MY BIRTHDAY FOOD AND COCKTAIL CRAWL IN PORTLAND

HOW DOES ONE CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY ON A WEEKDAY... LET ME SHOW YOU HOW!

My birthday rolled around at the beginning of May and, as tradition would have it, I took a whole day to be selfish; doing all of the very things that make me happy  -outside of time with my little family.

So what kind of trouble would I get myself into for my birthday ?

Let me start by telling you I love a day off in the middle of the week, better than a weekend. So, naturally, as my birthday fell on a Tuesday I took the whole day off. This meant so many great things: little to no wait for highly coveted seats at top Portland places (which do not take reservations), no added costs of hiring a sitter since my child was at daycare, little to no traffic while hopping about town, and, a FULL day to myself at my leisure, THE BEST!

Before this wonderful day arrived I made a list or two of the restaurants and things I really wanted to do. Through much deliberation and I was able to sort my day out by timeline and location. I wrote out a Birthday Girl itinerary and woke up in the best mood as I had prepared myself a full day of eating, drinking, and general happy moments!

As luck would have it, I could only reach one gal pal to meet for breakfast but I still had a great day spent mostly alone. 

In true fashion I kick-started the day by getting a good sweat session in at the gym at a leisurely pace -which is uncommon since I only have 40 minutes most mornings- and promptly sat on the sofa -still smelly and hot from post gym bliss- and enjoyed my morning coffee. After a long shower I was ready to start birthday funday as planned:


Sweedeedee is a cute little shop in NE Portland that gives off massive Scandinavian vibes. This breakfast and lunch spot is always a weekend hit -with the lines to prove it-, and they make an insanely sweet pie that is often raved about. Leave it to me to make use of a weekday to conquer this place -instead of waiting with the throngs on a weekend.  

Ordered: breakfast sandwich on a biscuit, cornmeal cakes, and a slice of salted honey pie!

  • 10:30a coffee to go at Proud Mary

After my hearty and savory-sweet breakfast at Sweedeedee I needed to cut through the sugar and grease with a nice cup of coffee so I took a quick drive up to Proud Mary Coffee, a fine breakfast cafe and coffee shop with quite a huge following on the weekends. I ordered a cup of coffee to go expecting to head home and rest up for an hour. That was until I found myself driving pass confetti lined streets. I pulled my car over and realized it was petal confetti from all of the bloomed cherry blossoms. The sidewalks and some streets were lined heavily, it was a beautiful sight, so naturally, I had to document it. 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year in Portland. The contrasting splash of spring colors breaks up the grey skies and brightens up the dull weather.

  • 1 p.m. House Spirits Distillery Tour

One of the greatest things about Portland is we have zero shortage of fine artisans within close proximity who are perfecting their craft and graciously sharing it with us all much like House Spirits Distillery does, a local distillery located in SE Portland offering distilling tours right where production of their award-winning spirits are made. All spirits are small batch made and ethically sourced and here is where you can find made-from-scratch Krogstad Aquavit, Volstead Vodka, Casa Magdalena Rum, and many limited release spirits. The staff is incredibly helpful and very happy to explain the process, from the grain to the barrel, and the tours are a real behind the scenes glimpse into the productions of small batch spirits. 

House Spirits Distillery offers daily tours of the largest whiskey distillery in Oregon. Each tour is $20 per person and includes a spirit flight and a taste of House Spirits' whiskey wash.  

  • Weekday Tours available at the top of every hour, starting at 1p
  • Weekend Tours available at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays
  • 2:30p time to soak up the booze at  Maurice.

After tasting numerous samples of House Spirits Distillery spirits I had a wee bit of time to kill so I concluded that the most fitting of ways to burn some time was to enjoy delightful pastry treats and bites from Maurice, a cute Scandinavian luncheon shop in Downtown. 

As a huge supporter of variety and treating one's self, I had to order an assortment of bites like Chef Kristen's Smorbord De Jour which featured cottage cheese, rhubarb, greens, and peaches. Then, I moved on to more of her sweet offerings like the creamy and velvety smooth Black Pepper Cheesecake, the most creamy bite to spread across the roof of your mouth -in all the cheesecake bites you have ever tried. If I had the words to describe it so eloquently I would. better yet, just imagine sweet whipped butter melting into toast and that is this cheesecake. Lastly, I tried the Bird Seed Coconut Tea Cake, served warm and topped with a generous dollop of fresh butter and a golden pour of honey. Crunchy and nuttier than a squirrel turd but, absolutely tasty, make this a priority when you visit. that is, if she doesn't sell out. 

  • 4p. Happy Hour at Departure with my food baes

With a whole day to myself, a babysitter on deck, and no time card to punch-out on I set myself up on a happy hour date with some of my favorite girlfriends. The destination, Departure. Departure is the ultra-hip restaurant on the 15th floor inside the of the swanky Nines Hotel. The restaurant is run by executive chef Gregory Gourdet, a Top Chef season 12 contestant and a beloved participant in Portland's local food festival Feast Portland. Departure's cuisine is pan-asian and does it ever satisfy the need for a variety of Asian dishes, tropical desserts and cocktails. Departure is the place to go for stunning views of Portland's cityscape and asian fusion bites. 

Ordered: Half of the Happy Hour Menu and a birthday dessert. Departure is an amazing place to eat for anyone with diet restrictions, they are vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, and vegetarian friendly! 

This last adventure of the night was a delicious spanish-inspired dinner at Bar Casa Vale, one of my favorite go-to spots for wood-fired seafood, tapas, and gin and tonics served in goblets. 


Well, there you have it. A full day of eating and drinking on a weekday. I know, I could have crammed way more fun adventures into my day but since I go to the gym extra early (6a) I knew it was going to be a very long day, plus, add having to put a kid to bed before going out to my last destination and that amounts to a even longer day on my feet. I was just a happy kid to do most of everything I wanted to do and even got some downtime in with my main squeeze. Below are the remaining things that made the list but not the cut for the day.

Great weekday birthday alternatives:

  • Kennedy Soaking Pools
  • Knot Springs
  • Brunch at Tasty n Alder
  • Spend an afternoon hitting balls at Top Golf
  • Food cart crawl through downtown
  • Dessert crawl down SE 28th (There is a lot of soft serve and desserts right on this street).
  • Coffee crawl through SE Portland.

FEAST PORTLAND 2016 RECAP PART 1. WELCOMING PARTY + VERTERRA DINNERWARE + MEDIA SWAG

FEAST PORTLAND 2016 RECAP PART 1

WELCOMING PARTY + VERTERRA DINNERWARE + MEDIA SWAG

It's been a few weeks since Feast Portland has come and gone and let me tell you, I cannot wait to do it all over again next year. If you were following the blog prior to the event you may have noticed I had two posts up; one dedicated to my preparation tips, and the other post listed what events were still available... see below.



Well surprise surprise all of the events sold out well before opening kick-off this year. To prepare for the future make so to head to www.feastportland.com and sign up for their mailing list. Look in the upper right corner there should be a spot to sign up to receive e-mails; be in the loop; know what the hell is going on; stay up-to-date; include yourself, or don't, and forever wonder what all of the -believe the- hype is all about. Listen, just pull out your 2017 calendars and reserve the 14th through the 17th of september for Feast 2017. And, if you belong to any spectrum of social media be sure to also follow along on one of Feast Portland's twitter, snapchat, facebook, and/or instagram accounts, consider yourself warned tho, severe cases of FOMO have been reported! 

  • How do I even start this massive re-cap of my time at feast 2016?

How about we get one thing out of the way, let's talk about the fact that I am and was very pregnant at FEAST this year, a full 34 weeks pregnant during all of the events. although I enjoyed the heck out of myself I wasn't able to eat a few items or drink as I would have loved (okay, I had a few sips of beer and wine for research, but it's not the same) but I was still able to carry on and enjoy my time at FEAST. Do not let a growing fetus stop you from purchasing tickets, there is plenty to eat and drink without fear!

How about I start to recap all of the wonderfulness that is Feast? how about I start with wednesday night


THE WILLIAMS-SONOMA FEAST PORTLAND WELCOMING PARTY

@ JACOBSEN SALT CO.

-not a public event-

The welcoming party for feast was a wonderful evening hosted in the parking lot and within the the spacious light filled warehouse of Jacobsen Salt Co. in SE Portland. 

 The event had so many surprises including: Bravo's Top Chef Finalist and Portland local Doug Adams slinging barbecue under the tent, many drink collaborations including a cocktail with quin candy garnish, an epic fresh veggie display, eats and products from some wonderful FEAST sponsors and of course a performance by portland's very own portugal the man, quite the way to spend a Wednesday evening! 

surprises everywhere: chef celebrity and bravo top chef winner Mei Lin was at the welcoming party serving up her signature trail mix and even worked on a wine cooler collaboration with union wine co

chef Michael Scelfo of Cambridge's Alden & Harlow was in town showing off a scallop crude with oregon apples, jalapeños, almond creme and crunch 


VERTERRA DINNERWARE

Did you know the little plates, bowls, trays, and tasting spoons we ate out of during the FEAST events were made from fallen palm leaves that are compostable, durable, and biodegradable. 

why is that important you ask?

Because, each plate and bowl are made from 100% renewable and bpi-certified compostable fallen leaves; meaning no trees or palms are harvested or cut down for this purpose. The production of Verterra Dinnerware is simple, fallen leaves are gathered and shaped using steam, heat, and pressure, all without the use of chemical bonding agents. These products are also microwave and oven safe, so aside from being completely non-toxic and chemical free, the verterra dinnerware line will biodegrade within two months without the use of chemical agents. Need a little more info, well verterra production is located in SE Asia where only women are employed, they are receiving fair wages, and access to health care.

below is a photo from michael work, founder of verterra dinnerware.


MEDIA SWAG

First things first, it has been a dream of mine to be invited to participate in Feast Portland as a blogger, I am so happy where my blog has gone in the last year and am completely honored to be a part of such an amazing festival that encompasses something I am super passionate about myself; food -and not just any food but Portland food. 

Aside from the media pass, I was also given a huge swag bag filled with items that have already long been consumed, and or used! 

And, let's not forget about all of the amazing volunteers that helped make feast possible! I know y'all spent long hours hauling shit around, setting up chef stations, tearing down structures, and just overall contribution to such a wonderful seamless event, a big thank you is in order!


disclosure: i was invited to participate and provide feast coverage with a blogger pass which included entry to the grand tasting, night market, and drink tank events in exchange for festival coverage before, during, and after. all opinions expressed are my own.

2016 PORTLAND'S BREAKFAST TACOS

the year of portland's best breakfast tacos

Every year I make a new dinning goal. Last year for 2015 I was on an endless mission to try every eggs benedict while I was out brunching, and if I was out for happy hour or dinner I had to order deviled eggs if they were on the menu.

Now that we are well on our way into 2016 I have taken on a new special interest, one that results in finding the ‘best’ breakfast tacos in all of Portland. This sounds easy right? well guess again. Since breakfast tacos are not as abundant as one would expect to find in, let's say, texas, I went ahead and have chosen two replacements should tacos not be an option. My other two choices are a little less obscure: huevos ranchero and chilaquiles. Although these two are rather neglected as breakfast options, they can and have been found, now I just need to document them all.


The start of my Breakfast Taco journey starts at Stella Taco in Portland. 

::STELLA TACO PDX :: 

:breakfast tacos:

stella tacos

The menu is great, the tacos are separated into street tacos, premium tacos, and breakfast tacos. 

All of the breakfast tacos come with an egg while the street tacos are just like you can imagine, tortilla and meat. The Premium tacos have choices of steak, fish, and shrimp.

The Tacos at Stella, small but hearty. The chorizo taco packs a lot of flavor and added  crunch with the tortilla strips. The bean and egg combination was okay but lacked flavor. 

stella taco pdx

A LITTLE BACKGROUND STORY:

A little insight on how I’ve become such a foodie. My story goes back to when I first moved to Portland during the summer of 2011, it was then that I made some huge eating discoveries. For one, I had never tried Indian food, that’s not to say it wasn’t available in my old town, it just wasn’t marketed in the most appetizing way. Indian food buffets were the norm and with most movies alluding to explosive diarrhea post-curry eats, you can imagine I just hadn’t made the effort to trying it. Also, my exposure to Thai food was nothing short of a styrofoam box full of noodles from the mall food court, and American dining was that of Tony Roma’s and Red Robin. The only amount of gourmet in my life pre-2011 consisted of ordering the exotic sounding cabanara hot sub at Quizno’s, an assortment of dishes at PF Chang’s, and whatever fancy meal that was provided at any friend's wedding. With that said, do not doubt my desire to try new foods, the passion was always there, it just wasn't available. After settling into Portland I soon discovered the endless array of ethnic cuisines and farm fresh meals commonly found in Portland. After a few bites of the most delicious things I have ever tried the journey was on, I had to try everything possible. Along with every trip out I would discover new names of dishes and types of cuisines that I had never heard of; mortadella, romesco, yucca, and endive. I also encountered food items I had never tried; foie gras, paneer, duck confit, baba ganouche. After my first summer in Portland flew by I was in love and had to try everything, I even created a food bucket list (saved for another post).

Aside from trying new restaurants, and visiting the recommended favorites among Portland locals, I started to notice that egg items were appearing on every menu, day and night. I can't get enough variations on how to try eggs. I have been making up for lost time with my relationship with eggs (side story, I used to hate eggs growing up), I';ve tried them in just about every form; deviled eggs, fried eggs, pickle eggs, eggs benedict and everything in between. So since I have grown to love eggs, I have decided to dedicate each year to trying a new food for the year.  Last year was the year of becoming very friendly with deviled eggs, and eggs benedict. The prior year was anything with beets, pickled plates, and before that pork belly was another conquest. So this year goes to Breakfast Tacos!

So there you have it, why I have decided to work out trying to familiarize myself with particular dishes each year and how I started a huge affair with eating like a queen.


cheers to breakfast taco hunting!


EATING OUT IN PORTLAND: SUMMER 2015

EATING OUT IN PORTLAND: SUMMER 2015

If I haven't said it yet, I'll gladly announce it again; Portland's  summers are the best! 

From sunny al fresco brunch dates, happy hour's that land between errands,  weekend trips to the many neighborhood's farmer's markets, to dressing up just to go beer tasting in town, the city of roses is one that offers so much to do, eat, drink and see. In Portland and the Pacific Northwest there really is no shortage of fresh food options making the place I call home culinary heaven!

Since the beginning of my life in Portland (just over 4 years ago now) I have photo logged just about everything I've eaten and drank in this awesome city. At the very beginning of my eating journey I maintained a little Moleskin food diary; with little side notes of what was ordered and what times places had offered their happy hour, what items I wanted to try next time, and what stood out about said restaurant. Yep, I a a little food nerd and also analog.  This was all before I had discovered Yelp and other public forums for discovering and storing reviews and photos. With that all said, I still love capturing food photos but now I try to do it without embarrassing myself too much.

Below is a a little taste of some of the delicious finds I ate this summer 2015

Bad Habit Room:

Bad Habit Room Portland. Beer Bread Benedict

Corned Beef Hash, House-made Pop-tart, and my favorite Eggs Blackstone!

Tasty n Alder:

Spanish Coffee's, Chocolate donuts with creme anglaise, Lemon ricotta pancakes, Potatoes Bravas, Radicchio Salad, and Birthday Panna Cotta 

Boke Bowl:

Boke Bowl Fried Chicken Bao

the Fried Chicken Bao steals all the real estate in my stomach the moment anyone mentions fried chicken

Olympia Provisions:

Olympia Provisions has one of the best brunch offerings in all of Portland time and time again. Menu's do differ slightly between the NW and SE locations. 

Fox Tail Cider:

Fox Tail Cider on the Fruit Loop Trail

A tasting flight at Fox Tail Cider to be enjoyed after a fun day of fruit picking on Mt. Hood's Fruit Loop Trail

Bluebird Dinning Hall:

Gresham finally has a little dinning gem! Have you been for Breakfast yet? Go soon!

Bottle + Kitchen:

Hotel Happy Hour with great drinks and a delightful menu full of food for everyone.

Northlight:

The County Cat:

vegeterian pasta dish at the country cat

Oven and Shaker

Fish Sauce:

meriwether's restaurant:

Victoria Bar:

Silver Moon Creperie:

the most delicious pistachio cardamom cream crepe 

the most delicious pistachio cardamom cream crepe 

Verde Cocina:

The Hop & Vine:

fried egg on a burger is love!

fried egg on a burger is love!

Atula:

Interurban:

negroni for charity at interurban

negroni for charity at interurban

wedding anniversary treats:

food from my home and shared with neighbors:

Commons Brewery:

tasting flight at commons brewery

Trinket:

Pine State:

surfer fuel, pine state biscuits for the road to the coast!

surfer fuel, pine state biscuits for the road to the coast!

i sincerely hope you've been visually inspired to skip a chain restaurant when in portland and stop at one of our amazing portland restaurants!

buen provecho!