Showing posts with label Portland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Portland. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

And I'm not talking about Spencer Tracy.

I hope you are all well. I certainly am. Why you ask? I am doing great because I am not living in the early 1960s in a life filled with booze, infidelity, drama and advertising.

Yes, you guessed it. I have been watching Mad Men. I love it! I just do. It is nasty and dramatic, but it is impossible to not root for these characters. No matter how awful they are, the writers somehow draw you in enough to care about them regardless of their flaws. Did you all like the premier of the new season? I haven’t watched it yet and have successfully avoided the reviews. It is a miracle!

Fun fact:
Apparently Adrian Grenier (Drive Me Crazy... fine... and Entourage) is joining some Portland brewers to make flat top style beer cans. You know, the kind you need to open with a can opener ala Don Draper. Pretty hilarious. I understand that it is hipster cool, but it is also a lot more effort just to open your beer! Haha!

A quote from a different article is what cracked me up the most:
“Drinking Beer from flat top cans will be this year’s having a mustache for ironic retro cool.”

I can’t wait. This is going to be fun! Especially if the nasty trendiness of the mustache is on its way out the door.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Snow on March 22nd? This is absurd.

Okay folks, it is March 22nd and it snowed last night. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to take my wool sweaters to the dry cleaner and pack them away for the season. Come on spring!!! Where are you!? Am I ever going to feel like it is appropriate to wear my new coral chinos?  Or am I going to be stuck in a land where the day’s low temperature lingers around 33 degrees?

I am absolutely ready for the sun. I just got my hair done (shout out to Micah!) for the spring and there are some majorly bright blonde highlights kickin’ it in my do right now. This weather is not conducive to the longing I have to style said hair, nor does it seem right with my newly blonde/ sunny weather hair color. Stupid snow/ rain/ cold. I don’t have a good photo of my new hair to show you. But Micah is a color genius and “we” (in quotes because all I did was drink a glass of red wine… haha) did bright blonde in the front with super subtle ombré that has just a bit of brighter blonde at the ends. I have short hair and get nervous that full out ombré on my lob (long-bob) would look cray.  I promise to show you a picture eventually. Just so you know, it is like she can read her client’s minds. So if you are in the market for a new hairdresser send me an email and I will pass on her info.

Well, I didn’t think I had enough to say to write a post… apparently I always have something to say! Let us also reflect on the fact that my sister and B-in-Law (B stands for Brandon and brother) are in Palm Springs. It is just plain rude. She keeps posting sunny weather photos simply to make the rest of us jealous.

Proof of the rudeness:

Well, that is all my pretties! I hope you have great Thursdays. Try to stay warm this spring. I have lost all hope that the temperature will ever be above 55 degrees.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Escapades on the Eastbank Esplanade.

On Sunday Marina, Libby and I walked the Eastbank Esplanade. It was a beautiful day. Lots of bikers, lots of runners and lots of laughter.

There isn't much else to say. I love Portland.

Take advantage of one of these sunny days! You won't regret it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Traditionally Portland

Huber’s is a key Portland establishment that has been serving turkey and cocktails since 1879. They made it through the prohibition (serving Manhattans in coffee mugs) and continue to be a favorite spot among Portlanders. Nowadays they are famous for their turkey dinners, fiery Spanish coffees and classic ambiance.

With a rich history and tradition, as well as the ability to make reservations for happy hour (which goes until 6:30), it is an altogether win!

I went last night for HH with some friends. Of course I ordered a Spanish coffee!

Such a handsome bar.

Spanish Coffee! 

My sister asked the man making the Spanish coffees how many he thought he had made since working there. He said, "I have no idea, I have been here for 22 years." AMAZING! 

My apologies for the iPhone photos. I was doing so well using my real camera!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Strictly Local: Coffee, Hipsters, Cycling and Recycling.

Portlandia has become a national hit. But for us Portlanders there is an extra special place in our hearts for this show. Yes, some of the scenarios are a little out there, but others are spot on!

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein

One thing about the show that I love, is the way it has opened my eyes to little cultural things about Portland. Things that I didn't believe to be unique from other places.

For example, I didn’t realize that the way we emphasize shopping local, eating local and where things come from was distinctly Portland. Of course I favor a restaurant that lists where the meat they serve is from (preferably a local farm). Pork from Carlton Farms? Why, that sounds lovely. Carlton is just 40min away! I know it is fresh and that I am supporting local. I really had no clue that this wasn’t a universal idea. I am referencing the first episode ever. Our emphasis on local was significant enough that it made the first episode!

Also, I recently read a column in Entertainment Weekly about Portlandia. Fred Armisen mentioned that he wanted to do an episode about how we put fried eggs on everything!  Who doesn’t like fried eggs? It makes everything amazing and he agrees. Think of your favorite savory meal. Now think about that same meal with a fried egg on top. That meal just went to a whole other level of awesome! Don’t believe me? Go try Wilbur’s Jumbo Deluxe Burger (bacon, Tillamook cheddar and a fried egg) from McMenamins. Don’t worry guys, McMenamins is local. And so is Tillamook for that matter. Double whammy!

That is all I have to say. Portlandia is hilarious. I will be watching the next episode with a Moscow Mule. Yes, it is a specialty cocktail that contains purred ginger. Major call out to me during last week’s episode.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Slappy Cakes

I love Slappy Cakes! I don’t think they have the best breakfast menu, but the ambiance and fun of the restaurant is still a fantastic reason to go.

We got a table with a griddle (of course) to make some pancakes as our appetizers. That is the thing about Slappy Cakes, if you really want pancakes you should order them so you can have the perfect fluffy pancakes. The pancakes at your table are really just pre-meal activities. It is really fun though. Plus you can’t mess them up because they keep the table griddles at the perfect temperature. From the long list of toppings we chose chocolate chips and banana. Don’t worry though; they have literally every topping imaginable. I have also tried bacon and lavender honey. You would be surprised how good the bacon is IN the pancake.

Pancake art:

The company was splendid and my mushroom scramble was delish. My favorite part was the goat cheese… obvs. This is going to be a pretty pathetic review because I didn’t taste test others food or take photos. I was hungry and clearly not focused.

Libby and Brian. AKA my slappy friends

For a good time call:
Slappy Cakes

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Salty’s on the Columbia

For Lauren’s birthday we went to Salty’s. Ahh Salty’s. How I love thee.

The thing about Salty’s is that you need a reason to go there. It is not only expensive, but if you ate that much for no reason it would feel wrong. Just wrong. I left there feeling so incredibly full. It wasn’t like holiday full. I don’t even go all out on Thanksgiving or Christmas like I do at Salty’s. I think it is because you are 1) consuming obscene amounts of champagne and 2) because you are acutely aware of the cost/ you are desperately trying to get your moneys worth.

Salty’s is SO GOOD. We went back at least 4 or 5 times. Our courses were as follows:
1. Mounding plates of crab legs
2. Mounding plates of crab legs, made to order crepes
3. Salmon, clams, Benedicts, prime rib
4. More crab legs, clams, mac and cheese, salads
5. Desserts

Don’t forget that there are bottomless mimosas/ champy during the entire meal. There was no better way to celebrate the kick-off of Lauren’s 24th year!

Birthday Girl! 

In line for crepes

Check out that pile of crab meat! I am a long term investor when it comes to cracking crab. Everyone else was all about instant gratification. 

Pretty lady and a clean plate! 

Too hard to eat... but it looked good on Cam's plate! Plus the eyes freak me out. 

Our server kept clearing our spots and removing the shell bowl…. Until we came back and he would awkwardly say, “Oh, I guess I’ll get you another shell bowl.” This happened a few times. He was especially surprised when we continued to eat crab after he had already brought us our hot towels. Haha! When there are endless crab legs what are you supposed to do about it!? I am practically a pro when it comes to getting out claw meat. nbd.

Not only was the breakfast delish, but it was amazing to be with my people. There was a lot of laughter. The kind where you laugh until it hurts. I really love that. 


Very full! Nap time. 

Salty’s only serves brunch on Sunday and they fill up fast, so make sure to call for a reservation. (Make sure you call the right one… they are a chain) Also, buffet food isn’t that good no matter where you are. Really take advantage of the crab legs. It is the whole point. If you decide to go, just make sure you are really ready to eat! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Tasty n Sons

Bloggers who brunch.  ‘Twas a gluttonous good time!

I was invited to a PDX bloggers brunch by the lovely Sara. It was so fun to meet other Portland bloggers and expand our little blogging communities. Plus, I have never had brunch at Tasty n Sons. I have been there for dinner. So Good. Like crazy good. Brunch was also on that level. I was nervous to go because so many of them are style bloggers. Me... not so much. I decided it would be a good idea to shower before hand. There was no reason to be nervy because they are all fantastic!

The group. Leaning over in a poncho is a bad idea. Attack of the giant torso!

Tasty n Sons is owned by the same guy who owns Toro Bravo. It is a set up in a style where dishes come out gradually. When I have gone before it was with a few close friends and we ordered a number of things to share. I arrived thinking the serving style could be awkward with a new group of people, but it ended up being great. We saw a bunch of different items come out. It was automatic conversation. Plus we all have blogging in common. We bonded over different series that we have, talked about blogs that we all read etc.

Our table of pretty ladies:

As a blogger with very few readers (Mom, do not comment on that. Due to the giving birth to me, you don’t count). It was fun to meet other bloggers. Hopefully they are willing to share their readers. Unfortunately, I don’t have many to share… but whatevs. Real life friends>blog followers. Although, blog followers would help me stay motivated to post during the busy times. You may be asking yourself: what busy times do you speak of?... Well, I guess I mean bingo night, good TV nights, and cheer competition season. Wow. How embarrassing. Welcome to my fascinating life.

Anywho! Back to the brunch. My favorite moment was when the check came and we were looking around… “Who’s good at math?” Response: “We are all writers!...So none of us!” We just split it 14 ways. How ridiculous. But seriously. WAY too hard.

Nicole and I shared a bunch of things. We ordered the chocolate potato doughnuts w/ crème anglaise, potatoes bravas with over easy eggs, and the bambino plate with scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuit and heather's honey butter. My fav was the potatoes bravas but the doughnut was a close second. The bambino plate underwhelmed me, but the honey butter was amazing. 
Here are some of the eats:

The potatoes... partially eaten. I aways forget to take a picture! Too ravenous. 

The bambino breakfast. I might be taking back what I said earlier... that biscuit was dang good. 

It was really fun to be included yesterday. I hope this is the first of many blogy events.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Helzer's on Alberta

This Sunday I went to Helzer’s for brunch with my dear friend Marina. Good company and good food. It is a bit of a trek to Alberta from little old SW, but well worth it. My friend Marina is a vegan (yes, this means she can’t eat cheese… and meat too blah blah... but cheese!? what!?) and they had a couple options for her. I usually forget about the vegan thing until we get to a restaurant and the only thing she can order is the freaking hummus plate. But hey, I guess even a hippy dippy city like Portland struggles sometimes with the vegan friendly options. Helzer’s had some choices, as long as they were willing to make changes with the order… and they were! She ordered mushroom hash. It was all pretty and sautéed and garlicky delicious.

I on the other hand, did not have a vegan friendly meal. Apparently I was feeling southwestern yesterday. I had the black bean chili scramble.  It was the guts of a breakfast burrito on a plate. Isn’t that usually the part we want anyway? It had the perfect amount of flavor and spice.

Sorry about the crappy pictures. Note: missing bite from toast. I was just really hungry!

Helzer’s is low key and understated. You feel instantly accepted when you are seated. No one is judging you. It feels like a family place. Possible thought process: I just want a good breakfast! Do I really need to put on a decent outfit? Decision: Let’s go to Helzer’s… nobody will judge.

I am not saying that other places judge or that Helzer’s is scrubby. Some places just make you feel like you should have joined in on the trendy or the fancy of the place. Helzer’s is just comfy. I mean… all they're tryna do is feed you! A concept I greatly appreciate from a food service establishment. Why do so many restaurants think we are there for the ambiance? No dude. I ordered food 45 minutes ago for a reason! I am not here to soak in the atmosphere… (do you hear me McMenamins? I have been to many of your 1,000 locations. The ambience is the same everywhere/ where is my GD food!?).

Enough ranting. Honestly, Helzer’s does not disappoint. They represent the NW with their fresh menu and welcoming environment. It isn’t the best breakfast in Portland, but we only waited for a few minutes and we left full and happy. No complaints.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Mother's

Mother's Bistro and Bar is another popular spot in Portland. I promise to do some obscure ones eventually. I have just been really generic the past few weeks in my dining choices.

The only way to do Mother's is with one other person. If you go with more than two, you are looking at an hour+ wait. BUT if you go with two, you can usually grab a seat at the bar within 10min. The bar at Mother's is first come, first serve. You may have to get a little friendly with a stranger, but whatever! Once you dig in you won't care that they have their elbow all up in your space. Again, bomb BM. They use pepper infused vodka in their homemade mix. I didn’t have one yesterday though. It seems that people really rave about the mimosa/ bellini options. They have 7 different sparkling wine/ champy bevs on their drink menu. And as I sit at the bar for brunch (regularly) those are the most frequently made drinks. I am not a big breakfast drinker, but champy with fruit puree sounds like a winner to me! I am a big coffee drinker. One of the perks of mothers is the French press for two (Helzer's also offers a French press). Perfect for the bar sitting duo! Yesterday we ordered the Holler Mountain brew. It was outstandingly smooth and delicious. 

The ambiance of Mother's is less trendy than Screen Door. You are more likely to see sundresses vs. skinny jeans or American Apparel. But isn’t that just the east/west divide? Think velvet and chandeliers. It is a beautiful spot. There are more families, couples and groups of girls. People show up with cakes for celebrations to hand off to the hostess etc. If your parents are in from out of town, take them to Mother's. I do love the friendly atmosphere of this establishment. When my friend and I sat down. One of the bartenders may or may not have said “welcome back girls!” While the other said “salmon hash right? How do you want your eggs today?” Does this mean we go there too much?  

Back to the important stuff. What to order! My favy meal at Mother's is the wild salmon hash. I will go on the record and say it is the best breakfast dish in the city of Portland. Please, I welcome a challenge to this statement. It is AMAZING. Fresh salmon. Not smoked. This is the big difference. A lot of places carry smoked salmon hash. Vom. It does not compare to the fresh salmon hash at Mother's.

Take a looker:

Our delish French press coffee.
Yummy yummy wild salmon hash.
Mar and her (vegan) veggie scramble w/ avocado.
After our meal I got into a discussion with my neighbor at the bar. He was raving about the cornflake crusted French toast. Yes, it looked delicious. He gets it every time and I told him that I get the salmon hash every time. We discussed savory vs. sweet breakfasts. I prefer savory. Not because I don’t like sweet breakfasts, but because you can generally make versions of sweet breakfasts yourself. Pancakes, French toast etc. My mother taught me that if you are going out to eat you should order something you wouldn’t make at home. If you are spending money on your meal, you should make it count! The crab cake benedict from Seasons and Regions or the wild mushroom omelet with fresh herbs and goat cheese from Besaw's are two things I wouldn’t make myself. The omelet is a bit more likely, but who goes to the store and buys a variety of wild mushrooms for a random breakfast dish? The heavenly wild salmon hash from Mothers fits perfectly into this category. It is too much work to make yourself. And even if you tried, you would not be able to replicate the perfection that is this dish. Instead of a review of the restaurant this post turned into a rant about good breakfast… whatevs. My breakfast this weekend was da bomb!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Screen Door

This will be a series. Not exactly weekly, but sporadically (See, sporadic means once in a while. Try using it in a sentence today.) That was another Clueless reference. Please rent that movie if you still don’t get it. Anywho, I freak-yeah LOVE brunch. My favorite Portland places create a long list. I have tried a lot of places and have some favorites.

This week’s addition is about Screen Door, mostly because I went there yesterday. But it is one of my favy b-fast spots. Screen Door is a well known eatery and no matter what, you are looking at a 45min- hour long wait. Like most places in Portland, they offer cups of that legal addictive stimulant that we all love, coffee. They serve Stumptown Coffee. More importantly, they have a killer bloody mary. And if you don't like vodka with your breakfast, you can always order a virgin mary! Screen Door also has food... weird. My favorite being their hipster style grits. I mean this in the most loving way possible of course. It is southern cooking with creole undertones and Portland flare. Their chicken and waffles are amazeballs. Cajun seasoned chicken and a sweet potato waffle to accompany. Savory breakfast with sweet maple syrup on the side… if you are one of those. (You know, those freaks who like kettle corn/ mixing salty and sweet).

mmmmm bloody mary
My personal fave is the delectable dish called garden grits. My favorite food is cheese (insert gasp here)… everyone already knows this fun fact. Grits are freaking cheese for breakfast! AND they have the texture of polenta. I mean, you can get plain grits too. But why would anyone do that when they could get cheese grits!? More often than not, grits are super greasy. Not at screen door! (only moderately greasy) They make theirs with provolone, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes… soooo melt in your mouth delish. If you don’t believe me go try it. If you are more of a carnivore type, they also have farm grits. They come complete with ham and poached eggs. If you decide to go, tell our friends Patrick and Sam hi! Yes, over the past couple years my people have made friends with the bar tenders (Libby gave one of them her card once. It was hilar… don’t tell Chris)

Partially eaten garden grits.

Chels and her fried oyster benedict/ BM in hand.. of course.
Now, I encourage you all to start brunching. It is really fun to explore our fine city while simultaneously indulging in this gluttonous weekend ritual.  

PS. I know my grammar isn't great. Try not to judge too harshly.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

What is up with this blog name?

Why back-handsprings? Well, I like to do back-handsprings. I was a gymnast for many years. Then I retired. Then I was a cheerleader for 3 years. Then I retired. Now I am a cheerleading coach. My main thing to offer as a coach is tumbling. AND a ridiculously upbeat attitude that evokes a lot of eyerolls from the teenage girls.  Also, back-handsprings are fun to do! You are weightless in the air for a moment before a (hopefully) graceful landing.

I live in Portland. The city of bridges! Bridgetown if you will. As a city we are divided by the Willamette River. I am a westsider. I like to pretend that I could be a funky trendy eastsider, but alas, I think I am stuck in my Westside ways. The bridges that count are the 9 that span the Willamette in the immediate city area. I did a report on the bridges in 3rd grade. I know you are jealous. Portland Public Schools failed me in many ways, but I have to say that Mr. Novitsky drilled that Portland history and I am grateful. I don’t know how to do long division, but hey, I know the bridges! Maybe one day I will stop traffic and do a back-handspring on one. A girl can dream!

My favorite bridge to drive over is the Fremont. It has my favorite view of the city. Do it sometime, its killer. My favorite bridge to look at is the Steel Bridge. It is just the bridgiest of all the bridges! You know, bridgy looking. All metal and tough like. I mean obviously the Steel Bridge would kick the Broadway Bridges arse. The Broadway Bridge is pink for heaven’s sake!

So bridgy.