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!