Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pasadena Gastropub: Kings Row

What: Kings Row
Where: 20 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena
Honeys Heart: Shishito Burger 

Adam and I traveled South recently for our friends wedding in Sunland, California and had the pleasure of spending a few extra days with my family and our close friends from high school, Katelyn and Michael. It was so freaking fun!

Michael and Katelyn moved to Pasadena in January and were excited to take us to their favorite bar in their new hood, Kings Row. It was super tasty and we happened to be there on Monday trivia night. We did our best, but fell short of a win...way short.

The gastropub had so many unique and delicious sounding options. The Crack Mac ($10) with dutch fontina, parmesian, vahlrona white chocolate was tempting, but I went for the Shishito Burger ($14) with 21-day dry aged beef, blistered shishitos, white cheddar, hoisin bbq, arugula and pickled ginger aioli. It was definitely the best burger I've had in a while! Oh, and you'll notice I went for the salad (weird) but it was so good. I'm on an arugula kick and the dressing was sort of mustard-y.

Adam went for the Highland Park Pulled Park ($13) that was braised in coke and oj and served with a chipotle pomegranate bbq sauce. Yum. And those fries...

Michael and Katelyn had only come for drinks, not food, so we read some Yelp reviews. One guy said that if it was his last meal he would get the Jay's Burger ($14). I don't know if Michael agreed that it was last meal worthy, but that bacon looks delish and jalapeno mayo is a great addition to an otherwise fairly common burger combination.

Katelyn chose the Proper Fish N' Chips ($14) which look perfectly cooked. Plus I just love that they served food in little tins.

The drinks weren't exceptional and maybe a little overpriced, but we were in California, they were good, and bonus points for cute jars. I think beer (if I drank it) might have been the way to go!

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Portland Restaurant: Tarad Thai Market and Restaurant

What: Tarad Thai Market and Restaurant
Where: 601 SE Morrison St.
When: Monday-Friday Lunch, Monday-Saturday Dinner, check website! 

Tarad Thai is a small restaurant with a few ingredients for purchase. Basically, stop in for lunch or dinner and you can also pick up some ingredients for easy Thai cooking at home. The owners select quality brands and ingredients, offer tips, and sell cookbooks for the home chef. 

Mary and I went to Tarad for lunch her first day in town from Salt Lake and we were super pleased with our choice. We started with Pork Buns ($7) stuffed with ground pork and quail eggs. The filling was dense and the quail egg was a great addition. If you like to spice things up the sauce definitely adds a kick! 

Not realizing how substantial the pork buns would be we ordered two main dishes. We shared the Pad See Ew ($9) with flat rice noodles, chicken, egg, black pepper and chinese broccoli. It was delicious, plus I really like the texture of the flat rice noodles.

We also shared the Gaeng Oam ($12). This curry wasn't the thick, more creamy curry I'm used to ordering. It was more like soup made with slow-cooked pork in gang om curry with galangal root, lemongrass, kaffir leaf and Thai herbs topped with green onions and cilantro. The flavor was fresh and spicy and the presentation was a winner. The clay pot above a clay base with fire in it kept it hot and looked pretty neat.

I'm looking forward to returning, hopefully soon!
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SALEP Topic: Chartreuse

Katie introduced you to SALEP last month (forgot what it is, click here) and shared her May topic, Vermouth. June was my month to host and I opted for Chartreuse.


What it is:
Chartreuse is a distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers–the green color is all natural!

It is a French liqueur made by Carthusian Monks and is one of few types of liquor that continues to age and improve in the bottle. Other variations include Yellow Chartreuse, Chartreuse VEP (exceptionally prolonged aging) available in both green and yellow and a couple others based on the original recipe.

How its used:
Green Chartreuse is commonly drunk as a digestif and should be enjoyed very cold. Though many people prefer to sip it straight on ice, it has become a bartender favorite and is continuously being made into new and inventive cocktails.

Brief history:
In 1605 a Chartreuse monastery in Vauverts, a small suburb of Paris, received an ancient manuscript for an “Elixir” from Fanvoise Hannibal d’Estrees, Marshal of King Henry IV artillery. The “Elixir of Long Life” (Elixir Vegetal) was made, and continues to be made, by these Carthusian monks by suspending plants, herbs and other botanicals in wine alcohol.

In 1764, once they realized that people were drinking it as a beverage rather than a medicine the monks made a milder version (this Elixir Vegetal was 138 proof!) known as Green Chartreuse that is 110 proof. In 1838 the distillers developed a sweeter form of Chartreuse, which is known as Yellow Chartreuse and is 80 proof.

Green Chartreuse is still made by monks and the sales of the liqueurs allow the Chartreuse Monks the funds to survive and dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation.


The latest:
Though Green Chartreuse has typically been an after dinner drink, it is more frequently being enjoyed in unique cocktail recipes. It is boozier than whiskey, vodka or tequila and either the taste or the story is catching on, because Chartreuse sales are up! Some believe its due to a shout out in a Quentin Tarantino film or props from “hipster culture.”

Seattle Met wrote an article in April 2013 about this new favorite. Jamie Boudreau, bar manager of Canon in Seattle, visited the distillery, finishes every meal with it and recommends trying it with chocolate.

Buy it here:
Any local liquor store should carry it.

Drink it here:
Blue Hour, Church (Ne Sandy), Vintage Cocktail Lounge (SE Stark), Le Bistro Montage

SALEP Cocktails:

Chartreuse on the Rocks
Green Chartreuse • Lots of Ice

Gumby on Acid
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse • Champagne (brut)

Other cocktail ideas:
Chartreuse Experience
1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 oz Vodka • 5 oz Orange Juice • 1 oz Lemon Juice • Ice

Chartreuse Soleil aka “Sunburst”
1 oz Green Chartreuse • 6 oz Orange Juice • Ice

1 oz Gin • 1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth • 1 Dash Orange Bitters
Garnish with cherry and lemon twist. Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Hot Rye Bijou
1 oz Rye Whiskey • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth • 1 oz Green Chartreuse • 1 dash orange bitters
Serve Warm

Spring Feeling Cocktail
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse • ¾ oz Lemon Juice
Stir well in ice and strain into glass.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Portland Happy Hour: Noble Rot

What: Noble Rot 
Where: 1111 East Burnside St.
When: 5-6pm Monday-Friday
Honeys Heart: The view and the cocktails

I had big plans last Friday night. The schedule was: water my plants, do laundry, clean my house, make mac'n'cheese for dinner (we're talking out of a box), and enjoy said mac'n'cheese while catching up on the most recent episode of The Bachelorette. So when my friend Rachel asked if I wanted to grab happy hour with her and a friend I did the appropriate amount of "oh I shouldn't, I have stuff to do..." so not to feel guilty for my lack of productivity (on the cleaning part, not the TV watching part) and then jumped on the opportunity for a delicious happy hour at Noble Rot.

In addition to great happy hour drink prices and a nice ambiance, Noble Rot has a cool rooftop garden where they grow some of their ingredients and the building is LEED certified. Not to mention a fantastic patio space with a beautiful view looking at downtown Portland. We didn't get there until happy hour was nearly over, but it would be worth arriving early to snag one of those outdoor spots.

I started with the Limoncello Sparkle ($5.50) with sparkling wine, limoncello and orange liqueur while Rachel opted for the well priced House Shiraz for just $3.50. The happy hour wine and cocktail prices are pretty great. Plus the other happy hour cocktails which were a Pomegranate Lemon Drop (vodka, lemon, pomegranate syrup) and Spiced Heaven (bourbon, ginger puree, ginger juice) cover a couple different spirits and sound super tasty.

Since we only had a few minutes we skimmed the menu and quickly ordered four items. The Butternut Squash, Carmalized Onions, & Goat Cheese Panino with a small salad ($6.75) which was really good. No complaints here.

Then we really branched out with the Macaroni & Cheese ($8). The corkscrew pasta, Tillamook cheese sauce and bread crumbs combo was simple, but tasty and definitely beat the boxed stuff I had planned to make at home. 

Our Onion Rings ($3) were so good. I mean it's hard to really, really ruin onion rings, but these were the right thickness, crispy and easy to bite through so you don't end up with that irritating problem where the onion slides out... that is an issue that not just I experience, right?

Finally, we went for a Hamburger ($8.75) which we added cheese to ($1) that came with fries. The pricing on this was definitely not exceptional since you can get a burger for $9.75 lots of places, but the meat was really good and it was perfectly prepared so I didn't mind much.

The happy hour menu also features a salad, cheese plate, and another panino among other small items, plus I'm pretty sure I mentioned the view... I'll be back.
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Portland Brunch: Ned Ludd

What: Ned Ludd
Where: 3925 NE MLK Blvd.
When: Sunday Brunch 9am-2pm
Honeys Heart: Strawberry Butter

My sister Sarah came to Portland in May for the Portland Rock'n'Roll half marathon, which she ROCKED (pun intended.) Not only did she visit for an extended weekend, we were joined by her close friend from college, Isabel, and a weekend of hitting up the Portland food scene ensued. Sarah ran 13.1 miles so that was basically enough for all of us, right?

The race ended and we refused to take Sarah anywhere until she stretched and showered. Following some serious foam rolling (Isabel and I laid on the couch) we ended up at Ned Ludd. The space has an interesting rustic feel, with pops of colors, a man outside chopping firewood, and the darkest bathroom I've ever been in at noon, but I liked the vibe and felt totally comfortable there. We took some time with the food menu, but it only took a couple seconds to decide on Bloody Marys - a toast to Sarah's accomplishment! The jars had a chili rim and some fun pickled vegetables. Of course we had 2-3 more. 

Sarah ordered the Hard Cooked Egg, Avocado, Cress, Radish on Volkorn Brot ($9) which was drizzled with olive oil and generously salted. It was really amazing for being so simple. This is totally a dish I could recreate at home. It's on my to-do list.

Isabel and I shared an order of the same dish that Sarah ordered as well as the Fried Polenta, Charred Rabes, Fried Duck Egg and Chile Conserva ($11.) This was such a comforting dish, but at the same time it didn't feel heavy. 

So, to be honest, Adam, Isabel and I already had breakfast sandwiches while cheering Sarah on so while Isabel and I called this lunch, Adam went for a "lighter" option. Well, less food, but between the Strawberry Butter and the Bacon it was pretty rich! Though I think we're all glad he ordered that strawberry was so tasty!

I don't make it up to N/NE for brunch often enough (maybe it's more like I don't make it up for weekend brunch often enough), but this is a great option and I would gladly return!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Portland Happy Hour: Aalto Lounge

What: Aalto Lounge
Where: 3356 SE Belmont St.
When: Open-7pm
Honeys Heart: $2 food and drink menu

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I first read about Aalto Lounge's happy hour. $2 cocktails AND $2 food specials? The drinks were probably going to be watered down and the food not so great.

So what a nice surprise to find that the cocktails were tasty and strong, and the food delicious as well.

Kel, Carrie, and I all decided to try The Dandy ($2). Made with cucumber-infused gin, lemon, sugar, and lavender bitters, these cocktails were refreshing and not-too-sweet. 

For food, I ordered the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with House-Made Tomato Soup ($2). Carrie ordered off the bar menu (available open-7pm & 12am-close) and tried the Mac 'N Cheese ($5) with spicy cheese sauce and garlic bread crumbs.

My grilled cheese was pretty amazingvery flavorful and I loved that they used mozzarella cheese. Carrie's mac & cheese was very tasty as well.

Kel opted for the happy hour Oven-baked Pretzel with Homemade Cheese Sauce ($2), which was the least exciting of all the dishes.

The pretzel was nothing special and the cheese sauce had started to congeal by the time it got to us. Definitely would choose the grilled cheese over the pretzel.

But all in all, we were very happy with our experience at Aalto Lounge, especially when we got our check and it totaled only $27 for 3 drinks each and food. They even have a nice little patio out back which we really enjoyed. Dare I say Aalto might be our favorite new happy hour in town?

Check out the full happy hour menu here.