Before going to Portland I had looked at a few articles about what to see and do there. One thing that normally came up was to check out one (or many) of the breweries in the city.
The first one that I got to visit was Storm Breaker Brewing on Beech St. We sat outside in the huge patio space. The atmosphere was super fun and relaxed, and more like a backyard get-together than a restaurant. There was a fire pit, and people playing cornhole, as well as different groups sharing the same long picnic tables. A wonderful place to spend an early summer evening.
What caught my eye on the menu was their beer and whiskey pairings. I was there to try their locally brewed beer, but I absolutely love whiskey. So this was perfect! I picked the "Black Ghost" which consisted of Storm Breaker's Opacus Oatmeal Stout and Ghost Owl Pacific NW Small Batch Whiskey. It. Was. Wonderful.
I've never paired beer and whiskey before so I don't necessarily have the vocabulary to explain why these two drinks worked together, but believe me they did. The dark rich taste of the beer, with the smooth vanilla notes of the whiskey. Which is one of the very best whiskeys I've ever tasted. I even looked them up to see where I could buy a bottle for myself. Unfortunately Ghost Owl is only available in Oregon and it's home state of Washington. I'm super bummed because I'd love to have it again!
Andrea and I also got their cheese plate which was beautiful and delicious. All in all it was a lovely place to spend the night hanging out with a good friend, chatting for hours, and eating and drinking from Storm Breaker's excellent selection.
Yesterday I posted about Voodoo Donuts, and how little it impressed me. Today, I get to have my mouth water thinking about the donuts from a different place.
Blue Star has a few locations around Portland, (two of which I visited) as well as Los Angeles and Tokyo. If anyone is visiting Portland, and likes donuts, I highly recommend them. The donuts are excellently created and their flavor profiles are thoughtful, imaginative, and spot on. This place definitely goes for quality over quantity. Their display is clean and simple with lots of white tile and white platters.
I went for the maple and bacon donut first. By now this is a pretty standard flavor combination, but Blue Star did it well. The bacon, while there was a good amount, wasn't overpowering, and the donut was perfectly light and airy. I also got to try the lemon poppy buttermilk cake donut. It was delicious. The cake was moist and not too dense, and the glaze was that perfect balance between tangy and sweet.
While I happened to try more standard flavor profiles I loved their selection from Mexican Hot Chocolate to Blueberry Bourbon Basil. I wish I could have tried all of them.
One of the rather few things I knew about Portland before I decided to go visit it, was Voodoo Donuts. It was just one of those things that seem to come up about Portland. I'd seen it referenced in TV shows and blogs. So when I stumbled on it at 10am on a Monday morning and there wasn't a line I had to try it.
To be honest, I don't need to go again. It seemed rather gimmicky to me. They were trying to be as outrageous as possible, and they were outrageous. But it seemed to be just to show that they could be, not because it was a really brilliant donut. Just as much sugar and weird things you could fit on a donut as possible. No finesse. And more with the idea of quantity over quality.
I had a chocolate donut with vanilla frosting and crumbled butterfingers on top. Can you say sugar? It was a decent donut, though a little dense and verging on dry. I love butterfingers, but along with the vanilla frosting it was just so much. And while there was the wow factor of putting candy bars on the donut, the flavors were pretty standard. Chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter brittle. Nothing surprising there.
So thanks Voodoo Donuts, I'm glad I got to try you for myself but I won't be coming back. I'll stick with Blue Star donuts next time I'm in Portland. Which, I will be showcasing in my next post, so stay tuned!
Of course our sisters night out included wine, and me taking pictures of it and Kristine. I can't help myself, they're so lovely!
My friends Colleen and Yoder and I went out to lunch recently at the coolest place, called Ted's Bulletin. I just wanted to take pictures in there all day. When our food arrived I was so preoccupied Yoder finally told me, "You know you're also allowed to eat that." Here's what I got.
Every year, for the past 38 years, my mom has thrown a christmas party. Once you're invited you're always invited so the party has become quite the event. This year I tried to make a point to capture some of it.
Our dog Tudor was a little overwhelmed by all the people.
This is the boys admiring Matt's ugly Christmas sweater, which depicted a T-Rex eating reindeer. They, of course, thought it was amazing.
My parents, the hosts :)
Here are friends looking through my parent's wedding pictures.
These last two were taken somewhere close to 3 AM, obviously not by me since I'm sitting there having a martini. We were still having a ball.
Recently I got to shoot the new menu at the Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center here in DC. They are working on a new website for the restaurant and needed some up-to-date photos. It was a great time shooting these beautiful creations!
Check out their facebook page here:
I was very lucky to meet and become friends the most wonderful people when I lived in LA. One of those people is my, now, very good friend Alexis.
We bonded over our love of dance, crazy family stories, good food, and of course, books. We exchanged books, and recommended books, and reveled in our favorite parts. It was Alexis who insisted I must read the Outlander series.
I didn't get around to starting the series until after I had moved to DC, but when I did I believe I used the phrase "catastrophic for my productivity" do describe it's effect on me. I simply couldn't put it down. It is such a captivating story, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Excitingly enough the series is now being adapted for TV, and Alexis was set to visit me right around the air date! It had been nearly a year since I had seen Alexis, which we decided was far too long, but we made up for lost time by talking nearly the entire 72 hours or so that she was here. And in honor of Outlander (which is set in Scotland) and our love of cooking, we made a delicious Scottish inspired meal and watched the first two episodes together.
I documented our endeavor, which consisted of bannocks with butter, brie and jam, Scotch eggs, cod, some veggies, wine and whiskey. (It was Irish whiskey I admit, but that's what I prefer.)
I had actually made bannock, (a Scottish quick flatbread) when I was younger. I went to a historical summer camp (yes, and I loved it, haha) that taught us about the early settlers in my town right outside of Cleveland around 1830. The settler that we focused on was a Scottish weaver who immigrated to the US. Interestingly though, the recipe we used then for bannock was made with cornmeal, instead of oats like what was used in Scotland, since corn is what was available to the pioneers. I must say, both versions are delicious.
The Scotch eggs were fun, neither of us had ever made them before. They were really tasty. I got to use the breadcrumbs I had collected from my own homemade bread which was such a rewarding use of them.
All in all, it was a very rewarding and very fun way to spend our day!
Here is the recipe we used for the bannocks, though we substituted sour cream for the yogurt.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.