5.30.2013

A Girl, a Boy and a Butcher Counter

If I was given one thing and one thing only to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be a sandwich. As a great blogger (me) once said, "the possibilities for a sandwich are only limited by ones' imagination".
I have hit the PDX sandwich scene pretty steadily over the past two years, sampling sammies everywhere from Lardo to Best Baguette to Killer Burger. (Burgers count as a sandwich too, amirite?) However, until recently I had yet to find a solid go-to place that I could rely on for a good, simple sandwich. Enter: Laurelhurst Market.


Just a short walk from my apartment, Laurelhurst Market is open each night for dinner, as well as keeping their butcher counter open for sandwiches in the afternoons. I strolled in hungry on a rainy Saturday with my beau to be met with a delicious selection of their housemade deli meats and cheeses, all wedged inside of a hunk of Fleur de Lis bread. I went with the corned beef, thinly sliced with swiss, red onion and a light aioli, topped with a pickled pepper relish and arugula. Nate selected the roast beef, with gorgonzola mayo and arugula.
These. Sandwiches! Both sandwiches were delicious, and the simplicity of the combinations really allowed the quality of the ingredients on each sandwich to shine. The inside of the restaurant was bustling with staff prepping for the dinner service to come, which made for an enjoyable and energetic setting to enjoy lunch. 
I will definitely be returning to Laurelhurst for more weekend afternoon nosh or to pick up for some last minute picnic prep come summer. 
Did I mention it is finally going to be 70 and sunny this weekend? Praise be. Cheers!

5.28.2013

Weekend Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend

The past 72 hours were filled with concerts, friends, cocktails and lots of eats, which have left me sitting at my desk with a severe relaxation hangover. Cant all weekends be three days long? But alas, back to the food.
Lately I have been making the journey a few times a month to Fubon, an Asian supermarket out on 82nd and Division. *tremble* Their inexpensive and vast selection of spices, sauces, herbs and fresh veggies are fabulous enough to drag me out to that otherwise desolate and depressing strip of neighborhood. After venturing out last weekend, I was left with an overwhelming amount of jalapeno peppers. Not being the biggest spice fanatic in the world, I wasn't sure how I was going to end up using them.

We were planning on having some friends over for some slow cooked carnitas before checking out a (TRES AMAZING!) Tame Impala show on Sunday, so I figured that picked jalapenos would be a nice accompaniment for the tacos.

Pickling the jalapenos removes a lot of the initial crunch of the jalapeno, while still leaving the heat element intact. Not to mention they will last for weeks and will be easy to toss into asian noodles, tacos and onto sandwiches.

Pickled Jalapenos:

- jalapenos (I used around 10-15)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- garlic (I used three cloves)
- 5 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs kosher salt

Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a large knife to open them up a bit. Heat all ingredients (minus jalapenos) until all salt and sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Add jalapenos and remove from heat. Smush the jalapenos down a bit so they are covered by the liquid, and let sit for 10-20 minutes. Add everything to a jar of your choice to store and enjoy!

5.21.2013

5.20.2013

Weekend Roundup: An Inspired Sunday

I believe I may have cursed the lovely Spring weather we have been having here in Portland lately by speaking so highly of it in my last few posts. This weekend was quite gloomy, but made for a nice Sunday to page through my latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine and get some ideas for spring recipes. 



I have been trying to get a touch more creative with what I am bringing to work for lunch these days, so I thought these marinated summer vegetables would be awesome on top of a salad or inside of a toasted sandwich. They came together super quickly, and will last in my fridge throughout the week, getting tastier as the days go by! The next time I make these, I will likely be adding mushrooms, onions, and eggplant as well.



With cilantro and parsley always in abundance, and mint being the current herbal bumper crop, I decided to "brew" some herbal citrus water for the week for a light spring sipper to have at my desk.

Then, I got gutsy. I love biscuits to no end, but I have always heard so many horror stories when it comes to making them. I'm not sure how I psyched myself out so much during my last 25 years of life(will they rise? will they turn to muffin? is the butter cold enough? will I ever get there? does it even matter?) but up until yesterday, I had never tried. After my savory scone purchase last Friday left me wanting more, I decided that it was go-time time.


The whole process was quite a whirlwind. My only tweak to the recipe was adding some cracked black peppercorn and some additional scallions. Once I added the buttermilk and slightly mixed the batter, I am pretty sure I blacked out from that point on. I came-to approximately 20 minutes later and was greeted with:



A golden beacon of biscuit beauty. I was kind of shocked at how well these came out, which must speak to how easy the recipe is to recreate. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all! Life lessons learned whilst baking.

Cheddar scallion drop biscuit recipe via epicurious

5.17.2013

Impulse Pastry

First scone of the blog: cheddar, bacon, and scallion with black pepper from little t baker. TGIF to all!
 


5.16.2013

Long Weekend Roundup: BFF Visit!

Are you wondering what happens when you haven't seen your best friend for an excruciatingly long period of time and finally you are reunited for a long-weekend visit? And then you go to a few restaurants?

You eat like a starved barbarian. 

You chow down like never before. You lose all sense of shame, dignity and fullness. You bounce from cafe to restaurant to bar and back again as if you weren't full to the point of pain less than three hours prior.

This experience, my friends, makes for a great weekend. Below are some snaps from the past few days, I couldn't dare explain them all. I will let the glistening grease, crispy batter and all of those other delightful elements of imagery speak for themselves.

chicken & waffles and breakfast po boy at Screen Door, tiki mug at Aalto Lounge
kung op wun sen and half a hen at Pok Pok, meaty goodness at and dirty fries at Lardo
grapefruit radler at Apex Taproom, chocolate coffee eclair and strawberry cream tart from Kens Artisan Bakery via Jerry Price, cookie showcase at PSU Farmers Market

bacon, broccoli and brie baked eggs with potato pancake and breakfast board at Broder, taro & hibiscus bubble tea at Townshend's Tea

cure to life - a Los Gorditos burrito, creme brulee & blueberry bourbon basil donuts at Blue Star
doggy donut & coffee coconut cheesecake donut from Blue Star, farewell sushi at Bamboo

Just a reminder to all, I am always taking visitors, as long as you are down for a similarly edible experience. Thanks, Whitney! XOXO

5.10.2013

TGIF



The final push toward what will be an amazing weekend, courtesy of Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Happy Friday!

5.09.2013

Work Bites


Still lusting over the Spring weather we have been having recently (if you haven't been able to tell). Had to squeek out of the office for a spell to enjoy an avocado & pyreness vanche sandwich and some grapefruit yogurt in le sunny sun. Cheers!

5.08.2013

Bar Breakdown: Aalto Lounge

Portland recieved a cloudy reprieve from our long run of sunny weather today, but up until then I have been digging the weather and its pull to get me outdoors. A few days ago I finally discovered that Aalto Lounge on Belmont had a patio, which is slightly disturbing, considering it is a stones throw from my place and I have visited there several times. The patio has just the right amount shade and "eco-cool" design to leave me dreaming up my next trip.


Can we talk about the Happy Hour? I sipped on a Dandy (cucumber infused gin, lemon juice, sugar, and lavender bitters) as well as a Belmont Jewel (bourbon, lemon, pomegranate juice and orange blossom water) and my total tab came to $4.00.

*record screech*
Yeah, $4.00. As in four dollars, as in fo dollaz. The cocktails were awesome and the lavender bitters was inspiring enough to leave me adding it to my current list of booze related craft projects. Considering they also have DJs spinnin' vinyl inside of their equally cool interior most days of the week, this will not be my last Aalto Rodeo. Cheers!

5.06.2013

Weekend Roundup: No Shame Fridays, Infused Birthday Booze and Cinco de Mayo

This weekend was chock filled of summer-esque sunshine and warm temperatures, providing the perfect venue for a lot of outdoor eating. Taking advantage of the warm Friday evening, I started out the weekend with a bike ride over Portland's relatively new food strip, 'The Ocean' for some Slow Burger fare. The meal definitely fit within the glutinous bounds of No Shame Friday. Yes those are pilsner battered onion rings, and yes that is cherry tomato jam on my burger. Can't spot it? Try looking under the aoli, blue cheese, Tails & Trotters bacon, etc.

I awoke Friday, still slightly full, and ready to wrap up a project that I had begun the previous weekend: tangerine & ginger infused vodka for my friend Jackie's birthday soiree. I was inspired to infuse some liquor after reading the latest issue of Bon Appetit, and realizing how foolproof the process is. The steps are pretty straightforward. Cut/slice/grate up your ingredients, add booze, put in a dark place and let it do its thing. Strain using a coffee filter or cheese cloth into the bottle of your choosing. Oh, and don't forget to add a cute tag!
After a week, the end result was super citrusy and perfect for a summer cocktail. The ginger didn't quite shine through as much as I would have liked, so I am curious as to whether shredding it next time vs. slicing would make for a spicier result. I plan to get creative with some more concoctions later on this summer!


Pro Tip it using tangerines: don't let any of the white pith make its way into your brew. Rumor has it, it can ruin the batch!



Sunday being Cinco de Mayo, I had to get my hands on some sort of filled tortilla item. After another sunny bike ride, my beau and I made our way to one of my favorite joints in town, Mi Mero Mole


The offerings are super diverse, and provide a lot of options for carnivores, vegitarians and vegans alike. My favorite filling as of late is the Rajas con Crema, roasted green chiles & onions in a cream sauce. Topped with their house pickled onions (amazing), a selection from their vast salsa bar, and some chopped cilantro, and you have yourself a bonita burrito. Oh, a side of guac too, please.

I hope everyone else had an equally edible weekend! Cheers.

5.02.2013

Hole-y War: Speilman Coffee Roasters

Seedy bagel with roasted veggie cream cheese from Speilman Coffee Roasters

I am absolutely a huge fan of bagels and all things chock full of carbohydrates. However, I wasn't able to quite wrap my head around the uproar, panic, and public outcry that took place a few years ago when longtime local favorite spot, Kettleman bagels, was bought out by corporate chain Einstein Bro's in late 2011. After living here a few years, I now am beginning to get a sense of why. Portland doesn't seem to mess around when it comes to bagels. Especially boiled bagels. The boiled bagel is an area that I openly admit to be unfamiliar with. What is the different between boiled and baked? Baked and steamed? 

I have embarked on a quest toward investigating the so-called "boiled bagel battle" currently going down in Portland. What makes ones crust and texture more desirable than the next? Do flavored/topped bagels reign supreme, or does the blank canvas of a well-made plain bagel with a delicate shmear rise to the top? Are we all really made of stars? To begin to answer these questions, I set out to Speilman Coffee Roasters in SE PDX. I figured Speilman would be a good place to start, considering I have received multiple recommendations to check it out, and they roast their own coffee beans. Sold.

The ambiance: chill. The counter: loaded with bagels.

After finding some self control and fighting off the urge to order a full-blown lox plate, I had a hard time choosing between all of Speilman's bagel flavs (salt and pepper, golden raisin & fennel, the classic 'Everything' go-to, just to name a few). I went with the Seedy variety. The bagel was super tasty, topped with a crust of pumpkin, sesame and poppy seeds. A nice crunch to the crust, and a soft and pillowy, yet dense bagel within. But the star, in my opinion, was the cream cheese. Smokey and a little zippy, with swirls of roasted veggie ribbons. Speilman has a slew of cream cheeses to select from, including chive, salted caramel, blueberry, smoked salmon, and more. Reading the menu has inspired me to make a few concoctions of my own at home.

Should the cream cheese really outshine the bagel? My guess is no, but I have no complains about my Speilman experience. I will definitely be returning for another Seedy and a cup of their robust joe, and maybe a lox plate if I'm feeling flush. I hope to check out Henry Higgens and the Bridgetown Bagel cart to continue to weigh in on this showdown. Stay Tuned!