Archive from July, 2011
22 Jul

50 new restaurants in 2011

Every year my husband and I try to visit at least 50 new restaurants. Thanks to check-ins via Foursquare and Facebook, it’s now super easy to track these new locations. We hit 50 new places by May this year! This post inspired me to make a list of my own. Here goes:

  1. Pizzicato – The Puttanesca with artichoke hearts, feta and kalamata olives is yum.
  2. Timberline Lodge – We had three meals here. Best hot chocolate in America, I guarantee it.
  3. Pambiche – You had me at plantains. Desserts are fanciful.
  4. Meat Cheese Bread – Green bean sandwich is delish.
  5. Sweatpea Baking Company – Good vegan cookies, hold the attitude.
  6. Jam – Ty’s Big Breakfast, please! My favorite breakfast place of 2011.
  7. Oasis Café – Meh. But husband liked the calzone though.
  8. McMenamins on Broadway – Pass, I think we had a Groupon.
  9. Rimsky-Korsakoffeehouse – Not my style. At all!
  10. Kettleman Bagel – Mmm, mmm lox.
  11. Veritable Quandary – Great, under-the-radar brunch spot.
  12. Savoy – We hit the happy hour. Deep fried cheese curds were darn good.
  13. Bumblekiss – Take it or leave it. Maybe it’s because I have a ping pong table at home? 😉
  14. Fuego de Lotus – Venezuelan food cart. Yummy but pricey.
  15. Pix Patisserie – One of those places I should have been to but hadn’t. Favorites are Shazam and Queen of Sheba.
  16. Nicholas Restaurant – Another Portland classic I’ve passed up. Great food, but I’ll take Ya Hala over Nicholas any day.
  17. Hollywood Burger Bar – Building and atmosphere = +5 hipster points. Food = greasy.
  18. Fenouil – Oh why did you close? I was just getting to know you…
  19. Byways Cafe – Acceptable but not remarkable breakie. Awesome wait staff though.
  20. Pastrygirl – Hands down, best cookies in Portland!!!
  21. Thai Chef (Maui, HI) – Do not go here!
  22. Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Maui, HI) – Go for the butterfish sushi, stay for the karaoke.
  23. Kihei Caffe (Maui, HI) – Best breakfast on Maui. Can’t go wrong with sweets or savories.
  24. Hula Cookies (Maui, HI) – Huuuge ice cream sandwiches.
  25. Star Noodle (Maui, HI) – The best restaurant on the planet. Seriously, my favorite. Everything is great, the share plates, Vietnamese crepe, malasadas…
  26. Honolua Store (Maui, HI) – Great sandwiches, and it might be the cheapest lunch you have in Maui.
  27. Julia’s Banana Bread (Maui, HI) – The little green banana bread house. Good bread and coconut candy.
  28. Fish Market Maui (Maui, HI) – Get fresh fish and a rub or marinade to go.
  29. Aloha Mixed Plate (Maui, HI) – Pass, just go to Star Noodle again.
  30. Maui Tacos (Maui, HI) – Go elsewhere, save yourselves!
  31. Flatbread Pizza Company (Maui, HI) – Just OK, but it seemed very popular so maybe worth another try.
  32. Aunty Sandy’s (Maui, HI) – Good banana bread, but not as good as Julia’s. 🙂
  33. Food trucks on the road to Hana (Maui, HI) –  Not sure the name, but there is a parking lot of five or six food trucks halfway to Hana. A great find after hiking!
  34. Makawao Sushi & Deli (Maui, HI) – Average sushi, but you’re in upcountry.
  35. Charley’s Paia (Maui, HI) – Surfing cowboys and Willie Nelson love it, but I’ll pass.
  36. Oaks Bottom Public House – A mistake.
  37. Juan Colorado – Tualatin – Another mistake.
  38. Bunk Bar – I heard good things but was disappointed in my small, spendy sandwich and drink.
  39. Toast – Biked here and really liked it. Go Woodstock!
  40. Dove Vivi – Good cornmeal crust pizza.
  41. Gather (Berkeley, CA) – What a treat! We had a very special dinner here.
  42. farm:table (San Francisco, CA) – Great coffee, good breakfast. Only two food choices.
  43. Ghirardelli Original Chocolate Shop (San Francisco, CA) – You know you have to do it, but it’s not great. 😉
  44. Boudin Bakery & Cafe (San Francisco, CA) – Meh.
  45. Melt! (San Francisco, CA) – Cool North Beach location. Very chill.
  46. Murray Circle Restaurant at Cavallo Point Lodge (Sausalito, CA) – Dreamy, dreamy brunch. Oh happy day.
  47. Fish. (Sausalito, CA) – Favorite San Francisco dining experience. I had the fish special and it was amazing!
  48. Papalote Mexican Grill (San Francisco, CA) – Good burritos in the Panhandle area.
  49. Restaurant St Jack – I am disappoint. I so wanted to like it, but didn’t. The building is adorable though.
  50. Artemis Foods Cafe – Cute little Division coffee shop with friendly baristas.

Well, that wraps up my first 50 new restaurants of 2011. Happy noshing!

17 Jul

You’ve taken how many photos?

After owning my iPhone for just over a year, I can’t even imagine what my life was like pre-smartphone. Since I recently backed up my phone and created a photo archive, I was able to see just what I’ve been up to in the past year! Sorting through 3,326 photos was no small feat, but it was so fun to relive the moments as I organized. It was like a cluttered, non-mindful version of the Jonathan Harris – Today video.

I also enjoyed seeing all the location geotags from my photos. In Google Picasa, I keep the Places pane open* and it’s so fun to see the places I’ve been since I got my phone. I was amazed at all the traveling I’ve done. And on the iPhone it’s even more fun … as you zoom in to look at a location, more places tags appear on the screen. Oh, memory lane!

*If you’re posting or sharing a photo, the best bet is to click on the red pinpoint in your Picasa Places map and choose “Erase location info” for the places you don’t want to share with the world!

15 Jul
Posted in: found, happy
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Wanna be a baller, shot caller – er – canner

During an evening stroll around the ‘hood, we stumbled into a lovely estate sale. Since I don’t carry cash on walks, I scurried home and rounded up a few dollars.

I picked up a clear wine carafe or decanter that says “half litre” on it. I imagined that someone bought it on a trip to Europe in the 1970s and that they felt so international using something that said “litre.” It will make a cool vase.

The best find was this awesome blue Ball Ideal canning jar (or maybe I should say it is aqua). Anyway, it says “PAT D July 14 1908” on it. According to this collector, that means it was made between 1923 and 1933. Pretty sweet for a $2 yard sale find. I’ve been coveting all the blue mason jars and canning jars  at vintage shops in Portland, but not willing to drop $20-50 for one. This satisfies my craving.

9 Jul

Made it: Warm Quinoa, Arugula and Shiitake Salad

Here’s a quick weeknight meal. I took Martha’s quinoa, spinach and shiitake salad and mixed things up a bit by using arugula from my garden instead of the spinach. I also made it a little healthier and halved the recipe so it’s perfect for two people.

  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 pound or large bunch of arugula
  • 4 ounces feta cheese or chevre, crumbled

Combine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Toss half of dressing with the prepared mushrooms. Then broil mushrooms until tender (about 15 minutes. Add quinoa to a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water and some salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Place arugula in bowl or large serving plate. Add mushrooms, quinoa and other half of dressing; toss. Top with feta or chevre.

Quinoa and mushrooms are a really good source of protein and this dish is so yummy! I think the extra spice from the arugula really kicks it up a notch.

2 Jul

Time’s up: My 30 before 30 list

One of my favorite "30 before 30" accomplishments

Put your pencils down – time is officially up on my 30 before 30 list. I completed 17 of the 30 items, which  leaves 13 undone. This was such a fun experience and I feel incredibly accomplished, despite my measly 60 percent completion rate!

My favorite 30 before 30 “tasks” would have to be: visiting Greece and Turkey, getting a smartphone, being bold enough to make a career change, and sticking to my commitment to reading 13 books in 13 weeks.

Here’s a recap of my list, including a report on the items I’d still like to complete:

1. Eat (hyper) local for a week.  I still plan to do this, hopefully during harvest season so the food is as cheap as free.
2. Spend a day at the spa.  Yes, please. Sign me up.
Deleted: 3. Buy a new house
4. Start strength training
5. Create a wedding album (eight years and counting)
6. Start a blog, website or side project
7. Create a cozy mini-office at home
8. Volunteer. Shame on me for not finding a good cause to volunteer for. Maybe next year.
9. Do the Apartment Therapy Spring Cure. I have an alibi – they didn’t do the Spring Cure this year. And I have been really good about home purging and organizing!
10. Make a plan to start a family
11. Go to a comedy show
12. Learn CPR. This wasn’t the most glamorous thing for my list, but it could come in handy.
13. Cook a 5-course meal and have a dinner party
14. Do a 30-day yoga experience. I’ll pick a month, I promise.
15. Attend a cooking class
16. Go rafting or sailing
17. Learn how to change a diaper. I’ll cross it off this summer. I’d rather it be a friend’s baby as opposed to approaching a total stranger and asking if I can change their little rugrat’s diaper. Gross!
18. Run a 10k or 1/2 marathon. I feel so guilty. I really want to do another race. I will someday.
19. Get a smart smartphone – or iPhone
20. Visit Turkey, Greece or the Adriatic Sea
21. Make work meaningful or make a career move
22. Go backpacking. If I had an alternate, it would be “learn to ride a road bike,” which I did.
23. Get a full set of grown up dishes. Next few months?
24. Visit 3 National Parks
25. Read 13 books in 13 weeks
26. Take a day or two off work (holidays and vacations don’t count)
27. Try a new class at the gym and the remix
28. Get a dog. I soooo wanted a dog last year. But right now they seem like a lot of work. I’m quite happy with my kitteh.
29. Learn the Tittibhasana (Firefly) pose. I need to complete #14. They go hand-in-hand.
30. Attend a scooter rally or go on a group ride. Excuses, excuses. I’ve tried on this one, but there doesn’t appear to be an active scooter club or gang in Portland. I’ll keep looking.

It was great fun to create this list and track along with it through the year, focusing on trying new things and documenting my experiences. I definitely plan to keep working on my list. Who knows, I might even make a “31 before 31” list!