Friday, November 29, 2013

PNW Blogger Holiday Party 2013

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the 2013 PNW Blogger Holiday party. A great time was had by all, brunching, crafting and catching up/meeting each other. 


The event was held at Union/Pine at 525 SE Pine St in Portland. 


Adorable narwhal, corgi and antler name tags were provided by The Paper Mama


Because this is Portland, and Oregonians seem to serve alcohol with every meal, there was a bartender on hand provided by The 7th Chamber, serving Mimosas and Bloody Marys. (definitely check out The 7th Chamber, they specialize in "charming the pants off of the Internet").


There was also refreshing ice water, and Sparkling Ice Beverages, provided by Sparkling Ice


A fabulous brunch was provided by a plethora of companies, there were bagels and gluten free breads from Franz Bakery, coffee from Black Rock Coffee, dessert bars from Rawdacious Desserts, and then of course the best part.. 


Charcuterie plate! A plethora of meats, cheeses, even multiple varieties of lox up on that little stand. You know you're brunching in Portland when there's a pile of pork on the table. 


Everyone getting their brunch on. 


Pinhole Press provided a dessert bar, with donuts, cookies, lemonades and bottled waters. 


There were two different craft projects that could be attempted (I say attempted because I am NOT crafty and rage quit while attempting the first craft). 


Fabric Depot presented this deceptively difficult craft of gift tags made out of chalkboard paper, decorated with embroidery thread. I gave up after a couple of minutes when I couldn't get the fat embroidery thread through the tiny head of the needle. I'll stick to store bought tags. I do not have the patience/craft expertise for this. 


The incredibly patient Lia Griffith brought us this paper flower craft. It was simple (just cut out the petals, curl them around a pair of scissors, and glue them together. 


I brought my paper flower home, and it goes nicely with my paper bird and paper leaves I already have. (these were not DIY - they are from West Elm).

After a few hours of chatting and catching up with the lovely bloggers of the PNW, there was a drawing for some fabulous prizes (a Microsoft tablet, a year of bread from Grand Central Bakery, and many other things). 


We departed with a goodie bag full of mostly craft related swag, generously donated by many sponsors. 


Contents of the bag


My bag


Hailey checking out my bag. She was pretty certain that I brought it home for her. In fact, she had a couple favorites out of the bag. 


Hailey really wanted these earrings from Belleza Mia. But alas, her ears are not pierced (come on, I like my dog, but I'm not a crazy dog lady who pierces her dogs ears and tattoos eyebrows onto the dog). I brought these to my office, figuring that someones daughter would love them. 


Hailey posing again with the earrings, as well as a pair of sunglasses from Sunglass Warehouse  and some rhinestone embellishment stickers from Graham & Brown

I had a great time meeting local bloggers, when you're done here, why don't you check some of them out? 

Spencer - 12ozbeehouse.com
Lindsay - heynormalday.com
Shawnee - apronista.com
Michael Ann - michaelannmade.com


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

How can you not love Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen? They describe their establishment as, "We are just one big, pho sling’n, fish sauce cookin', cocktail pourin', Portland lovin' family." I LOVE THAT. Even if the food was awful, it would be worth checking them out just for that description alone. Fortunately for everyone, the food is exceptional, they're open super late, and they are convenient from anywhere in downtown Portland. 

I arrived at Luc Lac at noon, so right at the height of the lunch rush. Upon arrival I joined the line and tried to decide what I would order. 


Luc Lac is a counter service restaurant (like my two faves Lardo and Grassa). This is definitely a trend that's on the rise in Portland, and honestly, I don't mind it at all. 


When you  get up to the counter, you're met with a towering copper menu of delicious options (they also have smaller paper menus for patrons who don't wish to crane their necks toward the ceiling in order to decide what to get). 


Once you've ordered and paid, the ever-so-Portland waitstaff will explain that it is now time to take your number and go wait on the other side of the counter for a table to be ready (they seat you in the order that you've ordered - which is genius, as by the time you're seated your food is that much closer to being ready.


There are all kinds of things to do while waiting for your table. People watching is always an interesting option. 


As is taking in the artwork..


Watching the dudes in the kitchen also makes the time fly by (I didn't order Pho, but it seems like everyone else did)



Once our table was ready I sat down to my delicious iced Vietnamese coffee ($4.00). Courier Coffee with condensed milk and crushed ice. It was very good, but so full of ice that it was gone in just two sips. 


We started with Pork Crispy Rolls ($4.00). They don't look like much, but they were very good. Crispy and light, served with a spicy dipping sauce. 


T got the Grilled Chicken Rice Plate ($7.50). THREE honey glazed chicken breasts on about a weeks worth of rice, with two pork crispy rolls, spicy dipping sauce and delicious cucumber and tomato garnish. This was enough food for at least three meals.


I got the Grilled Shrimp Skewers Rice Plate ($9.00). SO MANY SHRIMP! I was expecting a skewer with maybe four shrimp. This was three skewers of three shrimp each - large, wonderful shrimp, covered in garlic and sesame oil, doused with peanuts and scallions. Again, served with two pork crispy rolls and a plate of rice the size of my head. 

We really enjoyed everything we had - and the food that the people around us were eating all looked great too. Just be prepared to have leftovers for days after eating here. 

If you'd like to check out Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen for yourself their website is www.luclackitchen.com. They are located at 835 SW 2nd Ave in Portland. They are open for lunch Monday - Friday from 11:00am - 2:30pm. Happy Hour is Monday - Saturday from 4:00pm - 7:00pm. They serve dinner Monday - Thursday from 4:00pm - Midnight, Friday - Saturday from 4:00pm - 4:00am. Luc Lac is closed on Sunday. 



Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Korean Twist Food Cart

I'm huge fan of Korean food - I could eat Kimchi with every meal for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. I also quite enjoy Mexican food, so when I heard that there was a food cart by my office that was Korean Mexican fusion I knew I had to check it out. Meet my new love, Korean Twist.


 OH MY GOD. It's delicious. Seriously. Stop reading now and just go try it. 




I could probably eat lunch here everyday.. for... ever. But I think it might kill my blogging. But it almost doesn't matter, it's that good. 


I ordered the Three taco combo ($6.00). I chose Bulgogi, Spicy Pork and Chicken for my three tacos, and kimchi as my side (a side of rice is also included). 


This is a huge amount of food for $6.00 (although I could have easily done with double the kimchi - it was amazing). 


Blurry closeup of the kimchi in all its spicy glory. I think the sheer spiciness of the kimchi may have fogged up the camera lens. It was SO GOOD. If they sold their own Korean Twist kimchi I would totally buy it. And put it on grilled cheese sandwiches, toss it in salads, throw it into omelettes, stir it into fried ride, put it on ice cream (okay, I PROBABLY wouldn't eat it on ice cream - but Salt & Straw might make it a flavor one day - I'll take credit for it of course). 


Rice. The rice was really, really good. It had a bit of a taste of sesame oil, and although at first I thought the corn might be strange, it was a good texture contrast with the crunchy scallions. 

My trio of tacos


Close up of the bulgogi taco
The tacos from Korean Twist were so good that while I was eating them I was already planning my return to the cart to get them again, or try something else. The meat in all three was exceptional, but the bulgogi was exceptionally delicious. The super spicy sauce was a great contrast to the creamy "mayonnaise sauce", the crunchy bean sprouts and the delicate bite of cilantro. 

The day after I took these pictures I returned to Korean twist for a bulgogi burrito (no bean sprouts, add kimchi). It was as big as my head (and I have a HUGE head), and was just as delicious as the tacos. 

If you'd like to check out Korean Twist for yourself, their facebook page is here. They are located at the food cart pod at the corner of SW 10th Ave and Alder Street in Portland. They are open Monday - Friday from 11:30am - 5:00pm. 


Korean Twist on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sunday Brunch at Meriwether's Restaurant

I've heard so many great things about Meriwether's and even read about it on my friend Sara's blog so I'm glad I finally checked it out. Every week T and I alternate who chooses our brunch destination - lucky for me, he selected Meriwether's. It's located in a cute old building in the Northwest Industrial district, judging by the photos on the walls the exterior hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, which is pretty cool. When inside you feel like you're seated in someones house, there's even a charming, seasonally decorated fireplace if you're sitting on the east side of the restaurant. 


Meriwether's is a true "farm to table" restaurant - they have a farm (Skyline Farm) where they grow all of the produce used in the restaurant. The meats, cheeses, poultry and fish all are sourced locally as well, so you can look forward to an ever changing menu offering whatever the best is that the Northwest has to offer at any given time. 

As an added bonus, while I hear they can get REALLY busy at dinner time, we were able to get right in for brunch. We showed up at 10:00am, by the time we left, a little after 11:00am they were pretty full, but there still wasn't a wait. 

The menu was a little overwhelming. I kind of wanted EVERYTHING. It was hard to decide. 


I opted for a pineapple Mimosa ($9.00)


 Surprise, surprise! T got a Bloody Meri ($8.50). Haha, you see what they did there? Very witty. The Bloody Meri is made with house made Bloody Mary mix and a garlic and pepper infused vodka. I think the best part of a bloody mary is the garnish, this one had a pretty good set of garnishes - a cocktail pickle, pepper and pepperoncini, and of course the requisite celery stalk.


Another HUGE surprise, T opted for... the Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffle ($18.00). I was impressed by the enormity of this dish. Most places serve a quarter or a half of a waffle, Meriwether's serves an entire waffle, and practically an entire chicken (okay, not really an entire chicken, but roughly two breasts). His waffle was garnished by sauteed cinnamon apples and currants, and a delicious trio of applewood smoked bacon slices. I should add that T felt it necessary to order an additional pitcher of syrup, because in it's presented form the chicken and waffles was not a sufficient diabetes delivery system.


I opted for the Northwest Benedict ($20.00). Dungeoness crab on a Sunday morning?  YES PLEASE! It was amazing. Probably the best Benedict I've ever had. It was served with herb potatoes and Pearl Bakery toast. I'm returning to Meriwether's next week and am tempted to order this again, but there are so many other things on the menu that I'd like to try.. first world problems. 

If you'd like to check out Meriwether's (and you should!) you can find their website at www.meriwethersnw.com. They are located at 2601 NW Vaughn Street in Portland. They're open Monday - Thursday from 11:00am - 9:00pm, Friday 11:00am - 10:00pm, Saturday 8:00am - 10:00pm, Sunday 8:00am - 9:00pm. They have Happy Hour every day from 4:00pm - 6:00pm. 


Meriwether's on Urbanspoon



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lardo East

Let me just start by saying that Lardo is delicious. Lardo has been the starting point of a couple of Saturdays filled with adventure with my friend A. I can't think of a better fuel for a day of crazy Portland shenanigans than a stomach full of pork belly. 



Lardo is one of those places that is quintessentially Portland. Tattooed hipster employees, crazy good food, interesting cocktails (I've been in Portland for 4 years now and am still amazed that so many restaurants serve liquor - where I'm from in California a liquor license is almost impossible to get and is ridiculously expensive, so only old bars and chains sell liquor - you would never see cocktails at a sandwich shoppe).


Who wouldn't love a restaurant that claims to "worship at the altar of bovine & swine?"


Lardo, like it's sister Grassa, is a counter service restaurant  where you walk in, stand in line, and look up at a chalkboard menu and try to narrow down what you'd like to get on this visit. There are so many great options that I find it best to dine with friends so you can try a little bit of a bunch of different things. 


A is a big fan of the house Bloody Mary ($7.00), Lardo makes their own special Bloody Mary Mix and once they're out for the day, they're out, so on a weekend try to show up before 1:00pm, or they'll likely be sold out of Bloody Marys. A likes to order his with their bacon infused vodka for a little extra flavor. 


I don't care if you love fries, hate fries, eat kosher, are paleo, vegan, or potato intolerant - YOU MUST TRY THE DIRTY FRIES ($7.00). The first time we ordered them we didn't know what to expect, we thought the name was clever so we gave them a whirl. What arrives at the table is amazing. It's enough french fries for four people, served on a tray (similar in size to a medium pizza pan). The perfectly cooked (and not soggy at all) fries are covered with Parmesan, pepperoncinis, fried rosemary and other herbs, and scraps of pork belly. Perfection on a pizza pan. Seriously. 


A gets the Smoked Coppa Cubano ($9.00) every time we go to Lardo. It's full of salty ham, creamy provolone, a bit of mustard and comes garnished with a huge deli pickle. Very good. 


I ordered the Korean Pork Shoulder ($9.00). It is SO GOOD! But as a warning, it is very messy - the chili mayo and the kimchi juices continue to pour out of the sandwich the entire time it's being consumed. But it's worth the extra napkins. The slight spice of the kimchi melds well with the pork shoulder, the cilantro adds a bit of interest and the bakery bun is a great vessel in which to get the whole concoction into your mouth. 

Like Grassa, Lardo has quite a bit of communal dining seating. This is something I've only encountered in Portland, and it's pretty great, the large communal tables encourage patrons to interact with each other. Grassa has a couple of outdoor tables that are neatly tucked away under the eaves and out of the rain, and there is a large outdoor seating area that they put a tent over during inclement weather (which is pretty much all of fall/winter and spring here in Portland). 

If you'd like to check out Lardo for yourself, their website is  www.lardopdx.com and they're located at 1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd in Portland. Lardo is open Sunday - Thursday from 11:00am - 11:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to midnight. 

Lardo on Urbanspoon