Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pardon my hiatus, but it is Merry Moment season!

For those of you who have been following my blog for over a year, you know that I have a holiday blog too. It is a movement I promote through the month of December to spread holiday cheer. It wouldn't be possible without the help of my friends and family and since all of you are my friends, I would love your participation too!

It is the Merry Moments Movement. It is your opportunity to pay it forward and make someone's day this holiday season. Check out the link for more details and the merry moments made so far!



So, pardon my lack of endless eats posts...I have been gearing up!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Midwestern Cuisine from Savoy Tavern

Thanks to Portland's Drink Deck, we discovered Savoy Tavern on SE Clinton Street. We decided to pick a restaurant on the Eastside since we were heading to the Trailblazer's exhibition game against Golden State.

We arrived around 5pm so we had plenty of time for happy hour! Pretty easy to find a seat at that time, but it did start to fill up around 5:45pm. It wasn't packed for a Friday so I imagine any night of the week would be great for happy hour. The menu was excellent...never been to a restaurant themed around food from the Midwest. Lots of Wisconsin cheddar cheese...even fried cheese curds!

The atmosphere was low-key and really fulfilled the "hip hangout" category as Drink Deck described it. My favorite touches were the copper mugs and the old fashion bar accessories. The "L-shaped" bar was built with dark wood and a mirrored liquor display to feature all their bottles, including the array of whiskeys. It was a rainy afternoon and we enjoyed our meal in a cozy booth lit by a single tall candle.

For dinner we both opted for the burger...go figure. It was served on a delicious Grand Central brioche bun and I ordered the side salad with basil vinaigrette. Are you surprised? Yes, that was BASIL vinaigrette. While we waited for our burgers, we ordered the Tavern Board, which was tasty. It only came with one type of salami and one type of cheese, which was a bit disappointing. Really, that was my only complaint because I love trying different cured meats and cheeses.

Last, go for the cocktails. YUM! I had the Milwaukee Mule and wanted to go back for a second. It was a ginger infused vodka with lime and ginger beer in a copper mug! Very creative drinks and I imagine most of them are inspired from the Midwest.

2500 SE Clinton St.
Portland, Oregon

open daily by 4pm | happy hour 4  - 6pm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New recipes from How Sweet It Is

Guess what? It is going to be a weekend in Portland so I hope to have some great new restaurants posts SOON! Stand by.

But, until then, read about my obsession with some of Jessica's recipes from How Sweet It Is. If you haven't been to her blog, then you are missing out. I warn you...once you start, you won't be able to stop. I could make EVERY recipe and last night, I made two - Sweet Potato Burgers with Avocado and Double Bean Burger Patty Melts.

My love for sweet potatoes is almost surpassing my love for anything inspired by caprese salad. Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, but I do love them. This recipe was so easy and the potato/avocado combination is divine. I did alter the recipe slightly, not because it needed it, but because I lacked the proper ingredients to make the cream. Instead, I made a simple rosemary, roasted garlic aioli:

Ingredients - Rosemary Roasted Garlic Aioli
1/4 c. mayo
1 tablespoon rosemary
4 cloves roasted garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Mash up the garlic cloves and then mix with mayo, rosemary, salt and pepper. Voila!

Now, the reason I also made the bean patties is because my other half doesn't drool over sweet potatoes like I do (he did end up liking the burgers though). The Double Bean Burger Patty Melts were fantastic except that I did something wrong and the ingredients didn't stick together very well. My recommendation - rinse and drain the beans properly. I think I had too much liquid from the canned beans, so I started off on the wrong foot. Not good. Yet, the flavor was still wonderful and the caramelized onions tasted great with the beans and cheese.

Since we had extra patties, I just decided to freeze them, just like we would with a traditional beef burger. They won't last long in there, I can assure you that.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Can't wait until next year...Feast Portland.

Dear Feast Portland,

I wish I could have met you and all of your friends.

Can't wait until next year...I will go broke before I miss out on such a great event.

Mark it on your calendars for next year...Portland's ultimate "foodie" event.



September 20, 21 & 22nd 2013.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What's for dinner? Well, what's in the pantry?

It was a typical, "what's for dinner?" kind of night and I wasn't in the mood for grocery shopping. The challenge: using the ingredients I already had in my pantry. A game that I don't play well. My inspiration was some chicken, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce.

Naturally, that lead me to Chicken Parmesan! I made it on the fly and I didn't have to spend ten minutes looking up a recipe....it was so easy! Read and learn.

Recipe - Simple Chicken Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

You need:
Egg & milk (for the egg wash)
Mozzarella cheese
Marinara Sauce
Chicken breasts

Make your Parmesan crust:
Bread crumbs
Italian seasonings (oregano, parsley etc...)
Minced garlic
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Now, follow the steps:
Flatten chicken breasts, dredge each one in the egg wash and then cover with your homemade Parmesan crust.
Brown the chicken in a hot skillet with olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.
Place the crusted-chicken in a "bake safe" dish (like a glass baking dish or pan).
Cover with mozzarella cheese and top with marinara sauce.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Voila! Serve over noodles and you are good to go (add some delicious garlic bread if you have it)!

For next time, I might try to add some red pepper flakes. My recipe needs something else but I am not sure what. Might need to have a chat with good ol' Giada, the Italian expert herself.

What would you add to this recipe?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Willamette Valley: Carlton Bakery

Portland is lucky to have a local bakery or coffee house on every corner and I wish we had more places like this in the Willamette Valley. Fortunately, we are getting closer with new places like,Carlton Bakery. It is about a 25 minute drive from Newberg, on the back roads of Hwy 240, but it is well worth it! The route is scenic, through beautiful farmland, and the pastries are absolutely divine!

This husband/wife duo recently opened this bakery for their love of perfect pastries and even better baguettes. Neither of them had culinary or baking experience but fell in love with a bakery in Japan and knew that it was time for a career change. Tim would wake up early each morning and head to the local bakery to learn how to make the baked goods from scratch. With lots of practice and a couple years of baking classes, Tim and his wife, Ahmee, decided it was time to open their own bakery! They settled on an old gas station, which had since been converted to The Filling Station Deli. Eventually, they decided to change the name to "Carlton Bakery." The old garage was renovated into a working kitchen and their dream of making fresh pastries, baguettes and croissants came true!

Since I have a problem making decisions when it comes to food, I tried a little sample of everything. The BLT sandwich, on their house made baguette with Carlton Farms bacon, is fantastic. They even have a simple, French baguette with cheese and ham that makes you feel like you are traveling abroad. Do not get me started on the pastries, please. I tried the fruit tart, sesame pastry, croissant and the chocolate croissant. No, I did not eat them all to myself. But next time, I am going back for the walnut bread...and some other Gorgonzola pastry that looked fabulous.

305 W Main Street
Carlton, Oregon
open Wednesday - Sunday 

Check out their Facebook page for more photos.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family-style at Jamison

Portland is the home of new, reinvented restaurants. One goes out of business and then another opens to take its place. It is impossible to get through my mile-long list of restaurants to try as it is, and then my friends go and suggest a new one on me. Jamison opened last month and is a second venture for the owner's of Davis Street Tavern. It took the location of the well-known, Fenouil. Sad to see them go, but I have to say, I am pretty excited about Jamison. In my opinion, way more impressive than Davis Street.

via jamisonpdx.com
We chose to dine outside because it was a beautiful summer night and the restaurant has a large patio for outdoor dining. Our view was of Jamison Square with trees lit up by outdoor white lights creating an ambiance that made want to stay all night. The indoor dining was equally lovely with rustic, wooden touches but comfortable with oversized chairs and banquette seating.  The birdcage chandeliers were my favorite decoration piece. All the windows opened up to the patio so even dining indoors felt like you were outside. This place will transition nicely into the winter with the warm interior colors and cozy fireplaces.

The inspiration of the menu is "American family-style" so your plates are served as the kitchen prepares them. This is my FAVORITE way to dine. I come from a big family so sharing and sampling different dishes is my preference. There are small plates, vegetable sides, flatbreads, salads and large plates. We ordered something from ever section. Our favorites were the heirloom tomato salad (a given since it is tomato season), roasted garlic and crostini and the farro with broccoli raab and peppadew peppers. We walked away without ordering the halibut dish and I am regretting it. I must go back and try.
garlic crostini & menu

One thing I have to say is that it is vegan and
vegetarian-friendly. We ate all vegetarian that night and had NO problem finding options. With that said, you will find seafood and meat options too.

Stop by before while we still have our beautiful summer nights. You won't regret it...maybe check out their happy hour and let me know what you think!

900 NW 11th Ave
Portland, OR
open tuesday - sunday

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shot of Noble Rot

Just a quick look at a girl's night out at Noble Rot off East Burnside. It is an intimate spot on the 4th floor with a fabulous view of Portland. The food was tasty and the atmosphere was perfect. I would be lying if I said the service was good...we got caught in no man's land with a bad table. I will give it another try though.

We started with house wine, a cheese plate and the mango avocado salad. All good choices! Loved the salad display.

Here are some photos from the night!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ken's Artisan Pizza...yes, it is as good as they say.

I have read several articles about wood-fired pizza in Portland and guess who always makes the cut? Yes, Ken's Artisan Pizza. Well everyone, the journalists aren't kidding....that place is pretty damn good.

My favorite part about Ken's is the simplicity. The menu is simple...pizza, salad, beer and wine. The decor  is simple...tables made out of wood from an old amusement attraction. The kitchen...wood fire oven. The host stand is a couple wine barrels. I just loved everything about it.

There was a large group of us so we had to wait about an hour. To be honest, at dinner hour on a weekend, it might be an hour wait no matter what your party size.

We ordered a couple caesar salads to share and three different pizzas. We went for the Margherita & Arugula, Prosciutto and the Fennel Sausage & Onions. All three pizzas were tasty but my favorite was probably the prosciutto pizza with some added arugula. Plenty of food for six of us to share.

The whole experience was wonderful and the atmosphere was comfortable and casual. We sat and talked over a bottle of wine which was nice. Even though there were people waiting to be seated, I didn't feel rushed by our server.

Ken's Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th Ave. 
(corner of 28th & Pine)
Portland, Oregon 97214

now open seven days a week

Check out their bakery location in NW on 21st street too! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cheers....Prost! Portland

Finally I spent some time over in North Portland on Mississippi Ave. What a fun area! I tell you, Portland is fantastic for food and drink. You will seriously NEVER run out of new places to try.

das boot
Prost! is a great German inspired pub with fabulous bier (yes, you have to spell it this way) and tasty traditional German food. We went there late night and it was really busy...definitely a fun spot to go to meet a bunch of friends. It was upbeat, lively and the bartenders were great!

Prost! is most popular for "das boot." Order a bier in an oversized boot glass but DO NOT set it down. If you do, the bartender will snatch it away and no more bier for you. You can pass das boot, share das boot but do not set das boot down until it is empty!

We didn't have anything to eat, but from what I saw people ordering, I recommend any of the beer cheese soups or a German pretzel. You can't go wrong. Also, how many places in town can you order my favorite bier...Dunkel Weiss? The tasty malt lager was delicious.

One other thing...if you are a @DrinkDeckPDX owner, there should be a Prost! card. I used one!

Since it is a bar, remember, you have to be over 21 after 8pm. No kiddos allowed after dark!

4237 N. Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Delicious Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

So, I have a terrible trend of only blogging monthly. What a sad excuse for a "blogger" I am. If I spent half the time writing on my blog as I did reading other people's blogs, I would be a pro. Since I spend most of my time on food blogs, I have quite the collection of recipes to try. Yesterday, I made a Thai Coconut Soup from Our Best Bites and oh.my.gosh it was DELICIOUS. They weren't kidding either...it was easy and so quick!

Most of the ingredients I had at home except the coconut milk. So, since I was out, I made it even easier and picked up a cooked rotisserie chicken. This worked great! I love Thai food so it was almost a no brainer that I was going to love this recipe.
I didn't change a thing when I made the recipe but I did add more jalapenos for spice. One piece of advice that I read in the post was to serve the soup quickly because the ramen noodles absorb a lot of the liquid. This is SO true. We had left overs and when I was scooping the soup into smaller containers, there wasn't nearly as much liquid.

Take a look at the ingredients and for the whole recipe, check it out at Our Best Bites.

Easy Thai Coconut Soup
Recipe by Ourbestbites.com
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh minced ginger, or 1 ½ teaspoons ground dry ginger
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk or light coconut  milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 packages ramen noodes (discard seasoning packet)
optional: ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
1 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken
toppings:  additional chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and lime wedges

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Outdoor Dining in PDX

Today was probably the most beautiful day Portland has seen in 2012. We made it to 80 degrees with blue skies! Since the sunshine is out and is hopefully here to stay, I thought I would start the quest for outdoor dining in the Portland area. 

I found a Web site that is a great place to start - Portlandfoodanddrink.com. There is a post about outdoor dining in all the different neighborhoods of Portland. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Two of my favorite restaurants with outdoor dining spaces are Produce Row Cafe in SE and Cha Taqueria in NW. 

Tell me, where is your favorite place to eat outside in Portland? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trader Vic's returns to Portland

Welcome back Trader Vic's!

This was my first time visiting a Trader Vic's and I was too young to know the original Portland restaurant when it was in downtown. The new location is in the heart of Pearl District and has great curb appeal. When you walk in, you feel like you are in paradise on a tropical island. The decor is Polynesian with authentic masks, plants from the tropics, tribal carvings and bright colors.

We decided to visit Trader Vic's for their cocktails because they have an extensive list of exotic drinks, all with creative presentations. Each drink has a signature glass or bowl. Between the six of us, we tried the 1944 Mai Thai, Trader Vic's Passion Cocktail, Trader Vic's Stinker and some other delicious Pina Colada goodness. Let me tell you...the 1944 Mai Thai was strong! One was enough for me. All the drinks were made with different rums and/or gins making them equally delicious.

While we sipped our cocktails, we decided to try a couple starters. We went with two orders of the  "Cosmo Tidbits, The Original." This is a sampler of all their popular appetizers - BBQ spareribs, Crab Rangoon (their specialty), Crispy Prawns and sliced Char Sui Pork. I think the spare ribs were my favorite but then again, I usually always like spare ribs.

Overall, good atmosphere and our service was tiptop. Our waitress was very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions...we looked to her for our drink recommendations. I think this will be a fun place to visit in the summer!

Trader Vic's Portland
1203 NW Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97209

open daily for dinner
happy hour (weekdays) 3:00pm - 6:30pm & 10pm - close

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Beer & Wine Fest - April 6th & 7th

Just because it doesn't feel like spring in Portland, doesn't mean we still can't participate in spring events! Stay warm inside at the Convention Center for this year's Spring Beer & Wine Fest. Last year I attended this event and had a pretty good time. It felt a bit weird to be inside for a beer festival, but it certainly didn't change how everything tasted!

This year, I am not too crazy about the wineries (maybe I am spoiled because I work in wine country) but I am excited about the breweries. There seems to be a pretty good selection and a variety of brewers I haven't heard of.

Check out the pricing details for more information. Free admission for the first 1000 people each day!

April 6th & 7th 2012
12:00pm to 11:00pm 

Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd
Portland, Oregon 

See you there! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brown baggin' it at Brix Tavern

This weekend was my third visit to Brix Tavern in Portland's Pearl District and yes, I do recommend it! It is a great spot for happy hour and perfect for a casual date.  The atmosphere is fun and upbeat, with live music. It is usually a one man show, but sometimes small bands play too. There are dart boards, a pool table and a foosball table in the back half of the restaurant There are a few televisions, but nothing obnoxious and it is not the focal point of the restaurant.

brown bag brew
One thing that makes this spot unique is their bartender's brown bag beer choice. You can order a beer for three bucks and the bartender will bring over a beer in a brown bag and surprise, you get what you get! It is a pretty fun conversation piece at the table. The guys love it. 

Their dinner menu is extensive with a lot of selections. So far, I have played it safe with the margarita pizza and cheeseburger from the happy hour menu, but there are several other tasty selections. Next time, I will go for the Brix Chips or the Caramelized Butternut Squash & Pancetta pizza. Take a look at their menu online to find your favorite.

But, I need to be upfront and tell you the REAL reason I love Brix Taverm. Take a look at the menu and the house cocktails and you will find one ingredient I am very partial to. If you have read any of my previous posts, you will know right away that it is sweet basil. The lemon basil martini is made to perfection and I can't wait to eat my way through the rest of the basil-inspired menu.

Brix Tavern
1338 NW Hoyt Street
Portland, Oregon

open seven days a week

Monday, February 13, 2012

Brown Butter Chicken Parmesan Pasta

Chicken. That was my inspiration for tonight's meal. I had two chicken breasts that I needed to use but I was lazy and tired and definitely not into trying a new recipe. But, I was determined. Eventually, I discovered a new food blog called How Sweet It Is and this recipe was on her home page - brown butter parmesan chicken linguine. YUM.

I have never made brown butter before, so that was what first intrigued me (yes, I know...who hasn't made brown butter?). I jumped up off the couch and instantly started pulling out ingredients. The only thing I lacked was the mushrooms and dry wine, but I improvised and it turned out pretty darn good. 

Making brown butter was a success! I just loved how Jessica from How Sweet It Is wrote this post because she made me so excited about something as simple as brown butter. Reading her post made me want to find as many dishes as I can with brown butter! :) 

Here was the photo that inspired me to make this dish: 
brown butter via How Sweet It Is
A quick look at the ingredients:
1.5-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (preferably noodles)
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for topping
fresh chopped parsley for topping
Check out her blog for other delicious recipes! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Beans & Rice with Apple Salsa

I found another delicious recipe that I had to try, and guess what? It was actually a healthy one! This recipe is from Our Best Bites blog and is sort of a latin dish, Black Beans & Rice with Apple Salsa. I was drawn to this recipe because I wanted to try the apple salsa and it was so easy. I will definitely be making this again.
This dish calls for chicken and you can prepare it anyway you would like. Grilling chicken on the barbecue would be tasty and I want to try this next time, but I was in a rush, so I went for the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  

If you read Sara's original post, she recommended adding less broth and I couldn't agree more. I ended up probably adding about 10 ounces instead of the full 13.5 ounce can - you can decide though.

See below for the ingredients and check out the recipe from Our Best Bites:

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa
Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2012 
Feel free to play around with the quantities in this recipe, like I did.  You can add more onion to the salsa, or increase seasonings in the beans.  Taste as you go and make it your own!
1 cup chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, divided
2 limes
1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 13.5 ounce can chicken broth
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cooked brown or white rice
1 rotisserie chicken, or 4 grilled chicken breasts
4-6 lime wedges

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bottle vs. Box - David Hill Winery

Generally, when I hear "boxed wine", I think of college parties, Franzia and my grandparents.  But, David Hill Winery is changing the way Willamette Valley wines are contained. This weekend my family and I tried their Farmhouse Red, both from the box and from the bottle. To my surprise, no one could really tell the difference. Some people argued the color was slightly different but no one could identify which was which.
bottle vs. box
Though I am not going to rush to replace all my wine bottles with boxes, this is still pretty neat. The box wine is tasty, sustainable, easy to travel with and holds four bottles of wine. In fact, it is cheaper too. 

If you decant this wine...I bet you can trick your family and friends. They might never know the difference. Give it a try!
David Hill Winery
46350 NW David Hill Rd
Forest Grove, OR 97116

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oven & Shaker

I love pizza. I really do and I have fallen in love with a new pizza place - Oven & Shaker in Portland's Pearl District. They had me at "three-time James Beard nominated chef Cathy Whims (Nostrana), veteran Northwest bartender Ryan Magarian, and ChefStable visionary Kurt Huffman." I mean come on, read that line up.

fennel sausage pizza

Oven & Shaker is a fun restaurant with high energy, rustic ambiance and fantastic food. The menu is not over the top, the cocktails are spot on and the service was excellent. We sat up at the bar, which is most of the restaurants seating. There are bar seats facing the window, high seating with bar stools and only a few low banquette seats. The bartender was knowledgeable and offered several suggestions. There was four of us and we decided to dine family style by ordering four different pizzas to share.  

collards pizza
We ordered the Collards, Salami, Wild Fennel Sausage and Chicory pizzas. Yes, those are four different pizzas...check out the full menu. I would say my two favorites were the salami and chicory pizzas. What really made the pizzas was the salami pizza was flavored with honey and chicory pizza was made with aged balsamic. I was very impressed with the flavors and the combinations.    

Good news: Open seven days a week, local microbrew selection, local wines from the barrels, creative and unique pizza menu, attentive and friendly staff, comfortable ambiance   
Not so good news: No reservations accepted and not much seating for large parties.  
Tip: For ginger lovers, try the Pineapple Trainwreck cocktail...it is turning into their signature drink. 

Oven & Shaker
1134 NW Everett Street
Portland, Oregon 97209

Open: 7 days a week, 4pm - midnight
Happy Hour: 10pm - midnight