Diary of 72 Hours in Portland

Big Table Farm - part of my 72 hours in Portland

Big Table Farm’s Clare Carver illustrates all the labels.

We landed at noon on a Friday, ready to engulf ourselves in the culture of the liberal, hipster town of Portland. Home of beer, wine, a thriving food scene and plenty of outdoor activity. And we only had 72 hours in Portland. The weekend we landed in early May was the first sunshine-y day after many dreary, rainy weekends so everyone took to the streets and parks like a flash flood. The city was bumpin’.

First stop: Checking into our Air BnB in the newly gentrified area of Mississippi, an absolutely fantastically decorated one-bedroom garage apartment called The Arthaus. Three blocks to Mississippi Ave., definitely one of the coolest food/wine/beer/shopping districts in Portland. And cool it is. Nary anyone over 40 in these parts. Things to hit in this ‘hood include Blue Star Donuts (don’t get sucked into the Voodoo tourist trap), Ruby Jewel Ice Cream, Ink & Peat, Miss Delta Restaurant, and Fresh Pot (coffee, and not be confused with Nectar, the actual pot shop a few doors down).

Next up, we headed to the food carts (not trucks) in downtown Portland to explore the seriously endless options. These aren’t trucks with wheels that move like in most other cities, but more like stationary food vendors that semi-permanently take over parking lots. A group of three of them is called a “pod” and pretty much any business can host a pod if they want. Anywhere. There are, literally, hundreds of food carts spread throughout Portland and being at one of these gatherings is food nirvana, mostly due to the fierce competition. If your food sucks, people find out about it. Some that impressed me were: Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Dump Truck, and the Frying Scotman. There are SO many others. For the newest and brightest stars, Check out Portland’s EaterRead more »

Six Paleo and AIP friendly recipes that I worship

Paleo friendly recipe for celeriac mash

On a specialized diet, any cook gets bored with making the same thing over and over and over again. Hell, sometimes it’s easier to go through the rote motions but then I get fed up with the monotony. In these dark times, I turn to the internet to refresh my palate. There is thankfully a massive community of Paleo and Auto Immune Protocol bloggers out there and we all feed off of each other’s creativity and published posts. My Pinterest boards are peppered with these six Paleo friendly recipes (and AIP!) that I turn to pretty frequently and wanted to give them some love. By the way, ALL of these are super, super easy to throw together.

Read more: Six Paleo and AIP friendly recipes that I worship

Wine review: Preston 2014 Barbera Dry Creek Valley

Preston 2014 Barbera

As someone who writes about wine and who also works for a winery, I have multitudinous bottles of wine at my house. It can get overwhelming, albeit in a very, very good way. But what this enviable “predicament” means is that I rarely buy wine. When I do, it’s a pretty epic bottle of juice. Like Preston Barbera.

Read more: Wine review: 2014 Preston Barbera Dry Creek Valley

Mahi with lemon caper sauce recipe - Paleo friendly

Mahi with lemon caper sauce

Part of my food life journey is exploring all areas of the protein spectrum and, to be honest, fish was somewhat of a new frontier for me. I ordered it all the time in restaurants (and loved it) but it was an intimidating home meal. All that worrying about freshness, the higher cost and sometimes the smell didn’t exactly make it attractive. But after the past few years, I’m over all of that BS and often make a super easy fish recipe like Mahi with Lemon Caper Sauce. The secret? Buy frozen fillets and you don’t have to worry about freshness (or a fishy smell). This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light Magazine and refined through a few iterations until I made it perfect for me.

Read more: Super easy fish recipe: Mahi with lemon caper sauce (Paleo, AIP)

Wine review: Adegas Valminor 2015 Albariño Rias Baixas

Valminor 2015 Albarino

Of all the wine regions I’ve had the extreme pleasure to visit, Spain’s Rías Baixas DOC, the west coastal home of the white Albariño grape, was the most memorable. From the way they grow their grapes, to the seafood culture, to the wide open possibilities of this beautifully acidic and quite underrated grape, the region holds incredible promise. These memories flooded my brain when I tasted the Valminor 2015 Albariño.

Read more: Wine review: Adegas Valminor 2015 Albariño Rias Baixas

Curing allergies with food: 2 years later AIP diet redux

It’s been almost 2 years since my first round of the autoimmune protocol or AIP diet to cure my shellfish allergies with food. What a ride that has lasted a while but I’ve noticed a few things lately that are calling me back into the realms of another 60-day leaky gut reset, starting next month. Not sure if anyone else has these sorts of symptoms but I’ll list them here

Read more: Curing allergies with food: AIP diet redux 2 years later

Wine review: Alta Mora 2014 Rosso Mt. Etna Sicily

Alta Mura 2014 Rosso

On the wine geekiness scale, the Alta Mora 2014 Rosso ranks high. Made from a decidedly geeky, native grape called Nerello Mascalese and grown on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily, this robust, well-made red wine checks all the boxes for one-upmanship at a bring-your-own party. The Cusumano family owns this winery, two brothers with balls enough to plant a vineyard very near an active volcano. The largest active volcano in Europe. Yep — hope they’re insured.

Read more: Wine review: Alta Mora 2014 Rosso Mt. Etna Sicily

Recipe: Spicy sausage and garbanzo bean stew (weeknight meal)

sausage-and-garbanzo-stew

With a couple of fresh items and a list of pantry-clearing ingredients, this spicy sausage and garbanzo stew recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. You can substitute a bunch of things in this recipe — leftover roast chicken for the sausage (or mild sausage instead), cannelloni beans for the garbanzo beans, and add/sub other vegetables like zucchini or kale to veg it out a little more. It’s so forgiving, it’s kinda tough to mess up the flavors in this stew with additional vegetables. You can even remove the garbanzos if you’re following Paleo or Whole 30 diets, with minimal affect to this little recipe that could.

Read more: Spicy sausage and garbanzo bean stew recipe (weeknight meal)

Is Lodi wine region the next frontier for wine geeks?

lodi wine region

This year, the Lodi Wine Region hosted the Wine Blogger’s Conference and several hundred bloggers enjoyed some unique fruit of their vines. Sure, there were still overly extracted, high alcohol Zins and Cabs to be had (or not), but I uncovered some pretty incredible small lot, teensy production non Zins that seriously reignited the wine geek in me. Below are some of the best Lodi wines I found.

Read more: Is Lodi the next frontier for wine geeks? The best Lodi wines I’ve tasted

Recipe: Paleo Friendly Gazpacho Soup

Paleo Friendly Gazpacho Soup

It’s nearing the end of tomato season here in California and I’m always sad when this time comes. Soon, I won’t be able to simply walk outside, pick a plump favorite off the bush and maw on it with fervor. My husband professes that I have a freakish love for these nightshades and I unabashedly admit it — they are a perfect fruit that acts like a vegetable. Tomato sauce, Caprese salad, simply sliced with salt/pepper or in these recipes featuring tomatoes — I wallow in the beautiful yellow, red and green orbs all summer. I’ve been developing this paleo friendly gazpacho soup lately since this year’s massive crop has lent itself to tons of experimentation. The ingredient list might look long but this uncooked blender soup comes together in about 15-20 minutes. How easy is that? Add cooked shrimp to make it a complete meal.

Read more: Recipe: Paleo Friendly Gazpacho Soup