Category Archives: Restaurant

Lineage and Legacy – Part Two

In my first post I talked about my food legacy inherited from my family and this month I was delighted to host my parents and one of my Aunties. It was my parents first trip to Oregon, my Aunty Cynthia or NTC had only visited Southern Oregon once before. I had a great time playing tourist in my town, it really made me realize that more exploring is in order!

I grew up in Hawaii and because of it’s ethnic diversity, the food culture is also quite varied. I never thought it odd that you can have foods from 3-5 ethnic groups in one meal or on one plate. Several weeks before their trip my Mom kept asking me what she should bring. Most people will interpret this as what clothing she should pack, when my Mom asks, it means what food from the islands have I been missing can she bring. Also know that despite what I tell her, she will bring much more!

Hawaiian food for dinner

Hawaiian food for dinner was the plan for one night. She brought frozen laulau, fresh poi and pipikaula and we supplemented the meal with lomi salmon from Uwajimaya (highly recommend if you don’t make your own) some wakame salad and of course rice. Sorry no mac salad for the plate lunch purists. It was so ono (good)!

Ice cream from Salt & Straw

We had lunch at Third Degrees on the waterfront enjoying the beautiful sunny Portland views. After that dessert was at Salt & Straw, a gourmet ice cream place on NW 23rd. We lucked out that the line at Salt & Straw was short and we soon had our treats. NTC’s double scoop was the sea salt with caramel and chocolate with gooey brownies, Mom opted for just one scoop of sea salt with caramel, Dad is a vanilla man and they didn’t disappoint with double fold vanilla, I had honey balsamic strawberry with cracked black pepper. I kinda love how my Dad has a little bit of ice cream on his chin, I didn’t tell him when I snapped the picture.

I took the Hawaii folks to an Oregon beach and what is a trip to the beach without going to Mo’s? By the way, they have a gluten free menu! I was a little bummed not to have clam chowder but I was happy with my Shrimp Medley on the fish plate.

Mo’s Shrimp Medley

Saturday Market is one of those “musts” when you have out of town guests and after walking up and down the aisles we walked over to the Lan Su Chinese Garden for lunch and to get out of the crowds. If you have never visited the garden, you are missing out. It’s a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city plus there is a tea house that serves food and tea. If I worked near there I think I would be there during lunch every day.

Lan Su Chinese Garden Teahouse

I loved having my family here and I figured out where some of my idiosyncrasies come from like thinking about dinner before I have eaten lunch, my Mom, though she calls it ‘planning ahead.’ I am also quite territorial about my kitchen space, yeah, had to get over that one but Mom and I work well around each other. I am really grateful to be able to watch how she does things and got a few tips and tricks from her while she was here.

Making breakfast and Mojito time!

Making breakfast and Mojito time!


Portland Dining Month – Trader Vic’s

Restaurant number two visited during Portland Dining Month, Trader Vic’s in the Pearl district. I have walked by this restaurant on numerous occasions and the Tikis in the doorway and cool gas lights have always made me smile. Again my dinner partner and I ordered different things and split everything.

First course – Oregon Salad – roasted local beets, hazelnuts and goat cheese with blood orange vinaigrette and Char Siu Pork—kimchee-spiced cucumber salad. Again beets in a  salad, LOVE IT. The hazelnuts were amazing on this salad, sweet and crunchy and the blood orange vinaigrette had a nice balance of sweet and tart and clung to the romaine lettuce. The char siu pork was tasty, smoky flavor from the signature oven all Trader Vic’s had and the cucumber kim-chee was crunchy, vinegary with good heat.


Second course – Roasted salmon – scallion-quinoa cake, caramelized shallot-bacon Brussels TV-entreesprouts, lemon-dill butter and Eight-ounce Prime top sirloin – white truffle mashed potatoes,  shitake mushroom ragout. I think the brussel sprouts were the best part of this dish, I could have eaten twice as many as they offered. The salmon was moist and the quinoa cake the salmon rested on was a great alternative to the “usual” type of starches. The steak was a bit more medium rare than the rare we ordered but it was flavorful and tender. The shitake mushrooms were incredible and a great compliment to the steak and mashed potatoes.

Third course – Mango-coconut cheesecake and Trader Vic’s Snowball. The snowball is vanilla ice cream covered with toasted coconut with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. This was a much more hearty dessert than I anticipated and loved the texture and chewiness of the coconut. The cheesecake was light and the mango puree…I could have licked the plate.


This was a great meal, the portions were generous and service was good. The kitschy South Seas decor was great to look at and you have to try some of their tropical cocktails. If you have having a hard time deciding, try the Mai Tai Wave. Guava was my favorite!


Portland Dining Month – Departure

Departure is on the top of the Nines hotel. The views of Portland are amazing! I have only had drinks on the rooftop bar and decided I wanted to have dinner there Portland Dining Month gave me the perfect opportunity to try this modern Asian cuisine.

My dining partner and I ordered each item on the menu and split everything, no food envy for us!

First course – the beet and mizuna salad with tamari cured egg, crispy seed cracker in a sesame vinaigrette was my favorite. It was a great balance of flavors, interesting mix of textures and I adore beets. The other salad had chili spiced shrimp with shaved asparagus, garlic in a ginger miso.

Second course – steamed cod was delicate and moist accompanied by steamed julienned carrot, scallions, zucchini. The whole dish was very pretty, light and elegant. Marinated flank steak with pea shoots, mint, ginger, red onion and avocado was delicious. My only complaint was the flank steak slices were a bit thick that you couldn’t bite through the slices of meat. I didn’t think to ask for a knife since I just committed and popped the whole thing in my mouth.


Dessert course – the coconut milk chocolate bar with mocha ice cream (yum!) adorned with crystallized ginger and spiced popcorn was delish! Chocolate lovers, get this dessert! On the fruitier side the rhubarb pâté on white chocolate puffed rice biscuit, strawberries and marcona almonds with a kalamansi (citrus) sorbet was tart balanced by the sweet of the biscuit. I have to admit, I was way fixated on the sorbet more than anything else.


I truly appreciate Departure has both vegan and gluten-free menus available. If you are 20130606-223501.jpgstarving, portions are not large but they are tasty.

By the way, completely failed in my Asian-ness, I only got pictures of dessert. I was too busy eating and forgot to get pictures of the rest of the meal!



June is Portland Dining Month

I am excited for Portland Dining Month. Three course prix fix menus for $29 for some of the best restaurants around the Rose City for the entire month of June. I am happy to see that there are at least 20ish restaurants that meet my needs around being gluten-free.

Last year I wanted to go to a couple of places but never quite got around to doing it. This year I am going to give myself a goal of going to at least two places even if I am going solo!

Anyone want to try some place new?