Friday, August 30, 2013

SALEP Topic: Campari

Another month, another SALEP topic! 

This month, Dana taught us all about Campari! 

Campari (and snacks)

What is it?               

Campari is an Italian liqueur that is characterized by its red color and strong dry, bitter taste.

As an aperitif:
- An aperitif is an alcoholic drink that is served before dinner to stimulate the appetite.
- Aperitifs originated in Italy in the 18th century and are always dry, rather than sweet.

As a bitter:
-  A bitter is consumed to aid digestion and health, thus Campari is also a digestif.
-  Bitters/digestifs are usually drunken straight or with soda water. 

Campari was invented in 1860 by Gaspare Campari and is comprised of a secret combination of herbs, spices, and fruit peels. For forty years, Campari could only be found within Italy.  In 1904, Campari was first exported to Nice, in the French Riviera.  Campari is unique in that it is its own brand; there are no “off” brands of the liqueur. Campari’s distinctive red color is derived carmine, a dye created through the crushing of dried cochineal insects.  Campari’s color was created this way up until 2006. 

Classic Campari Cocktails:

1 oz Campari
1 oz Gin*
1 oz Sweet Vermouth 
Orange peel for garnish 
*for those who want to cut the bitter taste of the negroni, chardonnay can be used instead of gin. 

Campari & Soda
1 part Campari
4 parts soda water

1 oz Campari
1 oz Gin
1 oz Soda Water

Old Pal: 
1 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Campari 

Pouring at:

-  Nostrana (SE Morrison & 14th)

-  Woodsman Tavern (SE 45th & Division)

-  Circa 33 (SE 33rd & Belmont)

Thanks Dana! 

Past SALEP Topics: 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bend Brewery: Crux Fermentation Project

What: Crux Fermentation Project
Where: 50 SW Division Street, Bend, OR
Honeys Heart: Food that lives up to the beer

A few weekends ago, Brian and Laura invited Doug and me down to Sunriver for the Bend Brewfest. The fest was so fun- not too crowded (at least during the day) and not the drunken bro crowd you get at the Oregon Brewers Festival.

But my favorite part of the weekend (besides speeding through Divergent by the SHARC pool), was our visit to Crux Fermentation Project.

Doug was adamant that we not leave Bend without visiting one of their many breweries, so before we hit up the fest on Saturday we stopped by Crux for lunch and some samples.

Love Crux's version of a sample tray!

Our group's favorite beers included:
  •  Off Leash- cross between a pale and IPA
  • Tough Love- Imperial Stout
  • Mosaic- IPA
  • American Brown Porter
The thing that impressed me the most about Crux though was their food. It's always appreciated when Breweries have food, but usually I don't expect anything more than mediocre pub food. Crux, then, certainly outdid itself with its large selection of tasty eats.

I ordered the Summer Berry Salad with mixed greens, gorgonzola, toasted almonds, balsamic stout vinaigrette, and pickled strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

I have never had pickled berries before and these were so, so good- the perfect combo of tangy and sweet. 

Doug ordered the Chicken Bacon Sandwich with ale-marinated chicken, bacon, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and asiago cheese accompanied by Barley Bean Quinoa Salad. Yum!

Crux also has a great little patio and lawn area.

Great choice Doug!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Portland Restaurant: Lightbar

What: Lightbar
Where: 1401 SE Morrison St
Honeys Heart: feel-good food

A terrible, horrible thing happened where I sentenced myself to two weeks of no carbs and no sweets. I know, right? Don't worry, I obviously had carbs and sweets during those two weeks but I did have much less carbs and sweets than I would like, so it was still pretty horrible.

Anyway, during my bout of healthiness, Kel and I tried out Lightbar. Located in the same weird little mini strip mall as Nostrana, Lightbar promises "fresh, local food that's house-made from scratch." The menu features a number of different salads and sandwiches as well as a tasty-looking cocktail list.

Kel and I both opted for the Salad Special made with kale, farro, blueberries, flower petals (so pretty!), chevre, beets, and some other stuff too.

I would normally NEVER order a salad as my entree when there are other choices (only exception: the cobb salad at Stephi's on Tremont in Boston), but this salad might end up on that exceptions list too. Yep, it was that good. 

I loved that the farro added some nice chewiness to the dish and even though there were a lot of ingredients going on, they melded together nicely instead of competing.

Kel and I were tempted by some of the cocktails, but it was a no alcohol two weeks too, so that was a no go.

I should also mention that we were the only customers in the restaurant for the full hour and half we were there. Kinda weird. Hope that's not the norm because this place seems cool and it's nice to have healthy dining-out options other than Laughing Planet.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Portland Restaurant: The Picnic House

What: The Picnic House
Where: 723 SW Salmon Street

Rachel and I got together for lunch on Tuesday to celebrate her new job, VP of Membership and Events for the Homebuilders Association! This lady is going to be busy so we had to sneak in a lunch before the craziness began. 

Also, sorry in advance for the horrible picture quality of this post...

So here's the deal with this place. Well, I don't really know what the deal is with this place... I think it's almost cute, but maybe a little tacky. The front part of the restaurant has an outdoor feel with bistro lights, moss, street lamps, tree stencils and the back is more formal with large paintings and a mid-1920's feel. Hmmm.

Well the decor might have fallen just short of being the right thing, but what about the food? The menu is definitely really varied and there are many healthy options. Rachel and I both went for the combination option and got a sandwich and salad for $12. 

Rach got the Buffalo Chicken Salad and the Nutty Brown Rice. The brown rice was mixed in with sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, carrots, turnips, and sugar snap peas in a roasted hazelnut vinaigrette. 

I went for the Roasted Turkey with a blueberry glaze, aged white cheddar, apples and arugula. We both got our sandwiches grilled, but the baguette was so thick that it didn't really do anything and the sandwich was totally overwhelmed by bread. It would have been so much better with thinner bread and more panini action. I also got the Farfalla Salad. The pesto was tasty and those roasted carrots were so good. 

Overall, I'm not sure there was anything exceptional, but it was good. It was reasonably priced and offered a lot of options, but I'm not sold on the "vibe" of the place. It could definitely be a convenient lunch option for many people that work downtown so we'll see how this place progresses.