Sunday, October 30, 2011

Signs of Fall

Not So Itsy Bitsy Spider

Looks likes fall has officially arrived in Portland. Not sure how we feel about its return yet.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bachelorette/Bachelor Blow Out

This last weekend we celebrated our friends' final moments of non-marital status with a full day of celebrating. In typical fashion the bride was showered with a nice calming day at a hot spring spa complete with soaks, wraps and a massage. It was nice to get out of town, see the beautiful scenery of the Columbia River Gorge and the Resort was rustic and grand.

Bonneville Hot Springs & Spa

Bonneville Hot Springs Resort Lobby

View from Lobby of Bonneville Hot Springs Resort

A few hours of pampering later we headed back into Portland and enjoyed a great southern feast at the Delta Cafe. We had plans to meet up with the boys for a Zombie Rock Show downtown , but had an hour to kill so a little kareoke was in order.

Julie & Melissa Kareoke Duet

We finished off a pot of coffee and headed downtown in the warm fall night. We arrived in old town, decided the cover cost for the show wasn't worth it and ended up at a cozy bar enjoying more cocktails and gross bachelor/bachelorette themed shots, before heading over to the adult arcade Ground Kontrol for beers and old school arcade games and pinball. The evening ended with sidewalk photoshoots and more fried foods. With a groom/bride/group of friends like this, the wedding is going to be crazy fun!

Davis Street Tavern

Ground Control

Ground Control Arcade

Random Old Town Burger Joint

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autumn Colors

The deciduous tree leaves aren't the only ones giving us glorious autumn color right now.

Sunrise in the Portland Office 10-26-2011

Taken from the window of my office building.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Harvesting and Preserving Our 2011 Garden

Final 2011 Garden Harvest

One of the quincessential Pacific Northwest things to do is have a small garden and spend the summer months growing your own food. This year with our mid-summer wedding we decided we'll still have a vegetable garden, but select vegetables we could harvest at once in the later part of summer. For example we decided to plant an Heirloom Goliath Tomato verses a prolific constant ripening cherry tomato. This beauty grew large over the months of July but only started to bare large green tomatoes in mid-August into late September.

2011 Golith Tomato Plant

As the green fruits grew and grew and grew, but didn't turn red we started to think we'd have 100lbs of green tomatoes to deal with, but with a couple hot September weekends our tomatoes started to turn red and our plan to can and preserve for use in the winter was back on track.

Tomato Harvest

Our decision to attempt canning our tomatoes was solidified with this bad boy. A pressure cooker/canner purchased with some wedding money.

Pressure Cooker

Sure we could have easily purchased a simplier water bath canning pot, but this 23-Quart Pot is also a pressure cooker. We could easily make a pot of beans for a huge group of people in less than an hour or cook a whole chicken in under 40 minutes! We also heard it's the safest way to can tomatoes which was our main objective. We started by sorting our fantastic harvest of tomatoes by size and whether they had an blemishes.

Sorted Tomatoes

We were really surprised by how beautifully round and picture perfect the Goliath variety was. The largest firmest tomatoes were saved, later sliced and dehydrated into little round disc that we reconstitute in broth or water for our spanish rice, soup and flavoring bases for just about anything.

Dehydrated tomatoes

All other tomatoes were then prepped to be skinned and prepared for stewing or tomato sauce.

Stewing Tomatoes

Boiling Set Up

Dunking Tomatoes


We quickly dunked the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water. After 40 seconds most the skins would visibly split and we would scoop them out and immediately dunk them in a bowl of cold iced water. 5 seconds later the skins easily peel off. Half the tomatoes were cut into quarters for stewing and the other half were roughly chopped for tomato sauce.

Stewing Tomatoes for sauce

We cooked the tomato sauce down for two hours and immediately poured the sauce into the canning jars.

Canned Tomatoes

The pressure canner had weights and gauges and initially seemed very scientific and dangerous, with the boiling pressurized air/water situation, so we didn't document watching the pressure build and maintaining the heat so the pressure remains within a certain zone for safe canning.

We can tell you the tomato sauce was alot sweeter than we imagined, the stewed tomatoes had a smokey kick due to some roasted jalapenos we added and we were able to capture a little bit of summer with ingredients grown in our own backyard or within biking distance. We think even our cat Cleo approved.

Cleo in the Strawberry Bed

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

He's Done It Again

Tuna Tapa Bites

We were invited to a tapas themed special birthday celebration and we brought this tuna tapa bites. Yes, they were as good as they looked.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Honey We're Home!


Although we live in a quaint older part of the city we do dream of living in an open industrial space like this one found in Chicago. The subway tiled kitchen wall, the railed barn doors, the open space, concrete floors, full glassed kitchen pantry wall and an elevator that opens right into your living room. This is a space we'd be happy to call home!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tribute to Tributes


On a rainy Sunday afternoon we braved the NW shopping crowds in search of some new kitchen appliances and furniture. To reward ourselves we decided to get some fries from one of our favorite spots in town, Tribute's. We've been going to Tribute's for their Philly Cheesestakes and Hot Pastrami sandwiches for ten years now. They have great thick crust pizzas too.

We were hit with two sad pieces of information upon ordering. One: the deep-fryer was not working, so we weren't going to be rewarded with the crispiest fries. Two: Tribute's had recently lost their lease and will be closing on October 9, 2011! We were told a new location is in the works and they will be back. Let's hope so! The Hot Pastrami we got was fantastic! Come back soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Summer Staycation, Part II

Mike Biking Along the River

A prime example of summer in Portland is having late night dinners. We made plans to meet up with friends for dinner on the south side of town and with plenty of sunshine before we decided to make a day of it and tour around town exploring. Portland was hit with a late summer heat wave and we wanted to be near the water, we had no idea we'd have a near deserted riverfront beach area to ourselves!

Anne Biking Along River Bike Path

Anne Biking North Along the River Bike Path

It may have something to do with the long bike ride back up.

Anne Biking Up Going

Since we were being adventurous we decided to try a local taqueria in their new industrial location. We've been visiting Cha Cha Cha (Ole Ole) taquerias for ten years and we were skeptical of a possible "starbucking" of this family owned chain popping up in every hip neighborhood across Portland, explaining the two years we waited to try this one. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices weren't any different from their other less glamorous locations and decided to test the consistency of their menu by ordering our 'usual' - potato taquitos and a fish taco. The taquitos were a slam dunk and the fish taco was substantial and fresh, but missing the spicy mayo that usually tops the bland whitefish.

Cha Cha Cha Sign-Resized

Mike ordering at the bar-Resized

Cha Cha Cha Interior-Resized

Potato Taquitos-resized

Fish Taco-Resized

We needed to find a possible gift or at least a card so we detoured through a couple of neighborhoods full of new shops we have yet to check out.

Dress Shop on Mississippi

Cute Little Shop on Mississippi

Cute Dress

Cute Mississippi Store

I Heart Retro Store

Before we knew it, it was almost time for our dinner reservations. We left with plenty of time to bike to yet another constantly changing Portland neighborhood. As we biked in the warm summer night we passed the PICA building lit up with a summer art installation. It was a near perfect summer day.

PICA Building at Night