PINTXO HOUR AT URDANETA

URDANETA

3033 NE Alberta ST.

Portland, OR 97211

503-288-1990

Pintxo Tour: Tues - Fri, 5-6p

urdanetapdx.com

Lots of things excite me, a dozen donuts, fresh bed sheets, surfing, new shoes, and sunny days. The list is extensive, but few excite me quite like happy hour plans and basically all things involving Spain -you know, the place where I eloped and honeymooned summer of 2014. With that little story spewed at you, let's just say happy hour and Spain-anything send me over the happiness edge! Imagine my face when I heard that there was a new 'Pintxo Hour' happening at Urdaneta, a Spanish restaurant located on the busy, yet hip, Alberta street -be still my heart.

Last month I was invited on a media preview to scope out the newest addition to Urdaneta's current offerings, a pintxo-inspired happy hour menu featuring traditional tapas-style eats, influenced from the northern Basque region of Spain.

One question, I and many others had, "if these are tapas, why are they called pintxo's?"

Well my friend's, pintxo's and tapas are very much alike, they are small bites, or, rather drinking snacks that are commonplace all over Spain. The main and rather perplexing difference with pintxo's or pinchos (depending on regions in spain the spellings are different), is that they are found in the northern part of Spain, the Basque region, and often have a toothpick or skewer through them to keep the toppings from falling off of the bread foundation. 

Pintxo's come from the spanish verb, 'pinchar', meaning 'to pierce.' Tapa's come from the spanish verb, 'tapear,' meaning 'to cover.' Does that make more sense? Tapas are typically found in the southern parts of Spain while pintxo's or pinchos are from the Basque regions.

From my personal, albeit short experience in northern Spain, pintxo's are often very hearty, complex in flavor and very satisfying. At some bars the the skewers are not to be tossed until the end of your meal as they are tallied up and used to determine your bill, much like sushi plates at a conveyer belt sushi joint.

Urdaneta is a Spanish restaurant in NE Portland founded by Owner and Chef, Javier Canteras.  Urdaneta captures the true essence of Spain with a bustingly open-style kitchen where patrons can cozy up to the counter, right next to a leg of iberico ham, and watch their meals be expertly prepared by the master chef himself. By and large Urdaneta is a tapas-style restaurant constructed from Javier's Spanish heritage, with the newest addition of pintxo hour highlighting the Basque style of tapas -where Javier's roots in spain lay- each pintxo is inspired from traditional basque offerings but presented with a Pacific Northwest twist. And, the iberico ham on the counter is not for looks, it is to be enjoyed, or rather melted in your mouth, a pork candy melt if you will, between sips of sherry. 

Upon arrival we were treated to a cocktail off of their regular menu, the bermeo.

  • Bermeo: fino sherry, orange liqueur, fresh orange juice, cardamom bitters, allspice dram. 

The drink was named the bermeo, after the city where Javier's family is from

Now for the pinxtos, which we now know are cousins to tapas or did I confuse you more?

  • The Gilda: house made boquerone, Basque piparra pepper, green olive.

If you like strong briny, salty, and savory flavor profiles, this is the choice for you! Plus, this is perhaps the most traditional style of pintxo on the menu.

 

If you're looking for a traditional experience, they offer plenty of sherry, vermouth, spanish-region wines, and of course cava! Seen above is:

  • Sidra: a tabanco basque cider, a very dry, yet slightly effervescent cider. 

The above pintxo was my full-time favorite of the ones we tried. The juicy sausage on toasted bread, just comfort on a skewer.

  • Morcilla: grilled blood sausage, dad's marinated peppers, piquillo jam, piparra, and toasted bread

A close runner-up favorite was the Huevo Diablo, think of the heartiest deviled egg, jam-packed with a semi-sweet tuna filling, served on top of romesco, on top of bread, heaven!

  • Huevo Diablo: confit albacore tuna deviled egg, romesco, mustard seed caviar, and toasted bread 

For the image above:

  • Alcachofa: artichoke gratin, idiazbal, jamon, and fermented radish on bread 
  • Crudo: hamachi, sidra compressed pineapple, cucumber salmorejo, marcona almonds, and dill

The above items is seasonal and currently a part of their regular menu offerings.

So next time you have yourself questioning what's the difference between tapas and and pintxo's don't go to google for your answers, head to Urdaneta and experience the difference for yourself!


disclosure: i was invited to attend a media preview of Urdaneta's newly launched pintxo hour, while there i received complimentary tastings and beverages. i have previously eaten at Urdaneta on my own dime and will continue to do so. all opinions shared are my own and not in exchange for a positive review.

BUEN PROVECHO!

RECAPPING MY 2016 FAVORITE PLACES TO EAT IN PORTLAND, OREGON

Poop! Where has the time gone?! We're already into spring of 2017 and I haven't even posted my recap of 2016, shame on me!! So here you go, my list of favorite places I have enjoyed throughout all of the last year with the addition of some of my favorite things to order! If you see words in blue, those are links to the menu's, go have a peak and drool with me!

FAVORITE HAPPY HOUR:


  • Imperial: cocktails on draft-$5 Vieux Carre, fried chicken, and artisan cheese plate
  • Three Doors Down: crostini with boquerones egg, and pickled egg, and eggplant parmesan
  • Nel Centro: duck leg confit on a happy hour menu, please and thank you! $6 house wines, and meatballs!
  • Miya Moto: always order the monkey brain and hawaiian tuna poke!

FOOD CART:


  • Kim Jong Grillin': the spicy chicken bibim bowl, all the way!
  • Chicken n Guns: half a chicken, extra potatoes, and extra aji sauce!
  • Guero: which is no longer a cart, but a brick and mortar:) the pollo pabil torta and the frida bowl!

COFFEE SPOTS:


  • Kopi Koffee: the cardamom coffee is my happy place
  • Two Strokes Coffee: the vibe and friendly staff keep me coming back, oh and their mocha's!
  • Water Ave Coffee: i usually just buy beans here for coffee at home and every once in awhile i'll enjoy their wonderful lite breakfast selections.

SUSHI SPOTS:


  • Samurai Blue: $3 hand rolls on happy hour, fire in the whole, willamette dragon, and the surf & turf rolls!
  • Miya Moto: all the usual suspects

BRUNCH:


  • bridges cafe & catering: best egg's benedict in the neighborhood, and the city breakfast with fried eggs is my comfort meal during these soggy winters
  • Hunny Milk: all of their dishes -and they change their offerings- a 'grown up coffee' and of coure an order of biscuits
  • Tasty n Sons: burmese red pork stew, chilaquiles,  and always shakshuka

MEAT SWEATS:


  • smokehouse tavern: deviled egg with hot link, and that amazing breakfast burrito! 
  • the people's pig: the pork shoulder sandwich with extra vinegar sauce, and jojo's when they have them!
  • ox: the clam chowder with smoked bone marrow, heirloom hominy with pork belly, and the beef skirt steak:)

so tell me what of my favorites are your favorites, and what of your personal favorites needs to become one of mine?


BUEN PROVECHO!

MARUKIN RAMEN HAS SECRETS!

MARUKIN RAMEN

Pine Street Market

126 SW 2nd Ave

Portland, OR 97204

SE Ankeny St.

609 SE Ankeny, suite A

Portland, OR 97214

dine-in & take-away options available.

marukinramen.com

Who doesn't like a warm bowl of ramen? Tell me. I have yet to meet person that cannot find comfort in a warm bowl of salty broth filled with slurpy noodles and perhaps my favorite part, the beautiful and ever creamy 6 minute egg.

A few weeks ago I was invited to try out Marukin Ramen's newly launched menu items including their newest secret ramen -a super limited and hard to make ebi ramen-, and some wonderful additions to their to-go items.

Those additions include their Donburi (rice bowls), Nukazuke (japanese pickled vegetables),  Salmon Nakazuke (japanese style marinated salmon and pickled vegetables), and Nakazuke (japanese pickled vegetables). Take a look below to see most of the wonderful things I was able to try (and I say most because I wasn't able to take photos of everything, my mouth was too busy doing research).

sides

daikon salad / nukazuke / salmon nukazuke / + / chicken karaage

The Daikon Salad is a refreshing mixture of shredded daikon, carrots, and green onion with an ume plum vinaigrette/ Nukazuke is a mixture of pickled japanese vegetables/ Salmon Nanbanzuke is a japanese style marinated salmon/ Chicken Karaage is a moist japanese style fried chicken served with a japanese style tartar sauce.

Ebi Karaage

A deep fried tiger shrimp with a japanese style tartar sauce


THE DONBURI BOWLS


Before I give away the secret, did you know that MARUKIN RAMEN was founded in 1994 in Tokyo, Japan. They currently have over 10 locations with one of those locations being the first any only stateside restaurant and it's right here in portland, oregon.

Being a ramen shop that is highly specialized in ramen means each and every bowl is crafted with care and served at optimum temperature, making ramen to-go a great idea but harmful to the integrity of their homemade ramen noodles (as the noodles will continue to soak up the broth and breakdown). Therefore Marukin Ramen does not offer their beautiful bowls of noodles to-go, so take a moment and slurp up a bowl and grab some of those awesome sides or a donburi bowl -as mentioned above- to go!

the super secret ramen

While here on a media preview I was super fortunate to try the super secret ebi ramen, a rich tiger shrimp and chicken-based broth with sea salt. This vibrant and beautiful bowl of ramen comes topped with succulent and plump tiger shrimp, boc choy, a mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negri. 

The process behind making the ebi ramen is a multi-day process, making the ebi bowls of ramen super rare and limited to only 30 bowls on the select days it is even offered. The most direct way to learn which days and location is offering is to follow along on their social media channels: instagram @marukinram or facebook. I'd be sure to follow along because once that last bowl is offered up, there is no given time when the next opportunity to try the ebi ramen will be. 

So next time you're looking for some ramen to find solace from this brutal pacific northwest winter head over to either of the two Marukin Ramen locations and order up a bowl of comfort.

Thank you to Marukin Ramen's owners and chefs, for serving up an excellent variety of dishes and ramens to try and to Little Green Pickle for setting up the fantastic media event highlighting their house made noodles and dishes to go.


disclosure: i was invited to attend a media preview of Marukin Ramen's newly launched to-go offerings and ramens, while there i received complimentary tastings. all opinions shared are my own and not in exchange for a positive review.


BUEN PROVECHO!

GIRLS WEEKEND IN PORTLAND: WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE TASTING + HAPPY HOUR +FARM FRESH FRUIT

GIRLS WEEKEND IN PORTLAND: WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE + HAPPY HOUR + FARM FRESH FRUIT

A few weekends ago I had a girlfriend in town for the weekend and once again was able to play my favorite role, Portland city tour guide! Our agenda included brunch, wine tasting, an al alfresco happy hour, and Mississippi Avenue walking, and then more drinking.

Here's how it all unfolded.

SATURDAY:

TRINKET

Trinket is an excellent hidden gem on the east side of town, with many traditional brunch items and some new exciting items like my personal favorite, the savory waffle. Ordering at Trinket can be the hardest decision of the day; but, it is always an easy decision on where to take my out of town guests, Trinket is always a fine choice. 

To start our meal right we split the blueberry scone with lemon curd and ordered our own main dishes, I went with my tried and true Savory Waffle; a waffle loaded with sautéed onion, bacon and thyme, then loaded with two farm fresh eggs and goat cheese! The runny egg yolks on this dish are your waffle dipping sauce, heaven! Victoria ordered one of their house-made Bloody Mary's and Huevos Al Pastor; pineapple braised pork atop corn tortillas with two fried eggs, sour cream and avocado, just delicious! After a fulfilling breakfast we took a little drive to the Willamette Valley, our next stop:

RED RIDGE

A DESTINATION FOR THE SENSES

Just a little under an hour's drive out of Portland and you can find yourself in the mists of Oregon's beautiful and sprawling wine country. Since I had recently received a bottle of olive oil from Oregon's Olive Mill I really wanted to check this entire place out. My visiting girlfriend and I made our way to Red Ridge Farms in Dayton, Oregon for some olive oil and wine tasting, panoramic views of the willamette valley, and a walk about their amazing grounds.

WINE TASTING AT DURANT VINEYARDS

After Victoria enjoyed some wine tasting outdoors we went over to where they have olive oil and vinegar tasting, my most anticipated reason for the drive!

OLIVE OIL TASTING 

There hasn't been a day when my homemade salad is not topped off with quality olive oil and gourmet vinegar. This combination is my absolute favorite and makes everything so much better, including eggs, bread, and chicken! I left with a a new combination of olive oil and vinegar made right here at Red Ridge.

GIRLS WEEKEND IN OREGON

BUILD YOUR OWN TERRARIUM STATION

GIRLS WEEKEND IN OREGON

THE WONDERFUL NURSERY AND GREENHOUSE

GIRLS WEEKEND IN OREGON

THE LAVENDER FIELDS

After a full hour of exploring Red Ridge and a few stop for wineries, I drove us back to Portland to catch one of my favorite happy hours, Nel Centro

HAPPY HOUR AT NEL CENTRO

GIRLS PORTLAND DAY

Of course we went to Nel Centro where they have an amazing line up of happy hour items between 4 and 6 pm and an amazing outside sun drenched patio to enjoy it on.

After happy hour I drove us up to my old neighborhood Mississippi Avenue. I lived on the strip for well over three years until we bought our home earlier this year. I loved every aspect of this neighborhood and could have stayed there expect there were a few things about our apartment that we're getting old ( no AC, residential parking in a busy neighborhood and of course hauling groceries up three flights of stairs). Other than a few gripes, I loved everything on the ave. My favorite outdoor patios we're just up the road; Victoria Bar, and Interurban, my favorite thai food; Mee-Sen, and favorite sweets; Ruby Jewel's, and Blue Star Doughnuts. pretty fun place to live if you ever get to pick!

SUNDAY:

The following day we grabbed a few bagel sandwiches from my favorite spot, Eisenhower Bagelhouse. After we filled our bellies we said our farewells.

Later that afternoon, The husband and i decided to drive up to sauvie island to do some quality manual labor; some fruit picking. we stopped at Kruger's Farm, where we grabbed some cardboard boxes, read what was in season and made our way to the fields to do some picking. after we soaked up enough sun and filled our flat with fruit we made way to check out their market and pay. while heading back we ran in to my previous neighbors, Tom + Farah, plus their sweet pup Nora!

FRESH FARM FRUIT PICKING
FRESH FARM FRUIT PICKING
FRESH FARM FRUIT PICKING
FRESH FARM FRUIT PICKING

We wound up with a few pounds of fresh blueberries, raspberries, and a few strawberries from the fields and of course lots of fresh produce from inside their market, when home we washed and froze our fruits for later use in smoothies, and breakfast oatmeal.

This weekend was great. we had great company, and amazing weather, and as usual everything within an hour of the city. I love living in Portland, specifically the Pacific Northwest!

GIRLS WEEKEND IN PORTLAND, OUR ITINERARY:

Lechon- late night happy hour on friday night

Trinket -for brunch

The Cakery at Baker and Spice -for a quick slice of cake for our wine tasting

Red Ridge -for wine and olive oil tasting

White Rose -more wine tasting

Nel Centro -happy hour

Mississippi District:

Interurban -cocktails

Ruby Jewel -ice cream of course!

Eisenhower Bagelhouse- bagel breakfast sandwiches

Krugar Farms -fruit picking and a stop in their market