Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Feast Portland 2014: Recap of the Sandwich Invitational

We were lucky enough to stuff ourselves silly at Feast's Sandwich Invitational last Thursday. (Big thank you to Doug for Katie's ticket and Feast for Kel's!) We also learned that "Yacht Rock" is a thing. So basically, it was a good night.

Of course at events like these, all the food is good. But since the Sandwich Invitational has the added fun of being a competition, we thought we'd share our rankings of the 14 sandwiches we tried.

#1 Marche's Moraccan Lamb Pockets

We're suckers for well-cooked lamb and Marche paired theirs beautifully with warm spices, harissa aioli and cilantro pesto. If we had room for seconds, we definitely would have gone back for another round of these.

#2 Kachka's Smoked Sprats

We are already big fans of Kachka and this open-faced sandwich with smoked sprats, egg, and sour cream on toast only reinforced our love for its unique Russian-inspired dishes. This sandwich also won the Judge's Choice award. Woot!

#3 Avec's Gyro

There is a turning point in the night where you're really full, but there is still 6 sandwiches to go and you're not slowing down. This crisis moment was made easier by Paul Kahan's "Return of the Gyro" with pork, eggplant, yogurt, "fun", fenugreek, and "flavor". We appreciated the description and the fresh herbs. 

#4 FT33's Fried Bologna and Pimento Cheese

Sometimes the simple ones are just so good. 

#5 Lardo's Pork Burger

This was the longest line of the night (challenged only by Salt and Straw) and the combo of pork, peaches, American cheese, and arugula was pretty delicious.

#6 Dustin Clark's Water Buffalo Short Rib Sandwich

This was our last sandwich of the night, aka it was at a major disadvantage because we were SO full, but it still ranks high on our list. The water buffalo short rib with sichuan picked cucumber sandwich was rich and mouth watering. We will definitely be hitting up Dustin's upcoming restaurant The Oddfellow Social.

#7 Nostrana's Smoked Lamb

Made with smoked lamb ham, crescenza (a soft Italian cheese), tomatoes, pepper cress, and onion relish on focaccia, this sandwich featured more traditional flavors and textures, but we appreciated some balance to the craziness that was happening at other stands.

#8 Empire State South's Pimento Grilled Cheese

Doug's love for Hugh Atcheson knows no bounds, but even he agreed with us that Hugh's pimento sandwich, though quite delicious in it's own right, was not quite as good as FT33's. 

#9 Salt and Straw's PBJ Sundae

Made of buttery bread topped with marionberry jam, vanilla custard ice cream, peanut butter whipped cream and homemade peanut butter Captain Crunch, this thing was good- but a major sugar bomb very much in danger of leaving you with a serious stomach ache. It was also a bit tame by Salt & Straw standards. That peanut butter whipped cream though...

#10  Bunk Sandwich's Duck & Foie Banh Mi

Far more flavorful than Chris Cosentino's meh take on foie banh mi (#13 below) plus the boys manning the station were having such a fun time that it made it hard not to enjoy this sandwich. 

#11 The Bent Brick's BBQ Goat Fry Bread

Ugh, the Bent Brick. They just keep making it SO hard to like them. They ran out of fry bread by the time we got there and while the meat was good... it really could have used some fry bread. Turns out they serve this, or something very similar, on their happy hour so we could have a second go at it...

#12 Broder's Gravlax on Rye

This was Doug's favorite dish but it just didn't do much for us.

#13 Cockscomb's Banh Mi

Doug and Katie loved Cosentino's beef tartare at last year's Night Market but felt iffy about their visit to his restaurant and as a group we felt even iffier about this not-so-noteworthy banh mi. Sad.

#14 Bar Avignon's Deconstructed Cubano

The best thing about a Cubano is all the flavors coming together in one delicious bite. When those ingredients are separated and you have to work to get them all in one bite... it just doesn't work.

Aside from the sandwiches, there was also plenty of beer from Widmer and wine from Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Erath, Hawks View Cellars, Northstar, and wine cocktails from Union Wine Company.

We may have also drank some straight vodka from Reyka Vodka. Apparently, when your stomach is unhappy from eating way too many sandwiches, it is more than fine to consume many different alcohols at once.

It's also recommended that you go to Kask afterward for a few more rounds. At least that's what we did...

Until next year! Cheers!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Feast Portland 2014: Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational

Thursday is a really exciting day. It's Katie's birthday AND it's the Feast kick-off event where we will eat sandwiches and imbibe until we're so full we will question attending any other Feast event all weekend... Okay, let's not go that far, but with 15 chefs and lots beer, wine, and cocktails, I have no doubt we'll indulge.

Ready to kick off this foodie weekend with us? Here's what you need to know:

What: Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational
When: Sept. 18th, 2014 from 6 - 9 PM
Where: Director Park
Get your tickets: Sandwich Invitational Tickets

The Sandwich Invitational brings 15 of America's top chefs to one spot with the challenge of creating a sandwich that blows all other sandwiches out of the water. The line up includes some local favs like Chris DiMinno of Clyde Common, Rick Gencarelli of Lardo, and Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene's while also bringing chefs from San Francisco, Charleston, Austin, and Baltimore.

To wash it all down there is Widmer; several Northwest wines including Columbia Crest, Erath, Hawks View Cellars, Northstar, and Union Wine Company; and Reyka Vodka from Iceland. 

Here are some pics of last years event to get you salivating. We will be reporting back on our favorites! 

Photo Credit: @bunksandwiches

Photo Credit: @lilslimlady

Photo Credit: @ranknacio

Photo Credit: @juliarraymond

Photo Credit: @hellokirst

See you Thursday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweat & Sip: Sip & Bootybarre at Aspire Total Fitness

What: Sip
Where: 2210 NE Alberta St & 3029 SE 21st Ave 
Honeys Heart: Cute little seating area

I know, I know this is all backwards. Sweat & Sip was all about working out and earning that happy hour cocktail, but class times and locations aren't always conducive to this and it turns out when you exercise a lot sometimes different sips sound really good. In this case we were headed to a 7pm Bootybarre class at Aspire Total Fitness after an appointment with Katie's wedding florist (less than a month out!) and we needed something to tide us over.

Sip (how perfectly named) has two locations. We headed over to their Alberta cart to sit in the sun for a few minutes before our drive to the fitness studio.

Katie ordered the Greensicle ($5.50 16oz) smoothie packed with kale, spinach, banana, fresh OJ, vanilla, dates, and ice, while I went with a The Sweet Green ($7 160z) juice with apple, kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, lemon, and ginger.

Here's the deal.

Pros: Healthy, refreshing, no full tummy before working out.

Cons: $7. I know local and organic can be expensive and she essentially juiced a salad into a cup, but juice doesn't stick with you the same way solid food might and the price is just a bit hard to swallow (pun intended). Shaking the juice with ice would have been a nice addition to cool it down for the hot day too.

We also hit up Greenleaf in the Pearl on occasion for options like this granola bowl with fruit on top for $6.50, and that just seems a bit more doable (and filling) than a $7 juice.

Are we a fans of fresh juices? Yes! Sip is cute and the juice was good, it's just a bit on the spendy side. As long as you're expecting that, you're good to go!

And a word to the wise: don't take a sip of your leftover juice when you get out of your workout class and it's been sitting in a hot car for an hour and a half. Katie learned that the hard way.

What: Bootybarre at Aspire Total Fitness Studio
Where: 14210 SE Sunnyside Road, Suite 600, Happy Valley
Honeys Heart: Everything Bootybarre! 

Revocycle was the first Sweat & Sip that we returned to (we've been back 4 times so far), but Bootybarre marks the second return class. Since this initial visit together, we've gone back at least 3 times and have plans for more- especially since Aspire recently become a sponsor of Katie's dance team!

Katie was introduced to Aspire Total Fitness' Bootybarre class by our friend Allie, who Katie danced with in college. Katie was so impressed by it that we had to make it our next installment of the Sweat & Sip series.

We've both tried Barre3 in the Pearl and while there are aspects of those classes I like (proximity to my apartment being one of them...), this barre version is a bit more dance centric and the tempo of the class is faster and more varied, which I appreciate! Katie also mentioned that since the moves are rooted in ballet (feet in first position!), it's a great way for her to build up the muscles that she uses for dancing in a way that her body is used to.

Since listing pros and cons is fun, here it goes.

Pros: So many! Full-body workout, great teacher, fun moves, challenging, and disco lights (in the evening class).

Cons: It's a bit of a drive (from us, not if you live in Happy Valley...)

Here's the official description:
"A sexy, energetic, fun workout that fuses fitness techniques from Dance, Pilates and Yoga, that will tone, define and chisel the whole body. And get this …you don't even need any dance experience! The bootybarre® method is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility with added cardio to burn fat fast. Barre workouts have also become a popular choice with many celebrities!"

The class is taught by Mackenzie who grew up in Clackamas and went to PLU to receive her Bachelors in Health and Fitness Promotion. She's energetic, and encourages you to have fun, while working your toosh off. We recommend you get your booty to this class ASAP!

Sweat & Sip:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seattle Restaurant: Bongos

What: Bongos
Where: 6501 Aurora Ave N, Seattle
When: Sun-Thurs 11am-9am, Fri & Sat 11am-10pm
Honeys Heart: Trinidad Steak Plate

When I drive back to Portland from Whidbey (where I grew up) I try to stop in Seattle and see Jen and Michael. Due to the dogs that typically involves a walk around Green Lake, but with Jen and Michael's recent move and projects (aka lack of working stove) Jen did some research for restaurants that welcome doggies so we could grab dinner instead.

We settled on Bongos, a Cuban cafe with ample outdoor seating- perfect for the dogs and the warm summer evening! After an older woman talked to us about her love of dachshunds for 10 minutes because she "has dachshunds, one that is 17 and one that is fat..." we explored the chalkboard menu comprised of sandwiches, plates, and beer, finally deciding to share two plates.

We went for the Spicy Shrimp ($10.99) with chili sauce shrimp, long gran white rice, Cuban black beans, mango agave slaw, and a maduro and the Trinidad Steak Plate ($10.99) with Caribbean marinated hanger steak served with Cuban black beans, long grain white rice, mango agave slaw, caramelized onions, and a maduro.

So much food! We could have easily shared one, but it was more fun to try both and Michael got leftovers (he didn't join- too busy reflooring the house). The shrimp was very spicy and the steak was perfectly cooked. Both are dishes I would order again, though we agreed it would be fun to try one of the sandwiches next time. 

The patio ended up being great for the dogs- who only cried every time Jen or I walked away- and the food was flavorful and filling. I would definitely return on another trip south!