Norma's Kitchen is a tiny place with a few tables and a counter overlooking a marina on the Columbia River on one side and a couple more tables outside on a patio on the street side. Its a short walk --about two blocks -- from both the Red Lion and Oxford Suites hotels.
I was lucky enough to eat there twice during a recent trip to Portland. One evening I had the jambalaya, cole slaw and corn bread; the next I had the highly-rated pulled pork sandwich with collard and spicy mustard greens (just because I had never had mustard greens before) and corn salad. And bottles of ice cold beer with a paper napkin wrapped around the bottle to soak up condensation.
New Orleans is one of my favorite cities for food but I must say Norma's Kitchen is not a shrine to Cajun cooking. Rather, it is a down-home friendly place like your parents' or grandparents' kitchen. The atmosphere is one of love and friendship and good conversation.
Don't be put off by the big plastic trash bin with the "Cajun Dishwasher" sign; the dinnerware may be disposable plastic (there really isn't enough room in Norma's for a big commercial washer) but the food is worthy of quality china and silverware.
My only regret is that I did not have time for another meal at Norma's. I can tell you that if Norma's had a location in my food-oriented home town (I wish!), it would be a smash. I'll be back!
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