30 July 2010

Freaky Friday

Italians are extremely superstitious. I'm half Italian, so I'm half superstitious and half practical. For the past two nights I've had the most lucid dreams and neither one makes any sense--a starving baby, nakedness and a drowning cruise ship . . . I've played them over and over in my head and all I can figure out is that they are just weird and creepy. I'm torn between trying to find the meaning and just saying the hell with it, it's probably just because of this Inception talk.

So to take my mind off my bad dreams, I've daydreaming of my Mangia kitchen. I hope everyone has a great weekend!


All pictures found on The Kitchen

28 July 2010

The Night We Drank Port and Ate Chocolate Cake

Blueberry Shortcake and Chocolate Cobbler, $7.00 each

Last Sunday, after a day out under the sun, we showered, put on our Sunday best and went for happy hour at Basta's followed by dessert and port at Serrattos. I'm not posting about Basta's because their happy hour is still under Mangia investigation. The time before last happy hour was delicious and I was astonished by their burger and anti-pasta plate, but this time around, the burger was over salted, the risotto under salted and the spaghetti only mediocre. Its funny how with wonderful people, even bad food can taste pleasant though.

Apparently I am on a happy hour binge; Saturday I had happy hour at Serratto as well, so we went back Sunday for dessert. I must say this restaurant goes quite overlooked, especially for their happy hour (which I'll post about soon). The restaurant is huge and gorgeous with rustic, blue Italian chairs, large wood tables and large windows looking out onto NW 21st. Their outdoor seating is perfect for people watching, but its also nice because its on the quieter end of 21st.

As I said, for this outing we went for port and dessert. Their dessert menu changes daily and on this Sunday they offered a Blueberry Shortcake, with a blueberry sauce, fresh shortcake and creme chantilly (a fancy word for whipped cream, I'm only copying their prestige). The shortcake was moist with a hint a salt and a sprinkling of sugar on top.

We also ordered the Chocolate Cobbler. Why they called it a cobbler I do not know; perhaps for the same reason they called whipped cream, cream chantilly on the menu. The Chocolate Cobbler tasted like hot molten lava cake, minus the hot fudge in the middle. It was delicious and the richness complimented by the homemade vanilla bean gelato.  

Serratto on Urbanspoon

23 July 2010

Some Like it Hot and Spicy: Eat; An Oyster bar

Jumping for Cajun joy!
Shrimp Etouffee, $10.00
I don’t like oysters, except for in clam chowder, oh wait those are clams; so I guess I don’t like oysters unless they’re in an oyster bar, where I can get something else. I don’t like oysters; Oysters have the texture of phlegm. Sorry, I know that isn’t all that appetizing, but I had to put it out there. It’s ok if you like oysters, I know lots of people who do, I’m just not one of them.
 Eat: An Oyster Bar, has plenty to offer besides oysters. Their southern Creole menu is small, but their dishes pack heat. I ordered the Shrimp Etouffee—a southern stew made with spicy as hell tomato roux, shrimp and tons of cayenne pepper, smothered over a bed of white rice. It’s delicious with succulent shrimp, but be aware, hot, hot, hot.
They offer your classic Cajun dishes; Po Boys, Jambalaya, Seafood Gumbo, BBQ Shrimp, Frog Legs, Blackened Catfish and a Whiskey Bread Pudding. Oh and did I mention they serve oysters . . . and that oysters feel like swallowing your own congestion.

 Eat’s décor is eclectic southern with a N. Williams feel, mix matched kitchen chairs and a fun southern waiter, who thought the Shrimp Etouffee was spicy, but failed to say it’s SPICY!!!! I loved the atmosphere here and can’t wait to go back for a drink and some more hotness.
Baked Oysters: I hear when they are baked the texture changes, but I'm too scared
Shrimp Etouffee
Po Boy

EaT: An Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

22 July 2010

Let Be and Be Free: Eat McDonald's Breakfast

As Monica wrote, this morning was "just one of dem days." I slept horribly and thought my new neighbors were blaring their TV until the wee hours of the morning, all to find out, I had left my TV on; which really kills me, since I could have slept well had I just turned off my TV. On top of that, last night was some cosmic oddety  with a moon, straight  from Moonstruck, that was shining through my window all night--tricking me into thinking I had to get up every few hours.

The neurotic sleep didn't help matters when I got out of bed, drowned in my coffee, which I clumsily doubled with sugar and suddenly found myself on Facebook when I was just trying to check the weather. Late again, I stumbled into work without breakfast, to find two teens straddling each other. Not the best visual before 9:00 am. Luckily I had grabbed a packet of oatmeal before flying out the door--which I then somehow managed to burn. I burned oatmeal people. How is this even possible?? So the heck with it, I'm sitting at my desk, giving advice to another student on high school boys (could dating in high school be worse then dating in your 20's?) and eating an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's and thinking, I regret not splurging for the hash browns , but life's not that bad: McDonald's really does make everything better.

19 July 2010

Around the World in Thirty Minutes

N. Greeley Food Carts
 Portland has clearly gone cart crazy—we are off the deep end, obsessed with food carts and these little clusters are popping up on every empty lot. This of course is a major plus for me because I’m cheap.

In my first visitation to the N. Greeley carts, my friend and guest photographer, Barbi Farney and I went to Thailand, Venezuela and Guam. We were very tired upon our return to work. This cart gathering began about 4 months ago and quickly grew to 15 carts. It is quite a nice bunch, with a good array of countries and also a quaint seating area in the middle—something you miss out on during downtown's cartlands. Eating while standing is something I try to avoid.

We began with Pineapple Fried Rice from Sila Thai ($5.50). The rice was brilliantly flavorful and moist, with large pineapple chunks, cashews, carrots and onions. This fried rice was no joke and the serving was HUGE.

Next we ventured to Caraquena, where cart owner Michelle recently moved from her SW 5th and Oak location. Here we experienced the Plate of the Day, featuring a maple beef arepa, sweet chili pork empanada with house cabbage, rice, molasses black beans and a house salad ($7.00). The maple beef arepa was incredibility rich and tender. I could have eaten 5 more.

 We then stopped over to PDX 671, for some Guam cuisine . . . it’s not every day Portland Guam fusion hits the stage. There we sampled their Kelaguen Mannok ($5.75)—tiny chopped chicken, mixed with lemon, grated coconut, peppers and onions, served alongside Titiyas or Chamorro Flatbread; grilled, coconut flavored flat bread. The chicken is very smokey and the flatbread sweet and light. The combination makes for the perfect pairing.

Lastly we grabbed a corn on the cob from Starsky and Husk, oh and an ice cream cone from Scoop. Both delicious.

13 July 2010

Oui, Oui

Fruit Tartlet, $3.75
 I’m on a me kick. This entails a Facebook hiatus, yoga, lots of daydreaming about Paris and the French countryside, a New York Times Bestseller, writing and as much park and Ipod time as possible. I had a dream I was in Paris the other night . . . then I listened to French music and coincidentally enough I posted on my Facebook—pre hiatus—that I wanted to go in September. You won’t guess what happened next, suddenly I found myself in front of Petit Provence. So I took it all as one big sign that I must have a Fruit Tartlet and guess what? I was right; I was supposed to have a tartlet.

La Petite Provence gives the Oregonian the perfect boulangerie fix and for a reasonable fair. Their breakfasts are large and rich and their homemade pastries are out of this world, or at least out of the states. Allow me to digress; I have trouble making decisions. I spent over 30 minutes in Powell’s today deciding which color August to August day planner to buy. I am that crazy woman walking back and forth, away for a moment and then back again, pacing the shelves, trying to make a simple decision. I almost always walk away feeling regretful.

So you can imagine my dismay tonight when the dessert choices at La Petit Provence were endless. Finally, with a little guidance I choose the Fruit Tartlet. I did not regret. I ate each bite slowly, savoring the plump blueberries, sweet strawberries and custard filling; adoring the gelatin over glaze and buttery crust. I even licked my fingers clean of the last few crumbs on my plate.

If for anything else, maybe you’re gluten free or something (I’m getting annoyed of you people), go to Le Petite Provence so that you can sit in their beautiful boulangerie, which they’ve clearly spent tons renovating. Sit next to the open windows and forget you are on the most gentrified street in Portland. Forget you have work tomorrow, that you spilled wax all over your tile floors and that you have 3lbs to lose. Sit, breathe and eat pastries. 

Petite Provence on Urbanspoon

04 July 2010

Forget Taco Bell

Al Pastor Taco, $1.25
The only way to end a night of drunken messiness is with a hardy meal, before passing out makeup and all. For awhile this meant weekend trips to the McDonald’s walk up window and then driving a cab through Taco Bell--which was obnoxiously expensive--but anything to get your fix. Dante’s Pizza is of course in there plenty of times and I often stay away from VooDoo Doughnut because of that story I told you about where I ate an entire bucket of doughnuts. A new found favorite was just discovered and if you knew about this and didn’t tell me, I officially dislike you.

I might be super late on this one, but I was introduced to Taqueria Las Piedritas, on NW 4th and Davis St. Friday night. Taqueria Las Piedritas: a lone midnight taco cart, serving a short menu of classic Mexican, including fresh tacos with homemade corn tortillas for $1.25 and massive burritos for $4.50. Why have we been supporting Taco Bell when this place existed? I’m ashamed. The Al Pastor Tacos were incredible and the homemade tortillas were so fresh. You don't even need to feel guilty, because unlike the Tachos I inhaled  last night this midnight snack is fresh fresh fresh! See you there tonight?

01 July 2010

Food Cart Frenzie

Summer To Do List
  • Drink champagne for no reason at all
  • Read in the park
  • Eat raspberries, cherries and nectarines
  • Buy a Digital SLR camera for you ;)
  • Eat from a new food cart every week

Khao Man Gai, $6
 Her name is Nong and she serves traditional Thai street food. Apparently the streets of Bangkok are filled with venders selling Khao Man Gai (rice and chicken). Don’t be fooled by its simplistic appearance—Khao Man Gai is some serious cart food. Nong poaches a whole chicken and then with its carcass creates a Thai seasoned broth in which to cook the rice. The meal is complimented with Pungeon sauce: pureed soy beans, ginger, garlic, chilies, vinegar and dash of sugar. It’s served with few sprigs of cilantro, slices of cucumber and a small bowl of light, lemony soup to balance out the meal.


This little cart on SW 10th and Alder creates quite the stir, with constant lines, even aside from lunch rush hour. Her one item menu has even been recognized by Gourmet.com and the Oregonian votes it in the top 8 of carts. If you haven’t yet explored the SW carts, this is a perfect place to start.