Tag Archives: Portland

Almost Back to Normal


Sunday morning Michael’s family left to go home to Texas and we went out to breakfast with Jeremy. I’ve been wanting to try Hash for breakfast for a long time.

It’s a restaurant in Sellwood that seems to always have a packed restaurant. Since it was so early, we were able to get a table immediately. I got coffee and they brought scones with applesauce to the table. It was fantastic.

I wanted some eggs because it had been awhile since I had my usual breakfast. I got the omelet with Canadian Bacon, sausage, spinach and goat cheese. It was AMAZING! One of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. The service was great too. I really enjoyed my experience at Hash and will definitely return to try other things.

My omelet came with fresh fruit (watermelon and blueberries) and brioche toast with freshly made raspberry jam.

I told Michael we need to recreate my omelet sometime. The crumbled Canadian Bacon and goat cheese were a fantastic combo. Originally the omelet came with truffle cheese but I asked for the goat cheese instead since I’m not a fan of mushrooms. The word “truffle” just turned me off. The goat cheese, however, went perfectly with it.

Michael got the steak, hash and poached egg dish and he said it was one of the best breakfasts he’s had in a long time too.

After breakfast I went to the pool for the first time in about a week.

It was such a wonderful, relaxing swim! I felt great in the pool and then I spent a long time in the steam room relaxing. It felt good to almost get back to “normal” after a whirlwind of house guests, trips, day trips, and lots of eating out. 🙂 Jeremy is here for another week before heading back to Ireland.

I really enjoyed having Michael’s family visit. I like them a lot and always have a great time with them. Texas women definitely have a “look” and I will admit that I felt like a big, frumpy cow next to them. It was a little uncomfortable…I’m a really casual dresser. I try to be feminine and try to wear skirts and dresses when going out, but I definitely don’t have a “look”. I also feel like I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 5 days of over-eating. NOT looking forward to the August Weigh-In.

Advertisements

Last Dinner Out


The weather at Cannon Beach was absolutely beautiful. And walking on the beach barefoot for a few hours felt really nice.

It’s also a fantastic workout. Just walking for a few hours, I felt it in my calves and ankles. It felt really good.

Growing up, my family used to drive from Seattle south to the Oregon Coast for our vacations almost every year. I have a lot of really happy memories about the beach and as a kid spent hours walking the beach by myself, reading in the sand, and playing with cousins.

When we were at the Coast, I saw a few people running the beach. I’ve never tried running on the beach. One time I ran up a sand dune and injured my Achilles heel! That was not good. 😦 But the one thing I noticed was that the runners were all running down right at the water line. I think the sand is more stable there and I bet running on the beach is much easier on the joints.

QUESTION: Have you ever run on the beach? What did you think?

After spending the day in Cannon Beach, we drove back to Portland to go to dinner for the last time as a group before the family went home. I made reservations for Cafe Castagna because I had enjoyed the food so much last time I was there.

I did not have a great experience at Cafe Castagna Saturday night–which was really disappointing. First, they gave away our dinner reservations. I was pretty upset about that. The hostess was apologetic but it was still ridiculous. I had called ahead and said we were running about 10 minutes late and to please hold the table. Yea, they didn’t hold the table. 😦 We only had to wait about 10 more minutes to get a table but still, it was a big mistake.

Next, the waitress we had was AWFUL. She had the personality of a wet blanket, didn’t crack a smile the entire time, was impossible to flag down and just downright rude. I was sooo embarrassed. I had made the reservations because I loved the food last time I was there. After dinner I called and spoke to the owner of the restaurant to complain. She was really nice and apologetic and said she’d send Michael and I gift certificate. I’m not too happy about the experience and even with a gift certificate, it might be awhile before I go back.

Other than that, the food was really excellent. Everyone enjoyed their meals. I ordered the Hungarian Goulash with Polenta and carrots. I’d been craving it since the last time I was there. It was just as delicious this time!

I nursed one vodka tonic the entire evening. I just wasn’t into eating out anymore. I’m grateful for the wonderful dinners we had and the fun experiences, but I was just burned out on restaurants and drinking–and food honestly! It will be really nice to get back to normal….

I skipped dessert. Like I said, I was sort of sick of food at this point. I watched Jeremy eat his dessert instead. 🙂 He ordered the espresso with a scoop of ice cream in it. He said it was decadent and good.

QUESTION: Have you ever called to complain about poor service or bad food at a restaurant?

Wine, Food and More Wine


On Friday after the hike, we took our guests into downtown Hood River to do some wine tasting. We were running short on time so we went to my favorite: Quenett and then to Naked Winery. I wrote about both wineries last month when we went there for our anniversary. Michael’s family had a great time! They loved wine tasting and both places have some good wine.

Michael and I love Quenett Winery and we ALWAYS go there when we visit Hood River. Not only that, we always leave with at least 1 bottle of wine, if not two. So we decided to sign up for their “Platinum Club”. It gets us into the twice annual parties, free tastings, and a big discount on wine. It feels so “grown up” to be part of a wine club! And we did it together. Awwww…..

We took them to the Naked Winery because it’s a fun tasting room and lots of wines to taste. They had a great time! We were short on time so we didn’t spend a lot of time in Hood River. We had dinner reservations at Jake’s Grill in Portland. We drove home to change and head downtown. The pictures from Jake’s didn’t turn out great because it’s pretty dark in there. It’s a classy restaurant with mood lighting.

Even though I had over-indulged in Hood River wine tasting, I order one glass of Pinot Noir to go with my steak dinner.

Michael ordered their calamari because it’s the best in town. Again, since there were so many of us, I wasn’t worried about overeating. I had a few bites of the calamari and waited for dinner.

I ordered the Top Sirloin Bordelaise. It came with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Asparagus and Dungeness Crab. My steak was a little overdone but the meal was delicious!

Michael talked me into splitting dessert. We ordered the cheesecake that came with a raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries and bluesberries. It was amazing! The best part: the cheesecake had a creme brulee topping! It was fantastic.

I sort of regret splitting the cheesecake with Michael because I wanted it all to myself. 😉

Food, Windsurfing and Hiking


Day 3 of the family visit was a long one!

The first stop was to Oaks Bottom Pub for lunch. I ordered the half roast beef sandwich with a salad. Michael ordered the famous “Totchos” for the whole table to try.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned totchos before. They are nachos but instead of chips, it’s tots. It’s very decadent and sometimes a gut-bomb of food. Luckily, the small plate was split between 6 people so I only had one or two bites.

We sat on the back patio for lunch and it was an absolutely gorgeous day! My lunch was pretty good. I was glad I got the half sandwich. The roast beef was a little on the dry side but the salad was delicious. It came with a lemon, garlic and pepper vinaigrette dressing. Delish.

I ordered a diet coke with lunch. I am much more successful with ordering healthy lunches than I am with dinners. I have no idea why dinner is so much harder for me, but it is. I tend to splurge more, and then of course, get a glass or two of wine AND dessert!

Michael and I thought it would be a good day trip to take our guests to Hood River. The Columbia River Gorge is really scenic and for people who have never been to Oregon, it’s a good introduction to the different types of landscapes in this area. Our guests are from Texas and two of them had never been to Oregon.

We went down to the water once we got to Hood River and showed them the kiteboards and windsurfers. It’s a really cool thing to watch! I really want to try both someday. It just looks like a lot of fun.

Our guests had a great time and thought it was a cool thing to watch. These people at Hood River are serious too. They have all the gear!

It was so windy down in Hood River yesterday! I don’t remember the last time it was that windy. A few times I felt like I was going to get blown away. I lost my footing and almost blew over. That never happened at 250!

After checking out the waterfront, we drove to the Old Highway 30 to go for a hike. If you remember, dear readers, this is the same place Michael and I biked for our anniversary last month.

It’s such a beautiful location, with a view of the whole Gorge!

It was a hot day yesterday and while I loved the bike ride there, it was a bit too hot to be hiking there. The shade was limited and I felt dehydrated. What’s the best thing to do when feeling dehydrated? Drink a bunch of wine!! 🙂

To Be Continued…..

🙂

Eating Out Landmines


Last night marked Eating Out #1 for this week. Michael and I met his dad and step-mom at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern for dinner.

Michael’s dad is a Beer Expert (seriously, that’s his job). He recommended I try the Bridgeport IPA, so that’s what I ordered. It was a nice, light IPA and I liked it a lot.

Bridgeport IPA

Landmine #1: Appetizers

Michael’s dad ordered Henry’s famous onion rings as the appetizer. Check this temptation out:

I was famished and the onion rings ARE pretty tasty….I ate two only. And I made sure that I ate two from the top because they were smaller!

Could you resist those?

Landmine #2 – Entree

The next dilemma was what to order as an entree. After weighing the pros and cons of the two entrees I wanted, I decided on the Halibut. It was a sea salt and pepper crusted halibut with a balsamic vinaigrette glaze.

It came with an arugula and tomato salad and a fried potato cake. The potato cake was exceptional. For some reason in my brain I thought the potato cake would be less calories than their amazing mashed potatoes…Not sure now. 🙂

My entree was okay. I think I’ve discovered that halibut is not my favorite fish. It’s a bit on the dry side. I’d rather eat a trout or salmon. I ate half of my halibut and saved the other half for lunch.

We chatted about Reach the Beach and I told them about Hood to Coast coming up. Michael’s dad said “God gave me a certain number of heart beats in my lifetime and I’m not going to waste them running!” He said it was a quote from an astronaut and it made me chuckle. 🙂

Landmine #3 – Dessert

After dinner at Henry’s we all walked a few blocks in the Pearl District to Cupcake Jones. I’ve walked by Cupcake Jones a million times and never gone in. Last night I finally did.

There were many choices: chocolate, vanilla, marionberry cobbler, German chocolate cake and other options for cupcakes. There were also the large cupcakes or the mini cupcakes. Michael’s dad got the German chocolate:

There was also an option for a “Frosting Shot”? Seriously! A cup of just the frosting!!! I was floored.

Dessert is always the hard part for me. I have zero willpower when faced with something like this:

At first I was going to get the 1 bite mini cupcake but Michael talked me into splitting a big sized cupcake with him. We got the chocolate.

It was gooooood. I loved the frosting. I think it was a cream cheese frosting.

We left Cupcake Jones and strolled passed the Ben and Jerry’s (Michael wanted to stop for ice cream but I held strong :)).

We took them to Powell’s City of Books and then called it a night. It was a really nice evening and I enjoy spending time with Michael’s family. The weather was perfect too.

Conclusion

I have no idea if I was smart with my food last night. I feel like I made some good choices and a few bad choices (2 beers + a cupcake!).

Girl Date!


Since these two goofballs weren’t going to be around Saturday, I made my own plans. 🙂 And no, they did not involve beer!

The boys headed South for some golfing. I went to the gym Saturday morning, then hung around the house for a few hours catching up on my Netflix shows, cleaning, doing laundry, and organizing photos. I sat on the back porch for awhile and read too. It was nice not being rushed to do too many things. Then I drove to NE Portland to meet my friend Robyn for a nice dinner.

I met my friend Robyn at Belly Restaurant. It was a cute place, very “Portland.”

I was a few minutes early so took some pictures and then Robyn arrived.

I moved from the bar and suddenly felt dizzy. It was really bizarre. It took a few minutes for the dizziness to pass. I wondered if it was dehydration. I decided not drink alcohol with dinner. At first I wanted to have one glass of wine or a cocktail, especially since their cocktail menu was pretty creative! But I decided to stick with water only and drank a gallon.

For being a Saturday night, it wasn’t crowded at all. The people started to trickle in closer to the time we ended up leaving, but for the most part it was a quiet, intimate dinner. We had great service too, which is a rarity in Portland.

Robyn and I decided to split a Happy Hour appetizer. We split the fried polenta with red chili ailoi sauce and it was FANTASTIC! The polenta was a substitute for fries or tater tots and much better in my opinion. The red chili sauce was the best part. I’d love to find a recipe for this and try to recreate it.

Polenta

Robyn ordered the salmon entree. It was a pan-roasted salmon with a veggie salad and salsa verde. She said it was really good. The salmon looked perfect to me.

Salmon

I ordered the braised pork shoulder entree. It came with bucatini pasta, charred onions, peas and butter. I thought the pork was really tasty and soft. I wasn’t impressed with the pasta and wished there had been some kind of sauce with it. The dish wasn’t overly flavorful but it was still pretty good. I ate half of my entree and saved the rest for lunch.

Pork Shoulder

The restaurant wasn’t crowded so the waiters weren’t anxious about clearing our table. Robyn and I had a great time talking and we were camped out at the table for about 2 hours after we finally finished eating. 🙂 It was a great time. We eventually decided to split a dessert. We split the delicious ice cream sandwich that had MINTY ice cream in the center! It was good. 🙂

I had a great time with my girl! It was a much needed girl’s night!

The Danger of House Guests


One of the “dangers” of having house guests is finding snack foods in your house that you wouldn’t normally buy OR eat. For example:

I can safely say I would never be tempted to buy this bag of chips on my own. First, if I’m craving junk food it’s usually sugar or chocolate. Second, I’ve learned to restrain myself for the most part. I’ve buying less and less processed food. Sure I have treats once in awhile, but I honestly can’t say the last time I bought Doritos. So imagine my surprise when I got home from work to find an OPENED bag of Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili chips. And damn are they good. Damn damn damn!! I’ve probably eaten two servings already. Damn you Doritos!

The other danger of having house guests is eating out. A lot. I anticipate that I will be eating out quite a bit in the next three weeks. I HOPE I have the willpower and restraint to order smart. I know the tricks of eating out:

  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Drinking alcohol slowly
  • Skip the appetizers
  • Order a salad/half sandwich combo
  • Split entrees
  • Soup and salad or veggies are a good choice
  • Split dessert

Yeah…I know all the tips. I’ve used them many, many times. That doesn’t mean KNOWING is DOING.

I got home from work Thursday night and met Michael and his friend Jeremy (who is visiting from Ireland) before headed out to dinner. We were headed to a movie so Michael decided we should eat at Dot’s Cafe on SE Clinton Street since it was across from the theatre.

Dot's Cafe

Dot’s is a funky hole-in-the-wall cafe that plays weird music and is so dark you can barely see your food.

Dot's

Oh and did I mention the velvet wallpaper and the Elvis paintings?

Dot's

It’s your typical Portland restaurant with sketchy service: either really friendly waitstaff of the effing b*itches that are too good to be your waitress. We had a mixture of both at Dot’s. Pretty typical! But the food is good (and cheap).

I drank just water. (Score!) I did not order an appetizer. (Check!) I also did NOT order my favorite item from Dot’s: a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon. Oh my goodness is that good! Instead, I ordered a burrito with black beans, brown rice, jack cheese and chilis. I skipped the guacamole and just went with the sour cream and salsa topping. Jeremy also got the Dot’s Burrito but with chicken.

Somewhat large. I ended up eating 3/4 of the burrito and skipped the chips. Jeremy’s burrito:

This One's For Amy in Ireland

Jeremy ate half of his burrito. Trust me, the burrito is pretty big!

After we ate we walked across the street to see the movie! That’s the next post. 🙂 And boy was it a good one!