Portland

Today I am sharing with you my unabashedly subjective gift guide. Nothing here is sponsored, they are simply my favorite local companies. My favorites from Oregon. My favorite food gifts from Oregon. I wish I could send every one of you a big gift basket of all the things! 

Enjoy:

 

Podnah's Pit

Podnah’s Pit.

Podnah’s Pit is an extremely popular barbecue joint here in Portland, and by virtue of all that is barbecue, [click to continue…]

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As I look forward to Departure’s Third Annual Summers End Vegan Dinner, I realized I neglected to share last years. Looking through the photos and remembering the details has me looking forward to this years event even more – please enjoy:

Here we are, at the end of summer. The crisp cool evenings with the smoky scented air, the savoring of the last summer fruits and veggies, the cutting into pumpkins and squash, the creating comfort foods of fall.

For the second year in a row, Departure Restaurant’s Summers End Vegan Dinner fell on my birthday! I could not think of a more perfect way to celebrate than with the culinary skills of Chef Gregory Gourdet.

This year, he partnered with Chef Aaron Adams of another favorite restaurant, Portobello Vegan Trattoria, to bring a group of lucky Portlanders an amazing seasonal seven-course meal.

We began with [click to continue…]

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Longtime readers may remember me excitedly going on and on and on about the first ever vegan blog conference – Vida Vegan Con. The second one is next month, from May 24-26, here in (vegan mecca!) Portland.

The inaugural conference was one of the most fun weekends I have had – I cannot wait for next month! 

When tickets went on sale for this years conference, I was among the first to purchase a ticket. In January of this year, I began working with Attune Foods, and I am now attending as an Attune Ambassador. My original ticket is up for grabs. [click to continue…]

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maple roasted beet salad

When I was in college, there was a singer in Portland who had this fantastic “lounge act” – Tony Starlight. He and his band would play various clubs around town, where he would give props to the classics like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Jones and Neil Diamond. He has a perfect Neil Diamond voice.

To say I was a fan would be an understatement – I frequented his shows, I have the CD, I even had the calendar. His shows are good fun – he tells jokes, has a great singing voice (and sings great songs!), and his genuine admiration for classic musical talent comes through.

Then he moved to Hollywood. My friends and I missed those entertaining shows.

maple beet kale salad

A few years ago, I was working at the desk of the spa I was managing at the time. The door opens and in walks a new client – ohmystars it was Tony Starlight! He had used his real name to make the appointment, so I had no idea. I was so dang excited – he and his wife had returned to Portland, and converted an old favorite nightclub, the Blackbird, into Tony Starlight’s Supper Club and Lounge. Same great act, in his own space, with the full supper club experience.

goat cheese beet salad (vegan)

Saturday night we meet friends for the signature Tony Show (see link for videos!). We arrived early and were able to catch the last part of Tony and his band rehearsing for a Neil Diamond anniversary series coming soon. Did I tell you he has a perfect Neil Diamond voice? 

The show was fantastic as always, my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much. When looking at the dinner menu, I saw a beet salad. I did not order it or see it, but in honor of fleet week beet week, I made an adapted version of Tony’s.

This is week two of Meatless Mondays A to Z, and b stands for beets!

This salad includes a vegan goat cheese, a recipe I will share soon.

maple roasted beet salad

dairy, soy and gluten free, vegan

serves two

2 medium size beets
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 servings kale chiffonade salad (recipes here and here)
marcona almonds
vegan goat cheese, crumbled

Scrub beets and slice thin, then chop each slice into quarters. Place a piece of foil on a baking sheet, pile beets in center of foil. Whisk together maple syrup, olive oil and lemon juice, pour over beets. Gather all sides/corners of foil, crimping closed. Roast in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes for crunchy beets, 30-35 minutes for softer beets.

Take care in opening the foil packet, as steam will escape when opened. Using tongs or fork, serve atop a kale chiffonade salad, with vegan goat cheese (or vegan cheese of choice) and marcona almonds.

…with a crisp white chardonnay, this was perfect.

 

maple beet salad with vegan goat cheese

Are you a fan of the classics, Frank, Dean or Sammy? Tom Jones? Neil Diamond?

Last week’s Meatless Monday recipe – artichoke shiitake ceviche.

More beet recipes:

pink thumbprints with whiskey ganache

 

berry beet juice

 

spicy hot shots in chocolate glasses

 

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…because wine is a staple, right? I can think of a few girls who will agree with me.

Yesterday Jason took the day off, and we toured the Street of Dreams. We love going each year, and this year was especially fun because we had our new house in mind.

We are planning to remodel our kitchen and I have drawn plans for what we want, but I was looking for things I may not know about that I may just have to have! We were both looking for furniture and decor inspiration as well, and we came home with a stack of magazines, brochures and ideas.

I will share more soon, but right now this is a What I Ate Street of Dreams Day, instagram and phone photo style.

Complete with wine staples. Like juice!

Breakfast was a juiced smoothie – carrot, beet, apple, ginger juice – blended with spinach and banana. Tasty, energizing and filling!

I also had a piece of tahini avocado toast before we left the house.

Our tickets to the tour included two drinks – beer or wine.

Summer staple, right there. We stopped after house number five, sat and enjoyed a crisp and cool chardonnay.

After two more houses, the tour was complete and we were hungry! Off we went to Native Foods Café

Jason had tacos. I didn’t taste them, because sheesh do you see all the cilantro on them?! They were filled with quinoa, beans, guacamole, all kinds of love. He said they were fantastic.

The side he chose was Lemon Dill Potato Salad – which I did try, and it was fantastic. Fresh and bright.

My choice was the daily special – the Classic Deli Reuben:

I chose sweet potato fries as my side, and dipped them in The Most Glorious Ranch I have ever tasted. (Let the record show, I have tasted a lot of ranch).

The reuben? Amazing.

Jason had a gluten free beer, of which he said “yeah, it was good. those gluten free beers don’t have much body, you know?” and I loved my lavender lemonade. Lots of body…?

Dessert:

A cardamom rose cupcake.

I was excited about this one, because I love rosewater flavored desserts, but honestly, this rose frosting was way too strong. I loved the cardamom cake, though, and the ratio of frosting to cake? Perfect.

All in all, a great day. I always love the Street of Dreams tour, and this one has motivated me to finish unpacking and hanging artwork, start on the painting and decor projects I have in mind, and get contractors in here to bid on the kitchen!

…and Native Foods Café? You will be seeing me again very soon. I have a plan to enjoy each and every item on your menu…

 

Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

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My friend Carrie is visiting Portland right now, and Friday we enjoyed dinner at Blossoming Lotus.

One of my favorite restaurants in Portland that I visit frequently – you may remember our Valentines Dinner this year, and the Summers End event with Blossoming Lotus Chef Wes Hannah. I also have a new perspective after taking classes from the founding chef, and this was my first visit since completing the course last month.

Carrie started with an all greens juice (no photo) and I chose a booster shot – ginger, lemon cayenne:

I loved this! Extremely spicy, this is called the “flu fighter”. While I am not feeling under the weather, I chose this one for the flavors. Definitely has a spicy kick.

Carrie ordered the Live Falafel Wrap, one of my favorites. The falafel is made with walnuts and brazil nuts, and is wrapped in collard leaves with tahini pate, cucumber, onion and tomato, and served with cashew cream.

My choice was on the specials menu, a Cauliflower Purse. This was served over dandelion greens, seasonal vegetables and beans with rich spicy flavors. I loved it.

For dessert, Carrie and I shared the Live Berry Cheesecake – oh my.

This was amazing. Perfectly fluffy and creamy and just the right level of sweetness. The wonderful consistency of this dessert is inspiring me to get back in the kitchen and try more variations on a raw cheesecake. I just ordered a new ingredient I am looking forward to playing with.

While I did not take photos of Carries eats (I don’t know why, she was taking photos as well!), I eat at Blossoming Lotus often enough that I do have other photos to share, including the falafel that Carrie enjoyed:

Another dish I order often – the Tofu & Greens Bowl- wok tossed tofu and seasonal greens, with sweet bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash, and a sweet tamari glaze, served over your choice of brown rice or quinoa.

So very good.

As always, Blossoming Lotus comes through with the fresh and vibrant flavors. I’m happy to have shared this place with a friend who I know would appreciate it – she was talking about visiting for brunch and another dinner before she leaves!

 

Blossoming Lotus on Urbanspoon

 

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We went cherry picking tonight…

We didn’t have to go very far.

This tree is in our own yard!

We picked two huge bowls and came back inside.

There are cherries for days still on the tree.

What should I make first?

 

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I have a couple of restaurant visits to share with you from our recent vacation to Oregon’s wine country, and I am starting with a very good one.

For Jason’s actual birthday dinner, we visited a new restaurant taking on the concept of farm to table.

Paulée is the new home of executive chef Daniel Mondok (formerly with Portland’s celebrated Sel Gris, also the renowned Genoa and Foster Burger) serving fruit and vegetables from its own farm right next door.

The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable, where great music was obviously the chef’s choice – the open layout of the kitchen allows you to view the goings on, and Chef Mondok could often be spotted singing along as he worked.

Chef Mondok with pastry chef Stephen Gazda plating my dessert:

We shared many plates, Jason choosing the meats while I enjoyed the veggies and pastas from each. The courses are solidly executed in stunning presentation, and the desserts creatively unique.

Jason loves to photo-bomb - can you find it in the above photo? Perhaps you can see it better in this photo.

The amuse…  a rich pâté on a delicate cracker.

Mixed Greens – strawberries, hazelnuts, pickled onions, blue cheese.

This was by far my favorite. Well, until dessert.

Lyonnaise – pork belly lardons, fried egg, frisee, sherry vinaigrette.

I love a frisee salad, and the egg was perfectly cooked.

Risotto – porcinis, morels, cardoncellos, white truffles, chevre.

Look at all the truffle…  the flavor of this was over the top perfect.

Heater Allen.

One of Jason’s favorite beers.

Beef – sirloin, oxtail, potato paillasson, chichories, jus.

Jason loved this. I loved the potatoes!

King Salmon – Israeli couscous mac & cheese, tempura garlic tops, tomato, trout roe.

Couscous mac and cheese. Genius. Fantastic. With a bite of those (smoked?) tomatoes, the flavors were perfect.

Daily made sorbets.

The three flavors were ginger, watermelon, tangerine. A refreshing finish, indeed.

Walnut Cake – blueberry conserve, walnut dacquoise, celery cream cheese ice cream.

Celery cream cheese ice cream! It is why I chose this dessert, and honestly, why I chose the restaurant!

The cake was very good, but for me the star was this ice cream – fresh and vibrant with a subtle sweetness. Also, the plating and design – beautiful!

The impressive walls of wine:

Many aspects of Paulée remind me of and transport me back to Napa. We look forward to visiting again.

Paulee on Urbanspoon

 

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