Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kaneko Cafe

(Please also read part 2, posted March 2012)

Kaneko Cafe is located on Mill St. SE, just across from the Mission Mill Museum (Willamette Heritage Center) and near Willamette University. It's in the Kaneko Commons building, which houses Willamette University students.

Cafe is inside Kaneko Commons
Students figuring out what to eat at Kaneko Cafe
So even though I attended Willamette for three years, how the heck did it take me four and a half years to make it to Kaneko? Well, first off, I was isolated on the other side of the campus. Second, I barely knew anything about Kaneko's existence, save for a couple mentions by one of my friends and a tour of the area. And of course, I plumb forgot about everything I saw, much like how the Men in Black make you look at the light and POOF, "what the hell were we talking about again?"

Anyway, fast forward to 2012, and again, Portland kept luring me away with its zillion food carts. Kaneko was close by my place, so not hard to stop in once, right? Wrong-o!

I literally forced my rear to walk to Kaneko's cafe on a chilly day. What the...a build your own donburi bar? A few cooks in there to make these Asian-inspired wraps, burgers, and noodle dishes? Argh, just the cure I needed!

I went with a small donburi combo of white rice, smoked salmon, cabbage, broccoli, and some sesame/soy sauce blend ($2.75). The flavors just freakin' work. No eloquent way to put it this time. This was like...happy panda squared. Adding some takuwan helped with the presentation. Just like something I could get back home. Nothing like some nostalgia for a change....

Smoked salmon, white rice, cabbage, broccoli, furikake, takuwan, and sesame-soy sauce
(Kaneko Cafe)
Yakisoba stir-fry? H-E-double hockey sticks yes. Noodles would be nice right about now. The cook whipped up a nice portion of noodles, veggies, sliced chicken, and sauce. A sweet-savory dish that transports that home-cooking aura to your stomach, brain, and heart. If anything, perhaps the noodles were the slightest bit overcooked for my liking.

Chicken Yakisoba Stir Fry
(Kaneko Cafe)
All the Asian kids around me (it's adjacent to the Tokyo International University of America, filled with transfer or study-abroad students) probably thought I was trying to be like Takeru Kobayashi if they saw me eat. Well, just imagine if I had zero table manners. I could unleash my Tasmanian Devil side at any time! No biggie, I was at the table no more than 5-7 minutes. Gotta channel my inner ninja!

Anyway, Kaneko Cafe gets a major thumbs up at this point. They appear to have different menu items from time to time, so I'll have to get another visit in.

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