Tag Archives: portland
10/14/14

Headed to Portland? Eat here.

Now that the news is out, there’s one question I’m getting left and right: DO YOU HAVE ANY CRAVINGS?

Things to eat in Portland

Honestly, this cracks me up, folks. I’m not sure what everyone’s expecting… pickles and ice cream? Sorry to disappoint, but there’s none of that going on. But – there are a few dishes I would practically kill for. Unfortunately for my cravings (although perhaps fortunately for my waistline?), are all dishes from restaurants in Portland. Continue reading

7/14/14

Big announcement!

red sunglasses

I’m at that stage in my life where big news usually has to do with pregnancies and babies. So I’m going to squash that rumor right now and confirm that that’s not at all what I’m talking about. Any other guesses? Continue reading

5/14/14

Margaritas In The Rain

big island beach

^^ One of my all time favorite beaches in Hawaii ^^

I often get questions about the origin of “Margaritas In The Rain.”

I’ve been asked if I’m a margarita connoisseur; a tequila maker; and even a Jimmy Buffet groupie. The answer to all three questions is, quite simply, no. But, story of this blog is probably a few years overdue.  Continue reading

4/28/14

A Glimpse At Portland Fashion Week

This weekend I attended my first fashion show! Note: it turns out not everyone in Portland wears flannel and birkenstocks. Shout out to Portland Fashion Week for the front-row seats and an awesome experience. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my favorite runway looks:

portland fashion week Continue reading

3/30/14

NW Elixirs Giveaway!

NW Elixirs

Our fridge is practically overflowing with condiments that we don’t use, like fancy chutneys, jars of garlicky pickled things and mystery marinades that probably expired last year. Most of these jars are nearly full, so I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. I feel so guilty about wasting food. I guess you could say that I’m a food hoarder. It’s ridiculous, really. But if you’re like me, you have  tried-and-true faves, and you don’t need to stray. One of our new favorites is Portland-based hot sauce company NW Elixirs . Not only have these sauces earned a prominent space in the front of our fridge, but I spotlighted one of the sauces on my recent live TV segments. And because telling you these sauces are awesome doesn’t do it justice, one lucky ready will have the chance to taste these sauces for themselves. I’ve partnered with NW Elixirs to give away a gift basket for one lucky reader! 

Chef Andrew Garrett took the time to chat with me about why his sauces stand out. Here’s what he had to say – and then scroll down for giveaway!

NW Elixirs

Continue reading

9/13/13

Feast PDX

Feast Portland
For all you self-proclaimed foodies out there, I have one word: FEAST.

The very first ever Feast Portland event kicked off last year, with the goal of bringing food enthusiasts together from around the country to celebrate Oregon’s bounty, as well as to raise money for two charities that work to fight hunger.

The event didn’t disappoint; and it quickly became clear that this was meant to be an annual extravaganza. Feast 2013 is right around the corner, and this year’s lineup includes hundreds of vendors (I stopped counting at 204), featuring local superstars like Salt+Straw and Stumptown Coffee – but also including internationally famous players in the food biz like Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes, Baltimore), Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC), Stephanie Izard (Girl &  The Goat, Chicago), and more.

Continue reading

10/10/12

Brunch Inspiration from Chef David Sapp

My goal this Fall is to start entertaining.

The Ace Hotel Portland Breakfast Room 

We love having friends over, but we don’t do it often enough. Our condo is pretty tiny cozy, and I’ve learned that it’s much easier to host a cocktail party or brunch versus a sit-down dinner. After all, we don’t even have a dining room table.When I learned about Chef David Sapp and his mad entertaining skills, I knew I had to meet the guy. Sapp curates the breakfast room at The Ace Hotel in Portland, and he was kind enough to give me a tour of his set-up.

The Ace Hotel Portland Breakfast Room

It only took a few minutes of watching Sapp setting up the breakfast room (at about 6am!) to see that he’s doing some very cool things. Sapp walked me through a typical morning at The Ace, and also gave me some pointers on hosting brunch. Take a look at his beautiful breakfast spread here, and then keep reading for pointers on how to be a brunch host/ess extraordinaire in your own home. 

~
 
Tell us about your background/training in the food industry.
I grew up cooking since I was about six with my grandfather in Georgia. He was the quintessential southern cook so I learned to make killer biscuits, fry okra, make cornbread, and all the other classic staples as a young kid. I continued cooking for the family growing up, really almost taking over the cooking from my mother in high school. Cooking in college was really a means to impress the opposite sex, but I only started doing it professionally since about 2006 at a little cafe where I grew up in North Carolina. I worked in the coffee world for a while in conjunction with food but decided to steer more towards food by going to culinary school here in Portland. I moved out in 2009 and attended Western Culinary in one of their last programs through as Western Culinary before they turned into Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. I interned at clarklewis after culinary school and was working at Sur La Table on the side at the same time. When my internship was up I started working as a Chef Instructor for Sur La Table teaching 3-4 cooking classes a week and still continue to do that once or twice a week.
 
How long have you been at The Ace, and what exactly is your role?
I started at The Ace last November so I’m creeping up on a year. I started as just part-time, manning the room on Sunday and Mondays, but when Jason (the other guy) left to open his foodcart (shameless plug for the Sideshow Eatery on SW 9th Washington), I stepped in to assume the official title of “Breakfast Guy”. I like to look at the job as “Curator of the Breakfast Room”, while my job does entail cooking like pickling, making preserves and jams, and a little baking extravaganza here and there; my main roll is making sure the room showcases the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Whether it’s amazing cheeses from Willamette Valley Cheese or charcuterie from Olympic Provisions or the best in-season Hood Strawberry, I see it as my job to provide our guests with the best tastes Portland has to offer in that moment.
 
What are some of your “best tastes”?
Olympic and Little T make some seriously great products that are some of the best Portland has to offer. Among the list I would add Mt. Townsend Creamery from Ft. Townsend, WA; their Cirrus Camembert is about the best thing on the planet when it is super ripe and runny. Willamette Valley Cheese also makes some phenomenal products, currently I’m obsessed with their Boerenkaas which is a raw milk gouda and their Perrydale which is an aged cow and sheep cheese. Salmon Creek Farms is where we get our honey from the markets, they are a little gypsy family that sells honey, tomatoes, and feathers at the market which in itself is amazing but their honey is truly spectacular. When berries are in season I really love Stephens Farm from Grand Island, Mr. Stephens is a super nice old man whose strawberries are one of my favorite summer treats. Other than that I just love discovering new things at the markets just popping around tasting what’s available.
 
When you’re not cooking, where do you like to eat out?
The problem with Portland is there is always somewhere new to try… when I first moved here I got the Willamette Week Top 100 and that was my hit list for the year. I made it to about 50 that first year but I’ve been behind ever since. Some of my most recent favorite meals have been Aviary (Jasper, Kat, and Sara are amazing people), St. JackSimpatica for brunch, clarklewis is always a favorite, Park Kitchen & The Bent Brick, really the list just goes on and on. I’ve been also slightly obsessed with Korean food so JCD Korean and Du Kuh Bee in Beaverton have been frequent dinner stops. As far as lunches I’m either hitting the foodcarts or I’ll jump across to eat at Double Dragon for an amazing duck bahn mi or Robo Taco for my favorite tacos al pastor in Portland.
 
How do you spend your free time? Any other interests or talents?
Well up until a few weeks ago my life has been consumed with wedding and honeymoon details but now it’s nice to have some free time back to myself (I guess I should say that after I write all our thank you cards). My wife and I are movie junkies so we’re usually hitting something at the cheap theaters or seeing what is good on Redbox. I can occasionally be found at Ground Kontrol on their freeplay nights rocking some oldschool pinball and I’ve also been known to wander aimlessly with my camera just for the fun of it. But mostly I just love to come home and cook. Most people ask “do you cook at home or are you tired of it” but I genuinely enjoy cooking at home even after doing so all day so with the weather getting colder I’m usually braising something or making some kind of soup every other day because it’s probably the most satisfying thing in the world to let something simmer away all day to reveal magic at the dinner table later that night.
 
You clearly know what you’re doing when it comes to hosting brunch. What advice can you share with those of us who’d like to replicate your beautiful breakfast spread? 
Brunch is probably the best thing in the world… why… because you get to sleep in (or sober up) but you don’t have to miss breakfast. That should hold true for you as the host/hostess as well. A little forethought and proper planning makes all the different. What we provide at The Ace is what I like to call “Guided Variety” – there are tons of choices to please a crowd but it’s not like you’re making special items for each individual’s picky wants. Go to the market, get three cheeses, (one soft, one hard, one funky), pick up a salami for Olympic Provisions or Chop (my personal favorites are fennel based so Finnochiona from OP or Chop’s Fennel salami), grab a great baguette from Pearl Bakery or Little T or Ken Artisan Bakery. That right there will make a lot of people happy. But then throw in the sweet side, find some great granola and pick up a big tub of Nancy’s yogurt, find a little tart stand and get a couple macaroons or madelines; then bake one thing. This is how you get all the credit and adoration we really want for hosting brunch. Make a bread pudding or banana bread or something that is easy to throw together, but bakes up filling the house with wonderful smells. This shows you’re not completely incompetent in the kitchen (even if you really are). If you really want to go for broke, make some quick pickles the week before and hard boil some farm eggs (get the multicolored ones from the market they are more fun) and set out some in-season fruit. Then just make sure the coffee is hot and the bloody marys are cold and it’s the best day ever. The one thing I tell people when they ask what they should do when they entertain is to cook what you like. If you like it, your guests are bound to like it and you’re comfortable making it. Do not, and I stress, DO NOT use your guests as guinea pigs, don’t make something you’ve never made before because you don’t even know if you’re going to like it, or if it will come out right, etc. Stick to your classics and let someone else provide the delicious variety, they will let you taste pretty much anything at the market so make sure you taste and get what’s good and it’s fool proof.  

The Ace Hotel Portland Breakfast Room

 

7/26/12

Boke Bowl Supper Club

I love traditions. You know, like Friday movie nights and Sunday morning pancakes. 

I also love making traditions with new friends.

A few months ago, Sam and I met a group of my colleagues and their spouses for dinner at Boke Bowl – one of Portland’s top ramen restaurants. We had such a blast that we rescheduled another group dinner, at the same spot, the very next month. And then… well, you get the idea.

In addition to the normal menu – ramen, steamed buns, and other deliciousness – Boke Bowl serves a special menu option at dinner: Korean Friend Chicken. A mere $30 buys you ½ a chicken and a bunch of fixins that easily feeds 2-3 people. Sides include pickles, steamed buns, a pack of seasoned Korean seaweed and green onion ginger rice. Oh yea, and secret sauce: ODS (Orange Dot Sauce), made of pickled mustard seeds in an aioli base.

 
 
 

The dinner is always delicious. And the company? That’s not too shabby either.

If you check it out, I highly recommend ordering the roasted vegetable salad. It’s not that ordering more food is logical considering everything I explained above, but honestly, it’s possibly the best thing on the menu. Warm brussel sprouts, cauliflower, citrus, tofu, croutons in a thai vinaigrette… wowza. 

So, what are your supper club traditions?

6/7/12

Portland Dining Month

Last night I had the most wonderful dream. Sixty-six (66!) local restaurants were participating in a month-long celebration of frugality and gastronomy, offering elaborate three-course meals for just $25 per person. In my dream, I bopped around town in foodie-heaven like the happiest lil’ blogger in the world.

I woke in a panic, worried this had all been a tease. Luckily, I confirmed (on Facebook, of course) that Portland Dining Month is no fantasy. It’s real life!

During the month of June, there’s no better excuse to visit one (or more) of the restaurants on the Portland Dining Month lineup. From Aviary to Olympic Provisions to Seres, there’s no shortage of truly excellent options. On my personal wish list this year: Lincoln and one of Portland’s newest spots, The Parrish.

Check out Portland Dining Month online, and let me know what spots are on your list this year!

4/2/12

Olympic Provisions

When one of our foodie friends and her chef fiancé recommended Olympic Provisions, we quickly bumped it up to the top spot on our “go to” list. We’d obviously read about the restaurant in Food and Wine magazine and more recently in Oprah’s O Magazine, but had yet to try it ourselves.

Olympic Provisions has two locations – SE and NE Portland – that operate as “European-style” restaurants, neighborhood delis, and onsite meat-curing facilities. Although neither Sam nor I consider ourselves lovers of charcuterie, we ventured out to the NW location for brunch a few Saturdays ago. And I think it’s safe to say that we fell in love within 3 minutes. 

Without further ado, here’s our list of the 10 reasons to love Olympic Provisions:

1. The branding. Sam and I each have backgrounds in marketing, and we just couldn’t get enough of the restaurant’s logo, packaging and signage. It was part hipster, part sophisticate.  It was everywhere, and it was super cute.

2. The ambiance. You’ll want to sit in this sweet little cafe all day. All the little details feel intentional and thoughtful. And it works.

3. The crowd (or, lack thereof). I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have to wait in line for brunch on a Saturday morning. We were thankful to be seated immediately. [Note: from what I’ve heard, the SE location is typically more bustling for brunch.]

4. The service. Our server was really helpful and obviously knowledgeable about the menu and charcuterie. Sam and I both ordered vegetarian breakfast dishes, but after inquiring, she suggested side dishes that complimented our meal.

5. The meat! Olympic Provisions is known for its extensive charcuterie counter, and it didn’t disappoint. From chorizo to bacon to Italian salami, the selection is enough to tempt even the most hardcore vegetarian.

6. The bar. Although Sam and I stuck to coffee (our general rule before 10am), the restaurant had a interesting selection of cocktails. We’re looking forward to going back for happy hour soon.

7. The wall ‘o wine. No explanation needed.

8. The gift baskets. Between our families and friends, it feels like we are always shopping for birthday/Christmas/shower gifts, and I was really excited to learn that Olympic Provision sells gift baskets. Given what we know, I’m sure they are tasty and beautiful. So, family – if you’re reading this, I apologize in advance for the spoiler alert.

9. The open kitchen. I simply love restaurants with open kitchens. I like being able to see that the kitchen is clean. I like the intimacy of watching the chefs. And I like feeling a part of the hustle and bustle.

10. Last but not least, I can’t forget about the whole reason we went: brunch. Sam ordered the egg frittata with leeks, potatoes and chevre. I ordered the brioche french toast (which is soaked in orange blossom water for a very unusual and delightful taste).  Both dishes were delicious, hearty, flavorful, and unique.