Weekend Finds

Weekend Finds 6:30:16 Summer Eats

Cannon Beach | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Y’all! It’s been a minute since I’ve written! But don’t you fret, I’ve still been cooking up a storm and eating all the good food. I promise. But there’s a lot of other stuff that’s been going on too!

  1. I’m moving! Where? Good question. In October, Jonah and I will be taking advantage of our ability to work remotely. First we’re heading to Thailand for a couple of months, then we’ll be in Germany for Christmas with Jonah’s extended family, and then we’ll be in Portugal, where we’ll hopefully stay for about 4 or 5 months, and traveling from there to visit friends in London, the Netherlands, and Morocco. Exciting? Of course! Terrifying? You bet!
  2. It’s summer, and summer in the PNW means spending all the time outside and on the beautiful Oregon coast. Last weekend was spent at our friend’s beloved beach house, and the week before that was spent at Cannon Beach at a mini family reunion. Which brings me to…
  3. We’re engaged! While we were in Cannon Beach Jonah popped the big ol’ question and I said yes (duh). If you have any wedding planning tips or tricks (especially for weddings that take place in Chicago) I’d love to hear them!

Ok, back to the good stuff. I’ve been doing my fair share of eating out these days too. Summers are perfect for happy hours outside, and putting on that cute new sundress to hit up that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. All the incredible flavors and ingredients of summer are out in full force. Here’s what I’ve been eating lately:

Renata

P.D.T cocktail at Renata | Summer Eats |Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Jonah took me here to celebrate our engagement, and while I only took a picture of my cocktail (it was a phones-free-dinner after that), the meal was fantastic. The highlights were my cocktail (the P.D.T aka Peas Don’t Tell) and the albacore tuna conserva served with tomatoes and peaches.

Hat Yai

Braised Beef Cheek in Curry with Roti at Hat Yai | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

You guys, Hat Yai is seriously at the top of my list as far as new openings in Portland go. They serve southern Thai food, and it is perfectly executed and complex and satisfying and just SO DAMN GOOD. Go eat here immediately and get the fried chicken, roti, and curry. You will not be sorry.

Lincoln

Blogger happy hour at Lincoln | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Chef Jenn Louis hosted a very fun blogger happy hour for at her N Williams restaurant Lincoln, and it did not disappoint. How can you go wrong with a bunch of food-loving ladies, cocktails, and delicious food with influences from cuisines around the world? Highlights included asparagus hummus with labneh and flatbread, grilled dates with marcona almonds and lime, and the fried chicken with white barbecue sauce. This happy hour is fantastic, so make sure you check it out!

Le Pantry

Deviled Eggs with Trout at Le Pantry | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Perhaps the fanciest food cart around, Le Pantry is relatively new to Pod 28 (on SE 28th and Ankeny). The menu is very sweet, and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their dishes. We enjoyed the deviled eggs with trout, and the salad with fried calamari was filled with bright flavors like nectarines, corn, and some crispy potatoes.

Lechon

Happy Hour at Lechon | Summer Eats | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Jonah and I stopped into Lechon for happy hour before heading to the Waterfront Blues Fest to see Chubby Carrier. I had been hearing great things from both my roommate and blogger friends, plus it’s just across the street from the waterfront, so it worked out perfectly. The prices were great (as were the cocktails) and we seriously enjoyed a small salad, the ceviche, and clams with chorizo.

Where have you been eating lately? Any place I have to check out before hitting the road in October? Let me know! I hope you’re enjoying these beautiful PNW summer days!

Weekend Finds 7:1:16: 4th of July Edition

Let’s be honest. The 4th of July has become an occasion for day drinking, barbecues, water balloons, and fireworks. But I’m not complaining. For the past few years we have spent the day in our friends Dylan and Caitlyn’s back yard, lounging, snacking, drinking good Portland brews, and eventually having a summery BBQ feast. And Monday will be no different. Here are the recipes I’m looking to cook this 4th of July.

Green Rice Salad with Nectarines

Green Rice Salad with Nectarines from Not Without Salt

This salad has been a summer gathering go-to for years now, and it never fails. People always love it, it’s summery and colorful with a little bit of spice and plenty of bold flavors.

Tomato-Peach Salad with Tofu Cream

Tomato-Peach Salad with Tofu Cream

Don’t let the tofu cream weird you out and keep you from making this refreshing salad. I promise, it’s delicious.

Barbecue Chicken (Rub and Sauce)

Smitten Kitchen's Barbecue Chicken

If my memory doesn’t fail me – and it’s been a year so it might – Dylan and Caitlyn make this amazing dry rubbed chicken every year, throw it on the grill, and coat it in this homemade barbecue sauce. It is always the hit of the party, no matter how much I up my game.

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble Pie

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble Pie from Bon Appetit

I haven’t made this pie (YET!) but it has been haunting my dreams. The layer of cream cheese at the bottom? The mountain of strawberries? The crumble of pistachio and poppy seeds and cardamom? I mean, come on.

Zero Proof Beverages

The thing about spending all day in the sun eating and drinking is you have to be smart. It’s always good to have a NA drink option around, and I’m having trouble deciding which of these two I should make; saffron and cardamom lemonade or tea thyme soda.

Ottolenghi’s Basic Hummus

Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Hummus

This is my extremely reliable hummus recipe that I starting making regularly after returning from Israel last summer. With a few tweaks, it is rich and healthy and makes a perfect all day snack when paired with pita, carrots, bell peppers, and whatever other crunchy vegetables you like. (What tweaks, you ask? I do 1 cup tahini, 6T lemon juice, 6 cloves of garlic, and 4T ice water.)

What I Wanna Make: Passover 2016

Passover 2016 | Serious Crust by Annie FasslerPassover 2016 | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

That’s right y’all. It’s about to be Passover. Bring on the matzo ball soup, the flourless desserts, and the brisket! I know, I know, this charoset is not the most photogenic food. And I realized while making it that to most people, it may not even taste that great. But man, does this stuff bring me back to my childhood.

I only buy Maneschewitz wine once a year because, well, it’s awful. But then again, so is most matzo (cardboard anyone?) and we all know that gefilte fish is possibly the least loved dish on the Passover table. But I love it all. And possibly my favorite thing at Passover, and the thing that I somehow made even when I couldn’t go home for the holiday, is charoset: at its simplest, a paste of chopped apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon. This recipe is one that I found and tinkered with a few years ago, and I like it slathered on a matzo cracker and topped with a heavy dollop of horseradish.

Here’s what else I want to make this year:

Date and Apple Charoset

Ingredients

1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (I like Medjool), about 15
1/3 cup sweet wine (Manischewitz is the only authentic way to go)
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Horseradish and matzo for serving

Instructions

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pecans and walnuts a few times until you’ve got a coarse meal. Add the apples, pulse a few more times, then add the dates, wine, honey, and cinnamon. Blend until mostly smooth. Add salt and lemon to taste. Chill to serve.

Portland Dining Month 2016

Portland Dining Month 2016 | Serious Crust

Ned Ludd | Portland Dining Month | Serious Crust
Laurelhurst Market | Portland Dining Month | Serious Crust

The time has come. It’s March, which means I have combed through the dining month menus of 122 (!!!) restaurants in preparation for Portland Dining Month. This event is all about strategy – which places have you been itching to try, which places have multiple choices for each course, and which places give you the most bang for your buck. I’m here to help: below are my 14 picks for Portland Dining Month (in no particular order).

I also want to add that a donation to the Oregon Food Bank will be made for every reservation booked through the OpenTable links on the PDX Dining Month website! Sometimes we make our dining plans last minute, but I’m going to do my best to make reservations this year to make it count.

AviaryThis is one of my number one recommendations in Portland. I love the playfulness and creativity of the food here, plus the Asian influence doesn’t hurt. They’ve got two choices for every course, so you and your dinner partner can both get the dining month menu without ordering the same meal.

Clyde Common: I still haven’t made it into Clyde Common for dinner since chef Carlo Lasagna took over the kitchen, but I have heard fantastic things. Their dining month menu doesn’t look like anything crazy adventurous, but I bet it will be tasty.

Little Bird Bistro: Little Bird Bistro has a place in my heart – every meal I’ve had there has been pretty perfect, the space is romantic, and the service is great. They’ve got at least two options for each course on their dining month menu, and every single one looks like something I want to eat.

Paley’s Place: A Portland institution, Paley’s Place is reliably delicious. There’s only one option per course on their menu, but how can you go wrong with quail under a brick?!

Smallwares: Serving “inauthentic Asian cuisine,” I love the way Smallwares combines traditionally Asian ingredients in quasi-Asian dishes. For example, their dining month entree is Sichuan cauliflower or pork ragu, pine nuts, gochujang, tarragon and scallions. I mean come on.

Ned Ludd: Another memorable Portland dining month meal I had last year was at Ned Ludd. I love the food at this spot – all cooked in their wood oven, featuring great local ingredients, and with lots of creative flavor combinations. Again, only one option per course (except for a vegetarian option for the entree), but you can bet it will be good.

St. Jack: I’ll be honest, I’ll take any reason I can to make my way up to St. Jack. The space is beautiful, and the food and drink are lovely. For their dining month menu, they’re serving up a pork stew, with fried brussels sprouts to start and a chocolate pots-de-creme to finish.

Verdigris: I haven’t been to Verdigris yet, despite the fact that it’s only a few minutes walk from my house and that I’ve heard great things. Verdigris is offering up lots of options for dining month: 6 options for your started, 5 for your entree, and 2 for dessert, meaning lots of variation for you and your dining buddies.

Xico: Who can resist upscale Mexican food? Not me. While there’s only one option for each course on Xico’s dining month menu, each one looks GOOD.

Biwa: To be fair, it doesn’t look like you’ll necessarily be full after partaking in Biwa’s dining month menu. But their homestyle Japanese food is reliably delicious. So come with a buddy and share the dining month menu plus one or two other items, and I’m sure you’ll leave happy.

Ataula: Ataula remains one of the most fun nights out I’ve had in Portland. The food is something you don’t often find: traditional Spanish food, and the service and atmosphere are lively and fun. Plus, on their dining month menu you’ll find a mini version of one of their famous paellas.

Laurelhurst Market: Laurelhurst Market was my final dining month meal last year (and my last meal before getting my wisdom teeth out, which made it that much more special), and it was stellar. Start your meal with stuff mushrooms, then move to some braised beef shoulder (which is bound to be awesome), and then finish with a chocolate whiskey pudding. (Note: their cocktails are awesome, so I highly recommend getting one with your meal!)

Imperial: Located downtown and headed by two fantastic chefs (Vitaly Paley and Doug Adams), Imperial is my go to for brunch with guests staying downtown. Hit them up for dining month to get some grilled squash salad, braised pork, and a chocolate bouchon for dessert.

Ken’s Artisan Pizza: Is this the most exciting menu ever? No. Caesar salad, sausage pizza, and a brownie sundae for dessert. BUT IT WILL BE SO GOOD. This place has some of my favorite pizza in Portland, so take advantage of the price for the three courses and hit it up!

Where are you looking forward to going for Portland Dining month?