Inside Look at Portland Night Market

Have you heard of the Portland Night Market? This is free weekend market brings together local vendors of crafts and goods, food, and artists in the Central Eastside Industrial District, right near the well known and loved City Liquidators. The Portland Night Market is free and is hosted every couple months for a weekend, with the next date coming up on Friday and Saturday February 10 and 11, 2017 4 – 11 PM at 100 SE Alder.
The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

If you’ve ever been to one of the First Thursday in the Pearl District or Last Thursday on Alberta, the feel will be similar to that when visiting the Portland Night Market. You will find all these vendors, all local, many of which are small business makers. Unlike the street fairs, you are all protected from the elements inside this giant warehouse transformed into market with bright lights so you can really see the goods even if it’s evening, or under a big tent with twinkly lights giving you a feel of a high end street bazaar in Europe or Asia and much much cleaner. Here are a few examples from my visit to the last market in November.
Catnip Takout booth at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Rx Letterpress the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

Similar to First or Last Thursday, you can find art pieces, performance artists, live music, and this visit I even found a wall where everyone could contribute their thoughts and artistic touches as well.
The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market The art and performance artists of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

It’s an adventure just browsing the various stands to see what is for sale and the amazing creative ideas out there. A lot of artist markets seem to be full of a lot of photography booths and homemade jewelry, but Portland Night market has a great variety of types of items.
Twisted Vine Terraniums booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Ninja Bot booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Notebooks made of disks at a booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Notebooks made of children books at a booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Sparrow and Sundry booth at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Magnets and diorama crafts at the 20Leagues booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 marketCatnip toys in the form of little food at the Catnip Takeout booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Catnip toys in the form of little food at the Catnip Takeout booth as part of the vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

One thing that’s unique to this market is that you can grab a beverage at one of the bars to keep you “hydrated” while you are browsing. There are also some artisan food booths, varying from salami to baked goods to chocolate or hot sauce and more. Outside, under tents with some heat lamps (at least in November when it was chilly) there were multiple food carts offering a variety of food varying from pastrami sandwiches to crepes or steamed buns or fried chicken or fresh kettle corn or mini doughnuts.
The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Sweetheart Bakery booth as part of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 marketTime and Oak Natural Elements booth at the Portland Night Market The vibe of the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

Bible Club even had a cash pop-up bar where they were pouring draft cocktails like Gold Rush, Singapore Sling, and Hemingway, as well as crafting classic drinks.
Bible Club had a pop-up bar where they were pouring draft cocktails and crafting classic drinks at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Bible Club had a pop-up bar where they were pouring draft cocktails and crafting classic drinks at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Bible Club had a pop-up bar where they were pouring draft cocktails and crafting classic drinks at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market Bible Club had a pop-up bar where they were pouring draft cocktails and crafting classic drinks at the Portland Night Market, held every few months in the Central Industrial District in a warehouse, during the November 2016 market

This is a great experience by yourself or with friends or on a date or with a family to explore what great local makers are creating and even see some performance art. And, did I mention again that admission is FREE and all ages and FREE?

The only caution I would give is that it can be difficult to find parking in this area since there are so many people who may come visit the market and there is only street parking. This is an industrial area under Morrison Bridge and a few freeways and also divided by train tracks. If you can find parking, but it may be several block walk away and be aware of your surroundings in the evening as there may be sometimes sketchy portions. The Portland Night Market is also only 2 blocks from the Portland Streetcar.

Have you heard or been to The Portland Night Market before?

Signature

December Dinner at Farm Spirit

On December 16, we decided to celebrate our dating anniversary (hey, fair to celebrate both the dating and wedding anniversary right, especially if you dated a while before you got married, right…) at one of our favorite restaurants in Portland, and definitely the best vegan restaurant we’ve ever been to Farm Spirit. We opted for the later 7:45 seating instead of the earlier Friday seating which was a more convenient time for us to get there after work and because for the slightly higher price there may be additional courses at this grand tasting dinner.
Farm Spirit Wine Reserve Wine Flight, Wine Flight, or Housemade Beverage Flight - purchase before you arrive when making your reservations, or when you arrive, or order a la carte Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from.
Farm Spirit, besides being completely vegan, also is almost completely local in serving Cascadian cuisine. Almost all their ingredients are sourced from within 105 miles except for those that would be extremely difficult, such as enough all natural wine for the wine list, and spices. They are very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from – many were crafted with local materials by local vendors.
Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from. Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from.

They pick up ingredients directly from the farm several times a week and know the stories of the people and ingredients that appear before you on every plate as a guest. The multiple checks a week into what is fresh also means the menu is continually changing and evolving. They also strive towards zero waste, and look for ways to use every part of an ingredient, so during the meal you can hear how different parts were utilized across your dishes.
Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from. Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from.
Farm Spirit is reservations only, paid online with a set date and time before ahead so they know exactly how many guests will arrive at the set group seating time, and they serve everything simultaneously, cooking and plating before you as you sit at a counter watching them. They have dinner service only, Wednesday through Saturday with two seatings available: 5:15 PM/5:30 PM or 7:45 PM. The ticket price varies depending on day and seating and already includes gratuity.

When making the reservation you can pre-purchase a regular or reserve wine pairing or housemade non-alcoholic pairing, or purchase the flights when you arrive or order the beverages as la carte. I highly recommend a pairing –  all the wines are all natural, and the non-alcoholic beverages have never disappointed on their tastyness (hello melon thyme shrub!) .
Farm Spirit Wine Reserve Wine Flight, Wine Flight, or Housemade Beverage Flight - purchase before you arrive when making your reservations, or when you arrive, or order a la carte

Here is a look at what our dinner in December offered.

  1. Each setting started off with a Seeded Rye bread accompanied by a vegan butter made from fresh pressed heritage seed canola oil with aquaphaba (chickpea juice)
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: each setting started off with a Seeded Rye bread accompanied by a vegan butter made from fresh pressed heritage seed canola oil with aquaphaba (chickpea juice)
  2. Cured Carrot with Aleppo Pepper Emulsion, a vegan sausage that had the perfect texture imitating charcuterie, created with purple carrots cured in sugar salt solution, then dehydrated, chopped up and then compressed and sliced into these. The Aleppo Pepper Emulsion offered creaminess while the spiciness was a nice extra bite.
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Cured Carrot with Aleppo Pepper Emulsion, a vegan sausage that had the perfect texture imitating charcuterie, created with purple carrots cured in sugar salt solution, then dehydrated, chopped up and then compressed and sliced into these. Served with an Aleppo Pepper Emulsion for a nice spicy bite. Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Cured Carrot with Aleppo Pepper Emulsion, a vegan sausage that had the perfect texture imitating charcuterie, created with purple carrots cured in sugar salt solution, then dehydrated, chopped up and then compressed and sliced into these. Served with an Aleppo Pepper Emulsion for a nice spicy bite.
  3. Cabbage Taco with wild shimeji mushrooms and cauliflower puree, I could have eaten half a dozen of these they were soooo good and felt so decadant.
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Cabbage Taco with wild shimeji mushrooms and cauliflower puree Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Cabbage Taco with wild shimeji mushrooms and cauliflower puree
  4. This snack is a Fried Kalette with Hazelnut Yogurt with allium. A kalette is a cross between brussel sprouts and kale.
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: This snack is a fried kalette with hazelnut yogurt with allium. A kalette is a cross between brussel sprouts and kale.
  5. Red Beet Braised Radicchio, bitter radicchio braised with warm spices and beet juice
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Red Beet Braised Radicchio, bitter radicchio braised with warm spices and beet juice Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Red Beet Braised Radicchio, bitter radicchio braised with warm spices and beet juice
  6. Shredded brussels sprouts with celeriac puree, Meyer Lemon and Oregon Black Truffles
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Shredded brussels sprouts with celeriac puree, Meyer Lemon and Oregon Black Truffles Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Shredded brussels sprouts with celeriac puree, Meyer Lemon and Oregon Black Truffles
  7. Carrots and Apricot. Peeled and carefully rolled, cooked sous vide and seared Carrots, preserved in bay leaf and rosemary Apricot, finished with Meyer Lemon leaf oil and frilly mustard
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Peeled and carefully rolled, cooked sous vide and seared Carrots, preserved in bay leaf and rosemary Apricot, finished with Meyer Lemon leaf oil and frilly mustard Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Peeled and carefully rolled, cooked sous vide and seared Carrots, preserved in bay leaf and rosemary Apricot, finished with Meyer Lemon leaf oil and frilly mustard
  8. Sprouted Farro, Leeks, Smoke dish, the farro is cooked with sage and smoked leek and presented with sexy smoke
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Sprouted Farro, Leeks, Smoke dish, the farro is cooked with sage and smoked leek and presented with sexy smoke Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Cured Carrot with Aleppo Pepper Emulsion, a vegan sausage that had the perfect texture imitating charcuterie, created with purple carrots cured in sugar salt solution, then dehydrated, chopped up and then compressed and sliced into these. Served with an Aleppo Pepper Emulsion for a nice spicy bite.

    A video posted by Pechluck Laskey (@pechluck) on

  9. Kohlrabi Fritter with sunflower yogurt, they use Greenwillow Grains, wild fermented broth is utilized to make the sunflower milk used to make the yogurt
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Kohlrabi Fritter with sunflower yogurt, they use Greenwillow Grains, wild fermented broth is utilized to make the sunflower milk used to make the yogurt Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Kohlrabi Fritter with sunflower yogurt, they use Greenwillow Grains, wild fermented broth is utilized to make the sunflower milk used to make the yogurt Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Kohlrabi Fritter with sunflower yogurt, they use Greenwillow Grains, wild fermented broth is utilized to make the sunflower milk used to make the yogurt Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Kohlrabi Fritter with sunflower yogurt, they use Greenwillow Grains, wild fermented broth is utilized to make the sunflower milk used to make the yogurt
  10. Sunchoke Veloute with caramelized sunchoke dumpling, garnished with chrysanthemum and with ash made with the pits of the Meyer Lemon used in other dishes previously
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Sunchoke Veloute with caramelized sunchoke dumpling, chrysanthemum and ash made with the pits of the Meyer Lemon used in other dishes previously Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Sunchoke Veloute with caramelized sunchoke dumpling, chrysanthemum and ash made with the pits of the Meyer Lemon used in other dishes previously
    I was just loving these bowls, which have these great indentations on both sides that make it easy to carry it in one hand
    Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from. I was just loving these bowls, which have these great indentations on both sides that make it easy to carry it in one han Farm Spirit is very conscientious and thoughtful in creating an experience via the food and the environment to support and celebrate local vendors. This is down to the counter that you are eating upon, the shelves you see before you, and the ceramic dishes you eat from. I was just loving these bowls, which have these great indentations on both sides that make it easy to carry it in one han
  11. Pan roasted Abalone mushroom with potato puree, red onion sauce, and watercress. This final savory dish was almost like steak and potatoes, vegan style, surprisingly meaty thanks to the thickness and texture of that mushroom and other flavors on the plate.
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Pan roasted Abalone mushroom with potato puree, red onion sauce, and watercress. Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Pan roasted Abalone mushroom with potato puree, red onion sauce, and watercress.
  12. Palate cleansing course of Raspberry Kefir in the signature Drink Me bottles. I’ve known about this presentation for a while since I’m a social media fan, and I love how it incorporates Rico’s gifts in making homemade beverags into the meal even for those who don’t know to opt into the non-alcoholic pairings.
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Palate cleansing course of raspberry kefir Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Palate cleansing course of raspberry kefir
  13. Dessert 1`of 2, Cultured hazelnut that is vegan but goes through the same process like cheesemaking, here with leek ash, and served with smoked beet juice, hazelnut crumble, and flax cracker
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Dessert 1`of 2, this is the Cultured hazelnut that is vegan but goes through the same process like cheesemaking, here with leek ash, and served with smoked beet juice, hazelnut crumble, and flax cracker Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Dessert 1`of 2, this is the Cultured hazelnut that is vegan but goes through the same process like cheesemaking, here with leek ash, and served with smoked beet juice, hazelnut crumble, and flax cracker
  14. Parsnip cake with pepita ice cream and huckleberry powder, chestnut, preserved blackberry
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: Parsnip cake with pepita ice cream and huckleberry powder, chestnut, preserved blackberry
  15. The end of the meal is really the last course, but in case you wanted more in a few hours, or for breakfast the next morning, they package up a little vegan bread – here it was Beet Fennel bread that I enjoyed with green tea at home the next morning
    Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: at the end of the dinner they gift you a little bread that you can enjoy the next morning, this one is Beet Fennel that I had the next morning with green tea Farm Spirit 7:45 PM seating on December 16th dinner: at the end of the dinner they gift you a little bread that you can enjoy the next morning, this one is Beet Fennel that I had the next morning with green tea

I would recommend Farm Spirit to anyone and everyone, vegan or not. It’s an amazing atmosphere of supporting and celebrating local, food that would be at home in a white tablecloth fancy restaurant and plated like art, but with a casual cool grooves playlist on the stereo and the chefs amiably chatting up and sharing stories and asking about you like everyone here are new friends at a low key dinner party. They already have seating reservations up for Valentine’s if you’re looking for an excellent date night or check out their calendar for other convenient dinner seatings in January and February for you.

What caught your eye from this December Dinner at Farm Spirit I shared? Have you heard of or been to Farm Spirit? What vegan restaurants do you know of and recommend?

 

Signature

My Visit to LACMA

I spent the holiday in LA this past December visiting my new niece, and my mom and two other siblings joined me in visiting baby Alexandra and her parents. There were many great laid back days full of morning audiences with her after her breakfast milk and poop, and cuddles as she took her nap, and cheering her on during tummy time, and playing the co-op videogame Overcooked. We also did some cooking, and take-out. As much as I adore baby cheeks though and the brief outings to get food, I knew I would get stir crazy. So there was one afternoon I also spent a few hours visiting LACMA, aka The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Collaborative Art outside of LACMA from various people who had a visit to LACMA who left their admission ticket/sticker on various poles on Wilshire

I recommend this area for anyone and everyone. Even if you don’t pay admission to see the inside of the museum, there are lots of free sights in the park in the surrounding area – I went back to walk in the park several times staying in the free areas. Here are the details of my visit to LACMA and sights I recommend and which I saw during my visit to LACMA.

La Brea Tar Pits

LACMA is in a park with the La Brea Tar Pits, and there were many people just pushing strollers or taking a walk (which also is home to many Pokestops). The tar pits are outside so you can view some of them without paying the admission fee, though you will want to go into the George Page museum to get more information and context beyond the signs outside, and to support them. Do note that since these tar pits are from the Ice Age, there are no dinosaurs, but you will find dramatic mammals like giant sloths, saber tooth cats, and mammoths.
La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles- several pits are located outside the Museum and you can view them for free walking in the park. This is the largest, the Lake Pit, a still bubbling, asphalt seep with life-size fiberglass statues of mammoths and an American mastodon La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles- several pits are located outside the Museum and you can view them for free walking in the park. This is the largest, the Lake Pit, a still bubbling, asphalt seep with life-size fiberglass statues of mammoths and an American mastodon.

You can probably visit the outside tar pits walking around within 20 minutes, and the museum, with its fossil exhibits and also 3-D theater, can take another hour or so. While walking outside, you may find several gates small squares where you can see the tar leaking up to the surface – we even found one of these on the sidewalk across from the park that they had covered with sand and tried to surround with some orange cones! I found it a really interesting juxtaposition between the natural history still occurring here in its rawness with the “Miracle Mile” and modern urbanity that surrounds it.
La Brea Tarpits in Los Angeles- several pits are located outside the Museum and you can view them for free walking in the park. This is Pit 9, which they think is the oldest excavation site. Thirty individual mammoths were found here in 1914. La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles- several pits are located outside the Museum and you can view them for free walking in the park. One of the many little gated square areas where you can see the tar under the ground coming to the surface.
First Photo: This is Pit 9, which they think is the oldest excavation site. Thirty individual mammoths were found here in 1914. Second Photo: One of the many little gated square areas where you can see the tar under the ground coming to the surface

Urban Lights

One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights.
One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening.

Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and there are some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid almost like an urban forest. In the daytime, it’s easier to see how they come together as lamps but there is enough light to also highlight their individual differences in the style of lamp, the height of the lamp, the detail of their posts.
One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening.

The lights are solar powered and become lit in the evening. Here’s a look at dusk.
One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening.

Metropolis II

If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels.
If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a 1,100 Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels. If you buy your LACMA museum admission, there is another Chris Burden exhibit you can view inside one of the building Broad Contemporary Art Museum. This is Metropolis II, also a sculpture but a kinetic one. Some of the times, it is a mini city, frozen in time with a lot of Hot Wheel Cars and Miniature trains on bridges and roads throughout the multiple levels.
At other set times, the cars and trains whiz throughout at speeds ranging from bumper to bumper traffic ascending a bridge (almost like a roller coaster climbing anticipation) to then whiz down and around at speeds up to 240 miles per hour for a few hot minutes. Running at capacity, the sculpture can launch about 100,000 cars an hour with one operator looking out for cars misaligned or stuck on the tracks.

Penetrable

Let’s switch back to another free outdoor exhibit you can enjoy, but only until this February when this exhibit returns to the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. This is one that kids really enjoy- Jesús Rafael Soto’s “Penetrable“, also known as “Yellow Noodles” or “Spaghetti” sometimes. It’s a grid simply with yellow plastic hoses that viewers can interact with, instead of just viewing like so much normal art.
Jesús Rafael Soto's Penetrable, also known as Yellow Noodles or Spaghetti sometimes. It's a grid simply with yellow plastic hoses that viewers can interact with for free, on loan until Feb 2017 at LACMA in the main plaza Jesús Rafael Soto's Penetrable, also known as Yellow Noodles or Spaghetti sometimes. It's a grid simply with yellow plastic hoses that viewers can interact with for free, on loan until Feb 2017 at LACMA in the main plaza Jesús Rafael Soto's Penetrable, also known as Yellow Noodles or Spaghetti sometimes. It's a grid simply with yellow plastic hoses that viewers can interact with for free, on loan until Feb 2017 at LACMA in the main plaza Jesús Rafael Soto's Penetrable, also known as Yellow Noodles or Spaghetti sometimes. It's a grid simply with yellow plastic hoses that viewers can interact with for free, on loan until Feb 2017 at LACMA in the main plaza

The way the art looks and your experience with it is altered based on where you are and who else is there within the exhibit, altering the lines of the hundreds of hoses. Kids and grown ups seemed to like wandering and turning and running through it.

Rain Room

One of the biggest impetus for this LACMA visit was to see the special exhibit Rain Room by art collective Random International. Already extended for more than a year and closing at the end of January (with tickets already sold out by December), the timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you.
Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you. Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you.

The light makes the rain visible, while making people into silhouettes. With nothing interrupting the rain, it almost sounds like you’re within a waterfall. You might feel like you’re in control of the weather – or do you feel like you’re continually under technology’s surveillance?
Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you. Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you.

During its installation, LA was going through a drought – and a version of this work was purchased by a foundation in the Middle East, reminding me that although Portland is rich with rain, not everyone is. And even when it rains here, you don’t see as much joy or appreciation as during this purchased experience… What is the experience difference between those who were just walking through and those who saw it through a camera lens?
Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you. Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you.

Although the exhibit was only temporary, I always encourage flipping through the art currently on display when visiting an area to see what special exhibits are going on that you might be able to catch. That’s how I found the Living Digital Spaces and Future Parks and how I found Rain Room!
Rain Room by art collective Random International. The timed tickets limited viewers to a small group for 15 minutes. During that time, the audience is treated to a dark room illuminated with dramatic spotlight and torrents of rain controlled by technology that senses where a person is and makes it stop raining where you stand but continues to fall around you.

Other LACMA Art Examples

This post is already way too long, but I wanted to share a few other art I admired with your price of admission to LACMA. I visited wtih my sister, brother, and mom, and we mainly were viewing the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and Pavilion for Japanese Art. I hope to view more of the other historical art some future visit – LACMA is home to five buildings. I also saw James Turrell’s Breathing Light, a free timed ticket you can get with admission but you have to reserve it on a tablet at the Wilshire ticket window and no photography is allowed. It is already a pretty surreal experience of losing context of space and depth perception vision and a camera couldn’t capture it anyway.

  • Breadth Deep by Ry Rocklen, with concrete, pipe, VHS tape, Betamax tape, and automotive glass. Desktop Operation: There’s No Place Like Home (10th Example of Rapid Dominance: Em City)  by Glenn Kaino. A sculpture referencing the Emerald City of Oz on a enclosure referencing miniature Japanese zen garden that evolves based on seismic shifts and nearby urban redevelopment in the area.
    Breadth Deep by Ry Rocklen, with concrete, pipe, VHS tape, Betamax tape, and automotive glass. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA Desktop Operation: There's No Place Like Home (10th Example of Rapid Dominance: Em City). A sculpture referencing the Emerald City of Oz on a enclosure referencing miniature Japanese zen garden that evolves based on seismic shifts and nearby urban redevelopment in the area. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA
  • Proposal for America by Sam Durant; June 14, 2004 (Ronald Reason 1911-2004) by Mungo Thompson; Draped Marble (Carrara, St. Laurant, Brown Onyx) by Analia Saban. Marble mounted on steel on wooden sawhorse.
    Proposal for America by Sam Durant. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA June 14, 2004 (Ronald Reason 1911-2004) by Mungo Thompson. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA Draped Marble (Carrara, St. Laurant, Brown Onyx) by Analia Saban. Marble mounted on steel on wooden sawhorse. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA Draped Marble (Carrara, St. Laurant, Brown Onyx) by Analia Saban. Marble mounted on steel on wooden sawhorse. Displayed at Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA
  • Beyond Bling: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection exploring jewelry created from nontraditional materials. Salmon Dream brooch and stand by Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet made of wood, plexiglass, brass, silver, copper, polymer clay, printed paper, acetate, Micarta, and found objects; Koi Bracelet by David Bielander made of leather, thumbtacks and silver
    Beyond Bling: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection exploring jewelry created from nontraditional materials at LACMA. This is Salmon Dream brooch and stand by Robin Kranitzky and Kim Overstreet made of wood, plexiglass, brass, silver, copper, polymer clay, printed paper, acetate, Micarta, and found objects Beyond Bling: Jewelry from the Lois Boardman Collection exploring jewelry created from nontraditional materials at LACMA. Koi Bracelet by David Bielander made of leather, thumbtacks and silver
  • In the Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA has the largest collection of Japanese charms, or netsuke, from Raymond Bushell one of the most active and prolific collectors of netsuke – his collection ranges in time and variety is supposedly in the thousands, and 900 have been donated to LACMA – so many that they can’t all be displayed so they are rotated quarterly in the netsuke gallery. These miniature sculptures have a hole so they fit on corded hanging boxes used to carry money, medicine, etc. since kimono do not have pockets.
    In the Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA has the largest collection of Japanese charms, or netsuke, from Raymond Bushell one of the most active and prolific collectors of netsuke - his collection ranges in time and variety is supposedly in the thousands, and 900 have been donated to LACMA - so many that they can't all be displayed so they are rotated quarterly in the netsuke gallery. In the Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA has the largest collection of Japanese charms, or netsuke, from Raymond Bushell one of the most active and prolific collectors of netsuke - his collection ranges in time and variety is supposedly in the thousands, and 900 have been donated to LACMA - so many that they can't all be displayed so they are rotated quarterly in the netsuke gallery. In the Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA has the largest collection of Japanese charms, or netsuke, from Raymond Bushell one of the most active and prolific collectors of netsuke - his collection ranges in time and variety is supposedly in the thousands, and 900 have been donated to LACMA - so many that they can't all be displayed so they are rotated quarterly in the netsuke gallery. In the Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA has the largest collection of Japanese charms, or netsuke, from Raymond Bushell one of the most active and prolific collectors of netsuke - his collection ranges in time and variety is supposedly in the thousands, and 900 have been donated to LACMA - so many that they can't all be displayed so they are rotated quarterly in the netsuke gallery.

And here is one of many more sculptures you can view for free on the LACMA grounds: Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer.
Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. Displayed on the grounds of LACMA Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. Displayed on the grounds of LACMA Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. Displayed on the grounds of LACMA Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer. Displayed on the grounds of LACMA

Sights Nearby

Also in the nearby area are the Petersen Automotive Museum, The Grove Shopping Center including the Los Angeles Original Farmer’s Market, and you could wrap up with a Korean BBQ meal in Koreatown. Next to LACMA is also the future home of the The Academy of Motion Pictures Museum scheduled to open in 2018.
Korean BBQ at Quarters, named for how each of the raw meat tapas you order to cook on the grill are 1/4 pound and if you order 5 of them Quarters provides complimentary vegetable skewer, cheese fondue for dipping meat, egg soup, and kimchee or soy bean stew. Located in Koreatown, LA Dessert of milk ice cream with honey at little HoneyMee stand in Koreatown, LA
Some eats from Koreatown: some amazing Korean BBQ at Quarters, named for how each of the raw meat tapas you order to cook on the grill are 1/4 pound and if you order 5 of them Quarters provides complimentary vegetable skewer, cheese fondue for dipping meat, egg soup, and kimchee or soy bean stew; and Honeymee 100% natural milk ice cream with honeycomb

So you can combine all of these into a full day in the area. My personal feeling is that there is a lot of time in the car and not enough time walking in a lot of visits to LA unless you are doing one of the trails, and this area is just built for a lot of walking without requiring hiking or a stair workout.

Have you heard of the Tar Pits in LA before? Which of these exhibits at LACMA do you like, have you been on your own visit to LACMA? Have you heard the Urban Lights as one of the symbols of LA before?
One of the most famous and free (since it is an outdoor sculpture) art you can see in the park at LACMA is the iconic Urban Lights. Created by Chris Burden, it is made of 202 restored street lamps in various styles based on where they were from (most are from southern California and some from Portland Oregon too!). The lamps are painted grey and assembled in a grid, and are solar powered and become lit in the evening. This is from an evening visit to LACMA they are open later on weekends
Urban Light in the evening

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Chef Naoko’s Shizuku

Recently, Chef Naoko‘s Bento Cafe remodeled the space next to it on SW 12th and Jefferson. That space recently opened as Shizuku, an expansion to a larger space and a more zen tranquility of a dining space. They still include meals in a lacquered box but also a handful of small plates or a six course kaiseki option. Here’s my closer look at Chef Naoko’s Shizuku.
Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma Interior of Chef Naoko's Shizuku, designed by Kengo Kuma

If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Chef Naoko’s Bento Cafe before, it’s been consistently operating as a tiny hole in the wall cafe serving bento box Japanese meals since 2008. Everything is made to order so definitely not made for anyone on a tight schedule, but your patience is rewarded with healthy food freshly made with the care that you would find right at home from a hometown restaurant in Japan. The natural organic ingredients are seasonal and she purchases directly from local farmers.

Chef Naoko's Shizuku, serving natural organic Japanese cuisine with ingredients from local farmers

Generally, you order a bento box or a rice bowl with one of a small selection of proteins available, including vegetarian and vegan friendly options. A bento box meal is served in a lacquered tray with multiple small compartments inside that include a side salad, four small side items, steamed rice (choice of white or brown, we both got brown rice) and organic miso soup. Proteins vary from Teriyaki Organic Chicken to Carlton Pork Tonkatsu to Grilled Wild Salmon or Ota Tofu.
Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, a bento box meal is served in a lacquered tray with multiple small dishes inside that include a side salad, four side items, steamed rice and organic miso soup

Below, you see the lunch bento of Tonkatsu Bento with Panko Fried Carlton Pork Loin. Here’s a look at the entire box, and a closer look at the four sides.
Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their Tonkatsu Bento with Panko Fried Carlton Pork Loin Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their Tonkatsu Bento with Panko Fried Carlton Pork Loin

This is my favorite tonkatsu I’ve found in Portland in that it is what I would get in Japan in that although it’s fried it isn’t greasy, and while the outside is crispy and light with its own flavoring (and not just oil and breading), while the inside is juicy flavorful good quality pork.
Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their Tonkatsu Bento with Panko Fried Carlton Pork Loin

This is the vegan lunch bento box with Ota Tofu and seasonal farm vegetables with house teriyaki sauce
Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan bento box with Ota Tofu and seasonal farm vegetables with house teriyaki sauce Chef Naoko's Bento Cafe - lunch of natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan bento box with Ota Tofu and seasonal farm vegetables with house teriyaki sauce

Here’s a look at what a dinner bento looks like at Shizuku, where it’s called Shokado. They describe Shokado as an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box with various dishes inside, and again you also get a choice of protein for the main. This one is Ota Tofu Steak along with a little sweet soybean; marinated tofu with vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, and snap pea; salad; pickled cucumbers; and a special stickyish rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms that is usually served during holiday New Year’s.
Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box and a few small sides Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box and a few small sides, including this dish of marinated tofu, carrots, sweet potato, and snap pea Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box with Ota Tofu Steak and here special stickyish rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box with Ota Tofu Steak

For more vegetarian/vegan options, there was also a small plate of Handcrafted Tofu. When we visited, that evening it was handcrafted hazelnut tofu with sesame sauce, one of a handful of cold small plates available.
Chef Naoko's Shizuku - a restaurant with natural and organic Japanese cuisine, this is their vegan Shokado, an abbreviated kaiseki meal in a square lacquered box with Ota Tofu Steak and here special stickyish rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms

Or, there was this hot small plate during dinner of vegan Miso Glazed Ota Tofu with Oregon Mushrooms, one of half a dozen hot small plate options
Chef Naoko's Shizuku hot small plate during dinner of vegan Miso Glazed Ota Tofu with Oregon Mushrooms, one of half a dozen hot small plates available Chef Naoko's Shizuku hot small plate during dinner of vegan Miso Glazed Ota Tofu with Oregon Mushrooms, one of half a dozen hot small plates available

I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. The kaiseki dinner started with the same Handcrafted Tofu you saw above of handcrafted hazelnut tofu with sesame sauce. The second course was then this tray below of four small side dishes that included the kuromane sweet black soybean; tofu and julienned vegetable; tofu with vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, carrot and daikon; and the roast beef. You will notice two of the dishes match what was in the vegan shokado.
Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. This is from the second course, which offered four small side dishes height= Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi couse and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. This is from the second course, which offered four small side dishes including this one of Kuromame sweet soybean Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. This is from the second course, which offered four small side dishes, including this tofu and julienned vegetable Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. This is from the second course, which offered four small side dishes including this roast beef Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. This is from the second course, which offered four small side dishes including this one of tofu with vegetables like carrot, sweet potato, carrot and daikon

The miso soup here is not vegetarian, as you can see from this clam…
Dinner at Chef Naoko's Shizuku. I ordered the kaiseki, six courses that includes a catch of the day wild sashimi cousre and choice of main dish with rice and miso soup. The miso soup here is not vegetarian

The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko’s Shizuku includes a fresh wild catch of the day sashimi plate, which for this visit was sea bass and stone fish
The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku includes a fresh wild catch of the day sashimi plate, which for this visit was sea bass and stone fish The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku includes a fresh wild catch of the day sashimi plate, which for this visit was sea bass and stone fish

Next course of Grilled tofu topped with crab, asparagus, and carrot
The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku course of grilled tofu with crab, asparagus, carrot

For my main, I picked the kikuni, or pork belly, here it is served with a sweet potato croquette and special rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms that is usually served during holiday New Year’s.
The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku where you get to pick your main: I picked the kikuni, or pork belly, here it is served with a sweet potato croquette and special stickyish rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms that is usually served during holiday New Year's. The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku where you get to pick your main: I picked the kikuni, or pork belly, here it is served with a sweet potato croquette and special stickyish rice from Shizuoka Japan with chestnuts and mushrooms that is usually served during holiday New Year's. Chef Naoko's Shizuku hot small plate during dinner of vegan Miso Glazed Ota Tofu with Oregon Mushrooms The kaiseki six course dinner option at Chef Naoko's Shizuku where you get to pick your main: I picked the kikuni, or pork belly

Besides Green Tea Ice Cream, make sure you check out what is the dessert of the day: for our visit it was Matcha Souffle Cheesecake
Chef Naoko's Shizuku dessert of the day, matcha souffle cheesecake

Lunch is walk ins only, but you can make reservations for dinner via OpenTable or by calling. They are open Tuesday through Saturday. Both lunch and dinner are cooked to order so prepare for an experience that is relaxed and authentically Japanese but with the bonus of local seasonal organic ingredients and tasty and healthy.

Have you been here before? Have you had bento boxes before?

Shizuku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Every year I spend New Year’s Day watching the Rose Parade on TV if I’m in the US. Last year I was in Japan, but I was back to my tradition this January 2, 2017 (they moved it because they don’t ever hold it on Sundays traditionally). There was even a memorable year I was in Los Angeles and my sister (attending USC Law School at the time, now this year celebrating her first New Year’s as a mother to a 3 month daughter) even helped arrange my mom and other sister to get seats and watch it in person. It was incredible being able to see all the breathtaking details of the flowers, though I did miss a bit of the announcer highlights they narrate on TV.
Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day

This year to accompany the bottle of sparkling that I cheered the parade on with as I watch, I also prepared this incredible Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole. You can prepare everything for this Biscuits Breakfast Casserole the day before and then just pop it in the oven, which is perfect for a non morning person or after a long night up. I like how this casserole basically puts all of breakfast – like a breakfast that would have Biscuits and Sausage Gravy as one item, and Cheesy Egg on the side, all together in every bite.
Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

You’ve probably seen this recipe as it’s very popular and had been on the Internet, with thousands of raves on various recipe sites that have a version of this, and if course Pinterest and a Tasty video you may have seen on Facebook.

The changes I made were to specifically use Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and more of it, keeping some to top the entire casserole. I also made a little extra sausage that I set aside and had as part of the gravy. and used some of the leftover meat juices from cooking the sausage to make the gravy instead of just butter to imbue more sausage flavor. The recipe says to use pepper to taste and I recommend being very generous with the pepper.

Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

For other variations I also recommend mixing up the cheeses such as combining cheddar with mozzarella for more gooeyness or pepper jack for a tiny kick. For more spice mix in spicy sausage or chorizo instead of sausage, or add hot sauce to your eggs or slice up some jalapeño and serve with salsa and sour cream. For more color to your dish visually, chop and add in some green or red bell peppers, or other veggies. For ease you could also use gravy mix  and/or  pre-cooked sausage instead.
Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 ounce can of refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ~2 1/4 cups of Gravy – make a white sauce like in the video, or make your own, from a mix, or make it with leftover sausage drippings and the following (this is for a single batch: you might want to double it and serve the second half as a side to pour on the casserole when serving).
    • Optionally purchase a little extra sausage and mix it into your gravy –  even just a few tablespoons helps.
    • 4 Tablespoons butter OR 3 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon of saved grease from cooking the sausage (= 1 -1 substitution of meat drippings for butter)
    • 4 Tablespoons of flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a pan over medium high heat, cook the sausage until browned, adding any seasonings and salt and pepper to taste. When cooked, separate the sausage from the sausage juices in the pan but save the leftover liquid to make gravy later.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the 6 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (you can add more or less to taste). Set aside.
  4. Now to make the gravy. Make it with a packet, or your own recipe, or in my version
    • In the same pan you cooked the sausage, or if not large enough a saucepan, on medium to low heat, melt the 3 tablespoons butter with the sausage drippings (or alternately another 2 tablespoons butter instead of drippings, or all drippings and no butter). After the butter is completely melted, add in 4 tablespoons of flour.
    • When the butter and flour are whisked until smooth (don’t let the roux brown if you prefer a whiter looking gravy vs a browned one), turn the heat to medium high and slowly pour in 2 cups of milk, about 1/4 cup at a time and whisking all the while. Adding too much milk at once will make it hard to break down the lumps and create a smooth gravy.
    • Bring everything to a boil, continually stirring, until thickened to a creamy consistency and add salt and pepper to taste –  I’m very generous with the pepper.
      Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole, you can make your own gravy with the sausage drippings from cooking the sausage with milk, butter, flour or with a mix
    • Optionally I like to add a pinch of cayenne. And as I mentioned, you can also additionally add sausage to the gravy here too in addition to the amount in the casserole’s sausage layer.
  5. Cut each biscuit from the biscuit tube into smaller pieces. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In the baking dish, scatter the biscuits pieces.
    Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
  6. Scatter over all the biscuits the 1 pound cooked sausage, 1 cup of shredded cheese, then pour in the egg mixture. If making this the evening before, stop here and cover and refrigerate for the next morning.
    Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole - layer the cooked sausage over the cut up biscuits Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole - layer the cheese over the cooked sausage over the cut up biscuits Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole - top with cheese, then pour the eggs
  7. When ready to cook, pour on the gravy and sprinkle atop the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese over your Biscuits Breakfast casserole. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30-45 min, until egg is fluffy underneath the cheese and gravy,  and cheese is bubbling.
    Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
  8. Let rest for 15 minutes to solidify a bit underneath the gravy before serving.
    Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

What are your holiday morning traditions, if any? Do you watch the Rose Parade or any parades? Do you have a New Year’s tradition?

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