Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh, the food

Oh hey everyone!  I have had a few weeks off from blogging, but now I have a million things to write about.  I just returned from a week long trip to the Pacific Northwest.  It was a whirwind in which I got little sleep and did LOTS of driving, but it was wonderful.  I was able to spend some time with so many people that I love, and also got a good NW fix.  After the time spent catching up with family and friends, one of the best parts of this trip was the food.  Oh, the food.

 Moving away has made me appreciate all the more what the NW has to offer.  Portland has become pretty respected as a place for amazing and innovative restaurants.  One of them is a place called Pok Pok.  Pok Pok is a gourmet thai place in SE Portland.  There is much hype surrounding this restaurant, so much in fact that the acclaimed chef has recently opened a location in Brooklyn, NY.  Although I had been wanting to eat here for about a year before moving, for some reason I never got around to it.  One reason might be the daunting wait to get a table.  I arrived with my sister on a Monday night at 7pm, and we were told that the wait would be about an hour.  This would be inconvenient if not for the Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok's sister restaurant across the street.  You can head over there, order drinks and appetizers, and your waiter will let you know when your table at Pok Pok is ready.  Brilliant!
Lord Bergamot Cocktail @ Whiskey Soda Lounge
Ike's Fish Sauce Wings.  You need to eat them.
If you go to Pok Pok and/or Whiskey Soda Lounge (and you should), one thing that you absolutely MUST order is Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings.  I am not kidding.  I don't care if you don't like wings.  I don't care if the words "fish sauce" scare you.  Order them.  Eat them.  You can thank me later.

The other food at Pok Pok is also pretty incredible.  We ended up ordering grilled corn on the cob with coconut milk and lime (for serious), Khao Soi, and a pork belly and pork shoulder curry.  Be ready to make a night of it, the total experience was about 3 hours from start to finish.  But the food was well worth the wait.

The next day, I decided to take my sister to a french boulangerie.  St. Honore Boulangerie is a little french bakery in the Alphabet District of NW Portland.  I actually discovered it a few months ago with some girlfriends when we were looking for a hangover breakfast that we didn't have to wait for.  What a find!  They offer a variety of delicious pastries as well as savory options, such as quiche, croque monsieur, and sandwiches.  I opted for a turkey and cheese croissant, vanilla latte and for dessert a Chausson aux Pommes.  I don't speak french, so I avoid saying these things out loud, to avoid making myself look like a fool.  My sister spent some time in France, and it was very much like the places she used to eat breakfast in the morning while there.  It's a lovely little bakery, perfect for a casual and relaxed breakfast or lunch.
Latte and pastries at St. Honore
At the top of my list of places we NEEDED to visit ice cream shop.  Yes, I know.  I like ice cream as much as the next girl, but I will usually take cake over ice cream any day.  Salt and Straw started out as a pushcart in NE Portland.  They quickly opened their first shop on NE Alberta.  I was lucky enough to visit that shop before I moved, and have been thinking about it ever since.  Everything about the business is beautiful, creative and interesting.  The flavors are unique and not like anything you have seen before.  Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, Chevre with Marionberry Habenero Jam, Boke Bowl  (it has fish sauce in it!  Again with the fish sauce!).  Even the more "regular" flavors like Sea Salt Ice Cream with Carmel Ribbons, Coffee and Bourbon, and Honey Lavender are unique and intriguing.  The decor has a vintage ice cream shop feel to it.  It is decorated with  antique ice cream and coffee paraphernalia.  Their newest location on NW 23rd has the same feel to it, and the night we went the line was spilling out the door and around the corner.  It had a distinct neighborhood feel, with friends meeting up to catch up over delicious ice cream.  They also have a beautiful espresso machine and make all of their own syrups for coffee drinks.  They were recently featured in Saveur Magazine as one of the "16 American Ice Cream Shops We Love".  Go there!
The line begins to form at Salt and Straw NW 23rd
Antique Decor
My Pick:  Honey Lavender

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