Eating Through Portland

Anytime I go on vacation I am all for finding the best foods in town. I love trying local restaurants & finding foods that I can only find wherever I am. When we went to Florida we went to three local breweries & I was sure to try any specialty brew they had. Whenever I go home, I make sure to indulge in as much New Haven pizza I can get my hands on. But when we went to Portland last month, I didn’t know where to begin!

Portland is known for their craft beer, local Pinot Noir, & amazing food. It is a foodie’s paradise!

Between their hundreds of gourmet food trucks, their mom & pop coffee shops, & 5 star restaurants, everyone can find something they like in Portland, at any price.

The first time I went to Oregon I had no idea how much of an impact the food & beverage industry has there. The state has 216 craft breweries & is ranked 2nd for the amount of breweries per capita only behind Vermont. The unique & local ingredients allow chefs to truly experiment while supporting their local farmers & economy.

We were sure to try as many new things we could get our hands on & of course I need to share with you some of my favorites.

Breakfast: Babica Hen Cafe


You can find this cute little breakfast joint right off of Route 99 in Dundee in a strip mall made for the wine lover. There is a cute little Inn, and a few tasting rooms right along this amazing cafe. I was a little nervous going in. We stopped here on our way to a day of wine tasting and I knew I would have to load up on carbs and protein so I wouldn’t get drunks from the wine. I was a little nervous that this place was too cutesy and the food would be less then filling. Boy was I wrong. All of our plates were jam packed with fresh vegetables, eggs, bacon & chorizo. Every meal was beyond perfect, & did I mention their blackberry mimosas were spectacular also??

Lunch: TILT


Holy burger! My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach with this thing! (But don’t worry, I finished it off.) This monster is their Mad Andy. Topped with the usual toppings plus an egg, blue cheese, bacon & an onion ring. It was so delicious, but a little larger than I could handle. And to top it off I couldn’t leave without also trying their cheddar tots & original beer battered house fries. YUM! Next time on the list though: their tilted house fries, French fries with gravy & bacon on top! Yes please!


Dinner: A Cena 

This Italian eatery is one of the best I have found on the west coast. After a day of wine tasting there is nothing better than soaking it all up with some amazing carbs, & with a lobster cream sauce on top of some homemade pasta I felt right at home. We started dinner with some fritto misto (fried calamari), a bowl of mixed olives & some fried artichokes. Wow. That right there was enough for dinner. But that is obviously not where we stopped. I had an amazingly creamy seared scallops over risotto while Chris had the dish A Cena is known for: Agnolotti. A mascarpone & corn ravioli topped with Maine lobster. AMAZING.

Ice Cream: Cool Moon 


This small store front ice cream shop is located right in the heart of the Pearl District and offers 26 delicious flavors of ice cream. We tried, just about all of them but I had to go with the Thai Iced Tea. It was fabulous!

Beer: Rouge


Rouge was the second brewery we stopped at on our last day there. I was so overloaded with food and drinks that I couldn’t even sit down and have a tasting, but that doesn’t mean we left empty handed. After Chris enjoyed his flight, and I finished my French fries (you didn’t really expect I had nothing did you?) we went inside and began picking what we were going to bring home. Beard Beer &the Marionberry Braggot were my two must haves. Basically I love anything with marionberries in it. Ice cream, pie, and now beer! And Beard Beer, well I will let you read about this beer yourself


Mashed Celery Root

So here is a little secret. I have a love affair with Portland, OR. I don’t know why. Truth is, I’ve only been there twice, but if you were to say there was a job available up there for both Chris and I next week, I’d drop everything and start packing.

There is something about the perfect combination of city, suburbia and rural that I love. It’s not as busy as Los Angeles or Orange County, but not too suburban and cookie cutter like my hometown in Connecticut. And if you drive 20 minutes in any direction, you are in the mountains, at the river, in the middle of a farm, or on a vineyard. Literally amazing.

Last month we road tripped up to Portland for the second time. We woke up at 4 in the morning, were on the road by 5, stopped fort our first coffee at 5:15 and were in Portland by 10 at night. We spent 5 amazing days and packed everything we could in. My sleep hasn’t been the same since. We ate, we drank, we hiked, & we toured the city like we lived there. All of my favorite things. (Okay, maybe not so much the hiking. That really kicked my ass.)

The first time we went up to Oregon we were going for Chris’s cousin’s wedding, but ended up making a trip out of it. We spent a lot of time with family and the rest of the wedding party and at the end of the trip ventured off on our own to get to know the city.


The wedding was gorgeous. Set up high on a mountain, overlooking amazing grape vines with Mt. Hood off in the distance. It was beautiful. Me, of course, I remember the food. Chris and I both had a delicious, creamy celery root mash as our side and both fell in love. It was the same consistency of a mashed potato if it was pureed… a lot, but it was light like a cauliflower puree. For the past three years we kept saying we need to try to recreate that & of course, never did it. I mean where to do you find celery root!!?

Until I asked the produce guy at our local supermarket. There it was, just two in the entire store… but they were there, hidden with the other root veggies. Who would have thought?! So I bought them and began experimenting. I like a little texture in my sides so I left this a little more mashed then the celery root that we had at the wedding but it’s simple, quick and tasty. Try it out, enjoy!



1 large celery root
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp butter, salted
Salt and pepper
1. Chop off the stem of the celery root. Now flip root upside down so it is sitting flat on the cut side. Carefully peel the outside of the root off of the middle and discard.
2. Dice into 1 inch squares.
3. Place celery root in pot and fill with water about 2 inches above the root. Salt water and bring to boil. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until root is tender, like you would with a potato.
4. Drain root and return to hot pot.
5. Combine all ingredients and mash with a potato masher. For a smoother finish use a electronic mixer.


Frozen Krispy Treat

Let me preface this post with “I am not a baker!” I don’t enjoy baking, I don’t have the patience for baking, and it stresses me out because I can’t taste what I am making along the way. So when I found this recipe on Chef in Training and I saw nothing had to go in the oven I was all in!

I’m also not a huge sweet person, but to my surprise, this dessert is jam packed with sugar but I loved it. The vanilla ice cream is the perfect match to break up the crazy amount of sugar each bite has.


A few weeks ago Chris’s dad’s side of his family came own for the weekend and we brought them to Disneyland. The second day they were here they had a little pool party at our place while I was at work so I premade my Taco Salad and Chris grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. For dessert the Krispy Snickers snack was the perfect things to have after day at the pool.

I chose to use Snickers on top of the Krispy bars, but you can really use anything on top. Carmel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top would be great or even crushed nuts and chocolate flakes. For kids a fun colored cereal would be cute.

As the summer winds down we are going to be having a lot less days at the pool but it is always great to have a simple go to snack that you can just whip up and throw in the freezer for later. We kept ours wrapped up in parchment paper with a lid on the baking tin for about a week and the cereal held it’s freshness and it still tasted great. I truly enjoy this dessert and hope you can find a fun time you try it out also.  Signature



½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups krispy cereal
2 Snickers bars, chopped
½ gallon vanilla ice cream
Ice cream toppings of your choice

1. Allow butter and ice cream to sit out for about 30 minutes to soften. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and cereal in a bowl using a soft spatula.
2. Line a 2 inch deep 9×13 baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the mixture across the bottom of the tray. Pat it down with the rubber spatula.
3. Layer vanilla ice cream over mixture. The softer, the easier it is to smooth over the mixture. If it is too hard still it will pick up the krispies when you try to smooth it out.
4. Chop Snickers bars with a sharp knife and sprinkle on top of the ice cream.
5. Freeze and cut into squares when ready to serve.


Taco Salad

The only thing missing from this recipe is my mom’s yellow Tupperware bowl. Growing up there were a few staple summer dishes my mom would make. They were in the fridge more often than not in case my friends or any of my brother or sisters friends stopped by. Taco salad was one of the essentials in our house and it was always in a big yellow bowl with a clear top.


It super simple to make and can feed a whole lot of people which is perfect for a house of teenagers who have friends stopping by all of the time. You can really alter it however you’d like. Basically if it goes in a taco, you can throw it in the salad.

This past weekend we had Chris’s dad and his younger siblings down to our house. We went to Disneyland one day and the next day everyone spent the day at the pool while I went to work. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to cook for everyone I made my taco salad so they would have something to eat with their hamburgers and hot dogs. Chris just had to pull it out of the fridge, pour some extra dressing on top and bring it down to the pool area.

Signature IMG_0595

1 lb ground beef
1 package Taco mix
1 small red pepper
1 bag Cool Ranch Doritos
8 oz California French salad dressing
½ head iceberg lettuce
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup olives, halved
1 small onion
1 small carrot, shredded

1.  Cook meet until browned, drain and remove from pan.
2.  Add Taco seasoning and add a splash of water to smooth together seasoning and meat. Add cheese and refrigerate.
3.  Chop veggies and set aside. Chop lettuce.
4.  Open bag of chips and crunch chips to bite size pieces.
5.  Mix veggies and chips into bowl with meat and cheese.
6.  Mix in salad dressing.
7.  Can refrigerate after serving for up to 5 days. Before serving left overs, add about a tablespoon of more dressing.

Mock High Tide Salad

While we were in Florida a few months back I faced one of my biggest fears, while doing something I’ve always wanted to do. We spend the morning of Chris’s cousin’s wedding paddle boarding along Jupiter Florida’s intercostal inlet. Now I hate water. I don’t go in if I can’t see my feet, but paddle boarding is something I’ve always wanted to do.

In fairness I’ve always picture somewhere a little more blue. Hawaii, or the Caribbean. Somewhere where if I fell in I wouldn’t be scared of what was lurking underneath my board. But to tell you the truth, it ended up not being so bad.

We were out on the water for about two hours & let me tell you, it was the hottest & sunniest day of our entire vacation. It was an absolutely exhausting experience that I fell in love with. Since we’ve been back in So Cal we have been keeping our eyes peeled for Groupons and Living Social deals to try out our new found muscles here in Orange County. We haven’t gone yet but are hoping to get one ride in before the end of the summer.

After our morning workout we went by the pool at the Jupiter Beach Resort to relax, even out our tans from being out on the water all morning, & veg out. We were all starving so we ordered some salads to eat & I had one of the best, most filling salad ever. Full of quinoa, fennel, cranberries, & topped with salmon. Yum! It was the perfect meal to have after an outdoor, summer workout.

When I got home I knew I wanted to recreate it so I ran to my grocery store & then remembered why I don’t by quinoa. Damn it’s expensive. I figured I’d make my own, budget friendly version of the salad instead. It was just as good the second time as the original. I hope you enjoy!

Signature IMG_0153

2 Salads 

1 lb salmon
1 cup less sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
½ cup prepared brown rice
2 cups baby greens
2 cups baby spinach
4 marinated artichoke hearts, chopped.

1.  Allow salmon to marinate for 20 minutes in soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.
2.  Preheat an oiled grill on medium heat.
3.  Place salmon skin side up and don’t flip.
4.  Grill until ¾ of the fish becomes opaque and the fish begins to curl up from the grill.
5.  Flip and continue cooking.
6.  Assemble salad by making a bed of greens and spinach, add rice and artichokes. Can also top with dried cranberries.
7.  Add store bought white balsamic dressing and top with salmon.