Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wine Tasting: 2009 Anne Amie Cuvee A Amrita

I just discovered this amazing Oregon winery. I had a bottle of their pinot noir over a seafood dinner. I found the pinot elegant and well balance and surprisingly good with seafood.

I was at New Season's one day and saw this bottle on sale for $12.99 (retail $16). It was the same winery, Anne Amie. This bottle is their Amrita wine. The bottle reads: The name Amrita comes from the Buddhist equivalent of ambrosia, or a wine of the gods. Our Amrita is a unique inspiration each harvest, crafted from different varieties to be an irresistible, fruit-forward wine. This makes a delightful aperitif and is our favorite match with Pan-Asian foods.

I found this to be a great everyday white wine. It is a combination of Chardonnay, Muller-Thurgau, Viognier & Pinot Gris grapes. It is very fruit forward (lychee and peaches is what I tasted and smelled) but finishes on the dry side with some tart. I shared this over Vietnamese food and it paired very nicely. Wine Spector rated this vintage 88 points and named it wine of the day. It's an excellent bottle and I would definitely buy this again! In fact, I'm going back to see if it's still on sale.

Restaurant Rambling: Bubble Bubble Tea

While adventuring out on the East side of the river, I made a few stops. While in the neighborhood of SE 82nd, I stopped at Fubon. Fubon is a large Asian supermarket. I bought a few things there. The complex also houses various other shops. One of them is Bubble Bubble Tea. Yum! Bubble tea!!

I got myself a Lychee bubble milk tea.

Bubble Bubble Tea
2850 SE 82nd Avenue #21
Portland, OR
ph: (503) 445-6818

Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting Crafty: Happy Birthday B

Hold the phone! It may appear something is wrong with me. This is the second card I've made in the past 2 weeks. Eeek! This one was for a friend's birthday. I love the combination of yellows, oranges and blues.

Restaurant Rambling: Ha VL

I heard about this hole in the wall spot from a review. It's a very simple Vietnamese soup and sandwich shop. Think of a Vietnamese version of the Soup Nazi from Seinfield but much nicer. I haven't heard them say, "No soup for you" just yet.
The soup menu is simple. Each day there is one special soup ($7.50). On Saturday and Sunday, there are two choices. Soups are served on a first come, first serve basis until they run out. Come early and come hungry. The current menu looks like this:

- Monday: Bun Rieu (Shrimpcake Noodle Soup) - Balls of ground pork, shrimp and pork with tomatoes; topped with tofu & slices of pork
- Tuesday: CLOSED
- Wednesday: Bun Moc Han (Peppery Pork Ball Noodle Soup) - Pork meatballs slightly laced with black pepper & slices of pork in pork broth
- Thursday: Banh Canh Cua (Crabflake Noodle Soup) - Crabflakes with shrimp and pork in thick seafood broth accompanied by large noodles
- Friday: Hu Tieu Nam Vang (Pnompenh Noodle Soup) - Shrimp, fishballs, charsiu pork, squid, pork liver, slices of roasted pork with noodles in broth which is mixed with ground pork and Chinese celery, topped with onions
- Saturday: Bun Bo Hue (Spicy Beef Noodle Soup) and Bun Moc Han (Peppery Pork Ball Noodle Soup)
- Sunday: Bun Thang (Shredded Noodle Soup) - Thinly shredded eggs with steamed pork and chicken with noodles in chicken broth and Mi Quang (Yellow Flat Noodle Soup) - Steamed shrimp with coconut juice, baby pork ribs, steamed pork ham, shredded shrimp cake with a special sauce, yellow flat noodles topped with mixed vegetables

I was there on a Monday. That day in addition to the Shrimpcake Noodle Soup, they had an additional snail or escargot soup. It sounded interesting but I stuck with the special of the day. The soup was delicious! I can't wait to go again on a different day.

2738 SE 82nd Avenue #103 (Wing Ming Square)
Portland, OR 97266
ph: (503) 772-0103

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wine Tasting: 2006 Fattoria de Petroio Chianti Classico

This is a Chianti from Italy made with Sangiovese. It is a nice and rich dark red with well balance flavors. It's a pretty good Chianti for under $20.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's Cookin?: (Slow Cooker) Green Chile Pork

This is another great slow cooker recipe. It's nice to come home to dinner already done! This recipe makes a great filler for tacos, enchiladas or burritos!

(Slow Cooker) Green Chile Pork
Servings: 8-10
From: (submitted by andympls)

1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder roast
1 (16 oz.) jar of green salsa
1/2 c. fresh cilantro (optional, I left this out)
1 serrano chile pepper (2 if you like it spicy), diced

1) Layer the onions into the bottom of the slow cooker. Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and place on the onion bed. Pour the green salsa over the pork. If using cilantro, sprinkle on the pork and salsa. Sprinkle the serrano chiles on top.
2) Cook on the low setting until the meat falls apart easily, about 8-10 hours. Gently remove the pork to a cutting board. Strain and discard about 1/2 of the remaining liquid from the slow cooker. Reserve the other 1/2 of the liquid. Discard the onions, peppers and cilantro if desired (I kept them).

3) Shred the pork shoulder with 2 forks. Mix the pork with the reserved liquid and serve.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Willamette Week Restaurant of the Year - Tasty N Sons

Willamette Week's 2010 ROY (Restaurant of the Year) awards are out. No surprise here. It's Tasty N Sons!! I'll have you know, I'm still dreaming of the Fried Chicken on a Biscuit! Congratulations Tasty N Sons!

For the full article:

What's Bakin?: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Fall always reminds me of pumpkin this and that. I found a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins that I wanted to try. Hello Fall!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Yield: 24 muffins

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 c. confectioners' sugar

For the muffins:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil

For the topping:
1/2 c. sugar
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

The Filling:
1) Combine the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until it is well blended and smooth.

2) Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around he log and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freeze and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

The Muffins:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray them with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt & baking soda. Whisk to blend.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

The Topping:
1) Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembling the Muffins:
1) Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1 Tbsp.).

2) Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.

3) Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing it on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.

4) Sprinkle with a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wheat Thins Stix Fire Roasted Tomato

Have you tried these yet? They're pretty good.  They're almost like the vegetable flavored Pocky sticks. Yum!

Restaurant Rambling: Tan Tan Cafe and Delicatessen

I told you recently about my new $3 banh mi sandwich find at Best Baguette. It just so happens, that I found another Vietnamese sandwich shop close-by.

Tan Tan was recommended by a co-worker. It's located in downtown Beaverton, in a very small building. In addition to yummy sandwiches, the also have a nice selection of pho and other entrees.

I had the# 14 Bang Mi Ga Nuong (grilled lemongrass chicken) with no cilantro, onions or jalapenos and extra pickled veggies for $ 2.95. Yeah! The sandwiches were good. There was more meat in the sandwiches as compared to BB. They also use a pate spread to yummy up the sandwiches. However, I liked the crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside bread of BB. Either way, it's a steal for under $3.

I'll probably by back to try out the pho. It smelled yummy inside the restaurant. If you're every in Beaverton and on a budget (or even if you're not), be sure to stop by Tan Tan's.

Tan Tan Cafe & Delicatessen
12675 SW Broadway Street
Beaverton, OR
ph: (503) 641-2700

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Restaurant Rambling: Hakatamon

This was a totally spur of the moment stop at Hakatamon for a late lunch. I think I was just craving noodles that day. Next thing I know, I'm pulling into the parking lot.

Nabeyaki udon. It wasn't exactly what I was craving. The nabeyaki udon at Ikenohana is way better. I think it's all in the broth. This one tasted like the premade broth packets. Ikenohana's is made with LOVE. Note to self, don't waste your time ordering nabeyaki udon anywhere but Ikenohana. =0)

Luckily the side of fresh salmon sushi hit the spot. Plus, lots of good omega 3 fatty acids for the week! Score!

10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy
Beaverton, OR 97005
ph: (971) 205-1834

Friday, October 15, 2010

Getting Crafty: Congratulation Jeetal

This is an awful, very last minute picture. I finally conjured up all of my creative talents to create a card for a coworker/friend who is leaving us for North Carolina, via a wedding in India. Congratulations Jeetal! You'll be missed! I wonder if I have enough vacation time to make the wedding in India.....Hmmmmm.....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Restaurant Rambling: Ten Ten Seafood Restaurant (Anaheim, CA)

After a long day at the Disneyland parks, we decided to order take out. I found this great Chinese restaurant that was close by with the help of Yelp. I was hoping for dim sum but they only serve that for lunch. Instead, we got a little bit of everything. It was a hit with the family. My niece loves noodles so the noodle dish was for her. She loved it! This is a great place for Chinese food. It was so good, we stopped in one day for a dim sum lunch. Yummy!!

Oyster sauce Chinese broccoli and Shrimp pan fried noodles

Lemon chicken and Sweet & sour pork

Beef with snow peas

669 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
ph: (714) 991-9272

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gardening: Harvest 10/11/10

I went away for a week and came back to this haul! Yummy!  From left to right: Paul Robeson tomatoes, Green Zebra tomatoes, Thai eggplant, 2 pints cherry tomatoes, Oregon Spring tomatoes, Japanese eggplant and Carbon tomatoes.

Restaurant Rambling: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (Anaheim, CA)

Since we had a almost 4 year old and a 4 month old, we were on the lookout for kid friendly restaurants. My brother's birthday occurred during our trip so we took him to dinner at Bubba Gump's. If you've never been, it's a very fun atmosphere (only if you've seen the movie). The restaurant is decorated in fun memorabilia. The tables have flippy license plates that either say "Run Forrest Run" or "Stop Forrest Stop". If all is well, you leave it turned to the Run sign. If you need anything at all, turn your sign to the stop and the servers are very attentive.

Dinner was good. My favorite here are the Mahi Mahi Fish and Chips. They are fabulous!! I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo. I love halibut fish and chips but if you've never tried them with mahi mahi, you're sooo missing out! This recipe is on my list as one of my favorite fish and chips!!

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
21 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
ph: (714) 635-4867

Restaurant Rambling: Ariel's Grotto (Anaheim, CA)

Most of the things we ate were on the go while at and around the Disney parks. Things are so expensive here.

We ended up having 1 character meal at Ariel's Grotto that was for my little niece. I wouldn't recommend it. It's an overpriced lunch that is not enjoyable at all. The characters come by your table for a brief signing of any autograph books and a quick picture. The staff seem in a rush to push you in and out so that they can seat the next group of high paying customers. My niece, on the other hand, loved the whole ordeal.

To calm my frazzled nerves, I had this pretty cocktail for $11 (way to go Disney). I got to keep the ice cube in the drink that lights up and changes color.

For lunch I had the cioppino. The broth was good but the serving size was tiny. It came with 1 piece of each seafood. I think it gave me indigestion for the rest of the day. My sister in law had the steak and hers was so overcooked.

Dessert was served family style. The best thing on the plate? The palmful of fresh fruit. The molten lava cake was chalky and not molten at all. It just tasted like undercooked fudge. Eww!!

Ariel's Grotto at Disney's California Adventure

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Travels: Disney's California Adventure (Anaheim, CA)

Since we had park hopper tickets, we also visited Disney's California Adventure park next door. I love the way this park looks at night. It's so pretty!

We stayed to see the World of Color show one night. It was a fabulous light & water show set to music and featuring Disney animation. It was cool! I couldn't get any decent pictures since it was animated. I did, however, manage to snap this pic at the end.

Disney's California Adventure
1313 S. Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92803

Travels: Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)

Sorry I haven't been blogging lately. I've been away on a family vacation to the "happiest place on Earth". It didn't end up being that happy due to the weather. It rained 2 of the days we were there but otherwise we had lots of fun. Here a few snapshots of Disneyland decked out for Halloween. It's such a fun place!

Here's the main gate with enormous carved up pumpkins.

The iconic Mickey Mouse at the front entrance.

They had cute Disney pumpkin carvings all over the place. These are just a few...

1313 S. Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92802