Food Carts PDX at the Portland Airport

There may be many of you who will be passing through the Portland Airport (PDX) in the upcoming weeks, so I wanted to take the time to remind you that there are food carts there! Unfortunately they are located pre-security, so you will have to be mindful of either arriving early so you can dine there before going through security, or as I did, on the way home I stopped by to grab a bite to eat before I went home. The carts are currently open 9 AM – 9 PM every day.
Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX include Love & Whisky, Koi Fusion, and Pok Pok Wing

When I visited, there were currently 3 carts that were open, though I see there are 4 more carts present so there could be more coming anytime soon! The three there include an outpost of Pok Pok of famous Thai food chef (don’t let his whiteness fool you) Andy Ricker called Pok Pok Wing, the well known in Portland mashup of Mexican and Korean of Koi Fusion, and finally Love & Whisky a gourmet burger and sandwiches cart.
Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX include Love & Whisky, Koi Fusion, and Pok Pok Wing

Love & Whisky

Love & Whisky offers breakfast sandwiches until 10 AM that include a BLAT Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, arugula, avocado, grilled tomato, eggs and sourdough with breakfast tots, The Classic with bacon, eggs, Tillamook cheddar on a breakfast torta with breakfast tots, to may I point out the Bourbon Buttermilk Pancakes with house bacon compound butter and bourbon infused Vermont maple syrup, among the handful of breakfast only offerings.
Love & Whisky food cart at the Portland Airport PDX serving up gourmet burgers

Don’t worry, you can also get your fix in burger form though, like their Bourbon Burger with Bulleit bourbon house bacon jam, port bbq sauce, Rogue smoky bleu compound butter, crispy carrot and shallot straws and green leaf lettus with tots, or even go with the Prospect with whisky thyme caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, horseradish garlic aioli, Swiss, tomato, and green leaf lettuce. Did I mention that the burger meat is homemade mixture of sirloin and pork belly?

You can even go vegetarian thanks to their Green Grilled Cheese with aged white cheddar, house pesto, avocado, tomato, and spinach on Portland City Sourdough. Definitely NOT vegetarian is their Drunk Philly Sandwich with shaved sirloin, grilled banana peppers, hard cider braised peppers and onions, garlic aioli, and Swiss and Monterey jack cheese sauce.

I’ve never eaten at this cart before, but if you check out their Facebook page these sandwiches look amazing. They will be my stop next time I’m going through the airport.
Bourbon Burger and Drunk Philly from food cart Love & Whisky

Pok Pok Wing

Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX include Pok Pok Wing which has the Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings that Pok Pok is famous for, besides also Mantou and a Thai Curry dish Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX include Pok Pok Wing which has the Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings that Pok Pok is famous for, besides also Mantou and a Thai Curry dish
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, stop by Pok Pok instead where they offer the famous Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings, which you can get normal or spicy. You can get a half dozen in a full order, or just a half order of these fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, and tossed in caramlized Phu Quoo fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad. People wait in the cold in queue for these wings in Portland and New York, but you can have a seat inside the food court for your order with no wind or rain at all.
Pok Pok, Ike's Wings, Vietnamese Fish Sauce wings, Andy Ricker, Thai restaurant

This is one of Pok Pok’s signature dishes that even Andy Ricker admitted was the initial “food crack” that helped bring people through the door when Pok Pok first opened and helped open the door to people trying the more authentic Thai food and flavors he offers.

A special offering here is also the Mantou, or Chinese Steam Buns, which you can buy a single or multiple of. They have three to choose from: of course I got a set of 3.
Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX include Pok Pok Wing which has Mantou or steamed Chinese buns with 3 possible toppings. I got all 3.

If you haven’t had mantou before, they are very soft and simple steamed bread with flour yeast and water that is a Chinese staple.

  • Mantou Muu Waan: my favorite of the 3, this is a sweet and savory pulled pork (the Muu Waan) with fried shallots and cilanto on the steam bun
    Mantou Taohu: fried tofu glazed with wing caramel in a mantou with pickled vegetables and lettuce. For this one, I might suggest adding a dollop of the Sriracha from Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX that include Pok Pok Wing which has Mantou or steamed Chinese buns with 3 possible toppings. I got all 3.
  • Mantou Khai Jiew: my second favorite with a Thai style scrambled egg omelette (Khai Jiew) folded on top of the mantou and topped with Sriracha sauce
    Mantou Khai Jiew: my second favorite with a Thai style scrambled egg omelette (Khai Jiew) folded on top of the mantou and topped with Sriracha sauce. From Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX that include Pok Pok Wing which has Mantou or steamed Chinese buns with 3 possible toppings. I got all 3. Mantou Khai Jiew: my second favorite with a Thai style scrambled egg omelette (Khai Jiew) folded on top of the mantou and topped with Sriracha sauce. From Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX that include Pok Pok Wing which has Mantou or steamed Chinese buns with 3 possible toppings. I got all 3.
  • Mantou Taohu: fried tofu glazed with wing caramel in a mantou with pickled vegetables and lettuce. For this one, I might suggest adding a dollop of the Sriracha
    Mantou Muu Waan: my favorite of the 3, this is a sweet and savory pulled pork (the Muu Waan) with fried shallots and cilanto on the steam bun. From Food Carts PDX, the food carts available presecurity at the Portland Airport PDX that include Pok Pok Wing which has Mantou or steamed Chinese buns with 3 possible toppings. I got all 3.

Besides the wings and mantou, they also have a dish available vegetarian if you wish of Khanom Jiin Naam Yaa, a coconut curry dish with ground catfish or mushrooms over rice vermicelli noodles, a very classic Thai dish. You can wash all this down with some of the tart Som Sodas they offer (they are drinking vinegars to be prepared for the sour tartness – you can dilute with more water if you’d like), Thai Iced Tea with evaporated milk or with fresh lime juice, or Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee and Milk.

Koi Fusion

I admit I didn’t stop at Koi Fusion as I can easily get to their cart myself in Portland, but in case you haven’t seen or are not familiar with their offerings, here are some previous photos I have taken of their mix of Mexican burritos, tacos, and quesadillas that use marinated Korean meat fillings and pickled vegetables to mash up the flavors. Below you see short rib and the spicy pork tacos.

 

So, if you are traveling through the Portland airport, or picking or sending someone, think about the convenient Portland Food Carts here that are open known hours, are indoors, have a known food court seating area with tables and chairs… Ha ha or if you are picking someone up, tell them to stop here and come out with a box to go for everyone!

Are you traveling through the PDX airport or visiting the airport during this season?

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Kells Brew Pub

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to visit the Kells Brew Pub at 210 NW 21st Ave here in Portland (they also have an outpost in Seattle and San Francisco). Until that visit, I was familiar with the Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub downtown at 112 SW Second,. This is particularly thanks to Kells, if you haven’t heard of it by now, hosting of the joyous St. Patrick’s Day festival here in March, as well as year round offering of live music, fun for watching sport games, the magnetized ceiling where money up there is matched by Kells and donated to the Providence Child Center annually… I even know someone who met the woman who is now their wife and mother of their lovely children at Kells!

Recently, Kells has made some big steps forward in continuing to expand. First, a little history. After founding the first Kells Irish Pub in 1983 at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, this was followed then by in 1990 of the SW Second downtown Portland location here that I have mentioned. This is when they also helped found the now annual and famous St. Patrick’s Day festival with a double decker bus that has transported happy fans to games. After opening another branch of Kells in 1996 in San Francisco, it was then in 2012 that the Kells BrewPub on NW 21st, essentially the Nob Hill neighborhood but also so conveniently close to Providence Park, was opened.
Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland

You can read between the lines from the timeline here that the owners, Gerard McAleese and wife Lucille, have taken great care and thought with every step they take to expand while still maintaining their personality and quality. No wonder that Kells is rated the number one Irish restaurant and pub in the nation.

This year, Kells is taking a new step by opening the Kells Taproom at the Moda Center on the 3rd floor. I’m happy to see more and more local options at the Moda Center, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with a greater variety of good beer options at a location. One of the things I learned at my Kells visit was that they have expanded their lineup of beers to include a smooth Irish Stout on nitro, which I found to be very smooth chocolate, and we also had a chance to try their seasonal / last keg of a Crystal Fresh Hop.
Beers of Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland Beers of Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland

But, don’t fret if you want something other than beer. They may have some bottles of other things at their bar for you to choose from if you are parched for a shot of whiskey or other cocktail.
The impressive bottles behind the full bar at Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland

Also, did you know that the Kells Brew Pub on NW 21st has a parking lot? What a hidden perk, and particularly important I’m sure if you are bringing the family. Unlike a lot of Irish bars that are dark and a little sticky, Kells is very family friendly.
Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland has its own little mini parking lot Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st Ave, Portland

Kells would work for a date as well- they have some comfy leather couches by a roaring fire for you to warm up while having an Irish Coffee. I should also mention they have a cocktail called the Cowboy Coffee with coffee bean infused whiskey with coffee if you really need the pick me up… Or stick to innocent hot chocolate or spiced apple cider. Kells is ready to comfort you.
Warm up on the couches and by the fire at Kells on NW 21st with an Irish Coffee in hand Warm up on the couches and by the fire at Kells on NW 21st with an Irish Coffee in hand

In mid October of this year, Kells Brew Pub added Travis Star as the new head chef. As part of my visit, I was able to check out some of the classics as well as new items that have been added to the menu. Vegetarian F joined me in testing out how accommodating the menu is to many diets.
Kells Brew Pub dinner, Travis Star the new head chef, explaining some of the dishes

We started off with a first course of the Kale Salad with organic kale and greens, avocado, tomato, red onions and almonds. The garlicky dressing was quieted by the pairing of the Kells Irish Pale Ale had a dry minerality that cleansed the palate.
Kale Salad with organic kale and greens, avocado, tomato, red onions and almonds. The garlicky dressing was quieted by the pairing of the Kells Irish Pale Ale had a dry minerality that cleansed the palate at Kells Brew Pub on 210 NW 21st

For our second course, we were able to try a few items from the Wee Plates section of the menu. For the omnivore, the plate included a bacon wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese, a sample of the salmon cakes that is served with a tasty chipotle remoulade and house made pickles (I was wiping up that plate clean of the sauce with those pickles), and sample Irish Stout Meatball with Kells Irish Stout Sauce. I thought the vegetarian sampler was even better with its steamed leek wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese, a polenta cake with the chipotle remoulade and house made pickles, and a dense and moist housemade falafal fritter with tzatziki. These were all paired with the Kells Irish Lager that is tastier than any other lager I’ve had, maybe partially because of the complexity of the Weihenstephan yeast they use that also adds a creamy quality.
Kells Brew Pub dinner, an omnivore sampling of the Wee Plates included bacon wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese, salmon cakes that is served with a tasty chipotle remoulade and house made pickles, and Irish Stout Meatball with Kells Irish Stout Sauce. Paired with the Kells Irish Lager Kells Brew Pub dinner, an omnivore sampling of the Wee Plates included bacon wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese, salmon cakes that is served with a tasty chipotle remoulade and house made pickles, and Irish Stout Meatball with Kells Irish Stout Sauce Paired with the Kells Irish Lager Kells Brew Pub dinner, a vegetarian sampling of the Wee Plates included steamed leek wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese, a polenta cake with the chipotle remoulade and house made pickles, and a dense and moist housemade falafal fritter with tzatziki Paired with the Kells Irish Lager

For our main courses, it was nice to see there were some traditional Irish dishes as well as just good entrees that would fit in with any restaurant in case you don’t want to necessarily eat traditional Irish food but have the Irish beer. Irish food isn’t one that uses a lot of sauce, but the addition of it here – for instance the Veggie Pasty with seasonal vegetables baked into a puff pastry, was really upgraded by serving it over polenta with a kale coulis and tomato coulis to layer on additional flavors and textures. I liked it even better than the meat dish of the sample of the cast iron Wagyu top sirloin steak with heirloom baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, and bordelaise sauce. Seriously, we were really impressed with how vegetarian friendly Kells is.

Both these dishes was paired with the #1 selling beer of Kells… a Kells Irish Red Ale!
Veggie Pasty at Kells Brew Pub with various seasonal vegetables baked into a puff pastry over polenta and kale coulis and tomato coulis for flavor Sample of the cast iron Wagyu top sirloin steak at Kells Brew Pub with heirloom baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, and bordelaise sauce

I don’t usually like chocolate, but I was scraping the chocolate sauce after eating all the decadent truffles here. This was paired with naturally, the Kells Irish Stout, which is on nitro.
rich decadent Truffles at Kells Brew Pub paired with Kells Irish Stout on Nitro

Thank you to Kells for letting me check out the menu and sample your beers… we will definitely be back for more! Thank you to Head chef Travis Stark Pub Manager Garrett McAleese, and Head Brewer Dave Fleming as well as owners Gerard and Lucille McAleese.
Head chef Travis Stark Pub Manager Garrett McAleese, and Head Brewer Dave Fleming of Kells Brew Pub

You may have heard that Kells brewer Dave Fleming (in the flat cap above) did a collaboration beer with homebrewer Natalie Baldwin and that Boom Roaster Coffee Milk Stout won both the People’s Choice AND Judge’s Choice award at the Willamette Week Beer Pro/Am. Well, that beer is going to be served at the upcoming Holiday Ale Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square Dec 3-7, so make sure you stop by and try it!

Kell's Brew Pub on Urbanspoon

Have you ever been to Kells, either the NW 21st Brew Pub or the downtown Restaurant & Pub? Are you an Irish beer fan and will you try their beer at the Moda Center? Are you aware or going to the Holiday Ale Festival (one of my favorite beer festivals of the year because I love most of the beers they offer) and the special release beers like the winning Boom Roaster Coffee Milk Stout just for the festival, and even more limited release beers (but unlike other beer festivals, with actual times and days of release so you can plan ahead and accordingly) that are all part of the lineup?

Disclosure: This meal was complimentary, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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Ricotta Pie Recipe, or Pizza Dolce

As I was preparing my round-up of recipes for the holidays, I realized I have very few dessert recipes. That makes sense, since I don’t usually make dessert. I’m usually equally tempted by finishing off with a cheese plate instead of something from the baker at a restaurant.

This recipe provides both – cheese and a sweet treat. It is an Italian recipe called Ricotta Pie, also known as Pizza Dolce or Italian Sweet Pie. It uses ricotta mixed with sugar and eggs. It is very similar to cheesecake, but lighter. You can make the cake a little less sweet by adding the sugar a bit at a time, or also make it less eggy/more custardy if you reduce the amount of egg used.
Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate, tastes lighter than a normal cheesecake

You can serve the pie simply as is. Add a little eye pleasing detail when serving with a little dusting of powdered sugar. Or, you can add fruit – either in the mixture or you can do so on top (be it in a warmed jam form or a sauce). You could also choose to a handful of mini chocolate chips inside the mixture into the pie. You can go more savory by adding spinach, or topping the pie with tomatoes… You can use lemon flavor via lemon juice and rind, but you could just as easily have used orange flavor instead, or amaretto, or more cinnamon… and/or you can drizzle chocolate on top.

I’ve seen this pie with an actual pastry pie crust, and also seen it with a graham cracker crust. I made this for a party so for ease of serving, made it in a 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish instead of pie pans and omitted any crust at all.

There are a lot of possibilities! The version I decided to make includes whiskey, orange zest, and then topped with chocolate to finish for a Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate.
Initial layer of chocolate which melted when I grated it onto my recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate, tastes lighter than a normal cheesecake

You can make the pie the day before the refrigerate it to then serve the next day, which makes it wonderful for the holiday season to get some things out of the way to free up your kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of  ricotta (48 ounces)- you might find the best value is to purchase two 32 ounce containers of ricotta you purchase where you will use 1 1/2 of them. The other half you can enjoy spread on bread, or make some stuffed pasta shells!
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar or to taste – I only used 1 cup so it wasn’t too sweet for my palate, but I’ve seen some variations that use up to 2 cups!
  • 4 eggs. Some recipes use up to 12 eggs, so you can decide how eggy you want this.
  • 1 1/2 shots of whiskey or to taste
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/2 of a bar of chocolate (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. As it is heating up, combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well until the filling is creamy. You can do this using a mixer or hand mixer or your own awesome muscles.
  2. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan or two 10 inch pie rounds. Obviously if you wanted to use a dough first, you would have already prepared and put this down…
    Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate - poured and ready to go into the oven
  3. Bake everything at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or so – start checking 1 hour to see when the top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Because this was such a big pan, I think I ended up with 1 hour 30 minutes.
    Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate - fresh from the oven
  4. Before serving, let cool. If you’d like you can refrigerate this to serve the next day, which will help the cake set a little firmer. For my topping, I waited until the cake cooled a little bit but was still warm and then grated an initial layer of chocolate that melted.
    Initial layer of chocolate which melted when I grated it onto my recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate Initial layer of chocolate which melted when I grated it onto my recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate Initial layer of chocolate which melted when I grated it onto my recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate
    Then, later, I grated more chocolate on top when it was totally cooled so the shavings stayed intact.
    Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate, tastes lighter than a normal cheesecake
    When serving, cut into pie pieces or if using a pan like I did, into squares. You can dust with powdered sugar, or any of the various toppings I mentioned.

As I mentioned, I like how the ricotta makes this a lighter cheesecake, and that you can have so much potential for toppings, or you can add more (such as fruit or a handful of chocolate chips) into your ricotta batter into the cake itself. How do you think you would make this ricotta cake?
Recipe for Whiskey and Orange Flavored Ricotta Cheese Cake with Chocolate, tastes lighter than a normal cheesecake

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Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast

Ugh well yesterday’s commute sucked. It took 45 minutes on the Max from Work on the way back to the city to go three stops because of ice. 3 stops.

At the Beaverton Transit Center I ran to the 20 Burnside bus and was lucky enough to get a seat before it got packed to the door. It was a better choice probably then being among the hundreds I saw on the news later waiting for shuttle buses to go downtown when management decided to not run Max trains into the city. Sitting down is better than standing, but also means bring hit in the head sometimes by other commuters who are still wearing their backpacks. I definitely wanted some comfort.

This recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast serves four and is a comforting chicken dish that has crispness on the outside, moist on the inside, and can pair with any side dish so easily.

I think it’s been part of my repertoire for a long time, having learned it many years ago from home cook online (specifically Recipezaar). It is a classic by internet home cook celebrity Kittencal before there was ever food TV besides Julia Child (who was too early for me, so I didn’t watch her) but I did watch Yan Can Cook and Frugal Gourmet. Do you remember those shows? I didn’t grow up with a lot of American food cooked in my household, but when I went to college Kittencal taught me to expand outside always eating fried rice. Anyway, this recipe I’m sharing is one of the classic Kittencal recipes, with a few small adaptions.
Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta

The garlic chicken smells wonderful as it is cooking, and let me assure you this is not overly garlicky at all. But, if you’d like you can reduce the amount of garlic you use. Or increase it! The cheese on top or in the recipe could also be reduced if you’d like… but of course I would not even consider doing that myself.

Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of melted butter + a little spray or bit more butter for the pan
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided in half – one 1 teaspoon for the “wet” and another for the “dry” mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs or panko – I used panko
  • 1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Extra 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar and/or Parmesan cheese or Monterey Jack or whatever your would like cheese for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, make your butter mixture. You will combine your melted butter with the 2 tablespoons of fresh minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, you will combine the dry breadcrumbs or panko, 1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese, the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, other 1 teaspoon garlic powder and finally the ground black pepper.
    Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast, the dry mix
  3. It’s your choice whether you want to pound your my chicken breasts a bit to flatten them a bit. Or, cut your chicken breasts thinner so they will be moister. Either way, dip each chicken breast on both sides in the wet butter mixture; then in the panko dry mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. As it is heating up, butter an 11 x 7-inch pan or use a butter spray. I didn’t have a rack, but if you do consider using that as well so the bottom will be crisper. Lay out your chicken breasts in this prepared pan and bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through.
    Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast
  5. As an optional touch (but really, why would you not do this), during the last 10 minutes of cooking top your chicken breasts with extra shredded cheddar
    Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast
  6. Make sure you let it cool for 5-10 minutes before you serve!
    Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta

There are a lot of great ways to pair this chicken. One time, I had a gluten free quinoa pasta salad that I added cherry tomatoes I cut in half and also some steamed broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta.
Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast with gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and broccoli and microgreens and a touch of feta Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast

Another time, I went with a veggie pasta and was a little lighter on the cheese on the chicken, but instead of all cheddar I used more Parmesan which crisps up more in the oven. The veggie pasta you see below is mixed with popcorn shoots.
Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast Recipe for Cheddar Garlic Oven Baked Chicken Breast

This is one of the most common ways I make chicken for myself at home because I can buy many chicken breasts and freeze them, and just make one or two of these. Thr prep is fast then pop it on the oven and enjoy the aromas while going on a work call, cleaning, exercising, etc.

I show the chicken breasts whole here, but you can also slice it up to top on salad. I love fried chicken, but this gives me some crispiness but without having to deep fry or eat chicken skin. Of course it’s not as good as fried chicken skin, but it’s enough to pass muster for me.

Do you have a favorite way that you prepare chicken for your family? What was the first new way of making chicken you learned from outside your family and do you still make it?

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BlueHour Portland

I have been a fan of Bluehour because of it’s warm, modern, elegant and romantic atmosphere  in the Pearl (250 NW 13th Ave) for years. Unlike many dining rooms, they have tables that can provide a small measure of privacy because they aren’t too close together and rich ceiling to floor drapery helps divide up the space so you can feel some small amount of intimacy for your conversations and experience.
The classy and romantic atmosphere at BlueHour Portland in the Pearl District The classy and romantic atmosphere at BlueHour Portland in the Pearl District  The classy and romantic atmosphere at BlueHour Portland in the Pearl District The classy and romantic atmosphere at BlueHour Portland in the Pearl DistrictThe classy and romantic atmosphere at BlueHour Portland in the Pearl District

Usually though, I admit I pop in for happy hour. Recently, I was invited by Little Green Pickle with a group of other food bloggers to experience dinner, as well as get a little behind the scenes peek! Chef Kyo Koo welcome a few of us into his kitchen, and I was able to see the very neat and organized mise en place. I actually have lots of little saved containers similar to that for the few times I also do mise en place, which tends to be when I’m making multiple dishes or prepping but not actually cooking until the next day, and it was nice validation for me that it’s normal, and not anal.
BlueHour Portland, a visit to the kitchen with intro by chef Kyo Koo BlueHour Portland, some of the kitchen crew BlueHour Portland, some of the mise en place

Back in the kitchen, I observed the creation of a recently added seasonal salad to their menu by Sarah that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings topped with deep fried kale. I secretly admired her adorable little silicon spatula. My silicon spatula is also one of my favorite kitchen tools. You can see in the background another small group getting the VIP treatment in observing the King Crab salad I think being made?
Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures

I also felt validated that I only recently bought salad servers (specifically, these cute Talisman Designs 12-Inch Solid Beechwood Salad Set that are sourced responsibly and adorably laser etched). Most of the time (ok, all of the time), just like Sarah, I toss the salad by hand! I need to up my game by storing homemade dressing in those squeeze bottle containers though and plating them in rings like that.
Chef Kyo Koo supervises the final plating of the salad at Blue Hour Portland Chef Kyo Koo supervises the final plating of the salad at Blue Hour Portland Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings at Blue Hour Portland for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures

Isn’t that a beautiful salad? And, I loved the play of all the textures.
BlueHour Portland, Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures BlueHour Portland, Starting off by learning how to make a new seasonal salad that boasts celery root, chicory, toasted hazelnuts, apple and fried sweet potato strings for a salad that is crisp and fun with textures

Bar Manager Gigi also talked through and supervised some of my fellow blogger ladies in making a cocktail called the Templeton Abbey with with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary.
BlueHour Portland, where some lucky bloggers were taught by Bar Manager, Gigi  how to make a cocktail called TEMPLETON ABBEY with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary BlueHour Portland, where some lucky bloggers were taught by Bar Manager, Gigi  how to make a cocktail called TEMPLETON ABBEY with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary BlueHour Portland, where some lucky bloggers were taught by Bar Manager, Gigi  how to make a cocktail called TEMPLETON ABBEY with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary BlueHour Portland, where some lucky bloggers were taught by Bar Manager, Gigi  how to make a cocktail called TEMPLETON ABBEY with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary

Here is the cocktail end result of the Templeton Abbey.
BlueHour Portland, a cocktail called TEMPLETON ABBEY with templeton rye, canton ginger, lime, cucumber, and rosemary

Other amazing cocktails at our table were the beautiful Bootsy Collins with vodka, rosemary, blackberries, lime and soda and this Paper Airplane cocktail with bourbon and Campari and Amaro Nonino and lemon juice.
Gorgeous cocktail at Bluehour Portland of Bootsy Collins with vodka, rosemary, blackberries, lime and soda Gorgeous cocktail at Bluehour Portland of Bootsy Collins with vodka, rosemary, blackberries, lime and soda Gorgeous cocktail at Bluehour Portland of Paper Airplane Gorgeous cocktail at Bluehour Portland of Paper Airplane

Then it was time for our family style dinner. We started out with an amuse bouche from Chef Kyo Koo of toasted brioche with salmon and beet. Now here’s an idea that should be incorporated into any holiday party you throw- so easy to do but so classy!
BlueHour Portland, amuse bouche of grilled brioche with salmon and beets BlueHour Portland, amuse bouche of grilled brioche with salmon and beets

You know you’re at a fancy restaurant when the bread service is brought to you individually with the waiter placing a bread out for you like a bread basket maiden/mister (served with salted room temperature butter. Thank you, I hate hard butter. Also, seriously look at Frances’ sexy eyes, so gorgeously distracting from the bread service…)
Frances making sexy eyes while bread service from a basket is served with soft salted butter Bread service at Bluehour Portland

Next was an Heirloom Beet Salad with new zealand spinach, crispy shallots, nasturtium and crème fraîche. All of us raved about our love for beets. And can you get any more fancy to a salad then adding edible flowers?

Then, came a starter of Alaska King Crab with porcini mushroom, truffled amaranth, and shellfish emulsion. There needs to be more truffled amaranth in my life.
Bluehour Portland, Alaska King Crab starter with porcini mushroom, truffled amaranth, and shellfish emulsion. Bluehour Portland, Alaska King Crab starter with porcini mushroom, truffled amaranth, and shellfish emulsion. Bluehour Portland, Alaska King Crab starter with porcini mushroom, truffled amaranth, and shellfish emulsion.

Chef Kyo Koo was pretty proud of the Haiga Rice being used in the ‘risotto’ that also included wild mushrooms, pine nuts, and acorn squash. First of all, risotto is such a go to comfort food in the cold days when you want to be fancier than mac and cheese or ramen. Chef Kyo Koo then elevated it with Haiga Rice, which is a rice from Japan that has slightly more fiber than white rice but not as tough then brown rice.
Bluehour Portland and Chef Kyo Koo was pretty proud of the Haiga Rice being used in the risotto that also included wild mushrooms, pine nuts, and acorn squash

That dish was just another example of how Chef Kyo Koo likes to mash up ingredients and techniques and flavors from various influences in the world. Next was a dish of Hand cut Wheat Noodles topped with pork belly, prawns, heirloom carrots, and fermented black bean “bolognese”.
Bluehour Portland Chef Kyo Koo mixes up the cultural inspirations with Hand cut Wheat Noodles similar ramen topped with pork belly, prawns, heirloom carrots, and fermented black bean 'bolognese' Bluehour Portland Chef Kyo Koo mixes up the cultural inspirations with Hand cut Wheat Noodles similar ramen topped with pork belly, prawns, heirloom carrots, and fermented black bean 'bolognese'

For a little palate cleansing next we enjoyed Netarts Oysters on the half shell with citrus mignonette, demonstrating a timeless classic.
Netarts Oysters on the half shell with citrus mignonette at Bluehour Portland Netarts Oysters on the half shell with citrus mignonette at Bluehour Portland

I really enjoyed that little break as the next dish was the intense OMG SO GOOD, the rich and luxe entree of Smoked Duck Breast with sweet potato, savoy cabbage, and ginger sausage
Bluehour entree of Smoked Duck Breast with sweet potato, savoy cabbage, and ginger sausage Bluehour entree of Smoked Duck Breast with sweet potato, savoy cabbage, and ginger sausage

The Salmon with swiss chard, radish, pine mushrooms was perfectly cooked.
Bluehour Portland Salmon with swiss chard, radish, pine mushrooms Bluehour Portland Salmon with swiss chard, radish, pine mushrooms

And then it was time for dessert, including a Patisserie Plate (happy National Chocolate Day, which happened to fall on that day!),
Bluehour Portland Patisserie Plate, which is made of hand crafted chocolates Bluehour Portland Patisserie Plate, which is made of hand crafted chocolates

and Dark chocolate porter cake with chocolate porter sorbet and a malted vanilla bean milkshake, and Cinnamon apple gingerbread tart with gelato
BlueHour Portland Dark chocolate porter cake with chocolate porter sorbet and a malted vanilla bean milkshake Bluehour Portland dessert, Cinnamon apple brioche with gelato

Bluehour changes their menu based on whatever is fresh, so the offerings are different from a visit even in the same month with updates in the ingredients being used. For instance, the heirloom carrots in the hand cut wheat noodles get switched out for zucchini instead.

Besides ordering a la carte, your table can also choose to get the Tasting Menu, which offers 5 courses including dessert for $58 a person, which is quite a bargain for a tasting menu.

They are also offering a special Thanksgiving menu that includes choice of first course, entree, and dessert at only $50 a person, which is quite a deal given that it is a holiday and the high quality of their dishes. The options are

Bluehour Thanksgiving Special Menu

Choice of First Course

  • Foraged Mushroom Veloute with pimento dulce and parmesan
  • Field Green Salad with heirloom carrots, red radish, and pistachios
  • Little Gem Lettuce Salad with smoke salmon, buttermilk, and chives
  • Spiced Potato Sausage with horseradish, Dijon, and bitter greens
  • Butter Poached Wild Prawns with garlic, fine herbs, and toast

Choice of Entrée

  • Roasted Turkey with herbed mashed potatoes, red Russian kale, and gravy
  • Smoked Pork Loin with sunchoke bread pudding, escarole, coffee, and porcini jus
  • Prime Rib with fried fingerling potatoes, mustard greens, and shallot jus
  • Chinook Salmon with carmelized futsu squash, Brussels sprouts, and salmon caviar
  • Handmade Orzo with Dungeness crab, broccoli, and sweet cream

Choice of Dessert

  • Spiced Caramel Apple Torte with sea salt caramel, buttercream, calvados crème anglaise
  • Butternut Squash Semifreddo with maple glazed pecans and ginger-white chocolate macaroons
  • Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart with pear-brandy sherbert and hazelnut praline

What did you think of these dishes I described, is there one that really appeals to you? Have you been to Bluehour before and what did you think?

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Thank you to Little Green Pickle and Bluehour for this amazing and unique experience of the behind the scenes peek and tasting such delicious things!

Disclosure: This meal was complimentary, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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