Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sweat & Sip: Vega Dance Lab, Water Avenue Coffee, and Canteen

Katie just got a new job at University of Portland (woot, congrats!) and had a week off before starting so we headed over to Vega Dance Lab's Wednesday morning cardio funk class for our second installment of our "Sweat & Sip" series.

What: Vega Dance Lab
Where: 1322 SE Water Ave 
Honeys Heart: Cardio Funk

Katie danced growing up, was the captain of the UP dance team, and has been a Winterhawks Rosebud dancer for the last two years, so needless to say her dance abilities far exceed mine, but thankfully cardio funk is fun and funky and I didn't feel too bad!

The class starts with about 15 minutes of light cardio to warm up, some strength building, and stretching followed by 45 minutes of learning a routine.

The great thing about going to a dance class is that it doesn't feel like a typical work out class and the time flies because you're constantly learning new eight counts, but you still work up a sweat! I also love that you get to spend time at the beginning and end stretching, which this girl needs to do more of.

What: Water Avenue Coffee
Where: 1028 SE Water Avenue 145
When: 7am - 6pm Daily
Honeys Heart: Soy Latte

I still had to work post dance class and Katie had some projects, so following our fitness we decided to grab coffee and tea at Water Avenue Coffee - it was only 10am after all! I ordered a 12 oz soy latte and Katie got an iced tea and a pumpkin muffin.

Water Ave Coffee is small, but still has some nice spots to set up your computer and enjoy a tasty coffee. I love getting coffees "for here" and getting the delicious, creamy foam!

What: Canteen
Where: 2816 SE Stark St
When: 9 am - 9pm Tuesday - Sunday, Closed Mondays
Honeys Heart: Fresh juices and smoothies! 

After we got some sufficient work time in, we needed to find something more substantial to eat so we headed to Canteen, which serves up healthy and delicious bowls, salads, fresh juices, and smoothies. We shared the Bangkok Bowl ($8) with avocado curry, red curry peanut sauce, brown rice, aduki beans, broccoli, red cabbage, kimchi, and black sesame seeds. I liked the spice and tang the kimchi brings to the bowl!

Katie and I also ordered smoothies, which were so tasty and filling! Katie went for the Orange One ($4 sm) with banana, orange, vanilla, almond milk and dates. So creamy and fresh. I opted for the Ginger-Berry ($4 sm) with strawberries, blueberries, fresh apple juice, and ginger. I could drink one of these every morning!

Next up: Kettlebell! 

Sweat & Sip: 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Portland Food Event: Nob Hill Dishcrawl

Katie and I have a tendency to proclaim to Adam and Doug that we'll surely be home from our date nights by 9:30 or 10pm, a claim which they have both learned to dismiss and plan on a closer-to-midnight arrival time. Last night's Dishcrawl's date for the Nob Hill crawl was no exception.

We were excited for our food adventure in NW, but drinks aren't included in the Dishcrawl ticket so we decided to make a couple pre-event stops on our way. We began at Casa del Matador where we quickly learned we should not have seated ourselves outside without checking inside first. We were blatantly ignored for 10 minutes and then waited another 10 minutes for our Cadillac Margarita ($8).

With half an hour left before the start, we skipped down the road to St Jack for a delicious drink and hopefully better service. After hearing about our prior experience, their bartender made us his take on an El Diablo with tequila, creme de cassis, lime and ginger syrup. Perfect.

Stop 1: Pacific Pie Co.
Where: 1668 NW 23rd Ave
Honeys Heart: The great service

New to Northwest, Pacific Pie Co. offers up Aussie-style meat pies, sausage rolls, pasties, soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Owner Sarah, was onsite providing incredible service and tasty samples. We tried a mini Chicken Pot Pie, a mini Meat Roll, and a mini Spinach and Feta Pastie. All were great, but I think Katie's and my favorite was the pot pie.

Sarah and her team went above and beyond and decided to offer a cocktail taster. Though it wasn't our favorite drink, it was a great thought and differentiated Pacific Pie Co. from the other Dishcrawl stops.

We also tried the Aussie 75 ($8) with gin, lemon eucalyptus syrup and sparkling wine.

Happy hour is Monday through Friday 3 to 6pm with $5 mini pasties, meat rolls, and Aviation gin and tonics. Definitely worth returning for!

Stop 2: 23Hoyt
Where: NW 23rd and Hoyt
Honeys Heart: Special menu items just for Dishcrawl

After a 11-block walk (or in our case run because we were slow to settle up our bill and had to make a quick pit stop along the way) we enjoyed some samples at 23Hoyt. The board featured Curried Mussel Soup, a Shrimp Corndog, Tempura Fried Clams, and Chickpea Fries. Most of these items aren't featured on their regular menu, but it gave an idea of their New American style.

The flavor of the soup was really excellent, but a little cold. I wasn't completely sure if it was meant to be served that way or not, but it tasted good.

Katie and I also ordered the drink special made with gin, cynar, grapefruit, and sparkling wine. Yum!

Stop 3: Dick's Kitchen
Where: 704 NW 21st Ave 
Honeys Heart: Dick himself!

The final stop was Dick's Kitchen on 21st. Dick's goal is to reinvent the traditional diner by offering delicious burgers and sides, but with a healthy spin. Owner Dick's personal health has required that he follow a specific diet, similar to a paleo diet, and the mission of the restaurant is to give people with dietary restrictions an dining out option that is just as delicious.

All the beef used at Dick's is 100% grass fed from Carman Farms and sides include a ton of healthy veggie options. We tried a beef slider, asparagus and beet salad, and braised collards. The beef was definitely great quality and the braised collards were a great side.

We spent some time at the end of the night chatting with Dick about the importance of being really conscious of what we put in our bodies and learned that his hope is that by supporting companies with sustainable and healthy practices, like those at Carman Farms,someday there will be a more mainstream push back to this way of farming, preparing, and eating food.

After Dick's Kitchen the official crawl was over, but we weren't quite ready to head home. We would have typically hopped over to Gypsy to sing karaoke and bug the KJ, but since its closure earlier this year we had to find another option: Voicebox. We were concerned it would be a little pricey and were prepared to negotiate, but $4 per person for an hour seemed like a deal. We ordered some sake and entered our room which included a ton of bench seating and a ledge for Katie's back up dancing. It could easily fit 10-15 people, but it was just us and we were pretty amazing. We sang and danced for an hour and a half and in true Kelly/Katie fashion walked home at midnight. Whoops. Definitely the most fun for $4 we've ever had!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sweat & Sip: Burncycle and Pink Rose

Welcome to our new series: Sweat & Sip! It's basically where we go to a fitness class and then drink and eat all the calories we just burned off. Yay for balance!

Seriously though, Kel and I like to eat and drink what we want and we realize that necessitates some exercise here and there. We both run, but now that dance is over for me and Kel's achilles is giving her a hard time, we decided to check out some other fitness options around the city. First up: Burncycle!

What: Burncycle 
Where: 910 NW 10th Ave
Honeys Heart: The friendly and supportive environment

Located in the Pearl right across from Jameson Park, Burncycle is a "whole body cycling" studio. That means that while you're pedaling your little heart out to the latest dance hits, you're also doing various movements with the top half of your body to strengthen your core and your arms (and some other stuff too, I'm sure).

Burncycle's mission is to leave you feeling well-cared for, sweaty, and empowered, and Kel and I definitely felt all those things.

We were in the waiting area for all of two minutes before the owner, Jessi, came over to introduce herself and walk us through the process. She was super sweet and reassured us that beginners have nothing to worry about. She also helped us clip our shoes into the bikes and made sure we had water. Thanks, Jessi!

As far as sweatiness, you burn 500-800 calories per 45-minute class, so yeah, you're gonna be real sweaty. Luckily, Burncyle is kind enough to stock their bathroom with all the necessarily toiletries so Kel and I weren't too disgusting when we showed up at Pink Rose after our class.

But the truly unique thing about Burncyle is their focus on creating "a non-competitive, pressure-free cardio sanctuary." To achieve this, the studio is lit with candles, making it much more difficult to compare yourself to your fellow cyclers. Our instructor was also very positive and while he pushed us to continue challenging ourselves, I never felt like he was judging me for being way behind the cycling pace he was suggesting.

Overall, we had a great experience with Burncycle and I'm almost disappointed that it's our first class of this series because I don't want to try other things now- I just want to cycle!

Two things to keep in mind about Burncyle:
  • You must register for classes ahead of time online. Burncycle is super popular and there's usually a wait list for classes, so don't dilly dally about signing up. 
  • Bring water! Kelly and I forgot and if Jessi hadn't set us up with water bottles, it would not have been pretty.

What: Pink Rose
Where: 1300 NW Lovejoy
When: Happy Hour 4-7pm Mon-Sat & All Day Tuesday
Honeys Heart: The patio

After our class, Kel and I were more than ready for a drink and some food. We decided to check out Pink Rose since they offer happy hour all night on Tuesdays and have a nice little patio.

Let me just get this out of the way and say the service was atrocious. Some of the worst we've had in quite awhile. But that's the price you pay for sitting on the patio I guess?

Also, there was no rosé on the menu aside from a sparkling moscato. Kel and I are of the belief that if you're going to call yourself Pink Rose, you should probably have a rosé available, just for the sake of honoring your own name. I mean, that makes sense, doesn't it?

Anyway, we started things off with the Boedecker Pinot Blanc ($6) and the Bacon Wrapped Dates ($4), both from the happy hour menu. 

We also shared the Happy Rose Burger ($8) which is topped with swiss cheese, fried onions, and dijon aioli. Pretty tasty!

Overall, it's clear that Pink Rose's draw is the cheap happy hour food and the patio, so stay away if you're expecting something a little more refined service-wise. And don't be afraid to bring your check up to the hostess stand when you're ready to pay. We noticed several other customers doing it too, and it seems the most efficient way to get out of there when you're ready to be done.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dischcrawl Sneak Peek: 23Hoyt

When Katie first moved back to Portland from Boston she worked for Dishcrawl and though she ultimately had to give up the reins and the San Jose-based business took a break from operating in Portland, it's back and we're attending the Nob Hill Dishcrawl on May 21st!


One of the fun and unique things about this neighborhood food adventure is that the destinations are kept secret until 48 hours prior to the event, but luckily we got an insider tip on one of the stops!

Nob Hill Dishcrawlers will be sampling food from...


Katie and I wrote a review of 23Hoyt back in 2009 (when we were still in college) so we decided to stop by and see how things were going.

Just for fun, let's compare our experience last week with our post from 2009: 

College Happy Hour Honeys: "Tonight, after Katie choreographed a terrific dance and I spent the day painting my grandparents house, we headed down to NW 23rd and Hoyt for happy hour at 23Hoyt."

Now: Katie and I were headed over to Imperial's viewing party for Knife Fight, a cooking show on the Esquire Network. We stopped by 23Hoyt for a pre-event drink.

The Takeaway: We are much fancier now and get invited to industry things...sometimes.


College HHHs: "Tall ceilings, candlelight tables, trees in the room, bench seats, upstairs tables. Initially we felt under-dressed, me in my zip-up and Katie in her sneakers, but as the night went on, some people were more dressed up and others more casual so we decided our outfits were acceptable."

Now: Add big wax-dripping candles to that list and the description still stands. Also I wore a sweater and Katie wore her heeled booties.

The Takeaway: We are much fancier now in the clothing department too.


College HHHs: "We both ordered Pomegranate Cosmos, the only vodka drink."

Now: Katie and I both kept it simple with Tom Collins.

The Takeaway: Oh, college Kelly and Katie. You did love your vodka. You'd actually probably really love 23Hoyt's current cocktail menu because it features 3 vodka drinks including the Flashback ($8), made with house-made kiwi vodka, cointreau, lime and cranberry. Such an appropriate name!


College HHHs: "Their happy hour menu had $1 to $5 food specials and some $5 drink specials... We were excited to learn that the burgers included fries because usually the fries are separate on the happy hour menu. Good deal!"

Now: Happy hour cocktails are now $6 (inflation, man) but there are still food specials ranging from $1-$7. And great news, the cheeseburger still comes with fries!

The Takeaway: 23Hoyt continues to offer very well-priced happy hour food and drinks. Love that!


College HHHs: "The food, the drinks, and the atmosphere were all great. But perhaps the best part of happy hour at 23Hoyt was the woman who sat next to us. White hair, British accent, pearls, sassy as all get out...our kind of lady. This was especially confirmed when upon receiving a small number of bread with her goat cheese (as did we) she exclaimed 'well, we'll certainly be needing more toasties.' Exactly. She also mentioned to her somewhat plump dining partner 'well, of course you're getting the hamburger.' Mean. But again, correct."

Now: No British people to be found. Sad day.

The Takeaway: We rarely comment on fellow restaurant-goers in posts anymore. We should totally bring that back, right? Yeah... probably not.


Anyway, the point is that five years later, 23Hoyt is still a great spot for happy hour and that makes us even more excited to see what they have planned for Dishcrawl since we've never eaten any of their non-happy hour food.

If you want to join us on May 21st, you can purchase tickets here. Cheers! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Portland Restaurant: Fogo de Chão

What: Fogo de Chão
Where: 930 SW 6th Ave
Honeys Heart: Caipirinhas & Gaucho Chefs

Confession: I didn't try steak until I got to college. It just wasn't something that my mom ever cooked for us or that my parents ordered when we went out to dinner. Because of that, steak is not really my thing. I mean, I like it but I'm certainly no connoisseur. That's why I was happy that Doug was able to come to last week's preview dinner at Fogo de Chão with me. Helps to have an expert around for these sorts of things!

If you've never heard of it, Fogo de Chão is an authentic Brazilian Churrascaria (steakhouse). It was founded in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1979 and has since expanded to over 32 locations through out Brazil and the United States. Fogo de Chão's claim to fame is that all meats are carved tableside by Brazillian trained "gaucho chefs."

Here's how the whole experience works:

Step 1: Enjoy a Caipirinha at the bar while you wait for your buzzer to signal that your table is ready.

Lime shortage be damned! They don't skimp on ingredients with these things. Each caipirinha is made with 1 lime, a very healthy dose of sugar, a good pour of cachaca (a rum-like spirit distilled from sugarcane juice) and a dash of Sprite. Basically, it's the perfect summertime drink. I'll take 5 more, thanks.

Step 2: Survey the restaurant's layout as you are led to your table. Try not to be awkward when your hostess pushes your chair in for you as you sit down. This is a fancy place after all. (I did not succeed in this, FYI.)

Step 3: Hit up the salad bar, but don't get crazy.

Your $29.50 prix fixe lunch or $49.50 dinner includes as many trips to the salad bar as you want. The salad bar features over 30 selections of fresh cut vegetables, seasonal salads, imported cheeses, and cured meats.

Traditional Brazilian side dishes are also served tableside. These include Pão de Queijo (cheese bread), polenta, and caramelized bananas.

Step 4: The meat! The meat!

You want to take it easy with the salad bar because the meat is the true star at Fogo de Chão (aside from the cute gaucho chefs). When you're ready for the good stuff, turn your double-sided disc to the green side and watch as meat-baring guachos suddenly appear at your table with different cuts of meat.

Fogo de Chao offers 11 different kinds of meat including fillet mignon, beef ancho (rib eye), linguica, lamb, and chicken.

When you've filled you plate with enough meat, turn your disc to the red side, and dig in. When you're ready for more, flip it right back to green again.

Here's what meat expert Doug has to say:

"Having tried nearly every style of meat that Fago de Chão had to offer, I can report that the cuts ranged from top quality to somewhat pedestrian. Hands down, the best option was the Fraldinha (bottom sirloin). I love myself some marble-y red steak, cooked medium and juicy and this cut didn't disappoint. Fogo's signature sirloin - the Picanha - was very good too. Perfectly cooked with a balanced seasoning of salt and pepper, it would hold its own at any respectable steakhouse. The only really disappointing selection of the evening were the Costela de Porco (baby back pork ribs). Ribs are one of my favorite food groups and these fell flat."

Fogo de Chão also offers a wide selection of desserts, but we were too full to partake in any. I did try the Tropical Caipirinha which ended up being sweet enough to qualify as a dessert. It was good though!

Fogo de Chão's prices definitely put it in the "special occasion" category for Doug and I, and we tend to lean more toward spots you would find on this list for that sort of thing. However, if I were a business person looking for an impressive spot to take clients downtown, I would definitely choose Fogo de Chão. The service was excellent, the food was great, and I bet you could close some deals pretty easily with the help of a caipirinha or too.

A big thank you to Fogo de Chão and Little Green Pickle for the invite!

Monday, May 5, 2014

HHH Favorites: Margaritas

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Or if you're my sister, Happy Birthday! I've always thought Sarah is lucky to have her birthday coincide with Cinco de Mayo, but that may be because I'm a big fan of tequila and guacamole and it's double the excuse to indulge.

Ready for a margarita? Here are a few of our favorites around Portland:

Por Que No?

Why not? Seriously, give me a good reason why you would not go here for a margarita, and probably a taco or two. Choose between a classic Margarita ($9 for a pint) or go with their Pomegranate Margarita. There is typically a margarita of the day as well with whatever fresh juice they're serving up. The only downside is that $9 is a bit steep when you plan on having two... or three.


This year Cinco de Mayo falls on Xico's "Margarita Monday" which features a $5 Happy Margarita with tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. If you're there for happy hour (5-6:30pm M-F), I would also recommend the Sonoran Hot Dog ($6) to share with bacon, salsa verde, refritos, cotija, crema, lime, and pico de gallo on top of a Nathan's frank. So good!

Elephants Deli

Elephants recently changed their happy hour to 3-6pm (it used be 5-7pm) and switched up their food offerings too, but don't worry, their Three Citrus Margarita ($7 on hh) is still featured on the bar menu. If you're looking for something a little smaller and a little stronger though, go for the Million Dollar Margarita. 

La Taq

Little sister to Podnah's Pit next door, La Taq serves Tex Mex favorites like Queso Fundido and puffy tacos as well as a killer House Margarita ($8). Or, if you want to switch it up a bit, try the Zanahorita ($9) a margarita made with carrot juice and a little cumin. 

Prefer homemade? Check out some of our margarita recipes:


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Portland Restaurant: Levant

What: Levant
Where: 2448 E Burnside 
Honeys Heart: Hummus with Spiced Lamb

I'm pretty confident that Doug and Adam don't read this blog as often as they claim to, so I feel like I can tell you guys the truth. Kel and I chose Levant even though we knew it was much pricier than our usual date night spots- and that's exactly why we invited the boys. I mean, we can't always foot the bill for our dining habits, right?

In the end, our plan was somewhat justified in that it was a pretty spendy night (thanks for taking care of the check, boys!). But it also kind of backfired on us because instead of just two people being unhappy that they spent a shit-ton of money on food that was good but not completely satisfying, we were now four people who were unhappy. Oops.

Let's talk about what happened.

Kel, Adam, and I arrived first and ordered cocktails. I chose the Hammurabi's Code ($12) with saffron vodka, dry curacao, yellow chartreuse, absinthe and lemon. I should have anticipated that with the combo of yellow chartreuse and absinthe, the herbal, anise flavor could slightly overwhelm this drink- and it did. It was very pretty though.

Kel stuck to our usual gin and was pleased with the Stones Throw ($10) cocktail with gin, Barolo Chinato, Cocchi Americano, apricot liqueur, lemon and angostura bitters, while Adam ordered the bourbon-based The Elder Ka Fleur ($10) that incorporated Genever, bittersweet vermouth, Becherovka, St. Germain, and Peychaud's Bitters.

The cocktails were well crafted (as they should be with a $10-$12 price tag) and one of the best parts was the unique glass that each drink arrived in.

For food, we basically just went with whatever our waiter recommended, except that Adam immediately knew he wanted the Wood Fired Pita with Olive Oil, Za'atar and Urfa Biber Pepper ($4) with Hummus and Spiced Lamb ($8). This ended up being one of our favorites. The hummus was very creamy and smooth and I loved the touch of sweetness in the spiced lamb.

Off the starters menu we also went for the Lamb "Cigars" with Harissa Yogurt ($5) which were good, but there were only 3 so we hoped they would arrive before Doug. No such luck. Sharing is caring though... 

Time for a second round of cocktails. Sticking with gin, Kel ordered the Bacall ($12) with gin, creme de violette, lemon and sparkling wine. Again, very pretty but the $12 price tag was definitely up there. 

Adam scaled back and opted for their Brooklyn, which is a $5 mini cocktail of rye whiskey, Cio Ciaro, maraschino liquor, and dry vermouth. It is seriously tiny. Half the price and definitely half the cocktail.

I went for the Autumn Piper ($9) with Indonesian long pepper-infused cachaca, Fernet Vallet, Cherry Herring, and orange Juice. I loved the combination of flavors here. Complex but oddly refreshing. I thought our waiter was crazy when he compared it to a well-made, alcoholic Coke, but he was right.

Obviously the four of us needed more food, so we ordered the Grilled Beef Kofta ($10) with herb relish, pine nuts, barberries, and sumac yogurt. These were okay, but certainly not the most exciting dish as they were essentially fancied up beef patties.

We also shared the Fish of the Day and Spanakopita with nettles per our waiter's suggestions. Both were good, but not especially memorable.

Following dinner, we all were left feeling sort of blah about the whole thing, and maybe a little hungry too. Looking back, I think that the pricy bill may have tipped our opinion in the wrong direction because there were some great aspects to our meal. The attention to detail paid to the drinks was excellent and the hummus and spiced lamb is one of my favorite dishes I've eaten in a while (not counting the mushrooms at The America Local because you know Kel and I are in love with those.)

I think we made a mistake too in not ordering any dessert, which Levant is well known for. Too bad my three dining companions "aren't sweets people." Ugh. 

To sum it up, it's not that our experience at Levant was bad, it's just that it wasn't good enough to make us feel okay with the amount of money we were spending. At those prices and portions it needed to be so unique, so awesome, that we forgot about the expense. Maybe, if we were a big group with lots of money and could order a couple of everything to share, it would have been a fun experience. But with our small group of four trying to keep the tab under $150, it didn't live up to our expectations.