31 August 2010

Put the BBQ Away; Summer is Over

Its back to school. Registration is tomorrow. The kids will be walking down the halls in a matter of days. The rain has already begun and overnight the leaves have slowly started to turn. I can't help but get excited about neon post-its, new office supplies and pulling out the blankets. Scalding hot coffee. Stocking up on EmergenC and bleach. Running from my car to  . . . everywhere. Hello fall.

Portland likes to kick it though. We like to pretend it doesn't rain so much; like putting carts up all over the city and having outdoor venues. Amnesia is Portland's way of saying F-it. We refuse to put away our BBQ's; we will prosper, even in the rain. We will eat burgers outside in the fall, winter and on the darkest, dreariest days of spring.

We will sip on beer to keep us warm and on the sunny days we will guzzle it like its going out of style.


Burgers. Sausages. Beer. That's the menu. Take it or leave. I would suggest taking it . . . Spicy Kielbasa?

Their burger . . . makes me feel like summer may never end. So juicy. So flavorful. Especially when reminiscence of charcoal smoke stain my clothes and flood my sense of smell.

Amnesia Brewing on Urbanspoon

23 August 2010

Lucca's is Not Only For Locals

Family dinners can often be horrifically stressful a challenge. We are a low key group--or maybe we aren't lowkey, maybe we are more the opposite--high stress neurotics--one giant Seinfeld episode. And one thing we all have in common is food. Going out is something my family only does on special occasions, so any excuse to have my parents pay for my dinner, ends with me spending hours on restaurant websites scanning menus and trying to decide on the perfect meal for the occasion. 

But like I said, we are "casual group," so for my dad's 50th birthday ( wink) I decided to counter my families stress with a comforting restaurant, close to the place I will soon no longer call home. Lucca's is female owned and operated, by Portlanders who know exactly what NEP families need; an affordable Italian restaurant with a comforting atmosphere and true Italian food. They are your classic neighborhood restaurant, tucked away just far enough, that only those living in a small radius knows about them. Lucca's however is too good to only serve locals and suddenly people will be coming from near and far to dine here.

Our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable about the food and wine and automatically recognized us from our Mother's Day dinner. He convinced us to get the seasonal antipasti of peaches wrapped in prosciutto, aside crostini with creamy goat cheese. Mmmm. A sinful combination of sweet, salty and tart. 

The antipasti plate was filled with thinly cut meats, roasted garlic, cheese, pâté, olives and Italian beans. 


We then took the waiters recommendation of the Arrbiatta Pizza, with Calabrian chilies, fresh garlic and crushed tomatoes, adding the sausage and farm fresh egg. Spicy and garlicky with a nice creamy affect when dipped in the egg yolk. Their stone oven was shipped from Italy. It knows how to make pizza.
Chicken under a brick

The Taglitelle with a classic meat ragu was the perfect comfort food and paired nicely with our Chianti Classico. 

Lastly, we were treated with a complementary dessert of Profiteroles filled with homemade caramel gelato, chocolate sauce and salted toffee brittle. 

Lucca on Urbanspoon

18 August 2010

Operation Summer Countdown: Ruby Jewel Treats

Ice Cream Sandwich, $4.00

Was it just me or is summer dwindling before our very eyes? I feel like suddenly we are counting down the days until fall quickly approaches and sweaty nights, cut off shorts and fresh basil are only faint memories.

Perhaps this is because I wasted all of July being a sad puppy or maybe its because Portland's summers, although spectacular at their best, don't start until July 1st.

No matter what it is, they go to quickly and for the next two weeks, my goal is to live up summer like its never been lived.

I just couldn't resist myself when I stumbled across Ruby Jewel's new NE Mississippi store front, where you get to choose your cookie flavor and your ice cream. 

Homemade ice cream. Fresh baked cookies. Ice cream in-between cookies = deliciousness.

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Marionberry Pie Ice cream

What are you laughing at . . .?

Wait for it . . . intoxicated shirtless man imitating a baby inside. Weird.

Ruby Jewel Scoops on Urbanspoon

07 August 2010

Buon Compleanno

To everyone who wished me a happy birthday, near and far, directly and indirectly, my most gracious thoughts go out to you for making my day of birth celebration special ;)

 To celebrate we threw a small get together with my closest friends and family. The party was certainly bitter sweet as my childhood home is being sold (sale pending--could already be sold).  I've had over 20 birthday parties in this backyard and to think this could be the last . . .

But we are moving on to bigger and better things. A kitchen that serves my mother's spectacular baking skills, an island for us all to stand around and hopefully a cozy guest room for me to sleep on Christmas Eve night.

Prociutto e Melon
Caprese Skewers
Cheese and Crackers
Spinach Salad with goat cheese, pine nuts, red onion
Fettuccine with my mother's homemade bolognese sauce
Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Frosting



 Wine, Wine and more Wine . . .

03 August 2010

Let The Birthday Festivities Begin: Meriwethers.

I'm a little champagne tipsy, stuffed to the brim with dessert and I just happened to have met my future in-laws tonight, so I would say the evening was a success. The "girls" took me out for the start of my week long birthday celebration. I'm spoiled, I know.

Love you girls!
 Meriwether's outdoor patio is incredible. I can't believe I had never been and if you haven't either, I recommend you do so, and stat, before Portland's fall interrupts these calm summer nights. As soon as we sat down we were paraded with complementary champagne and then suddenly we began talking to the most adorable couple from the east coast, who were very aggressively trying to set me up with their son (who apparently is a chef!). The next thing I know I'm seeing wallet sized pictures and they are buying our bottle of wine.

My future in-laws, who also look like they could be my parents.
The outdoor garden
 We practically ordered their entire dessert menu and sampled each one, passing the plates around and around. I hope the pictures speak for themselves. They were superb. Meriwether's has a high price point, but going for dessert and a drink on their patio is a perfect way to enjoy all that they have to offer.

Fresh Fruit Shortcake
Creme Brulee
Chocolate Coffee Torte
My favorite: Limoncello  Custard Pie

Meriwether's on Urbanspoon