Archive for the ‘While In Portland …’ Category

Location:  The Corner of 3rd and Ash in Portland

What I Think:

The first time I tried Donut O Rama, I did so with a Living Social Voucher.  I had hoped to try donuts from their first food cart, with an expansive menu that included Banana Bacon Donuts.  Yes, that’s what I said:  Banana Bacon Donuts.  It was this donut, as well as their Creme Brulee Donut, that made the decision to purchase the Living Social voucher a no-brainer.  Had to try BOTH of these donuts.

Unfortunately, by the time I was able to visit the food cart, it had closed.

I kept a close watch on Donut O Rama’s twitter feed to find out where it would be reopening … and they eventually did, in a food cart located at 3rd and Ash in Portland.  Unfortunately, this food cart posed some limitations … specifically, it did not have a ventilation system that allowed for a larger menu.  So the only donuts that were being made in this new food cart were Beignets (light, fluffy pillows of air and sugar … YUM!) and Creme Brulee Beignets (instead of the air, imagine the pillow packed full of creamy vanilla custard … and then topping that pillow with sugar and torching it until the sugar has caramelized to a crackly crunch! )

I have since visited DonutORama a couple of times, and while I have to admit that while I was a wee bit disappointed that I am not going to be trying the banana bacon donut any time soon, this Creme Brulee Beignet is so amazing, that I find myself less sad about not getting the banana bacon donut.  Not just “less sad” … but absolutely loving these Creme Brulee Beignets.  They are absolutely crave-able!

I love the thick, caramelized sugar “crust” on these beignets.  It’s thicker and crackly-crunchier than any traditionally served Creme Brulee I’ve ever tasted.   And I love that they caramelize the Creme Brulee right before your eyes.  I think I started drooling before I could sink my teeth into this delightful pastry.

My Final Thoughts:

Creme Brulee is absolutely my favorite dessert of all time … and this Creme Brulee Beignet captures the essence of the classic dessert so delightfully well.  Yes, I would still prefer a Creme Brulee over a Creme Brulee Beignet … only because I prefer the taste of the caramelized sugar crust that has been cooked onto the custard.  However, these certainly come close to the real thing, and a bonus:  I don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to enjoy the guilty pleasure of Creme Brulee!

Note:  Since Donut O Rama has been known to move and has informed me that they may be moving in the near future, I recommend keeping up with them on Facebook to find out the latest regarding their location and their menu!

Recently, my daughter and I visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  I have been wanting to visit this place since I learned of it several years ago, however, this was my first visit … thanks to LivingSocial!  And guess what?  The Chinese Garden has a teahouse!  Well, you know we had to stop in during our visit…

Location:  239 NW Everett Street, Portland

What I Think:

Portland is a busy city, and there’s lots to do and see (and eat!)  I absolutely love Portland, but even with all the time that I’ve spend in Portland, I really had no idea that the Lan Su Chinese Garden was a beautiful, peaceful paradise right inside the city.  This gorgeous garden is confined to the space of a city block, but, it managed to transport me from the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil, inspiring wonderland!

even the “mosaic – like” rocks of the paths have significance at the Chinese Garden.

We arrived just in time for a tour.  I’m glad that we took time to take the tour, because I learned so much about the splendor and wonder of this garden – knowledge I would not have gained if we had journeyed through the gardens on our own.  If you do ever have a chance to visit these gardens (and I highly recommend that you do!), do take the tour.  You’ll have a much greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you as you walk through the gardens!

After the tour, my daughter and I took time to have some tea at the Tao of Tea teahouse (conveniently located in the garden, with a view that overlooks the pond).  Therefore the atmosphere of the teahouse very much reflected that of the serenity of the gardens.  The afternoon that we visited, there was live music featured in the teahouse, which seemed to enhance the sense of calm even further.

I enjoyed the Dragonwell tea, as we snacked on sweet and savory treats.  The sweet tray was brought out with our teas.  It included pieces of dried fruit (including a sliver of mango, a kumquat, a date, as well as a piece of the most delicious candied melon I think I’ve ever tasted), and a confection-like piece that looked like the inside of a petit four but seemed to actually be made of layers of fruit leather.  Also on this tray was a chestnut and a rice cake that was a bit like a rice crispy square only not as sweet.

After we finished all the delights on the sweet tray, our savory steamed bun tray was delivered to our table.  The pastry of the steamed bun was tender and moist, and concealed within it a green vegetable – I think it was spinach, but it was chopped very fine, and looked a bit like the steeped leaves of Gyokuro, and since this was a teahouse, I wouldn’t have been surprised it it was indeed tea leaves!  Either way, these steamed buns were tasty, I really enjoyed them.

We finished up our visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden by stopping by the little gift shop just outside the garden, where you can pick up post cards, tea, and music that will help you bring a bit of the garden back to the home.

My Final Thoughts:

If you ever have the chance to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland – you should!  What amazed me, even while walking through these beautiful gardens, is just how much beauty they could pack into a city block.  It truly is a euphoric respite from the hurried, busy life that lies just outside the garden walls.