Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Portland Whiskey Tour… the next stop! The Old Gold on North Killingsworth!

Another day, another Whiskey Tasting!  It's good to live in Portland, Oregon just in case you were wondering.  We truly have it all in this part of the world.  Whiskey, whiskey bars, knowledgeable folks that can teach others through their experiences, tasting and bit of laid back conversations and all that natural beauty we boast about kind of makes any whiskey experience here pretty nice.

We sat today at this little bar called The Old Gold on N. Killingsworth.  Walking in, I knew we were in for a pretty great treat when I saw the long list of whiskey's listed on a big board above the bar. Huddled comfortably in the back section, we proceeded to commence on the tasting!  Traveling the world of whiskey, we sipped some new and some old, some new to us and some that brought back memories of our trip to Scotland's Speyside just this past May.  We soaked up information and a few ounces of delicious tastes that included the following:

Kilbeggen Irish Whiskey - Not as much flavor as some other whiskey's I have tried.  I also learned that there are no more distilleries in Ireland owned by the Irish.  Most are owned by companies abroad.  This may be a good whiskey for me or for someone like me just getting into the "whiskey world!"

Macallan Scotch 12 Year - Very complex and reminiscent of our time in Scotland.  Rich, complex and living up to it's region… smokey, spicy, earthy with just a touch of memories we'd love to relive someday soon.  I think a trip back to Speyside is imminent!

Buffalo Trace Bourbon - a great taste for the money and I can agree with that!  It's a cheaper Bourbon but again, the taste for what you pay for it… not bad.  

Old Overhold Rye - Been around forever and still considered a great rye.  A lot of history with rye and it's making a huge come back we were told.  

Elmer T. Lee Bourbon - A Kentucky Bourbon too much for me but those that are wanting that kick, deeper taste, it's perfect!  Hand picked by the folks/experts at The Old Gold, barrel tasting from the bung hole itself, they brought home the good stuff!

Pendleton Canadian Whisky - Considered a "gateway" whiskey for some, we learned that if you are just getting in to it, this may be a good beginning.  Although, we did also learn that there are no problems in Canada when adding coloring and flavoring to their whiskey's without labeling.  So, for me, I think I may stick to the real deal.  Although, it was smooth and not as harsh or strong tasting to me as some others.

I still have a lot to learn about the world of whiskey and learning from Ray and having the opportunity to explore Oregon's Whiskey Trail, I think this trek will be pretty spectacular!  I learned a lot today but the most important piece I took away… it's all about what I want in taste!  And, like everything I have experienced while living here in the PNW, taste is subjective and the longer I have lived here, the more my tastes have become complex, deeper and more true to what is really good!

See my personal notes below for more info on what I learned today!  Also, book yourself on the next Whiskey 101 class at The Old Gold!



Single Barrel - out of the barrel and just add water

Small Batch - A bunch of barrels and added together with water.  A marketing term mostly used by smaller distilleries, hand crafted.

Pay attention to how the bottles are labeled.  If they say "aged 8 years," everything in there must have been aged at least 8 years!  The youngest age in the bottle is how it's marked.

See where it's been produced, read the label.  Are they bringing it in from someplace else and adding Oregon water?

Un-aged whiskey is clear/not touched by wood!

Try some Japanese Whiskey!  They've won some big awards lately.

FYI… Pappy VanWinkle is made by Buffalo Trace now!  Still picked out barrel by barrel by Pappy though.  

HOMEWORK - Read all my notes and do more research of the differences between Bourbon, Rye, Irish Whiskey, Canadian Whiskey and Scotch!  BOOK A TRIP TO KENTUCKY AND PERHAPS ANOTHER TRIP TO SCOTLAND!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Portland Whiskey Tour… my plan, my experience and my gosh, it's not over yet!

At the Multnomah Whiskey Library! 
McMenamins Edgefield!
This story wasn't supposed to come out yet but I was working over my list of places and I am keenly aware at just how many places I have listed that serve Whiskey!  We're in the midst of a self made Portland Whiskey Tour this week and it'll end on Saturday but then again, maybe it's only the beginning.

In the past few days, we've entertained friends from out of town so that makes it easy to get out there and see where to find the best places in Portland to enjoy some of that Whiskey we are fond of.  We had never been to the Multnomah Whiskey Library so it seemed a fitting thing to do on a Tuesday afternoon.  I called ahead and sure enough, it's the best place to be at 4pm especially this past Tuesday being Mardi Gras and all.  

The Library soaked us in heart and soul as we were greeted by the nicest wait staff.  Five of us seated at an antique library table, we gawked and stared at the rows, the shelves, the furnishings and the 'old school' library come whiskey bar.  Still thinking about that afternoon.  

We sampled some cocktails and the guys sampled a nice flight of whiskey going from a lighter taste all the way to a Scotland smoked peet infused taste made right here in Portland.  Clear Creek has done well my friends in taking their distilling to the next level and giving us all something so deep and smokey to enjoy.  Moving on, we enjoyed the little cocktail menu and there's an impressive list of other nice things as well.  Looking for our next opportunity where we can try something off the food menu as well.

McMenamins Edgefield Distillery!
We headed out to Multnomah Falls the next morning with a quick stop at McMenamins Edgefield on our way back to Portland.  That was my suggestion and let me just tell you… 2-1/2 hours later, we were joyfully satiated and smiling from the experience.  Just in time for the distillery tour, a few beers in hand and some Hogshead Whiskey down the hatch and let's just say, it was a very nice afternoon.

Watching the distiller stack the filled barrels brought the boys right in as they perused the ingredients and questioned what exactly was inside the barrels and for how long it would remain in there.  Drooling at the prospects, we slowly and reluctantly walked away longing to fit one of them in our car.  Perhaps in a couple of years we'll be tasting what's in these barrels if the angels see fit to share;)!

Home each evening with our friends here, the guys tolked on a few premium cigars out in Ray's new cigar and whiskey room and sipped on some pretty nice Johnny Walker, Elijah Craig and more of that Hogshead.  Ray is just getting his room up to snuff and it's almost complete as we wait patiently for the awesome and I might add, expensive filtering system so even I can enjoy sitting at his bar and sipping some the gold myself.  I can see it now… Ray's shelves will be lined with gifts from adoring yet envious friends with drinkables in the form of Cardhu Whisky from Scotland, some Glenfiddich, perhaps some local distilled goods and others he covets while strolling the isles at Hollywood Liquor.  We'll see how this goes.

Our last stop on this whiskey trail will be tomorrow at The Old Gold on Killingsworth.  At 1pm we'll be attending a Whiskey 101 class.  Looking forward to that and yes, I'll send photos!

Just for your FYI… here's my short list of places I plan to visit over the next few months if not sooner.  Please let me know if you've been to any of these places and as you can easily guess, I'm more of a beer lover myself but I may be getting closer to compete with Ray over a sip or two.


Places to go:

The Lost and Found next to Milk Glass Market - decent reviews and people love the patio.

Bang Bang - Scratch curies, new and supposed to be good:  4727 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213 open at 5pm.

City State Diner and Bakery - 128 NE 28th Avenue
Portland, OR, 97232 and breakfast served all day.  Hours: 8-3 and then to 4 on wknds.

Conquistidor - Good margaritas and is vegetarian: 2045 Se Belmont St opens at 4pm

Batter - 4425 NE Fremont St., Portland
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m.  to 1 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.  to 1 a.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Boxer Ramen - Great for lunch maybe.

Angel Face Bar - 14 NE 28th Avenue opens at 5pm

Nevarre - good brunch:  Mon -Thurs: 4:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Friday: 4:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am - 11:30 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am - 10:30 pm
We are located at:
Portland, Oregon 97232

Lincoln - on Williams:  3808 N. Williams open Tues to Sat. at 5:30pm

Culmination Brewing - 2117 NE Oregon Ave.:  2117 NE Oregon St opens at 5pm

Apex - 1216 SE Division: opens at 11:30am 

Belmont Station - 4500 SE Stark:  opens at noon and they may have some food?

Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom - 3090 SE Division: 3090 SE Division opens at noon 

The Brooklyn Park Pub - take Ray here and then Opa - 3400 SE Millwaulkie

Monday, February 9, 2015

Oso… take me to the market! A Portland transformation that I am thoroughly loving!

Oso's monthly brunch.  This month it happened in Poland!
I have this list that some of you know about and some of you have your own list I'm sure.  I would highly suggest you place OSO MARKET at the top of that list and try brunch there very soon!

I've recently been in to Oso on one of my afternoon jaunts looking to check out a new place to have a cup of tea or coffee and I really adore these places that also have little markets inside. Some of my other favorites include P's and Q's on Dekum, Luce on Burnside and Laurelhurst Market also on Burnside.  Oh, there's another new one that hasn't been open long, Milk Glass Market on Killingsworth which I really do love as well.  Not only was I able to pick up a nice hot tea to go at Milk Glass, I took home the biggest fattest loaf of shallot focaccia bread I ever saw. It lasted days and went well with every meal I cooked in my kitchen that week.  Now back to Oso…

…so, at Oso, they do this "around the world" brunch every month and this past weekend they offered a Polish Brunch and filled their market to the brim shortly after opening at 11am.  We ordered Savory Pierogi which was quite nice and I really loved the salad made from cucumbers in sour cream with dill on the side.  We also enjoyed Paczki which was fried pastry filled with raspberry, butter and topped with powdered sugar.  Hubby really liked the Golumpki which is similar to a dish my mother makes, a form of Swedish meatballs she also calls "proccus" but I'm not sure about the spelling of that last word there.  Anyways, there were also kielbasa dishes and a sour rye soup with boiled eggs, sausage and smoked bacon as well.  Not typical foods or tastes we are used to or comfortable eating every day but I could easily go for a trip to another country once a month or so.

Bloody Mary!
I'm not sure where Oso is taking us in March but I'm anxious to find out and now I'm looking forward to having dinner there sometime soon as well.  Back to the "market" in the Oso Market + Bar.  There's a huge selection of wines and if you are looking for bitters, some local candies, snacks and other delicious "made in Portland" items, you'll find them there as well.  I think a hamper filled with all the good things found at Oso will be in my future this Spring when I plan that Spring hike!

I have no doubt you'll find many things you will love about Oso and many of the other restaurant/market stops in Portland.  Enjoy, take your friends and take time for a bite or a cup of tea as well.  Let me know if you have a favorite place like Oso that you can tell me about… I'll add it to my list;)!

Golumpki… stuffed cabbage!

Paczki… Fried Pastry!

Savory Pierogi!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Eater Portland… A Chef Collaboration of Everything Great About Food in Portland!

    Always at the brink… Portland keeps it real with these collaborations, collusions, confluences or whatever you want to call them.  All I can say...  sharing is nice and when you are doing it with friends, it's even better.  Thanks Eater Portland for this info! 

    "Chef Collaboration Dinners are Taking over Portland"
    "Even for chefs, cooking is a lot more fun when you're in the kitchen with friends, which must be why chef collaborations have become increasingly common. Rick Gencarelli at Lardo has turned the monthly tradition of inviting chefs over to help create a custom "Chefwich" into a menu staple. But now, chef collaborations are exploding all over town.
    Stray Dogs: Tonight, Monday Feb. 2, Stray Dogs is popping up again at Big Trouble bar in Old Town. But this time they're bringing along a new dog, courtesy of a collaboration with Le Pigeonchef Gabriel Rucker. The Le Pigeon Dog is a garlic sausage dog wrapped in emmentaler swiss and ham, steamed in a baguette and topped with an endive and black truffle slaw. The Stray Dogs menu is available tonight through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Look out for more chef collaborations in the coming weeks.
    Ned Ludd: Tonight, Monday Feb. 2, Ned Ludd kicks off its monthly Pizza Social series, when some of Portland's favorite pizzaiolos come by to share the Monday night pizza fun. TonightBrian Spangler from Apizza Scholls will help man the ovens and set the menu, which will be heavy on classic Italian-American flavors. Pizzas will come in meatball, clams casino, and eggplant parmesan varieties. Plus there will be insalata mista, cannolis and negronis. On March 2, Sarah Minnick of Lovely's Fifty-Fifty takes a turn. And on April 4 Sean Coyne of Pizza Maria gets in on the action.
    Chefs Week: Perhaps the city's most epic chef collaboration dinner series (aside from Feast) runs Thursday Feb. 5 through Sunday Feb. 8. Chefs from Portland and the West Coast will team up to produce themed, multi-course dinners, complete with food and drink collaborations with local artisans like Quin Candy and Woodblock Chocolate. There are, miraculously, still tickets available to the Bound by Tradition dinner Feb. 7 at Elder Hall, as well as the grand final dinner at Departure, which features all the chefs (including the three current Top Chef finalists Doug Adams, Gregory Gourdet and Mei Lin) on Sunday Feb. 8.
    FenrirCozy, Scandinavian-ish Fenrir recently launched a collaboration dinner series, and the next one is coming up Sunday, Feb. 8. The Fenrir trio of chef Ian Wilson, sommelier Tyler Hauptman, and bartender John James Dudek, are teaming up with chefs Reid Ashwill and Jim Kavanaugh, who are described as "future restaurateurs and friends of ours who create amazing food based in American tradition and localized, curated ingredients." Tickets are $60 for dinner and $85 for dinner with drink pairings. On Sunday March 8, The trio will partner with Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels of Viking Soul Food on a multi-course Scandinavian-influenced dinner. Tickets are $65 for dinner and $90 for dinner with drink pairings.
    Holdfast Dining: The duo behind Holdfast Dining is getting ready to open the doors to their new location at Fausse Piste urban winery on Feb. 12. Meanwhile, they've announced a monthly collaboration series with other chefs from around town and around the country. Holdfast's Will Priesch and Joel Stocks will concoct one half of the 10-course menu, while the guest chef will handle the other half. The first three dinners are lined up, with Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick kicking things off Feb. 26. Gabriel Rucker will come by in March, and Jose Chesa of Ataula is on the books for April. The dinners cost $125,  including five wine pairings but not including gratuity."
    Nedd Ludd… pizza night!

    Ned Ludd!

    Sunday, February 1, 2015

    Autentica… it's in my neighborhood. An Alberta Arts Portland Brunch Spot You Must Taste!

    Guacamole and sauce with house made corn tortillas!
    Those of you who read me know that it takes quite a bit for a Portland restaurant to get it's own story.  So, here goes this one.

    I sent my son and his girlfriend to Autentica a few weeks ago and told them to enjoy and let me know if  it's good.  They said it was delicious so we went today.  Filling a table for six, we each ordered something different with an order of guac and corn tortillas to begin with.  Coffee all around and then the food came.  Most of you know that I am originally from SoCal where the Mexican food hales big time and we have yet to discover thee most perfect Portland place for our favorite food. I think we may have hit the mother load.

    Autentica offers a nice selection for brunch and along with that, you can even begin your morning with a little brunch cocktail if you'd like.  I opted to stick with coffee and then ordered an Enchilada en Molé with cheese.  You can get this with chicken as well.  Others ordered things that included pulled pork, huevos rancheros and something called a torta de huevo frito.  It was all quite delicious that one person in our group decided to play human disposable and proceeded to taste all of our leftovers.  He really loved all of it.

    I can tell you that you can read my Yelp reviews, my stories here of the food and drink I consume, some of my own recipes, etc. but, I would seriously tell you that you really need to take this story to heart and go to Autentica for brunch this next weekend.  There's no wait, the tastes are so amazingly authentic and this place just earned a spot on my short list for places in the running for my 2015 restaurant of the year!

    Enchilada Molé!

    She must be an angel… those corn tortillas taste like heaven!

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    A quick note about Valentine's Day in the Willamette Valley and a day at Vintage Roost!

    It's always a treat for me to go down to Albany in the Willamette Valley this time of year.  Living there for about 7 years and having my BnB in the historic Monteith District near downtown, Albany boasts to be one of the sweetest towns in Oregon.  Filled with shops, restaurants, museums and then there's all the cute stuff just north of town as well.

    One of my MOST favorite places on earth is Vintage Roost on NW Scenic in Albany!  As I have said before, I furnished a lot of my BnB with things found there.  Some of you are thinking doilies and tchotchke but seriously, our place was open, historic and decorated with only the things we loved.  We enjoy that simple and comfy environment so that's how we presented our business and home to others.  Most if not all of our guests at some point throughout their stay with us would mention our style and compliment us on keeping the house simple yet everything that was needed was there and attainable.  We enjoyed decorating our 1908 Craftsman, loved most (ahem...) of our guests and are really truly enjoying being done with that part of our lives for now.  However… I still make it out to Vintage Roost to peruse the sweetest little cabin/cottage in the valley because I love the feeling when I enter and in fact, I love everything about being there.  This time of year there's a roaring little fire, something hot to drink as I shop and then a few goodies to sample too.

    Take the trip to Albany.  It's a great little day trip from the Portland area or even from the coast or Eugene for that matter.  Find goodies, homemade things, vintage linens, dishes and other very sweet things to take home and use.  There's always little plants and other outdoor things to get you through till Spring in Oregon as well.

    For more things to do in the area:

    Lunch at Sweet Red, First Burger or Calapooia Brewing all located downtown.

    Stay on First Ave. for a bit and enjoy the children's clothing shop there and a few other shops I love… Emma Downtown and new men's clothing shop called the The Natty Dresser!

    On Second and Ellsworth, find the Albany Antique Mall where you will find all the other things you'll just have to have.  Lots of furniture and vintage finds here.

    Be sure to check out the Albany Carousel project on First and Washington as well.  Such a sweet place and watch the artists paint and the carvers carve the carousel animals and watch them come to life before your eyes.

    You aren't far from Corvallis either… so, go check out some of the shops downtown and if you are hungry for a burger and/or beer… Block 15 is one of my favorites.  Also, I love The Inkwell which is filled with kitchen items, dishes and tons more things I couldn't live without when I had my BnB and big kitchen.

    You can also take 99W down from Portland or head back up that way when you are finished and heading back.  So many wineries to visit and only so much time.  Some of my favorites for the views and the wine….

    Van Duzer… views are amazing!

    Left Coast Cellar… the drive from 99W is along a picturesque driveway and there's lunch at the end along with some wine!

    Sokol Blosser which is a great stop too!

    Adelsheim… a must stop along the way.

    For more FOOD… The Grazing Goat for food and dessert in Amity or head to Red Hills Market and if you aren't hungry, it's ok.. they have Stumptown Coffee and macaroons made with lots of coconut and half dipped in chocolate!  Lots of cookbooks, wine to take home and other things you might need!

    Ok, that's enough so you must go and make your plans now.  Go with your honey or some girlfriends.  Either way, a road trip that only lasts a day is great way to explore Oregon!

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Coffee, Coffee Cake and Just One of Those Sweet Little Spots That Serve Both in Portland!

    Oui Presse on Hawthorne!

    It's beginning again.  This year since January first, I have had the pleasure of enjoying thirteen stops here in Portland that involved food, beer, coffee, cocktails or cake!  I don't believe I promised to behave and keep it cool in 2015 but I did promise myself to ease up on the sweets. So, as those resolutions go, I've messed up in a really yummy way already but I am truly saving those "sweet" times for the good stuff!

    I have returned to several places that wowed me in previous years and hit a few "new to me" places that are on my new 2015 list.  Today I headed over to Hawthorne with my sights on finding Oui Presse.  As you can see, I found this sweet place situated nicely adjacent to the gorgeous Ladd's Addition area of Portland.  One of my most favorite neighborhoods is deserved of a place so European, so French and so very quintessential.

    Streets lined up diagonally with rose gardens dotting the landscape, Ladd's Addition is truly one of the old great Portland neighborhoods.  Most of the homes in this area are not pretentious, they are simply the perfect size for an average Portland family.  An average home in an average type of neighborhood surrounded by an exquisite bunch of delicious places to dine, get coffee or tea, etc., this area is truly lucky to have it all!

    I walked in to Oui Presse expecting it to be a little like some of the "other" European styled cafes I've been to in Portland, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find it so relaxed and warm and very welcoming.  With racks of magazines for purchase, tables for their patrons and a bit of decor that is reminiscent of vintage luxe, I instantly liked the place.  So, as it goes, I ordered a Café au lait and a slice of Espresso Hazelnut Coffee Cake.  Again, I am working on behaving but this is a new place and that coffee cake was asking for it!  And which by the way, was quite delicious and not as sweet as I expected and that was truly a treat.

    I sat and munched on my wee slice of cake and sipped my warm cuppa from a bowl and felt good everywhere!  January, it's 57 degrees outside, I have a t-shirt on with a warm scarf around my neck, I'm sipping this delicious coffee and I just enjoyed some of the best coffee cake I have ever tasted and I'm smiling.  Not at anything in particular, but I'm just smiling.  It's been a good Friday.