Saturday, August 29, 2015

Portland Food Tour… a self guided tour to four locations where we ate, drank and laughed!

Ploughman's Platter at Swift and Union in Kenton!

It's been a few weeks since my last story however, that doesn't mean I haven't had anything to write about.  In fact, it's quite the opposite!  I have three great short itineraries to share but thought this one I put together last night should come first!

I woke up this morning at bit after 4am and heard the thunder and saw my bedroom light up with huge bolts of lightening and then came the pouring rain.  Smiling sleepily, I was amused at my good fortune once again.  Living in the PNW, we are always in for surprises and this was no exception!  I fell back to sleep and I'm sure I did so with that smile still on my face because I'm here… in Oregon where there's always something to do, someplace to eat and drink with lots of places to explore and share with you!  Follow me on my  last trek or drive I should say as I covered four great places in one late afternoon/early evening enjoying Portland to the max!

Dessert last night at Swift and Union!
Our first stop needed to be easy, impressionable, serene and simple.  Fly Awake Tea Garden speaks all of that to me so we were off!  We enjoyed an easy glass of cold press "new" green tea along with a few homemade samosa's.  I decided to hold off on the eating till later but I enjoyed my cold tea in the surroundings that made me feel like I had entered another realm.  Tarot readings, witch gardens, herbs, teas from all over the world and art that was simply interesting, we enjoyed sitting outside to take in the nice weather before the storm rolled in.  I highly recommend this tea house as it is quite amusing and peaceful.  I especially love it in the winter when it's cold and rainy and I can sit inside with a hot chai and lovely music and friends but it's pretty special any time of the year.

Pimento Mac n Chz at Victoria Cocktail Bar!

Off to a new spot in my bookmarks called Victoria Cocktail Bar.  This place is on Albina just off Alberta and near the Mississippi Ave. district.  Entering, the space feels huge and the bar is massive!  It's simple decor is perfect with pieces of art here and there that made me want to investigate further.  I checked out Victoria on their FB page and found out a little about the art so I suggest if you are interested too, go there and see it for yourself.

We didn't want to indulge too much in to the food aspect yet however, we really couldn't help ourselves. I enjoyed a Barley Brown Pale Ale which was gorgeous!  Hubby and I shared the Pimento Mac n Chz from the Happy Hour menu and my oh my… next time, I'm getting my own!  Our son had the vegan po'boy made with buffalo sauce and grilled cauliflower and it was totally vegan.  He's not vegan at all but decided to try it and loved it.  I snatched a bite myself and was smitten with the spice and crispy on the outside texture.

I highly recommend Victoria Cocktail Bar for any reason at all but seriously… check out their menu and the space.  You'll love it!



Victoria Cocktail Bar!
Next we were off to the Hop and Vine on Killingsworth!  What a sweet space!  Nice bottle shop as you enter with comfy seating on vintage sofa's and you can order wine or beer while perusing the bottles and even have your growler filled while you imbibe.  We decided a nice cocktail and a sit down would be perfect.  I ordered a grilled cheese with tomato soup and I'm here to tell you that it was simply the best little meal I ever had that involved all of that!  I shared mine as others in our group shared and tasted each other's orders as well.  When you go, get the popcorn!  We polished off two wee bowls ourselves and wanted more!  The cocktail menu is good too!  I got what was called… Hell in a Handbasket which is probably my most sacred saying of all.  I love it!  They have some interesting mixtures so I know I'll be back for the food and drink very soon!

Fly Awake Tea Garden!

Fly Awake Tea Garden!

We decided it was time for dessert and wanted to take our group to Swift and Union in Kenton.  We went a month or so ago just after they opened.  It was packed but we got a table easy enough.  I saw the Brioche Bread Pudding complete with candied fennel and cream so that's what I got!  It was delicious, light and hinted of licorice with that sweet fennel on top.  For about one second I convinced myself I was eating salad… really, it didn't last that long.  Fennel is probably one of my new favorite veggies as I do love the mild licorice taste of it and it's delicious on a lot of things!

Others ordered the flourless chocolate cake and the Ploughman's Platter.  The platter contained meat, cheeses, nuts, pickle and soft boiled eggs.  Looked delicious and a bit too healthy for me but maybe next time!

NOTES:

Be sure to have a DD for the party… no one wants to be left out so if you can't get a designated driver, use Tri Met!  The buses are awesome and the routes get you close to where to want to be!

Order bits and pieces to share so everyone can taste a little of everything!  We did this for the most part and now I know what I want for myself next time!

Add more spots, stops, more fun places to check out along the route to this itinerary and be sure to share them with me!  I love to hear how my itineraries are jumbled and made even more interesting.

Lastly… have fun and enjoy Portland and every good thing you can find here!  Cheers!!



Sunday, August 9, 2015

the Peddler and Pen Tavern… my new love!


It's not often a place I've been to for dinner, cocktails, etc., gets their own story.  But, when I read the reviews for the Peddler and Pen, I knew I had to go!

We met our niece and her boyfriend who live nearby for dinner and drinks last night and as always, I got to pick the place. I chose this Peddler and Pen since I have read so many great reviews about them. We walked right up the stairs to the front porch and sat outside there to enjoy the cool August night in Portland.  Ordering a few cocktails, we perused the menu and we each picked something a little different. I am a vegetarian so I went for the vegan hotdog in a brioche bun with chips.  Hubby ordered a hotdog wrapped in bacon with chips as well.  BTW… the chips are homemade potato chips not crispy per se but perfectly cooked and they come with a great little dipping sauce.  It was about 8pm and we had waited all day for this meal so we were starving.  Everything was delicious!  Besides being one of the sweetest places in Portland, the Peddler and Pen Tavern has so many good things going for it.


Inside near the bar, there's a bookshelf filled with books so if you go, be sure to take some of your read books to trade out.  I brought these, pictured here home and have already picked out a few in my own book collection to take back next time I go which will be soon I might add.




Be sure to take a love letter with you too!  You can take one and leave one at this little mailbox just as you enter the steps up to the porch in to the tavern!


And finally, this!  I am not sure we're all in the gutter but seriously… I hope I never stop looking at the stars!  The Peddler and Pen is the sweetest and so please go check them out soon!  The porch is perfect and so is everything else about this place.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2015

A TEA PARTY… IN THE WOODS! INFO FROM HOUZZ.COM AND MY TEA PARTY STORY!



I had to share this tea party story from Houzz.com with you.  I love tea party's and some of you have seen a few of mine right here on White Bread and Jam!  Last year our trip through the Aufderheide Scenic Byway was made even more spectacular because of our tea party in the woods!

We found a horse camp along our route and picked the perfect table under the umbrella of old firs and other ancient trees to set our table with vintage linens, just picked flowers, Chintz and candles.  We shared our picnic and sipped wine and tea in this forest.  This will be a day I will never forget.  Take this story and take your tea party someplace unique, special or new!




Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe using Pickled Blueberries!


I had a jar of left over pickled blueberries and didn't want them to go to waste cause I can only drink so many of those Pickled Blueberry and Mint Tom Collins!  I thought I should try baking them in to a coffee cake.  It turned out great and I also found that the cake tasted better after letting it set out over night. There's was less "pickle" and more blueberry taste and so here's the recipe:

Pickled Blueberry Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350F and tuck some parchment paper in to a square 8x8 baking pan.

You'll need for the CAKE:

1-1/4 c flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter at room temp and I always use unsalted when baking
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c milk

For TOPPING:

1/4 c flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
2 T cold butter
1/3 c chopped walnuts
1 c left over Pickled Blueberries or you can use fresh or thawed frozen

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In your mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth for about 1-2 min.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat till smooth again.  On a lower speed, beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients, until blended. Just a note here… I actually cut the milk in half and used some of the pickled blueberry juice as liquid. Also note that if you do this, the cake part of the coffee cake will be a little purple or blueberryish which is fine.

For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or fork until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Stir in the nuts.

Spread the batter in the prepped pan.  Pour or sprinkle the 1 c Pickled Blueberries if that's what you are using, over the batter.  Sprinkle topping over that and bake about 45 to 50 min or until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean.

For the best flavor, let cool, remove from pan and wrap loosely in saran and let sit on the counter over night or for at least several hours.  I tried it straight from the oven and then a while later but the best flavor came from letting it sit over night.

The basic recipe here came from The Big Book of Breakfast by local author, Maryana Vollstedt complete with my changes to make it with those leftover pickled blueberries!

It's been a hot summer in the Pacific Northwest but it hasn't stopped me from baking.  I have enjoyed making the pickled blueberry recipe found on link at the top of this story and I've enjoyed baking with berries and other goodies I receive in my weekly CSA box.  Please let me know if you bake this coffee cake and if you have any variations, let me know that too!  Happy Baking!!




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pickled Blueberry Mint Tom Collins!… a cocktail for summer!


Following a favorite bar/restaurant on Instagram, got me going when I saw that they made a cocktail with pickled blueberries.  You might know the place… Old Salt Marketplace on NE 42nd Ave. not too far from where I live.  So, instead of heading over, I decided I'd try to make this one at home.  I did promise however, to head over soon to check out their version.

I got an over flowing pint of fresh blueberries in our CSA box a few weeks ago so it made sense to begin the picking process.  You'll find the recipe below but I have to tell you first… I halved the recipe using only that one pint and I change pretty much every recipe I touch so just an FYI, I didn't can these once I was done, I just poured them into a jar and put them in the fridge.  I have learned how to can but decided I don't want to begin without all the right equipment and plus, I didn't expect them to last very long.

The Tom Collins recipe is from the old Mr. Boston Cocktail book and I haven't changed it much at all but this is my version:  Put 2 oz. good gin into a shaker or in my case, a glass jar.  Add lemon juice from half a lemon, 1 teas. powdered sugar and a bunch of ice.  Put the lid on and shake well.  Using a cocktail strainer, pour the contents in to a glass that has had 1 tablespoon of these pickled blueberries added to the bottom.  Add ice and one mint leaf and fill with club soda!  I used an 8 or a 12 oz. glass to make mine last week but use whatever you want.

Besides using the pickled blueberries for this cocktail, I have added them to oatmeal for breakfast, topped strawberry shortcake with them and plan to bake something with the remainder unless of course more cocktails get made.

Have fun making the pickled blueberries and this cocktail!  Summer will be over before we know it and as I say this, it's raining and cold outside my window.  But… it's supposed to hit the 90's again by mid-week. Stay cool friends!

Catherine's Pickled Blueberries Recipe:

Ingredients 



Directions
  1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice berries onto the center of a 8 inch square piece of cheesecloth. Gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie with kitchen twine to secure. Place spice sachet into a large saucepan and pour in the vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes. Stir blueberries into the vinegar; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. As the blueberries heat, gently shake the pot. Do not stir to avoid breaking the berries. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Pour berries and liquid into a colander set over a bowl. Remove spice sachet. Transfer berries to hot, sterilized canning jars; reserve the liquid. Return liquid to saucepan and place over high heat. Stir in the white and brown sugars; bring to a boil. Boil until thickened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Ladle hot syrup over berries, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with sterilized lids; screw on rings.
  4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Goodbye to the lawn and say hello to an interesting and creative outdoor space at your home!… From California to Oregon!



I loved this article complete with photos from Houzz.com.  It hit me in particular because I was born and raised in California and moved here to Oregon almost eight years ago.  Since then I have noticed the warmer winters, the dryer weather and have been able to count on one hand how many times I have worn my "heavy" coat over the past two years.  Kind of scary but it's the real deal.  It's what's to come and so we learn to deal with it.  I keep telling myself that one big reason I moved to Oregon was because of the cooler wet weather.  I hate hot summers but have learned to accept that changes that are coming.

Forgotten finds late last winter!

One of the things we had decided when purchasing our new home last year here in Portland was that we'd have no lawn.  No grass to mow, no mower to maintain or edger to keep sharp.  We paid someone to till the soil just to loosen it up a bit and we smoothed it out and added chunky bark and some dust as well to areas we may want to plant in someday.  A three-in-one soil was tilled in as well before the bark went down so quite literally our entire yard, front and back is garden ready.

From there we have planted three trees and I've been told… no more trees please by you know who;)! Our yard is smallish so I tried to keep to the spruces but the ornamental type.  One Paper Bark Maple to balance out the house and the front yard and I'm done with trees, for now.  There were already two Japanese Maples out front so those stayed as well.  I wanted a raised garden so we got these two tubs leveled and filled with rock and soil and for the second year in a row, I have a flourishing garden pouring from them.  You'll see those pics and descriptions in my next story but I have to say, I love container gardening!

We have built one more raised bed out of wood and I think that's how we will do the rest.  I love neat and tidy and the wood bins are all so straight, it's easy to keep a garden in line.  Right now we have corn growing in a small bin and I really love the containment of it.  And, since we tilled and laid bark and dust, the weeds, which are few by the way are easy to yank out.  I also have many potted veggies and flowers around as they are easier to keep from going crazy as well and with less watering I might add.

Off season in my container gardens!
The whole point to this, and my garden and yard is that we intentionally decided against grass.  So much tending but mainly the watering is what would have killed us.  Water is expensive here in Oregon for some reason we can't figure out but mostly, we wanted to plant our yard in native, butterfly and bee friendly,  easy to maintain and care for plants and trees.  Reduce the work, reduce the water use and help what is natural here flourish and be fed.  It just made sense to us.

We are still working on this yard front and back but we have made a huge dent and are happy so far with our planting choices over the past year.  Whether here or in California, this garden and yard would flourish on very little water and that makes us feel good about our choices.

I would love to hear about how you have cut back on water use and what types of plants you have planted to keep things native.  Just leave your ideas and story in the "comments!"

NOTE:

My next story will be about the details of my garden and our plantings.  Some tips on starting a garden from seed, when to plant trees and larger foliage and how to maintain a garden throughout the year!




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Where shall we go today?… dining in Portland's NE neighborhoods!

Food Truck on NE 42nd next to Pollo Norte!

Last week before I left for Texas, we finally got over to Pollo Norte and the Kim Jong Grillin food truck on NE 42nd.  You know about my list right?… it grows and then shrinks but then grows again because quite frankly, I live in the best place in the world for food!  With restaurants and food carts/trucks everywhere in my city, I have tons of choices every day.  Lately, I've been taking in my neighborhood here on the east side and finding out that a lot of people seem to think that this is where the best food in Portland is found.  I'll have to agree a bit with them but seriously, if you are in Portland, there is delicious food to be found in every neighborhood, in every nook and on every street!  There is no neighborhood untouched by good food!

Bibim Box!  It's vegetarian!

I sent folks in to Pollo Norte to get orders in while I trekked over to check out the Kim Jung Grillin food truck.  Upon recommendation, I ordered the  Bibim box with this egg and other veggies including kimchi! I didn't know if I really liked kimchi or not because I have been kind of afraid to try it but let's just say, this whole box was filled with flavors I cannot properly describe!  The rice was perfect and a little fried/crunchy which I loved as well as all the veggies were prepared perfectly for my taste.  I  also got another box of deliciousness to share at the table and it was devoured before I could get a decent photo. This along with the chicken, rice and beans from Pollo Norte combined with our beers, was the best dinner I'd had all week!

Table outside of Pollo Norte filled with good food!

I've been head long in to food for most of my life, surrounded by it, and immersed in it and for the past 8 years, it has consumed my life.  I have started food tours in other cities that are still running I might add, I have written and photographed food and drink as well as tasted and swooned over many delicious bites all over Oregon and beyond.  I have to say that there is no doubt I live in the best place to keep these awesome experiences coming by the droves.  It's because of chefs and folks in the business working hard to be the best of the best while admiring the others that do the same jobs, I have this to live for and share.  I have never seen a food city like this one.  To each their own but to share and collaborate and support is even better.  This seems to be the mantra here in Portland by every chef, every purveyor of delicious food and drink and it makes for an interesting place to just be.

Thanks to Pollo Norte for being in my neighborhood and thanks to Kim Jong Grillin for parking your truck next door!  Looking forward to seeing this area grow with many more new additions to add to my big plate!

The guys at Pollo Norte!

Handmade tortilla filled with good stuff!


 Note:  I highly recommend Pollo Norte and Kim Jong Grillin on NE 42nd Ave.!