascarpone Cheesecake with its pecans and caramel sauce was one of the most heavenly sweets I've had in some time.) Factor in a truly romantic ambience with all these great deals, and you have what could be the best bang for your buck in Portland.

So stop fretting, Romeo. Turn that frown upside down. Tonight, at the Farm, you'll do it right (and you may REALLY "do it right" later on! Know what I'm saying? Ah? Ah?) and you won't go bankrupt in the process.

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?/ It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." It's true. You know it. Now do something about it.

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