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Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekend in Portland, Oregon

It's pretty sad that this is my first really blog post about the city that I grew up in (or at least spent my high school years). So I've decided to give Portland, Oregon, a little love and tell you about my fantastic week wandering its streets while I was home for the holiday break.

First stop on the tour is Pine State Biscuits. Some of you may know it from Guy Fieri's Food Network show where he insisted that this place has one of the best biscuits around. So I decided to test it.

The famous thing to order here is the Reggie which is a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, bacon and cheese smothered in gravy. Take it to another level and get the Reggie Deluxe and they add an egg to the sandwich which is exactly what we did.

As a biscuit connoisseur I felt it only fair that I had to taste the biscuits on their merits alone so I also ordered a plate of biscuits with jam and butter honey. And to top off the order we got the BBQ Biscuit for a little lunchtime flair which is Podnah’s pulled pork with Carolina style BBQ sauce topped with slaw (you can get it as a sandwich or as a plate - I recommend the plate).

My verdict? The Reggie was a monster and when eaten all together was definitely very good, although I could feel my arteries harden as it made its way to my stomach. My main con was the fried chicken that seemed to be more bread than chicken. The pulled pork and slaw of the BBQ Biscuit was incredible - some of the best pork I've had. And lastly, there is the biscuit itself, which sadly was not the best I've ever had. I'd made rank it #3 after John O'Groats in Los Angeles and my grandmother's homemade biscuits.

As far as the restaurant, it is TINY and very lively on a weekend morning for brunch. However, by the time your food comes you can usually find a table and there were four of us. As with most Oregon establishments everyone is extremely friendly and the place exudes a neighborhood feel as if everyone has been pals forever. I would definitely go back, especially for the hash-browns, which I completely forgot to order and which looked amazing!

Now, I'm going to fast forward to nighttime locales that I hit up while home. These are in no particular order...

Voodoo Donuts
A solid late night food stop, Voodoo Donuts exemplifies everything I love about Portland. They just love to dance right on the line! Choose from a dozen different types of CRAZY donuts that incorporate everything from Cap n' Crunch to multi-colored frosting. Or if you are feeling particularly crazy...or drunk...order the Cock n' Balls. Yup I said it. And not only that I took a picture for you. While you may feel a little strange eating this uniquely-shaped donut, I can tell you that it is one of the best donuts I have ever had. And for those who love a little has a cream filling. Hope you're laughing as hard as I was!

Doug Fir
This is one of the coolest looking bars I've ever been in. It's like drinking inside of a tree. One of the bars is made of cut logs, they have an awesome outdoor area and the lighting feels like Christmas. It is pretty easy to get drinks because it is a large, winding place and the atmosphere is like a chill house party. Check. It. Out.

Photo Credit :

Usually I'm down for a good hipster bar but this one made me feel inadequate. Our fratty group wandered in late night and within seconds we'd managed to send all the hipsters away glaring in annoyance. This place apparently has multiple levels but it was the holidays so we were confined to the bottom floor. I had a Guiness which was really watery. If you are super earthy you will probably love this place. It was a little weird for me but the people watching was excellent before they all left.


This place is so badass I can't even find a website for it so I'm giving you the address: 18 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209. It is literally built like a metal trailer park trailer / underground subway tube. AWESOME. The crowd is the most eclectic gathering of people I've ever seen from hipsters to frat boys to ethnic to the upscale dressed. Everyone was having a GREAT time and the beers were $3.00. LOVE THIS PLACE. The DJ was playing amazing hiphop/trance/dance music so everyone got a song they liked. The bathroom is a little terrifying but it's all part of the experience. Definitely make this a stop on your trip.

Photo Credit:

Welcome to Portland's Oldest Restaurant, established in 1879. Welcome to Portland's best alcoholic Spanish coffee. Made with Kahlua, Bacardi 151, Bols triple sec and coffee, it is then topped with fresh whipped cream and nutmeg. The best part? There is a whole ritual to making it, done table-side, complete with hand tricks and flames. Better be ready because this sucker is STRONG. You will be pursing your lips in between each sip.

Personally I went for the Shakespeare which looks like a hot chocolate with Grand Marnier, Baileys, Nocello & coffee served in a cinnamon rimmed glass topped with whipping cream & shaved chocolate. A lot harder to taste the alcohol, which I prefer, but still has a solid kick.

The bar itself is very speakeasy-esk with padded booths, coat racks, low lighting and a polished bar. It's a little loungey for me; I prefer to wander around and meet people, but it is a good place for a large group to sit and catch up.

Oven & Shaker
This restaurant/bar was a completely accidental stop that turned out to be a great place. If you like tattooed bartenders you will LOVE this bar. The cocktails are exciting and feature their own spin and the pizza (which I didn't have) looks AMAZING. I will definitely be back here to eat on my next trip. I recommend sitting at the bar just because the bartenders are the s.h.i.t.

Photo Credit:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYC Weekly Post - 1.1.2012

Happy New Year readers! So, since I live in such an awesome city, I'm new to it (which sort of makes me a tourist), and it is one of the hottest travel destinations in the world I'm going to attempt to write a weekly Monday blog entry on all the new places I've been to that I love. So, I'm going to start with last week and I'm going to continue to do this by neighborhood since that's how most people pick their hotels/restaurants.


I went here to watch some of the college football bowl games. The chicken fingers were standard but delicious, it was relatively cheap and they have screens all around so you don't have to crane your neck to watch. It's only fault is that it was pretty dark which is great for football viewing but not so much otherwise. Also not a lot of standing room but this might change if you are there later at night.

Photo Credit: Rogue Website

Tipsy Parson
Officially added to my favorite places in Manhattan. The restaurant has this adorable feel like you've just walked into someone's house. And the food was AMAZING. I ordered the lamb ragu pasta and was in instant love.

Photo Credit: Tipsy Parson Website

East Village

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Yup, that's the name! What started off as an ice cream truck that roamed the streets of Manhattan, BGIC became so popular they opened a shop! The shop features rainbow paraphernalia and a giant glitter unicorn painted on the wall near the register. It literally looks like my room when I was five which made it an immediate favorite. Then I tried the actual ice cream!

I ordered the Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche sauce, sea salt, and chocolate dip) and the American Globs (vanilla ice cream, pretzels, sea salt, and chocolate dip). The Salty Pimp tasted AMAZING and the American Globs was pretty good as well. I also tried the Mexican AffoGAYto with homemade spicy hot chocolate, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cayenne and shaved chocolate which was my least favorite because it was kind of soupy and too spicy and the Cinnamax which is two Snickerdoodle cookies with cinnamon ice cream in the middle - definite fav after the Salty Pimp. Definitely headed back there to purchase a T-shirt and a unicorn bag.

Salty Pimp



American Globs

Bowery Electric
So I didn't get to spend very much time here but I'm posting it because it is somewhere I definitely want to come back to. They have live music usually and a great looking space. I was there on a Thursday right before NYE so it was completely dead but that's probably not always the case. Again just posting it here because it looks like a great music venue!

Photo Credit: Bowery Electric Website

Momofuku Milk Bar
So usually I only stick to places I really like but since this place is so well-known I'm going to talk about it. I didn't like this place at all. I was born with at least ten "sweet teeth" and this place almost ruined my love of dessert. I went to the one at 251 E 13th st and ordered the Crack Pie and the Compost and Cornflake cookies. The Crack Pie was like eaten hard, dried, brown sugar mixed with milk paste and the Cornflake cookie was so greasy that the bag it came in was almost wet. The Compost cookie was decent. It tasted like a really rich oatmeal cookie. This is one place where I DO NOT need to go back.

The night that we attempted to go to Bowery Electric (no one was there) we ended up down the street at Phebe's which was totally hoppin'. I wouldn't stretch to say there is anything hugely special about the place but the crowd was fun, the music was good and I would definitely come here again.

Photo Credit: Phebe's Website


Ace Hotel
So I went to the Ace Hotel for New Year's Eve in New York so my experience there might be slightly different. They had transformed the lobby into a winter wonderland with sparkly lights and hundreds of giant balloons. We had a "table" which really consisted of a three-person couch and two armchairs. I'm not sure how much the table cost but there was a $50/person drink minimum which is quite easy to meet especially on New Years. The hotel itself was really cool with inspirational quotes littered throughout on doorways, stairs, etc. It has a very artsy feel which I liked. I can't speak to the rooms but if I was visiting New York I might give it a try!

If you Google this restaurant you will get the Lower East Side location rather than the location on 24th and 3rd which is the one I went to. This restaurant is fairly small (we sat in the bar area) and the food is delicious. It's sort of Italian tapas style dining so we ordered the three bruschetta plate (pesto, tapenade and gorgonzola & fig) which was delicious. We also had meatballs, fried brussel sprouts and meat pasta all of which were amazing. I would definitely come back to this place. Also probably a little "datey" but fine for a group as well.


I swear Tribeca is the land of delicious food. This was yet another amazing meal. The meatballs were juicy and giant (yes that sounds hilarious I know), the lamb ragu pasta I had was top five, and the rice balls were good although they aren't really my thing. For whatever reason I sort of felt like I was eating in the kitchen. Not sure what gave me that impression but it was nice!

Photo Credit:

West Village

Blue Ribbon Bakery
There couldn't be a better place to brunch and celebrate 2012! This restaurant was suggested to me by some friends and I'm so glad they did. The top/ground floor looks like your average restaurant but if you ask to sit downstairs you will be taken into the bowels of what feels like an old brick wine cellar. We had a table that felt like it was cut into the brick wall which was SO cozy and cool. Also make some excuse to go to the bathroom so that you can pass the bakery in the back that is open to viewing by the public. It can get REALLY toasty down there because of the bread baking so probably not the most ideal summer locale. But for winter the pulled pork sandwich, the home fries and French toast were homey and warm. One thing I noticed is the food has some Jewish aspects (Challah bread, etc) which I thought I'd point out.

Extra Virgin
Brought to you by the talent of Cooking Channel! This place doesn't take reservations so be prepared to wait. The decor is organic, trendy and fun and the bar is lively. We definitely waited for close to 45 minutes to get a table but the food was delicious. The brussel sprouts (clearly I'm on a kick here) were really good because they are mixed with pears which adds kind of a sweet/savory taste. The mac n' cheese is also delicious. I had the lamb threeways for dinner and it was some of the juiciest, tastiest lamb I have ever had. I HIGHLY recommend this place but not on a night when you are already starving.

Photo Credit: Extra Virgin Website