July 23, 2010

The bar scene in Portland is different. They take a culinary approach to cocktails, and we appreciated that. We also appreciated the beer selection. We appreciated so much that we drank more than I can remember us drinking in several years.

It started at our hotel bar (Clyde Common), where we had a whiskey and gin drink and also ordered olives and fried almonds. The Clyde Common was stocked with liquors and liqueurs we’d never seen before. It was also stocked with hipsters and beautiful people like we’ve never seen before. Cool place to hang out, and everyone was unbelievably and genuinely helpful and friendly. We went back at the end of our trip for more cocktails and some inspiring popcorn.

At Bye and Bye, one really can’t ask for more — friendly service, good layout, great cocktails, wine and beer. And vegan food. Everything there is top notch. Do not miss out if you’re in the city. We had “Lefty’s Prayer” (beet infused tequila, rosemary syrup and lime with salt), “Three Liars” (Cucumber gin, lime and sugar), “My Father’s Son” (Whiskey, Averna, bitters and a cherry) to start and then started in with beer. And again, we had to return.

The beer selection is different out west. They just have access to different distributors, and I would say overall the beer is higher quality. The following list covers almost all of what we had (I starred the ones we really enjoyed):

EKU Pilsner*

New Belgium Brewing Sunshine, Skinny Dip* and 1554

(think grassy, malty, manurey)

Full Sail Amber

Alaskan Summer (Kolsch style)*

Wakonda Firthr

Deschutes (so many)*

Ninkasi (a bunch)

Goose Island Matilda*

Pinku Pils*

Trumer Pils

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July 15, 2010

Our fourth foster dog, Jake was adopted by a wonderful family last week while we were enjoying ourselves in the vegan capitol of the world, Portland, Oregon (more on that later). I think we’d both that Jake was our favorite foster yet. Six years old, extremely handsome, calm and lovable; he had it all. Jake was surrendered by a family who was building a new house and did not want to take him along. He was a delight from the get go. We whipped him into shape quickly with frequent trips to the dog park where he swam and trotted along beside his pals Wiggy and Oscar. Jake was a lover in every sense of the word, he loved all dogs. In fact, he’d almost always begin following strange dogs down the path in order to have a little extra time to get to know them better. There was just something special about him as he had that “old soul” look to him. We wish him the absolute best and can’t wait to visit with him and his new family on Monday!

And…since I’m off for the summer, I picked up another foster yesterday! Ben is a 10 month old goofy yellow lab that we can’t wait to get to know better. Photos of Ben coming soon!

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Out and About

July 15, 2010

Sierra has always been a staple in our weekend and/or downtown visits. We’d generally have snacks there, and the vegan sides (including hummus, potatoes, green beans, olives, asparagus and special soups) are always great. It wasn’t generally a go-to full meal place though. This changed recently because we tried their grilled tempeh during a recent family dinner. It was excellent. We paired it with the ale-onion-mushroom sauce, potatoes and a special quinoa salad. Great dinner in addition to their always superb drinks.

Nicole sat atop the Sierra recently, too, when she ventured downtown to Mulino’s. Probably an overdue visit, and it turned out to be rewarding. Nicole went with her mother and enjoyed a plate of puttanesca.  She also enjoyed the bread, wine and especially the company.

Before our trip to Oregon, we also visited Chatham, NY to see friends. Chatham is a nice, small town with a great bar and an excellent Mex place with a bunch of vegan options. We had outstanding guacamole, enchiladas and tofu fajitas. The fajitas had a wonderful grilled taste, and I think they used soy sauce, so my eastern/western mingling aversion might have relaxed.

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Homemade Yums

July 15, 2010

In Albany, I often visit a Mediterranean café called The Hidden Café. On their menu, they have a pesto chicken penne salad. And though I’d never eat it, It sounded intriguing enough to duplicate.  So we’ve been cooking pasta, using lots of veggies, herbs and greens and tofu dressings for cool summer dinners. They’ve been great, and I think they are now are a staple of our diet.

We’ve also been using rice and udon noodles for the same purpose – cold summertime salads with texture and weight. After we dogsat for my sister, she came, and we made a great miso-white wine-almond butter sauce for a greens and noodle dish. Again, great results.

We’ve been inspired to cook with puff pastry and filo dough, so we did a spinach strudel. We combined a few recipes and used mushrooms, spinach, onions, puff pastry, tofu ricotta and a balsamic sauce accompaniment. We will remember that strudel.

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