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Pip’s Original ~ Mini Doughnuts And Chai Lattes December 5, 2013

Mmmmm doughnuts!

Mmmmm doughnuts!

Thank you to my coworker Nick for introducing me to Pip’s Original!  Fresh warm doughnuts smothered in raw honey and sea salt definitely hit the spot during an unwelcome cold and rainy summer day.  Our original plan was to take the doughnuts to a nearby park and work on our itinerary to Banff and Jasper National Park while sipping mimosas (yeah that’s right!) but we ended up sitting at Pip’s with a couple cups of delicious Chai lattes (we ordered the Ginger Rogers which has Thai chili but it’s very mild so don’t be afraid to try it). It wasn’t super busy the day we went due to the rain so we took up  the biggest table by the window and stayed there for well over an hour. The doughnuts were so good warm which is such a nice and rare treat without needing to go to a county fair to get them that fresh.  They are also dirt cheap and I love that you can buy them in incremental amounts or buy them by the dozen for $5.

They also have cinnamon and sugar ones and another drizzled in nutella (yum!) but so far the raw honey and sea salt is tops for me.   If you “like” their page on Facebook, you can find out about their ridiculous deals such as buy a chai latte and get a dozen free doughnut days (usually on a Friday).

Address:  4759 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213

Price: We paid under $5 for the doughnuts and each of the lattes.
Pip's Original on Urbanspoon

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Say Cheese!! Herb’s Mac and Cheese Food Cart November 20, 2013

Portland is a food cart mecca of sorts and I know I won’t be able to eat at each and every one but I can’t believe I haven’t been to Herb’s Mac and Cheese until now.   I normally don’t drive through this area so I only noticed it by taking a different route home trying to avoid traffic unsuccessfully.  This is when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a sandwich board on the street that mentioned mac and cheese over here.   I quickly glanced over and saw a small collection of carts nestled in an empty space off SE Division St and 32nd Ave (Aka D-Street Noshery).  I’m a mac and cheese fiend if I allow myself to be and  I don’t mean the bright orange stuff that comes out of a box or the ones that are microwaved to disgusting perfection.  It is the homemade variety that I can eat uncontrollable amounts of if left alone with a fork and no witnesses.   I wasn’t able to try it right at that moment but I made a mental note to go there one day soon and I had a good feeling that I wasn’t going to regret it. 

Well that day finally came and it seemed odd that I was craving it on a 90 degree day but there I was standing in front of the shiny stainless steel cart  all sweaty trying to figure out what to order.  I was already starving at this point and the simple rules they posted on how to place an order failed to register with me.  I could only decide an whether or not I wanted a regular or double container (the first step).  The following add ons were too many for my brain to figure out on an empty grumbling stomach so I just asked for a plain jane one.   If your brain is in working order, the next step is the addition of meats (bacon, chicken or pepperoni)  followed by the third step of adding veggies  (garlic, spinach, jalapenos,broccoli and diced or sundried tomatoes).  Finally, the fourth step is any addition of other cheeses  (crumbled blue, crumbled feta, pepper jack, parmasean, cheddar and asiago) which will complete the ordering process.  I personally like it plain or with breadcrumbs on top but the other stuff isn’t appealing to me unless it’s cheese.  Call me old school when it comes to my mac and cheese because I don’t think I need all the frills.  To me it just isn’t the same. 

Herb’s version uses penne pasta (perhaps a touch overcooked the day I went) but the cheese is the ultimate test of goodness and it’s there that they don’t dissappoint.  It is creamy and cheesy done right. Their secret sauce recipe is a bechamel based one that coats the pasta like a glove.  I’m not sure if the hunger caused me to lick the lid clean of all the cheese or if the cheese made me lick the lid clean.  Either way, I displayed no table manners and since I was in the confines of my office I didn’t really care.  My stomach was full and the only thing I regret is not ordering the double so I could eat more later.  Perhaps that was a good thing.  By the way, the double is literally double in size so a really great deal for a couple dollars more. 

Location: 3221 SE Division St.  Closed Mondays.  Open Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sun 12pm-9pm.  Fri and Sat 12pm-10pm.

Contact: www.herbsmacandcheese.com  503-928-7559

Cost: $5 (small) $7 (large) add ons start at .50 cents and go up to $2 for meats for a large size order.

 

Ice Cream Headaches Coming Up! ~ Salt & Straw August 30, 2013

Salt and Straw headache

Salt and Straw headache

I’d like to try that goat cheese, marionberry and habanero (summer flavor) and my normal sea salt ice cream and caramel ribbon please! Holy cow, I always get a headache after eating at Salt and Straw but I always tell myself it’s worth it.  This photo of the ice cream is very special to me because it was the first photo taken with my brand new iphone and it’s fitting that honor went to food. My other phone suffered a fall against the concrete pavement and lost so I needed to start my photo collection stat because I’m still trying to figure out how to recover all my other photos from “the cloud.” So this marked the start of my new collection of food photos.  This picture was also taken at the brand new location of Salt and Straw on 33rd and SE Division.  I’d like to share a small miracle that happened there: I had to park a few blocks away and as I walked towards the location, there was no line out the door and around the corner. Unheard of right?  Well get this…when I walked inside, there was no line again!  I think I was standing in shock for a minute trying to figure out if I walked into the right place.  This kind of thing just doesn’t happen at the other locations and I’m kicking myself for not buying a lottery ticket the day this miracle happened.  I was ecstatic for that reason and that we got seats by the window to enjoy our future ice cream headaches (my friend gets them too and she’s a nurse yet it doesn’t concern her so why should I care right?).  The goat cheese one is delicious but it isn’t spicy at all so don’t let the habanero part of it scare you away and I always get the caramel ribbon because it is my favorite.  By the way, the image is of a half and half scoop (seriously it’s considered one full scoop) so don’t get a double if you can’t decide.  The half and half is plenty!

Website: http://saltandstraw.com/

 

Why Do People Wait An Hour For Ice Cream At Salt & Straw???? July 7, 2013

Filed under: Cheap Eats!,Dessert,Eat Anytime,Food,My Favs — Food Freaks Unite @ 4:20 pm
Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons

Sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons

Salt and Straw is a farm to cone ice cream shop that makes everything in small batches using local, organic and sustainable ingredients. So Portland right?

I remember when they first opened their NE Alberta shop and there was maybe a couple people in front of me but now that would be a small miracle. Their flavors are unique and can change with the season (honey balsamic strawberry with cracked black pepper, Meyer lemon and basil, smoked Hefeweizen or how about pear and blue cheese?). It doesn’t matter if it’s raining and cold outside or whether it’s sunny and worthy of ice cream weather because the line will be there waiting for you. Just accept it. I honestly have no patience for their queues but recently braved it because friends from out of town were curious and wanted a treat after dinner. The line was about the same before we left for dinner as when we got back from it and it wrapped around the corner and down the block. We started lining up sometime after 10pm and got in the store at 11pm. No we didn’t order yet. The line continued just like the rides at Disneyland when you think you’ve made it to the front until you see even more people snaked around the perimeter of the store. You can skip this whole process if you buy your favorite flavors by the pint or want to order something wacky like an espresso at an ice cream shop. And I’ll probably do this next time I get a hankering for their ice cream.

I will say that once you get real close to ordering, they do something that actually makes this line go faster than it normally would.  A staff member starts asking people what they would like to sample and I was a pig and got 3 samples: Arbequina olive oil (meh), cinnamon snickerdoodle (very good), honey balsamic strawberry with pepper (very good).  But I ended up getting a one scoop/half and half (their scoops are HUGE) and their one scoop is really 2 scoops anywhere else.  My flavors were almond brittle with salted ganache (excellent) and sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbon (bomb).  Next time I will just get the latter which was worth the hour wait if you have nothing else to do but seriously ain’t nobody got time for that!

My friends and I all ended up with a headache the next day.  Ahhh the sugar high.

Queue inside

Queue inside

Website: http://saltandstraw.com/

 

Pork Carnitas Quesadilla ~ Que Sabrosa June 20, 2013

carnitas

I’ve been going to this food cart for a few years now and not only do I love their food but they are super nice as well. It’s located on the corner of Fremont and Vancouver in North Portland with limited parking.  The prices are great and so far I’ve tried their empanadas, tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, breakfast and chips and tomatillo salsa.  I was a non-meat eater when I first started going there and I liked their vegetarian options. If you see something that isn’t vegetarian then just ask them and they can probably put something meatless together for you even if it’s not on their menu. They granted my fried food request for cheese taquitos even though their menu only had meat options. I’ve asked other carts to do the same and they declined even though they weren’t busy and had no customers to serve. Que Sabrosa has never done this and would also suggest other vegetarian options for me (because I tend to get stuck on eating the same thing over and over again).

My food choices opened up when I re-introduced pork and chicken back into my life. I wasn’t sure where to start but I narrowed it down to a quesadilla so I could eat it relatively mess free. That last part didn’t work out so well in this instance but it’s so worth it so just have enough napkins around. I asked one of the staff about the pork choices (carnitas vs pastor). I had no idea what the difference was but I remember her saying one was fried on the grill and that cemented my decision to pick the carnitas. This dish is so good that I ordered it again the next day for lunch and I try to go there as often as I can when I do treat myself out to lunch. I’ve since ordered this dish at a few other places and neither was as flavorful or generous with the meat as Que Sabrosa was.  The juices from the meat and melted cheese just make a mess out of eating this but it’s nothing the right amount of napkins can’t handle.

Call your order ahead of time if you are in a rush at 503-288-5157.  The parking can be an issue during lunch hour or sunny days but that’s never been a biggie for me.  They take debit too ($5 minimum) which is always a big thing for me because I rarely have cash anymore.

Address:  Corner of  N. Fremont and Vancouver (across from the future New Seasons by Emanuel Hospital)

Quesa Brosa on Urbanspoon

 

Veggie Tostada-ada-ada ~ La Bonita December 13, 2012

Is there a time this place isn’t busy for lunch?  The line can be long but usually the wait for food isn’t quite as bad.  Be advised the food doesn’t always come out in order so the guy behind you (and the guy behind that guy) might get their meal first.  No biggie in my opinion but I always find myself lunging at what I think should be my order since everyone ahead of me received their food.  Hmmm, maybe it is all in order until it gets to me?  Oh well, the extra minute or two is worth it since the food is so good and you never leave hungry.

As you can see from the picture above, the tostada is piled high with beans, lettuce, salsa, sour cream and cheese.  Very filling and I would order it again.  The staff is super friendly and sometimes when the lines are really long they have been known to throw in a free fountain drink, at least for me they did 🙂

La Bonita is one of my go to lunch spots and several people at work like eating there now too.  Great find on Alberta St. where there are so many Mexican places to choose from.  I’m glad their gorgeous green door (below) caught my eye one day and made me take notice of their establishment so I could remember to try it out one day.

The door that caught my attention

Location: 2839 NE Alberta St Portland OR 97211 Phone: (503) 281 3662

Website: http://www.labonitarestaurant.net/

Cost: $4.50
La Bonita on Urbanspoon

 

Hello Lardo! August 30, 2012

Ok, I have to share my dinner last night.  Sometimes, the bf and I like to dine “tapas style” and just eat little bits of all kinds of goodness.   I happened to be in the Hawthorne area so I dropped by Pastaworks for all the fixings.  Well, almost all of it.  I left the bread at work by accident (grrr from Pearl bakery no less) so we had to make a trip to Trader Joe’s for that.

As I entered, I was greeted by a deli case of meat and was a bit mesmerized and overwhelmed by it all.  I did happen to notice the lardo sitting right in the front and knew I had to try it because it is such a ridiculous food item that I was compelled to buy it.  Lardo is essentially cured strips of fatback seasoned with herbs and spices.  Pure fat!!! The gentleman at the counter suggested 5 strips per person and to simply schmear it on bread.  We tried it with that, wrapped around the meats and also with the cheese and it was really good.  Not something that should be eaten on a regular basis and by all means, don’t tell your doctor about it.  Don’t let the $25 a pound price tag scare you either because the cost of my portion was under $2.   I also picked up 3 different kinds of cured meat: Fra’Mani sopressata, a Venetian Abruzzo and a Citterio spicy sopressata to round out the meat section for about $5.50.

Next up was the cheese counter.  I picked up some “piave vecchio”  cheese recommended by the staff to go along with my cured meats.  It’s has a nice sweet and nutty flavor and the taste reminds me a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano.  A great hard cheese for salads, fruits and appetizers.   It’s about $25 a pound but well worth the small block I purchased for $8.  The nice lady also helped me pick up some sardines from Italy (her favorite being a tomato based “pomodoro” one) which was delicious.  Now I have to admit, I splurged a bit on this one.  I remember Anthony Bourdain eating some during an episode of  “No Reservations” filmed in Spain and he couldn’t get over the difference from sardines typically sold in American supermarkets.   I had to at least try it even though it was an Italian brand because I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.  The small tin was super delicious and was  just under $7.  (Like I said, it was a splurge).

Lastly, I got a nice farro salad because I felt a vegetable was needed (kale, pine nuts, vinegar based dressing, cranberries and other healthy things) and then my eyes focused on the white fish spread.  I’ve had a trout spread at The Observatory restaurant and loved it so I inquired about it and the staff told me it is was the whipped cream of the sea.  How could I pass that up!  And for under $2 it was a generous portion that we still have leftovers of.  Also fantastic!

I clearly remember walking out of the store with my little bag of groceries weighing next to nothing and paying just over $30 for it all.  Oh well, well worth the money for sure and a nice treat for a random weekday dinner.

Website: http://pastaworks.com/

Locations: Currently 3: Hawthorne, Mississippi and NW Portland

Pastaworks on Urbanspoon