Portland 2016

The weekend before Thanksgiving, C and I traipsed around Portland. And I’m now just finally getting to writing a bit of a recap. Spoiler – it was fantastic! And I can’t believe I was considering not going. C was there for work and I decided to tag along for the heck of it and to take a much needed mental break from the everyday.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and after dropping suitcases off at our hotel decided to hit up the Deschutes Brewery first. I did a sampling since I had absolutely no idea what to get. I would say I liked 3/4 of them or would consider drinking a full pint.

For dinner we went to Higgins – which I highly recommend to any foodie. You can also grab a place in the bar too if you’d like but we got super lucky with the final open reservation for the evening. We had an onion tart (which I noted was made the same way I make scalloped potatoes – just onions and cream), then for an entree I had the halibut with potatoes, brussels, and Jerusalem artichokes over a cauliflower puree with bacon – super tasty and delicious. We were too full for dessert, but I bet that would have been good too.

We ended our evening with drinks at The Green Room which is below the Multomah Whiskey Library which C would have loved to go to but their was an hour wait and we were exhausted.

Waking up the next morning I found we had a pretty nice rive towards the river.

For brunch we headed out to the next place on my list – Broder Nord. It’s a Scandinavian cafe, how could I not go? And although I was completely starved by the time we arrived (1 hour behind and I’m cranky I didn’t get breakfast an hour earlier), I believe I did a good job with control. ūüėČ

A must eat on my list was the Abelskivers – so perfect with the lemon curd and lingonberry.

For my main meal I ordered the oven baked omelet with red onions and sausage. And THEN for my side, I had to order the lefse with butter and honey on the side. (The main lefse for the day was filled with smoked salmon – sacrilege in my book.) I’ve been raised on lefse for 30 years and you definitely do not put fish in it. I’ve also never seen it fried or reheated to crispy with butter or oil on a griddle, but it wasn’t bad. Perhaps a tad oily, but overall enjoyable even if it doesn’t hold to original or homemade standards. I’m a lefse snob, get over it.

Saturday evening we had dinner at the Raven and Rose. We had warm winter drinks in the Rookery Bar above before dinner – which is a definite recommendation a if you’re looking for someplace cozy. They even had Netflix on – we watched Burn After Reading for our pre-dinner entertainment.

Since we were already content with our pre dinner snacking, we jumped right to entrees. I chose the chicken breast – it was good but not about to blow me away or anything I likely couldn’t replicate at home.

Sunday brunch we headed out to The Screen Door. If you go, I recommend getting in line early. We arrived right at 9am and ended up waiting about 45 minutes. But it was definitely worth it.

Right next door to The Screen Door (excellent business strategy I might add) we got coffee and tea and Kopi Coffee. I got a Chai latte with almond milk and loved the traditional spice (not the watered down Americanized version at all).

Once we finally got in to brunch, we shared two apple turnovers.

And I ordered the cheesy grits with vegetables! I also asked for a poached egg on top for some extra protein. If I could live in this bowl I think I maybe would.

Sunday afternoon I went to a yoga class at Yoga on Yamhill.¬†Even though I teach yoga, I find it refreshing and renewing whenever I can be a student. It was a good class led by the owner of the studio and was pretty packed – I usually take that as a good sign. The only aspect I would have changed is to use more pose names rather than just descriptions of what we were supposed to be doing. As a new person I didn’t always catch on to how I was supposed to be positioned when it only learning method used was auditory and very little visual.

After yoga I made my way over to VooDoo Donut to pick up a last treat for the weekend. I got four – because I definitely intended to share (almost all of it). The maple was for C, we shared a cream filled and a banana peanut butter chocolate fritter, and then the French Cruller was all for me.

The French Cruller is probably my favorite donut ever since I was a kid. I love the eggy holey inside and although it’s a treat, you don’t feel overly stuffed after eating.

On our final evening together in Portland, we hit up Andina which is a really great Peruvian restaurant. Although I still think the original is far superb, this brought back some great memories with the Pisco and empanadas.

By this time it was pouring rain, so we ran over to Rogue Alehouse until it let up. I tried a flight of their ciders and sours. Pretty good, with only one being way too sweet for my taste – I like tart cider and sours rather than sweet.

Portland was a food dream. And although food is really all I mentioned, we did go to the Art Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and explored the Saturday Market. The thing I like to do best in any city is just try to get lost of a little while in its streets – and Portland is definitely someplace you can feel the culture and history in the midst of new buildings or revamped construction popping up all over the place.

I’d visit again.

What are your favorite things to do in a new city? What are some ways that you get lost in a city or explore to its fullest potential? 

Central Restaurante – 2016 #4 Restaurant in the World, Lima

The second of the our reservations at two of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants was the #4 ranked restaurant Central Restaurant located smack in the middle of Miraflores (about half a mile from the apartment we were staying in). We opted to do a lunch reservation and brought along the newly engaged couple (C’s sister and her fiance) – it’s more fun to share with more people! The menu titled “Mater Ecosystems” provided each course with ingredients found at various altitudes.

We started with cocktails – although wine or juice pairings were also an option (we didn’t notice the juice pairing until well into the meal – whomp, whomp – it would have been fantastic). While I can’t recall the exactly, but I think what I ordered was the Pisco Torontel ¬∑ Aperol ¬∑ Elderflower Tonic.


Spiders on a Rock -5M (Sargassum, Limpet, Crab) Our first course consisted of a thin crisp (cheese?) with a crab meat filling set on what could be a rocking coast line.

Valley of the Tree 230M (Avocado, Panca Chili Pepper, Paico) The second course came with avocado in three forms, the first beings fresh chunks of avocado covered in Panca chili pepper. The next being a piece of crunchy brown bread with avocado mousse and edible flowers (beauty through adversity). And lastly an avocado puree covered with petals on a softer sponge.

High Jungle 860M (Yucan, Baston, Bark)¬†This course was not necessarily my favorite. It’s wasn’t bad or not tasteful but maybe seemed that they had been cold too long – almost with a frozen interior (which lent nothing to being able to taste the flavor). It’s always great to try new vegetables, but I was hoping for more with this.

River Scales 180M (River Snails, Gamitana, Sangre di Grado) As the name says, this course was river snails – not something I would have picked out on my own likely, but the snails were sliced very thin and arranged on thin crisp (which did get stuck in my teeth), so the flavor was mild and relatively enjoyable for being my first time eating river snail.

Andean Plateau 3900M (Tunta, Annato, Coca) This was the bread course – a dense corn type bread, a thin bubbly crisp, and bread cooked/smoked in coca leaves (not pictured). Two spreads – a browned butter and a tomato salsa/condensed puree?

Marine Soil -21M (Clams, Sweet Cucumber, Lime) Despite my general dislike of clams and mussels, I really enjoyed this dish. The clams were thinly slices with a great citrusy sauce and covered with seas cucumbers. Yes, sea cucumbers and they were probably the best part about this (sweet and crispy, delicious).

Extreme Stem 2875M (Oca, Mashwa, Elderberry) Another fantastic course – basically the potato or root vegetable dish. Thin starch paper, translucent potatoes, and then potato bites I think look like olives – all with an elderberry sauce that I could drink plain if that was acceptable.

This is what the potatoes look like when whole – Peru has over 300 varieties of potatoes. Being raised on potatoes in Minnesota, I would love this type of variety.

Close Fishing -10M (Octopus, Coral, Barquillo) I know I’ve been saying that almost every course was a really good course, but this was probably my favorite. Grilled octopus, or just octopus in general, is not something I never thought I’d say I like – especially since I’ve tried it more than a few times and could never get over that rubbery texture. Well this octopus was incredible tender and easy to eat (the roasting smell wafted through the restaurant throughout our meal – I probably drooled every time). The coral was made from egg white and also set with a crispy corn chip (?). And once again the sauce was amazing and I can’t find a way to describe it other than that – amazing.

Let’s try and get as close to the sauce as I can, because maybe that will help me smell it again. Seriously though, someone needs to invent a way to trigger smell recall in our brain (or capture it in a camera like device for posterity).

Low Andes Mountain 1800M (Quinoas, Beef, Airampo) Now clearly the photo above is not beef because I opted for the vegetarian option for this. Lime cream (or was it quinoa milk), balls of goodness (black quinoa?), green and blue powders (blue-green algae?)- I actually had no idea what I was eating but it was damn good and incredibly rich. Although after some other research into their vegetarian menu I think it might be the Altiplano and Lake (Black Quinoa and Lime Cream) or Psuedocereal (Andean grains, ciagua, chili pepper, airampo).

I snagged a picture of C’s beef dish – also set in quinoa with shaved beef heart – yep. And apparently it was tasty. All three other dinners thought it was potentially their best course. The airampo gives some of that bright red color.

Green Highlands 1050M (Lucuma, Cacao, Chaco Clay) Now for the first of the desserts – a chocolate ice cream with lucuma cookie (but not quite a cookie – crisp?), and white chocolate with clay curls. Seriously freaking good.

Valley Between the Andes 2190M (Roots, Sanki, Sacha Inchi) Our last dessert course included a camomile type gelatin square and what we thought were chocolate candies.

Well, the thin chips were chocolate but the others had a gel texture with a liquid center. Still good.

Solar Mucilage 200M (O.I. Water, Theobromas) Our last course and palate cleanser (at least for me) was basically sun water. I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly sweet, acidic, salty, beverage while it wasn’t really anyone else’s favorite (more for me!). I never knew water could taste like that but is was weirdly addicting.

All in all we had a fantastic experience – which is exactly how I view these types of restaurants. You come for the food and are slapped in the face by the experience. The only thing I might change is to ask for a better lighting table next time. (…My eyebrows completely disappeared in the photo above because of the lighting – and it was a constant battle to not get shadows over my food pictures.)

Dream trip, dream food.

Last Week’s Food and Drink

(This is a repost of a post from March 20 lost on WordPress)

Hey there! ¬†Here are some of what I ate and drank last week – at least the more exciting bits. I’m start with the most recent and working backwards. After a long week, I begged C to try a new brewery in town, Bow and Arrow Brewing Co.

I loved the decor with the herring bone pattern and all of the white, very clean yet comforting.
 On the bar they even have samples or various ingredients in their beers you can smell to get an idea of what the beer might taste like.

¬† ¬†Since everything was completely new to me, I decided to try their sampler tray. And for the most part I enjoyed pretty much every type.¬†¬† In order of “best in my mind” 1 – Saison (so much floral and spice), 2 – Scotch Ale (it was pretty good), 3- Tumbling Waters American Wheat (really nice drinking wheat), 4 – English Mild (it really didn’t have much flavor), and finally the IPA (I’m not a huge fan of bitter beer, and I’ve only ever liked one IPA from the Great Divid in Denver).
¬† After beers we decided to head over to Zinc for dinner. Zinc is one of my favorite restaurants in Albuquerque. They’re always changing their menu with the seasons and we usually cozy up to the kitchen bar to watch the chefs cook (easy entertainment). I ordered the salmon with honey glaze, roasted squash and multi colored potatoes, with creamed leeks. Granted it doesn’t look super fantastic, trust me when I say it tasted great!¬† Thursday evening I whipped up some Nutty Parnship fries for dinner – recipe on the blog soon!
¬†Although this – wine and chocolate is what I really wanted to eat for dinner after the day I was having. Luckily C walked in after having been gone all week from work to find me with the wine and chocolate… I swear I eat really food when he’s gone although he doesn’t necessarily believe me. (Ok, so I’ve had ice cream for dinner a few times when he’s been gone… only two…or three.)

¬†Mostly my weekly dinners consisted of either grilled tofu or scallops and kale salad like the one below – chopped kale, dried cherries, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, feta, and tarragon vinegar for the dressing. ¬†ūüôā

¬†In preparation for celebrating St. Patty’s early, I made myself seared scallops with a chive, tarragon, and pistachio crust. Umm – I need to make scallops more often, they’re super easy!¬†And of course a couple shots from two of the loves of my life when I went back to Minnesota to visit the week prior, my nephew and brand new baby niece.¬†¬†These two will have to put up with an aunt who spoils them, but I think they’re ok with that.¬†¬†I just want to snuggle her. Look at those cheeks!

Can my life just be about food, travel, and fitness?