The Rest of Portland

You are still sick from all of the Food Truck Food, aren’t you? I was too, and then we had to go to dinner at The Kennedy School. Nothing worse that being full and being forced to dine! But we made the best of it and bellied up to the bar and enjoyed a Negroni for Him and a Sazerac for Her.

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The Kennedy School is a blast. It’s a restaurant/hotel/theater/bar/all in one house of entertainment that is basically a remodeled old elementary school. The rooms are themed (“detention” is the cigar bar…sweet!) and despite the fact that we were still full from lunch, we did enjoy a nice meal. There were a number of parties related to SCAA going on, but most of us opted for a reasonable night in (HA!) because we had to get up early the next day.

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Saturday was GORGEOUS right from the start and the ladies headed off to the Women In Coffee Breakfast and then of course afterward we had to make a pit stop at VooDoo Doughnuts — I mean, we couldn’t let the boys at home starve right?
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If you think I look dorkily excited about donuts, you should have seen my aunt:
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HA! I love that picture.
I have to admit though, VooDoo was…only ok. I do enjoy a good donut, they are my personal kryponite actually, but the donuts there were just average. I’m sure I would probably get fired from the Food Network for saying that, but I’ve had better. SLO Donut Company, you still own the #1 spot in my heart!

After DonutGate 2012 — the afternoon ended up being pretty mellow. We got to enjoy some porch time at the house and to rest up for the mess of parties we were going to attend that night.
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A good amount of relaxation (ok and epic napping!) later, the entire crew ended up back at the house to fuel up before the parties:
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The first was hosted by Torani, (which is where my cousin’s fiance Gina works…Hi Gina!) and it was downtown at a hotel called The Nines. They have a gorgeous rooftop bar and we enjoyed the scenery, the cocktails and of course, the company!

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The party was a success, and so we moved on to the next one hosted by Monin.

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Another success full of tasty beverages and delicious looking food!

Our last stop — an Irish bar. You know what happens when your last stop of a cocktail filled evening is at an Irish bar, right? I’m pretty sure this photo says it all:
Ooooh. So that's why I have this giant headache. Got it.
It was at this Irish Bar that I learned a very valuable lesson though. Let me pass it on to you in case you ever need to know it: If you want to learn to Riverdance like a professional, you can either spend your entire life training with professionals, or you can pound a couple of pints of Guinness and request that the live band plays Shipping Up to Boston. The latter seemed to work swimmingly for our party. Valuable time saved.

You should have seen that dance floor! I’m sad I don’t have photos.

This was a fun stop, but at about 1:30 in the morning I turn into a pumpkin! So we headed home…um, I mean to the food trucks across the street and enjoyed a roast beef sandwich with FRENCH FRIES INSIDE OF IT. I just don’t know who thinks up these things, but at 1:30 am it felt like brilliance.
True.

We survived the night, headed to bed, and the next morning it was time to pack up and head home. We were sad to get on the plane, but it was time to get back to real life.
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This vacation, as fun as it was, really underscored how much I love the routine of my life. It’s fun to eat junk food, drink too much champagne and have good times with friends and family, but that will be the last time for a while that I really go crazy on my body. We’ve officially been home for a week and I am ALMOST feeling recovered. The Monday after we got home I immediately hit Coscto and threw everything green in that store into my cart.
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Whole foods, I’ve missed you!

It’s back to our scheduled programming around here starting tomorrow. It’s a new month (almost) and I have a whole new feeling of dedication towards making healthy choices and pushing my body to the limits in the gym, rather than at a food cart.

I’m looking forward to it!

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Portland Day Two – The Day With All Of The Eating

So the house is full of cocktails and enormous…this is where we left off, yes?
(BTW, want to rent this house yourself? I highly recommend it for a big group trip. Cozy beds, creature comforts and historic charm. Check out the VRBO listing if you’ll be in the area.)

Ok. Let’s carry on.

We enjoyed a few drinks and then headed down to the Opening Ceremonies of the SCAA Conference.
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It was held at the Oregon Convention Center which was about a mile away from our house. Over the next couple of days Garrett and I walked to and from the conference, and I have to say it was so nice to be in an area so walkable and also full of public transportation. Sacramento Suburbs — you could use a lesson or two!

That night we decided we needed to hit up some food trucks. Unfortunately between 8 people with 7 smart phones, we couldn’t seem to find our way there, so we ended up back at home ordering a pizza. WOMP WOMP! We woke up with high hopes for the food adventures the following day, and we were not disappointed.

Garrett and I squeezed in a workout the next morning while the rest of our crew took some classes.
Rainy run!
We had hoped to squeeze in a WOD at a local CrossFit box, but in the end a rainy run had to suffice. The neighborhood where we stayed is full of huge tree lined streets and beautiful historic houses, so it was awesome scenery and a fun run.
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We wandered down to a little coffee shop and enjoyed some pretty cappuccinos and then made our way back home to get ready for the day!
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We made it down to the Convention Center in time to check out some of the finalists in the United States Barista Championship. Did you know this was a thing? These people take their coffee very seriously — it’s a full contact sport.
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On a funny note though, the whole conference was a bit of a Hipsters Paradise. So many pairs of skinny jeans! Vests! Mustachioed men slurping espresso — it was a comedy sketch waiting to happen. Next year we decided we should all collaborate on a booth selling mustache wax. Obviously we would become overnight millionaires.

After watching the Barista Champions’ concoctions for a bit, we sampled all the Roaster’s Guild Coffees of the Year.
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There were some delicious options, all brewed using the pour over method — which we saw EVERYWHERE this weekend — and we drank them with abandon! But we learned quickly that Coffee Conventions are serious business and you have to pay attention to your body. It’s like wine tasting but with MORE CAFFEINE! By lunch, I *needed* to get some food in my system! We met up with our group, and all hopped on the train to head Food Truck Mecca, and you all — it was life changing. And I say that without an ounce of hyperbole.

It was an entire city block filled with gourmet food trucks. So many that we had to take a lap first to size up the situation. Garrett and I decided our strategy would be to get one of every thing we wanted, and then just split it. Our eyes…well…they were much much bigger than our stomachs, to say the least. What can I say, we enjoy the Go Big or Go Home attitude when it comes to culinary pursuits.

We started out small with a little Bacon Maple Waffle.
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Innocent. Delicious. An amuse bouche, if you will.

The we moved on to a hot bag of cinnamon sugar mini donuts while we decided on our next stop, just because they smelled good.
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Then we ran in to the rest of my cousins who were enjoying some Lamb Gyros — WHICH ARE MY FAVORITE — and they were gushing about how amazing they were in such a convincing manner that Garrett and I couldn’t pass those up, right?
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Nope, says Garrett. It’s a must.

But the piece de resistance — the entire reason we had come to this grouping of food trucks, were for the Pork Belly Sandwiches at The People’s Pig.
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They did not disappoint.

Delicious crispy pork belly on a ciabatta roll that was soft on the inside but with the perfect crustiness outside. Add some fennel pollen and arugula that was tossed with THE MOST DELICIOUS lemon vinaigrette, and you have one sandwich worth writing home about. I will recreate that vinaigrette all summer long, I’m sure of it. Get me to some arugula!
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A week later, I am still thinking about this sandwich.

And just because neither us have an self control at all, apparently, we followed it up with Banana Nilla Wafer Pudding from a BBQ cart. Why not, at that point?
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You are sick right now for us, aren’t you? As a group, at that point, we were mostly just blissed out!

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But a few hours later when we had to go out to a business-y dinner, we were NOT so blissed out thinking about food. But that story will have to come next, because I’m too full from looking at these photos to tell it.

I wasn’t joking when I said we went big on this vacay. A week later and we are still recovering. :) I hit up a workout this morning for the first time in a week and it was brutal! It’s so crazy how quickly you can get out of good habits, and how difficult it can be to get back on the horse.

While I definitely think it will be a while before we go crazy trying ALL THE FOOD like this again, I did enjoy the opportunity to taste so many diverse things over this weekend. I discovered Curtido, which I plan to make at home some time soon, I can’t wait to make some Gyro Salads in the future, and I may even try my hand at cooking my own Pork Belly.

Good food inspires me! I just have to figure out how to balance inspiration and…well, good health. This weekend was overwhelming in the inspiration department, not so much in the health department. Portland has a great coffee culture and a great food culture. I think if you love either of those things (AND WE DO!) it’s a town that can’t be missed.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about our awesome dining experience at The Kennedy School (so cute! and we DEFINITELY got detention!) and of course we’ll have to talk about VooDoo Doughnuts. DUH.

Our Trip to Portland — Day One

As we flew back to Sacramento from Portland on Sunday night, Garrett looked over at me sleepy eyed and said “Man, it feels like we left our house months ago.” Even though we were only gone 4 days, so much happened while we were in Portland that it felt like a much longer vacation. If I’m going to tell you all about it, I think I should probably start from the beginning.

Why We Were There

So our trip up wasn’t solely for pleasure, there was actually a little bit of business mixed in. You see my aunts, Amy + Elizabeth, own a super awesome company that distributes specialty coffee & tea and related products. (Sidebar: It was actually my aunt Amy that got me first job in coffee when I was 16. More than that though, I stayed in the industry for over 10 years because she really taught me how to turn my love of coffee into an actual career. And then to top it all off, it’s where I met Garrett so you know: I owe her.)

They were taking their company (half of whom are my family members) up to Portland for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual event. Since both Garrett and I have a long shared appreciation for Specialty Coffee (and since he still works in the industry) she invited us to go. And how could we say no! Family vacation, for the win!

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The Trip

We headed to the airport with smiles on our faces and our bags packed!

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I was so excited to throw a mess of magazines I had been wanting to read in my bag and just chill out for an hour with a cocktail and lounge on the plane. Unfortunately that’s not exactly how it went down.

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We had gotten to the airport about 90 minutes before our plane departed. I was kind of anxious about that because I’m the type of person who likes to be there with a couple of hours to spare. Judge away, I’m an annoying traveler!

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So since “we had time” and A-Boarding Passes at the ready for our Southwest Cattle Call, we decided to stop and get some lunch. The indulgent eating began with a little snack from a local favorite Burgers & Brew:

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They have an airport lounge and we grabbed our plates of yumminess and about 45 minutes before our scheduled departure (and only halfway into my burger) Garrett looked up and said “Uh…it says our plane is boarding right now.”

45 minutes before departure? WTF, Southwest?

We dumped our burgers in kind of a panic and headed over there and sure enough, our gate was totally empty. The entire plane had boarded. We were the last two people on the plane basically and had to squeeze in to crappy middle seats nowhere near each other and then SIT IN A SWELTERING PLANE FOR 45 MINUTES until we took off.

It was not a happy way to start a trip.

Luckily my seat neighbor took pity on me and handed over a drink coupon, which I promptly redeemed for a gin and tonic.

The Arrival

90 minutes later though, we were in Portland and there was no sign of sweltering heat!

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So we hopped in a rain soaked cab and headed to our house in the Irvington District.

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When we arrived, we were floored to see our digs:

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It was a 5500 square foot historic mansion with three stories. There were 10 of us staying there and by the time we arrived it was stocked full of cocktails and good conversation and we were ready to get the weekend started. If this house was to be any indicator, we’d be living large and indulging over the next four days.

And spoiler alert: We Were Correct.

I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about the SCAA Event, the food we ate, and the craziness that ensued over the weekend!

What’s For Dinner – Portland Aftermath Edition

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You guys.

This weekend I ate one half of a roast beef sandwich. That had french fries INSIDE OF IT.

At 1:30 in the morning.

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Are you surprised that over half of my meals this week involve salad? Because you really should not be. Let me just clarify that the french fry filled fourth meal? Was one of TWELVE MEALS I ate in Portland. Many others coming from similar food trucks and donut shops, to boot. Oh god.

I remember a couple of years ago, Garrett and I drove down to San Francisco mid week to see one of our favorite bands perform. Then we drove home after midnight, went to sleep and got up the next morning to go to work. About 5 minutes into getting ready we both looked at each other and said:

“We are too old for this shit.”

And now, we only see bands we like during the week if they are local. Or if it is an out of town show, we spend the night and don’t work the next day. We don’t quite recover like we used to! What I’m getting to here is that this Food Filled Vacation yielded a similar sentiment when we woke up this morning. We eat too clean, too regularly to enjoy a dive off the deep end into the donut box these days. So that may be the last time we go nuts and try ALL OF THE FOOD in a 72 hour period. We’ll see.

My digestive system is mad at me, but all in all we had such a great time! I can’t wait to tell you all about it but I’m currently nursing a gluten hangover and we have no groceries in the fridge, and someone needs to handle that. Also, I’m pretty sure my pants don’t fit anymore, so I should probably figure out what I’m wearing to work tomorrow. :)

Until then, here’s what we’re noshing on this week:

Monday
Lunch: Taco Salad I’m minutes away from consuming this bliss. YES!
Dinner: Grilled Chicken + Asparagus + Salad

Tuesday
Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad
Dinner: Spanikopita Turkey Burgers + Zucchini/Squash/Shallot Saute

Wednesday
Lunch: Greek Salad
Dinner: Salmon Burgers + Cucumber and Tomato Salad + Leftover Zuchini

Thursday
Lunch: Spinach Salads
Dinner: A friend is in town tonight: Wild Card!

Friday
Lunch: Leftovers.
Dinner: Fiesta Grilled Chicken + Roasted Cauliflower + Salad

Saturday
Lunch: Brunch
Dinner: Weekend Burgers + Salad + Sweet Potato Fries

Sunday
Shop!

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What’s cooking in your neck of the woods this week?

Fun Things to Read on Friday

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Hi Friends!

While I’m in Portland, I thought you could use a few fun links to ring in your Friday. Gateway to the weekend, YESSSSSSSSSS…

1. Speaking of my vacation, I found this Geek’s Guide to Portland ages ago and I’m so happy to have an excuse to use it. Is it odd how excited I am to EAT in Portland? Detox is scheduled for Monday. :)

2. I have been on a bad book binge lately (aren’t those the worst?) so I downloaded a bunch of free books based on this list of The 100 Best First Lines From Novels

3. I love when people break down Food Photography for dummies. Hi, I’m a dummy.

4. The Curator’s Code — attribution on the internet is always such a interesting topic, and in some ways the wild west. Interesting thoughts here.

5. Interesting thoughts on Book Cover Trends & The Female Body. I had never really thought about it. Kelly brings up some great points.

6. Apropos of nothing, if you like Brussels Sprouts, please make this salad.

7. Speaking of food (wait, am I ever not?) I want to try these Cinnamon Chipotle Sliders.

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Well, that’s all I can think of at the moment. Did you read anything fabulous this week?

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