Weera Thai

September 30, 2014
Weera Thai is a cute space in a rather dingy strip mall. My brother and I stopped in for lunch. We took advantage of the lunch specials ordering the Chicken Pad Thai ($7.99) and Mongolian Beef ($7.99). Both come with salad, soup, rice and egg roll.



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



I enjoyed the Pad Thai, it was a good sized portion and a great value. My brother didn't like the Mongolian beef enough to order it again, but left satisfied. Unfortunately, service was sluggish. They had a full dining room so it's understandable. It just rules it out as a lunch spot, since we need to be in & out in under an hour. I would like to return to try items beyond the lunch menu selection; the Issan (Region of Thailand) items piqued my attention.

Weera Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Yonaka Modern Japanese

September 26, 2014
A few weeks back a friend had told us about "the best" Brussel Sprouts he had recently eaten during an omakase meal at Yonaka Modern Japanese. Frank and I love Brussel Sprouts so it was easy for him to convince us to check it out during happy hour (5:00pm-6:30pm and 11:00pm to close). You cannot make reservations for the bar tables where happy hour is served. It's first come, first served, but I wouldn't anticipate a wait. We were the only patrons until 5:30, then tables slowly started to fill. The space is modern and comfortable. Comfort is important because it takes time to craft their beautiful dishes. Cold sake and Asahi drafts ($3) are available during happy hour along with a couple other options. The menu offers a variety, allowing you to create a feast. Our party of three enjoyed the following:

Beet Fries ($5) I didn't expect to enjoy these as much as I did. Crisp, earthy and slightly sweet. They were addicting.



Crispy Brussel Sprouts ($6) were highly addicting. They were caramelized and dressed with lemon chili and topped with puffed rice.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Sake Orenji ($7) is one of their best sellers. It's beautifully presented. The flavor is fresh and clean, with a hint of orange. I thought the salmon pieces were cut too large. It would be better with more delicate cuts of fish.



Hamachi chili ($7?) was another beautiful dish. Well balanced and great flavor, but again, the fish was sliced too thick.



Negitoro Roll ($7) is blue fin tuna belly with scallions. Tasty.



Crunchy spicy tuna hand roll ($5) were a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed the crunch, it offered a contrast texture to the soft spicy tuna. Very fresh and great flavor.



Chuka buns ($7) were quickly devoured. The pork belly was tender and nicely rendered, loved the crispness of the green apple, and the heat from the jalapeno.



Avocado nigiri ($1) so simple, but well composed with a hint of soy and citrus.



Service was attentive but disjointed to start. We were approached by no less than three staff members before identifying our server. All in all, it's a great little find.

Yonaka Modern Japanese on Urbanspoon

Bavarian Castle

September 24, 2014
I grew up eating German dishes on occasion, but it wasn't until I our layover in Germany that I began to really appreciate the cuisine. I was excited when I learned that Bavarian Castle opened in my neighborhood. We stopped in for dinner. When we walked in there were no warm greetings. Staff was a bit stand offish, just as we were about to turn around and leave another gentleman appeared and invited us to sit down. Boy! Am I glad we didn't go.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Immediately, we were pleased to see they had König Ludwig Weissbier. It one of our favorite beers that can sometimes be a rare find. We ordered the Schnitzel with mushroom sauce and a Platter of Sausages. The platter isn't on the menu, but we wanted to sample all the varieties so they put it together for us. It was a great presentation showcasing all their delicious offerings. We loved the sausages. The Schnitzel was a bit on the tough side, but flavor was good. We were much too full for dessert, but we won't miss the strudel next time.

Bavarian Castle on Urbanspoon

Thought Today Would Never Come

September 22, 2014
Finally, my sister will arrive tonight with her two adorable kiddos in tow. How amazing is she, traveling with a newborn and seven year old all by herself? Thank goodness, she's able and willing. I couldn't imagine waiting another second to meet my niece. I'm incredibly excited and I saw them back in May. My mom and my brother have had an even longer wait. About a year for mom and 1.5 for Mike. It will be chaotic for the next month, I'm sure. But I welcome the chaos.

Mom started radiation last week. So far, so good. They say it'll likely be 10-12 sessions before side effects start to show. Hopefully, whatever comes will be minimal and tolerable. She's still been feeling sick often. Meals remain a struggle. Last week, I was worried she developed a blood clot in her leg. Her radiation oncologist took a look, and recommended she keep an eye on it and see how it felt in a couple days. If no improvement, he wanted her to follow up with her regular doctor for an ultrasound. Unfortunately, it only got worse over the weekend. She went in for an ultrasound today and it is a blood clot. With any luck, it won't be too serious. She'll need to get daily injection of lovenox in addition to coumadin prescription. That means a daily trip to another doctor's office. Speaking of, we've found a new oncologist. She takes her time and listens. She seems to be good, and we like her staff. So, I think the change will be a good one.

Michael Mina Pub 1842

September 18, 2014
Years ago, Seablue at MGM was one of our favorite restaurants. It had great seafood with a Mediterranean influence, and everything was light and healthy. It has since switched gears, the space closed for a brief time and re-opened, last summer, as yet another Gastropub. Burger and pizza joints have monopolized the dining scene on the strip much to my chagrin. Michael Mina joined the trend with Pub 1842.

The space has a great pub feel. Servers were quick and friendly. The draft beer selection was a bit lacking, but they did offer Weihenstephaner ($12) which is a solid choice. Beers were on special during our visit, buy one, get one.

I have a weakness for all things duck. So, the spring rolls ($16) were an easy choice when it came to choosing an appetizer. They offered a Bourbon Burger ($19) on special. Which Frank was unable to resist, he's been hooked on Maker's Mark since our tour in KY earlier this year. I chose the 1842 Burger.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug





The spring rolls failed to impress, they fell into the category of your typical pub grub offering. The 1842 is served in a basket (awkward for eating) and comes with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and a truffle aioli. I was offered cheese, but Swiss was not an option and it was what sounded most appealing. I had requested the burger to be cooked medium, but it was a poor choice. It was well done. It was dry. The bun was dry. And I found the truffle aioli to be far more tangy than expected and the truffle flavor was very faint. I struggled to eat half of it before throwing in the towel. The Bourbon Burger was a better choice, but still left Frank pretty underwhelmed. Both burgers came with a generous portion of seasoned fries.

The prices are inflated and the menu items do not warrant the price. I've always been a big fan of Michael Mina restaurants, but this one missed the mark. It's really quite sad that Seablue shuttered for this.

Pub 1842 by Michael Mina on Urbanspoon

The Original Margarita Festival

September 16, 2014
The Cosmopolitan hosted the annual Original Margarita Festival. Mixologists from all over the valley compete to win best margarita. Last year, the title went to the Velveteen Rabbit. This year's event had 25 competitors. Admission was $40 and included all you can drink margarita samples. I was fortunate to win tickets from Yelp.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

It felt like a hot summer night at the Boulevard Pool. Thankfully, there were plenty of margaritas to help keep cool. Although, chile peppers were the theme of the night. Many drinks were laced with spiciness from jalapenos, hatch chiles and even ghost peppers. The margaritas themselves might make you sweat.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The Cosmopolitan posted the recipes in case you'd like to learn more about the concoctions.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I only missed trying two: Amerigo Di Firenze and Mamacita's Margarita. The latter was attempted, but they were having technical difficulties while attempting to impress judges. The former was completely overlooked, I missed their set up. There were many margaritas that weren't too our liking, but it was still fun to try them all. The contenders for our favorite were She Loves Me Not, Pumpkin Zen Passion, Honey Salt Tangerine, Beso Del Diablo, J & J Spicy Honey Brown and the Amazonarita.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



The one I'd love to try again was the She Loves Me Not, with Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila, sunflower heart, and pineapple puree. They earned my wooden chip; we left before votes were tallied and the winner was announced. I've seen no mention of the winner yet today... maybe someone is nursing a hangover? At any rate, it was a neat event to showcase our local talent.

Oregon Coast

September 11, 2014
Monday, we hit the road for Tillamook. We wanted to see the coast and we love cheese. Tillamook is one of my preferred brands so a stop at the factory was a must. On the way out, all was restored in the universe. The driver ahead of us was a complete dick. He'd drive slow as can be until we reached a passing zone, then he'd channel Speed Racer. It took us forever to pass him. Traffic overall, along the coast, was heavy and congested. Seems everyone planned a coastal getaway over the holiday.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Tillamook County is home to more cows than people. You will believe it when you get a waft of the air. There is no mistaking that dairy farmers rule the roost, Tillamook is a co-op that produces cheese, ice cream, yogurt and sour cream. Factory tours are available daily; they are free and self guided.



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

On our visit, production was extremely limited due to the holiday weekend. We only saw a few 40-lb blocks of cheese being packaged. At the end of the tour, you get free cheese samples and all sorts of products are available for sale. They also have a cafe, I had been ogling the grilled cheese on their website and had to have it. Only I was denied, it was 10am and they were serving breakfast and they had no room on the grill (not even for a wee grilled cheese). Frank was determined to get me a grilled cheese so we drove down the street to Blue Heron, they specialize in Brie. Which is one of the few cheeses (along with goat) that I don't particularly enjoy. They did have a Tillamook grilled cheese on the menu, I anxiously awaited biting into the crunchy gooey deliciousness. Unfortunately, what I was presented with was slightly melted cheese pressed between toast. My craving was not the least bit satisfied. Oh well. I make a damn good grilled cheese on my panini press (yes, I made one soon after we returned home).

From Tillamook, we planned to drive the 101-N to see as much of the coast as we could before we had to head back to Portland. We had our flight to catch later that night. You pass a couple bays before reaching the Pacific. Our first stop was Rockaway Beach. We stayed long enough for Frank to enjoy a cigar and build a small dam. Then, I wanted to move on to find coast with more character. Cannon Beach was our destination.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

It was far too crowded to stop for lunch like we planned so we continued on. It was a surprise how little of the 101 actually took you along the coast. Frank made every effort to get me views of the ocean, but the roads just weren't carved out the way we would've liked. As we approached Seaside, he noticed helicopter rides and no reservation was required. After giving it some thought he busted a U-turn and stopped to check it out. After a short video, and swipe of the credit card. We were above it all in a helicopter. It was a first for both of us. It was an amazing ride between Seaside and Cannon Beach. It gave me a perspective of the coast I couldn't get any other way. It was awesome!!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug



Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

While we were on the coast, I had to try some local seafood. We had lunch at the Bell Buoy Seafood Restaurant. It's a no frills quaint stop on the freeway. Friendly service and tasty chowder, crab cocktail, and fried halibut.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug





After lunch, we drove back to Portland. The ride back felt like we took a Delorean instead of the Chrysler. We stopped for gas and the station had the old fashioned pumps, they sold groceries, bait, hunting gear, and cds. It definitely felt like we stepped back in time. Oregon is full of charm.

Back in the city, we checked out the Riverwalk. We found a quiet bench near the Hawthorne Bridge, we soaked up the sun and enjoyed the peaceful afternoon as we watched the pink boxes world go by.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug





It couldn't have been more perfect. We were parched and stopped at the Bean & Tree for something refreshing. I ordered a berry smoothie and Frank chose an iced Oregonian coffee. It's made with hazelnut milk and honey. I don't know if it was the Stumptown Coffee or the hazelnut milk but this was a special drink. Maybe not to Frank, but to me, it was. I rarely enjoy iced coffee and this one was delicious. I've been craving it since. My berry smoothie tasted more like apples, which is right up Frank's alley so we switched. Our thirst was quenched, but we had grown hungry.



I chose one last restaurant for us to enjoy before heading home. Tasty n Alder was my pick. They didn't reopen for dinner until 5 o'clock and a long line had already formed. I feared we wouldn't have enough time and sought out alternate options which ended up closed for the holiday. We found ourselves back at Tasty n Alder, and a table was available against the window by the bar. It was hot & sweaty there with the setting sun beating in, but I'm happy we stuck it out. We were in for treat.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug





We started with Charcuterie board, followed by scrumptious Korean Short Ribs, with the best kimchee I've ever had and we finished with fish tacos that were perfection. We've had pretty great fish tacos in San Diego and Mexico, but this set the bar. They were outstanding. I wish we had time to order more. But time had run out, in fact, we also ordered scallops but there was such a lull between courses we cancelled the request. We needed the bill, we had a plane to catch. Oh, my last beer in Portland was pFriem Belgium Strong Blonde (Hood River, OR).

Getting a cab back to the airport was an ordeal, as I mentioned before, but we caught a beautiful sunset and saw a clear shot of Mt Hood on the way to the airport. It was like Portland was offering a hug good-bye. We flew Alaskan Airlines (same price as Southwest, but better schedule) and had no complaints. I've never planned so little for a trip before. However, it worked out beautifully. We had such a great getaway. Portland, we'll definitely be back.

Buoy's Best on Urbanspoon Tasty n Alder on Urbanspoon

Search This Blog