PORTLAND DINING MONTH 2017

Five more days, five, count them! That's five days left to take advantage of over 120 incredibly discounted dining opportunities available across Portland during Portland Dining Month 2017.

Portland Dining Month, now in its eighth year, is winding down to the last five days to get your eat on as we approach the end of March. If you still don't know what PDM is, allow me to break it down some more; basically, March is the best month for food lovers and curious dinners throughout the city to enjoy a three-course meal for $29. For the past eight years March has been the month to head out to a new -participating- portland area restaurant or swing by a trusty standby to enjoy a three-course prix fixe dinner offered for only $29 -an incredibly discounted deal.

Head to portlanddiningmonth.com to find a full list of participating restaurants and read the menu options available as the guesswork has been taken away from wondering who might have the type of meal you seek- since the PDM menu offerings are posted to salivate over! And, if just heading out to eat at a discount isn't enough to move you, here's two extra things to make PDM extra awesome: 

  1. These are not just some hole in the wall greasy dinners or chain restaurants that offer weekly coupons in the Sunday prints. Some participating restaurants are beyond local news reviews and have national recognition, with some restaurants even having highly sought after James Beard Award nominations, finalists, and winners.
  2. If going to dinner at your favorite restaurant isn't enough of a reason to participate in Portland Dining Month how about knowing that portland dining month has partnered up with the oregon food bank. for every reservation made online through portlanddiningmonth.com links a donation is made to the hunger-relief organization. the oregon food bank collects and distributes food among oregon and our neighbors in clark county, washington. not only does the ofb fight hunger but also works to uncover the root causes of hunger by offering nutrition education, strengthening local food systems and advocating for hunger relief at the local and federal level, visit www.oregonfoodbank.org to learn more!

  3. For the past three years I've been an active diner during Portland Dining Month, usually hitting a restaurant a week. Although PDM is the time to try new restaurants there are two that always land as top choices among my list of places; Aviary and Little Bird Bistro. My yearly strategy for sorting through all of the restaurant menu's is to look at restaurants that have been sitting in my 'places-to-try' queue and then comb through some of my standby favorite PDM participating restaurants. After writing up a little list of places that I am inspired to try for the month I then go through and re-read the menu's carefully. I like places that offer a choice for all courses, and, of course, those who offer the best looking desserts! Places that offer a choice with each course is huge, especially when dining with a friend or friends. More people means more plate options and the possibility of even sharing -the whole reason of having friends, right! And, as far as the dessert portion goes this is the most important decision to make with all of the PDM menu's, which place has the best sounding dessert. Any place can whip up a quick pot de creme or dish up a scoop of ice cream with a hot fudge drizzle, so when a restaurant goes the extra mile to make a special dessert land on their PDM menu I go bananas over it. Think about this, when was the last time you actually had room for dessert when dining out? I hardly, if ever, do. So when I go out for PDm I can justify ordering dessert as it's right there, part of my courses, and how am I going to dismiss my third course? Nope, won't do it!

After I square away those dining logistics I then set up reservations using the portlanddiningmonth.com website and start inviting friends to join me, let's just say I have yet to take issue with finding dining companions.

Below are my three dining month adventures:


stop #3 AVIARY

This isn't my first time dining at Aviary, I've dined here twice for PDM and again for dinner outside of dining month. In terms of 'bang for your buck', dining month is the best time to test Aviary's offerings as the plates run a bit steep and might not be as fulfilling as a barbeque meal, but the combination of flavors and textures are meant to dazzle your tastebuds.

Drinks are not included in the PDM menu but make a great addition to the experience.

The dining area is light filled and allows for fresh air when the weather is warm and the big windows are open.

First course:

  • Steamed Manila Clams with sherry, guanciale, sugar snap peas and coriander

*my dining companion and i both ordered the first course*

Second course options (above):

  • Lamb Two Ways with roasted leg and hoisin-glazed belly, taro tots, scallion and water chestnut gremolata
  • Pan Seared Tasmanian Sea Trout Yuzu with fennel, tamarind and savoy cabbage *my favorite dish from our entire meal*

Third course choices:

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with espresso ice cream and passion fruit
  • Coconut Tapioca with mango sorbed and caramel cremeux *a close second*

Departure offered two choices for each of the three courses and each dish was delicious in it's own savory asian influenced and prepared way. 

above photos:

  • First course: Chicken Tom Kha Soup with coconut milk, mushroom, galangal, and makrut lime
  • Second course: Beef Noodles with shiitake, chili, and yu choi
  • Third course: Coconut Ash Chocolate Cake with marionberry and coconut caramel ice cream
  • First course: Roasted Cauliflower and Snow Peas with charred lemongrass, chilies, and puffed wild rice
  • Second course: Shrimp and Long Bean Prik Khing Curry with white rice
  • Third course: Frozen Passion Fruit Mouse with kumquat, calamansi, and almond crumble *my favorite dish of the six i tried!*

stop #1 La Moule

La Moule did not offer choices for the courses so the following dishes are what was offered on their dining month menu:

  • First course: Crispy Bay Shrimp Wedge with snap peas, radish, bacon, with a dill 'ranchovy' dressing. *my favorite of the three courses*
  • Second course: Manhattan Moules with Penn Cove Mussels, tomato, garlic, new potato, celery seed and oyster crackers
  • Third course: Chocolate Pot de Creme with hazelnut brittle, frangelicio chantilly cream and candied orange zest.

 

Although I have visited three participating restaurants I still have one more to go, my last stop, The Hairy Lobster! I'm looking forward to some fried chicken and sticky toffee pudding!


disclosure: I was invited to participate in Portland Dining Month on behalf of my friends at Travel Portland.  I received a complimentary meal at Aviary, a place of my choosing, for myself and a guest. I've eaten at Aviary numerous times on my own dime and will continue to look forward to their portland dining month menu every year!


BUEN PROVECHO!

OMBRÉ SMOOTHIES WITH GENESIS JUICE

OMBRE SMOOTHIES WITH GENESIS JUICE

Hey guys! We're a few days away from the start of spring and who else can't wait? Wait a second, I can't answer that, it looks like mother nature sure can... it's looking to another week of rain for us portland folksh well. to combat some winter blues I've blended up some colorful ombré smoothies using my favorite cold pressed strawberry apple genesis organic juice

Besides looking forward to daylight savings, what are you doing to chase these winter blues?

Head below to find out how to layer an ombre smoothie!


OMBRÉ SMOOTHIES WITH GENESIS ORGANIC STRAWBERRY APPLE JUICE

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

First layer: Blend the Strawberry Aapple Genesis Organic Juice, 1 acai packet, ice, and 2oz coconut milk until smooth. Pour out 1/3 of your cups space and freeze for 10-15 minutes. *freezing between the layers will help to keep the layers separated while we build them, otherwise you'll wind up with the layers bleeding (yep, I totally forgot to freeze, thus my layers bled). Reserve remaining smoothie -we will start diluting this base.

Second layer: To the remaining base add 2 oz of coconut milk, and 1/2 c. yogurt (or in my case 4 cubes). Blend until smooth and lump free. Pour out enough smoothie to build an additional layer on top of the beginning layer, sticking with 1/3 of the cups space. Freeze and do not rinse out your blender.

Third layer: To achieve a lighter color I recommend pouring off a little of the remaining base (about 1/3 of a cup), and to that base add 4 tbsp. full-fat coconut milk. blend until smooth and pour on top of the the previously frozen base. ta-da! Add toppings and enjoy immediately!

I hope yours turns out better looking than mine, because Y O U will remember to freeze between the layers!

2/3 c. Strawberry Apple Genesis Organic Juice

1 pkg. acai

1c. ice

4 oz coconut milk, divided

1/2 c. yogurt**

4 tbsp. full fat coconut milk

Sssorted toppings:

strawberries, kiwi, chia seed pudding

**for making smoothies i like to freeze extra yogurt in ice cube trays, by doing so i don't have to worry about expired yogurt and it works great in smoothies. 


BUEN PROVECHO!


thank you GENESIS ORGANIC JUICE for sponsoring this post!

AN OMBRE CAKE + A JORD WATCH GIVEAWAY!

Happy middle of the work week!

So, you guys, I'm pretty excited to share two things; my first ever ombre layer cake, and an amazing giveaway! Before we talk about the giveaway let me talk about that cake. I n e e d to admit, I was a little hesitant to even make an ombre layer cake, it just seemed like too much work; multiple layers, working with shade control, and then, stacking even layers. But, now that it's done, I can say the process wasn't bad at all. One thing that made the process ultra smooth was my recent purchase of these awesome 6" layer cake pans, game changer!

Now, let's talk about this giveaway! A few weeks ago the wonderful folks at JORD wood watches reached out to me about hosting a giveaway with my followers! How could i turn that down? They even sent over a band new watch for me to check out and attest to how truly amazing these wood watches are. I received the dark sandalwood and mint from the frankie 35 series and holy moly, the wood display box of this watch is truly a beautiful display on its own. After opening the wooden display box I saw my new watch comfortably resting around a JORD embossed pillow. The first thought that came to mind was how this watch's color combination reminded me of mint and chocolate, yes it's true, I was food inspired by a watch! only I, I who thinks about food, reads cookbooks like novels, studies beer lists before making a dining decision, and bakes whatever sweet treat that's been on my to-bake list, could feel such a desire to correlate a watch to a sweet concoction.  Since I was feeling inspired by this mint faceplate and dark sandalwood wristband I decided to pour my inspiration into a cake pan and am so happy I did.

With very little free time since the kid arrived (more on that later) how was I going to make a cake that embodied chocolate and mint, plus a cake that is big on flavor but required very little fuss? Well, I answered my own question with a not-so-simple-looking ombre mint-green cake with a fancy looking whipped chocolate ganache frosting. So easy to make and so simple to frost. Now, let's not forget the real reason I started this post; because I have an amazing giveaway to share with you all, scroll to the bottom of this post for details and the link to enter!

SHOP A JORD WOOD WATCH OF YOUR OWN:

women's watches

men's watches

frankie 35 dark sandalwood and mint -the one in the photos!


OMBRE VANILLA LAYER CAKE WITH WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of five 6" cake pan, dust with flour, and tap out the excess.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and oil in a large bowl in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla until combined.

Alternate folding the flour mixture and the milk into the batter with a spatula, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting and ending with the flour, until just smooth. 

To create an ombre effect with the layers; add in 3 drops of green food coloring to the entire batter and fold to incorporate. this will now be the starting base color for the ombre layers. Pour proper amount from this starting batter into one cake pan. With the remaining batter add-in an additional 2 drops of food coloring, fold to incorporate until a change in batter color is noticeable, if change is subtle add in an additional drop. Pour proper amount of batter into an additional cake pan, repeat the food coloring process to remaining batter and pour into additional cake. Repeat the process until all of the batter is used.  Each cake pan of batter should have a difference in color.

bake the cake on the same rack for 20 to 25 minutes, rotate the pans about halfway through. check for doneness. add an additional 4 minutes if needed. let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, turn out onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

To assemble: stack up cooled cakes starting with the darkest layer and adding subsequent lighter layers until the last cake is the lightest. Spread each cake layer with an equal amount of frosting. Restack the frosted layers in the ombre order desired, darkest layer at the bottom to achieve the same look as mine. If frosting remains or in excess use to crumb coat the outside. Place in the fridge for an hour. After the cake has had a chance to chill remove from fridge and frost entire cake with whipped chocolate ganache.  

Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.

*If using wilton five layer 6" cake pans, follow package baking directions* 

I used these pans for the ombre cake layers

OMBRE VANILLA LAYER CAKE:

1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter at room temp, plus more for the pans

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour leveled, plus more for the pans

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. fine salt

2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

5 large eggs, at room temp.

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

1 c. milk

green food coloring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

BUTTER CREAM FROSTING:

Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. once it's all been added, increase the speed to medium-high, beat until white and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp. of milk, one tbsp. at a time.

 

 

3 stick (1 1/2 c.) unsalted butter at room temp.

3 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. milk

pine of fine salt

WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING:

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

1 c. heavy cream

 

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. heat heavy cream in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high head until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chocolate, stir until all the chocolate has melted and is smooth.

All ganache to cool completely, place in the refrigerator for at least an hour afterward. When ready to use pull cold ganache from the fridge and whip using an electric mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula until homogenous in appearance and semi-fluffy looking, about 8-10 minutes.

Cake recipe adapted from the CLASSIC VANILLA CAKE recipe from the Food Network


BUEN PROVECHO!


THE CONTEST INFO:

Click here to fill out the insanely simple form for a chance to win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site. 1 person will win, but e v e r y o n e will receive a consolation code worth $25 at the end of the contest! So just to be sure you understand, that means you still win just for trying!

https://www.woodwatches.com/g/maxenestrailofcrumbs 

Contest ends at 11:59 CST 02/19/17 and both codes expire 04/30/17

Not only is the watch beautiful in craftsmanship and visually appealing but look at the wooden box that it comes in! this is not a box to toss away or one to hold random loose buttons (what else do you use your watch boxes for?). This is a box to keep for a lifetime. The top magnetically attaches to the base and the bottom of the base is a little sliding compartment! 


disclosure: i was provided with a JORD wood watch in exchange for promotional social medial and a blog post. all opinions expressed are my own.

TOBY'S BLUE CHEESE BUFFALO DEVILED EGGS

Hi friends! If you are a fan of buffalo sauce + blue cheese then have I got a fun recipe for you: 

Say hello to blue cheese buffalo deviled eggs. Yes, my friends, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and deviled eggs come together for an amazing combination that will have you quickly clearing the table of those bags of chips and velveeta dip and making space for these tasty, tangy, salty, and spicy bites.

While a traditional deviled egg incorporates mayonnaise to get that oh-so-creamy-tangy zip, i've swapped out the mayo and instead used Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing. The deviled centers were still very creamy and not overly rich like what tends to happen with mayonnaise driven deviled eggs.

Be sure to mash everything up before adding the blue cheese. And, chop up any large blue cheese crumbles -unless you want big salty chunks to slap your tongue, then, be my guest.


TOBY'S BLUE CHEESE BUFFALO DEVILED EGGS

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

Remove yolks from eggs and place into a small bowl. Place egg whites on serving dish and store in the refrigerator. Mash up the yolks using a fork until semi-smooth.

To the mashed egg yolks add ground mustard, buffalo sauce, and Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing, mix well until smooth. Add 1/4c. blue cheese crumbles, and salt and pepper to taste, incorporate well.

Add egg yolk mash to egg whites (I use a piping bag to add the creamed yolks in a neat fashion, a ziplock baggie will work in a pinch).

Garnish with remaining blue cheese crumbles and a few dashes of hot sauce is preferred. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve cold.

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved.

3 tbsp. Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

2 tbsp. frank's red hot buffalo sauce

1/4c. + 1 tbsp. blue cheese crumbles

salt + pepper to taste

 


Do yourself a favor and store away one or two for eggs yourself before serving. These deviled eggs will be gone before you know it, and when you do know it, you'll crave them even further!


Thank you TOBY'S FOODS for sponsoring this post!


BUEN PROVECHO!