Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Hour at Bamboo Sushi

$5 Nigiri and $3 California rolls
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Michelle is so peaceful when she is in a chocolate coma

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Jen looks so happy, she must be dreaming that she is an Oompa Loompa

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Jen and Michelle have drifted into a peaceful See's Candy chocolate slumber

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See's Candy Tasting

Me and Michelle have repaired the breach of trust caused by the salami-whipped cream- Clementine essence incident and are now tasting all the pieces of chocolate in the four pound box of See's I got as a gift today.
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Jen doesn't like our concoction... Hee hee

Ely serving Anella and Jen our concoction!!

It's our turn... Ely making salami, whipped cream, with clementine essence...

Michelle hates cilantro! Hoo hoo!!
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We got bored of Eli's juggling, so we blindfolded Michelle and Eli and made them compete in a blind taste tasting of various items we found in the kitchen, such as ginger, whole grain mustard, potato, and rosewater.
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After dinner our Jester, I mean brother Eli, entertained the Monday night Sunday supper club by juggling Clementines.
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Jen's tart for Sunday/ Monday supper club

Good work Sis!!!  A tart that knows how to make a tart!!!

Look at the tarts...

See's The Day

Today is Monday. Just Monday, nothing special, not my birthday or V-day or National Corn Dog Day or anything else-worth-celebrating day. So I was massively surprised when the UPS man delivered THIS to me today at work.

When I was little, going to See's Candy was a special treat. We were allowed to pick one piece, not counting the sample of course. We stood on our tiptoes, gripping the white counter ledge, crabwalking from one end of the miles-long candy case to the other. The decision was excruciating. Thus, it's been a dream of mine ever since I was wee to have my own box of See's Candy, all to myself, to eat in one gloriously indulgent sitting. Before I was ever able to realize my fantasy though, I learned about things like saturated fat and cellulite and gluttony-being-a-deadly-sin, so my childhood fantasy has always been just that--a beautiful dream.

I mentioned this dream to someone special last week while we were flipping through the latest See's catalogue playing the "if you could have one thing on this page, what would you pick?" game, and magically, today my dream came true! I now have not one, but FOUR POUNDS OF SEE'S CANDY, aka the See's Candy "Gift of Elegance" on my desk. This is dangerous, in a fantastic sort of way.

The shiny gold box is almost TWO FEET long. Inside are two pounds of fudge, caramels, and nut rolls accompanied by one pound each of milk and dark chocolate creams and chews. Naturally the first piece I went for was the Raspberry Cream, my favorite See's candy of all time. Sometimes I like to peel the thin dark chocolate shell off and just eat the dark pink cream part.

I shared a few pieces of my choco-bounty with my coworkers because I'm nice like that, and well-- who can really eat 4 pounds of chocolate in one sitting by themselves without keeling over-- but now I'm hiding in the supply closet with the the box's gold organza bow tied around my forehead, eating molasses chips two at a time and giggling uncontrollably.

I think this might be the happiest day of my life.

Thank you, JW.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Seat at Cafe 401

It was a dark and stormy Saturday morning today, and we weren't so happy about getting up at the crack of the rainy dawn. But the word about Morgan Brownlow's new restaurant, Cafe 401, is spreading faster than spilt champagne, so we did what we had to do. It's not too hard to spot the cafe, just look for the big 401 sign at NW 28th and Flanders. Cafe 401 is yet another outstanding addition to the food Mecca that is 28th Street between SE Stark and NE Glisan (you can see Pambiche's technicolor facade peeking out in the corner of the picture).

Fully aware of the loud buzz around Cafe 401, my dining companion and I planned an ETA of 7:59 am, because while Michelle doesn't mind a leisurely wait for breakfast, I get a severe case of Fire Ants in my Pants. Due to an unfortunate hair straightener incident, we arrived tardily at 8:11 am to find all the booths already occupied, but we settled quite happily into the bar seating in the front window, which turned out to be the perfect vantage point for watching the anxious masses scurry towards the Cafe right on our heels.

Stepping inside the door, you're immediately greeted by a blazing gas fire, which sets a cozy tone. Inside, the restaurant feels open and airy, with big windows and light yellow walls plastered with old newspapers with tons of blast-from-the-political-past headlines like "Sniper Kills Kennedy, Johnson is President," and "Nixon Admits Evidence Withheld," and big-screen movie listings for vintage classics like Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, MASH and Cactus Flower. Old license plates line the space beneath the cash register.

The kitchen was still putting the finishing touches on things at this early hour, the server explained, and not long after we arrived, the empty pastry bubble next to the cash register was piled high with just-baked scones, which fogged the glass with their fresh homey vapors.

Cafe 401 is open from 8 am to 3 pm daily (although they plan to expand into the space next door and offer dinner come summer), so right now the menu is all about breakfast/brunch. One page, one-sided, and handwritten, it runs the gamut from simple breakfast fare such as The Ritual--2 eggs, meat, potatoes, toast--and Granola with Yogurt and Bananas, to slightly more sophisticated dishes like Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Sage Brown Butter, or Morgan's signature Smoked Trout Hash. The menu also sports a salad and a few sandwiches too, and although I didn't see one on the menu today, I've heard the kitchen cooks up a juicy burger. Sides include "Fake Meat" and "Real Syrup" and one you don't see so often--Market Priced Fruit.

We started with an order of the Zeppole--tiny piping hot Italian-style dough-nuts, their perfectly moist innards flecked with bright yellow bits of lemon zest. Not too sweet and not a bit greasy, these are the perfect accompaniment to your first cup of Stumptown. And, at $2.50, they are a guiltless indulgence even if you are a on a very strict budget.

We had to try the oatmeal, which was listed on the chalkboard o' specials on the back wall past the coffee bar, and were treated to a deep steaming bowl of steel cut oats cooked to milky perfection and sprinkled with maple raisins and a drizzle of butter and syrup.

I could not resist ordering the smoked trout hash, which was presented beautifully--hearty shards of creamy pale smoked trout, some still with shards of silvery skin attached, mounded with quartered baby potatoes and bright green scallions, and topped with a rippled wispy poached egg sprinkled with paprika salt and chives. Fantastic.

As we wrapped up our breakfast, we pitied the late sleepers congregated near the register, but they seemed to be in good spirits, perhaps sated by the crackling fire and the smell of warm scones, brewing coffee, and sizzling bacon.

This was only our first visit to Cafe 401, but we plan to return soon and often. The food was delicious and quite a good value, and the service was fast, efficient, and very friendly even though the restaurant hasn't been open but a week. But remember, if you, like me, gets grumbly when there is a rumbly in your early morning tumbly, roll yourself out of bed promptly when the alarm goes off and continue your waking up process after you're comfortably seated, coffee/tea/freshly squeezed orange juice in hand.

We'll keep you posted on further visits, I think Michelle may be heading over to Cafe 401 after her spin class this morning, provided she actually got up for it. For more info about Cafe 401, read the Oregonian's blurp HERE, and the Portland Food and Drink conversation thread, which delves deeply into the fascinating nuances of hen's liver, HERE.


Cafe 401 * 8 am to 3 pm daily * 401 NE 28th Street * 503.935.5221

Friday, March 27, 2009


Our Pistachio Foie Gras Torchon (not a ginger bread foie sandwich Sis!!) with ginger bread, marcona almonds, and vanilla pineapple gastrique. An amazing combination.

Server of the Month

Table Talk Portland's server of the month is Gretchen Wilcox of Davis Street Tavern! We chose Gretchen because every time we come to DST (and we are in here at least once a week these days) we are completely charmed by her enthusiasm and cheery attitude, and totally impressed by her knowledge and passion for the food she presents. We also love her because she brings us foie gras- gingerbread sandwiches. Cheers to Gretchen!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Castagna Wine Dinners Have Begun... Spring is finally here!

With Spring comes some special things... Easter hats, spring dresses, pedicures, and the Castagna Wine Dinners. Each Thursday in the spring, Castagna will feature a region from Europe and pair wines and food from there. Tonight is the northern Italian region of Trentino. This region is known for their buckwheat and barley as well as their amazing wines. In true Italian style the BF and I hopped on our scooters and headed to dinner tonight!

Housemade Speck with Mache

The Trentino region's gastronomic pride is Speck, boned pork flank smoked and aged by artisans. Tonights artisan is Executive Chef Ely. Table Talk Portland loves us some Speck.

Barley-salsify soup

Paired with La Cadalora, San Valentino, Vallagarina Rosso 2007. The BF and I are typically red wine drinkers, but this was a perfect white for a red wine drinker... light but not too light, and fairly dry, with hints of apricots and citrus.

Grilled lamb and lamb sausage

Paired with Foradori, Terodelgo Rotalino 2007 and served with delicious buckwheat polenta, a true staple of the Trentino region.

Apple Fritter with vanilla ice cream

To finish off our tour of Trentino was an apple battered and fried with homemade ice cream.

Monday, March 23, 2009

When Cupcakes Fly

Sometimes Mom calls me with a soft whine in her voice, and I immediately know the score: she's craving Saint Cupcake. But Mom lives many hours away, in a terrible place where they have no Saint Cupcake, so there's not much I can do. Until now, for Saint Cupcake has developed a mouth-watering interactive cupcake shipping process, in their signature cheery pink style.

For $21 (includes shipping!!), you can send someone you like who lives faraway three signature St. Cupcake cupcakes, three icings, and three types of sprinkles. Assembly required, but who doesn't like frosting and decorating a cupcake? If you know such a person, I can't imagine why you'd be sending them gifts in the first place.

Now Mom is happy, so I am happy. You can make someone happy too. Here are the details.

saint cupcake is now shipping!

get ready to give the gift of saint cupcake to friends and loved ones in far off places! or, if you live in one of those far off places and have been dying to try saint cupcake, the time has come! from the comfort of your own keyboard, you can order our yummy cupcakes and have them delivered anywhere in the continental US. simply visit cupcakestakeflight.com to start building your very own cupcake kit. you pick your cake flavors! you pick your icings! you pick your sprinkles! we then pack it all up and send it to you. easy, sweet AND delicious!

we are so excited! aren't you? saint cupcake practically anywhere! seriously? yay!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shallot madness

Yesterday, for reasons still largely unknown to me or anyone else, I bought two pounds of shallots at Farmer's Market. Clearly, I had shallot fever, which is kind of like spring fever, but with shallots. What the pho am I going to do with two pounds of shallots?  

I was feeling lonely all by myself in my kitchen pondering what to do with all these shallots, so I made a shallot man. He smells good and he has really nice calves, two very important qualities in a man.

Shallot man and I were very happy.

That is, until I told him I was going to make one of his legs into a Bibb lettuce salad with fresh herbs and a lemon shallot vinaigrette, glaze his torso and serve it with roasted pork, and make shallot flan out his arms, and then he got all weird on me. What a baby!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Farmer's Market is packed!

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Me and Special Correspondent April

Just finished our Bridge Run and we are now at PSU Farmer's Market! It's opening day!!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Tombo tuna, oysters on the half shell, and an uber creamy Mac n cheese.
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Celebrating the demise of a very long week

With $5 glasses of Segura Viudas cava at Davis Street Tavern, which has a truly fantastic happy hour.
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This First Day of Spring feels a lot like Christmas Eve to me. Farmer's Market opens tomorrow morning, and I can't wait! I'm so excited, in fact, that I was inspired to write a little poem.

Twas the night before the first Farmer's Market of 2009,
And nobody was stirring because they'd drunk too much wine.
The shopping baskets were hung on the front doorknob with care,
In hopes that the first vegetables of Spring would soon be in there.

Michelle and Jen were passed out snug in their beds,
While visions of little red radishes and crisp green stalks of asparagus danced in their heads.
So tomorrow Michelle will wear her kerchief, and I'll wear my cap,
And we'll buy loads of beautiful just picked Oregon vegetables, Dave's killer bread, Freddy Guys hazelnuts, and a Blue Magnolia gingersnap!

Thank you, thank you. I've had a lot of chocolate today.

Yes, Michelle and I are pretty ecstatic about Portland Farmer's Market opening TOMORROW MORNING AT 8:30 at PSU in the South Park Blocks. Special Correspondent April and I will be getting up bright and early for a Bridge Run, and then heading straight to the market to be there for the 8:30 am bell. We anticipate that Michelle will join us around 4 pm, I mean, 9 am, and then let the shopping begin! I am crossing my fingers that we will find baskets piled high with green garlic, I've missed it so.

We hope to see you there! And remember to leave your beloved Admiral Toot the Puggle at home, because the PSU market has been newly designated a canine-free zone.

"WHAT?" you gasp. "No Admiral Toot at the Market! But Admiral Toot LOVES going to the market! He looks forward to it all week! The very idea! What an outrage!" But, as the PFM announcement said, "The market has received repeated complaints from vendors and shoppers about dogs crowding the marketplace, relieving themselves, taking food, and potentially injuring customers. One patron had to be taken to the hospital after becoming tangled in a dog's leash."

This reminds me of the time Michelle stepped in doody last fall, which was very funny. To me, at least.

Anyhow, see you at the Market TOMORROW!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jen's finally cooking me Sunday supper on a Wednesday!

Take a Leek

And put it in a pan to sweat. Michelle is coming over tonight for dinner and a movie and I am cooking dinner. The main course is Fettucine with Prawns, Leek Puree, Blood Oranges, and Spinach.
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Jen's eating all the Pate a Choux

Well... she left a little bit for our profiteroles


First course is Bibb lettuce salad with shallots and fresh herbs.

Jen's fettucine dish. Oh sis it is sooooooo pretty!!