Sunday, June 19, 2016

Strawberry Salsa for chips or ice cream! It's good both ways!

Strawberry Salsa!
Looking for something delicious, unique and filled with flavor, I found once more a great salsa recipe from my cookbook, Truly Mexican!  I love this cookbook and now this recipe is just one more delicious addition to my Mexican dinner repertoire!  I served it with a charcuterie board, tortilla chips and other snacky things when my parents, sister and nephew were visiting last week.  I am pretty sure it would be good on anything and had a strong berry flavor with a little twinge of tomatillo and the chili ratio was perfect too.  I didn't put it on ice cream however, but I'm sure it would have been great that way as well.  Here goes, enjoy and now you have something else different to do with all those gorgeous Oregon strawberries:)!!



  • 2 Dried Árbol Chiles, Wiped Clean And Stemmed
  • Tomatillos, Husked And Rinsed
  • 1 Pound Strawberries, Rinsed, Hulled, And Quartered (3 1/2 Cups)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 10 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • Whole Cloves
  • Small Turkish Bay Leaves Or 1 Small California Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Fine Salt, Or 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

HEAT a heavy skillet over medium-low heat and roast the tomatillos and toast the chiles, turning the chiles over and pressing down on them frequently with tongs, until they are browned all over and with some blackened spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chiles and continue to roast the tomatillos, turning them over only once, until their tops and bottoms have black-ened and the tomatillos are a khaki-green color and cooked to the core, 20 to 30 minutes total.
ADD the strawberries to the tomatillos in the hot skillet and cook, stirring over medium heat, until they start to give off liquid. Add the toasted chiles, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, and salt and cook until the strawberries are soft, about 5 minutes.
TRANSFER the mixture to the blender jar and blend until the spices break down and the salsa is very smooth, about 1 minute, then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on and then discarding the solids.
This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Cook till the berries are so fragrant you want to eat them out of the pan!

Cast iron is great for making this salsa!
Thanks to my Whole Foods on NE Fremont and 15th, they had everything I needed to make this recipe!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 2016… where I ate in Portland and Beyond!

Juniper and Ivy… San Diego's Little Italy!

We were gone for almost three weeks and on our trip, we did indeed plan out excursions around our meals.  I will tell you about where I ate however, note most places were not in Portland this time.  Just had to put that out there.  We did dine at some amazing places but two really stand out and so I'll cover those first off.  Here goes and have fun reading and then planning where you're going to eat next:

JUNIPER & IVY:  San Diego's Little Italy never disappoints and I say that like I'm a regular.  I am not!  I grew up and lived most of my life in Southern California but had never been to the Little Italy area of San Diego.  Our daughter Sher kept telling us about this place and since we were in San Diego for a few days, we went.  I will tell you this is at the very tippy top on my places to dine if I had an all time list. There's a few more spots that would have to share the space but seriously… this is the place to eat in San Diego.  From the cocktails to the starters to the main courses all just the perfect size and picture perfect too, we ordered many things, shared and tasted and ooh'd and ahh'd over each bite.  Dessert was pretty awesome too!  If you ever get a chance, please go check this place out.  I love the openness of the restaurant, the staff was attentive but not overly and again, all the food… perfect!

THE BUTCHER'S DAUGHTER:  On the way home, we stayed a night in Venice Beach and walking Abbot Kinney, I saw this restaurant and decided it would be our breakfast spot.  We arrived the next morning after checking out of our AirBnB cottage and sat in the sweet front patio and with a large open, clean-lined, well decorated dining room, there's also more patio out back for more private seating.  French Toast, coffee and toast with peanut butter, bananas, honey and grapes were ordered and devoured.  Lots of pictures and smiles of satisfaction, we were ready to hit the road and head home from there.  I do suggest a little side trip to Venice as we loved hitting the Salt & Straw and Blue Star Donuts there as well.  Hello Portland in LA… how sweet is that!?

LUNA:  First in Corona, CA and then to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, CA now, this place is our go-to "Modern Mexican Kitchen!"  Delicious Mexican Food wrapped in a sweet atmosphere filled with tequila and horchata concoctions, chips and salsa and an amazing menu with twists on every recipe.  I highly suggest Luna if you are ever in Corona or Rancho.  Not far from the Ontario airport… so go!

ANCHOS:  When some people see this on my list, they'll laugh cause really, this place was good when it first opened in Riverside, CA but we quit going there even when we lived there.  Went back for Cinco de Mayo while still on our trip and the homemade tortillas and salsa got to me.  So good and since I crave Mexican food every, single, day… this made my day!  Again, if you are ever in SoCal… check it out!

PIG PEN DELICACY:  In Santa Ana, CA, I had been following this place on Instagram for a while.  Newly opened and located in old downtown Santa Ana, it sits nicely in a market alongside other food spots.  Ice Cream, House made s'mores shop and more can be found under one single roof.  Hubby enjoyed his full on meat burger and I had messy fries topped in all kinds of deliciousness!  Go if you are meat eater, I'm sure you'll just love it!

Now back to Portland…

Charcuterie at Juniper and Ivy!

Juniper and Ivy!
NOSSA FAMILIA:  I was invited to attend a cupping event at Nossa Famila in Portland's Pearl District and although I had been in for coffee, this was something I had never done here before.  It was a great experience and if you have a chance to go sometime and your a coffee lover as I am, you should go!  Great people work here, love the business story and it's nice to see a company that really cares about family and others the way these folks do.

PIED COW:  Went once more for hubby's birthday cause he was getting a banana split! I've never just had regular food here and this place is always interesting.  Good desserts, great people watching and hookah if you're interested!

ECLIPTIC:  I think this is the first place I went to after returning home from our almost three weeks away.  Sometimes you just need to connect asap and so I did!  Always delicious beer, delicious food and hubby had a special hot burger that night as we sat outside on one of Portland's warmest evenings so far.  Perfect!

WOODLAWN COFFEE & PASTRY:  As sweet as ever and I'm so excited that since I've been a while ago, they now are serving Coava and Roseline Coffees and so I'll be back soon for that!  I did have my usual lunch there of salad and grilled cheese, a favorite.  The lettuces are so fresh that you can actually taste the lettuce taste!  I took a friend and she had the meatloaf sandwich and loved it!  I'll go back again and again!

PEPPER BOX:  I can't believe I've only been here a few times cause I love love love this place.  Cheap, good and hot!  Everything is hot and so good!  I had the sopapilla and wow… hot!  I ate all of it and you must go!  I highly recommend for a during the week breakfast or brunch!

PODNAH'S:  Went cause my son wanted to go for his birthday and wow… I had been putting it off cause I am as I mention now and then, a vegetarian.  I got the mac n cheese and some other sides and enjoyed watching hubby and son devour their brisket and ribs.  I'll go back over and over with them any time, any day!

BREAD AND HONEY:  I trekked over for a little breakfast one morning last week.  This spot is new and so I was hoping for something yummy.  I had a little empanada and chocolate chip scone and everything is made earlier in the day and then heated up as you order it.  I was a little disappointed however, it was tasty.  Kind of a quiet location but clean and quick especially if you're looking for something to go!

KING FARMER'S MARKET:  I started volunteering here a few weeks ago in the Master Gardening booth and I love it!  Mostly I love it cause from the minute I get there, I can smell some delicious scents wafting across the isles and it draws me in quick.  From coffee to breakfast burritos to baked goodies and more, this is the best place for breakfast or lunch on Sunday's 10-2pm from now till November.  Get it now folks!

BOLLYWOOD THEATER:  I was invited to attend a kitchen event with Troy, the owner of the restaurant and I will say, I enjoyed every single minute.  You can read about my time there on my blog link here:  In The Kitchen With Troy….  I have always liked Bollywood Theater however, spending time with other "foodies" and Troy in one room, his kitchen, kind of deepened the love I have for our Portland chefs.  They love their craft, delight in their ideas and food making skills and mostly, they seem to really care about us as customers and even more so, they care about their staff.  Happy kitchen, happy and busy chef, satisfied customers and you've got a nicely wrapped gift for every one to enjoy.  Congrats to Troy in his success with all of it!

Macarone'd Deviled Eggs… Juniper and Ivy!

So, besides all the little stops on our trip to places like In and Out, Frostbites, street taco joints in San Diego, Mother's Day brunch with our daughter and her fiancé and his family,  and all the cocktails here and there, we did miss home a lot. It's always good to come back and I will say that it's June 1st and I'm already working on my list again as of tonight!  See you on Mississippi Ave. later folks!

I hope you've enjoyed reading my list and making plans for your next food adventure!

My farm root and grain dinner at Juniper and Ivy!

The Butcher's Daughter in Venice Beach!

Troy at Bollywood Theater!

Asparagus at Bollywood Theater!

Cupping at Nossa Familia!

Happy Birthday Steven at Podnah's!

Marion Berry Pie and Ice Cream at Pied Cow!


Friday, May 27, 2016

Boulevardier… Aged Cocktails made at home!

We used a basic aged cocktail recipe for this delicious and very popular Boulevardier however, instead of using one whiskey for the lot, we used a mixture of a local Oregon rye from Rogue Farms and Elijah Craig, a Kentucky Bourbon.  Adding those into the barrel along with Sweet (red) Vermouth and Campari, we realized that after several cocktail batches, this would most likely be the end of this barrels life.  We found some charred oak in an aged cocktail kit we received as a gift and broke it up and got it to fit in the bung hole thank goodness.  We do need a new barrel and so that's on order for now.

We actually let this age a bit longer than anticipated and loved the gooey sweet ooze that snuck out of the openings and yeah, it was like sweet liquored up honey and only provided a sign that perhaps we needed to drain the barrel in to bottles and be done with it.

We did fill two large bottles one of which made it to California with us on a road trip.  For some reason, I felt this cocktail would be a man's cocktail but I will say, between the friends gathered around one evening while on our trip south, men and women equally enjoyed sipping this aged concoction.  I think we have hidden the last bottle somewhere but we do have family coming for a visit soon so I'll have to dig it out and share it. Looking forward to the new barrel coming so we can make another batch.

Here's the recipe as is from Feast Magazine and cheers from Oregon!

Boulevardier, 2-LITER BARREL

  • bottle, plus 8½ oz Dark Horse Distillery Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
  • 17 oz sweet vermouth
  • 17 oz Campari
  • ice
  • orange peel (for garnish)
Add 3 ounces barrel-aged Boulevardier into a chilled coupe or Old Fashioned glass and fill with ice. Zest an orange peel into the drink, use it for garnish and serve.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with a dusting of Powdered Sugar served with Salt & Straw Ice Cream! Happy Birthday to you!

Right out of the oven!
Steven wanted some kind of dessert for his birthday yesterday but wasn't exactly sure what he wanted.  Finally, he just said for me to surprise him, so I did.  One of his favorite things is Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins so I found this cake recipe and decided this would be the perfect birthday cake for him.  The recipe is basic and I found it on  I only tweaked it a little bit and loved that it was so simple and after tasting it last night, it was the perfect birthday cake for him!  Filled with banana flavor, I can totally see this made with walnuts and perhaps even leaving the chocolate chips out if you're looking for a less sweet or chocolaty flavor.  Pretty easy to play with and change if you want to.  Here's the basic recipe with my tweaks:

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Served with Salt & Straw Ice Cream!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, egg, melted butter and milk.
  4. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until blended. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (It will have some melted chocolate, but no crumbs.)
    NOTES:  I actually used parchment instead of greasing a pan and used two whole very ripe bananas instead of one cup mashed although it wasn't a whole lot different in amount size.  Also, I read some reviews before baking this cake and some people said to use a smaller pan which makes the cake thicker and some said they substituted baking soda for the baking powder.  I wanted to stick as much to this simple recipe as possible so I followed it word for word on the leavening, using baking powder however, I did use a smaller pan that suggested.  An 8x8 square worked perfectly!  Baking time was pretty spot on too!  Also… I did bake the cake one day before serving because like banana bread, I was sure this cake would taste even better baked the day before eating, wrapped tightly and refrigerated overnight.  The banana flavor came through rich and delicious!  Don't forget to dust with powdered sugar if you want to and that rhino… well, just a little added touch is all.  He loved it! Happy baking and happy birthday to Steven… we love you!! 
Happy Birthday!

Friday, May 20, 2016

In The Kitchen with Troy MacLarty's Bollywood Theater! Indian Street Food in Portland, Oregon!

Troy MacLarty
I walked by the stove in my grandmothers kitchen in Fullerton, California when I was about ten years old.  I saw something boiling like crazy in a huge pot.  I peeked in and amongst the steamy liquid was a huge corn beef roast bubbling away wafting its scent throughout the house.  In this kitchen, there were also huge crocks lining the floors near one long hallway and shelves in the windows lined with canning jars.  In the crocks and in those jars were pickles being pickled and as a young girl, I was mesmerized by the things that seemed suspended in the pickling liquid which I now know was salt water of course. The pickling spices that dangled and floated in-between the pickles as well as the fans of dill sprigs seemed to attach themselves to the sides of the jars making for the most interesting designs and later added flavor to the best pickles I have ever eaten in my life since.  My other grandmother as I recall, my fathers mother, could make a feast of chicken fried steak, veggies and biscuits out of seemingly nothing at Sunday evening dinners.  I could find myself eating and eating and never getting full knowing it would be at least a week before this was happening again and enjoying every minute of my family around one big table.  And then there's my mother who could quite literally twist any recipe in to an amazing dish and later in my life, watching my husband and his co-worker firefighters making dinner for their families and for each other at the firehouse which for so many reasons, thrilled me to no end.  When I think back about this childhood of mine and later in to adulthood, the fact that I love to cook and throughout all my experience of being around food,  I learned that although amazing and delicious is always important when it comes to really good food, there's another aspect that touches my soul in regards to the experience as a whole. When the Chef/Owner of one of the best restaurants in my town not only lets you in to his kitchen and when he talks to you about how his food is made, why he does what he does and why this, his food and this space is so important to him, one can't help but to be drawn in with a kinship in regards to good food.

Meet Troy MacLarty Chef/Owner of Bollywood Theater.  An invite brought me to Bollywood and I would have said yes immediately but knowing I was headed for the kitchen and a sit down with the owner was a huge plus.  A little background here quickly again, my story of how food surrounded my life as a child never left me.  I grew up with it and was influenced by mostly women cooks in my family along with a few pretty awesome dinners made by our firefighter family where food was not only meant to taste good, it was fuel for the fire so to speak so it needed to mean something.  So, it makes sense that I take away not only the love for really good food, I also understand and know that there's more to this food story.  I began the Albany Nosh Tours several years ago while running my BnB in the Willamette Valley.  The tours still run today which does make me very happy however, from the beginning even before the tours began, I knew how I needed for this to go.  I needed chefs to realize the importance of not only their food being the main attraction of these food tours but I needed them to know that while people expected good food, I wanted tour goers to have the whole experience.  I wanted them in the kitchens, in the dining rooms and in front of the chefs.  So, as often as possible, our tour guests were invited in to these kitchens, met head on with the chefs themselves and gratifying to no end, everyone truly enjoyed the experience.  Last night was exactly the same.  

Troy told me he was shy and this event held mostly in his kitchen at the Division Street location could seem a little unnerving to most chef's however, it went off splendidly and I learned quickly that he gets the whole idea behind my vision for my food tour some years ago, however, he is not alone as many chefs I have met have that similar shy trait and don't enjoy being in the spotlight.  Troy though was informative, clear and educated many of us gathered around the butcher block table on the ins and outs of Indian spices, the making of Paneer (the most delicious cheese ever), curry, masala, chutney's and more stories of his Indian food history.  I loved the part when someone asked him if he had gone to India quite a bit before opening his first Bollywood Theater restaurant on Alberta Street. His reply was that he signed the lease agreement on the space on Alberta and then hopped on a plane literally the same day headed to India for the very first time. Guts, stamina and knowing exactly what he wanted has surely played a roll here for Troy.  A learning process, a chef trained former biologist and yes, that's another interesting story, lots of time, the love for what he does and the master craftsmanship of Indian street food, this casual setting at both Portland locations leaves you satisfied, intrigued and for me… smiling all the way home.  I'm lucky to have had this experience and lucky to live literally less than a half mile from the Alberta location.

I do recommend many dishes at Bollywood Theater however a few favorites yesterday, Dahi Papri Chaat, the asparagus pictured although this may have been a special yesterday and anything with curry!      Also note that not only is the Division location a restaurant, it's also a market as well.  You can touch and smell all the ingredients and purchase spices, beans, rice etc. there as well.

For when people want to know how an Indian restaurant prepares asparagus!

Dahi Papri Chaat.. made with house made crackers!

Prepping for Paratha! 

The Bollywood Theater Market!
note:  Although I did not pay for the meal and event at Bollywood Theater, my thoughts are my own.  Thanks for the invite Broussard Communications and Troy MacLarty.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My April 2016 list of places I ate at in Portland and beyond!

The Sparrow Bakery… Bend, OR!

I'm late and I know it.  May is already half way through and I'm just sitting at my desk thinking, I have to get this blog out before it's over!  But, I will say, I have a darned good excuse for not posting this list till now.  I've been traveling and having a great time visiting with family and friends for the past three weeks and sitting down to the computer wasn't a priority.  I am working on letting go of things like time at the computer, time away from the things and the people I love being with, just plain putting my phone down and trying to focus more on the experience I might otherwise be missing.  For some of us that's hard to do.  I feed off my IG "likes" and I love when someone makes a comment on my blog and realizing how much of everything happening around me I'm missing, this has been good a good break.  But… we trudge on, we eat, we experience, we do and we share because at some point, we have to sit down and tell people what the heck we've been up to.  So, here goes…

Juniper & Ivy:  Ok, this isn't even in Portland but I need to begin here and what the heck, it wasn't even in April but I'm doing this, so hang on… Our daughter, Sher kept telling us about this place in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.  So, we were there for a graduation earlier this month and thought we'd finally go.  There was 7 of us including our daughter and let's just say, it was the probably the most memorable meal I've ever had!  From the inventive cocktails to the way the food was presented, to the taste of each dish and the beauty of each dish and the ideas that must have flowed from the chef's brain and made to an extension of his hands, oh man, just pure gorgeous through and through!  The staff was awesome as well as the decor and the light but you won't see a pic till I post for May… sorry!  But, it was as I said, memorable, all of it!

The Bible Club:  I was dying to take hubby here and so finally we trekked over by bus to SE the Sellwood/Westmoreland neighborhood.  No sign at all at this house to let us know we have arrived, it was just sitting there but we saw the "no one under 21 admitted" sign and figured it was good to go in.  Picture prohibition era meets Portland punk/antique shop where everything old is used to create some of the best cocktails I've ever had in Portland and then the food, really good!  We ordered two dishes, mac n cheese and these potatoes pictured and we shared them both.  I was mesmerized by the bartender mostly because it was pretty cool sitting at the bar watching him use "old timey" cocktail glasses, atomizers that spritzed smokey whisky over our cocktails and just looking at everything was entertaining in and of itself.  I'd def go back any time and only wish I could have walked there.  I need this on Alberta Street!

At The Old St. Francis School in Bend, OR!
ChkChk:  Hubby had the chicken burger and I had the chickpea burger.  Crunchy and flavorful and a cute simple place for lunch on a Saturday!  Over in the NW area of Portland, Nob Hill as some call it and set amongst fashion and food, this location is fine but it wasn't as busy as I thought it would be.  In fact, it was almost empty and quiet and freezing inside.  The huge fans were twirling and the doors were open and it was super cold outside.  This coming from someone who is always hot, so you know it was cold!  I asked about it and checked to see if they could turn the fans off or down as they were literally burning my eyes with air if that makes sense.  No one there seemed to know how to turn them down and said there was some connection to one main system and so we moved tables and that helped a little.  Again, the food was good but after living in the area for a few years, I tend to stay to the east side but would def check it out again when I'm that way.

Little Reds Bakeshop:  Over again on the west side of town, in the place of Palace Cakes is this cute little bakery spot.  I hope they do well however, the location is just off for me.  When Palace Cakes was there, we'd take friends from England because, well, they love their cake and tea!  I had a homemade Oreo which was nice but I've given up most sweets although you'll find me devouring one now and then.  I do recommend you give them a shot and encourage them to move in to a neighborhood like mine… Alberta!

Pine Street Market:  Ok, so I didn't have any real food here but everything look quite amazing in this little market space downtown.  I did however, order a SWEET CREAM soft serve cone at Salt & Straw's WIZBANGBAR and once I was done taking pictures of it, I ate it!  Did I tell you I wasn't eating sweets.  Well, sometimes it just happens and this was delicious!  A nice spot because once you devour your savory foods in this market, you will need a sweet dessert so check it out!

Americano:  Another great spot on E. Burnside and I already had my coffee quota for the day so I settled for a pot of tea which is weird because this is a cocktail/coffee joint and cute as a button!  Actually it's quiet trendy from the curved bar to the writing/art on the walls.  I will go back for a cocktail, promise!  The staff was friendly and answered all my questions and let me snap a few pics.

Montavilla Brew Works:  Met my Meet Up group of gals there and the beer was cold and great and I love a German lager they were serving.  Food can be ordered from many nearby restaurants and you walk over to pick it up and bring it back to have with your beer.  Would love for them to serve some food eventually and they may but we had some muchies from The Observatory, another favorite so it was all good.  I really like this quirky neighborhood too!  Some places I've been… The Bipartisan Cafe, Tub and Tan and the The Country Cat!

Buttery Parmesan Pasta at Nostrana!
Prince Coffee:  I love the Kenton area of N Portland and so it didn't take long for me to get over to Prince Coffee shortly after they opened.  I got a latte and a stroopwafel which I had never heard of before.  I know that's weird but I hadn't and this one was homemade and dripping with caramel and delicious!  The owner is sweet and nice and the service was with a great smile.  Attached to a shop that repairs and recovers vintage furniture, this is a great spot!  They serve my new favorite coffee, Rose Line Coffee as well.  Sit at the bar, talk and enjoy this space when you go and be sure to go early and get a wafel.

A few other places I'd like to mention here…

we took a trip with friends visiting from SoCal to Bend in April and stayed at the Old St. Francis School.  We never left the site and after having dinner at this McMenamins spot, we met one of the cooks out by the fire pit over cocktails.  I asked him why the food at this location seems so much more than at some of the other locations.  He told me that some chefs have the ability given to them to expand or elaborate if that makes sense.  We have always enjoyed the simple, always knowing what we're getting food at all McMenamins, but this one has always been a little more special to us in the food department.

Also, in Bend and as always… a trip to The Sparrow Bakery on the way out of town and wow… I love this little bakery and so we loaded up on more coffee and cookies for the road!

A mention here too… if you're ever in Seattle, check out Pecado Bueno in the Fremont District.  Their Squash Tostado is delicious and filled with flavor and their margaritas are pretty tasty too and huge!  I'll be back here in June so I can hardly wait for it!

Just coming home from our three weeks away, I will mention our time in Carmel was nice but the food… not so much.  We just did ok there and I know there are some good places and we enjoyed one evening with some Italian food but not feeling it like here in Portland or in San Diego's Little Italy at Juniper & Ivy but we did enjoy the way home as we spent one night in Venice Beach.  That info with some pics come later this month folks.

I hope you get some take away and some good eating info from my lists and let me know if there's a place you're thinking of checking out and want an opinion or want me to go ahead and check it out before your trip here.  I'm happy to do it:)!!  Also, I didn't mention yet some of my favorites I tend to favor around town… Red Sauce Pizza, Nostrana, Delicious Donuts, Staccato Gelato and Jade!  You must try them all!

Chk Chk… Chicken and Twonkies!

Delicious Donuts!

Prince Coffee and Stroopwafel's!

Staccato Gelato… donuts!

Macarons at Jade!

Hunny Milk Pop UP!
 p.s. I had to share this photo and I know, it's so last month but it's so cute and fun pop up experience!

Potato dish at The Bible Club!

WhizBangBar… inside the Pine Street Market!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Where I ate in March 2016… a Portland food lovers guide!

Pancakes at home!
March was a crazy month for food.  Taking things a bit easier in February, I more than made up for lost time!  This photo is all you get here since I post so many food pics on my two Instagram accounts.  If you wanna see more, go check out: @503food and/or @debinpdx Here you will find my daily food photos including some things I make at home.  I am in the midst of trying to eat better which means less sugar, more colorful veggies and good sources of protein.  I am a vegetarian but don't worry, my meat eaters are great at input from the various places I take them.  I love that I can eat at just about any Portland restaurant.  Most places are used to us with "special diets" and seem to not even blink an eye at having a few items on their menus to make everyone at the table happy and satisfied.

I am also in the midst of making more aged cocktails for friends coming to Portland next week!  You'll find my first blog with the recipe just before this one.  I love doing the aged cocktails where you spend a heck of a lot at the liquor market, come home and pour a bunch of delicious stuff in to a 2 liter barrel and then just stare at it for weeks! Well, we taste a little too now and then to see if it's perfectly done or not.  Looking for depth in flavor, a little smokey taste and those notes you can't find without age.  I guess it's akin to anything that ages well over time.  It takes time but totally worth it!

Hope you find my March list of places I ate in Portland interesting and please enjoy my personal notes as well.  

Here goes:

GIGANTIC BREWING:  ok, so I've wanted to try this beer for a while and it was pouring buckets outside but hey, I really needed this beer.  A great little industrial style building with delicious beer and yes, I recommend it!  I hear they have a great food truck out there now serving food!  Need to go back asap.  Maybe 808 bbq?  

RED SAUCE PIZZA:  This will most def be on my list monthly cause I love it so freaking much.  The dough, the sauce, the nice folks and once again, the best pizza in Portland in my opinion!

BARISTA:  on Alberta, near my home, has darling little homemade pop tarts made with marshmallow, chocolate and hazelnuts and they go great with coffee.  This spot is sunny even in the rain so it's a fun place to relax and re-group esp. with the baked goods from Roman Candle Baking Co.

COAVA COFFEE ROASTERS:  ok, so I'm taking this gardening class one Friday and I have a break and need coffee.  I remember Coava isn't far so I walk down and get a latte and a scone.  I instantly feel like… uh oh… I'm totally out of place.  I am not wearing a beenie, my denims aren't rolled up, I'm actually wearing socks and I. do. not. fit. in.!!!!  So, out of place in a huge space that makes you feel out of place even if you were in place.  Does that makes sense??  Too big, not warm, too hipstery and ok, thanks, I'll take mine to go please!  At lease my coffee and croissant was good!

THE WOODSMAN TAVERN:  Haven't been here in ages so it was fun!  We went early as to not have to wait for a table or whatever.  I had a Cheddar Biscuit that I wished had been warm but it was nice with the Pear Butter along side.  Also enjoyed a brussel sprout and squash dish and deviled eggs but what this place really has going for them… their Tom Collins are the best in town!  Hubby did say his double cheeseburger was mighty tasty, just an FYI.  Oh, and the decor… love it, always have!

KIM JONG GRILLIN:  Second or third time with a Bibim Box and they offered me tofu this time and I said HELL YES!  I am not a fan of tofu but grill it, fry it, soak it in sauce… whatever it takes then I'll eat it!  It was good with all the veggies, noodles, egg, and kimchi!  I love this food truck.  It's parked on Alberta for now.

GREAT NOTION:  So, we went for the beer.  They were releasing several at a special paid event and we really enjoyed it!  Not far from home and so we walked and imbibed and stumbled home just enough to not embarrass ourselves.  Beer flavors like, Root Beard for example were so delicious.  Inventive and very relaxed and filled to the brim with folks like me that love beer so much!

TWO STROKES COFFEE CO.:  Out and about and headed to St. Johns to check this place out, the weather was sunny and nice and so I loved every minute of the drive over.  Not too far though and near the gorgeous St. Johns bridge, this coffee co. is one of the cutest in town.  Hope it's ok to say they are cute cause you know… motorcycles are supposed to depict toughness, leather and gumption.  Ok, but they are still cute and the husband and wife team are as cute and sweet as their coffee shop!  Good luck and congrats on your opening!

DEVIL'S DILL/NO FUN:  So, headed to a concert but first… a sandwich please at Devil's Dill.  Next door you can enter a little bar where you can sit and order your sandwiches to eat in now.  This is new.   I'll admit I had the vegan sandwich with seitan?  I looked it up after I ate it thank god.  It's all gluten!  Ok, that's fine but next time I'll just ask for a cheese sandwich;)!  Love that they have karaoke on Wednesday nights too!

LOS GORDITOS:  Love this burrito place on Killingsworth.  Next time I'm getting the Garbage Burrito… it's vegan but what the heck!  I hear it's delicious!

VICTORIA BAR:  I've mentioned this place so much and it's one of my favorites.  When you need space to relax, enjoy some cocktails and eat Mac n Chz or fries covered in cheese and cilantro and onions, go here!  The cocktails are so good as well as having great beer choices and ALL their food is outstanding!  I highly recommend it!

HOP AND VINE:  So, my third or fourth time here and all we go for is jello shots and proseco this time but that's ok, I'm not complaining.  I was too full from Victoria Bar to eat but I'll go back again over and over for the food and drink and those jello shots… where the heck have I been?!!!

SARAVEZA:  Deviled eggs, carrot soup, chili, soft hot pretzels with mustard, beer and a rice crispy treat to take home.  My gosh, life is good!  Another spot I will go to over and over again.  My first time and again, where the heck have I been????  Over by the weekend brunch spot, the Bad Habit Room off Killingsworth.  You need to go check this place out, I loved it!

MILK GLASS MARKET:  So, I've sworn off sugary baked things for a while and I'm really pissed off about it.  So, I drag hubby to this place, one of my favorites.  I have a freaking cup of tea while he tells me how good Kir Jensen's Bergamont Cream Puff is. Wait… that sounds weird but you know what I mean.  The cream puff was also covered in dark chocolate for gods sake.  He couldn't even finish it… jerk!  Ha.. just kidding but really, this is one of the cutest spots for tea, coffee, breakfast, lunch, treats, baked goods etc.  You will find me there more cause hubby loves Kir!

LOCALE:  Walking over two miles toward Mississippi Ave., I made it to this sweet little coffee shop.  I enjoyed my latte and visiting with the owner and I highly suggest that if you are reading this, that you go too!

PORQUE NO¿:  It was wet and cold and I was hungry so I piled in about 2pm for a delicious Winter Taco and some chips and guac.  Nice and warm inside with all the other folks, this place always feels like home.  I did however have to run to Freddy's a few days later to pick up some religious candles for my own house.  Now home feels like Porque No¿

SMOKEHOUSE TAVERN:  Delicious!  Hubby had the Brisket Olympia Provisions dog, son had ribs and I had the MacnChz and picked through the cornbread which was quite amazing.  One good example of finding food for a vegetarian at a bbq place… ha… they had some things I could enjoy as well.  I'll be back!  p.s.  One of the best Moscow Mules ever!

HEAVENLY DONUTS:  I was told they had the Homer Simpson doughnut but they had run out when I got there.  But Steven said the doughnuts were fresh and tasty and that he'd go back.  Old school donut shops are awesome when you want just that. 

BREAKSIDE BREWERY:  Met some gals for dinner and love this place.  I have always loved their beer and their pub food is pretty good pub food.  Had a great grilled cheese and waffle fries.  Forgot I gave those up too and ate everything on the plate.  Oooops!

NEAT:  I had to see the art with women with mustaches and WHO wouldn't want to see that?? Cute spot, good cocktails and nice jacket potatoes!  

AUTENTICA:  Easter Sunday was spent in sin!  Seriously ate a sinful amount of brunch here.  The best in Portland I might add.  Plates filled with amazing flavors, some spice, eggs, rice, meats, warm tortillas and guac and mighty fine Bloody Maria's too!  I highly recommend Autentica for all your dining needs;)!

STELLA TACO:  Friends and family here one night and it's one of our most favorite spots in town for a taco!  Mine was filled with all kinds of goodies including mushrooms and avocado and wow… some of the best frozen margaritas as well.  Great spot for lots of folks to eat and all the food is very good!  We have never been disappointed!

JADE:  Another day of trekking around the city brought me to Sellwood last week.  I knew I'd end up here and I did.  I ordered the glass noodle stir fry with tofu and once again, I don't really like tofu but sauce it up, fry it up or grill it and I'll eat it.  I love their variety of baked goodies too!  Came home with a bag of macarons for the boys… always delicious!

HUNNY MILK:  Proof that good marketing skills and Instagram work! They drew me in with their menu and the fact that on the first Saturday of each month, while waiting for your brunch to come, you get a packet of letter writing materials including stamps! They encourage you write a letter which I did and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I had the onion quiche which was just ok for me but the Carrot Cake Waffle was simply amazing and delicious!  Topped with cream cheese mousse and so good.  Open only on weekends btw.

STACCATO GELATO:  Went in for donuts to take home and got four!  Love the names… Prince of Darkness for hubby of course.  Gave all but one away to neighbor kids happily playing outside in the sun on Saturday morning!  Their parents were thrilled as well.

PACIFIC PIE CO.:  Went in for a quick bite.  Ended up with a pie stuffed with sweet potatoes, peanut curry and wow… so good!

Ok… I think I have throughly embarrassed myself once again.  Some new places listed here however, some old haunts that I love are also listed.  Please note that my thoughts are my own and my reviews are just my opinions.  

If you have a place you want me to visit for you, let me know.  I'm happy to preview.


My favorite time of year!

My favorite time of year!
in the leaves