Holidays at the Heathman with Heathman Cocktails

Now that it is Thanksgiving week, I am ready to officially declare it the holiday season. To me, that means celebrating family and friends and all the wonderful relationships you have that enrich your lives, and being thankful, appreciative, and celebratory.

You should start off by doing a little walk around Pioneer Courthouse Square and the block around Pioneer Courthouse. The gigantic Christmas tree for Portland’s outdoor living room is getting ready for the big lighting ceremony on Friday November 28 after Thanksgiving.
Christmas Tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square, 2013

Meanwhile, the various statues (I especially love the various Animals in Pools) at the Square and around the courthouse are cheerfully wearing festive holiday sweaters around Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
#UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2013: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2013: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2013: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters.
These photos are sweaters from last year and also this year, and they also change out the sweaters periodically so they may not be what you see when you visit

And you definitely have a photo op with Umbrella Man too
#UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters. #UglySweaterPDX campaign, 2014: Some of downtown’s most iconic sculptures will don their holiday finery for the season. In the Pioneer District on Southwest Yamhill and Morrison streets (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), you’ll see Animals in Pools, Allow Me (aka “Umbrella man”) and Kvinneakt dressed up in festive ugly sweaters.

Then, you should warm up with a few drinks and good company just a couple blocks away at the Heathman. I love their Tea Court Lounge with its fireplaces and sparkling chandeliers and comfy seats and no cover charge Wed- Sat evening live jazz music.

If During this time of year, they ramp it up by upgrading their regular Afternoon Tea to Holiday Tea (running Nov. 28-Jan. 4) because of extra yuletile splendor in the atmosphere. There’s also a Peter Rabbit version for the younger guests! Seatings for Holiday Tea are extended from Afternoon Tea to be available at 11:00 AM, 1:00 and 3:00 PM. Tea service is $32 per adult and $14 per child.

If you want to enjoy the Afternoon Tea Service that is one way to take in the warm atmosphere, but I prefer pampering myself with the fancy cocktails and mocktails.

I’ve shared before some of the Heathman cocktails that they unveiled in the spring and which they are still offering this season. To get the best of both worlds, consider bringing tea and cocktail together by ordering the Broadway Punch, which when I had it was called the Tea Court Lounge Punch but is fundamentally the same, crafted of Bacardi select rum, Courvoisier Vs Cognac, various citrus juices (I think Pomegranate, guava, orange & lemon juices) along with Fonte earl grey tea spiced syrup. It is served tableside right from your individual pot into a snifter of angostura foam. It can’t make you feel any more royal than this!

Heathman Cocktails, the Heathman Hotel Tea Court Lounge Punch, crafted with Bacardi select rum, Courvoisier Vs Cognac Pomegranate, guava, orange & lemon juices, Fonte earl grey tea spiced syrup, and angostura foam, it is served tableside right from your individual pot. Heathman Cocktails, the Heathman Hotel Tea Court Lounge Punch, crafted with Bacardi select rum, Courvoisier Vs Cognac Pomegranate, guava, orange & lemon juices, Fonte earl grey tea spiced syrup, and angostura foam, it is served tableside right from your individual pot.

Another beautiful presentation and tasty concoction is the Vineyard Margarita with Milagro reposado tequila, Combier d’orange, Fresh lime, organic agave nectar, Fresh rosemary, topped with a float of Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot noir.
Heathman Cocktails, the Heathman Cocktail Menu example, the gorgeous Vineyard Margarita with Milagro reposado tequila, Combier d’orange, Fresh lime,  organic agave nectar, Fresh rosemary, topped with a Float of Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot noir Heathman Hotel, Vineyard Margarita at the Heathman Cocktail Menu launch event, photo © Evrim Icoz Photography
First photo is mine, Second photo © Evrim Icoz Photography, third photo is mine

Or, go for the Bubbly Elixers like Oregon Berries & Bubbles Cocktail with New Deal Vodka, Oregon raspberry puree, lemon elixir, Argyle sparkling, or the Provence Cocktail with Grey Goose Vodka, Il Tramonto limoncello, lemon elixir, lavender bitters, Argyle sparkling. So fancy!

Heathman Cocktails, the Provence bubbly elixer cocktail with Grey Goose Vodka, Il Tramonto Limoncello,  Lemon Elixir, Lavender Bitters, ARGYLE BRUT SPARKLING "Heathman

Also still on the menu are the Luxury Spiced Vermouth Manhattan with Templeton rye whiskey, House-spice infused red vermouth, Liquid Kitchen Golden Era bitters, stirred and served up with a spirited cherry & 23k gold , Orchard Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Clear Creek Pear Brandy syrup, organic baked apple bitters, and ice sphere, and Northwest Grapefruit Negroni with House-bottled Aviation gin, Carpano antica, Campari, Combier Pamplemousse. Check out the blog of incredible photographer Aubrie LeGault at Portland Oregon Food Photographer where she also shares not only beautiful photos but also the recipe for the Orchard Old Fashioned (below I show the photo of the drink in the glass when you order it, versus the sample in the smaller glasses we sampled at a Fall Cocktail Launch event).

Heathman Cocktails. the Luxury Spiced Vermouth Manhattan with Templeton rye whiskey, House-spice infused red vermouth, Liquid Kitchen Golden Era bitters, stirred and served up with a spirited cherry & 23k gold Heathman Cocktail Menu cocktail sample of the Orchard Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Clear Creek Pear Brandy syrup, organic Baked apple Bitters, ice sphere Heathman Cocktail Menu cocktail of  Northwest Grapefruit Negroni, made with House-bottled Aviation gin, Carpano antica, Campari,  Combier Pamplemousse

There are also new items from the lady who dreamed and made real these lovely beverages, Bar Chef Kathy Casey (and queen of Liquid Kitchen). There is a new version of the 50 Shades cocktail, I believe this is version #3. This one boasts Tanqueray Gin, Fresh Tangerine, Pomegranate Juice, Lemon, and Fresh Thyme and also a small pair of handcuffs to up the sexy factor. Check out the much more sexier photos that blogger The Good Hearted Woman captured!
Heathman Cocktails: There is a new version of the 50 Shades cocktail at the Heathman Restaurant by Kathy Casey, I believe this is version #3. This one boasts Tanqueray Gin, Fresh Tangerine, Pomegranate Juice, Lemon, and Fresh Thyme and also a small pair of handcuffs to up the sexy factor

For a wonderful mocktail, consider the non alcoholic Sparkling Raspberry Rosemary Lemonade with fresh lemon, cane syrup, Oregon raspberry puree, fresh rosemary and soda bubbles. There is also a new signature on tap cocktail available, the Huckleberry Mule with Absolut Vodka, fresh lime, housemade ginger ale and topped with Liquid Kitchen huckleberry preserves. Delicious!
Heathman and Bar Chef Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen created this Huckleberry Mule with Absolut Vodka, fresh lime, housemade ginger ale and topped with Liquid Kitchen huckleberry preserves as a new option for Heathman cocktails

A new fall warmer is the Harvest Pumpkin Toddy, with bourbon, spiced pumpkin, frangelico, and the most adorable tiny macaron!
Heathman Cocktails, The Heathman and Bar Chef Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen created this Harvest Pumpkin Toddy for fall Heathman cocktails Heathman Cocktails, The Heathman and Bar Chef Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen created this Harvest Pumpkin Toddy for fall Heathman cocktails

Kathy was kind enough to share the recipe for this Harvest Pumpkin Toddy, which I hope will entice you even more. The recipe makes 1 drink.
Kathy Casey herself, Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen® Pumpkin Toddy, Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Kathy Casey, Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

Heathman Cocktails: Harvest Pumpkin Toddy Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 ounce brandy or bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Frangelico (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Spiced Pumpkin Mix (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Cinnamon stick  for garnish(optional)

Directions:

  1. Squeeze the lemon wedge into a coffee mug, cup, or heat-proof glass, then drop in the rind.
  2. Measure in the brandy, Frangelico, if using, and pumpkin mix.
  3. Now add the boiling water. Stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, if using.
Spiced Pumpkin Mix Recipe

Makes 3 cups, enough for 24 drinks

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (15-ounce) of pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whip the butter, brown sugar, and spices with an electric mixer on high speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. Add the pumpkin and continue to whip until pumpkin is totally incorporated and mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes more.
  3. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books

If you pop in for brunch, you might also consider the Portlandia Mary with Krogstad Aquavit, Spicy Mary Mix, and Pickled Garnish, the Marionberry Ramos Fizz with Tanqueray Gin, Oregon marionberries, dash of cream, orange flower water, and fizzed with soda, or the White Peach Rosemary Bellini with prosecco, white peach puree and fresh rosemary. That way, you can enjoy the cocktails crated by Kathy Casey as well as the food created by Executive Chef Michael Stanton and smooth and friendly service by the Heathman Restaurant staff! Check out some of the marvelous samples of brunch possibilities at the Heathman Restaurant by executive chef Michael Stanton I was able to nibble on to try at an Autumn Cocktail Menu Launch.
The team of the Heathman Restaurant Heathman and Bar Chef Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen created this lovely Heathman cocktail Heathman and Bar Chef Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen created this lovely Heathman cocktail Some of the marvelous samples of brunch possibilities at the Heathman Restaurant by executive chef Michael Stanton Some of the marvelous samples of brunch possibilities at the Heathman Restaurant by executive chef Michael Stanton

If you want to take a break from the kitchen on Christmas Day, the Heathman will be doing their Big Christmas Buffet with seatings at 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 4:30, 5:00 and 5:30 PM. The menu includes a huge selection of almost a dozen kinds of salads; displays of cheese, charcuterie, vegetables, and fruits and also one of seafood that includes prawns, oysters, mussels and clams, snow crab claws, various takes on salmon, and ahi tuna; carving stations of ham, prime rib, and lamb; additional entrees and sides like pork loin and petrale sole and acorn squash and potatoes dauphnoise; and oh more than a dozen types of desserts in pie, bar, cookie form and more.

Of course if you haven’t already solidified your Thanksgiving plans already, the Heathman is having a Thanksgiving Feast as well.

Have you been downtown to appreciate the holiday decorations that are going up/are up now, or been to the Heathman for the holidays yet? What cocktail would you try?

Disclosure: I attended a complimentary Fall Cocktail Launch Event at the Heathman, 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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Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes

I won’t kid myself- I know I cannot replace your own family tradition of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. However, I wanted to present another option for a comforting potato dish (inspired by a casserole by Barb Templin of Norwood MN in Taste of Home) for perhaps another winter day. This is an easy to whip up on a blustery day casserole (on the day I made this I was red cheeked and sniffly after walking through 30-50 MPH winds), and a perfect dish for a holiday potluck. It’s also vegetarian. Thus, this recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes.
Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

I was inspired when I saw the original recipe’s use of chive and onion cream cheese and cream that basically instead of topping a potato with sour cream and chives like I often like, this is all built in already.
Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

The major modification I made to the recipe is that instead of dried minced onion, I used shallots that I minced and sauteed beforehand, and also instead of the Swiss cheese that was called for I used shredded Parmesan. The recipe makes 12 servings supposedly (each serving is 3/4 cup), but who only eats 3/4 cup of potatoes?
Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of chopped shallots (or you can use onion,  or 2 tablespoons of dried minced onion, but I went with fresh shallots because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, divided: you will use 2 tablespoon with the shallots and the rest later with the potato dish
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. (the original recipe called for 1 1/2 cup of half and half, so you could also use that)
  • 1 single 8 ounce container of chive and onion cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 packages each of 20 ounce refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese. The original called for Swiss, but I used Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh chives

Directions:

  • In a large pot or dutch oven, I used 1/2 cup of diced shallots and sauteed it in probably 2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until the shallots started to become translucent..
  • Next, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. As the oven is heating, add to that pot with the sauteed shallots or onions the 8 ounce container of chive and onion cream cheese, salt, pepper together in a large pot over medium heat. Stir until the cream cheese has melted and incorporated into a gravy like sauce. Add the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and stir until blend. 
    Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes. add to the pot with the sauteed shallots or onions the cup of whipping cream, 8 ounce container of chive and onion cream cheese, salt, pepper together in a large pot over medium heat. Stir until blended and the cream cheese has melted and incorporated Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes
  • Next, add in the shredded hash brown potatoes. Stir until all the potatoes and sauce are well distributed.
    Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes
  • In a greased 13 x 9 ” baking dish, layer a third of the hash brown mixture. Then add a layer of your shredded cheese, using 2/3 cup Swiss or Parmesan cheese per layer, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the minced fresh chives. Repeat layers of potato / cheese /chives – you should still have a little bit of chives left at the end for topping after baking. At the very end, top with your two tablespoons of butter by turning the two tablespoons into lots of little dots.
    Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, layer a third of the hash brown mixture, then 2/3 cup cheese, and then minced chives times 3 Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, layer a third of the hash brown mixture, then 2/3 cup cheese, and then minced chives times 3
  • Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Then uncover the baking dish and continue baking for 10-20 minutes longer or until edges begin to brown and potatoes are heated through. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with remaining chives.
    Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

The casserole is pretty hearty and comforting, and freezes well so you can prepare well beforehand.
Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

It’s also ok to admit you totally want the crispy edge pieces!
Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

And, how convenient that I can just grab some ingredients that are already prepped (such as the cream cheese, the shredded hash browns) and just have to combine it in a pot and in a baking dish. You can make it easier by even using dried seasonings from the cabinet if you don’t want to use fresh onions or shallots) to easily put this together and into the oven so you can work on the main entree.

Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck Recipe for Chive and Onion Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck

What main dish do you think you would pair this with?

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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. Their concept is a mix of Mexican burritos, tacos, bowls, 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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