Holiday Mingle Pt One: Food in Portland

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I was beyond thrilled when one of the Portland Blogger organizers, Bee from The Spicy Bee, worked with local PR company Little Green Pickle to bring together an amazing opportunity for local bloggers. The Holiday Mingle was slotted as an opportunity for local bloggers to get a chance to meet and connect with some amazing restaurants and food vendors from the area– right in time for their holiday projects!  It was also an opportunity to listen to a panel of PR professionals talk about working with bloggers. Only in Portland can you get competitors working together to create an amazing event that hopefully, in the end, is beneficial to everyone involved.

I’m breaking this post up into two posts because there is just so much to cover… so, now I give you the amazing food and some fabulous companies! I’ll be back soon with tips for bloggers from real PR pros!

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The restaurant owners and vendors that came out for the Holiday Mingle brought their A-game. I highly encourage you to read on if you are in Portland looking for great places to eat, are planning on traveling to Portland, or are looking for an item or two for your foodie friends and family for the holidays.

I’ve been impressed with many of these restaurants in the past:

  • The Original Dinerant was the site of last year’s birthday party (where I had amazing food and excellent service) so getting to try some more of their dessert menu and some seriously amazing deviled eggs was certainly a highlight of my evening.
  • The Bent Brick wow’d me back in May with a fabulous Happy Hour selection. They brought their tasty smoked salmon chips (and other tasty menu items) to the Mingle. The only thing missing was their Peat & Peet whiskey drink that I fell in love with on my last visit.
  • Besaws is one of my absolute favorite places to go to brunch. The hubs and I usually bring visiting friends or family there over when they are traveling over the weekend. But, did you know they also do dinner!?
  • Another place I bring visitors to is Departure Restaurant and Lounge— not only does it have an amazing deck with a view of the city, but seriously tasty drinks and foods. Chef Gregory Gourdet showed up at the Mingle to pretty much everyone’s delight.
  • Olympic Provisions is a local salumeria. Their meats make for the best charcuterie platters! I’ve totally dined on and purchased Olympic Provisions goodies before… but, was completely unaware that they also have restaurants in the area. I can’t wait to try them out. (Also, they sell their meats… and, if you didn’t know, my birthday is just around the corner!)
  • Water Avenue Coffee and I go way, way back. 😉 I fell in love with their rich, smooth coffee at a past Portland Bloggers’ meet-up. Since then I’ve visited their shop to also enjoy a great latte, tasty treats, and their laid back atmosphere. Whenever a blogger wants to meet at Water Avenue Coffee for a meeting the answer is always YES.

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The Original Deviled Eggs

And, the new-to-me vendors really gave a great first impression:

  • Tails & Trotters specializes in Northwest Hazelnut Finished Pork. O.M.G. (I don’t use that phrase often.) I couldn’t believe that you could actually TASTE the hazelnuts on the pork that we tried. It was amazing and it will end up in one of my holiday dishes this year. I can’t wait to start recipe testing! Oh, and if you are in NE Portland then you should stop by and grab a ham sandwich at their sandwich counter!
  • Double Dragon‘s appetizers at the event were the first that I had the opportunity to try. They brought a selection of bites that had the most amazing flavors and spices. I’m pretty sure I had a foie gras pate on bread and a mushroom pate.  AMAZING. And, I often frequent the SE area of Portland… I’ll be there to try some of their Banh Mi as soon as possible.
  • Fishpeople Seafood sent everyone home with packs of their Seafood Entree Pouches that have whole food products and no gross ingredients. I can’t wait to try these for dinner or even a quick to make lunch in the office. The ingredient list on the back of the package is the thing that really made me excited. I understand every word on the package and would cook with the ingredients in my own home.

A lot of my readers are from the PNW area and I hope that this list helps bring to light some of the awesome companies we have available. But, even if you aren’t from Portland, some of the products above can be shipped! I would be thrilled to find many of these items under the tree or at the holiday dinner table this season!

A big thank you to Macey Snelson & Chloe from Little Green Pickle for photos!
And to these amazing vendors and professionals that donated their time, expertise, and product:

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PNW Blogger Holiday Brunch

At 8AM PST TODAY the PNW Blogger Holiday Party tickets will be on sale! There’s limited space, and I really have no idea how fast they’ll go. Twice they’ve sold out in a day. The price is $30 + the $1.74 Eventbrite fee.

PNW Blogger Holiday Party Deets:

– The event will be held on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 from 10 am to 1 pm.

– The location is at the fantastic Union/Pine, in Portland, OR.

You’ll get a lot of awesomeness with this PNW Blogger Holiday ticket… like:

– Bloody Marys.

– Mimosas.

– Breakfast.

– Dessert.

– PRIZES.

– Gift bags!

– Fun crafting table.

Want to see what this shin-dig is all about?
Check out my posts about past PNW Blogger meet-ups!

You can click HERE, or buy your ticket below at 8AM PST!

We hope to see you there! If you’d like to keep up to date with future events, sign up for our newsletter here.

Chelsey, Heather, and Jenni

P.S. We are accepting last minute sponsors for the goody bags and event. Please contact us by the end of the next week. Thanks! Email: thepapermama at gmail dot com or jenni[at]awellcraftedparty[dot}com

And, a HUGE thank you to all of the great businesses below that are helping to make the PNW Blogger Holiday Brunch such a fun event:

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Snapshots: FEAST Portland

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What a day. I’ve been up and eating amazing food since 8 am. FEAST Portland is an amazing celebration of the Oregon bounty and culinary talents.

There is of course a lot more than just Oregon represented… But, lots of local goodies as well. I can’t wait to write more about the experience. But, for now, here are a few snapshots of my crazy (and awesome) day!

The photos are from my iPhone. Better images will come with the better stories. If you want to see more fun from FEAST check out the hashtag #feastpdx on social media.

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Disclaimer: I was given a blogger pass to portions of the FEAST festivities. All opinions are my own.

Behind the Scenes: Sister Fresh Girl’s Clothing Designer

Sister Fresh Behind the Scenes // A Well Crafted Party

It is true what they say… having a child changes your life. Just ask Erin Keys, the designer and owner of Sister Fresh.

Today I am beyond excited to bring you a behind the scenes look and story of the adorable girl’s clothing line. I met Erin while at a Portland Fashion Week meet and greet. She was with her gorgeous daughter who was walking amongst all the models and designers in a beautiful leopard print dress. The pair were so sweet and easy to talk to that I just had to ask to interview her for the blog. She was gracious enough to ask me into her home and give me a tour of her home studio.

Sister Fresh Behind the Scenes // A Well Crafted Party

How Sister Fresh Began

The beautiful young lady, that I met at the meet and greet, was the reason the whole venture began. After the birth of her daughter Erin decided to not go back to work as a buyer for a successful department store. After making her daughter clothes, things developed and she began designing and making little girl clothing to sell at home parties. Her home parties were successful and eventually, local boutiques were requesting her items. Currently Erin sells Sister Fresh at local boutiques and through her online shop.

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The Studio

Erin graciously let me tour her home studio space, giving me a glimpse at how a clothing designer works. Walking into her gorgeous home you could immediately see that the busy season and Portland Fashion Week was causing her to expand outside of her studio. She had a make shift desk with her laptop, phone, camera, and paperwork on her kitchen island. A rack of pretty dresses stood in front of a huge window and her mannequin was showing off a yellow pom dress.

Upstairs a small room was neatly organized to fit an entire sewing business! The room could only fit a desk, small ironing board, a washer and dryer. A serger and sewing machine were housed on the desk. Small bows littered the desk, ready to accent dresses.

Tiny dresses were hanging on all surfaces of the room–filling it with bright colors. Several bolts of the colorful fabric used to make the dresses were neatly stacked beneath a small counter. A framed sign with the Sister Fresh logo decorated the wall. On another wall hung two cross stitched works.

“My grandma made these,” Erin explained. “She is the one who taught me to sew.”

I’m touched by this. My grandmother also taught me to sew.

I’m amazed at the small space. Not only does Erin manage to fit an entire (successful) design business in the home studio, but she has also managed to make it a delightful and inspiring office space. It makes me think differently of my sewing space at home and certainly inspires me to do more with the areas I have.

Can a designer of this adorable girl’s clothing line really have started out just like me? Seems sort of unreal and full of possibility. I hope that if someone out there is thinking of becoming a clothing designer, and sees this post, they can be inspired by this awesome lady. She learned to sew from her grandmother, had a career in a whole different field, did not go to school for this trade, and is now doing something she completely loves in the space she has available. (Though, I do encourage schooling very highly!)

Sister Fresh Behind the Scenes // A Well Crafted Party

More about Sister Fresh

The Sister Fresh clothing line is a line of clothes for girls to be girls. It isn’t about dressing little girls up to be women, but rather a clothing line that celebrates the age of girl for as long as possible.

If you’d like to keep updated with the goings on at Sister Fresh then following along with Erin on her social media accounts. She JUST got Instagram and Twitter so those would be great for you to connect with her as she learns the ropes and shares lots of good photos and tweets!

Follow Sister Fresh on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Thank you!

A BIG thank you to Erin Keys for letting me peek into your beautiful home and studio space. Good luck on the runway today!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this interview and studio tour. I am a part of the Portland Fashion Week’s Style Collective and will be receiving free VIP tickets to visit the shows. However, no post requirements were asked of us and this post was all my own idea and Erin’s awesome story. All opinions are my own. Tickets to Portland Fashion Week are still available! Purchase tickets now to get in for just $20 or pay $30 at the door. There are 6 shows in total, 35 pop-up boutique shops, and 3 after parties. I hope to see you there!

Snapshots: Portland Fashion Week Day 1

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Last night was the first evening for Portland Fashion Week. I had the most surreal (and amazing) day in my role as a PFW Style Collective Member. Today I’ll be attending two shows–as a matter of fact, I am writing this post while sitting in the gorgeous lounge section at this shows!

I’ve been MIA on the blog lately, which tears me apart since one of my goals (and something I recommend) is to stay more consistent with my blogging. I honestly can say that I’ve been working on some amazing projects and have been working on a ton of content. I just haven’t gotten it up! But, in this busy time in life I am all about forgiving myself and starting anew. I’ll get back to regular posting ASAP.

On to some snapshots of my day yesterday. I first headed over to our local Lucky Brand store to get style tips from two Lucky Brand stylists. I couldn’t believe that I tried on the first pair of jeans to get an absolute amazing fit! I’ll share more about this experience with outfit details soon!
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After visiting Lucky, I hit PFW all dolled up in my new pair of complimentary plus size Georgia Weekender Jeans! I also wore an old, but favorite sparkly shirt from Old Navy and a favorite pair of booties… Also a few years old. I felt stylish (and comfortable) and didn’t feel out of place at all at Fashion Week. I’m hoping I am this happy with all of my FW looks! Also, super excited to spend time with other Portland area bloggers such as the lovely Sam Rosen (pictured below)
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Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with this fun and crazy blog. I absolutely owe these amazing experience to you, my readers, and I feel so lucky that my work is paying off in such an unimaginably awesome way.

Disclaimer: I received free VIP tickets to Portland Fashion Week after being selected as a PFW style collective member. I did not receive additional payment. I also received complimentary goods from Lucky Brand. I did not receive additional payment. The choice to post was my own and all opinions, as always, are my honest opinions and only reflect my thoughts. Thank you!

Behind the Scenes: Sunjin Lee Wedding Dress Designer

Behind the Scenes of a wedding gown designer // A Well Crafted Party // featuring Sunjin Lee's Studio Space

How do you go to sketching and dreaming about designing buildings in Korea to having your wedding dress designs strutting the catwalk in Portland, OR? Well, you fall in love.

At least, that is what Portland wedding dress designer Sunjin Lee did! She met her husband (who also acts as her business partner in many aspects) in Paris, fell in love, and ended up trying on tons of wedding dresses with unhappy results. Her decision to try her hand at making her own wedding dress is what brought her to today,  just a few years later!

A Modern Love Story

Of course, that is boiling down a romantic, long-distance relationship down to the nitty gritty there. The couple stayed contacted for nearly two years after meeting in Paris, Sunjin in university in Korea while her husband was in the states. The whole thing was sort of a romance that you’d read in a modern storybook. Strong female lead from traditional background with no intention of getting married really meets dashing, talented, and smart young man in a town far from both their homes. They fall in love to be parted by schedules, plans, and obligations. The young couple work for years, traveling back and forth, keeping their spark alive until they are reunited again. I’d read that book.

wedding gown designer Sunjin Lee's architecture sketches

When Architecture and Gown Design Collide

I had the amazing opportunity to visit Sunjin Lee’s studio in Portland, Oregon to see her work and her work space. I also got to talk with her for an hour about life, love, and her passions. Her studio walls give glimpses into her love of architecture, Paris, fashion, and wedding dresses. She has bookshelves packed to the rafters with wedding and Vogue magazines. Two full walls lined with tulle, silk, embroidered, and beaded dresses. A wall covered in gorgeous sketches of buildings. It is a sight to see.

Sunjin Lee pointed out the sketches to tell me a story about meeting her husband. She pointed out a sketch looking up at the Eiffel Tower. All of the sketches are gorgeous.

“Wait,” you drew these!?” I asked. Yep, she drew them.

She tells me about going to school and training for a career in architecture. You can see her love for great architecture in the dresses she designs. She uses strong lines in many of her bodices, she plays with the shape and structure of the dresses using fabric and structure. She tells me how she lets designs of the past inspire her work. She points out a gorgeous high-low wedding dress with 3/4 sleeves, “this shape was popular in the fifties.” It is neat to see her crafts playing together so nicely.

hand stitched beading and sequins by Sunjin Lee for her own wedding

 

Behind the Scenes of Sunjin Lee's wedding gown studio featured on A Well Crafted Party

Where it All Began

Sunjin Lee tells me how she got started in wedding dress design only 3 years ago. After trying on several wedding dresses she didn’t find exactly what she wanted. She also found out that having someone make her a specialty dress would take much more time than she had. So, she thought about what she wanted and decided that she could do it herself. And, boy did she!

She actually wore three wedding dresses throughout her wedding day in Hawaii. One of the dresses was a Nicole Miller dress (actually, the same dress I wore on MY wedding day!) and the other two dresses were of her own creation. She shows me one of the dresses she wore that had a mermaid skirt and had been hand-beaded by her with thousands of sequins and beads. She showed me how the beading worked its way up the skirt so it shimmered like water on a mermaid’s tail. Perfect for a beach wedding.

I promise that I’m trying to convince her to publish the photos of her own wedding day so we can all see the dresses in action!

Junjin Lee's studio space featured on a well crafted party

 

Sunjin Lee's studio space featured on A Well Crafted Party

 

Gift Sunjin Lee gives all of her brides featured on A Well Crafted Party

Where She Works

Sunjin Lee’s work space is a home-sewer’s dream. She has a huge table ready for cutting, bolts and bolts of fabric piled beneath it. Ribbons, beads, threads, and other sewing supplies are available everywhere you look in the room. She shows me one of the items she seems most proud of… a shadow box with a dress sketch and material swatches.

“I give one of these to each of my brides with swatches of the material used to make their dress and a sketch of the dress they are wearing,” she explained. It would be an absolutely treasured keepsake for any bride.

See Her Work in Person

The young Portland wedding dress designer has been creating her dresses for around three years. She now has two collections of dresses to her name, have seen her dresses on brides, received the 2013 Best Couture Gown Designer award from Oregon Bride, and will see them walk the runway this Friday’s Mimosas & Gowns Portland Fashion Week Bridal Show. Tickets are still available for the show if you’d like to see her work in person!

A BIG thank you to Sunjin Lee for letting me peek into your studio space and for chatting with me for so long. You are an instant friend!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this interview and studio tour. I am a part of the Portland Fashion Week’s Style Collective and will be receiving free VIP tickets to visit the shows. However, no post requirements were asked of us and this post was all my own idea and Sunjin Lee’s awesome story. All opinions are my own. Tickets to Portland Fashion Week are still available! Purchase tickets now to get in for just $20 or pay $30 at the door. There are 6 shows in total, 35 pop-up boutique shops, and 3 after parties. I hope to see you there!

 

Looking Forward to Portland Fashion Week

From the Portland Fashion Week Announcement of the Style Collective.

From the Portland Fashion Week Announcement of the Style Collective.

Okay, okay… so it IS New York Fashion Week right now. And, like any young girl who loved the idea of her clothes walking the runway someday, I’m enjoying the coverages of the shows. However, I’m looking forward to NEXT week and Portland Fashion Week even more than hearing about this week’s NYFW coverage.

Way back when I was an editor for a small newspaper in Oklahoma I had the pleasure of attending my very first fashion show and covering it for my newspaper. It was a blast. It was for charity. It was a dream come true. My calves hurt for a week because I insisted on wearing my favorite heels though I was going to be up and down photographing the runway.

I’m even more excited about getting to visit the Portland Fashion Week next week as one of the show’s Style Collective members! But, you don’t need to be a style collective member to get in on the fun. Portland Fashion Week prices are so reasonable that anyone can go and experience what it is like to see a fashion show in person.

What I am Looking Forward to about Portland Fashion Week:

  • I’ll be attending 4 of the 6 shows: Bridal Fashion, Ready to Wear, Youth Fashion, and Dream Luxe show.
  • A diverse line up of models. From what I’ve been reading about the shows and from what I’ve seen so far we will have a pretty diverse runway line up in both race and sizes. There has been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity in both areas in fashion in general. I know that PFW is trying to make strides in the right direction in this area and hope to see it on the runway!
  • LIVE MUSIC!
  • Pop-up shops. How cool is it that you can actually purchase some of the things you are seeing on the runway at boutique pop-up shops at the show!? I think it makes runway fashion much more accessible to the everyday market. Granted, I’m sure that not ALL of the designs will be available (or affordable) but, I do like the idea that 36 mini boutiques will be out there for everyone’s shopping pleasure.
  • Cocktails! Hey, hey… there is a cash bar at the events so you can enjoy the runway and have a cocktail to boot. It is Portland afterall.
  • After parties! Need I say more? I do like a fun party.
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Check out the fun on Instagram by checking out the #isitfallyet hashtag!

Tickets: All the ticket packages are sold out right now. But, you can get general admission seating currently for just $20 and that is good for the show of your choice and the after party! Children under 10 years old receive free admission with an adult. Shows are all ages until 10 PM, the after parties are 21+. GA tickets at the door cost $30 so get your ticket now! Purchase your General Admission Ticket to Portland Fashion Week or Find Out More By Clicking Here

To My Readers: I know that not all my readers are from the Portland area and this post might not be super interesting to everyone. However, over 40% of my readership is in the PNW and I want everyone in the area to know that they too have this opportunity. I’ll try my best to keep most of my coverage of this event interesting to the majority of my readership though! Also, I’ll still be sharing my normal party posts within the fun fashion posts!

Disclaimer: As part of the PFW Style Collective I am receiving complimentary VIP entry to some of the PFW shows and parties. I am not receiving further compensation. I applied to be a part of the collective because I truly love PFW and am excited about the strides the show is making in Portland’s fashion scene. My choice to post about the event is completely my own and all opinions are my own.

A Wedding Inspired Shootout

Beyond the Wanderlust Shoot Out

above images by Hurtienne Photography

I’m excited to be working with Beyond the Wanderlust for their Portland Wedding Inspired Shoot out this September! I’ll be styling some pretty bridal photo opportunities for participating photographers. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about our concept and venue. For now we are keeping it under wraps… but, it is going to be gorgeous.

What is a shoot out?

From the event website, “A shootout is an awesome opportunity to build your photography portfolio, meet other photographers, models and local vendors. We will do all the work, select beautiful models, hire professional hair and makeup artists, stylists, and prop designers, and pick a beautiful location. All you need to do is show up with your gear and shoot!”

How can I participate?

There are a few spots still available, but space is very limited. Beyond the Wanderlust shootouts are kept small so that participants get one-on-one time with the models, vendors, and other professionals. Click over to the shoot-out event site for more information or to purchase your spot.  Spots in the class cost $199 per person, however there is currently a 25% off flash sale that will last until Sunday!

I hope to see you there!

Things to Do: 2nd Annual Artisan Market

Portland Artisan Market

I’m really excited to be introducing the Second Annual Artisan Market that is slotted for October 6. It will be a fun opportunity to start your holiday shopping early with several local artisan vendors. The event is free for anyone to attend and is located at the Family Friendly McMenamin’s Kennedy School. A raffle winner will receive a gift basket filled with goodies donated by vendors!

Throughout the next month or two, I’ll be sharing stories from some of the vendors through interviews, profiles, giveaways, and DIYs. I love it when local businesses get together to make a great thing happen.

Potential Vendors:

For more information about becoming a vendor for the 2nd Annual Artisan Market or to sign up and purchase booth space please check out the Eventbrite page. There is still one 8-foot spaces available for purchase. Don’t think you have enough product to fill 8-feet? Go in with a friend and end up saving money over the 4-foot space price! Space prices start at just $50. The coordinators of the event take NO additional portions of sales AND vendors receive free beverage tickets for tasty McMenamin’s beer.

“Like” the PDX Artisan Market on Facebook to keep updated about vendors attending, check out specials available, and to remind you of the event!

Recipe: Brix Layer Cocktail from Aviary

Disclaimer: I received a complementary happy hour and cocktail instruction from Aviary Restaurant in SE Portland for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated. Check out my review of the Aviary Happy Hour.

at-home-version of the Brix Layer Cocktail

Photo created from a photo taken by Bee of  The Spicy Bee

While enjoying several tasty dishes and cocktails at Aviary’s Happy Hour last week the barman Russ Hunsinger shared how he came up with one of Aviary’s most popular cocktails, the Brix Layer. Not only did he share his inspiration and thoughts behind the tasty concoction, but he pulled together a make shift bar in the dining room and showed us how to make it!

Russ came up with the drink while hanging out with friends, drinking Cabernet. He really wanted to figure out a way to create a cocktail that utilized the wine. He started off using a basic old fashioned recipe and working from there. The layering of the drink happened naturally and changes with the type of whiskey or cab used.

This recipe is only an approximation of the awesomeness we tasted at Aviary. But, I wanted to share with those of you that didn’t live in the Portland area and just have to schedule a trip to Aviary in to a future visit to our lovely city.

BrixLayer Ingredients

orange, cherry, bitters in glass

Muddle Well

sitr it up

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Ingredients for the At-Home-Version of The Brix Layer:

  • 1 slice of orange
  • A few Parisian Brandied Cherries (Affiliate Link)
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 8 dashes of angostura aromatic bitters (Affiliate Link)
  • 2 oz House Sour*
  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Tools: ice, mixing tin, muddler, strainer, stirring spoon, large cocktail glass

*You can use any sour really, but the Aviary House Sour is made with lemon, lime, orange juice, and sugar. So, to get a similar taste you should use a homemade fresh sour that has orange juice in it. Try out this sweet-and-sour recipe from Baked Bree.

Directions for the At-Home-Version of The Brix Layer:

  1. In a mixing tin put one slice of orange, a few Parisian brandied cherries, 1 sugar cube and 8 dashes of bitters
  2. Muddle all ingredients in tin VERY WELL, releasing all of the oils and juices in the orange
  3. Add 2 oz of sour to the mixing tin
  4. Add 2 oz of Buffalo Trace Bourbon (or your favorite bourbon) to the tin
  5. Add ice to the tin and STIR with spoon
  6. Double strain the mixture into the cocktail glass
  7. Using the spoon (as in video below) to slow your pour, pour the 3/4 oz of Cabernet into the cocktail glass
  8. DRINK!
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CHEERS! (My friend Bee with her Brix Layer cocktail!)

CHEERS! (My friend Bee with her Brix Layer cocktail!)

Portland Restaurants: Aviary Happy Hour

Disclaimer: I was invited by Aviary to try out their Happy Hour drinks and food items with other bloggers free of charge. I was not otherwise compensated.

Aviary Happy Hour Drinks

Opera Sidecar— Clear Creek Pear Brandy, Tuaca, and House Sour

I had heard about Aviary Restaurant from a few of my foodie friends, but hadn’t ventured out to the SE restaurant until this past week. I’m sort of kicking myself for not trying it sooner. It was seriously amazing.

I brought my DSLR to take amazing photos. But, when I got it out to shoot it flashed the dreaded, “No CF Card” message at me. Of course. So, I iPhoned it the entire night. I did manage to catch a couple of beautiful photos…however, if you wanna go check out some really amazing photos of this event then check out my friend Michelle’s Hummingbird High post about the event.

Portland Happy Hour at Aviary Restaurant

OMG Oysters!

I’ve been craving Oysters for so long. I ate three of them by myself at Aviary. I want more.

Pig Feet Done Right

Pig trotters with egg. I didn’t even listen when they told me that it was pig trotters. I just ate… and, I’m glad I did. They were delish!

 

Happy Hour Food from Aviary

These Pork Sliders had a Banh Mi taste too them. SO GOOD.

The food and drinks at Aviary were filled with complex flavors, prepared in a simple and delicious fashion. I even ate pig feet and loved it (still happy I didn’t know what it was before I tried it!) We enjoyed several of the Aviary Happy Hour menu items including: kusshi oysters, tempura green beans, pulled pork sliders, brussels sprout nachos (OMG—why have I never made this at home!?), trotter n eggs, and bread and bagna cauda. So good. You could totally see the references to Japanese and Korean food in the menu. But, it was completely its own style of food. The Happy Hour food prices range from $2 to $6. I didn’t try one thing that I didn’t like (though, admittedly, I don’t meet many foods I don’t enjoy.) My favorites were the oysters (a little bit of spice!) and the brussels sprout nachos.

Cocktail from Aviary Happy Hour

milkplus vellocet
cantaloupe, nigori sake, lemon hart 151 rum, lime, mint

Happy Hour Cocktail from Aviary PDX

This tasty cocktail, Pinkerton, was made with cazadores reposado tequila, grapefruit, chardonnay, and white soda.

The only bad thing about going to a cocktail party is that I want to try as many different cocktails as possible, but I also want to remain a responsible person and not get sloshed at the dinner table. Thankfully for me, many of the food bloggers weren’t too worried about germs and were very generous in allowing sample sips. I was able to really taste several different cocktails! Coming from a bar background I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the quality ingredients and beautiful preparation of each of the drinks that I tried. The drinks that I tried include: pinkerton, one night in bangkok, high and low, milkplus vellocet, brix layer, and the opera sidecar. All of them were delicious. Drink prices range from $9 to $10— which is common for the quality ingredients and large pours.

While at Aviary barman Russ Hunsinger shared with us how he came up with and makes the Brix Layer cocktail. I’ll be back tomorrow to share with you some of his tips and how he made this brilliant drink.

Happy Hour at Aviary Cocktails

The one night in bangkok cocktail is made with monopolowa vodka, kafir leaves, lemongrass, lime. It tasted like an incredibly complicated (and delicious) lemon drop. Great for people who like sweeter cocktails.

My favorite moment of the night was when Natalie (of Twelfth Avenue) asked Russ (the bartender) the name of her drink? The conversation went something like this:

Natalie: “What was this one again? One night in Bangkok? Or nights in bangkok? 

Russ: “For you, it can be as many nights as you want.”

Laughter ensued.

Give me more…

Check out the Aviary Restaurant for more information about their business hours, location, and menu. A big thank you to Aviary for inviting me out to try Happy Hour and teaching me to make the Brix Layer!

Check out these awesome blogs whose bloggers joined me in Happy Hour at Aviary: 

What is the BEST cocktail you’ve ever tried?

 

Things to Do in Portland: GoodnessKnows Wellness Lounge

goodnessknows

This is part of my series featuring things to do in Portland , Or. I have several PNW readers and like to share some of the fun items that residents and visitors can do in the area!

Anyone who is in the Portland area this week and want to get out for an afternoon of fun and learning is invited to the GoodnessKnows Wellness Lounge. I think this would be a fun activity for stay-at-home moms and dads looking to get out of the house for the afternoon, homeschooling parents looking for a little educational field trip, or for a fun lunch break experience to those people (like my husband) who work downtown.

The Deets:

When: Wednesday, August 7 from 11 AM to 3 PM

Where: Pioneer Square, Morrison Corner, 701 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, Ore. 97204

Cost: Free admission!

What is going on!? 

  • Local registered dietitian Megan Roosevelt joins GoodnessKnows to bring the Goodnessknows Wellness Lounge, nutrition tips, and samples.
  • Portland’s “Wall of goodness” photo mural. For each photo taken on-site, goodnessknows will donate a snack square to St. Vincent de Paul, Portland.
  • Family friendly activities like hopscotch and tic tac toe drawn by a local Portland chalk artist
  • Fun exercise sessions hosted throughout the day
  • Giveaways and prizes provided by local radio station, Z 100
  • High quality, affordable nourishment by local food truck – Thrive. (The first 75 guests are getting a $10 voucher for Thrive!)

** This is NOT a sponsored post. I thought this information might be useful for some of my PNW followers. **

Snapshots: Amtrak Trip to Seattle

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a free trip courtesy of Amtrak for review purposes. The photos, videos, and opinions are entirely my own, based on my experience.

King Street Station

 

Yesterday I spent a lovely day traveling to and hanging out in Seattle, WA. I’ve never traveled on a train before. Sure, I’ve ridden the MAX (Portland’s Light Rail System) but, that isn’t the same.

The trip was one of my more relaxing and enjoyable trips I’ve ever had. I didn’t have to deal with traffic or making sure I had enough gas in the car. I was able to easily get up and walk around. The dining selection was tasty. The seats were big and comfortable. And, I had an outlet to plug in my phone. I will be riding with Amtrak again.

I had been super excited about having wifi on the train and being able to get some work done while traveling. Unfortunately, the wifi was a little spotty on the way up to Seattle and nonexistent on the way back. The conductor came on overhead and conveyed apologies for the problem, and several signs explained that having more reliable wifi was one of the things that Amtrak is working on. Honestly, if I had driven or flown I wouldn’t have had the option for free wifi either. So, I wasn’t too fussed.

Amtrak’s website even added a handy dandy guide of things to do when visiting Seattle. Next time I take a trip up I’ll be bookmarking this page as well and making sure I visit more of Seattle!

*** CONTEST OVER: Currently Amtrak is having a promotion trying to find the best photo or video for promotional purposes through its Instagram fans hashtagging “#amtrakgram” until August 11. Winners will receive travel vouchers! Check out the AmtrakGram website for more information.****

Local Plate: Bringing the Ingredients to Cook Local Meals at Home

Local Plate Ingredients

Disclaimer: I was provided a Local Plate meal for two to review for this post. All opinions are my own. See my policies page for more information. 

Local Plate Provides ALL the Local Ingredients for a Delicious Meal

I know it isn’t just Portland that is on this trend to try to eat more local and support the local businesses. I’m glad that the trend has been sweeping the nation. I’m not as much as an alarmist as my husband, but I do believe that we will someday need the skills to source our food locally, be able to grow food, and definitely need to know how to cook items instead of having things that have been processed for us.

I was thrilled when Nicholas from Local Plate approached me about their new business providing the ingredients for delicious meals with all locally sourced ingredients. I was even more excited when he said that they deliver! The hard thing about eating locally is finding all the ingredients for a meal in one place. If you are lucky and can think on your feet, you can find local ingredients for entire meals at your local Farmer’s Market. But, I’m not that good. I would have to visit at least three different stores on many occasions to get ALL the ingredients I need from local suppliers. Having the fixings for an entire meal delivered to my  door was stinking awesome.

Local Plate Ingredients Closeup

Why would you want ingredients delivered instead of a full meal? This was my first question when I was thinking about whether I would use this service. I mean, I grocery shop every week and purchase ingredients for meals that I cook. If I’m getting something delivered then I’m getting a full meal cooked and ready to go so that I can avoid the kitchen and the mess afterwards. However, after creating this meal, here are my thoughts on the subject: 1. It was a quick meal with all the ingredients and directions. I barely had to do any prep at all and I think I had a delicious, healthy, and local meal out on the table in 30 minutes flat (with photos). 2. It was a meal I had never prepared before! I hadn’t ever made a meal with Tahini sauce and would have had to go out and buy several sauces/spices in order to create this meal at home. I loved that I could try something new without purchasing a large container of sauce or a new spice that I didn’t know if I’d enjoy or ever use again. 3. Boy oh boy, was my husband impressed! I put out this beautiful meal that is nothing like I’d cooked before. It was a a fun surprise for sure. 4. As I said above, it was all local and I didn’t have to drive all over town to get the ingredients.

Local Plates Ingredients with Tuna

Would I pay their price? The prices of the meals at Local Plate varied from around $8.50/serving to $10. Often when I am cooking meals at home my ingredients cost around $5 or less/ serving. A restaurant would cost around $12+ per serving (but, someone else would do the cooking and cleaning.) This is a biggie for me and my family… we need affordable food and eat on a budget. It wouldn’t be a service I could do 5 days a week for sure. However, when I want to cook for a dinner party, try something new, or impress the hubby I will certainly be using this service. I calculated how much it would cost me to source all of the ingredients myself and it would have been much more than the $9/serving because I don’t own many of the spices and sauces I used for the dish.

Local Plate Simple Asparagus

How did it taste? AMAZING. No, seriously, I loved it. I ordered the Sesame Noodles, Oregon Albacore Tuna, and Simple Asparagus and was surprised at the full flavor from such a simple preparation. I am terrible at directions and ended up mixing the tuna into the noodle dish instead of serving it on the side. I’d highly recommend that because the Tahini sauce on the tuna was SO good. They list ALL of their recipes online as well!

How was the portion size? Perfect for our family. The asparagus was just enough for two servings for us veggie loving people. The noodles with arugula and tuna made enough for my husband, child, myself and for leftovers the next day.

Sesame Noodles, Arugula, Oregon Tuna, and Asparagus

When do they deliver? Local Plate provides local delivery free of charge on Mondays and Thursdays. You can also pick up your ingredients on those days if you’d prefer. The delivery comes in an insulated, reusable green bag with an ice pack (just in case you aren’t home). The idea is that you order food and love it so much that you order again, reusing the bags along the way.

How do I try it? Hop on over to the Local Plate website, choose the meal that you want to try, choose the number of servings needed, and follow the directions for purchase. It is SO simple. If you are trying Local Plate for the first time then get 10% off your purchase by using the following coupon code: AAJUL24.

Local Plate Delivers Local Ingredients

Man, I don’t live in Portland, but that looks amazing! How can I try it? While I can’t get the food delivered to you outside of Portland, the Local Plate website does have all of their recipes listed. So, you can source some local ingredients through your Farmers’ Market or find some quality ingredients from your local grocery store and make them yourself! Seriously try the tuna dish… it is out of this world.

Would you use a Local Ingredient meal supplier? When do you think this service would be great for you?

PS. Don’t forget to get your 10% off for your first try of Local Plate! Use the coupon code: AAJUL24

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