Apr 152015
 

I wanted to share a meal I had recently with you all. If you live in the Portland area and are looking for a delicious, affordable meal, check out Nudi in Woodstock.

Nudi is a place I’ve wanted to try for awhile but things just got in the way of those plans. Recently I was meeting a friend for a pedicure at a fantastic place in Woodstock, Pure Nail Bar, and we decided to meet up for lunch first. I had assumed that Nudi was a noodle/ramen/Pho type of place but it was a lot different than I expected.

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First, the inside of the restaurant is super classy looking and decorated nicely. The outside of the restaurant looked kind of dumpy and run down but once you are inside it’s very nice. Don’t let the exterior scare you off. Second, the menu is large and diverse. If you aren’t feeling noodles, there’s tons of other options including lots of vegetarian and vegan options. There were also many gluten free options.

I got their iced tea to drink and it was the best iced tea I’d ever had. I have no idea what kind it was; the flavor was subtle and not too sweet and it had a slice of orange in it.

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My friend Star met me for lunch and we decided to order a few appetizers and share them for lunch. The first was the Asado Bun. I imagined it being a small bun, like a bao bun but it turned out to be huge! It was fried bread with sweet pork belly, lettuce, red onions, jalapenos and herbs. Star and I split it. The pork was melt in your mouth soft and super sweet.

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So flavorful! Next up Crab Rangoon. It had Dungeness crab meat stuffed in wontons with cream cheese and a sweet & spicy dipping sauce. These were to die for. I rarely eat fried foods so this was a real treat. I’d say this was the favorite dish for both of us.

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Next was the fried tofu with crushed peanuts and a similar dipping sauce. I was not a fan of this one as much. It was okay but nothing special and the tofu didn’t taste like much. I think it might have been better with a peanut dipping sauce, maybe…

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We decided to splurge and share a dessert. We ordered the Pumpkin Flan. It was gluten free and it came out looking like a work of art. It was steamed pumpkin with coconut milk flan and coconut sauce. It was the texture of flan/custard and it wasn’t sweet. There was a hint of sweetness from the coconut and pumpkin but it was barely there. It was a very unique flavor and it felt like a healthy treat as opposed to a huge calorie bomb like chocolate.

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It came in the pumpkin skin and you just scraped it out of there. We shared the dessert and it was the perfect amount for the two of us to have a treat.

All in all the restaurant was a joy. I enjoyed the food and want to go back and try their ramen and noodle dishes. I think this would be a great restaurant for a date night, too! Dark interior, classy decorations and excellent music. :)

A few weeks later I met my friend Robyn here for a lunch date! Once again, got the amazing iced tea and we both ordered a soup. I got the Tom Yum Ramen. It came with ramen noodles, beef, veggies and an egg. I’d been craving Ramen (like real Ramen, not the 59 cent package!) and this hit the spot.

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I’m a huge fan of Tom Yum soup, so this was good. The only downside was that the ramen noodles were really soft. I would have liked them a little more well-done I think. Other than that, it was tasty and a nice lunch date with my friend.

 

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Apr 072015
 

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SURPRISE!

I knew I wanted to plan a surprise party for Michael’s 40th birthday. It’s a big date! I wanted him to be surprised and I wanted it to be special. I started thinking about it a few months before his birthday and was feeling a little overwhelmed. I’ve never thrown a surprise party before. I did throw a “sort of” surprise party for Michael’s 35th birthday where I took him to his favorite pizza place and surprised him with a bunch of his friends also being there. That was a lot easier to plan.

But this time around there were more details to coordinate. I was throwing it at the house and at first I thought the kitchen remodel would be done beforehand but then some unforeseen scheduling things happened and I realized it wouldn’t be. Bummer. Oh well, going forward I still wanted it at the house. It’s cheaper than renting a location and easier to plan than trying to coordinate it at a restaurant (and I didn’t want people to be expected to go out to eat).

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to get Michael out of the house so I could get everything ready and everyone could arrive. Michael’s friend Jeremy came down from Seattle and he helped get him out of the house while I cleaned and set everything up!

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I wanted to have a Star Wars themed party because that’s Michael’s thing (and I hate Star Wars and it makes him crazy that I won’t watch the movies). It was actually surprisingly hard to find Star Wars themed party stuff. I went to a bunch of different party stores and ended up getting a few items on Amazon. Then I discovered that Michael had a bunch of old Star Wars posters in the garage. Perfect! ;)

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I had a Star Wars table cloth, plastic cups and plates. Then I got a Star Wars cupcake tower that I used for the donuts. I used the posters for decorations. I attached old photos of Michael as a child to the balloons and put them all over the house. I liked that idea (also from pinterest) and people seemed to enjoy seeing goofy pictures of Michael as a kid. :D

I knew I wanted to get Michael’s favorite foods: pizza (of course), donuts from Krispy Kreme (his favorite), and other munchie things. Michael’s mom made her amazing blue cheese dip and a veggie tray.

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I saw something on Pinterest that I wanted to make for the party: a PunchBox. It was pretty simple to make but it took a LONG time to do. I ended up doing it when I was in Seattle visiting family. My mom helped me do it and it turned out great. I got a bunch of fun and goofy items and then we went to Archie McPhee’s to get a few more items. Basically a PunchBox was for party favors but a fun way to do it instead of making party favor bags. It was fun to make and I got a bunch of crazy things! Several toy unicorns, a blow-up unicorn horn for cats, a Big Foot air freshener, some various candy and mini booze bottles. I think there was a pirate eye patch in there and some other kid toys that I thought would be funny for adults to play with. So I made it in Seattle and then had to sneak it into the house when I got back and hide it from Michael.

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Everyone seemed to have a fun time with the game, so that made me happy! Thankfully the weather was nice so the kiddos could run around outside and play. They all got hopped up on sugar from soda, candy and the donuts. Sorry parents….!

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Mmmm Krispy Kreme!

Most importantly Michael was SURPRISED and he had a great time and I’m so glad so many of his friends and family were able to come out for it. Our house is pretty small, but somehow we managed to fit in about 21 people. The birthday boy:

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We did presents and some of the people had to leave but a bunch hung around for awhile longer and we hung out outside while the kiddos played with a ball until it got dark.

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I would call the party a success! Happy birthday babe!

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