Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

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.

Another Sports Bar?  Yeah, well, I may not be a big fan of the decor but, I have been very happy with the food I’ve tasted in the various sports bars that we’ve visited in the last couple of years.  I think that Macadam’s Bar & Grill may just be the best yet.

MacadamsLocation: 5833 SW Macadam Ave., Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Macadam’s Dip (Turkey) and instead of fries, I opted for the Pear Slaw ($9.50), my husband and I ordered Beer Battered Onion Rings ($5) as an appetizer, and I had Iced Tea to drink.

What I Think:

Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, this is a sports bar, and the decor reflected that type of atmosphere.  However, if I were to rate sports bars on a scale of 1 – 5, with one being one of those sleazy, hole-in-the-wall sports bars where you felt like you needed a shower after you emerged from the bar, and five being a notch or two above acceptable and veering into almost upper class with its decor, I’d give Macadam’s a solid five.

It was clean and the decor was almost classy, at least for sports bar type of decor.  Although it was dark (which is why I couldn’t snap photos of the food, too dark and I can never get the flash to work right in my camera), it wasn’t unbearably loud, then again, we weren’t there while a game was playing so it would be hard to say how it would be during a game.  I enjoyed the blues music that played in the background.  I felt quite comfortable in this sports bar, and that was a definite plus.  The service was pleasant, and I enjoyed that there were Trivial Pursuit cards at the tables to keep us busy as we waited for our food to arrive.

The onion rings were some of the best thick cut onion rings I’ve yet to taste.  It was a tempura-like batter that cooked up light and airy … almost bubbly, which gave it a very nice crunchy exterior.  The ranch dipping sauce that came along with the onion rings was rather unremarkable, though, and I think that the onion rings would be even better if some thought were put into the dipping sauces.

I chose the turkey Macadam’s dip because I had never had a turkey dip sandwich before.  I’m a big fan of french dip sandwiches made with sliced roast beef, and the fact that Macadam’s smokes their turkey was particularly tantalizing to me.  And I am really glad that I chose this sandwich.  The turkey was delicious.  It was moist and tender, and it was smoked to perfection.

I chose the pear slaw to accompany my sandwich, mostly because the idea of a pear slaw intrigued me.  I don’t think I’ve had one before, and I love pears, so I wanted to try it.  It was a refreshingly light and sweet, crisp salad, and I enjoyed it, although I must admit that I did wish that the pear was just a wee bit more on the ripe side, as it was a little under-ripe for my liking.  Enjoyable, but, I think with a slightly riper pear it would have been fantastic … although it would have probably been a bit more difficult to prepare if the flesh of the pear were softer.

My husband ordered a burger and fries, and I snagged a few of his fries, and they were really good.  They were so good, in fact, I found myself wishing I had ordered the fries instead of the pear slaw, which I liked, but I liked the fries better.  The burger was a little too rare for my hubby’s taste, so if you prefer your burgers to only be slightly pink, you may want to mention this to the waiter/waitress.

My Final Thoughts:

Would I return to Macadam’s Bar & Grill?  Oh, absolutely.  I really enjoyed the food.  It is what I’d call an “upscale” sort of sports bar, and the prices seem to reflect that a bit, but, in my opinion, it was worth it because the food was delicious.

My husband and I both enjoy Mexican food, and while I’ve enjoyed many of the places that we’ve visited in the past few years, I’m always on the lookout for another place to eat delicious Mexican cuisine.  So, when Living Social offers a voucher for a Mexican Restaurant that I’ve not yet tried, I am eager to buy the voucher!  Let’s eat!

When we arrived at Cha Taqueria, it was too dark to take photos (we dined outside) … I hope that Cha Taqueria doesn’t mind that I borrowed their photo from their online gallery. Please click on the pic to go there!

Location:  305 NW 21st Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Carne Asada Tacos plate ($14) while my husband chose the Chicken Las Rancheras platter ($15).

What I Think:

OK, first of all, I have to say this … the parking for Cha Taqueria STINKS!  There is no parking lot, so the only parking is along the streets, and we drove around for 30 minutes looking for a parking place!  So, if you’re visiting Cha Taqueria, make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to ensure that you can get a parking place and still have time to eat (in other words, don’t do what we did, and start looking for a parking place an hour before the place closes!)  We were nearly too late to order, fortunately, the staff was nice and let us dine so that we would not have to return another evening.  THANK YOU Cha Taqueria for being so considerate of our parking plight!

After shaking off the annoyances of the lugubrious parking situation, we decided not to allow it to taint our dining experience since the staff was so pleasant and kind.  We sat outside – it was a lovely evening! – and placed our order.

Instead of the customary chips and salsa that most Mexican restaurants serve before the meal, we were brought a platter of chips topped with melted cheese and beans.  This was absolutely delicious, and really put us in the right mood for the yummy food that would follow.

Our food arrived surprisingly fast.  The Carne Asada plate was comprised of two soft corn tortilla Carne Asada tacos and black beans.  The steak strips were incredibly tender, it seemed to melt in my mouth!  The flavor of the taco was balanced out with a light squeeze of the lime garnish, this gave it just the right acidic touch to brighten up the flavor of the taco – the meat was succulent and tender, the vegetables were crisp and the salsa provided was SPICY … be sure to use this sparingly!  My husband gave me a bite of his Chicken Enchilada and the chicken was even more tender than the flat iron steak in my Carne Asada Tacos.   Absolutely delicious!

My Final Thoughts:

My husband and I both really enjoyed our meal at Chai Taqueria and I daresay that we’d be happy to visit again … but next time we will be mindful of the parking situation!  The food was absolutely vibrant, tasted so fresh and delicious!

Cha Taqueria on Urbanspoon

When I saw My Brother’s Crawfish offering a voucher on Living Social – I jumped on it!  I love shellfish, but, as I’ve lived exclusively near the West Coast, I can’t say that crawfish is something with which I’ve had a lot of experience.  Read:  I’ve never had crawfish before.  I was eager to try this Louisiana favorite.

Crawfish Boil

Location:  8220 SE Harrison Street, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered a Crawfish Boil, of course!  (Market Price on the day we visited was $9)  I also ordered a few add-ons:  Corn on the Cob, Mushrooms and a french roll.

What I Think:

The restaurant is very small with dark walls that made it seemed more closed in than it probably was.  The decor is distinctly New Orleans, with an emphasis on a Mardi Gras theme.  One thing that kind of caught my eye in particular were the birds on the wall, mostly because I’m a Portlandia fan, and whenever I see bird decor now I think back to the skit they did “Put a bird on it.”  Hilarious!

Before visiting any restaurant, I like to visit their website, if they have one, and check out their menu, and get an idea of what I’d like to order.  Before visiting My Brother’s Crawfish, I had pretty much decided that I’d like to try the Crawfish Etoufee as this is a dish that I have never experienced before, but something that I’ve always wanted to try.

However, on the occasion when we visited this restaurant, the Etoufee was not available, so I went with the Crawfish Boil, and I’m really glad I did.  A huge bowl of Crawfish was brought to the table, and inside the bowl was a couple of halved cobs of corn and about a dozen mushrooms.

I chose the mild spice, and it is spicy, but fortunately as the name “mild” would suggest, its not overly so.  But, for those who tend to shy from spicy, they might want something even more mild than the mild spice, because the heat does slowly creep up on you, and by the time I was finishing off my last crawfish and mushrooms, my mouth was pretty warm.

Chicken Strips and French Fries

The best part of the meal?  I loved the mushrooms!  They cooked up in the spicy boil liquid, absorbing the flavors of the crawfish and the spice.  YUM!  Also good was the french roll, because I used it to soak up the liquid and that was pretty darned tasty.

For those of you who haven’t had crawfish before, they look and taste a lot like mini lobsters.  They’re a little chewier though, as I tend to associate lobster with a buttery texture, these crawfish didn’t have that texture.  I felt a little out of place eating the crawfish, because I’m sure there’s an art to it, and I fumbled my way around the shells, trying to break into them to reach the tasty meat.

However, despite my bungling with the crawfish, they were still very delicious.  The corn on the cob was juicy and tender, and overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable meal.

However, I doubt we’ll be returning, mostly because my husband was less impressed.  He ordered the Chicken Strips and French Fries ($10) and this just wasn’t to his liking at all.  The Chicken Strips were not very crispy, and they had an unusual breading that he didn’t find very appealing.

My Final Thoughts:

If you’re going to My Brother’s Crawfish, do yourself a favor and go for the crawfish!  They’re delicious!  I probably won’t be returning to this establishment for the reason I mentioned above, but, even though I won’t be returning, I still really enjoyed what I ate.

My Brother's Crawfish on Urbanspoon

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!

I realize that this blog has been on a slight hiatus.  As I mentioned in my previous review, I came down with a really bad cold, and it really affected my taste buds terribly!  I couldn’t taste much at all!  So I needed to wait until I was feeling better before I could start writing.  But, then, I forgot that I still had several notes on restaurants that I had visited recently … and those didn’t require my taste buds to be functioning since I had already eaten the food while they were operating at full capacity.  So… let me get the blog rolling again with my review of Lorena’s Mexican Restaurant … and yep, you guessed it, this is another Living Social find!

Cochinita Pibil

Location:  4160 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR

Order:  We arrived for lunch, and the lunch special for the day was their Cochinita Pibil, and it sounded so delicious, I had to try it!

What I Think:

I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for about 10 years now, and I don’t recall ever having been to the Hollywood District of Portland before this day.  I probably have, but nothing really caught my attention to make the time memorable … and the Hollywood District seems pretty memorable to me.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention…

Lorena’s Mexican Restaurant is located in the K2 Building on Sandy Boulevard.  The decor of the establishment is very tasteful, and noticeably “low key” for a Mexican restaurant.  Perhaps I’m just so used to seeing the flamboyant colors of typical Mexican restaurant decor, with the sombreros and pinatas and colorful woven blankets.  Lorena’s is much more subdued, choosing instead very tasteful paintings to decorate its walls.

But one thing that wasn’t different about Lorena’s is the customary, complementary chips and salsa that was brought out with our menus.  The chips were crispy and warm, and the salsa was spicy!  But even though it was spicy enough to ignite the taste buds, it was still very flavorful.

Usually when I visit a Mexican Restaurant, I go with chile rellenos.  As I’ve probably mentioned before, this is my usual measure of a “good” Mexican restaurant … how good their chile rellenos are.   That, and if they have any horchata.  Well… they didn’t have horchata, which was disappointing, and while I was very tempted to try the chile rellenos, I instead opted for the special of the day, which was the Cochinita Pibil.

And I’m GLAD I chose this dish!  Oh my goodness!  This is so delicious!  The pork is so tender it seems to melt in the mouth, and there was a very pleasing level of spice to the dish.  It wasn’t set-the-mouth-on-fire spicy, but it was warm enough to remind me that I was eating Mexican food, and not some watered down, wimpy version of it.  I piled some of this stewed pork into the warm corn tortillas that came with the dish, and enjoyed this “taco” style.

Chicken Enchiladas

To spice it up further, there was a side of pickled onions and peppers, but I only added these to one of my three self-made “tacos” because it was a bit too hot for my liking.  I could handle it, but, I wanted to taste the pork, and the heat of the onions and peppers muted some of the flavorful spices that had been cooked into the pork.  While this was incredibly delicious, I think it could have used a touch of acid.  A thin slice of lime was offered on the plate as a garnish, but this was barely enough for one of the tacos, I think it would have been better if the dish was garnished with a wedge or two of lime, as the addition of the acid to the “taco” made it taste so delicious and well-balanced.  Perfection!

My husband ordered the chicken enchilada  and he offered me a bite.  It was very flavorful, tender, and mildly spiced.  My husband enjoyed it so much that he even told the host that we’d be returning soon!  He doesn’t do that very often!

My Final Thoughts:

Delicious food that is well prepared, so good that my husband wants to return?  Nuff said!

Lorena's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon