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Food Pic Friday ~ Summer Loving February 22, 2013

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Food pic Friday: Random photos of food or drinks I make or put together at home because for some reason I can’t eat out all the time.

spanish meat and english cheese

I’m longing for more sun or less rain, either one will do. This is not a surprising statement coming from a Portlander this time of year. So my food pic this week reminds me of summer so it seems fitting to put it up given my desire for warmer weather.  I can eat this way any time of the year but it’s a summer favorite so here it is.

I can stroll through Trader Joe’s or a nice deli (Pasta Works in this instance) and pick up a variety of foods and call it a meal. Pictured above and below include the following: cured meats (both Italian and Spanish from TJ’s), cheese (TJ’s vintage reserve cheddar is bomb), crackers (TJ’s), bread, fruit, imported sardines, white fish spread, lardo and salad. I also love marcona almonds but it never made the photo. Very filling and easy. Ahhhh is it summer yet????

lardo

 

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

 

The Amazing Cheese Bar July 3, 2012

An overcast day in Portland made sunnier with duck salami

I’ve had this on my list of places to eat at but it was a recent picnic plan that finally steered me over to the Cheese Bar.  Yay!

When you enter, a display case full of cheese will greet you and more than likely you will stare at it not knowing where to even begin.  Luckily the staff are helpful and will assist you in narrowing down your choices while giving you samples to try along the way.  We managed to pick out a mild but flavorful Perrydale cheese made out of cow and sheep’s milk before making the next decision of which cured meat should accompany the cheese.  We were much more adventurous with that part of the picnic fare and chose a curry flavored salami  (recommended by the staff) along with a duck salami. 

Ok, so the curry salami was really good but messes with your idea of what salami should taste like.  It is very creamy and has an almost cheese like taste to it which complimented the Perrydale we purchased.  The duck salami was a salty, peppery and fatty meat which was more reminiscent of the traditional salami our taste buds are accustomed to.  Overall, a really great spread to the other food we brought along for the picnic.  They also have a sit down area to enjoy their pub menu (nice selection of beer and wine) which I will be trying in the very near future. 

Left to right: Curry salami, Perrydale cheese and duck salami

Location: 6031 SE Belmont St. Portland Oregon

Website: http://cheese-bar.com/

Cheese Bar  on Urbanspoon

 

Hawthorne Hophouse~Deep Fried Cheese Curds October 23, 2011

Cheese Curds: the solid parts of soured milk that are mild in flavor and similar firmness to regular cheese but has a slightly rubbery texture.  Fresh curds will squeak when being chewed which is why it is commonly referred to as squeaky cheese.

I think one of the best things ever created is cheese. I will admit that I’m a bit of a cheese fiend because I like them all.  Mild, stinky, crumbled, soft, hard, salty, solid, liquified and yes even the more processed variety (for grilled cheese purposes and don’t judge me!).  For this particular blog entry, I will discuss the elusive cheese curd.  They are not easily found at most markets and the fresh ones are even harder to get because “fresh” in this sense is considered made the same day.  You can tell the freshness of the curds by the squeak of the cheese. 

So now that you know how I feel about cheese,  imagine how I feel about cheese being battered and then deep fried.  I won’t lie, it’s pretty fantastic and it’s hard not to eat too many when they serve a large portion of them to you.  The Hawthorne Hophouse has them on both the happy hour and regular menu.  It’s definitely something that should be shared even though every dietician would probably advise you to stay away from them entirely.   The only thing that stopped me from consuming too many was the plate of poutine that I ordered which contained even more curds so I was bordering on cheese overload.  Not necessarily a good thing if you know what I mean.  

Overall they have better than average pub food.  The mac and cheese is creamy and dreamy and you can order it plain or try their rotating flavors.  The ciabatta bread they serve it with is butterly delicious.  My friends and I have sampled several items and all were pretty good.  The only thing I think they need to work on is their dessert menu.  The stout cake I ordered was not cake-y at all.  It was more of a thick mousse consistency which would have been ok if I ordered mousse.  Other than that, the service was decent; nothing overly friendly but nothing that would cause me to not give a good tip or come back. 

Say Cheese!!!
 
 Beer lovers should go on Mondays because beer flights (sampling of beers on tap) are half price. 
  • 6 beers – $3.50
  • 12 beers – $6.50
  • 24 beers – $12.00
 
Location: 4111 SE Hawthorne Portland Oregon 503-477-9619
Cost: Happy Hour daily 3pm to 6pm and 9pm to 12am and all day Sunday$4/ Regular menu $5

Hawthorne Hop House on Urbanspoon