Portland Local, Running, Sponsored Post

The Spicy Bee is #KINDawesome

KINDLogo_Pantone_Pos
This post is about a recent sponsorship opportunity with KIND Bars. I was not paid to write this post, however, my registration was comped to attend the Color Run in Portland. Thoughts are still my own.
****
While on vacation, I was contacted by someone with KIND Snacks (mostly because of the hugely amazing network of Portland Bloggers–Thanks Erika and Michelle!) to run the Portland Color Run on Saturday, September 6th. I’ve had the 5K on my bucket list since before I started running two years ago–so this opportunity had me dancing in my seat! First time hearing about the Portland Color Run? This video covers the Chicago run (sweet home, Chicago)–and is fun to watch with the John Hancock and other skyscrapers in the background–makes a girl homesick!

As a #KINDawesome ambassador for the race, I get my registration waived and some fun KIND Snacks swag–I plan on getting a few good runs in prior to the race as summer tends to be my off season for running (I expend energy doing more hikes). I will say that doing a summer race has got me a little nervous–there’s a reason I love doing the Shamrock 15K every year! It’s cold! I thrive running in the cold but the heat–not as much. I’m more of a huffing, puffing, run-walker. My goal for the color run is to do the whole thing running. Sounds like I’ve got some hard training to do in 90°+ heat this week. Wish me luck!

Looking to do the Portland Color Run? Check the site out or on the banner below to learn more. Wondering what I do to bulk up after a run? I’ll be updating closer to the race about my post run routine.

Image via The Color Run site
Until then, I would love to hear about things on your bucket list! What are things you’ve been meaning to cross off your list?
Portland Bloggers, Portland Food Bloggers, Portland Local, Review, Wine

Pairings Portland: How it Works

The worst thing you can do for a place is to keep it to yourself (AKA hoard it). I’ve kind of been doing that with a little shop up in NE PDX called Pairings Portland since about March. My original intentions of teaming up with Pairings Portland was to host a casual bloggers evening for late May, and after a visit with the owner, I was quick to realize that with its close-in location, conscious selection, and fun atmosphere, there was little chance I was going to ever get away from this place. We ended up planning a “Keep Portland Weird” pairing theme for the Portland Bloggers night, and the response from those who attended was extremely positive. While a narrow shop, the owner, Jeffrey, creates a flexible atmosphere–all aisles of wine are on rollers, and chairs and tables are easily moved to recreate the space a hundred different ways to accommodate groups. There are even tables and chairs outside for those looking to lounge with their wine and enjoy the delicious scents of 24th & Meatballs, Uno Mas, and The Sudra.

This shop is built like a wine shop but caters to those looking to sip a glass and socialize as well. It’s one of the only spots I’ve found in Portland that carries one of my sought after wineries–Truchard (base in CA). Pairings Portland specializes in wines that are organic and have not been inoculated. The shop is organized by different pairings–you dream it and the owner can pair it! You’ll find wines paired to food, emotions, and even TV shows! I found the funniest picture was snapped by my friend Macey the night of our bloggers event :)

The owner of Pairings Portland is Jeffrey, is a bubbly gent who is difficult to get pictures of as he rarely sits still! He’s extremely knowledgable and so very passionate about what he does. He is the mastermind behind each and every pairing in the shop–finding the strength in each bottle of wine and connecting them to different genres. I recently took one of his pairing courses and was delighted by the amount of applicable knowledge I learned during the afternoon course.

Exploring Wine Through the Pairings Basics Class

The key to pairing a good wine is to try it with a variety of tastes. Since my least favorite type of wine to drink is white (don’t read that the wrong way people–just when given the option, I usually go red or go home)–because it’s usually too sweet–I decided it was time for some forced growth and jumped into the course hoping that by the end, white wine would be more tolerable. We tried either a white or a red that had been picked for the class, and the first goal was to try it on its own and rate it. Then we applied different flavors to the pallet to basically manipulate the senses. For me, both acid and fat made the wine much more flavorful and enjoyable. Salt and sweets–not as much.   

The class’ little nibbles throughout kept you from getting too carried away with your wine, and with each step you tracked your rating of the wine’s taste. What I loved most about this class (besides Jeffrey’s wealth of knowledge) was learning how different the tastes of those around me were. It made me realize how difficult it could be to pick a wine to share at dinner–if others didn’t have the same tastes it could even ruin the experience! Luckily, for whites–most loved the addition of fats and the only disagreement was when it came to citrus with that particular white wine. 

Think the Wine Pairing Course is interesting? The shop holds the classes monthly and you can soak up all the knowledge and nibbles for a mere $25 a person. Pairings Portland also has an active events calendar–find that here. You will find Pairings Portland on the southwest corner of NE 24th & Glisan in NE Portland. Hours are Wednesday-Friday 2-8pm, Saturday & Sunday 12-8pm.

If you get a chance to stop by this Portland gem please let me know what you thought! Do you have a favorite wine shop?

Kitchen, Kitchen Tools, Organization

Top 5 Most Useful Organizational Kitchen Tools

Warm weather in a new house sure makes a person’s to-do list long! I’ve got the itch to fill empty spaces, paint walls, and organize new rooms. While I don’t really think of myself as an “organized person” per-say, I will admit that my kitchen is usually my one organized space–most every cabinet has a designated role and organizational system in place. With a new house, however, comes new systems. I’ve come up with my top five favorite useful kitchen items I’ve collected to help keep sanity in a kitchen with limited drawer space.

5. Black Organizers

SKUBB from Ikea

Black (to match my cabinetry), fabric for a softer touch, and multi-sized; I recently purchased this set for bedroom organization, and upon finding them too small for most of the things I wanted to use them for, I found they made perfect wranglers for little items in my pantry. My favorite things to store in them are water bottle lids, open sugar bags, and canning lids, but the possibilities are pretty endless. This set was $8 for a pack of 6, and they are collapsable for when you’re in between uses.

4. Bamboo Drawer Organizer

Oceanstar Version from Bed Bath & Beyond

I still remember moving into our first place in Portland, looking at my rental drawers and thinking–there’s no way my organizer is going to fit in here…and then my handy brother-in-law walked by with a box, saw my predicament, and happily assisted in “separating” the adjustable ends from my organizer to help it fit in my drawer. In short, we technically broke it. I’ve had this organizer going on 4 years now and I still love it. This one is by no means the end-all-be-all of organizers either, but a nice, adjustable drawer organizer will help things find their place immediately. This one was about $25 when we bought it and is now going for $30 on BBB’s site.

3. Mesh Bins

Elfa’s Mesh Bins from The Container Store

Hands down my favorite produce storage at the moment. For my softer fruits, I line the bottom of the bin with paper bags to keep them from imparting their mesh pattern. What I love most about these bins is that they come in many different sizes and they nest inside one another well when not in use. I have an assortment of sizes from the days when we had floor to ceiling, deep shelved closets in our first place. They’ve held everything from crafting supplies, to dish towels, to kitties (Bonsai was especially fond of hiding in the wrapping paper bin that the top of said closets). The bins range from $15-$30 a piece and come in white and metal coloring.

2. Spice Jars

DROPPAR from Ikea

I hate screw on spice lids. What I have come to abhor more are the spice containers I recently ditched from The Container Store, which, after years of heating and cooling, had stuck and warped. Moreover, they enjoyed exploding spices like turmeric all over my counter tops when I attempted to open for measurement purposes. These little pretties above from Ikea brought a tear of happiness to my eye. Beautiful and easy to open, these glass spice jars come in packs of two at little more than $1.50 per jar. Now I just need to decide how I will label them (for now I stick with good ol’ masking tape and sharpie).

1. Sorting Bins

Large Tapered Basket from Target

Gorgeous and so useful! I keep two similar handled bins (also from Target) under my open shelving at the back of the house for quick sorting of glass and other recyclables. I had purchased one for paper goods, then was gifted the second from a dear friend for our glass bottles! I love these sorts of bins because they are great additions (whether they are graphic like this one or bright colors like mine) and you can easily hose or wipe them out if they get a touch dirty. The handles are especially nice when you take them out to the curb. The above basket is $15 from Target and comes in black in addition to this white and black pattern.

What systems have you incorporated in your kitchen or home to make things more interesting, useful or beautiful? I would love to hear about it!

Coffee, Giveaway, Sponsored Post

Three Avocados: Coffee For A Cause {Sponsored}

Three Avocados is a nonprofit coffee company. I was sent free coffee from Three Avocados. Three Avocados has given me 2 free bags of coffee, and a free bag to giveaway to one of you (my readers) in exchange for talking about Three Avocados in this blog post.


It’s always fun to play a part in something bigger. I recently received coffee from Three Avocados, a non-profit organization that sells coffee, donating 100% of the proceeds to projects to help give water to families in Africa. You might be thinking, “Avocados….equal coffee?” Let me explain…

Three Avocados: The Story

Three Avocados started with a group’s trip to a small Ugandan village. They attended a church service in the village and watched as a poor widow gave up her food (in this case, three avocados) into the offering basket, which went to feed others in need. The group visiting was so taken aback by her selflessness and generosity that they decided to name their nonprofit organization in her honor. 100% of the net proceeds from sales through ThreeAvocados.org help purchase fresh water and education for those in need. Four bags of coffee give one person water for LIFE. Over 20,000 lives have been impacted by the organization since its inception in 2010. 

The Coffee

Three Avocados’ coffee is 100% single origin Arabica and comes from Mt. Elgon in Uganda in addition to Nicaragua, grown high in the mountains above Matagalpa (see the maps below).

The beans are hand picked, sun dried, and wet processed. The Ugandan coffee is grown in is known for a bolder taste and bittersweet chocolate, a flavor that definitely has resonated in the cups I’ve had since its arrival into my kitchen. The Nicaraguan coffee is low in acidity with a fruity tones. You can get the coffee both whole bean and pre ground, and come in 12 oz packages for $12 plus $3 shipping.

The thing I like best about this company’s online shop is the monthly subscription offering. You save a dollar each month and you can cancel the subscription any time, and after four bags purchased, you’ve officially given someone drinking water FOR LIFE. Now’s your chance to try out the coffee for yourself! I’m giving away a bag for you to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to use my code to get 10% off all your orders: thespicybeeTA

Food Photography, Networking, PDX, PDXBloggers, Portland Bloggers, Portland Local, Review, Tutorial

Portland Bloggers Photography Recap

I’m not exactly sure where time goes–but I wanted to share my recap from the May event with Portland Bloggers! If you would like to learn more about the organization, check out the site or perhaps join us at the Blogger Picnic Saturday, July 26th at Westmoreland Park from 11am-2pm–just look for our colorful balloons!
Portland Bloggers does a photography workshop each year–this year was time for another go at it–so attendees were given the opportunity to break out into two smaller, specialized groups and learn about whatever facet they needed help in, in regards to portrait or product photography. The event space was provided by Favery and Elli and was beautifully prepared  by their staff featuring flowers from Swoon Floral Design and chairs from Classic Vintage Rentals. Stationary pictured is from Elli, a company that helps brides style a uniquely personal wedding by offering a full suite of customizable products.

The owner of Favery (a private-sale site that brings members jewelry at member-only prices) introducing her team and the sponsors in the space.
Image via Portland Bloggers — From Left: Linnea, Margaret, Aubrie.

The outdoor group was led by an incredibly skilled portrait photographer, Margaret of Margaret Jacobson Photography. She worked on showing fellow photographers how to better coax their subjects out of the nervousness and capture shots that really feature the subject’s personality. The indoor group was led by Linnea of Linnea Paulina Photography and Aubrie of Capturing Grace Photography–two photogs that have both a strong family/wedding portfolio as well as experience in the food world! Major discussions included light trouble shooting and set up with emphasis on food photography.

via TheSpicyBee Instagram. Linnea on left, Aubrie on right.

Favery set out a variety of jewelry pieces that bloggers were able to use as props while they learned about how to improve their people photography. Elli created small vignettes utilizing their printed products for bloggers to practice their close up photography. Florals are the work of Swoon Floral Design and chairs are from Classic Vintage Rentals.

At the end of the event, there were some pretty fun giveaways to be had. All in all, a really great event. Here were my biggest takeaways:

  • Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t have top of the line equipment–learn to utilize what you have. Do some research and get your hands on a good lens for your camera. Not sure where to start? Hit up a local camera shop and see if you can rent a lens for a weekend! It’s a great excuse for an adventure out to test the lens and its capabilities. Talk to others that shoot the same things as you and see what their biggest go-to item is–don’t be afraid to talk to others about what’s working for them! Most are happy to oblige.
  • Remember light is your best friend, but it’s still tricky. Play with different kinds of light and settings on your camera and find one that you like best. Consider getting light bouncers and other portable and/or affordable items to reflect light back on to your subject evenly. Even a white poster board or something foil-backed will help get you started.
  • When shooting food, note that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes the most interesting subject is an apple with a bite taken out of it, or a messy cookie. Use the textures to your advantage and notice how it adds to your photos.
  • Get creative with your backdrops. Remember that sometimes, your floor could create an interesting background–or even the ground outside! Take mental notes of brick walls that catch your attention or large, well-maintained hedges. Sometimes the most unexpected neighborhood could reveal the perfect spot to do a series of shots. 
  • Be thoughtful with your camera when traveling. Remember that it has value and could be stolen. Avoid wearing the branded strap when traveling abroad. Bring a second memory stick, or be able to download your images to a secondary storage piece so that if your camera does get damaged or stolen, you still have your pictures! Consider putting some electrical tape across the side, something that shows wear, thus making it less attractive to a thief, and never ever leave it in your car!
What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned about photography so far?
Thankful, Weekend in Review

How Opposites Attract

I’m not really sure when I started noticing it–It had to have been a couple years in to the relationship–possibly even after we had been married. No matter how similar we were, or how many times we felt like we knew what the other was thinking…something was different.

Then one morning at breakfast, it hit me. We’re opposites.

I kind of want to frame this and put it in our kitchen…is that weird? I call it, Definition of ‘Clean Plate’.

This photo was not staged. When I showed it to friends, many thought the spoon was mine and the fork his–”Why is that?” I wondered.

To whom do you think each bowl belongs? Take a guess and find out after the jump…

***

Someone’s eating habits can say volumes about him or her. In Ktams’ case (he’s the spoon), you can tell he is calculated, organized, and thoughtful (he cleaned his bowl after all!). His neatly folded napkin almost a metaphor for his way of doing things–he finishes what he starts. From the day I met him, he has always been exactly as described above. I almost think he was attracted to my chaos because he thought he could organize it. Over the years, he’s learning to just smile and shake his head, understanding that while we both have different ways of doing things, we usually have the same end goal, and we play our strengths well to help us achieve it.

My bowl? Well, I consider the crumpled napkin a symbol of my free spirit (ha!), my leftovers in my bowl are merely leaving a few bites in gratitude to the food gods, don’t you know! My fork must have to do with my eating habits–I always prefer to balance my forkful as opposed to shoveling…even if it scratches or scritches across the bottom of the bowl sometimes–to cut to the chase–I’m a slow eater. An enjoyer of food; even if it is merely egg and veggies over spinach (add extra hot sauce).

While alike in that we are both left-handed (this picture was flipped upside-down, but you will notice our utensils both go to “the left”), our definition of “clean plate” could not be more opposite, and yet, here we are together, more than six years (even longer as friends). In cooking–same story. Ktams will read a recipe forwards and backwards before embarking on the magic that is cooking. I might google it, skim, and set course for destination: dinner. Yes, sometimes I will improperly temper chocolate. He will playfully tsk me and remind me that cooking is still a science, and I will skim (albeit, harder) a few more articles to ensure that my product is executed correctly. As he will note, too, I’m the one with the crazy ideas–I’ll take a base recipe and somehow turn it into delicious protein bars, with no more than 4 ingredients in common (protein powder, peanut butter, water, and fruit) or turn a classic macaron recipe into tiny, self-proclaimed successes AKA Vanilla Latte Macarons.

Yes. We are very different.

And yet, as some know, Ktams “taught me how to cook”–phrase used loosely because obviously not everything stuck (free spirit!!!), but it is very true that it is his love for learning how to conquer difficult cooking tasks that interested me in real food (instead of dessert) in the first place. I think opposite habits can compliment each other in the kitchen as sometimes, food comes out better when it’s a medley of a meal–not a one-hit-wonder. Unless it’s a one-pot-wonder. That’s different.

Have you noticed something that you do opposite of someone close to you that sort of brings you closer together or makes you a better fit? I would love to hear it :)

Gluten-free, How-To, Recipe Time, Tutorial

Make at Home: Gluten-Free Flour

Gluten-free flour…it always seems like it’s missing…something, doesn’t it? What I mean is, every time  I make a recipe with a gluten-free flour, the thing I make turns out a little off. It’s either too runny or too dry, too quick to cook or falling flat. I had all-but-given-up on flour for the GF, until I tried a recipe found by my sister-in-law.

Before we embark on the magical journey that is GF flour–you need to know that the cheapest way of going about making this is to be able to buy your flours in bulk. I enjoy getting mine from Bob’s Red Mill store in Milwaukie, OR. The other note is–do not look at the below picture and be like, “oh that’s what it’s supposed to look like!” and not mix the ingredients. It’s meant to be well blended; I simply worked to make it like one of those silly sand-in-a-jar-thingys.

(1 batch of GF flour pictured).


Make it at Home: Gluten-Free Flour

This recipe was developed and originally shared by blogger Only Sometimes Clever. Please check out some of her great posts! My other favorites include:
Chipotle Pork Hominy Stew
Spring Rolls

The change I made to this recipe is changing the parts to cups because for me it translates more easily this way.

Ingredients

1 c brown rice flour
1 c sorghum flour (also known as jawar or juwar flour)
1 c white rice flour
1 c sweet rice flour
1/2 c corn starch
1/2 c potato starch
1/4 c millet flour (either ‘black’/bajri or ‘normal’ yellow)
potato flour – 1 tsp per cup
xanthan gum – 1 tsp per cup

Method

Starting with the rice flour, mix ingredients into a large bowl, ensuring to move ingredients from one side to the other on the counter or you may, like me, end up looking at one ingredient wondering, “did I use this already? Crud.”
Once all the ingredients are integrated, blend with a whisk or electric mixture. Ta-da! It’s that simple! You now have a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour to substitute for most any recipe! I’ve tried this flour in about a dozen different recipes with very successful results. Will it make it completely untraceable? No. Will it improve how you feel about baking GF? YES. Ten times YES.
While Only Sometimes Clever suggests freezing, I find that so long as I keep it in a cool dark place, the flour lasts 1-2 months. If you make a large batch, I would agree it’s best to keep well-labled and frozen until needed.
Questions? Hit me! I’ll work to try and help you troubleshoot your GF flour making issues.
Chicago, Vacation, Weekend in Review

A Chicago Long Weekend In Pictures

This weekend I decided to surprise my mom and come back to Chicago to spend a long weekend at home. I made the visit just one month from my two year anniversary of moving from the Midwest. This weekend was full of friends, lots of family time, some manual labor, and bites at local places that held a lot of memories for me.

I flew a red eye in Thursday night–believe it or not, it was my first time in PDX airport EVER. Because of this, I had to take the same silly picture I see in my Instagram feed every week or so. I can finally join the PDX Carpet Club (haha PCC). 

Friday

A short 10 hours later, I was sitting across the table from my Gram, listening to the rain pound on the sidewalks outside and splitting an enormous stack of blackberry flapjacks from one of my favorite breakfast spots, m. Henry in the Edgewater neighborhood. 

Oh–and don’t forget the candied bacon! I actually ate bacon two different ways while on vacation–candied and fried. Both made me take a nice long run the next morning in hopes that they hadn’t shortened my time on earth too much. Chicago had some bad weather move through during the weekend, and instead of plodding through the rain to go shopping or spending the day in a mall, I suggested we go back to my gram’s and I help with any miscellaneous tasks she needed done. What many don’t know about me is that I almost lost my Gram in a very bad house fire when I was little. It was just a few weeks before Christmas and their tree caught fire one night and almost burned the house to the ground. Both my grandparents barely made it out, and my grandfather died shortly after, in my opinion, due to trauma from the fire. Within some time the house was rebuilt and it will be 15 years since the fire this December. The time I spent Friday with my Gram doing house projects (programming garage openers, breaking down old entertainment systems, arranging new furniture) really gave us time to reminisce on life before the fire.

A well-loved family portrait. From left: Uncle, Aunt, Cousin, Mom, Brother, Dad, Me, Gram, and Grandpa. Circa ’94
Many say an event like that creates a new chapter in one’s life. For my Gram though, it was like an entirely different book started–in a different genre even. Within three months she lost everything she owned and her husband of 25+years. And yet every time I see her I see how strong she is. Her ability to rise above is one I think she downplays, but it’s a strength I see in her consistently. 
Later on in the day, I went out to Geneva to visit my friend I usually refer to as “my better half” and her boyfriend and we dined at Preservation in downtown Geneva. We dined on charcuterie boards while she and her boyfriend took turns laughing me off of my bar stool. I had a great stout from Oskar Blues in Longmont, CO named Old Chub–which I found later in the weekend on nitro! So delicious. Very sad to see stout season wind down for the summer. It’s easily my favorite part of the cold season!

Saturday

Saturday’s weather was gorgeous, so I spent the morning at the French Market strolling through the aisles with one of my aunts, then went to the Arboretum for lunch. The winter was so harsh in Chicago that much of the blooming that’s already finished in Portland is only just starting in Chicago. This means that the cherry blossoms were still quite tight, and the tulips had just opened! It was a warm, humid afternoon, perfect to spend by the pond.
Saturday night I ate in with the rents and had surf & turf. Then it was out to my little brother’s favorite haunt for a belated birthday beer. He’s 21 now. Makes me feel super old. I was glad to get his time for a bit and catch up. He’s suddenly an adult, and yet I still remember the first time I got to hold him! Time flies.

Sunday

Sunday was Mother’s Day. I made breakfast with my mom (instead of for–I now know where I get the “no I’ll just do that” mentality in the kitchen from!) We did fresh fruit, coffee, & crepes for breakfast, and it was long and leisurely. Then I helped shop for and plant new flowers in the yard, like I have done every spring with my mom since the beginning of time (well–before I moved that is). It’s always a lot of work, but I know the result makes her so happy.
The afternoon gave way to some pretty severe storms in the area. I enjoyed hearing the rolling thunder and the quick strikes of lightning. The downpours were intense and soaking, very different from the weather in PDX. I braved the storm to make it out to my friend Tay’s and spend the evening with her and her spouse. They took me to Tap House Grill in Westmont for dinner, which had the most impressive beer list I saw while home. I had a Cuban and some lovely Summer Solstice by Anderson Valley Brewing. 

Monday

Monday meant it was time to swing by the ol’ job–visit co-workers who I still see to this day as family. I had lunch with Diane, my partner in crime at the office. She and I used to dine often at a spot called Naf Naf, and when we first started getting lunch there, they were a brand new business in a run-down Taco Bell on Ogden in Naperville. The food was so good, they grew quickly, now making pita in a new brick and mortar with more than six franchise locations in Chicagoland. Their food makes me so happy. I always get chicken thighs in a pita with loads of hot sauce and their homemade “fries” which look like chips. I hope they eventually get big enough to come to PDX–they’d make a killing here.

Last meal with the rents meant my favorite sushi place. What you don’t know is that my parents are very food-phobic. My mom has grown to be a lot more adventurous in the last few years, but my dad would eat a burger and fries every day and be happy. My favorite sushi place was attached to a Korean restaurant so I thought we could sit on the Korean side and I could get my sushi while my parents ordered some sweet bulgogi or even fried rice. This worked out fairly well. I ordered from Sushi by Chef Soon while my parents ordered from Seocho Garden, which kind of gave us the best of both worlds food-wise, although I much prefer the service at the sushi restaurant over the Korean restaurant. It took 3 attempts just to get glasses of water on the table! I had a spicy dragon roll with eel, which was full and delicious.

Tuesday

Suddenly I was waking up at 5am on Tuesday and it was time to go home! I looked at my flight info only to see that before I had even left the house my flight had been delayed six hours. That should have been a sign to just give up and go back to bed. Turns out by about 10am, a fire had occurred at the Elgin Air Traffic Control building, and it grounded literally every flight in the NATION headed for a Chicago airport for about 5 hours (news article on that here). Like that, my flight was canceled and I spent almost a half hour on hold to rebook it as quickly as possible.
To stave off my growing impatience, I grabbed lunch from my idol’s stand in O’Hare–Rick Bayless’ Frontera located in Concourse B near gate 10. I had the Chipotle Chicken Torta and a fresca, and it did help keep my sanity until the second flight I had been moved to had been delayed eight hours. After near 20 hours at the airport and more than six gate changes,  I made it on a flight.

I eventually made it home…at 5:30am Chicago time. Yup. Nothing like being up 24 hours. Would I do it all over again? Perhaps. With time I hope this story becomes funnier–at the moment the wound’s a bit fresh.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

Have you ever felt like you were living in the movie Terminal?

Charity, Events, FEAST Portland, Portland Bloggers, Portland Local, Portland Taste of the Nation

Portland Taste of the Nation in Review {Sponsored}

Portland’s Taste of the Nation was such an amazing event! I was impressed/pleased/astounded by each and every item the passed my lips. While I realize now that I only took pictures of food really, don’t let that fool you–there were many lovely drink options available from Bull Run Distillery to Pfriem Brewers. I even jumped into a fun photo booth for a few pics! Please enjoy my vision through the lens at this phenomenal event.

Toro Bravo’s/Mediterranean Experiment’s Tuna charcuterie plate. 
Imperial’s Salmon Latkes. 
Renata’s Rabbit N’duja with pickled carrots and pea shoots.

Fresh Veggies!
Smallwares‘ Beef Tataki, kimchi, hoisin, & Cilantro.
Portland Juice Co.
Grassa’s handmade lumache cacio e pepe. 
Classic Peruvian Cookies from Andina
Salmon ceviche from Andina
McMenamins’ Ballroom.
Packed house.

My Favorites of the Night

Aviary

Dumplings. This comfort food needs no more words. I was impressed by the multiple people standing in the back hand making these little delights, served in a tangy brown sauce. I will make it back to Aviary before the month is out!
Aviary’s dumplings.

Batch Chocolates

Charismatic and knowledgeable. Those are the words I choose to describe owner, Jeremy Karp–and his love runs deeply into his chocolates! Each one was a symphony of flavors, and while I was surprised that he handed me a white chocolate truffle after explaining that white chocolate just wasn’t my thing–he must enjoy changing people’s minds!
Batch chocolates.

Boke Bowl

Featuring a spicy dish, Boke Bowl‘s crawfish poutine over rice tots really hit my spicy spot–without hot sauce! I applaud them on their bravery with going a little outside the comfort zone of most of the attendees there! The least I can do is a mention :)
Boke Bowl’s crawfish poutine.

Restaurant St. Jack

Since my dinner at Acadia Bistro in N Pdx I’ve had a hankering for fried chicken skin! St. Jack satisfied that craving 10 fold with their chilled stinging nettle vichyssoise (chilled soup normally made up of leeks, potatoes, and cream), with crispy chicken skin and chili oil. I would eat this any day–especially when temps hit 80°F.
St. Jack’s Stinging nettle vichyssoise.


Want to know more? Check out Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and visit their events page.

No Kid Hungry: Coming Up

No Kid Hungry Bake Sale

Image via Not Just Baked.

The No Kid Hungry Bake Sale is not your average collection of baked goods. This year some of Portland’s most talented food bloggers are participating to make a difference. Learn more via Not Just Bake’s site here.

FEAST

The only other Portland-based event worth knowing about at the moment is FEAST, an event that takes place each September in the heart of downtown PDX. This four day event features nationally renowned chefs and proceeds benefit both No Kid Hungry AND Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon. For more info and ticket information (as tickets go on sale THIS MONTH) check out their website.