Friday, March 29, 2013


Healthy Cooking

Life around here hasn't been the most fun lately. Doctor appointments have been made, lab results have been provided and we're left scratching our heads - again. Frustrating? Yes. Unattainable good health? No. We have to press reboot and start over. Bye bye bacon. Bye bye daily espresso. Bye bye night cap of brown liquor - scotch, bourbon or whiskey. Hello constant hunger. Hello healthy high maintenance meal planning and cooking.

After a moment to absorb what all this means and how it really will impact our lives, we realized it won't too much. It's all in your attitude, right? We may not be indulging in our favorite pass time of over eating and dining out as much, but we're not planning to cut it out of our lives completely. We still have to eat, but it just may not be during happy hour for awhile. And that is ok.

We've been told to switch to a mostly vegetable diet, no grains, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no meat, no potatoes, no corn, no commercial eggs, no dairy - no fun. NO WAY! We're up to the challenge and looking forward to revisiting some of our macrobiotic recipes and reincorporating some of the Body Ecology Diet guidelines, but thankfully we don't have to be as strict this time - we can still have vinegar, mushrooms and fruit. Basically it boils down to discipline and our health is more important than a beer and burgers (most days it is at least).

Homemade Yogurt {homemade yogurt for probiotic goodness}

Meal Prep 
{lots of vegetables, organic non-commercial eggs, and boiled skinless chicken - sounds delicious doesn't it? It actually is!}

Chef-Codd Salad
{salads with every meal to keep us full and healthy. Who said salad has to be boring? My chef/cobb salad making skills are pretty dope}

Asparagus {buying organic and in season}

Zilla Hijiki Salad {this hijiki salad - the Japanese believe in following a food color theory where each meal should include foods in colors that mimics nature - white, red and yellow I get; but blue and black? That's definitely not typical in a western diet. Addicted to this hijiki salad from Zilla Sake House, eating it a least 3x a week.}


The decision to eat better may not be on our terms, but we're determined to make the most of it. We'll be exploring healthy options around the city, when we go on vacation, that's when it may get a bit sticky. Stay tuned - for better health soon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ushering in Spring

Flowering QuinceStarbrite MagnoliaHelleboresSolomon Seal

A few photos I quickly snapped of things happening in my yard. Springtime means rebirth and there is a serious explosion of life going on right now, almost too quickly and we are scrambling to keep it contained and groomed for easy outdoor living later this year. I just love how colorful these photos came out.

As mentioned in a previous post, we've got some big plans for the backyard this year, which includes moving a massive pile of forget-me-nots that grew from one single plant I dug up with a plastic spoon from a friends' yard years ago. If you follow us on Instagram, we've been documenting our horror to discover how quickly these pretty little plants have overtaken parts of the yard. As one of our friends said, "there's a reason why they call them forget-me-nots, there's no way to ignore them!"

Transplanting Forget-Me-Nots

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hanoi Kitchen

Hanoi KitchenVegetarian Pho SpecialDecor

This past weekend we discovered a little Vietnamese gem of a restaurant. It definitely wasn't perfect, but a vast improvement on the faux-Vietnamese restaurants in Portland as of late.  Back in the late 80s and early 90s NE Glisan Street slowly started to become home to numerous Vietnamese businesses - tailors, souvenir stores, billiard halls, baguette shops and restaurants. Then it all sort of went bust and businesses scattered to parts of 82nd Avenue and other NE neighbors; gone was the never-to-be centralized Vietnamese business district. However, some Vietnamese businesses changed hands and a few have remained on NE Glisan between NE 69th & 82nd. That's where we found Hanoi Kitchen. The menu seems basic with typical items such as soups, salads, and rice and noodles plates. Dig deeper and there are numerous dishes not typically seen at newer (ie watered down) Vietnamese restaurants such as their specialty soups, shredded pork rolls, broken rice plates and steamed rice crepes! Thanks to our good friends and their Vietnamese food loving boyfriends we enjoyed a healthy and delicious Vietnamese lunch we didn't think we'd find without venturing further into 82nd.

We were enticed to try Hanoi Kitchen by the list of their specialty soups, and in particular the central Vietnam specialty of Bun Bo Hue (spicy thick noodle soup served with shredded banana flower, lettuce and thick cuts of brisket). Possibly due to the heavy Sunday brunch crowd, the Bun Bo-based soups were sold out, including the Bun Bo Gio Cua (spicy beef soup with house-made crab patties) - tragic, but we heard they had plenty of other specialties to try.

One of those specialties were psyched to try was their steamed rice crepes. Hanoi Kitchen offered two varieties of their steamed rice cakes, wrapped or wet shreds. Previously we had tried steamed rice crepes at one of those aforementioned watered down establishments and enjoyed them, but Hanoi's Kitchen's version quickly out shined the competition, with a hefty portion of pulled shredded shrimp threads, fried shallots, lots of seasonal herbs and a perfectly seasoned fish sauce ($6.75).

Banh Uot Tom ChayBanh Cuon Tom Chay

When Mike was told the specialty Beef Noodle with Crab Patty soup were sold out, he quickly switched gears and ordered the house special noodle bowl, which turned out to be a good decision. This noodle bowl was huge with classic Vietnamese noodle bowl ingredients such as lemongrass pork, an eggroll, grilled shrimp and sugarcane shrimp. What made this noodle bowl stand out? The outstanding amount of fresh herbs, this bowl was fully loaded with mint, cilantro, basil, perilla and lettuce. The fish sauce was tart, sweet, salty and not a bit watered down. This bowl was enough for two meals ($7.95)!

Bun Hanoi Dac Biet

It is rare to find broken rice plates on Portland Vietnamese restaurant menus, so when I saw Hanoi Kitchen had a whole section of plates available, I zero'd-in on the special plate with lemongrass pork, grilled shrimp and a steamed patty. The patty was absolutely disgusting (dry and possible days old), but the pork chop was well seasoned and finger licking good. I poured my fish sauce all over the plate, mixed it up and ate it by the spoonful ($8).

Com Ha Noi Dac Biet

As we payed our tab, I was magnetically drawn to the heat lamp, which held a beautiful pile of house made sesame balls. If you are a fan of mochi desserts, these crispy fried sesame versions filled with taro, pinto, yellow bean and even durain fruit will put a smile on your face ($1 each).

Sesame Balls

Hanoi Kitchen was a complete surprise. The prices were terrific and the food was great. We will be back to try their specialty Bun Bo Hue and report back!

Hanoi Kitchen
7925 NE Glisan Street
Portland, Oregon

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Dining List

Oh technology, how you make our lives better. The photo above is our handwritten list of Portland "To Dine" list, which we finally loaded onto our Pinterest. Our boards are a bit random, but how it has made travel, last minute dinner decisions and just a great place to put all the general ideas floating out there on the web easier to organize and hold in one place. We did try utilizing "To Do Lists" on our phones, but scratching a thick black line through completed items is just so much more satisfying.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter's Thaw

Sometimes I wish I could stop time, so I can fully take in and enjoy it all, and these final winter days we've been having would be one of those times. Not quite spring yet, but definitely not the dead of winter anymore; when there is no longer a need to wear gloves, but scarves and wool coats are still necessary, along with sunglasses though. I'm trying to make an effort to sit back and truly enjoy this time because before we know it, spring rains and blooming rhododendrons will be upon us. We're definitely looking forward to warmer weather and being outside more, but there's something comforting about being all bundled up and still enjoying the sunshine on your face. The following are just a few images of the final days of winter. Counting them down, but enjoying them all the same.

Riverside Cherry BlossomThree Birds and the BridgeRed BloomPink Tower and Pink BlossomsSteel BridgeRiver DogCrossing the Steel BridgeWaterfront Cherry BlossomsSpring BlossomsCherry BlossomsDog RunFishingRiverplace Dock

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One Good Thing About Daylight Savings

One good thing about daylight savings is the noticeable amount of extended brightness in the evenings, along with the mesmerizing late winter light and a thin layer of clouds providing mild, balmy temperatures, combined, makes for a terrific late winter/early spring stroll after a long week.

Spring BlossomsClose Ups BlossomsPeaceBasketballBlooming DaphneyDaphneyPalm-PoetryRosebudMikeSunset

Friday, March 15, 2013

The End and After Art Exhibit at the Bullseye Art Gallery

The Bullseye GalleryThe End and After ExhibitBullseye GalleryGallery FloorGlass PaintingsMichael Endo Trio of PaintingsMichael Endo Glass PaintingTokyo Sheet ExhibitStacey Linn Smith Trio PieceStacey Linn Smith ExhibitShattered Glass Interactive ExhibitShattered Glass Close-UpParticipationNailsShatteredScratching Glass Interactive ArtBack GalleryBullseye Art Gallery

Bullseye Gallery is a testament to Portland's hippie DYI mentality. In 1974 three hippie glassblowers teaching stained glass courses were challenged to developed a palette of colored glasses specifically designed for fusing in a kiln, something large companies in Europe were unable to do at the time. By the early 1980s they were successful and opened the world to a whole new level of glass artwork.

I have been known to say Portland is a large town, at best, and a prime example of this is the lack of world class galleries and the monetary support needed for artist to survive here. However, Bullseye is the exception to this rule. Housed in an old fish smoking factory in the Pearl District, even the building evoke a sense of its unique history and sense of accomplishment. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Artist Reception for Michael Endo and Stacey Lynn Smith's "The End and After" Exhibit currently showing at the gallery - "Two Northwest artists look through an apocalyptic lens, meditating on the end of things and what may or may not come after." The show is great, with a mix of Stacey's interactive pieces, such as the reverberating broken glass micro-phoned to give the gallery owners and staff heart attacks; the sound of breaking glass must be horrifying and to have an exhibit where people are encourage to not only allow glass pieces to break, but to magnify the sound throughout the beautiful space was so much fun to participate in. As well as her unnerving draw on glass panel piece.

It was such a fun exhibit that on a sunny Saturday we made a special trip down to the Gallery just to experience the space in the soft sunlight and see Michael Endo's incredible glass paintings up close and personal. If you are in the Pearl District and just finished up a filled cupcake from Cupcake Jones or did a little shopping in Cargo, we would highly encourage you to stroll on down to Bullseye Gallery and catch the exhibit while it lasts. March 6 - April 27, 2013, it truly is a worthwhile exhibit in a world class gallery.

Bullseye Gallery
300 NW 13th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209