|Portland Monthly November 2007
"....While the Minnicks have managed to replicate the
chintz-charming ambiance of their former digs, MacLarty
has infused the small menu with a Chez Panisse inspired
passion for seasonal ingredients. Which means that by
sauteeing a dozen tiny, green and mild padron peppers
from Viridian Farms and sprinkling them with fleur de sel,
MacLarty makes them (and other such ingredients) taste
more like the earth they came from than when they were
It also means that in August, his signature creamy
souffle is made with sweet corn, summer chanterelles,
bright green spinach and cippolini onions; and that in the
fall, it contains buttery leeks, roasted cauliflower and
celery root. A simple chicken breast paillard comes with a
salad of cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, mozzarella and
avocado in September, but come December it's breaded
and fried, served over a Moroccan-style chickpea and
At once rustic and incredibly fresh, this is American
slow food at it's finest, served with a signature romantic
flair in a dining room that's very, very easy to come home
October 17th, 2007
Last fall Lovely Hula Hands moved a few blocks
north from its pink house on North Cook Street to a
larger space on Mississippi’s main drag and recruited a
new head chef—Troy MacLarty, formerly of Simpatica.
Both of these bold changes have worked out
tremendously well for the restaurant. LHH’s old-
fashioned, fetching style, thanks to sister-owners Sarah
and Jane Minnick, is the same—mismatched china,
antique chandeliers and gilded artwork. But the food is
better than ever. Local, seasonal and fresh is always spot-
on with mid-summer dishes like corn soup with opal basil,
a chanterelle-and-leek tart and wild salmon served with
squash and nasturtium butter. (LC)
Signature dish: “Cooked under a brick” pan-fried Draper
Farms chicken with a caper-studded green sauce, creamy
polenta and sautéed haricots verts and tomatoes.
Standouts: Beautifully landscaped and hanging-lamp-lit
|Portland Tribune 2007 Dining Guide "Where Portland Eats"
The strangest thing about the new Lovely Hula Hands is how much it seems the same as the old Lovely Hula Hands.
Both spaces were two-story houses in North Portland, though the second space is much larger and the tables more
The menu, now under the direction of chef Troy MacLarty, has dramatically transformed —gone are the Asian
influences, for example. But it’s been a mostly seamless tradition with its continued commitment to inventive, seasonal,
Most people who know this place really love it and with good reason. The menu always mixes pleasant surprises with
comforting favorites like a hefty Painted Hills chuck burger with chili mayo, carmelized onions and lettuce with fries.
Simple-sounding dishes like chickpea purée with cumin flatbread are better than seems possible; multiple layers of
flavor make it impossible to stop at just a few bites. The smooth texture pairs well with the accompanying crispness of
a radish and fennel salad.
Vegetarians, or those who wish to emulate them, will find much to like here. One might’s chou farci involved savoy
cabbage stuffed with wild mushrooms and butternut squash and served with grainy farro, rainbow carrots and crème
Spaghetti with arugula pesto and semidried tomatoes is plainer in description but equally impressive in execution.
The small menu holds treasures for carnivores, too, typically featuring locally sourced products like Strawberry
Mountain rib-eye, Draper Valley Farms chicken and Snake River Farms pork loin (this recently served with a tasty,
countrified hash of brussels sprout, sweet potato and potato).
The cocktails range from fun and frisky — try the Lovely Hula Hoop with pineapple-infused vodka, lemon and sugar
— to a classic margarita and an Old-Fashioned garnished with addictive sour black cherries. There’s also a thoughtful
selection of nonalcoholic drinks.
With relaxed but efficient servers, you’ll be content to linger over dessert with one of the hot cocktails or excellent
coffee. A sweet and sticky date pudding recently was quickly reduced to an empty ramekin with spoons clanking
around in it.
Whatever you order, you’ll feel in good hands here.
— Audrey Van Buskirk