Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Ale Fest 2010

I was not the only one who enjoyed some great beer this holiday season Portland's Holiday Ale Fest. Hundreds of people gathered at Pioneer Square for the five day seasonal ale fest and sampled local brewer's latest creations. There were so many different holiday flavors and a ton of new beers featured at this year's festival.
beautiful city lights of Portland 

When you enter the festival, you are greeted with holiday scents like cinnamon, nutmeg and peppermint. It was so cozy and all the scents were captured under the big white tents covering Pioneer Square. It was definitely a great way to kick of December. Next time, I vow to try some of the food I was smelling, it all looked pretty incredible. It reminded me of an adult version of a Christmas bazaar...knocks the socks of the usual elementary school craft bazaar.

So a quick recap on the way beer fests work - usually you pay an admission and get a mug, beer tickets and a guide. Then when you get in, there are tables set up with volunteers pouring all the beers. You have the option of using your tickets for a 4oz taste or you can pay extra tickets for a full mug. This festival was just that - $25 for a mug and 10 beer tickets. 

Here were some of the favorites of the night:

Laht Neppur Brewing Co. - Waitsbur, Washington: Toe Tingler Stout  (I LOVED this was so festive and had flavors of maple syrup....yum!)
Vertigo Brewery - Hillsboro, Oregon: La Nina Coffee Porter
Stoning Brewing Co.Escondido, California: Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Beans

Ones we missed:

Block 15 Brewery - Corvallis, Oregon: Figgy Pudding, Olde Stock
Buckman Village Brewery - Portland, Oregon: Ginger Beer

signs indicating the beers

Overall, a huge success and we had a great time, as usual. Take a look at the full list of the beers featured at this year's festival here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Brews at Bridgeport Pub in NW

Last week was the week for beer - a late night at Bridgeport Brewpub and then some Holiday Ale Fest fun.  I would recommend Bridgeport Brewery any day of the week for some good food and quality craft beer. They are open seven days a week until 10pm or later.
Bridgeport Beer Chart with IBUs and alcohol content
The brewpub is two stories with bars on each level and a gift shop on the main level. The walls are all red brick, candles light up the tables and leather couches are available for lounging. I love the atmosphere because it is always lively and everyone is in good spirits. Maybe that is just the beer talking? But still, a perfect place for large or small groups.

The Beers
Cases of Night Cap 
We started with the winter seasonal brew - The Ebenezer and then followed with their Haymaker Pale Ale. I know the Haymaker is more of a summer beer, but I love the rich, crisp flavors. It is always a nice beer to start with. The Ebenezer has more hops than the Haymaker but has a nice sweet malt finish with flavors of barley.

They also had two other seasonal beers this year - Nightcap Winter Ale and Old Knucklehead. I really liked the Nightcap because it was similar to the Ebenezer but sweeter with more caramel flavors.

Check out all their ales and ingredients here.

The Grub
chicken sandwich
For dinner, we ordered the Brewhouse Macaroni + Cheese, House Smoked Pulled Pork and the Spicy Haymaker Chicken Sandwich. I will sum up the meal with a plus about each dish.

Mac n' Cheese - topped with crushed up house-made kettle chips...yum.
Pulled Pork Sandwich - get it just for the potato salad (the sandwich is traditional but good)
Chicken Sandwich - the bread was awesome and the chipotle mayo has a nice kick to it.

Check out the brewpub on 13th and NW Marshall  OR visit the Ale House in SE on Hawthorne.

1313 NW Marshall Street                                       3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97209                                                Portland, OR 97214
503.241.3612                                                          503.233.6540

Sunday, November 28, 2010

50 bucks at 50 Plates

Another night in The Pearl District of beautiful Portland...but instead of a girl's night, it was a date night. I have, yet again, Groupon to thank for our dining destination - $50 to 50 Plates. I love my it encourages us to try new restaurants.

My boyfriend and I decided to head to 50 Plates on a Wednesday at around 8pm and they were pretty busy! Always a good sign...but we were nervous because we did not have reservations. They sat us within five minutes, but I would certainly recommend reservations on a weekend. This was not my first time to 50 Plates, but it was my first time dining from their dinner menu. I have been there for happy hour before and really enjoyed it so that is another reason we returned.
We started with the ahi tuna poke and the castroville artichoke rolls. So fantastic! The tuna poke was our favorite with ginger, avocado and bagel chips. It was a great portion and so flavorful. The artichoke rolls were good too, but only three smalls rolls for a hefty price. Stick to the tuna.

Next, we ordered our entrees - I had the "mac & cheese" and Dylan of course had the "fifty burger" plus bacon. The burger was HUGE and came with tasty fries. The veggies were so fresh and the presentation was perfect (it had a cute little American Flag toothpick in it). He almost doubled the happy he didn't, there is NO way he could have finished it. My "mac & cheese" was just okay. It was not traditional mac and cheese. It was rigatoni filled with fennel and chicken covered in melted cheddar and parmesan. I discovered I don't love fennel, the flavor is too overpowering (at least in this dish).

Last, we decided we were way to full for dessert, but they still finish your meal off with something sweet....complimentary. They brought us two spoonfuls of homemade fudge. What a signature touch. And guess what? Somehow I ended up making room for the fudge. :)

Happy Hour - available 4- 6pm in the bar
Location - right in the heart of the Pearl and easy access from the freeway
Decor - my favorite part! So fantastic...classy and contemporary with accents of browns and blues. I loved the white tables with browns linens and the brown tables with white linens.

Parking is tough on the weekends and on First Thursdays
The iced tea...silly to some, but we love good iced tea.

Check them out at or come right in to dine:

333 NW 13th Ave
(corner of NW 13th and Flanders)
Portland, Oregon
Happy Hour - 4 to 6pm
Open 7 days a week!
photo 1 & 2 via

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Serious Pie Seattle

So I am over a month behind on posting about my food adventures in Seattle and San Fran. My New Year's resolution is now going to be "post on blog more than once a week." I am out trying this fantastic places and I am not sharing the details....shame on me.

Well, back to Seattle. If I have not already mentioned, my cousin lives in Seattle so she was the first person I asked about restaurants. She recommended any of the Tom Douglas restaurants in Downtown Seattle. We looked at the Web site and decided to go for some delicious pizza and try Serious Pie.

We got to the restaurant at about 9pm on Friday and the place was packed! It was not a very large restaurant but had fun bar table seating and an open kitchen. We had to wait for about twenty minutes, but while waiting, we enjoyed a
bottled beer.

When we were seated, we sat at a cozy seat in the back of the restaurant. The energy was upbeat, hip and fun...definitely a popular place just to hang out and socialize. They have welcoming staff members that are not overbearing, but still provide excellent service.

As for the pizza - it was on a flat bread crust, served right on the cutting board. We went with the fennel sausage, onion, red pepper and basil pizza. You can definitely share a pizza between two people, but if you are hungry, I would recommend ordering one of your own. I was very happy with our choice and my only complaint is that I was too full to try another kind!

Perks other than the food:
- the great candle chandeliers :)
- awesome service
- open kitchen

Food price: $8 - $18 (appetizers and pizza prices)
Beverage - $3 - $12 (beer and wine only)

Take a look at the menu for yourself!

Serious Pie
316 VIRGINIA SEATTLE, WA 98121 (206) 838-7388

Open 11am - 11pm EVERYDAY. No reservations.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Endless Eats meets Seattle!

It was time for a vacation, which meant it was time for some new restaurants! Our destination cities were Seattle and San Francisco with a side of Sausalito. As you read the next series of posts, just remember Endless Eats is on a little field trip to Washington and Northern California.
The first stop in Seattle was the famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Let me start by saying it was torture walking by all the fresh vegetables, seafood and beautiful floral arrangements because I could not buy any to take back with me. But, for anyone visiting Seattle for the first time, I highly recommend walking through the market - rain or shine (most of it is covered.). We did stop for some tasty fish and chips during a happy hour at one of the local pubs. The pub even had a Dunkel beer from Leavenworth, Washington. The best find of the trip!
Next, we decided to burn the calories off by walking about 100 feet to the market's local brewery to get some more beer at The Pike Brewery Company. I cannot believe this was my first time trying their beer. I must say I was pretty impressed. We ordered a sampler so we could try six of their beers.

Here were the beers included:

Pike Naughty Nellie - Golden Ale (One of Dylan's favorites - a light beer with nice flavor and little bitterness)

Pike Pale Ale - Heirloom Amber

Pike IPA - Indian Pale Ale

Pike Kilt Lifter - Scotch Ale

Pike Tandem - Double Ale (This one was my favorite with flavors of coriander and sugar cane. So good!)

Pike XXXXX - Double Ale (If you like hops and stout beers, you will love this one - a little too bitter for me, but many love it)

We had a great time and I was excited to find out there are plenty of places in Portland to buy these beers.

Next time you are in Seattle, check out the brewery for yourself (they also have a happy hour!)
1415 First Avenue, Seattle, WA 98105-2017
(206) 622-6044
Open from 11am to Midnight / Daily
Anyone recommend any other breweries in the Seattle area?
Stayed tuned for another post on Seattle is pizza!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Forkfly Event at Henry's Tavern

So tonight is a quick post - I had so much fun at dinner tonight sitting on the patio at Henry's Tavern on 12th in NW. It was nice weather again so we had to take advantage of it because Autumn is approaching quickly!

We went for happy hour, but sadly found out happy hour prices are not offered on the patio! Such a bummer. But, we also found out that Forkfly was putting on an event right next to Henry's patio for First Thursday. They were playing great music, giving away prizes and conducting this awesome scavenger hunt. We were just spectating, but we should have done it - people were winning ipads and hotel staysat The Benson!

Forkfly is this awesome app and social media tool that offers great discounts at Portland merchants. We used one for Henry's tonight - buy one appetizer, get one free! Follow them on Twitter for great deals.

I love my Thursday dinner club with my girlfriends and Henry's is always a staple place to go.

PROS: Fantastic beers on tap (good fruity ones too), extensive menu with lots of variety, great happy hour prices, large patio

CONS: No happy hour on the patio :(

Henry's Tavern

10 NW 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Sun-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-1am

Happy Hour: 4 - 6pm


Sunday, August 29, 2010

A night in The Pearl - Everett Street Bistro

Another night out with the ladies, but this time we enjoyed some fantastic fresh cafe cuisine at Everett Street Bistro. I have eaten lunch here before and I really enjoyed it so I decided to bring my girlfriends back for an evening out. My favorite part of this restaurant are the light colors and the french cafe ambiance. When you walk in, you are greeting by a cold case with delicious desserts, pastries and fresh baguettes. The place is a small, but the bar is open and the ceilings are high so it is spacious but cozy.

Since the weather was nice, we took advantage of the outdoor seating around the building. I figured I would just order water until I saw the cocktail menu! There was no way I was going to pass up a mojito or mango martini. I was not expecting such an extensive cocktail list at a bistro, but was pleasantly surprised. With our cocktails, we also ordered the Pomme Frites.

You can just read the description and see there is no need to stay more..."thinly sliced fried potatoes & garlic cloves tossed with rosemary & thyme served with lemon aioli." YUM! They are made in truffle oil so that makes them healthy right?

So, after we indulged in our fries, we somehow still had room for our entrees. I ordered the Carbonara Pasta, Kelsey ordered the Mac n' Cheese and Aly had the Pulled Pork Sandwich. We all wanted to try different things so we could compare of course.

The pork sandwich was fantastic. It was not your traditional pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and barbecue sauce. This sandwich had avocado, a black bean spread and melted provolone on it. Oh yes, and did I mention it was huge and came with a side green salad too?!
Kelsey's mac n' cheese was made with smoked gouda, caramelized onions and house pancetta (she got it without the pancetta though). It also came with a side of garlic toast...just what we needed, as if the garlic fries weren't enough.

I had the carbonara pasta, but was not overly impressed. It had great flavor, but it was my least favorite out of the three. So, I would recommend the mac n' cheese if you want pasta. The menu seems to change as well and it looks like they have some other speciality pastas depending on the night you go.

I will return for a third time to Everett Street Bistro I am sure...even if it is just for those darn french fries!

1140 NW Everett Street
Portland, Oregon 97209

Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner! Take a look at the menus too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It is berry season in Oregon!

So in my last post I said that the weather and beer festivals were my favorite parts of summer...but I have to tell you, berry picking is right up there too. Since I drive to Newberg at least five times a week for work, I drive by all the berry farms and fruit vendors and it makes me crave fresh raspberries every time. So, I decided on my day off I would take my sisters berry picking. We tried recruiting some other people, but apparently to them, picking berries is a chore. They are all crazy.

After we gathered up our containers, we headed out to Rowell Bros on SW Scholls Ferry Road, just ten minutes outside of Beaverton. Each year we try and visit a new berry farm and so far we have had good luck at all of them. I drove by Rowell Bros a few weeks ago and it looked like the perfect stop.

Rowell Bros had so many different types of berries too, not just raspberries. They had Coho Red Raspberries, Logan Berries, Marionberries, Siskiyou Blackberries, Boysenberries and Blueberries.There were rows and rows of them! Most all the berries are only $o.99 a pound too.

We started with the raspberries, then marioberries and last blackberries. No one really eats blueberries in our family, so we skipped those. My sister Haylie was a pro at picking them, probably picking like 30 berries a minute. My other sister Kenzie was the opposite, she lost interest after about fifteen minutes. She ate more berries than she picked. Real helpful, but I guess she offered some good entertainment.

We had a great time and picked quite a few in just an hour. All those berries for only $17!
I suggest going to check them out and bring your own container, it saves you a couple bucks!

Rowell Bros
24050 Sw Scholls Ferry Rd Hillsboro or 97123
Open Mon- Sun from 9am - 6pm
U-Pick or They-Pick

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Drink up! - Portland International Beerfest

I love summer for two reasons - the beautiful weather and the plethora of beer festivals in Oregon! So, two weekends ago, my friends and I made it out to the PIB (Portland International Beerfest) in the Pearl District. I especially like this beerfest because there are usually a decent amount of dunkel beers (my favorite). just so happened to be my friend's birthday, so there was a large group of us attending.

It was out on the lawn in the North Park Blocks on NW Davis and NW Park Ave. This festival is smaller than the Oregon Brewer's Festival on the waterfront, but still just as fun and has shorter lines.

So, how it works - you get an official PIB glass, a beer guide and tickets that can be used for 4oz pours or pints of beer. Personally, I like to use all my tickets for 4oz tasters because I love trying new kinds of beer. Plus, if you don't like it, it is only 4oz!

Next you have to tackle the guide - I like to look through it to find the beers I want to taste. The guide tells you a little bit about the beer (type, brewery, alcohol content etc...), number of tickets for a taste and its location at the beer fest. It is all a little overwhelming at first, but once you get going, it is awesome! I always track down the fruit beers first because I am a chick and I like chick beers. But, of course, I tried others too! See below.

Fruit Beers

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat from 21st Amendment Brewery - I have tried this before - pretty good for a watermelon beer, but not my favorite fruit beer.

Raspberry Wheat from Cascade Brewery - this was the female favorite and it was not even on the guide! It was a replacement beer because they ran out of another one. Boy were we lucky!

*Anthem Cherry Cider from Wandering Aengus Ciderworks - there is an asterisk by this one because technically it is not a beer, but we did try it anyway! Very cherry flavored and had mixed reviews from everyone. Go figure the guys did not like it but some of the ladies thought it was refreshing and like a melted otter pop popsicle!

Other beers

Spaten Munich Dunkel from Spaten West - always delicious! A dark wheat beer with flavors of raisins - it is like a dark hefe.

Ayinger Brau Weisse from Merchant du Vin - a tasty unfiltered Hef Weizen, always good for summer days.

De la Senne Equinox from Shelton Brothers - a nice belgium beer but with very strong flavors, I was disappointed I did not try more from this brewery because there were quite a few.

Beers I missed...but have to try!

John John Juniper Ale from Rogue Brewery

Franziskaner Dunkel Hefe-Weisse from Spaten West

Of course we tried a lot more beers, but I lost track. I tried to be official and circle them on my guide, but I only got about half way through before I got too distracted. Overall, a success and I wish I could say I went to the Oregon Brewer's Fest, but unfortunately I did not make it. You better believe I will be next year though!

Check out for more beer events in the Northwest!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Girl's Night Out at Cha Taqueria!

My girlfriends and I were long overdue for a girls night out, so we deciding on a happy hour at Cha! What a great outdoor dining destination on 21st and Everett. This restaurant is perfect for summer time because it has a fantastic outdoor ambiance. There are tables lining the streets, but also an entire covered area with a neat fountain as the focal point (it was not running tonight, but I imagine it would be really cool).

If you couldn't already tell by the name, the cuisine is Mexican. It is authentic with fresh, organic ingredients. Our waitress brought us out chips to start, but with a flare. It was a pile of blue corn tortilla chips with black beans, mexican cheese and guacamole on top. A very nice change from the traditional chips and red salsa.

Next, we ordered our drinks and we all got margaritas (of course), but not the traditional margarita - a hibiscus margarita! This was their daily special and I was sold the minute she said it. I am not a huge fan of the traditional margarita but I loved the sound of this one. $5 on their happy hour menu, which I thought was a pretty good deal. Also, for those who are not a fan of tequila, they will substitute it for another type of liquor.

For our food, we all ordered different small plates. We started with the chicken and potato taquitos. I have never had potatoes in Mexican food, but such a nice flavor with the salsa verde. I ordered the enchiladas de mole poblano and then the others ordered picaditas, nachos and pastor tacos (pastor is pork).

My enchiladas were pretty good, but I wish there were some more garnishes. It was just a chicken filling topped with onions and cilantro. Although, the mole sauce was very delicious - it was a perfect combination of rich chocolate and peppery spice. The nachos were a good size and came with pork or vegetarian. The corn chips have got to me homemade, they were so crunchy and fresh. I did not try the picaditas but they were loaded with sauteed vegetables and served on corn cakes. A great option for a vegetarian. The tacos also looked delcious, but spicy (take a look at the picture - covered in yummy red sauce).

Overall - great for outdoor seating, vegetarian options, service was great, happy hour with food and drink specials

Cha Taqueria and Bar

305 Northwest 21st Avenue
Portland, OR 97209-1141
(503) 295-4077

Happy Hours

Monday - Thursday 4-6
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 3-6
Late night Friday & Saturday 10 - 12

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fresh Ingredients from Beaverton Farmer's Market

We are approaching the middle of July and I FINALLY made it the Beaverton Farmer's Market . For a food lover, I was long overdue, especially since I live ten minutes away from one of the best farmer's markets in the NW. I decided to go in the morning with my mom and sister before I had to head to work - bad idea. I say this because I spent so long sampling and buying fresh ingredients that I hardly left enough time to do anything with them!

Beaverton Farmer's Market - located on SW Hall Blvd between 3rd and 5th Streets

SATURDAYS 5/8/10 - 10/30/10 8am - 1:30pm

WEDNESDAYS 6/16/10 - 8/25/10 3pm - 6pm

We ended up walking around for a couple hours, saw the entertainment and ate plenty of samples. We tried some many tasty things - like homemade jams, breads and juices. There were also a few stands with incredible bouquets of flowers (next time I am taking my camera). After all the walking around, we left with the following: fresh tomatoes on the vine, red onions, cilantro, basil, garlic, a macadamia butter spread and a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread.
By favorite purchase was our basil - it was only $1 for a bunch from a vendor from the Yakima Valley. Such a deal! You cannot get that price anywhere, unless you grow it yourself!

So the plan was to make fresh pico de gallo but I also wanted to make caprese with my basil. So, I had to stop at the store for a couple of items (jalapeno, lemon and lime).

SO delicious and I cannot wait to go back this Saturday! Go check it out - the weather is going to be beautiful this weekend. It is a great place for families too!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Oregonian's Restaurant Guide - "Diner"

Just wanted to make sure everyone saw the insert in The Oregonian on Thursday, June 24th. It is a 2010 restaurant guide titled Diner. If you missed it, check out this link.

There are 78 of the "best" restaurants in Portland and surrounding areas. Castagna in SE Portland received the nod for the restaurant of the year. Have not been there...but looks like I need to try it! Check out this year's restaurant rising star and restaurant comeback of the year.

What a great resource and a fantastic guide for choosing your dining destination. And don't is not all fine dining or upscale restaurants. There are so delicious picks that won't break the bank.

My next stop - Kenny and Zukes in downtown Portland.

Also, don't forget - only a couple more days for Dining Month in Portland! Take advantage of the great deals.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A SE Portland Neighborhood Fav - Lauro Kitchen

Tonight I decided to take an outing over to SE Portland with my friend Will to visit Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen. I don't venture over to Southeast very often, but I know there are some fantastic restaurants over there, especially on Division Street. In fact, we drove right by Pok Pok, which is one of the many places I have been told to try.

When we arrived to the restaurant, we stood in the small waiting area behind a curtain in front of the main entrance. The restaurant had an open kitchen with counter seating for diners to watch the chefs in action. The rest of this bistro-inspired restaurant was also open so you could see the chefs cooking and the bartenders mixing from any seat in the house. A blackboard wall, adjacent to the bar, listed all the nightly specials and the rotating beers on tap. This place had a great vibe and is a neat place for locals to walk to for a fresh and flavorful meal.

The menu has a Mediterranean flare, but is not traditional, authentic Mediterranean food, as written on their Web site - "offering seasonal, locally sourced dishes inspired by the rich culinary traditions of the Mediterranean region." We had a hard time ordering because everything looked so good. The menu offered lamb, chicken, beef, salmon and other seafood dishes. Visiting a place like this reminds me that I could never be a vegetarian. With that said, I ordered the short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Will ordered the Lauro burger with Dry Aged Jack and Pommes Frites. We decided we better split each meal so we could taste a little of both. But first, we tried the Tender Fried Calamari with Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce. I was so proud of Will, it was his first time eating calamari and he actually had more than one piece!

When our entrees came, I ate the short ribs first and oh my gosh...the best short ribs I have ever eaten! They were so tender and cooked to perfection. The flavor was sweet and paired nicely with the savory mashed potatoes. Then, Will and I traded and I ate the rest of the burger. It was also good, especially with the jack cheese, but it did not blow me away like the short ribs. But, I did learn, you can get the Lauro burger and the calamari on the happy hour menu for close to half price!

I look forward to going back to this restaurant because I want to try the Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast. In the meantime though, I will be visiting one of Chef David Machado's other restaurants in the area, Nel Centro and Vindalho. I look forward to eating at Vindalho because I have never tried Indian cuisine before.

Go check out Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen at 3377 SE Division #106, Portland, OR 97202


Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chicken/Shrimp Kabobs and Chocolate Mousse

Alright so I am a couple weeks behind on this one...but I have to tell you about the awesome kabobs and chocolate mousse we made on Memorial Day. I lucked out for two reasons, one - I had the day off on Memorial Day and two - the weather was nice! You know what that means, time for barbecuing!

On the menu - chicken and shrimp Kabobs (with an array of veggies) and an easy easy chocolate mousse

We already had most the ingredients for the mousse and we had shrimp and pineapple already for the kabobs. But, we still needed a few more things so, my sister Kenzie and I headed to the store for the remaining ingredients:

Chicken (look for the $1.99 a lb chicken on sale at Albertsons)


Bell peppers

Sweet yellow onion

Red potatoes


Heavy whipping cream

A great baguette (which was gone before it hit the table...oops)

When we got home, we fired up the grill and cut up all the vegetables while we waited for it to heat up. Kabobs are fun because you can give everyone a couple skewers and they can customize their meal however they would like.

We then added the spices to the kabobs. You can do whatever you want (lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder, coriander...), but we used Dean Jacob's Seafood Rub for the shrimp and Poultry Rub for the chicken. A tasty melody of spices and each rub complemented the meat nicely.

*When you are grilling kabobs, remember that some items cook faster than others. We cooked the shrimp on separate skewers because they cook so much faster than the chicken and vegetables. Also, cut the potatoes smaller than your zucchini, onion, peppers etc...because they take a lot longer on the grill and you don't want undercooked potatoes.

While that was cooking, we starting to make our easy chocolate mousse. We found a recipe online that we used and I usually add or subtract ingredients, but this one was perfect the way it was and it took us 5 minutes to make:

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 c. strong hot coffee
1 tbsp. rum or Kahlua  (We used Kahlua)
2 eggs
1/2 pt. whipping cream

It looked so good, we doubled it...and thank goodness we did because it was gone in less than 24 hours!

So another successful dinner and I had leftovers to take to work which was even better. Now it is your turn, get cooking and enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cafe Nell - Nob Hill Happy Hour

I figure it has been way to long since I have written about a good happy hour in town. Last Friday I had a date with two of my best friends and we wanted to try a new place for happy hour. After flipping through my Portland Happy Hour Guidebook (which I do not use nearly enough), I came across Cafe Nell in NW Portland.

What a cute place! The bar area is not very big, only about five or six tables and a bar top. We were seated right away because we were there early in the evening, but I can see this place filling up quickly!

The drink menu was wonderful with a wide selection of different cocktails. The berry lemonade cocktail sounded incredible, but of course I went with a Belgium beer on tap. I could not pass up a refreshing Hoegaarden. I am regretting not trying that cocktail though. Looks like I have to go back...too bad. :) So yes, a few beers on tap and some by the bottle as well. I peaked at the wine list and it was extensive with a selection of Oregon wines as well as others from the Pacific Northwest.

As for the food menu - prices ranged from $1 (bread service) to $12 (steak and fries), but the average was about $4. We ordered the cheese plate to start which came with a smoked bleu cheese, Tillamook sharp white cheddar, apple slices, baguette slices and almonds. Yum! Next we ordered the chicken skewers with a black bean/corn salsa and sliders (BBQ Bacon and Cheddar). The sliders are small (go figure) but are tasty. The bacon was cooked to perfection! Each order of chicken skewers comes with two skewers on a bed of salsa...I only had a bite, but the chicken had nice flavor. Last, we had a craving for one more thing...fries. It was not on the menu but we had to ask. To our surprise, they do serve fries for $2 at happy hour, but it is not on the restaurant menu. So, if you are in the mood for some salty goodness...ask for the fries.

We spent over two hours at this happy hour and had a wonderful time. It was rainy and gloomy outside, but we were warm and cozy inside. Our service was fantastic and the waiters were very friendly. They took great care of us and we never had empty glasses. We were not disappointed...the perfect place for a date or just a girls night out.

Cafe Nell on NW 20th and Kearney

Happy Hours:

3 – 6 Tuesday – Friday

4 – Close Saturday

Click here for their happy hour menu (please note that this is slightly different than the one in the restaurant and their menu is subject to change). But do ask about their $2 is on the drink menu in the restaurant but not online.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This must be meant for me - Downtown Portland Dining Month!

Oh my! Take a look at this great deal. For the month of June, several restaurants are taking part in Downtown Portland Dining Month. 3 courses for $25. You can't beat that. I think this deal was meant for me!

Click on the this link and check out some of the restaurants participating in Downtown Portland Dining Month -

Some listed are - Saucebox, Kell's Irish Pub, Red Star Tavern, Mother's Bistro, Bluehour, Rogue Brewery and so many more!

Check them out and leave a comment letting me know what you think!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day Two of Willamette Valley Wine Tasting (Part 2) on to Anne Amie Winery! I was looking forward to this stop because I loved the wine I sampled at the Educate Your Palate event. When we finally arrived, the view from the entrance was incredible. The tasting room and winery looked so whimsically from down below, I loved it. I could not wait to get up to the top. I got funny looks as I hung out of the sunroof for a photo op.

When we got to the top of the winery, the view was just stunning. You could see all the vineyards, the coast range and the beautiful Chehalem Mountains. There were tables outside on the patio for picnics and the staff highly encourages using them. You can bring your own food or you can enjoy one of their small cheese plates.

We went inside to do some wine tasting and Ksandek, the Director of Hospitality was more than accommodating. We tasted the '08 Cuvée A Amrita, '08 Pinot Gris, '08 Pinot Blanc, '09 Riesling and a couple '07 Pinot Noirs. Also to break up the tasting, since there were so many wines to sample, Annie Davis was kind enough to give us a tour of the property. We learned there are 40 acres of vineyards and it used to be the Chateau Benoit Winery, but in 1999 was purchased and later changed to Anne Amie.

We spent a lot of time here and overall just a fun place to be - I will return for sure.

After we left Anne Amie and got some food in our bellies, we headed on to Domaine Serene, which is in the heart of the Dundee Hills. Talk about a grand entrance! This place is more than a winery, it is an entire estate! We drove up a long driveway until we reached the parking lot and then followed the signs around the building until we reached the tasting room.

The tasting room was very nice with a lot of space for guests and private parties. They also had outdoor seating on a patio that extending off the tasting room. This was our last stop, so we only tasted a few wines.

We tried a few different Pinot Noirs, a Rosé and a Syrah. These Pinots were a bit heavier tasting to me and it was my first time trying a Syrah. I was not crazy about it, but of course, I am still impartial to some red wines and trying to develop a palate for them. Would it surprise you if I said I liked the Rosé? Well I did like it and was ready to go back for seconds. Overall, a beautiful venue and a fun place to visit.

That wraps up my second day of wine tasting and I plan on visiting more as soon as the weather starts to get nice. I am hoping soon since we are approaching June! Next on my agenda are The Four Graces, Adelsheim and Archery Summit. Let me know if you have any suggestions for my next day of tasting!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day Two of Willamette Valley Wine Tasting (Part 1)

Ever since my first day of wine tasting, I have been anxious to get back out there and do some more! This time, I recruited my boyfriend to come along with me. Our stops this time were - Bergstrom, Laurel Ridge, Anne Amie and Domaine Serene. (This post I will just write about Bergstrom and Laurel Ridge, I have too much to say!). Fortunately for us, it was a beautiful day so we were able to spend plenty of time at each of the wineries.

We stopped by the front desk at The Allison Inn and Spa for a winery map and some tasting cards and we were on our way!

I have been told to visit Bergstrom many times because it has a beautiful view, great Pinot Noirs and an even better Chardonnay. We drove up there and were in good company with a lot of other people. I think the nice weather brought a lot of people out wine tasting. The tasting room is not very big, but they have a patio with table and chairs for enjoying your wine. The view is quite spectaculor and you can see 33 acres of the Bergstrom and De Lancellotti Vineyards from the tasting room. I also learned that their winery is biodynamic which is becoming more common among wineries in the Willamette Valley.

We tasted the '07 Bergstrom Pinot Noir, '07 Nysa Vineyard Pinot Noir, '07 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir (Pommard Block) and the 2008 Sigrid Chardonnay. I think we might have tasted another, but I can't seem to remember. Surprisingly, I loved the Chardonnay and I say this because the first wine I ever tried was a Chardonnay and I hated it. But, Bergstrom's Sigrid was fantastic! Dylan liked all the Pinots, I don't think he had a favorite at this winery. Overall, we loved it up there!

Next stop was Laurel Ridge Winery and we just sort of stumbled upon this winery on our way to Anne Amie. We recognized the winery name because we tried their dessert wine at the Educate Your Palate event. We pulled up and the property was very flat, unlike Bergstrom, which was up on the hilltop. Their were vineyards in the distant, but also wheat fields on property (at least I think that is what it was). The tasting room was very spacious and they had lots of other items for sale besides wine.

After looking around for a bit, Dylan decided he wanted to try the 2004 Laurel Ridge Port again. Did you know that Port originally came from Portugal, just like Champagne came from France? Well after the 2007 vintage, Portugal asked wineries to stop calling their dessert wine Port unless it is actually from Portugal. Interesting fact we learned.We tried the Port again with some fantastic dark chocolate and then I got to try the 2007 Riesling, which is not out for tasting yet! I lucked out, so tasty! But, remember...I love white wines, so everything might be tasty to me. :) It was well worth the stop and I am glad we saw their sign!

We then headed over to Anne Amie Winery...check out my next post to read about the rest of the day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day One of Willamette Valley Wine Tasting

Last Wednesday I had a day off and it was a gorgeous day, so I thought I would go check out the Willamette Valley and do some wine tasting. I work in the heart of wine country and I am constantly sending people to these incredible estates and vineyards and I have never been to any of them. I figure if wine tasting will help my career, then I must have it pretty good. :)

My first stop was Beaux Frères and I am so lucky I had the opportunity to visit this winery. Beaux Frères translates to brother-in-law in French (not beautiful brothers, as some might think). Michael Etzel is the winemaker and proprietor and started this winery with his brother-in-law Robert Parker. Both are incredible men. Michael Etzel took time out of his busy schedule to give us a tour of his beautiful property and explain his wine making process. His knowledge, love for growing the fruit and passion for his trade is amazing. I could have listened to him speak for hours. We tasted three different wines after our tour, all Pinot Noirs from different grapes and different vintages. The tasting room is small, but very quaint and just enough space to taste some delicious wine. This is only the second time I have been wine tasting and I truly appreciated every minute of it.

Next we went on to visit Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. What an incredible tasting room they have!

I wish I would have taken pictures of the special events space and the gorgeous view. When you walk in, there are open windows so you can see all the wine vats and barrels and then the tasting bar is directly to your right. We tasted about five different wines and I tried the 2009 Roseo wine, which was a first for me. It has a lot lighter body than their Pinot Noirs and is a lot more refreshing, but it still comes from a variety of Pinot Noir grapes. Perfect for a warm summer afternoon!

Next, we ventured on down the hill back into Dundee and decided to check out the Argyle tasting room. We just stumbled upon it because it is literally right off the 99W Highway. I like the convenience of it, but it did not have the view like Penner Ash. I would recommend this winery to finish the day because it is such a quick stop. They have a gift shop area too, so if you are looking for wine souvenirs, this is your place. I was excited to try their sparkling wine because we deliver bottles of the Argyle Brut to guest rooms as part of one of our packages. I tasted the 2006 Argyle Brut and the 2007 Argyle Brut Rosé. Yummy! I love bubbly wine...makes me feel like I am celebrating something.

That was the end to my day of wine tasting, but I would call it a success. I visited three great places but all of them had their unique qualities and atmospheres. I think I have about 300 more wineries to go...and the fun begins!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops

Beautiful days in the Northwest always call for some outdoor grilling on the barbecue. On last night's menu were some good looking pork chops so I decided to find a quick and easy glaze to whip up that was light but had some good flavor. On I found an easy brown sugar glaze that got excellent reviews. It had of course two of my favorite ingredients, brown sugar and ginger (but, who am I kidding? I have a lot of favorite ingredients!). Oh and we also cannot forget the 1/2 cup of apple juice, which was the selling point for me on this recipe. You can't go wrong with pork and apples.

I did not do much modifying to this recipe because I liked all the flavors, so I will just list the ingredients below:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 6 boneless pork chops

All you have to do is combine the oil, soy sauce, juice, ginger and brown sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once you do this, mix the cornstarch and water in a separate blow and then add to the sauce slowly until you get your desired thickness. I just kept adding the cornstarch and water mix until my sauce had a consistency similar to maple syrup.

Of course while you are making the glaze, sample it a few times to make sure it has the flavor you want. I added a little more apple juice for flavor, but that was about it.

For a marinade, eliminate the cornstarch and water and just marinate the pork chops in the sauce for 30 min and then place on the grill. Yum!

Here is the full recipe and reviews at - Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops


Friday, May 7, 2010

Eat, Drink and Bid – Supporting the Newberg Education Foundation

This weekend I got to do two of my favorite things, eat and drink. Usually when I am drinking, it is not fine food and wines, but thanks to the annual Eat, Drink and Bid event at August Cellars, I was able to do both. This annual event is a fundraiser to support The Newberg Education Foundation featuring 22 wineries and 15 restaurants.

I must say I am very new to the wine world, so I went with the hopes to try all different types of wines and I certainly was not let down. At August Cellars, there are three levels of the winery and on each level there were different wineries and restaurants represented.

Our first two stops were Trisaetum and Dobbes Family Estate. I have sent guests to both of these wineries, so it was nice to finally taste the wine and put a name to a face. I then ventured over to Bon Appétit Catering and tried the seared ahi tuna with fresh orange on a won ton crisp. How was it? Well, let’s just say I went back for seconds. But, the second time around I took it in one bite instead going through the embarrassment of trying to be polite and take two bites.

Next, my boyfriend pointed out the sign for Sweetest Thing Cupcakes because he has heard me rant and rave about their tasty treats. Obviously, I insisted on him trying all three flavors – Peachy King, Strawberry Kiss (made special for this occasion) and Cowboy. I loved the Strawberry Kiss cupcake; it was filled with a chocolate ganache and topped with a sweet strawberry frosting. I request this become a permanent flavor at the bakery.

Of course I can go on and on about all the wineries and restaurants that were featured at the event, but there are just a few I tables I spent more time at than others. One was Anne Amie Winery. There were four wines featured – 2008 Cuvee A Amrita, 2008 Pinot Gris, 2006 Winemakers Selection Pinot Noir ( I learned that ’06 was a good year) and a pinot blanc. I am for sure a white wine kind of girl and I loved the pinot blanc! My boyfriend is more of a wine guy and likes reds, but even he liked their featured white wines. Their 2008 Pinot Gris was recently named the best pinot gris in Oregon by The New York Times.

Here are a few of our other favorites:

SubTerra - Try their version of mac n’ cheese! It was cavatappi pasta with candied bacon, oven-dried tomatoes and four different cheeses topped with sautéed arugula. Fantastic!

Honest Chocolates – A dark chocolate truffle with a caramel filling and topped with sea salt. The best truffle I have every tasted…honest. I stole my boyfriend’s sample because I needed seconds.

Fanucchi Oils – I think we were sampling savory olive oils and spreads for a good twenty minutes. These extra virgin olive oils are imported from Greece, Italy and the Mediterranean. We liked the basil garlic infused dipping oil and the Traditional Organic with a pepper finish the best.

Laurel Ridge Winery – The 2003 Pinot Noir Port was wonderful and went well with my raspberry dark chocolate from Honest Chocolates.

Golden Valley Brewery – So happy to see something familiar, a microbrew! Beer tasting is a little more normal to me, so I was happy to sample a refreshing blonde ale.

We had a blast and it was a great introduction to the Willamette Valley’s wine and cuisine. I highly recommend attending next year’s Educate Your Palate – Eat, Drink and Bid event!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coconut Shrimp with Southwestern rice

A couple of weeks ago I was craving shrimp, but I did not just want boring shrimp with cocktail sauce. I love trying new recipes, especially if they are easy ones. In another life I am supposed to be a chef, but in this life, I will stick to simple cooking. On the menu was coconut shrimp with southwestern rice and a side of asparagus. I was going for a zesty southwestern dish, so that is how I came up with the coconut shrimp and rice. As for the asparagus, that was just something I had on hand and it adds color! Why not?

My starting recipe was one I found on Food Network, this is usually my default Web site to start looking for delicious dishes. When I find a recipe, I usually end up adding and subtracting ingredients or I combine multiple recipes. Here is what you need for my coconut shrimp recipe...
  • Canola oil for frying (or anyone you have on hand)

  • 1/2 cup seasoned crushed croutons (or bread crumbs)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 pinches ground cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1 lime

  • 1lb large fantail shrimp, deveined and peeled

  • The recipe online calls for Chinese Five Spice and that can be used instead of all the spices I used, I just did not have Five Spice.

    Directions -

    Heat oil over medium heat.

    Mix coconut, bread crumbs and all spices together in a bowl.

    Lightly beat the egg whites. Dip shrimp in the egg whites, then dredge shrimp in coconut mixture.

    Fry shrimp 5 minutes in hot oil until evenly golden and crispy. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.

    So simple! Next, you can bake or cook your asparagus and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want to add a southwestern or yellow rice, be sure to start cooking it on the oven before the coconut shrimp, so it is all ready to serve at the same time!

    Eat and enjoy.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Happy Hour at Blue Hour

    What could be better than happy hour? How about Blue Hour? After many recommendations, I made my way to the lovely Pearl District in Portland and enjoyed drinks and snacks at Blue Hour. It is right on the corner of 13th and Everett. I cannot believe I have not been here before, it is such a staple restaurant for NW Portland. My guess is the prices...spendy dinner for someone like me, but I am sure it is well worth it if dinner is anything like their happy hour menu.

    The simplicity of this restaurant is what I enjoyed the most. It is classic with neutral colors, elegant white linens and a touch of contemporary flare. The menu was also simple but still with plenty of choices and variety. Nothing was overwhelming about this place.

    From the happy hour menu, a friend of mine and I shared three items and each had a drink. We stuck with the Pilsner and IPA they had on tap, but there was a lengthy wine list as well to choose from. We ordered the Bluehour burger, bruschetta and Roma tomato fonduta. The burger was tasty, served on a kaiser bun with smoked bacon and white cheddar. A classic happy hour item, but the best one I have had and for only $5! The bruschetta is a daily chef's special and we decided to give it a shot. It was a cauliflower puree topped with parmesan shavings and scallions. I never thought I would like a cauliflower puree but it was actually quite good. I ended up only eating about half of the portion because it was a lot of flavor for one bite. Last was the Roma tomato fonduta topped with goat cheese served with toasted baguette slices. This item was just okay, I definitely preferred the bruschetta and burger.

    All in all, a fantastic happy hour for such a stellar restaurant. I know this places gets great reviews, but like I said, a little expensive for me to eat a meal there all the time. I highly recommend the happy hour because no food item is priced of $6. Some other dishes include a Margherita pizza, a white bean puree, garlic fries, salads and a cheese plate.
    Go check it out on 250 NW 13th Avenue at Everett Street in Portland, 503-226-3394.

    Brunch on Sundays - 10am.

    Lunch (Mon-Fri) - 11:30 am.

    Happy Hour - 4:30 to 6:30 pm every night (Saturday from 5:00), and late night after 10:00 pm.

    Dinner and drinks - 5:00pm til late