Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apples on a rainy day at The South Store Café

Knowing the weather is only going to continue to get worse as we transition into Fall, I packed Hailey (my chihuahua) up into the car and headed out to the countryside to buy some local apples and spend a little time outdoors before monsoon rain season begins.
On our way to the Oregon Heritage Farm we stopped by the South Store Cafe for a bite (and by we, I mean I stopped for a bite, Hailey waited in the car).

You had me at "Crispy Bacon"

I wasn't sure what to expect. The South Store Cafe is an old small farm-style house located on a corner in the middle of nowhere, my GPS said I was in Hillsboro, but I never would have guessed that's where I was based on how I got there.
It had just started to rain as I pulled into the gravel parking lot, so I ran inside to see what they had to offer. The interior of the South Store Cafe reminded me of the inside of exactly what it looked like from the outside - an old farm-style house, right down to the wood plank flooring.
I'll be honest, I didn't do a great job looking at the menu, after reading the sign outside my heart was set on bacon + turkey + brie + Honeycrisp. They had many espresso offerings for those in need of a caffeine fix, and a pastry case with cookies and scones. I ordered the daily special, a 1/2 bacon, turkey, brie & Honeycrisp apple sandwich and settled down with a bottle of San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa to wait for its arrival.

Each table has a small vase with fresh cut flowers - this kind of made it feel as though I had stopped in at a neighbors place for a quick bite, which may have been exactly why they did this.
My sandwich arrived and was DELICIOUS!  The brie was warmed while the sandwich was grilled and was a nice contrast to the cold, crisp, Honeycrisp apple inside. The bacon was, true to the sign outside, crispy. There was only one slice of bacon on the sandwich - the only thing that would have made the sandwich better is if there had been two slices of bacon on it. I'm not a fan of potato chips, especially Tim's (I find them to be bland and greasy and incredibly boring).
After lunching we headed over to the Oregon Heritage Farm, where Hailey fell in love with the pigs at the petting zoo (which was totally weird, she was nuzzling, nose to nose with one of them).

Unfortunately it was pouring and by the time I went to my car to get my phone so I could take a picture the pigs had hidden themselves away. These goats were interested in Hailey, but she couldn't care less about them. She was all pig love.

 The Oregon Heritage Farm has this cute little shop where they cell cider, caramel apples, and many hand crafts and seasonal items.

They also sell fresh cut flowers. These were GORGEOUS, but I knew they wouldn't survive the trip home, so they had to stay at the Farm.

These Honeycrisp apples were AMAZING. They were much larger than my fist, and weighed about a pound apiece. I bought three and ate them as meals throughout the week.
If you're ever at the South Store Cafe, I recommend you stop by the Oregon Heritage Farm. And vice versa, if you're ever at the Oregon Heritage Farm, go grab a bite at the South Store Cafe, they're just down the road from each other and worth the trip to the middle of nowhere.

I had: 1/2 Turkey, bacon, brie & Honeycrisp apple sandwich - $4.95, San Pellegrino - $2.00.

If you'd like to check out The South Store Cafe for yourself, it's located at 24485 SW Scholls Ferry Rd in Hillsboro. They're open Tuesday - Friday from 7:30am - 2:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am - 3:00pm.

If you'd like to check out Oregon Heritage Farms, they're located at 22801 SW Scholls Ferry Road in Hillsboro. They're open 10:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday. 

The South Store Café on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Brunch - @ Pink Rose

A few weeks ago T and I decided to meet at Pink Rose for brunch. It's right by his house, and he's super lazy, driving more than a couple blocks might kill him, so we thought it would be a good choice. I used to work nearby and we had a couple work events catered by Pink Rose (their stuffed dates are AMAZING), but I hadn't actually been to the restaurant. I often walk by and hear great old-school hip hop wafting out - that was enough to make me want to give it a try.
It was a nice day so we decided to eat outside on the patio. I wish I had taken a photo of the patio - it's huge, and is an excellent perch, raised up above Lovejoy, from which to people watch. We saw a couple walks of shame, and quite a few people stumbling around, clearly still drunk from the night before.
Let me just start out by saying - the service was AWFUL. When we were seated there were two woman at a table to our left. As we were sitting down a server brought one of them her brunch, and then walked away. We both commented that it was weird that only one of them was eating. It turns out that they had both ordered. She ordered her food well before we arrived, and it didn't arrive until after we had finished our meals. Without so much as an apology from the server. It was bizarre, but a great way to bond with the strangers at the next table.
When we were seated we were each provided with a glass of water. By the time we ordered mine was empty, so I asked if I could please have some more water. T ordered an orange juice with his brunch. He didn't receive his orange juice until he had finished his meal, and my water was never refilled. It killed me to see that the table behind us, who had ordered bottomless mimosas was receiving refills without asking, and even after asking twice I couldn't seem to get more water (this may seem overly picky, but it's a pet peeve of mine - it's so quick and easy to refill a water and keep me happy!).
Chicken & Waffles
 When our food came, we were disappointed. T ordered the chicken and waffles (he is a creature of habit). We hold chicken and waffles to a high standard, set by Irving St Kitchen. These did not compare. The syrup was your normal, run of the mill syrup (not the delicious buttermilk nectar of ISK), the chicken was okay, and the waffle was kind of gummy, and tasted like it was made with Bisquick.
Pork Belly Benedict
My pork belly Benedict looked quite good, but unfortunately was not. What was described on the menu as "crispy confit pork belly" was soggy greasy pork belly. It was like it was cooked the night before and sat in it's own grease in the fridge overnight, negating the "crispy" effect from cooking. I love am obsessed with pork belly, but this was just... gross. The potatoes were dry and cool. I didn't eat them. They may have been edible with salt, or a condiment, but there wasn't a salt or pepper shaker on the table and considering the woman next to us still didn't have her breakfast, I figured it would be asking too much to ask for some ketchup for the poor overcooked dry potatoes. The roasted poblano pepper hiding under the Benedict was the best thing on my plate. It was great.
As we were finishing our last bites, T's orange juice arrived. When it came we asked for our bill - and after waiting 17 minutes for the bill to arrive, T went inside to find someone we could pay so that we could leave. Honestly, the lack of service was laughable, and we left with a feeling of "did that really just happen to us?" I definitely wont ever choose to return to Pink Rose. But if someone wants to go there, I'd give it another try.
We had - Fried Chicken and Waffle- $14.00, Pork Belly Benedict - $12.00
If you'd like to check out Pink Rose for yourself, they're located at 1300 NW Lovejoy St in Portland. They're open Tuesday & Wednesday from 4:00pm - 10:00pm. Thursday 4:00pm - 1:00am. Friday 4:00pm - 2:00am. Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm and 5:00pm - 2:00am. Sunday 10:00am - 3:00pm.
Pink Rose on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tasty n Alder - a month later

I'm awful at creating timely blog posts. A couple of weeks ago last month I went to Costco after work to get beverages for the office. Not just a couple cases of soda, but HUNDREDS of cans. I ended up with about 1,100 cans of soda and a couple of cases of beer. 1,100 cans of soda is about 31 cases of 36 cans a piece. It also weighs about 1,000 pounds. So by the time I put all of the soda on my flatbed cart at Costco, then loaded it into my car, I had lifted about 2,000 pounds of soda (so yeah, I used this as an excuse to not go on a run). When I got to my office a little after 8:00pm to start unloading soda I had the pleasure of running into my coworker J, he works at our Atlanta office, but was in town to complete employee reviews. Lucky for me he is a chivalrous lad - he helped me unload the soda out of my car. (note to self: plan trips to buy soda around hours that there will definitely be someone there to help unload it - it makes things MUCH easier)

'cause I'm thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirsty

After loading all those cases onto a pushcart, then taking them up to the office and unloading them there, we were starving. We decided to head check out nearby Tasty & Alder - neither of us had been, and we had heard great things. Everything I've heard about Tasty & Alder has been in reference to their brunch, we were about 12 hours late for brunch, but whatever, we were hungry.
Even though it was a Wednesday night, at 9:30pm, in Portland, the place was packed. This is a GREAT sign, as most places are pretty dead after 8:00pm in Portland during the week. We put our names on the list, went to the bar, and grabbed a drink. They have quite a bit of seating at the bar, and also great standing counters, where you can position yourself for optimal people watching. Even though the restaurant was filled with customers, the waitstaff seemed totally unfazed and we received excellent service. Even though they knew we were waiting for a table, the waitstaff still brought us a carafe of water, and glasses, and checked on us multiple times. This was a huge plus for me, it seems to be en vogue in Portland to have a nonchalant attitude toward customers. Some places seem to intentionally hire the rudest employees they can. So this attention to detail was a breath of fresh air.
We were in the midst of a heatwave and it was still 89 degrees out, so when a table came available outside, we took it. Unfortunately, because we were outside, my pictures are VERY dark. My apologies (there isn't any outside lighting). Tasty N Alder is located on a busy corner with excellent people watching. J & I both quite enjoy people watching so we couldn't have asked for a better location.
The menus at Tasty N Alder are short and to the point. No fluff, like descriptions, are provided for most items.
I ordered the Steakhouse Sandwich (Cascade Natural). That's all that was on the menu, the name of the item, and the farm the meat was sourced from. It was like a mystery, I had no idea what would actually be on the sandwich or if it included a side (I'm a risk taker, so I'm fine with is, and really, how could something called a Steakhouse Sandwich NOT be great?). J ordered the Alder Bacon Burger. We also asked for an order of pickled vegetables and Duck Duck Potatoes (which I assumed would be similar to the Duck Fat JoJos at the Bent Brick, but really couldn't be sure).
The waitstaff at Tasty N Alder definitely have a good sense of humor. Our waiter came out about 10 minutes after we'd ordered and said, "I'm really sorry, but the pickled vegetables are no longer with us." Without missing a beat, J replied to him with, "oh my! And just how did they meet their untimely demise?" We all had a good laugh and the waiter went back inside chuckling.
The Duck Duck Potatoes came out first.
They looked so much better in person! I promise!
So they were a little different than what I was expecting. They were like JoJo potatoes cut into pieces, similar to the size of home style potatoes. They were battered and fried in duck fat, with an over-easy egg on top. They were okay, but after eating the Duck Fat Potatoes at the Bent Brick, they didn't really compare. These were very dry, and it almost seemed that the potatoes weren't cooked all the way through. I wouldn't order them again, but I'm glad I tried them.
Next out was the Alder Burger
J's bacon burger came with a side of fries. He said the burger was quite good, the bacon looked and smelled fantastic.

Sorry for the darkest photo ever - but this is the Smokehouse Sandwich. It was FANTASTIC! It did not come with any sides, which is fine, because it was so rich that I actually took half home with me. The bread was fresh, and melt-in-your-mouth buttery, it was shaved steak with heaps and heaps of house made onion rings, and a perfectly spicy horseradish sauce. The next morning when I went to eat the other half of my sandwich, the bun had started to disintegrate, it was so fresh that it started breaking down from the moisture in the meat. It was still delicious.
My sandwich was amazing, and the bacon on J's burger looked incredible, which leads me to believe that I need to brunch at Tasty N Alder sooner rather than later.
We had - Duck Duck Potatoes- $8.00, Alder Burger with Bacon - $11.00, Steakhouse Sandwich- $11.00
If you'd like to check out Tasty N Alder for yourself, they're located at 580 SW 12th Ave in Portland and serve brunch seven days per week from 9:00am- 2:00pm, Mid Day (Happy Hour) is served seven days per week from 2:00pm- 5:00pm, and dinner is served 5:30pm - 10:00pm Sunday - Thursday, 5:30pm - 11:00pm Friday & Saturday.
Tasty n Alder on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 2013 Blush Mystery Beauty Box Review

The Blush Mystery Beauty Box is EXCELLENT on my budget. It's $24.95 per month with a subscription, and knowing that it's coming every month keeps me from wasting money on impulse beauty and skincare purchases. The product variety is great and most of the brands are unknown to me, which really makes each month a treat. I love surprises and discovering new brands. The value of the box is usually really good too - which is an added bonus - I love getting the most for my money.
In this months box we have:

Racinne Ultimate Youth Power travel kit. I had never heard of Racinne, and was unable to find much online except that earlier this year they sent a lot of products to beauty bloggers to try to get the word out about them. They're a cosmeceutical company based in Canada, their packaging is certainly gorgeous, and I'm a sucker for packaging. This set includes Ultimate Youth Power Serum, Cream, Neck Emulsion and a Mask. The value of this travel kit is roughly $65.55! That's over double what I paid for the entire Mystery Box!

Next we have a sample packet of Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Night. I am not a fan of foil sample packets, as I feel like I need to use a product for at least a week to evaluate whether or not I would want to buy the full size. Sample packets, even when they're generously sized, are impossible to reseal, and often dry out before I can finish them. This product gets GREAT reviews - it claims to plump fine lines and wrinkles - YES PLEASE! The value of the packet is $2.38.
The Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo definitely has my attention. I LOVE dry shampoo. I have super limp, lifeless hair and dry shampoo helps me get more volume. I've only used spray style dry shampoos, this is a loose powder, if I can figure out how to use it without getting it everywhere I think it could be a winner. I will be SO happy if I like this - as I've not yet found a dry shampoo that I can take on an airplane with me, they're all too big, and I need to have cute hair when I'm on vacation! That's impossible for me without dry shampoo. The value of this sample is $.83
Pop Pouty Pop Crayon - the box this month was curated by the creative director of Pop Beauty. Hence the crayon. Years ago I bought a couple of these crayons from Sephora, and I have a confession to make - I've never used them. This color is Fuschia Flirt and looks like it might actually be a wearable color. I'll add it to my makeup bag and make it a point to actually try this crayon. Value - $10.00
Brad Biophotonic Skincare Ultra Peel - OH MY GOSH. The full size of this product is 1.7oz for $175.00! It's supposed to help even out skintone - I would hope it would fold my laundry too for that price. I'm excited to try it, hopefully it's so spendy because it is completely amazing. Value - $25.74

Amlactin Triple Action Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Foot Cream. FULL SIZE! Uh.. you mean we're supposed to use a special lotion for our feet? I seriously never considered this. I use moisturizer on my face, sometimes a rich hand cream for my hands, and body butter/balm/lotion everywhere else. My poor feet! They've obviously been missing out! Fortunately the back of the package claims that if I use this product every day my feet will love me for it. WHEW! Forgiven for moisturizing them with "regular" lotion all these years. Value - $10.00.
Anastasia Beverly Hills clear brow gel. So, here's another confession - I do nothing to my brows (beyond plucking them) - I don't even own an eyebrow pencil. So I'm not sure if I'll have a use for this brow gel. Anastasia Beverly Hills is pretty much the authority on brows, so if I'm ever going to begin doing something with my brows, this would be a good starting point - but I'm torn whether to keep this, or pass it on to a co-worker who would use it all the time and love it. Value - $6.68

Dremu Oil Airbrush Refining Eye Cream. I've received this a couple times now, and it's just so-so. It's definitely not MY holy grail of eye cream. Oprah mentioned it on her show once, so hoardes of people purchased it by the bucketful, I'm not sure what the draw is beyond her endorsement. It's not very emolient, and the skin under my eyes actually felt more dry after using it for a couple of weeks than it did before I started using it. Something that really bothered me was the ad for Dremu Oil that came with this sample had a coupon code on it - that EXPIRED IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR. That makes me wonder how long ago this eye cream was packaged, and if it too expired in April. Value - $9.07

Last but not least - LVX nail lacquer in Greige. FULL SIZE! This is from their Fall 2012 collection and I'm completely okay with receiving "last season's" color - I really like Greige. The polish is much more grey than how it photographed. It's like a slightly less pink version of Rescue Beauty Lounge's Grunge. Very pretty, and very work appropriate, no matter your line of business. Value - $16.00

If you're thinking about signing up for the Blush Beauty Box but are still on the fence and would like a $10.00 coupon off of a standalone box (boxes are $35 for a one time person, or $24 with a recurring subscription) - shoot me an email at kathryna at and I'll send you a coupon code.
As always, this month's Mystery Beauty Box was full of delightful surprises and with a value of $146.25 I'd say it was certainly a great deal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 2013 Birchbox Review

My Birchbox has FINALLY arrived! I was getting frustrated this month, my co-worker received her box more than a week before I did, despite them being shipped to the same address. OH THE HORROR! It was agonizing waiting for this little box to arrive.

There was a lot of hype this month about this being the third anniversary of Birchbox and how these boxes were going to be great because of it. The boxes were good and had a great variety, but I feel like the last couple months boxes were even better.

The theme of the box this month was "Heritage," - the fascinating history of brands.

Without further adieu, my Birchbox

Value - $10.00
First up is Fox hunt - a mini nail polish from Ruffian. They claim that it's full size, but I can't imagine paying $10.00 for a .17oz bottle of polish. Most brands are .5oz for a full size. I'm not impressed. The color is orange with a subtle magenta shimmer. VERY similar to a Zoya polish that I just gifted a co-worker because I thought it was too unattractive. Hopefully this one looks better on, or has a great formula.
Value $1.06

These Pearly Wipes were actually a "lifestyle extra" in my box - but they might be the thing I'm most interested in. They seem like a pointless indulgence, but that's pretty much the point of Beauty Boxes for me, to try things I never in a million years would buy for myself. These are meant to use to buff away stains after drinking coffee or tea. I'm all for keeping my smile white, I'm skeptical as to their effectiveness, but still excited to try them

Value - $10.80
I've recently vowed to start actually styling my hair instead of wear it straight every day - so this came at a great time. This Davines Sea Salt Spray would have been a great item to get in a summer box, when beachy hair is in. Not sure how it will translate as we go into fall. Unfortunately my bottle leaked quite a bit on its journey to me, but this is a super generous bottle so there is still plenty left. I received Philip B Maui Waui Sea Salt Spray last month in my Blush Mystery box, which I still haven't tried. It will be interesting to compare the two. I have to say for now, the Davines is a clear winner in the fragrance department. It smells amazing. 
Value $6.99
Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Luminous Lip Gloss in Precious Petal. I love the Prevage line by Elizabeth Arden, but honestly I've never bought, or been interested in buying, anything else by the brand. UNTIL THIS GLOSS. It doesn't look special in the tube, but this color is very subtle and flattering and has just the right amount of shimmer and dimension. It's glossy without being incredibly sticky, and the fragrance is divine. It has a smell similar to vanilla frosting, kind of like the scent of a MAC lipstick, but better. I'm impressed. I had always though of Elizabeth Arden cosmetics as being for "old ladies," now I'm going to have to give the rest of the line a try.

Value $4.25

Paula's Choice Resist BHA 9. This is an interesting product. Its a spot corrector with 9% salicylic acid. The reviews are really mixed on this serum. It's either a holy grail product or a complete dud depending on the review you read. I'm interested to see what it will be for me.

Overall this months box was a great value. A monthly Birchbox subscription is $10.00 - and this box included over $33.00 in products. If you're interested, you can sign up for Birchbox here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Brunch @ ISK

Every Sunday my friend Ty and I try to get together for brunch. I say "try" because often I sleep through his Sunday morning phone call and brunch doesn't happen.
We've tried to start making plans the night before to prevent this from happening. Last Saturday night we planned to meet at 10:00am for Sunday Brunch at Mother's Bistro & Bar - I haven't been, but I run by a couple times a week and it looks interesting. Mother's looks adorable from the outside, kind of country kitchen decor, with contrasting huge crystal chandeliers.
Unfortunately, our plans to brunch at Mother's were thwarted by the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It was sprinkling, so I decided to drive the .6 miles to Mother's. What should have taken me 5 minutes took.. well.. forever. After 24 minutes of trying to get to Mother's I was beyond frustrated (the Race for the Cure is a GREAT cause, however the people doing traffic control were AWFUL and at one time were directing people the wrong way down a one way street). I was about to text Ty and tell him never mind (it wouldn't REALLY be texting and driving, I was pretty much parked in the street at this point), when my phone rang - he was experiencing the same awful traffic, so we decided to meet up at Irving St Kitchen instead.

We usually forgo Irving St Kitchen in favor of somewhere less popular, as sometimes the wait can be too long for our impatient personalities. Fortunately it seems that the usual brunch crowd was also tied up in traffic, we were able to walk in and get a table at 10:30 without a wait, and there were very few other diners in the restaurant.

Bloody Marys were served quickly and were just the right amount of spicy.

Not the best Bloody Mary I've had in Portland, but it's certainly high on the list.

By the time we ordered I wasn't really in the mood for brunch-y food anymore, so I ordered a sandwich, and Ty got the same thing he gets at every restaurant (that has it on the menu), chicken and waffles.

My Slow Roasted Porchetta Sandwich was lovely. It featured porchetta, provolone, and bread and butter pickles. As well as herbed fries served with what I assume was a garlic aioli. The sandwich was delicious, but the porchetta was too heavy and greasy for so early in the morning (I knew when I ordered that this might be the case, considering porchetta is, by definition a fatty roast). The porchetta was very, very good, savory and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I'd get it again, but in the afternoon. The garlic aioli (?) that accompanied the fries was a strange choice. It just tasted like mayonnaise. I'm not a fan of any kind of creamy dipping sauce. It went untouched after the initial sampling.

Ty's Organic Fried Chicken & Waffles was fabulous as usual. We tend to hold all chicken and waffles in Portland to the standard set by Irving St Kitchen. I'm usually not a fan of syrup - but their house made buttermilk syrup is AMAZING. It has the viscosity of honey, not traditional syrup, and is sweet, but not overpoweringly so. Ty actually orders another side of it and uses so much that the poor fried egg atop the fried chicken drowns in syrup. The boneless fried chicken, like always, was cooked to perfection and tender and juicy without being greasy.

We had - Irving St Bloody Mary - $10.00, Slow Roasted Porchetta Sandwich - $13.00, Mary's Organic Fried Chicken & Waffles - $15.00
If you'd like to check out Irving St Kitchen for yourself, they're located at 701 NW 13th Ave in Portland and serve brunch from 10:00am - 2:30pm Saturday and Sunday, Happy Hour is 4:30pm - 6:00pm seven days per week, and dinner is served 5:30pm - 10:00pm Monday - Thursday, 5:30pm - 11:00pm Friday & Saturday and 5:00pm - 9:30pm on Sundays.

Irving Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Super quick $3.50 lunch

Earlier this week I was in a hurry to accomplish two things during my lunch hour. 1) walk 8 blocks into Chinatown to feed my friend Morgan's cat, and 2) eat pizza for lunch. All day, all I wanted was pizza, and it didn't help that a couple of my coworkers came back from lunch talking about the delicious pizza they had just eaten.
Before setting out to Chinatown, I walked two blocks in the opposite direction and ended up at Sizzle Pie. If you're looking for a down-homey pizza place with cushy booths and a traditional pizza place kinda atmosphere, then Sizzle Pie is NOT for you. But if you're looking for somewhere to grab a slice that is quintessentially Portland - from the metal music selection on the jukebox, to the employee uniform of excessive tattoos, piercings and facial hair, then this is the place for you. Sizzle Pie is on a corner and has a fabulous wall of windows looking out over the intersection of 10th Ave and Burnside, which affords an excellent view of the tourists pouring in and out of Powell's Books.
This is NOT your grandma's jukebox
Sizzle Pie has a selection of nine pies available by the slice every day. With so much to choose from, committing to a slice can be rough. Fortunately they offer "cuts". A cut is a half of a slice - and is bargain priced at $1.75.
After much deliberation, I ordered a cut of Sons of Huns and a cut of The Ol' Dirty. I then sat down to people watch while the slices were being heated up. I cannot stress how great the people watching is at Sizzle Pie.

On the left we have Sons of Huns - Vodka cream sauce, artichoke hearts, peppadews, smoked mozzarella and almonds. It was a great idea, but the vodka cream sauce was way too rich for me. Thankfully Sizzle Pie offers cuts - and I didn't get a whole slice of this one. On the right is The Ol' Dirty - Tomato base, salami, ricotta, olive oil and pepperoncini. I really liked The Ol' Dirty, if it had been pepperoni instead of salami it might be my new favorite pizza. The pepperoncinis gave just the right amount of vinegary-bite to keep the pizza interesting.
I'll definitely be back at a later time to try more cuts. You can't beat a $3.50 lunch.
I ate - 2 cuts of pizza. $3.50
If you'd like to check out Sizzle Pie for yourself, they're located at 926 W Burnside Street in Portland and are open from 11:00am - 3:00am Sunday through Thursday and 11:00am - 4:00am Friday and Saturday.
Sizzle Pie on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Transylvanian Food Cart? Challenge Accepted!

It all started back in July when I came across a sign for a new food cart by my office. I immediately snapped a picture and sent it to my friend, and fellow food cart aficionado, Karen. Her response? Pretty great. It's why we're friends.

yeah, I send random food cart texts to friends..

Blood? Yeah, it crossed my mind too. I'm not sure why, considering I've watched enough documentaries on European countries to know that the British are the reigning kings of blood cuisine, I've not heard of any popular Romanian blood based delicacies.

There are about 40 carts across the street from my office, most are repeats (walking down the row it's like Greek, Iraqi, Iraqi, Thai, BBQ, Thai, Korean, Thai, Hawaiian, BBQ, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Greek, Korean, Thai, Sandwich, Sandwich, BBQ) - so it was exciting to see something new.
When opening day came, I stopped by for a "Taste of Transylvania"
I might not have even noticed this cart, if not for the adorable logo
I ordered a covridog (basically a pig in a blanket with a watery sausage wrapped in cheese). I wasn't a fan of the quality of the meat, and didn't give Delicios a second thought until today.
Walking through the sea of food carts I was underwhelmed (two new carts have opened this week, a steak cart and another Iraqi cart, neither appealed to me). I ventured across the street to Delicios and decided to give it another try. The owners are EXTREMELY nice and willing to take their time to explain everything on the menu to people who are unfamiliar with the cuisine. Customer service in most carts is severely lacking, so when I get good service I really appreciate it. Lumi took her time to talk me through the entire menu, she thoroughly described the chicken schnitzel (basically a fried chicken patty), mici (sausages served with french fries), langosi (fried bread, covered in sour cream and cheese), chimney cakes and covridogs. Nothing sounded great until I laid eyes on a photo of an item simply labeled "breakfast sandwich." I was sold, ring me up.
Everything at Delicios is made to order (with the exception of the Chimney Cakes), so it does take time. My sandwich took about 6 minutes to prepare, which at a restaurant is super fast, but at a food cart it feels like an eternity. I remembered the wait from last time and was prepared, and honestly, if a proprietor is willing to spend 5 minutes going over the menu with me, I'm more than willing to wait for them to cook the food I've ordered. I was impressed with the packaging, it's nice when a food cart goes beyond just stuffing your order into a brown paper bag.
look at that cute checkered paper!
Here's how I knew my breakfast sandwich was going to be delicious - I unwrapped it back at the office, and before I had a chance to bite into it I had three people ask me where it was from.
Transylvanian Breakfast Sandwich
The breakfast sandwich (which I ate at 2:00pm, so that's a bit of a misnomer) was excellent. It featured thin sliced, salty ham, a fried egg, avocado slices, cheese and a tangy sauce, all on a fresh, bakery made English (Romanian?) muffin. The combination of flavors was perfect. I usually drench my eggs in salt, but the ham was salty enough to really flavor the sandwich, and the very light amount of tangy sauce gave just enough bite to add to the sandwich, instead of be obnoxious like sauce usually is.
I'll definitely be back many times for the breakfast sandwich at lunch.
I ate - Breakfast Sandwich, $4.00
If you'd like to check out Delicios Taste of Transylvania for yourself, they're located at the corner of SW 10th Ave & SW Alder St in Portland and are open from 8:00am - 7:00pm Monday through Saturday.

Delicios Taste of Transylvania on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TechFestNW 2013 Opening Night Party

Friday night I attended the TechFestNW Opening Night Party, presented by Smarsh.

What is TechFestNW? It's Willamette Week's Portland festival of all things tech. Although you wouldn't know it by watching IFC's Portlandia, (because, you know, the dream of the 90's is alive in Portland) Portland has a pretty solid tech scene. We have a great mix of established tech companies, new startups, and everything in between.
Armed (wristed?) with my fancy TFNW wristband I headed out to meet up with my coworkers at the kickoff party.

I had never been to OMSI before (I'm still relatively new to Portland, the East Side is still largely unexplored) so I was pretty excited for the excuse to get over and kind of check it out. The party was held at Theory inside of OMSI. Theory is a "restaurant that explores the science of food". I don't know what their typical menu looks like, as the food for the party was from Bon Appetit, and was DELICIOUS.
Charcuterie Plate

Fire Roasted Vegetables

Cheese, Nuts and Dried Fruits
Succotash with Heirloom Tomatoes
Roasted Chick Peas, Cilantro and Cheese for garnish to the Succotash
Fennel & Garlic Stuffed Porchetta with Fava Beans & Heirloom Tomatoes topped with Sherry Vinegar
Smarsh Perfect - the signature cocktail of the evening
Heart Shaped Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Cupcake Bar

After a couple of hours spent eating, drinking, networking and socializing, we were all stuffed and ready to roll on to the next venue. We decided to head over to Pioneer Square to check out sister festival, MusicFestNWs concert - Animal Collective.
We were fortunate, as a group, to all get into the MFNW VIP area, so we could watch the concert together. I'll be the first to say that Animal Collective was NOT my idea of music, but the good company made up for the cacophony. If you're so inclined, you can check out Animal Collective here.
While I wasn't a big fan of the band playing, I DID think that the experience was pretty great. They call Pioneer Courthouse Square "Portland's Living Room." I walk by it every day on my way to and from the office, and sometimes eat lunch in the Square watching live music (this summer Ikea sponsored live music every Thursday afternoon), but I had never been there at night. There were a CRAZY amount of people in attendance.

I thought that the Historic Pioneer Courthouse made a pretty backdrop for the concert