10 Things Loved in July

Summer in Oregon – it’s where it’s at. Here are 10 things that made my month.

1. Bocce ball with friends

2. Fireworks over Oaks Park

3. Busting out the “stars and stripes” Converse All Stars for Independence Day

4. My garden finally growing!

5. Macarons (I know they were on my June favorites list too, but these are from Elephant’s Deli so not exactly the same thing)

6. Multnomah Falls

7. Farmers market season

8. Getting crafty with vintage buttons

9. Sailing on the Columbia River

10. Enjoying Waialua soda at a slightly cooler (and my favorite) beach – Oswald West

22 Jul
2011

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
2011

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
2011
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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
2011

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.