Archives for February 2017

Portland Dining Month 2017

I’ve written about Portland Dining month for many years. It is that one of time year where you have a month – a whole month!! some cities only get a week!! – to go out to help support local businesses AND to try lots of restaurants at a discount from what is often on their regular menu or with special limited time dishes. That’s because the Portland Dining Month menu at every participating offers a Prix Fixe $29 for 3 courses – and in some cases some restaurants throw in a little extra. Portland Dining Month 2017 falls March 1 – 31st, so it starts tomorrow.

Accanto: second course of a chilled potato leek soup Accanto: potato gnocchi, lamb bolognese, mint and pecorino Accanto: Rose panna cotta with strawberries and lambrusco
Three course dinner from Accanto in a previous Portland Dining Month year. Make your opentable reservation here

There are 125 Portland Dining Month restaurants participating, and for many you can make reservations online using OpenTable which earns you points you can use towards meals. Plus, Portland Dining Month donates money to the Oregon Food Bank for each reservation made through those OpenTable links. You can see the entire list and sort by cuisine or location here including if you want vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free options.

The $29 is as huge value for multiple restaurants where you would have normally only gotten maybe 2 of the courses, not 3 for the price. Sometimes the entree alone on the regular menu would be close to $29 already!

Park Kitchen's Chickpea fries with pumpkin ketchup Park Kitchen Milk braised pork with Your Kitchen Gardens leeks, curds and whey Park Kitchen Sticky date pudding with vanilla-rum ice cream and confit lemon
Three course dinner from Park Kitchen in a previous Portland Dining Month year. Make your opentable reservation here

All over this post are photos from meals I’ve had on Portland Dining Month to demonstrate how well you can eat for $29 as evidenced by my meals over the years (you can see the ones I ate in 2016 all recapped here in this post where I went to Clyde Common, Ataula, and Willow) – and I’m going to give you a list of my personal recommendations for this year below.

Laurelhurst Market Portland Dining Month 2015 first course of Roasted cauliflower arancini with radicchio caponata, roasted red pepper aioli and arugula Laurelhurst Market Portland Dining Month 2015 second course of Ten-hour braised beef shoulder with potato pancake, warm oyster mushroom salad and beef jus Laurelhurst Market Portland Dining Month 2015 third course of Honey panna cotta with candied fennel and fennel seed brittle
Three course dinner from Laurelhurst Market in a previous Portland Dining Month year

My main tip is to look and see what the Portland Dining Month courses are – they are set to specific dishes – and pick what interests you. You may have a choice of options for a certain course, but rarely can you just choose from anything on their regular menu so you although the restaurant’s reputation is important, make sure you want to eat what they are offering! That also means when you get seated at the restaurant, make sure you have a Portland Dining Month menu – you may have to ask the server if it is printed separately if they forget to give it to you. It also means one in your party can choose the PDM menu but not everyone has to – they can still order off the regular menu.

complimentary bread service at Aviary is wonderful as instead of just bread with butter, they offered a bagna cauda (butter, garlic, anchovies) for dipping the bread. Obviously because this has anchovies it's not vegetarian so if that's important to you, you'll have to pass on the dip. One of the two breads on the plate was an olive bread. Aviary first course of Dungeness crab chawanmushi with bone marrow, sea urchin, Asian pear, snap peas and truffle vinaigrette for Portland Dining Month 2015 Aviary first course of Miso braised beef short rib with taro root, yuzukoshō slaw, and shitake mushroom for Portland Dining Month 2015 Aviary third course of Brown Butter Cake with whipped ricotta and rhubarb and basil for Portland Dining Month 2015
Three course dinner from Aviary in a previous Portland Dining Month year. Make your opentable reservation here

My top picks for 2017 out of the 125 restaurants participating (follow me on Instagram to see which ones I go to and photos from those meals!):

  • Clyde Common. Chef Carlo Lamagna is giving you a taste of his pop-up Twisted Filipino at his regular restaurant Clyde Common, so I am pretty excited to try this Portland Dining Month special that includes
    1. First course: Pancit Bihon: Filipino stir fry-style noodle dish with an assortment of vegetables and chicken
    2. Second course: Pork Adobo: soy- and vinegar-braised pork shoulder with jasmine rice, fried egg and roasted broccoli
    3. Third course: Mamon: sponge cake with marshmallow fluff, Pandan ice cream and Grana Padano
  • If you’re looking for beer for yourself or your dining companion, Ecliptic Brewing‘s menu includes the beer pairing for every course
    • First course: Pickled gold beets, mozzarella, pistachios and parsley oil, paired with Pegasus ESB
    • Second course: Spaghetti with manila clams, house chorizo, garlic and chili, paired with Spectra Hoppy Pilsner
    • Third course: Capella Porter float with caramel ice cream
  • How about a Portland Dining month dinner that basically is all you can eat buffet? Then head towards Fogo de Chao where the three courses includes a huge salad bar, multiple side dishes on your table that they refill, and then turn your coaster to green and get meat paraded and sliced onto your plate until you cry for mercy and waddle out the door. Make your opentable reservation here and mention Dining Month when making your reservation.
    Fogo de Chão grand opening in Portland- some examples of what is at the salad bar Fogo de Chão grand opening - Linguica - cured pork sausage

    • First course: Feijoada bar with fresh salads, exotic vegetables and Fogo feijoada black bean stew, served with rice and seasonal soup
    • Second course: sides including Pão de queijo cheese bread, crispy polenta, mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas served throughout the meal
    • Third course: Continuous tableside service of a dozen types of fire-roasted meats
  • If you haven’t been to Lechon before, I love it there. If someone in your party is vegetarian, this is an excellent choice because the the empanadas are always a must order anyway, and the corn humita is one of my favorite dishes, as is the pork belly there. They have crazy good cocktails there too. Make your opentable reservation here
    1. First course (choose one): Piquillo pepper empanada with Monterey jack cheese, caramelized onions and salsa verde OR Arugula and radicchio salad with pickled rhubarb, candied hazelnuts and a sweet onion vinaigrette
      LeChon Fried Sweet Corn Empanadas with caramelized onions and fontina cheese
    2. Second course (choose one): Corn humita with salsa criolla and cilantro OR Braised pork belly with sautéed spring vegetables and an aji rocoto sauce OR Chilean tri-tip skewers in a smoky chimichurri and suspiro limeño
      LeChon Crab Mozzarella Humita with pea puree and salsa criolla LeChon Crispy Pork Belly with parsley emulsion, plums, and charred spring onions
    3. Third course: Suspiro de limeño
  • Little Bird is headed by chef Gabriel Rucker, just nominated for 2017 James Beard Award Outstanding Chef. Previously Rucker was awarded Rising Star Chef in 2011 and Best Chef Northwest in 2013. The priced listed on the menu will be $35 instead of $29, but it already includes gratuity because Little Bird is one of the Portland restaurants that is gratuity free.  Make your opentable reservation here
    1. First course (choose one): Shredded kale salad with toasted sesame seeds, pecan vinaigrette and buttermilk blue -Or- Dijon crêpe with celery root, caramelized onions and a pickled apple salad
    2. Second course (choose one): Crispy-skinned salmon with shaved brussels sprouts, acorn squash, avocado remoulade and a cranberry relish -Or- Maple-brined pork shoulder with hazelnut-celery gremolata, apple butter and crêpes noir -Or- A vegetarian option of espelette fettuccine with truffles, truffle butter and pine nuts
    3. Third course (choose one): Passionfruit panna cotta with a dulce sauce, horchata mousse and cashew crunch -Or- Sorbet duo of guava and citrus with meringue kisses

Also participating in Portland Dining Month are hot restaurants like Chesa, Departure (Opentable rez), Imperial (Opentable rez), Kachka, La Moule, Quaintrelle, Renata, St Jacks (Opentable rez), Superbite (Opentable rez), Tusk, and more. . And don’t forget to also show some love to classic Portland institutions and old favorites such as Higgins (Opentable rez), Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Paley’s Place, and Ringside Steakhouse.

Ken's Artisan Pizza, 12 inch thin crust perfection, this one is the Pomodoro Royale with tomato sauce, basil, evoo, Pecorino Romano, enjoyed here with the Aperol Spritz (with Aperol, Sparkling Wine, orange wheel) At Kachka PDX do not miss these Russian Dumplings of siberian pelmeni with beef, pork, veal and onion and also on the happy hour menu!
Pomodoro from Ken’s Artisan Pizza and dumplings from Kachka are both part of 2017 Portland Dining Month menus

So do you have a friend or co-worker that you want to hang out with? Pick a restaurant a week and make one a date night, a friend catch up night, a family night, a get to know your co-workers better night. It’s good for you, it’s good for the local economy and local businesses, and if you go to the ones that offer a donation to Oregon Food Bank, also for a good cause: it’s ALL good.

Clyde Common Portland Dining Month 2016 First course: Pork and shiitake lumpia with house sweet and sour sauce and spicy greens Clyde Common Portland Dining Month 2016 Second course: Preserved ramp butter risotto with grana padano, chili oil and chicken chicharrónes Clyde Common Portland Dining Month 2016 Third course: Local bee honey panna cotta with chèvre whipped cream, mixed berry jam and candied pine nuts

Three course dinner from Clyde Common in a previous Portland Dining Month year

Where are you thinking of going for Portland Dining Month 2017?

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Marukin Ramen Updated Menu

I’ve written about Marukin Ramen before when they first soft opened their SE Ankeny location and talked you through the difference between their ramen offerings. Since then, they have opened their second location at Pine Street Market, they’ve increased the amount of noodles to upside the hearty fullness of their bowls, as the kitchen has gotten more efficient and accurate they now offer more to choose from! Here’s a look at what’s new at Marukin Ramen.
Marukin Ramen Updated Menu Marukin vegan mapo tofu over rice, and the only once a week, 30 bowls limited edition Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi Marukin Ramen Special Ramen, available only once a week at each location and limited to about 30 bowls because of the amount of work required to create it! Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi  Marukin Ramen Updated Menu addition of vegan mapo tofu over rice

As before, Marukin overall offers 10 kinds of ramen total (get my photos and description of them here), with the Tonkotsu Shoyu and Tonkatsu Red always being available and the other 8 rotating every other day so that 4 are available on a Sun Wed Fri schedule and the other 4 available the other days. Note this important trick: really all 10 ramens are always available – the every other day rotation is reverse at the other location, so if you really want a certain ramen besides the Tonkotsu just look up which location has it that day, the SE Ankeny or the Pine Street Market.
Marukin Ramen Paitan Shio with rich chicken broth, sea salt and toppings of spinach, bamboo shoots, kikurage mushrooms leeks, green onion, chashu pork, soft boiled egg Marukin Ramen Tonkotsu Red Ramen with spicy pork bone broth, shoyu with toppings of spinach, kikurage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, leeks, green onion, chashu pork, soft boiled egg

New Scoop! Breaking News! Marukin Ramen is going to start offering a Secret Special Ramen, available only once a week at each location and limited to about 30 bowls because of the amount of work required to create it! Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi. The ramen will only be announced when it’s available on their social media, so if you don’t follow Marukin Ramen @marukinramen on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook do so now to be in the know.
Marukin Ramen Special Ramen, available only once a week at each location and limited to about 30 bowls because of the amount of work required to create it! Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi Marukin Ramen Special Ramen, available only once a week at each location and limited to about 30 bowls because of the amount of work required to create it! Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi
Their ramen is not available to go since they want to make sure the texture of the noodles and temperature of the broth are perfect – but you can get their newly added donburi, or rice bowls, to eat their or to go at home or at your work desk as applicable. Newly added are a delicious pan fried Jorinji miso pork over rice utilizing local pork and local miso. Though this is the menu now, they may decide to rotate this when the weather warms up – so get over there to get this dish now.
Marukin Ramen Updated Manu includes a new pan fried Jorinji miso pork over rice dish utilizing local pork and local miso Marukin Ramen Updated Manu includes a new pan fried Jorinji miso pork over rice dish utilizing local pork and local miso

Also perfect right now for warming you up is a hearty pork curry with rice dish and a vegan mapo tofu over rice. The pork curry is also available in a small size during their happy hour.
"Marukin Marukin Ramen Updated Menu addition of vegan mapo tofu over rice

Meanwhile in the sides section, they’ve changed out the aioli that used to accompany the chicken karaage  (Japanese style fried chicken) with a Japanese style tartar sauce.
Marukin Ramen Updated Menu, Marukin Ramen changed out the aioli that used to accompany the chicken karaage (Japanese style fried chicken) with a Japanese style tartar sauce, dish of light shredded daikon salad with ume plum vinaigrette and nukazuke, or Japanese pickled vegetables "Marukin

In addition there is now a shrimp version of the dish, ebi karaage, a deep fried tiger shrimp karaage with Japanese style tartar sauce.
Marukin Ramen Updated Menu, Ebi Karaage, a deep fried tiger shrimp karaage with Japanese style tartar sauce.

Additionally, for the gyoza, or pot stickers, that had a pork filling, there is also an option now for another kind of gyoza with pork and shrimp filling.
Marukin Ramen Gyoza, pork filled potsticker dumplings "Marukin

A light shredded daikon salad with ume plum vinaigrette and a salmon nanbanzuke, a dish of marinated salmon and pickled vegetables, are also new. Both of these latter dishes are also available on their happy hour menu 3 – 6 PM.
Marukin Ramen side (also available at happy hour) of light shredded daikon salad with ume plum vinaigrette and nukazuke, or Japanese pickled vegetables Marukin Ramen side (also available at happy hour) of light shredded daikon salad with ume plum vinaigrette Marukin Ramen side (also available at happy hour) of salmon nanbanzuke, a dish of marinated salmon and pickled vegetables and nukazuke, or Japanese pickled vegetables Marukin Ramen side (also available at happy hour) of salmon nanbanzuke, a dish of marinated salmon and pickled vegetables

Have you been to Marukin Ramen yet? What did you enjoy?
Marukin Ramen meal Marukin Ramen meal

Do any of these updates to the menu intrigue you, what would you try?
Marukin Ramen Updated Menu Marukin vegan mapo tofu over rice, and the only once a week, 30 bowls limited edition Ebi Ramen, a Rich Tiger Shrimp and chicken based broth with sea salt topped with tiger shrimp, bok choy, mushroom age-tofu mix, kikurage, and negi

Marukin Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Marukin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Raising Money for Planned Parenthood

While I can’t say I’m at all ok with the current state of our country, one thing I do have to admit is that people have really come together to rise up and do something about it instead of just complaining. There have been peaceful rallies, there have been sharing news and keeping updated on who and how to go about contacting the applicable representatives to have our voices heard, and there has been eating and drinking for a cause as the industry and the community got together in raising money for Planned Parenthood and other organizations. I’m just sharing recently three ways I was eating for Planned Parenthood and hoping you will follow along on the news or my Instagram as I think there may be repeats of these type of events in the future that I will share.

Cookie Grab 2017

In an amazing show of support. Cookie Grab 2017 aka Pussies Bake Back was announced on January 6 and within 24 hours this cookie box sale with cookies from 21 local female chefs sold out!! Each cookie box offered for $50, with 100% of proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, twenty one signature cookies from twenty one local female chefs.
In an amazing show of support. Cookie Grab 2017 was announced on January 6 and within 24 hours this cookie box sale with cookies from 21 local female chefs raised more than $25000 for Planned Parenthood. Each cookie box offered for $50, with 100% of proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, twenty one signature cookies from twenty one local female chefs. In an amazing show of support. Cookie Grab 2017 was announced on January 6 and within 24 hours this cookie box sale with cookies from 21 local female chefs raised more than $25000 for Planned Parenthood. Each cookie box offered for $50, with 100% of proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, twenty one signature cookies from twenty one local female chefs.
We raised $27,500 thanks to the wonderful generosity of

  • Ayers Creek Farms: Zea Mays Sables
  • Baker and Spice: Salty Dark Chocolate Crackle
  • Bakeshop: Sweet and Salty Cookie
  • Beast: Chocolate Matcha Coconut Macaron
  • Coquine: Smoked Almond-Salted-Caramel Chocolate Chip
  • Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery: Vegan Carrot Oatmeal Cookie
  • Dame: White Wine Olive Oil Cookie
  • Little Red’s Bakeshop: Galaxy Sugar Cookie
  • Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty: Barley Raisin Cookie
  • Mae: Brown Butter Benne Wafer
  • Maurice: Double Chocolate Korova
  • Milk Glass Market: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk
  • Miss Zumstein: Hazelnut Raspberry Thumbprint
  • Nostrana: Peace, No War and Lime Galette
  • P’s & Q’s Market: Ginger Molasses Crinkle
  • Seastar Bakery: Crunchy Coconut Cookie with Millet and Raisins
  • SweeDeeDee: Hazelnut Sandie Ginger Molasses
  • Tastebud: Green Cardamom Snickerdoodles
  • Tournant: Puffed Rice Matcha Shortbread
  • Two Tarts: Passion Fruit Creams
  • Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry: Coconut Oatmeal Cookie
    In an amazing show of support. Cookie Grab 2017 was announced on January 6 and within 24 hours this cookie box sale with cookies from 21 local female chefs raised more than $25000 for Planned Parenthood. Each cookie box offered for $50, with 100% of proceeds donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, twenty one signature cookies from twenty one local female chefs.
    Photo shamefully after only an hour or so after having the box… one bite outta everything!

Not My President’s Day Bloc(k) Party

This past Monday, for President’s Day, a $40 donation (100% goes to Planned Parenthood) netted me a passport to 9 taste bites in an indoor block party on the first floor of the Water Avenue Commerce Center in the spaces of Boke Bowl, Bunk Bar, and Water Avenue.
Lamb Jerky with spicy smoked trout relish from Hat Yai, Fried chicken steamed bun from Boke Bowl, and Victory Pies from Lauretta Jeans with handpie choice of Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Maya of Mae PDX brought the Popcorn Chicken and Hush Puppies with herby ranch, coriander honey and hot sauce and Tommy Habetz wiggled his booty while plating the Pizza Jerk contribution of Lamb Bolognose Grandma Pie for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
The bites were contributed from 9 chefs, and additionally there were beverages for purchase to make more money for Planned Parenthood that included cocktails created by Angel Teta (Ataula) and Jesse Card (Bit House Saloon). Special thanks to sponsors Altos Tequila, Union Gin, Hazelfern Cellars, Burnside Brewing, New Deal Distillery, and Clear Creek Distillery! Drink tickets were $5 per ticket or 5 for $20. Beverages included
Dirrrty South Side cocktail with Union gin, mint lime cordial, lime, and Limonota San Pellegrino for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Oh-Face Killa cocktail with Altos reposado tequila, New Deal ginger liqueur, cassis, and San Pellegrino for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party

  • Pillow Talkin’ with a Bish cocktail with Altos blanco tequila, Peach, Lime, and Salt
  • Dirrrty South Side cocktail with Union gin, mint lime cordial, lime, and Limonota San Pellegrino
  • Or order a Burnside IPA or Burnside Belgian Table Beer, and additionally can add a shot of New Deal Rye Whiskey
  • Oh-Face Killa cocktail with Altos reposado, New Deal ginger liqueur, cassis, and San Pellegrino (pairing suggestion: just drink it)
  • No News is Good News cocktail with New Deal Rye Whiskey and Sweetness (pairing suggestion: those Lauretta Jean’s pies though)
  • Hazelfern Cellars 2015 Winter Rose (they saved the very last case just for the event!)
    Hazelfern Cellars 2015 Winter Rose (they saved the very last case just for the Not My President's Day event!)

Mocktails of

  • The Morning After with orange, peach, pineapple, Clementine SanPellegrino (pairing suggestion, cuddles)
  • Drinking for Two with Earl Grey, Meyer Lemon, Prickly Pear SanPellegrino (pairing suggestion, risotto, though, yo)
  • Sober AF with Aranciata Rossa SanPellegrino with grapefruit cordial and some lovin (pairing suggestion Tusk’s drief beef is the ish)
  • Feb Fake-out with Hibiscus-grapefruit cordial, Melegrano e Arancia SanPellegrino (pairing suggestion Lovely’s Rocky Road Ahead)’

Mocktails with SanPellegrino for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party

Here’s a look at the bites and drinks I was able to sample.

  • Earl Ninsom (Langbaan, Hat Yai) brought Lamb Jerky with spicy smoked trout relish and sticky rice
    Earl Ninsom (Langbaan, Hat Yai) brought Lamb Jerky with spicy smoked trout relish and sticky rice for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Earl Ninsom (Langbaan, Hat Yai) brought Lamb Jerky with spicy smoked trout relish and sticky rice for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Patrick Fleming (Boke Bowl) with the always a crowd pleaser Fried chicken steamed bun
    Fried chicken steamed bun from Boke Bowl for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Fried chicken steamed bun from Boke Bowl for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Kate McMillen of Lauretta Jeans offered a choice of three handpies, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry. I had the chocolate one.
    Kate McMillen of Lauretta Jeans offered a choice of three handpies, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Kate McMillen of Lauretta Jeans offered a choice of three handpies, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Kate McMillen of Lauretta Jeans offered a choice of three handpies, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party Kate McMillen of Lauretta Jeans offered a choice of three handpies, Chocolate, Raspberry, and Blueberry for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Maya Lovelace (Mae) brought Popcorn Chicken and Hush Puppies with herby ranch, coriander honey and hot sauce
    Maya of Mae PDX brought the Popcorn Chicken and Hush Puppies with herby ranch, coriander honey and hot sauce for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Tommy Habetz (Pizza Jerk) wiggled his booty while plating the Pizza Jerk contribution of Lamb Bolognose Grandma Pie
    Tommy Habetz wiggled his booty while plating the Pizza Jerk contribution of Lamb Bolognose Grandma Pie for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Sam Smith (Tusk) created Basturma with air dried beef, fenugreek, paprika, chevre and dukkah
    Sam Smith (Tusk) created Basturma with air dried beef, fenugreek, paprika, chevre and dukkah for the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party
  • Water Avenue Chef de Cuisine Ryan Kennedy offered this rich and super tasty risotto with winter carrot and Parmesan foam
    For the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party, Water Avenue Chef de Cuisine Ryan Kennedy offered this rich and super tasty risotto with winter carrot and Parmesan foam
  • Greg & Gabi Denton (Ox, SuperBite) crafted a habanero “head” cheese, really terrific speck ham, and hugely maple cotton candy.
    For the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party, one of the bites by Greg and Gabi Denton of Ox and Superbite with habanero 'head' cheese, really terrific speck ham, and hugely maple cotton candy.
  • Rocky Road Ahead ice cream on a cone from Sarah Minnick (Lovely’s Fifty Fifty) was the perfect end
    For the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party, one of the bites by Rocky Road Ahead ice cream on a cone from Sarah Minnick of Lovely's 50-50.

Passport complete! With the food passport alone this block party raised $10,000 for Planned Parenthood, plus additional for beverage sales.
For the Not My President's Day Bloc(k) Party, $40 with 100% of proceeds towards Planned Parenthood netted you 10 bites from 10 chefs

Fusspot Cincinnati Chili Fundraiser

Fusspot Chicken, usually known for their once a month offering of fried chicken, went back to their roots and memories of mom making her own chili. They offered the Cincinnati Chili all ways – Two Way just with the meat slurry over spaghetti, Three Way which adds cheese, Four Way which adds raw chopped onion, Four Way Bean where you swap it to be a spaghetti cheese bean mix instead of spaghetti cheese onion mix, and the Five Way with spaghetti, cheese, onion, and beans. In this case, beans are a topping, not in the chili itself – and exactly how I love it as I prefer beanless chili.
Fusspot Chicken, usually known for their once a month offering of fried chicken, went back to their roots and memories of mom making her own chili. They offered the Cincinnati Chili all ways - Two Way just with the meat slurry over spaghetti, Three Way which adds cheese, Four Way which adds raw chopped onion, Four Way Bean where you swap it to be a spaghetti cheese bean mix instead of spaghetti cheese onion mix Fusspot Chicken, usually known for their once a month offering of fried chicken, went back to their roots and memories of mom making her own chili. They offered the Cincinnati Chili all ways - Two Way just with the meat slurry over spaghetti, Three Way which adds cheese, Four Way which adds raw chopped onion, Four Way Bean where you swap it to be a spaghetti cheese bean mix instead of spaghetti cheese onion mix

You could also order your chili topped on a hot dog instead, either Coney with just the chili and optionally brown or yellow mustard and onions, or the Cheesy Coney that includes a healthy helping of cheese.
Fusspot Chicken, usually known for their once a month offering of fried chicken, went back to their roots and memories of mom making her own chili. They offered the Cincinnati Chili all ways as well as a Coney Dog and a Cheesy Coney with chili and optionally brown or yellow mustard and onions and topped with lots of cheese

All the proceeds of the Cincinnati Chili Fundraiser by Fusspot went to Planned Parenthood, including any beverage sale- thank you for sharing memories of your mom and her chili and sharing your chili while also helping to support women’s health and rights.

 

THANK YOU to all the participants of all these fundraisers for helping raise visibility and helping create an event that not only helps raise money, but also is a space for all of us who care about the cause to be able to show our support together and be a community and feel there is some hope and a way forward no matter what.

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Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku

I’ve written about Nodoguro multiple times, so instead of repeating myself explaining Nodoguro I’m going to just jump straight to the recap of the courses on my visit for the Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku themed dinner.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku place setting Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku place setting

If you haven’t heard of Princess Mononoke before, this year is the 20th anniversary of the release of this Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki film (Totoro, Spirited Away, so much more). The movie is a bit more scary then the others as it has more violence and frightening images as part of its story of the conflict between human progress (represented by Irontown, a town of outcasts and oppressed minorities led by a woman, representing breaking out of traditions) vs San (a girl raised by wolves and representing nature and its ancient spirits, so the princess of spirits of the title as mononoke means monster/spirit). It’s a great movie that shows the good and bad that exist for both sides in the conflict of new and old ways.

The theme was present in the Nodoguro atmosphere in an understated way with a painting of the mask of Princess Mononoke (created by Elena’s father), a little bit of white fur as a nod to Princess Mononoke’s wolf mother, and the little white figures of Kodama, the tree spirits of a healthy forest (crafted by Elena and her daughter) in a terrarium and on the counters.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku decor  Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku decor

I can totally imagine one day in the future a whole room that is a gallery of the various art Elena’s father creates for the theme each time and a copy of all the menus and the little centerpieces and photos of setups from the tables. Of course there should be a coffee table book to go along with the exhibit.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku dinner place setting Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku place setting Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku decor Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku decor

First: Ohitashi

Ohitashi is basically a boiled green salad. Ryan’s version here is with mustard greens splashed with ginger dashi, poached eggplant, and wonderful slices of cod smoked over cherry wood. It sounds simple but the flavors were bold and great individually or in combination together. Ryan always has a great way of cooking eggplant that makes it so meaty,, and the smoke and wood always comes through clearly in anything he smokes. The smokiness here reminded me of how in the Princess Mononoke movie in Irontown there is a lot of smoke as part of their iron forging.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku: Ohitashi is basically a boiled green salad. Ryan's version here is with mustard greens splashed with ginger dashi, poached eggplant, and wonderful slices of cod smoked over cherry wood. It sounds simple but the flavors were bold and great individually or in combination together. Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku: Ohitashi is basically a boiled green salad. Ryan's version here is with mustard greens splashed with ginger dashi, poached eggplant, and wonderful slices of cod smoked over cherry wood. It sounds simple but the flavors were bold and great individually or in combination together.

Second: Squash Soup

Acorn squash soup and mushroom with young Kyoto saikyo miso, Japanese turnip greens. I really enjoyed how this soup was comforting without being heavy and is definitely tasty, unlike the soup in the movie that one character accuses a villager asking whether it is soup or water.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Second Course: Acorn squash soup and mushroom with young Kyoto saikyo miso, Japanese turnip greens Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Second Course: Acorn squash soup and mushroom with young Kyoto saikyo miso, Japanese turnip greens Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Second Course: Acorn squash soup and mushroom with young Kyoto saikyo miso, Japanese turnip greens Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Second Course: Acorn squash soup and mushroom with young Kyoto saikyo miso, Japanese turnip greens

Third: Sashimi

Yellowtail, ume (sort of like a Japanese apricot or plum) and shiso. An interesting tidbit I learned from Elena was she described the Yellowtail here as “teenage”, and apparently depending on the age of the yellowtail, there are different names for the fish, varying from the younger hamachi to older buri. December – March is peak season for Yellowtail.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Third Course: Yellowtail, ume, and shiso

Four: Daikon with yuzu

Daikon cooked in rice water with Canadian Prawn and fermented yuzu skin and Japanese Parsley. Ryan explained that while on a recent trip to Japan with Elena he read in a bookstore how in ancient cooking the Japanese used to cook leftover Daikon in rice water. So he tried it side by side his regular method and rice water and now this is his new old way of cooking it and is the best daikon I’ve ever had.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Fourth Course: Daikon cooked in rice water with Canadian Prawn and fermented yuzu skin and Japanese Parsley Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Fourth Course: Daikon cooked in rice water with Canadian Prawn and fermented yuzu skin and Japanese Parsley

Five: Grilled Mackerel

Grilled salt cured Mackerel, lightly toasted soy sauce, ginger blossom. I would find this satisfying just on top of plain rice for a meal.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course Five: Grilled salt cured Mackerel, lightly toasted soy sauce, ginger blossom

Six: Porridge

Japanese barley made into a Porridge with 7 year aged Miso, grilled leek, and toasted walnut. It may not be the most beautiful dish of the night, but this was my favorite in terms of flavors and textures and was something I wish I could eat everyday. This is the dish most literally lifted from the Princess Mononoke film, as there is a scene where a character makes porridge for the hero
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course Six: Japanese barley made into a Porridge with 7 year aged Miso, grilled leek, and toasted walnut.

Seven: Egg and Sunchoke Salad

Egg custard, sunchoke chips, bit of a waasabi and topped with ikura and pea shoots. My other favorite in terms of flavors and textures with the creamy chawanamushi style egg and crispy sunchoke chips and the grassiness of the pea shoots and surprise bursts of the ikura fish eggs.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course Seven: Egg and Sunchoke Salad

Eight: Nikujaga

Nikujaga, usually a traditional homemade beef and potato stew, here reinterpreted by Ryan with with egg yolk, beef tongue, and grilled onion
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 8: Nikujaga, usually a traditional homemade beef potato stew, here reinterpreted by Ryan with with egg yolk, beef tongue, and grilled onion Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 8: Nikujaga, usually a traditional homemade beef potato stew, here reinterpreted by Ryan with with egg yolk, beef tongue, and grilled onion

Nine: Salad

Shiitake, turnip, and seaweed with carrots salad, a nice acidic palate cleansing sunomono served in this cool bowl that I hope to see with uni in it one day
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 9: Shiitake, turnip, and seaweed salad Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 9: Shiitake, turnip, and seaweed salad

Ten: Rice for Gold

Rice for Gold dish is a nod to a scene in the movie where the hero Ashitaka is traveling and tries to buy rice with a gold nugget, but the villager doesn’t recognize the gold as money and causes Ashitaka to be introduced to another major character in the movie. Here, this rice really does seem luxe and worth gold, it is topped with a healthy portion of locally harvested Dungeness Crab, Wasabi, and Mitsuba. The crab you tasted was fresh, there was a a nice hint of sea and delicate softness and highlighted sweetness from the rice. Ryan has a magic way with rice.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 10, Rice for Gold dish, with locally harvested Dungeness Crab, Wasabi, Mitsuba

Eleven: Miso Soup

Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 11: Miso Soup

Twelve: Tamago

Dashimaki tamago. How does Ryan even get simple egg to be so much better than tamago anywhere else in the US is mysterious… This sweet egg, here a bit milder with dashi, is always the transition to dessert and makes me a little sad to see dinner already coming to an end.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 12: Dashimaki tamago Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Course 12: Dashimaki tamago

Thirteen: Dessert

Dark forest chocolate – chocolate custard with a sour cherry sauce, chocolate sugar with mint to set the scene to symbolize the return of the growth of nature to land, Served with hand roasted from leaves hojicha tea.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku Dessert course of Dark forest chocolate - chocolate custard with a sour cherry sauce, chocolate sugar with mint served with hand roasted hojicha tea

Every time I dine here I think how lucky I am to be able to enjoy this in my current hometown (Love you Portland!!!) and how there’s nothing else like it that I’ve experienced in the world. Even though I’ve gone to Nodoguro many times it’s always wonderful in a new way that will keep me coming back.

The tickets always sell out fast, and the best advice is to be on their mailing list for one day notice before they sell the reservations online (always on a Thursday) and follow them on social media to stay in the loop as well. Sometimes they have cancellations and you will see Nodoguro post they have an opening, so even if they are sold out for the next month, you may still have a chance to get in.

Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku the team of Ryan and Elena during dinner service Nodoguro Ryan Roadhouse preparing the sashimi course

The Sousaku themes change about every 90 days – the next one is themed around Yayoi Kusama, who you may recognize from her trademark use of polka dots in her art as her way to make you as a viewer feel infinity (are they atoms? Are they stars? How incredible is it that she make simple dots deconstruct space and especially in her later works, you the viewer). She is also known as “The Polka Dot Princess” and her exhibit Infinity Mirrors is coming to Seattle Art Museum this summer (June 30–September 10, 2017).

Previously (going backwards in time) before this Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku dinner…

Have you been to Nodoguro, what did you think? What did you think of this Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku theme, what theme would you like to see Nodoguro do for a future dinner?

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Spring Stitch Fix Box Review Feb 2017

I’ve changed the frequency of my Stitch Fix boxes to be quarterly or so, to be timed for seasons. It’s one of the great things about Stitch Fix – besides having your stylist put together clothes for you, you get to pick what you want, and you decide when you want it. Here’s my Spring Stitch Fix Box Review for the box February 2017.

If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix before, Stitch Fix is a styling subscription service personalized for you. You go online and they ask you questions about your preferences in style and price points. You can put together a Pinterest board of outfit  inspirations, and you can also include notes before the box is put together on what you would like. Then, based on all that, a stylist will pick out 5 pieces to ship to you that are mailed to your home for your consideration. You choose what you want to keep, and give feedback on why you liked or are returning the pieces you didn’t like so they can better improve knowing your style.

As you can see from this box, my stylist fulfilled my ask of looking for more tops that I can wear over leggings since I’ve recently become addicted to them rather then putting on jeans or pants, as well as adding some pops of color for spring.

I am not sponsored or paid in anyway to share this box:I just really enjoy how the service provides me great clothing statement pieces that I always get compliments on and are unique instead of what everyone can find at the same stores locally.

Rune Porter Leggings
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Rune Porter Leggings
I have to admit, the Rune Porter Leggings looked good on my butt. But, I already have several pairs of black leggings, and couldn’t rationalize having yet another. So I returned these. But, they were great in that they were thick enough to hide any underwear lines and had some up and lift. Since I tend to wear tunics that cover my butt though, that magic wouldn’t be appreciated by anyone anyway, but could be for those of you who might wear shorter tops with your leggings.

Alice Blue Kameron Embroidery Detail Tunic
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Alice Blue Kameron Embroidery Detail Tunic
The Alice Blue Kameron Embroidery Detail Tunic was too snug by my butt so based on the fit alone, I was sending it back. I also tend to if there are details to like it more on my upper body then my lower body as I don’t like drawing attention to my midsection, so that was another strike against it. I definitely did like the ideas of styling the tunic, but the third strike for this was when I saw it was already quite wrinkled when I removed it from the box. I am always thinking about how much care I need to have for a garment – if I have to be steaming or ironing it, that’s extra work I usually don’t want to do.
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Alice Blue Kameron Embroidery Detail Tunic Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Alice Blue Kameron Embroidery Detail Tunic

Market & Spruce Barty Henley Tunic
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Market & Spruce Barty Henley Tunic
The Market & Spruce Barty Henley Tunic is this gorgeous jewel color that the photos just don’t do justice to and I think is very on trend this season since magentas and pinks are coming back. I also love these type of shirts that I can wear as long sleeves but also have a clasp so I can roll it up to turn them into 3/4 shorter sleeves. The buttons are pretty and I like how they are along the front and by the end of the sleeves (whether styling the sleeves long or short). I can unbutton this shirt in the front a bit to show a tank top too. I kept this shirt.
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Market & Spruce Barty Henley Tunic

Crescent Amparo Tie Neck Tunic
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Crescent Amparo Tie Neck Tunic
This Crescent Amparo Tie Neck Tunic is a great length for leggings, I love the pattern and that’s it’s flowy and has the little edge detail along the bottom and sleeves. It’s great for layering but also lightweight that I could pull it off in early summer too. I kept this piece.
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Crescent Amparo Tie Neck Tunic Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Crescent Amparo Tie Neck Tunic

Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress
This Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress gave me a little pause because it’s long (curse being 5’2″!) and would probably require me wearing heels. But, I love how easy it is and the balance of the more fitted top with a loose skirt that makes me feel a bit princessy. The fact that the pattern is unique but feels timeless also was in its favor. Usually with these wrap tops and my smaller chest, I am trying to pin or wear tank tops underneath to avoid overexposure of skin, but not with this top- it’s stretchy and stays flat against me instead of gapping. Win! I kept this piece.
Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress Stitch Fix box for February 2017, Gilli Ryland Maxi Dress

Where do you like to get your clothes from? Are there any certain fashion trends that you love or are looking forward to this year? I’m curious to see if shirts with feminist sayings printed on them are going to take off and what the sayings will be, and if I can find more than one outfit to use my black corset belt…

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