Posts Tagged ‘PDX’

I know I’ve been absent from this blog for a long time.  I kind of got more involved with my tea blogging and decided to devote more time to that than to my foodie endeavors.

52teas3As you are probably well aware, I’m very passionate about tea.  I love tea.  I drink it several times a day (actually more than just several times a day!) and I write about it daily.

Recently, I was approached by Frank of 52Teas (one of my favorite tea companies) who told me that he wanted to narrow his focus.  You see, in addition to owning the brand 52Teas, he also owns the brand Southern Boy Teas which is an iced tea business.  His passion is iced tea.  I love iced tea, but my passion is really for hot tea.

So, he is ready to take Southern Boy Teas to new heights and he is ready to let go of his 52Teas brand.  He offered to let me take it over!  Wow!

What a tremendous opportunity for me!  It’s also a tremendous opportunity for my daughter who is going to become my business partner, and well, it’s a great opportunity for my family.

Which brings me to the reason for this post.  PLEASE help me take advantage of this opportunity that has been presented to me.  I can only do this if I get the help I need through this Kickstarter Campaign!

Please take a moment to check out the campaign and contribute if you can.  Please spread the word about the campaign!  Please help me make this dream of mine a reality.

Also, please help Frank build his iced tea business – Southern Boy Teas – with his Indiegogo Campaign.

I truly appreciate anything you can do to help me reach this goal!  Thank you for reading!

???????????????????????????????Learn more about Decadent Creations here.

What I Think:

While shopping at my local New Seasons Market, I found this cute little box of macarons on the bakery shelf.  The packaging was almost as alluring as the contents:  the box is a pretty French blue, and it’s been wrapped in twine.  Really cute with a very French sort of appeal to it.

It didn’t take me long to start in on these treats.  I could think of little else on the way home except those macarons in the grocery bag!  I did take a moment to read the label and I found that Decadent Creations is a local bakery in Beaverton, Oregon.  I like supporting local businesses, so I felt even better about this purchase.  (I always feel a little guilty when I buy treats for myself, and knowing that I’m supporting a local business … lessens the guilt just a little bit.)

The macarons are delicately crisp on the outside and light and airy on the inside.  The creamy filling adds the right amount of decadent sweetness.  These seem to just melt in my mouth.  So delicious and … yes … decadent.  They named their bakery appropriately!

???????????????????????????????There were three flavors in this box:  2 pistachio macarons, 2 lemon lavender macarons and 1 salted caramel.  The pistachio macarons were very sweet and it was a little difficult to discern the nutty pistachio flavor through all the sweetness until the finish, then the pistachio nuttiness came through.  The pistachio macarons were good … but my least favorite of the three.

The lemon lavender macarons were delightful!  The lemon comes through prominently as soon as I bite into the crackly crisp shell of the macaron, and the lavender pops through as I continue to eat and allow the flavors to move across the palate.  I like that the lavender is delicate here.  It’s just the right amount of lavender to add a hint of sweet, floral contrast to the tangy lemon notes … but not so much to overpower the confection and give it a soapy taste.

The salted caramel macaron was by far my favorite.  Oh my goodness.  Perfection!  The caramel is sweet and creamy and luscious, and there is just the right touch of salt to cut through that sweetness to keep it from becoming cloying.  I only got one Salted caramel macaron in my box of five macarons, and I found myself wishing that all five of them were the salted caramel!  They’re so good!

My Final Thoughts:

These were delicious.  At $6.99 for a box of five, they’re a little spendy, but, macarons ARE a little difficult to find and when you do find them … the price I paid is comparable for what I’d pay elsewhere.  These were a little bit of heaven.

My husband and I both love wings.  Spicy hot Buffalo wings!  YUM!  It isn’t just about the tender chicken and spicy sauce, at least not for me.  It’s the whole experience of wings:  the crisply fried wings that have been dredged in spicy hot sauce, and then dipping the wings generously in a cooling bath of creamy bleu cheese dressing and following it all up with a refreshing crunch of a celery stick.   So when I noticed that Living Social was offering a voucher to the newest wing joint in Vancouver, Pow! Pow! Wings, I couldn’t pass it up! 

Location:  5930 NE 4th Plain Blvd., Vancouver, Washington

Order:  for an appetizer, we ordered an order of Original Fries ($4) and a Veggie Boat ($3).  For the main event, we chose 24 Boneless Wings ($17.80) dredged in the Traditional Buffalo sauce.

What I Think:

My first impression of this place is that it is loud.  We went there on what appeared to be a slow afternoon, at the time we arrived there was only one other table that was occupied, but, that one table was noisy enough to compete with a bar full of drunks.

But then, their behavior wasn’t the fault of Pow! Pow! Wings so I’ll just leave it at that.  This place looks like it would be a good place to go to watch the game, it looked to be sporting a very sport-y theme with its decor and it has a bar and some of the best wings that I’ve ever tasted … so sports fans, take note!

Our appetizers came out first, but to be honest, since we were ordering items that were much more like side dishes than appetizers, I would have been fine with – and actually preferred – the appetizers to be brought out with the wings.  But we were hungry and a little pressed for time, so we started munching on the fries.  They were delicious, crisp and well, they were french fries.  Nothing all that special about them except that they were cooked until golden brown and delicious.

We ordered the veggie boat because I speculated that there wouldn’t be much in the way of celery sticks along with the wings if they were offering them as part of the appetizer.  So, I figured, just to be safe, I’d order the veggie boat.  We ate a few of the veggies, but saved most of them for the arrival of the wings.  The veggies were nice and fresh.

My only complaint about the Veggie Boat would be the carrots:  the carrots are too big.  Yes, they cut them into fairly decent sized planks and some are larger than others, but the problem is with the carrot itself.  They are starting out with whole carrots that are too large, which means that the carrots end up tasting less sweet and juicy and instead are a bit on the woody side.  They were still tasty enough, but they would have been so much better if the carrots were younger and smaller to begin with.

When it came to the wings, at first I was a little skeptical, because, I usually find that the boneless wings tend to be nothing more than glorified chicken nuggets.  You know, overly processed bits of chicken that have been lightly breaded and deep-fried.  Some places do this right (Applebee’s), others leave much to be desired.

However, THESE boneless wings from Pow!  Pow!  Wings are exceptional.  They actually look like wings.  They look like someone took the time to remove the bone and the skin from the wing while leaving the meat intact.  And what was left is amazing.  Usually the skin of a cooked chicken is my favorite part (love me some good, crispy, fried chicken skin!) but I didn’t even miss the skin on these.  In fact, at one point, I found myself questioning whether or not the skin was actually there.  Like I said, these boneless wings are exceptional!

The boneless wings were so plump and moist and meaty!  Juicy and flavorful, I didn’t miss the bones one bit.  In fact, the fact that there were no bones made these much less messy to eat, which is something I appreciate.  The sauce tasted very much like a classic wing sauce, it didn’t really stray much from the sauce that you’d get anywhere else, and was probably a blend of Tabasco (or some other hot pepper sauce) and butter. I’m sure my husband would have rather had a slightly hotter sauce, and I actually had my eye on a gentler sauce when we ordered, but, I’m glad that I stuck with the traditional sauce here.  It is hot, but, it isn’t so hot that I felt the need to constantly “extinguish the flames” in my mouth.

My Final Thoughts:

We will most definitely be returning, I think, because we both really loved these wings.  And if you go – and you really should! – I recommend ordering more than you think you can eat, because the left-overs are really good too.  I might even argue that the left-overs are better because I can use my favorite bleu cheese dressing on it (it’s the Marie’s brand, by the way, the one that you can find in the grocer’s produce section), and with wings, the bleu cheese is almost as important as the wings themselves!

When I saw the LivingSocial offer for Manao Thai Restaurant, I was very excited (more Thai food!) so I checked the location, and immediately purchased it without checking the menu.  I figured, they probably have Pad Thai … most places do.  But then, when I checked the menu when we got ready to visit Manao, and noticed that they didn’t have Pad Thai on the menu, I was a little worried … uh oh!  I had won my husband over on Thai food based on the flavorful dish, but, what was he going to eat when there was no Pad Thai on the menu?

Haw Mok Kai

Location:  7202 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Mii Krob Lad Na with Chicken ($8.50) while my husband ordered the Haw Mok Kai ($9.50).   We shared an order of Spring Rolls ($4.50) for an appetizer.

What I Think:

The atmosphere reminds me very much of a “ma & pa” type of place with it’s simple, home-y decor.  Nothing really overly stylish or glamorous, this place looked like a typical kitchen table at dinner time in the 60s, complete with retro-style vinyl tablecloths. The place was empty when we arrived, but as we waited for our lunch, more diners arrived.

I know that we should not judge a book by its cover, but based upon this setting, I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot from Manao.  The Spring Rolls seemed to further support my low expectations, because, while they were tasty, they were kind of boring.

Then I tasted my Thai Iced Tea!  YUM!  Easily the best Thai Iced tea I’ve had since we moved to the Pacific Northwest.  You might be thinking … how can one mess up iced tea?  But, trust me, I’ve tasted some not so great Thai Iced Tea, some average Thai Iced Tea, as well as some good Thai Iced Tea.  But this stuff – this is the way Thai Iced Tea should always be.

Mii Krob Lad Na with Chicken

The deliciousness of the iced tea raised my expectations, and I had high hopes again for what was to come with the entrees.

The Mii Krob Lad Na … amazing.  This is so good – good enough that if I find this on another Thai restaurant’s menu in the future I will order it.  I don’t know that I like it as well as I like Pad Thai, but, I certainly found it to be incredibly filling and very satisfying, definitely the kind of meal that you would want to sit down to if you were ravenous, because it is so good that you’ll want to finish it!  Sadly, I couldn’t finish it, but not because I didn’t want to.  I was just too full!

The gravy/sauce is rich and savory, and very flavorful.  The crunchy noodles soak up the sauce and become somewhat soft – and the softened/soaked crunchy noodle has such a delightful texture to it.  It’s one of those very satisfying kind of experiences with both taste and texture – like soaking up a delicious stew gravy with crusty bread.  This is Thai comfort food.  The broccoli and carrots add a nice flavor as does the chicken, but really, the real stars of this dish are the gravy and noodles.

My husband’s Haw Mok Kai seemed promising based on the menu description of the dish:  seared chicken thighs that had been marinated in herbs and served with a chili sauce.  Unfortunately, this dish was just alright.  The chicken was a little on the dry side and not really flavorful, and its real redemption came from the sweet chili sauce which I found very tasty, and seemed to add a much needed flavor boost to the chicken.  My husband found himself wishing he had ordered the Mii Krob Lad Na.

My Final Thoughts:

I don’t think there are enough fine words that I could come up with to describe the Mii Krob Lad Na.  I really, really loved this dish.  I am getting hungry now, just thinking about how good it was.  I had not expected to enjoy it as much as I did!  I do wish that my husband’s experience was as favorable as mine, his enjoyment of the meal would have made the experience even better.  I left very satisfied … him, not so much.  But I don’t think that will stop us from visiting again in the future, because he knows now to order the Mii Krob Lad Na!

One of the things I like best about Living Social is that it offers a new deal every week day, and quite often those deals are 50% savings (or more!) for local restaurants.  This is a great opportunity to try someplace new without a large financial commitment … in short, it is an affordable way to explore Portland’s gastronomy.  If not for Living Social, I probably would have never discovered Bumblekiss … they offer “ridiculously tasty” breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week.

Mini Muffins

Location:  3517 NE 46th Avenue in Portland, OR

Order:  I ordered Coconut Pancakes w/ Strawberry Sauce (from the special menu board), these pancakes came with two eggs, which I ordered over-medium.  My husband ordered the Cinnamon Swirl French Toast.  We also ordered a plate of mini-muffins to share.

What I Think: 

The first thing that I noticed about Bumblekiss is that this is not the run-of-the-mill cafe.  You can’t miss this place, with its burnt orange exterior, it’s a stand-out in the neighborhood.  It is a home that has been turn into a business, and when I walked into the main entrance, it felt cozy.  It’s not an upscale dining establishment, rather, it felt like I was visiting a good friend’s home.

Coconut Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce

I was happy to see that they offer Mighty Leaf tea.  Sure, I’d rather restaurants offer loose leaf teas, but, if they have to offer bagged tea, then Mighty Leaf’s sachets are about as close to loose leaf as bagged tea can get.  I ordered Orange Dulce, which is one of my favorite teas from Mighty Leaf.

We ordered a plate of mini muffins ($2.75 for a plate of six mini-muffins) to get things started.  There were 2 banana muffins, 2 lavender coconut, and 2 “muffins of the day” which happened to be a carrot-walnut type of muffin.  I thought that the banana would be my favorite, but I actually preferred the carrot-walnut.  It was moist, nutty and sweet, but not too sweet.  The lavender coconut muffin seemed to be more like a chewy coconut-oat cluster cookie that was heavily saturated with lavender than a muffin, but, since I love lavender, coconut and oats, I actually quite enjoyed it.  The banana was also quite tasty, but I found it to be a bit dry, which was a surprise to me, because typically banana breads tend to be rather moist.  It was still delicious, but, I was expecting a moister texture.

It didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted to order.  One glance at the special menu board told me that Coconut Pancakes were the special of the day and that sounded too good to pass up.  And they were!  These pancakes were heavenly.  It was like eating cake for breakfast.  Incredible!  They were fluffy and loaded with shredded coconut.  Sweet and very substantial – they filled me up fast!

I didn’t try the syrup that was included on the plate until toward the end, and I really wish I had tried it sooner.  Because the pancakes had been drizzled with the strawberry sauce, I didn’t really feel they needed additional topping… but the syrup at Bumblekiss is amazing!  It is like a sugar syrup that has been heavily infused with a masala chai spice blend.  It is absolutely delicious, so good, in fact, that I think I’m going to try my hand at making some at home (I have plenty of spices on hand!)  As much as I love strawberries (and this strawberry sauce was delicious), I would have rather not had the pancakes topped with the sauce, and used the syrup instead.

Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

My husband ordered the cinnamon swirl french toast ($7.50 for three pieces of french toast) and they were tasty, although I must admit that in themselves, they weren’t anything extraordinary.  It was the syrup, in my opinion, that made them special.

 

My Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed my visit to Bumblekiss.  The food is indeed “rediculously tasty” and comforting, and I appreciated the cozy, friendly ambiance.  The service was good, our server was attentive and made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Bumblekiss on Urbanspoon

One of our (hubby -n- me!) favorite go-to places is Buffalo Wild Wings.  We can always count on them to deliver a power-packed punch of flavor when our taste buds are craving something hot and spicy, but they will also have something our daughter (or possibly daughters … if our oldest is joining us too) will also enjoy.

Location:  9810 NE Cascades Parkway in Portland, OR

Order:  Hubby ordered 12 boneless wings in Medium sauce and my youngest daughter ordered the chicken tenders with french fries.  I ordered six boneless wings with Caribbean Jerk sauce and six boneless wings with Salt & Vinegar seasoning.  We ordered an order of Soft Pretzels and Roasted Garlic Mushrooms to share.

What I think:

I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed when visiting Buffalo Wild Wings.  Their wings always taste fresh and their sauces are tasty.  My favorite sauce is the Caribbean Jerk Sauce which is about as high as my spice tolerance will go.  I used to be much less of a wimp and could probably have gone for their Mango Habanero (and I’m tempted, let me tell you), but I think that my taste buds have mellowed significantly as the years have crept up on me.

Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

I like the Caribbean Jerk Sauce because it starts out hot, but not too wildly hot.  It offers some delicious fruity notes at the start including the fruit flavors of the peppers.  The contrast of flavors is really delightful; although the heat does build rather rapidly.  By the second wing, my mouth is quite warm and I’m beginning to feel a bead or two of sweat on my forehead.  But even at their spiciest, I still can taste the contrasting sweetness.  They get so warm, that I probably couldn’t eat more than six of these, and on this occasion, I ate three and brought the rest home for another day.

How I discovered the Caribbean Jerk Sauce is kind of a funny story – one visit, I ordered the “medium” wings, and my husband was sure he’d want something spicier than the medium, so he ordered the Caribbean Jerk.  Shortly after our food had been delivered to our table, I was eating from his basket, while he was eating from mine.  But… I digress!

On this occasion, I happened to discover a new favorite:  Salt & Vinegar seasoned wings.  Unlike the sauced wings, these are not quite as messy to eat because they’re not coated in sauce.  If you like Salt & Vinegar potato chips … you’ll like these.  I followed up my three Caribbean Jerk wings with a couple of these, and found that while these are not hot or spicy, the salt and vinegar flavors seem to add definition and dimension to the Caribbean Jerk spices.  I could taste the layers of flavors!  It was a very interesting experience!

One minor glitch – no celery was brought with our wings.  I don’t know if they’ve decided to forgo the celery these days or not, but I happen to enjoy the side of celery.  It not only is a hint of healthy in this otherwise fat-laden affair, it also helps to tame the heat from the lively sauces.

soft pretzels

On this visit, I also enjoyed another tried-and-true favorite:  Roasted Garlic Mushrooms.  These are very similar to deep fried mushrooms, except that the mushrooms have been infused with roasted garlic flavor.  The roasting of the garlic mellows out the pungent, aggressive tones of the garlic, leaving a mild, sweet flavor that really makes all the difference.  The garlic highlights the meatier characteristics of the mushrooms, giving them a depth that is not normally experienced.  These are so delicious that I’d be quite satisfied with just a plate of these for lunch.

While the soft pretzels were not bad, they weren’t anything spectacular, either.  They were just… soft pretzels.  Soft and fluffy interior.  Lightly crisped exterior.  Not too much salt.  Tasty, but not something I’d order again.  Next time, though, I think we should try the Fried Pickles!

My Final Thoughts:

I love Buffalo Wild Wings.  While the atmosphere leaves a little to be desired (I’m not a sports fan, but my hubby is, so he likes it just fine), I go there for the eats and I leave with my cravings for hot & spicy satisfied and my hunger appeased.   The service is pleasant and the food is tasty.

Buffalo Wild Wings on Urbanspoon