Dinner @ Tasty n Daughters

A few months back Luke took me out for a fancy-date-night-birthday-dinner at Tasty n Daughters. I knew we’d love it before we even got there though, haha. The Tasty n Tasty group is well known around town for having the most delicious food (Tasty n Alder is one of my all-time favorite dinner spots in town!) so I already figured that we’d have a great experience here. We started off with happy hour next door at their R&R room before dinner and it was the cutest space to relax in with a drink and a small snack before our meal. As I expected, our meal was fantastic, see below for proof!
2017 Domaine Ogerau, L’Anjouée, Anjou, FR
pFriem, Pilsner
Marcus’ Wedge with blue cheese, bacon lardons, onion rings and sunflower seeds
Hush Puppies with jalapeño butter
didn’t see this listed on the menu posted online, but it was a delicious flatbread with buratta.
Manti – Turkish beef and lamb dumplings with garlic yogurt sauce and urfa pepper
BBQ Chicken with Alabama white sauce

Brunch @ Tusk

Tusk is one of my favorite Portland restaurants. I even have it listed on my “Portland List“. Tusk is known for it’s locally sourced and seasonally aggressive menu that updates often. I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan when restaurants update their menus seasonally, as it allows me to continually try different menu options without getting bored. Everything about Tusk is just special though. From the vegetable-driven middle eastern menu, to the over-sized portrait of Keith Richards above the bar (which I am borderline obsessed with) and the bright white decor with brass fixtures – Tusk is truly a gem and not to be missed.
My sister was just in town visiting last weekend and I surprised her with a visit to experience their brunch (I’ve only ever had their dinner). She’s already plotting how she can get back down here to experience another meal.
VEGETABLES
whipped feta, herb tehina, seeds, almonds
DUTCH BABY
plums, date syrup, almonds, whipped cream
BAKED EGGS AND CHEESE
queso oaxaca, spicy tomato, squash, nigella seeds

That one time we went to Austin, Texas | APRIL 2016

I can’t believe that I missed posting about our time in Austin, Texas! Austin had been on my travel list for as long as I could remember. We booked a trip last year (for my birthday) and had the absolute best time exploring for a very, very long weekend. Heather even met up with Luke and I! This is a city I definitely want to spend more time in. I see another Austin trip in my future!

Where we ate/drank:
Hotel San Jose: We stopped here for drinks right when we got into town. A rainstorm came through right when we arrived but the patio was covered, so all was good!
Fixe: On our first night in town we met some friends that live in Austin for dinner at Fixe. It was one amazing meal!
Torchy’s Tacos: We might have gone here three times… This is the place where I discovered my love of breakfast tacos. They are seriously life changing.
Tacodeli: We were told you either like Torchy’s or Tacodeli. We liked Torchy’s…
Gourdough’s Doughnuts: So indulgent! We got one doughnut and shared it between 3 people.
The Salt Lick: Because we were looking for some good old Texas barbecue.
Winflo: We met Jessica and Matt here for happy hour one night and it was so much fun. I met Jessica through blogging and this was the first time meeting in person. She was the sweetest and we all had a great time getting to know each other.
Licha’s Cantina: Our last meal of the trip, so sad. We discovered green salsa here and I’ve tried to re-recate it at home multiple times.

What we loved:
Everything on South Congress, the Mexican food, Barton Springs, walking around the UT campus, touring the Texas State Capitol building, exploring different neighborhoods, becoming addicted to breakfast tacos, finding murals all over the city,

FUN FACT: We met Mark and Sara in Mexico, just days before our wedding. We met them at the swim-up bar at the hotel we were staying at and they became instant friends with our group.
We invited them to our wedding and Mark caught the garter! We’ve stayed friends in the past few years and met up with them for my birthday dinner on our first night in Austin.
These are the breakfast tacos that changed my life. No joke. 
They are from Torchy’s Tacos and they are nothing short of absolutely amazing. 
*The nice camera didn’t make it on this trip, all photos are courtesy of the iPhone. 

Portland Dining Month: Bar Avignon

(Disclosure: A PR firm on behalf of Travel Portland reached out and offered me a gift certificate to dine at a pre-selected restaurant participating in Portland Dining Month. All opinions are my own.)

Before dinner we stopped into the Double Barrel Tavern for a quick drink before dinner. This place is like a nice diver bar. Haha.
Bar Avignon was the second restaurant that we dined at for Portland Dining Month (see the first one here). Luke and I were very excited to try Bar Avignon; their menu looked phenomenal and the location is in a fun up-and-coming part of town.  We definitely enjoyed this opportunity to try a new-to-us restaurant and a Saturday night date night.

Now on to the Portland Dining Month specials… 
jacobs’ bloomy: oregon cow + honeycrisp apple 
Groundwork Organics spring lettuce with shallots and honey-apple-cider vinaigrette 
Seared pork chop with Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider-glazed new potatoes, rapini and thyme
Roasted half chicken panzanella with asparagus, radish, Grana Padano, baguette and lemon-garlic dressing
Gooey chocolate brownie with Jacobsen smoked salt caramel sauce
Carnaroli rice pudding with vanilla brown butter syrup

Minus a little rudeness from our waiter at the end of the evening (we received some weird and accusatory questioning when we presented our gift certificate…) we did enjoy our experience at Avignon. By far our favorite was the entrees! I’m still dreaming of that roast chicken over a panzanella salad; so delicious!

– Photos © Holly Copeland –

Portland Dining Month: Aviary

This post is coming a little late, but better late then never, right?! During the month of March, Travel Portland hosts Portland Dining Month. Over 100 Portland area restaurants participate in offering a special 3-course menu for $29/per person. It’s such a great deal and a great way to try some new restaurants. Luke and I had such a hard time narrowing down a few spots to try. We chose Aviary for our first spot and it did not disappoint.

And now on to the Portland Dining Month specials…
Dungeness crab chawanmushi with bone marrow, sea urchin, Asian pear, snap peas and truffle vinaigrette
Miso-braised beef short rib with taro root, Asian pear, yuzu kosho slaw
Pan-seared salmon with cauliflower, saffron, green apple, trout roe and American caviar
Ricotta and rhubarb strudel
Chocolate budino with butterscotch and cherry

Everything that we had was delicious. I was a little hesitant about the crab chawanmushi because it’s a little bit outside of my food comfort zone, but I thought it was very good and unique. My absolute favorite dish of the evening was the salmon. Salmon is my absolute favorite and the additional flavors in this dish really made it stand out. I’m looking forward to a future visit to Aviary to see what their regular menu has to offer.
– Photos © Holly Copeland –
 

Dinner @ Teote

Luke had sent me a link for Teote a few months back. It looked delicious so we added it to our ever growing list of Portland restaurants we want to try. A few weekends ago, after a long afternoon of house cleaning, we cleaned ourselves up and ventured over to Teote for dinner. Just walking up the street to this place you can’t help but get excited at the sight of all the bright blues, yellows and oranges that decorate the outside of the restaurant. We placed our order at the front counter and then made our way upstairs to grab a table, a cute little romantic table tucked away by the upstairs corner window.
Teote features a Latin-American cuisine with an emphasis on healthy and gluten free eating, which is quite refreshing when you eat out a lot like we do! We found the food to be quite unique, fresh and full of flavor.

The arepas (Venezuelan-style corn cakes) and the fried plantains were by far my favorites (looks for them in the photos below).

El Diablo
Carlton Farms pork belly in a red chili maple sauce,
topped with pickled onions, verde sauce and queso.
Simpático
Black beans, rice, cabbage salad, salad,
fried plantains and queso served with a buttered arepa 

Dinner @ Grassa

Last week we decided to drive into the city for a date night. When I say drive into the city, I’m talking about like 5 miles or so, haha, hardly a drive. We had been craving something fresh, something local, something Portland-y. We landed on Grassa. Owned by the same folks that operate Lardo, we knew we’d be in for a treat since we’re both huge Lardo fans.
When you step inside Grassa you get the feeling that you’re in a small, yet upscale cafeteria – complete with lockers on the wall, communal seating and an open view of the pasta kitchen. It’s chaotic yet comfortable.
The food at Grassa is the definition of handcrafted comfort food and fresh ingredients. I had the Spaghetti ‘Aglio Olio’ and Luke had the Carbonara. Both were fantastic dishes. We had a side of garlic bread along with some beer and house red wine (tip: if you don’t like the limited beer selection, you can order a beer next door at Lardo and bring it over to Grassa). Our total dinner came to just around $30, pretty awesome for a Friday night out on the town. We’ll definitely be back here soon!
Carbonara
bucatini, pork belly, fried egg, pecorino
Spaghetti ‘Aglio Olio’
garlic, chili, olive oil, grana, bredcrumbs

In PDX: Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

This place. Is amazing. I might even go as far to say that it’s some of the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot… The coconut curry? The best! My only regret is that I ordered a 2 instead a 3 on the spice level (that goes up to 4). What can I say, I love a little kick. Anyways, if you live in Portland, please try it out – you won’t be disappointed. Just be prepared to wait in a bit of a line, it’s worth every bite though.

^ Dinner is always better with your favorite friends ^

Dinner @ Grain & Gristle

A few Saturday nights ago we tried a new-to-us restaurant. We sat on the couch for about an hour clicking through list after list of Portland restaurants and just couldn’t settle on anything. We wanted somewhere different, somewhere we’ve never been before. So we chose Grain & Gristle.
We were seated outside and we had a fantastic server. She explained the menu, gave us recommendations and always had a smile on her face. And after we finished our meals, we were very glad we chose this place – because it was plate-licking delicious. Seriously. I should also add that we had a total of four beers, two appetizers and two entrees – the total came to just barely over $50. Pretty good if you ask us!

^ Messy hair, don’t care ^

Dinner @ Whey Bar & OX

We’re always early, Luke and I. A few Fridays ago we picked up our marriage license downtown and then headed over to OX for dinner. The restaurant doesn’t open until 5pm and it was 4pm. Lucky for us, there is a bar next door where you can grab a few drinks and snacks while you wait. The best part is that you can put your name on the list while you’re waiting with your beer(s).  

Once we finally got into the restaurant, we could hardly contain our excitement. Seriously, we were like kids in a candy store. I was running around snapping photos of everything (typical) and Luke dove straight for the beer list and food menu (also typical).

You’re served fresh baked bread with homemade chimichurri. If you’re lucky, you’ll receive a few samples of the coconut curry bisque, compliments of the chef… I’m pretty sure they give this to everyone.

Spring Onion, Blue Cheese, Potato & Poblano Empanada- and -Fresh Clam Chowder, Smoked Marrow Bone, Spring Onion, Jalapeño Now this chowder. I have to say that I was a little skeptical to try bone marrow, as I’ve never had it before. But Luke talked me into it. I’m not lying when I say this is one of the best soups I’ve ever had. Ever. It’s going to be real hard to go back to a traditional clam chowder now.

The Asado ArgentinoGrilled Short Rib, House Chorizo & Morcilla Sausages, Skirt Steak, Sweetbreads, Fried Potato, Green Salad OX most definitely caters to the meat eaters. And while I’m typically not the biggest meat eater (I usually stick with chicken) I found everything to be mouthwatering & amazing. Through the duration of our meal we kept saying how great everything was and how we didn’t want to stop eating! But, since I’m not a fan of being uncomfortably full, I stopped pretty early on – which meant we had a lot left to take home with us!