Eating Portland :: Day One

Eating Portland :: Day One

The title of this post is literal.

I am in Portland with the sole purpose of eating. It’s not the only reason I’ve flown a couple hours north from Southern California: while I’ve visited/driven through many of the states, I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest; Portland is the home of Powell’s, the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world; I’m thrilled for an opportunity to rack up Jet Blue points, especially when I can fly out of Long Beach; and I’m a sometimes wannabe hipster. But, goal number one for my quick trip is to please my belly.

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Getting the party started at LGB

My co-eaters and I arrived late after a long day of work and mommy duties (I still had to shuttle my youngest to dance class before heading to the airport – I should probably check to see if someone picked her up).

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Just say yes to public transportation

After a smooth landing at PDX and a cheap ($2.50) ride downtown to our hotel, the pickings were slim for a late night feast. We opted for Huber’s Cafe, which bills itself as Portland’s oldest restaurant. From their late night happy hour menu, we ordered calamari, bay shrimp, nachos, seared ahi, and spinach-artichoke dip.

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I like a restaurant with rules
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Calamari
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Black bean nachos
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Seared ahi
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Bay shrimp

But visitors and locals alike know of Huber’s Iced Spanish Coffee, a $10 concoction of Kahlua, Bacardi 151, triple sec, and coffee that is set ablaze right at your table.

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Play with fire, you get tipsy

It was just the kind of show I was looking for to launch my PDX adventure. So far, I’m Drinking Portland more than eating it.

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Coffee done right

But that’s quite alright – I’ve got two more days, a few pairs of stretchy pants, and a suitcase full of aluminum foil and Tupperware.

Look out, Portland. Dianderthal is here.

Huber’s Cafe
411 SW 3rd
Portland, OR

Cocktail Tuesday :: Cuban Sidecar

Cocktail Tuesday :: Cuban Sidecar

I have to say this right now – the Cuban Sidecar is my favoritist (I made it up) Tuesday Cocktail I’ve made so far!

Yes, there haven’t been too many of these posts to date and yes, there have been failures. But this drink… THIS drink is restaurant-worthy. It’s bomb-diggity [Def: adj. used by older women to express extreme satisfaction with something]. It’s wonderful. It’s sublime.

And it’s gone.

But let me show you what I did.

Not too many ingredients
Not too many ingredients

In a shaker, I mixed up equal parts rum, Cointreau, and lime juice. Next, I added ice.

After shaking (like a Polaroid picture [Ref.: original: Polaroid manufactured instant cameras and self-developing film; in the ’80s, I very much loved my Polaroid camera || Later: saying made popular in the early 2000s by the musical duo Outkast in their hit Hey Ya!]), I strained into a chilled glass, and…

Wah-lah! Cuban Sidecar
Wah-lah! Cuban Sidecar

Enjoyed!

As simple as it was, I didn’t think I would like it. But it proved refreshing and exhilarating. I will be making many a Cuban Sidecar in my near future (though for March, I’m embarking on an “ab” challenge, which means I really need to cut back on the spirits).

Delightful
Delightful

Salud!

Ladies Who Dine :: Atun Sushi

Ladies Who Dine :: Atun Sushi

Although I’d already been, my selection for February’s LWD outing was a local one since we now have a couple of mommies with little-little-little ones. This proved to be a good strategy as we had seven Ladies dine – our best turn out in months.

Atun is relatively new, and it still seems like they’re getting themselves together [looks like they have liquor limitations so the cocktails need a little work (all made with sake), and food took a little long coming out from the kitchen]. Still, we had a good time and left satisfied with our selections.

cheers
Sake cheers!
My Drink - a Ty Ku Mojito
My Drink – a Ty Ku Mojito

It was share and tell for the most part, the Ladies sampling each others’ dishes and drinks. Except for me, of course (only child syndrome).

Seafood tempura
Seafood tempura
IMissedTheNameOfThis Roll
IMissedTheNameOfThis Roll
Miso
Miso
Garlic Edamame
Garlic Edamame
Asparagus Yakitori
Asparagus Yakitori
Rainbow//Crunchy Rolls
Rainbow//Crunchy Rolls

Another fabulous LWD outing. Let’s do it again next month – yes?!

Atun Sushi
4262 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807

Cocktail Tuesday :: Blended Margarita

Cocktail Tuesday :: Blended Margarita

The margarita is a well known, simple drink. Why am I doing a margarita today?

1. My last cocktail sucked [remember: Strawberry No-Nito]
2. For Valentine’s Day, my husband asked for a Ninja Blender

I must admit, it was pretty fun to make. I truly enjoy the rushing whir of the blender. Makes me think I’m in Las Vegas or at the club.

Actually, the sound mostly reminds me of Coffee Bean. But still fun.

Secret: One of these is NOT a real lime
Secret: One of these is NOT a real lime

And not much thinking to what we’re drinking: tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, a few tablespoons of OJ, agave nectar or simple sugar (quite a bit if you like it on the sweet side like I do). Ready, Set, Blend! (Whirrrr)

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The makings of a classic

And you’ve got a frosty treat with a numbingly smooth punch. I recommend serving your margaritas in margarita rather than martini glasses – do as I say, not as I do – but to each his own. It’s all about what’s inside, correct?

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Happy Tipsy Tuesday!

Delimmas: Run or Write

Delimmas: Run or Write

I’ve finally realized that I can’t do it all. I used to hate that saying, but dangit if it ain’t true. And really: All? I can’t even do half, it seems. I can hardly do the bare minimum required of my days lately. Yet, I have these darn things in my mind called goals.

My priorities in life are being a loving and supportive wife, a fabulous mom, a caring and appreciative daughter, a valued employee, and a great friend – all of those things while honoring God and being a devoted member of my church.

My GOALS, however, are what I want to attain personally for this particular year, and when I established them for myself, they seemed pretty simple.

1. Get my book published.
2. Write another book.
3. Run three half marathons.

I know how to be disciplined. I understand what it means to sacrifice, to be single-minded and dogged in pursuit of something. I’ve done so before. It’s what I had to do to finish a novel. It’s what I did in order to train for my first half marathon. But looking back, I reached these goals at the expense of my priorities.

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Whenever I’ve got my blinders on, racing head on towards my next goal, my so-called life priorities tend to get dumped and forgotten – usually, my husband is the first abandoned. In light of this, I’ve decided that my priorities this year must remain my priorities; and these goals of mine cannot interfere with the work I have to do in keeping these priorities. Which has left me quite anxious and, really, wondering if I will be able to manage my pursuits of keeping fit and writing stories. When the 9 to 5 is done, along with work from the part-time gig, and the family is fed and the house is clean, and the practices are over, there isn’t much time to write or run. What I’ve managed to do is take advantage of the hours when the family is asleep or when my youngest is at rehearsals, practices, and games to open the notebook or put on the Asics. Lately, it’s been the latter as I just finished my first half marathon. As great as that felt, I admit that I’ve had little or no energy to write. Running zaps me clean. Yet when I sit down to write, even if I’ve managed to put down a few hundred words, I’m left sad and guilty that I didn’t get a run in.

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Ahh, First World problems. But you creative/sporty types know what I mean. And then there are those of you out there who will still give me a pathetic smirk, arms crossed, asking me why can’t I put in four miles and crank out 500 words a day. Maybe I can. Or maybe there’s a balance there somewhere. I just haven’t been able to find it yet. But I will keep trying, all while not letting my family and friends down.

Okay, okay. Time to hop on that treadmill. Or the computer. Which one? I don’t know. Hey, maybe I should add another goal to my list.

4. Become an expert on wine.

Ah, yes. This one I can handle with no problem.

Cocktail Tuesday :: Strawberry No-nito

Cocktail Tuesday :: Strawberry No-nito

It’s my favorite day of the week – Cocktail Tuesday. And this week, I didn’t want to dig out a recipe from a book. I wanted to keep it OD (Original Domesticate), scraping together a concoction with the ingredients found in my cupboards and fridge. That is how great things happen, correct?

Incorrect.

Just say no
Just say no

I call this a Strawberry No-nito because it is Nothing like a mojito and if someone ever asks you if you want one, you should scream out NO!!

I still drank all of mine. I mean, it had rum in it so how bad could it be?

Perhaps on an upcoming Tuesday, I’ll tweak things here and there. This combination of strawberries, simple syrup, basil, rum, Ginger Ale, and ice might be improved upon?

Okay, yes – swap out the basil for mint leaves and you’ve got yourself a perfectly delicious Strawberry Mojito, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to create something new. However, a lesson was learned here: For Cocktail Tuesdays, I will stick to my bartending books, Pinterest posts, and magazine articles for recipes.

As always, cheers!

Running :: Surf City Half Marathon

Running :: Surf City Half Marathon

I signed up for the Huntington Beach Surf City Half Marathon back in November, telling myself that I could fast-walk a mile in about 15 minutes; meaning that I could finish a half marathon in a little over three hours and 15 minutes. I convinced three of my co-workers that they could do the same.

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Pre-Race Thoughts: Why the f&@$ did I pay money for this $%!*?

And then a funny thing happened: we started TRAINING for the race, running 4-6 times a week, encouraging each other, texting our times to the group. On Mondays, we’d come in to work and compare our long runs, laugh about what we saw as we ran, discuss shoes and gear and techniques.

We became RUNNERS.

I actually ran the whole way, although very slowly
I actually ran the whole way, although very slowly

And I’m happy to say that we’ll be doing it again at least two more times this year in pursuit of the weighty Beach Cities Challenge medal, presented to those who complete the Surf City, OC, and Long Beach half or full marathons consecutively.

The racers and our fans
The racers and our fans
In shock
In shock

A big thank you to my (freakin’ fast) friend Lisa, who first encouraged me to sign up for the race, and supported me throughout my training. Congratulations to my running peeps William, Kristina, and Sarady – you guys are amazing. And a shout out to our entourage – Sandy, Lilly, Eddie, Ivonne, Chanel, Kourtney, and Uncle Paul, the best cheering section and post-run meal companions a girl could ever ask for.

Post-Race Vittles
Post-Race Vittles at Saddle Ranch in Newport Beach

Up Next:
The Super Bowl.
Then, Orange County Marathon

[Number of times I first typed out marathong and then had to delete the g: 6]