Category Archives: portlandia

The Side Yard: Portland, OR

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This last Sunday morning I had the great pleasure of being able to photograph and take part in (aka. devour) the beautifully crafted autumnal brunch dishes of Stacey Givens, owner of the Side Yard farm. Stacey began her organic urban farm in 2009, and ever since has been a supplier for local restaurants (Ned Ludd, Veritable Quandary), and regularly holds brunch supper clubs featuring her homegrown seasonal produce. In addition, she provides cooking classes and workshops on occasion. See previous and upcoming events here!

It was a beautiful fall rainy day and we were protected by a white sheet tent in the side yard (yep) of her farm, accompanied by warm and bubbly beverages and lovely company. I met some really wonderful people. I was spoiled with fantastic food. Everything was awesome. A great time was had by all.

The three course meal was absolutely spectacular. I was in foodie photography heaven.Let me lay it out for you.

1. Sweets

Pumpkin hot cakes. Pomegranate. Poached pear. Bacon fat cream cheese. Spice maple syrup.

2. Fall Hash

Hard cider braised pork. Yukons. Celeriac. Collard greens. Horseradish mustard seed creme. Farm fried egg.

3. Farm Benedict

House made crumpet. Charred brussels. Chanterelles. Braised escarole. Hollandaise. Poached farm egg.

*Not to forget the mimosas and the best coffee I’ve ever had by Ristretto Roasters (and I never drink caffeine)!

You guys, it was to die for. I’m telling you. I had such a blast taking these pictures! If you live in PDX, you must go. Please support her awesomeness and all of the awesomeness she does.

Here’s a sneak peak of the upcoming brunch next weekend!

fall crepes.
mike’s figs. chevre. local walnuts & honey

farm hash.
sweet potatoes. braised short ribs. roasted quince. shrooms. sorrel. jus

breaky sando.
buttermilk cheddar biscuit. dad’s fried chicken. farm egg. green tomato jam. spicy greens

 And it looks like I’ll be the “official” farm photographer! Will take pictures for food!

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Mom’s Visit to Portland Recap!

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Two weeks ago, my mom flew in to visit me in Portland for the first time. We ate at my favorite places and drank tons of beer. I showed her around to most of my favorite spots, although we didn’t get to all of them! There are so many great things to do in Portland that it’s always hard to narrow down exactly what to do and what to prioritize. I wanted to show her the best of what Portland has to offer, so needless to say, the 4 days she was here were jam packed, but we sure did well regardless!

Right after picking her up from the airport (which I am so lucky to live so close to! It’s only about a 15-20 minute drive from me), I took her to Pambiche for lunch. This is one of my go-to places, especially for their happy hour. I live about two blocks away from this place. Their fried plantains are to die for!

Then I gave her the tour of my apartment, and she met kitty! They had quite the love affair… and he got a new wig while she was here too. I took her up to NW 23rd Ave., Bailey’s Taproom, Voodoo, and Deschuttes for dinner! What a day!

We went to Tasty ‘n Sons the next morning for breakfast (see upper left) and had a delicious feast of sauteed spinach, candied yams, the best buttermilk biscuits I’ve ever had in my life, and some baked beans. That afternoon I had an interview so we parted ways for a few hours and she hung out with kitty. It was nice having a kitty babysitter for a few hours. 😉 She also found one bottle (the last one!) of  the hard-to-find Pliny The Elder at a great bar named Apex. We drank tons of beer there the last night she was here!

That evening we all met up at the Backstage Bar at the Bagdad (after she tried a new Zumba class!) and watched the the first Presidential Debate and played bingo. We were close!

I took her to Broder the next morning for breakfast, and she was in love. After seeing the aeblskivers come out, she was salivating. We didn’t order them, but what we did order was just as satisfying!

Then we took a drive up 84E toward the Columbia Gorge and went on a spectacular 5 mile hike in Multnomah Falls.

The last night (a Friday), we went out to Apex and drink tons of beer (they have 40 beers on tap at all times!) and played pinball, then had plans of going to an Indian dinner but it was way too busy so we went to a lounge instead and had ice cream at What’s The Scoop as a nightcap!

Despite our mini hangovers, I recruited everyone to get up early enough to get in line for brunch at the Screen Door. We got there a half hour prior to it opening, and waited another 20 minutes or so just to get in the door. Yep, it’s a nutty, nutty weekend brunch world here in Portland.

Chicken ‘n sweet potato waffles were to be had.

And my favorite picture of all…

Such a great grand fanale! We had such a fun time together, but I can’t believe how time flew by so fast! It always does. I’m looking forward to the next visit!

Foodlandia: Roadrunner Cafe

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Photo by Food Mountain

It’s the weekend. You wake up, not sure what you’re in the mood to eat, so you decide it’s best to just eat out. That’s typically the steps it takes us to decide to go out to brunch. But here in Portland, it isn’t always that simple. Finding  a decently delicious brunch spot on the weekends here with a conservative wait time that everyone and their sister doesn’t know about is like trying to find a piece of gold in sand. The number one factor that makes me decide where to go? The estimated waitlist, and my level of patience for the day (or rather, my stomach’s patience). Portlandia has even featured a sketch about waiting in line for brunch. It’s just one of those “Portland things”. It’s expected. This is a foodie town, and the foodies know where the good food is.

Portlandia has even featured a sketch on the phenomenon. Before I moved here, when I’d come up to visit the town for the week every now and then, I’d always make a point to go to notable places (aka. places with long wait times) and sacrifice in order to try something new and exciting. I don’t regret it, but most of the wait times were between 1 to 2 hours. Right after I moved here, I had been having dreams about The Screen Door’s weekend-only brunch (and the place is only a mile away from my apartment thankgod!), and the second we drove up we saw a line about 50 people deep. And it wasn’t even open yet. Maybe you get the picture, yeah?

It’s a hard life we live. We get hooked to all of these delicious restaurants and there’s only so much goodness to go around. It’s a food fight. Literally. I suppose you take the good with the bad though, don’t you? I’ve learned to live. I’ll be alright.

So what do you do when you’re craving a roasted root vegetable hash with parsnip puree, chard, and over-easy egg dish? Or chicken and sweet potato waffles? You make a list. You start a journal. You write down all of the places you’d like to try sometime, particularly those “less popular” ones that no one (yet) knows about. Food carts in hidden neighborhoods, new signs for places you’ve seen driving down the street, typical bars that you wouldn’t expect to be serving brunch on the weekends. So that when you’re stumped and brain dead with low blood sugar in the morning and all you want is a damn good brunch rightthisverysecondthankyouverymuch, you have a handy dandy go-to reference at your fingertips.

I haven’t yet spent much time on SE Division since I’ve moved here, but when I have driven down the street, this particular place continually caught my eye and I knew I had to try it. Roadrunner.

And there was no wait. By the interior and exterior design alone, I fell in love with it. There were horseshoes nailed onto one of the beams when we first walked in, and vintage photographs and paintings decorating the mustard yellow walls. It was adorable. Even the napkins were made out of a nice, soft linen. The menus were splattered with coffee and grease stains, but that gave it all the more character. Upon first glance of the menu, the most exotic looking dish I could find was the caramelized carrot, okra, broccoli and havarti cheese scramble. I debated upon trying the biscuits and gravy or the pulled pork breakfast burrito but found out that the burrito was pretty spicy, which I leave up to the boyfriend to handle (I can’t do it at all). The waitstaff was very friendly and on top of everything, the decaf was delicious and not too bitter, we had nibbles of mini biscuits and raspberry jam to curb out hunger even though the food came quickly, the atmosphere was lovely, but the food was a bit more underwhelming. You could find pretty much anything on the menu for less than $10, but nothing really seemed to do the trick. I ordered the scramble, and added a biscuit (which ended up being heart shaped! cutest thing ever! I appreciate those kinds of details) for 50 cents more. And at least I got to try okra for the first time! I liked it!

Road Runner Café

3570 SE Division St.

Portland, OR 97202

(503) 232-3004
Hours: Wed-Sun 8 am – 2 pm

What I’m Grateful For

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Hopefully many of you have now found where I’m newly located. Thanks for making it here. After moving and going through many changes of my own, I figured it was rather appropriate to change up my blog. I felt that it was too stagnant and not exactly what I wanted. I feel that WordPress will grant me more flexibility, organization and creativity over the blog, shaping it into my vision, able to reflect more of who I am and what I desire to express. I’ve sincerely been wanting to get back into the “right” hemisphere side of my brain, because lord knows the last two years of stress and dental hygiene school made it almost rot to pieces. Now is the time to make some changes.

Although some days can be the pits, and it has been hard to be patient waiting to finally be an RDH and get my license, I have to remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for and to enjoy this time while I have it, not dwelling in misery, guilt and anxiety that I’m not able to do much about the situation. I have great health, some loving supportive people in my life (particularly my grandparents… I don’t know what I would do without them), the best apartment I could ever imagine in the best location I could ever imagine, a wonderful, affection and frisky kitty that I have the pleasure of witnessing growing into a tomcat, a wonderful boyfriend that I have the pleasure of sharing new experiences with, yummy food (and beer!) in my fridge, a car for convenience, and most importantly, my independence. I can pretty much do anything I please. I have plenty to keep me busy.

This. This is what I need to remind myself of. Nothing will stand in the way of me, success, and my goal. No one else’s success will influence or determine my success. Sometimes things work out for reasons I do not yet know. Maybe there’s a reason I have to wait this long. Nobody knows. 

In the meantime, I have all of these things to be grateful for…

Kitty kisses.

Beer tasting flights.

Spontaneous picnics in the park.

Observing kitty/boyfriend naps.

Classic grilled cheese and tomato bisque soup, imagining it the way your mom used to make it for you. Pure comfort.

Although I don’t do caffeine, discovering this great idea as the best way I can use up my gifted bag of ground coffee is delicious. I like mine with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom, plus a tablespoon or two of sweetened condensed milk.  My heightened anxiety and heart palpitations can suffer in the meantime for this deliciousness.

Getting out for a walk and breath of fresh air around my apartment on a sunny evening.

Look at those canines!

More of this little rascal.

This man.

Making tasty dinners for this man. (Recipe to follow soon.)

Pitchers of PBR.

And pizza.

And meatballs.

And more beer. (I’m so in love with this stout it’s ridiculous.)

Gigantic scoops of blackberry cobbler and peanut butter curry ice cream (AHEM, my new favorite ice cream shop).

This thing was seriously as big as my face.

The ridiculous plethora of good bars around here. We’re totally spoiled.

Sweet Italian vermouth and lemonata.

Late night walks crossing the Willamette.

My bike.

Discovering awesome new cafes and bakeries.

Laurelhurst Park.

My new juicer.

Taking care of my health and teeth (#1 priority, of course).

My kitty-filled apartment complex.

All of this delicious food from a cart for $8. Hot ‘n sour soup, chow mein, lemon chicken, and sauteed veggies. (Beer not included.)

This place.

My First (Official) Meal in Portland: Bollywood Theater

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As many of you may know, I traveled to Portland quite a bit and tested out the foodie scene rather extensively prior to moving here. Each trip I planned for myself was full of food. Literally. I’d find out about a new vegan bakery or artisan ice cream shop and plan my life around making sure I tried a few goodies during my stay. When I’d return home, I’d follow Portland restaurant news feeds and blogs to make sure I was on the up-and-up with anything new in store to put on my “must go there” list. Well you can be sure that the moment I found out about this place, I about died.

The Bollywood Theater.

Foodlandia: The Screen Door

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After recently returning from my second excursion to Portland within the last four months, stuffing my face full of delicious and extraordinary top-notch cuisine, experiencing the best of some of the best there is, I’ve realized it might be wise to put all of that food photography to use and do some restaurant reviews. Somewhat of an overwhelming task, I have to admit, as I feel as though I’ve covered a lot of ground. But all the more to share with you!

I don’t think I met one meal I didn’t like. I swear, there must be something in the water up there. Chefs are held to a higher standard, perhaps? More creative and precise palates? All I know is that Portlandia = foodie paradise. And quite conceivably the number one reason as to why I want to plant my roots in such a place.
So here goes: I now present to you my foodie restaurant experiences from Portland, OR. Or, what I like to call, Foodlandia.
Enjoy.
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THE SCREEN DOOR
2337 E Burnside St
Northeast Portland ‘hood
Southern, Cajun/Creole
Oh goodness. The dear Screen Door. How I love thee. My first breaking the fast meal of my stay. And it definitely set the stage. Arriving around noon time for Sunday brunch, the one hour wait was pretty inevitable. Running on practically nothing and ready to eat a horse, I convinced myself it would be worth the wait. After looking at their sample menu online (brunch, veggies) multiple times before I arrived, I would not be discouraged. Talk about dream menu! Every single item on the veggie menu sounded completely GENIUS. Any restaurant that incorporates winter root veggies like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, or chard is a winner in my book. GIVE IT TO ME.
The atmosphere was lively, loud, and full of beautiful Portland people: young, tattooed hipster parents with their gorgeous well-behaved babies, groups of fixie-riding hungover friends nursing their Bloody Mary’s, and couples so cute they make you wanna puke.
I knew I was in the right place.

Waitress with arms full of buttermilk fried chicken and sweet potato waffle dishes.
Delivering to a large group of hungover, 20-something year-old males.
They all ordered the same thing. And ate every last bite.
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A side order of the sweet potato waffle and maple bacon.
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Root vegetable hash with chard on a bed of parsnip puree.
Over-easy eggs.
Toast.
Heaven.
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Alabama scramble? With grits.
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Thankfully my eyes weren’t much bigger than my stomach. I was happier than a pig in shit. Pretty much all of my favorite foods coming together in one awesome meal. Words cannot describe the degree of foodie contentment that came over me.
Most delicious comfort food ever.
One of the best breakfasts of my life.
I hope you’re convinced now. What else do you want me to say? Here’s more evidence, if you need it.
If you’ve never had a lesson in patience, this will teach you. The patience was worth it.
PS. The Portlandia television series filmed a scene in the kitchen of this restaurant, dubbing it as the “Porch Light” undercover. Can’t fool me. I recognized that yellow building and blue sign in an instant! Apparently the grandiose gastronomical chef culture of Portlandia has gone to the heads of Armisen and Brownstein. And probably a few others.

Hipster Nerding Out: Beards, Birds, & Portland

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If you haven’t yet heard of the new TV series on IFC Portlandia, you better get on it. Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen kind-heartedly mock stereotypes, personalities, and lifestyles commonly found in Portland, OR folk and it is frickin’ hilarious and rings true in so many ways. This is the kind of stuff that makes me roll on the floor laughing and not too many television series shows enable me to do that (Seinfeld is pretty much the only one), so basically yes, it’s won my heart. It’s quirky and awkward and lovely and honest. Especially since I love and adore and am obsessed with Portland as much as I am and can’t wait to live there, this will fulfill my desires from afar in the meantime. I can live vicariously through them and recognize streets, businesses, landscapes, and personalities that I’ve previously encountered, all from the comfort of my own (living) room. Ah, the things I have to look forward to.

One of the skits they have done is about how we can’t seem to get away from this bird thing that’s everywhere. And it’s true. I can shamelessly raise my hand and claim that I am guilty of it, too. I mean, my blog is called The Baking Bird, after all. I love my owls. I love birds. What can I say. Everyone else seems to, too. I mean, just type in ‘bird‘ on Etsy and you’ll roughly get back 207,000 results. 1250 pages worth. That’d take quite a while to sift through. So it’s just great that they’ve brought this whole obsession to light and maybe we can question why in the hell did this whole bird thing get so popular anyways? Who cares. Just watch it. (I actually ended up in this retail store that they’re in called Land on Mississippi Ave. the last time I was there aka. a month ago and purchased a shirt. So I was totally stoked to have recognized it and say HEY! I WENT THERE! Yeah, I love it when things like that happen. I’m a dork.)
Anyway, do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes of this. You may not be interested in Portland at all, but I promise you this will make you laugh. Check more of it out here and here.
And on to more chocolate. These Mast Brother guys from New York make chocolate and have beards and I’m a sucker for both. And I’m a sucker for the packaging, as well. What can I say. I really want to try their stuff, except there is a minimum amount required to buy that’ll run you for about $100. Looks like I’ll just have to save for a plane ticket someday instead. Anyway, these guys hop on a SAILBOAT to search for cacao beans throughout the world. Jesus. Stop it right now.
Read more about them here.
Oh and remember my whole pie vs. cupcake rant? Turns out I’m not the only one. Here is where Matt Lewis (author of Baked & Baked Explorations) explains why cupcakes will never be overthrown. I couldn’t have said it better. A little over a year later, his opinion hasn’t changed. So yes, I agree: let’s talk about pie less and eat it more. Thank you, and good night.