Author Archives: Jules

Detox!

I’m thinking to myself, “What have I done?” Detox? Vegan? No alcohol? And most importantly, no CHEESE? Let me backtrack a little. Last week my friend Shannon invited me to a party at her house to learn about Arbonne products.

ArbonneI had no ideas what it was. I was totally cash poor from vacation, so I knew I didn’t want to buy anything, but it was really important to Shannon, so I went and brought the girls. I’m glad I went.

We all soaked our feet in individual foot baths with their Detox Spa products and sipped mimosas. Not bad. I learned a lot about what chemicals go into cosmetics and skin care lines. There was a lot I already knew and I knew it was bad, but I learned a lot more  more about the specifics. It made me want to chuck everything I was using already. 

There were a lot of things I wanted to buy, but it was their line of shakes, fizzes and fiber boosts that piqued my daughter Madison’s interest. She’s been talking about clean eating and losing weight. After a long discussion, I decided I would support her and we would both begin the Arbonne 28-day detox.

As you can guess, and for those who know me, I’m the opposite of vegan. My main foodgroups are wine,dairy, dessert dairy, meat, tacos, pizza and wine and beers. This detox is going to really challenge me. I will need to rethink everything about food and alcohol and its importance in my life. Food makes me happy. Wine makes me happy.

However, too much wine makes me feel yucky. Too much food can make me feel yucky, too. At the end of this month, I want to figure out what I missed the most and why. What makes me feel good and what doesn’t, or at the very least; can I do this?

Follow me on this journey of food self-discovery (aka epic bitching about hunger and cravings). Maybe we’ll all learn something along the way. Day one is Monday, August 18th. So between now and then, I’ll be posting a lot of photos of me eating meat, cheese and cake, and drinking a lot of beer and wine.  Yay!

Prolific Pizza Blogger Goes Legit– Opens Varasano’s Pizzeria in Atlanta

If you’ve ever done internet research on pizza you’ve probably visited two sites: Slice and if you’re lucky, Jeff Varasano’s blog. When I first stumbled upon Jeff’s blog my first thoughts were that this guy is crazy. It was so densely packed with info that  it reads almost like a conspiracy theorist’s manifesto. However, two paragraphs in you realize that this guy is a pizza genius.

As you follow his detailed account of the trial and error of recreating his favorite pizza from Patsy’s, you will find yourself getting really hungry. The pictures aid in this. Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

If you’re in the Atlanta area,  you’re in luck because Jeff has turned his home hobby into an actual business. As of last Spring, Varasano’s Pizzeria is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week . So, if you’re there, no need to cut the latch on your self-cleaning oven or monitor the temp of your pizza stone or order your sourdough starter online. Now you can just pop in and have him make it for you.

He’s garnering rave reviews, and made the final eight in the Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine hunt for the best pizza in the U.S. conducted by the Slice guys, Adam Kuban and Ed Levine. My three favorite Portland pizza spots: Wy’ East, Ken’s Artisan, and our own Apizza Scholls were included. Apizza Scholls  made the final eight, too.

Check out the bracket below:

Sushi in Lake Oswego

In a small but charming space in Lake Oswego, Kurata serves some of the best sushi in the Portland area.

Pretty Healthy Portion for Lunch. The green salad was delicious.

Spicy Tuna and Tempura Combo

Hamachi

Kurata 450 5th St
Lake Oswego  (503) 675-4496

Some Things I’ve Enjoyed

It’s been too long since I’ve written anything on the blog. Instead of blabbing on with excuses, I thought I would just post photos and a few words about things I’ve been enjoying lately.

Taste Unique

Taste Unique

When you have a chance, I highly recommend a visit to Taste Unique. You’ll meet Chef Stefania Toscano and her husband Lawrence Mc Cormick– both gracious and charming.  They serve up delicious Italian comfort food, neatly-packaged to take out for lunch or home for dinner. And although it’s a small space, you’re welcome to eat there,  if you can snag a table.

A month or so ago, I received a message from another blogger in town, Josh of PDXploration. It was an invitation for dinner– a private party at Taste Unique.  Not only was the guest list made up of bloggers and chefs that I’d been wanting to meet, but the menu sounded amazing.

We were to enjoy  a five course Taste of Sicily:

Sfincione Palermitano. Focaccia made with Onions, Pecorino, breadcrumbs and tomatoes. .
Pasta ‘Ncatenata Rigatoni with broccoli, crushed peppers and anchovies. Spicy and delicious.
Sarde Beccafico This is a dish of baked stuffed sardines. Long preparation for one of Sicily’s most famous traditions.
Bastaddu Affucatu Cauliflower cooked ‘drowned’ in red wine with olives, anchovies and pecorino.
Cannoli Siciliana with pistachio and chocolate.
Caffè

The menu intrigued me. Having not been to Sicily (yet!), I was not used to a menu of pecorino, anchovies, sardines, olives, anchovies, pecorino. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of all the above, but I could tell that the flavors were going to be bold and perhaps a bit brackish. I was correct, and I ate until I was stuffed and had to take leftovers home.

Chef Stefania took time to describe each dish.

My favorite dish: The sardines. I wasn’t expecting that this would be my favorite, but they were so silvery and beautiful to look at– a feast for the eyes.  Their sweet breadcrumb stuffing was delicious– a perfect compliment to the  assertive fish.

Great hosts. Great wine. Great food. Great conversation. Great night.

Taste Unique offers classes and private dinners like ours. I’ve also heard rumors that the tiramisu is not to be missed. I’m going to have that next time.

My iPhone pictures do not hold up to the pictures taken by my fellow bloggers, so check these sites out:

Eating is Art http://www.eatingisart.com/2010/04/taste-unique.html#comment-237

PDXploration  http://www.pdxploration.com/search/label/TasteUnique

Good Stuff NW  http://goodstuffnw.blogspot.com/2010/04/night-in-sicily.html

Taste Unique
2134 SE Division
Portland, OR 97202   (503) 206-7059

Favorite Portland Snack of The Day

Char siu bao

Steamed Pork Bao from Jade Tea House

I am in LOVE with the Char Siu Bao at Jade Teahouse in Sellwood.  You’ll find these hum bao on the Small Plates section of the menu, however they are anything but small. I love the fact that they are full with delicious chunks of saucy pork and onions and not just overly-doughy puffs with a scant amount of filling. I have found myself disappointed by the latter more than I should admit.

I would rank these as good as those at Yank Sing in San Francisco. Yeah. They’re that good.

They are a steal at $3 and one of my favorite snacks in Portland.

Yummy Filling

Jade Teahouse & Patisserie
Sellwood
7912 S.E. 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97203

Open
Tues – Saturday: 11am-9pm
Sunday: 12pm-6pm
Monday: CLOSED

Top Ten Drunkest Cities in the U.S.

What? USA Today comes out with the top ten drunkest cities in the U.S., and we don’t even make it to the last slot?

I guess they’ve never seen pictures of the PDX Santacon.

Or have heard of our amazing breweries, distilleries and wineries.

Perhaps we’re responsible drinkers? Hmm.

To be fair, if I lived in Reno, Riverside, Fresno or especially Bakersfield, I would be drunk all of the time too.

Check out the top ten drunkest cities in the U.S. here:

Drunkest Cities

Oh, That Portland Pizza

“Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.”  –Anonymous

Growing up in Southern California, I ate a lot of what I thought was pretty good pizza. It wasn’t until I married into a family of NY transplants that it was explained to me  how wrong I was.  Apparently, good pizza outside of the tri-state area simply doesn’t exist.  Every pizza conversation would end with a sigh, and one of my in-laws would quietly say: Not like Stango’s, referring to their favorite pizzeria in Glen Cove.

I have a feeling that one day, I’ll be letting out a huge sigh and lamenting: Not like Apizza Scholls.

Photo by Nick Zukin

Photo by Nick Zukin

Something I never expected when I moved here three years ago was how serious this town takes its pizza.

It’s a never-ending debate on Portland food blogs: Who has the best pizza in town? Apizza Scholls or Ken’s or some other. It can get very contentious at times. Check out the comment thread on this 2007 review of Ken’s Artisan Pizza on Portland Food and Drink.

In my opinion they are BOTH excellent.  The main difference for me is ambience.  Ken’s airy, sophisticated and warm buildout has the feel of dining in West L.A. or Marin County.  At Apizza Scholls, I definitely feel like I’m in Portland– a little dark, funky, the space a bit dysfunctional (enter here, wait over there, go out and come back in that door to be seated).

For me, the two are very different experiences. There is definitely room for both here in Portland.

Ken's   The Oregonian

Ken's The Oregonian

Apizza Scholls’s pies are huge and meant to be shared at long tables.  My favorite order:  Caesar, House Antipasti and a  NY Red ( New York White pie with red sauce).

Ken’s pies are 12″ which I could eat by myself. Delicious, too. My favorite order: Green Salad, Roasted Vegetable Plate, (both change seasonally) and a Fennel Sausage and Onions pie.

God. I’m making myself hungry!

On his last visit from the East Coast, I brought my brother-in-law to Apizza Scholls. It only took one bite for him to be happy. “It’s no Stango’s”  –he took another huge bite– “but it’s really close. Maybe if it had  a little more cheese” — wiping sauce from chin– ” it would be perfect.”

On his next visit, I’ll take him to Ken’s and let him be the judge.  I don’t care who wins, each makes me feel lucky to live here.

Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th Ave.
(corner of 28th & Pine)
Portland, OR
503.517.9951
Tues – Sun 5 – 10pm
Apizza Scholls
4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR
503.233.1286
Sunday 4-8pm
Mon – Sat 5 – 9:30pm