6750 Shoup Road, 495-8238
Rudy's is the former Black Forest Inn, where a friendly staff and wood smoke from a central fireplace warmly welcome. If you drop by for a pint of Pikes Peak Brewing Co. IPA with a basket of spicy chicken wings ($7.50) or fried zucchini ($5.95) during a football game, you'll likely leave satisfied. The zucchini are crispy and crunchy and guilty-good dipped in ranch while the wings are totally average except for fresher celery and carrot sides. But leave the apps for the green chile burger ($9.95) and Rudy's Club ($6.95) and the happy factor diminishes. The opportunity to use local Black Forest Bison meat is lost, and a medium-rare order comes well done, desperately in need of the porky, mild and starchy green chile's moisture. Side fries are oily, limp and sad, and an unnecessary third toasted sourdough bread slice makes the generic-as-they-come Club difficult to eat. For the destination drive, R&R Coffee Café's a better bet.
929 N. Russell St., Portland, Ore., omissionbeer.com
Widmer Brothers' new Omission Beer (around $10/six-pack) is an unbeatable gluten-free beer, with no odd sorghum aftertaste and no characteristics that distinguish it from regular craft beers. It's totally drinkable by those not affected by celiac disease. That's because it's made like normal beer, from malted barley, whose gluten is stripped out in a proprietary process that involves letting a natural enzyme called Brewers Clarex (developed to reduce chill haze) break down the gluten molecules, according to marketing communications manager Brady Walen.
Both the 4.6-ABV Lager and 5.8-ABV Pale Ale are easy-drinkin' session beers, the former with more malt characteristics and the latter with more hop. TTB regulations prevent Omission from stamping "gluten-free" on its labels, and it was prohibited from the GABF's GF category too, though each batch is stringently tested. But "drinking is believing," as Omission says.
5935 Constitution Ave., 573-8899, xiangskitchen.com
This Powers Boulevard corridor Chinese eatery boasts a menu that's about as big as they come, ranging from a few Thai plates to alluring dishes like mango beef and honey-glazed walnut shrimp. But we're in the mood for starch, so we pick up a to-go order of the Singapore Rice Noodles and Taiwan Rice Noodles ($8.95 each).
Both are thoroughly satisfying, light and non-greasy; quite fresh and bright, actually. The Taiwan's vermicelli are practically naked of saucing and contain abundant hunks of soft baby scallops and shrimp mixed with fried egg bits, bean sprouts and onions. The Singapore's noodles texturally take on a hint of graininess through dry curry powder that cakes on, creating the bright yellow appearance while red pepper flakes contribute a respectable heat. Order it vegetarian and you get semi-crisp zucchini, green onions, carrots, snow peas and yellowing broccoli.