Jun 242013
 

A lovely Portland blogger, Amy from Eating My Way Through Portland, sent me some VIP tickets to the 2nd annual Portland Food Cart Festival. After a busy day of gym, gardening, and some time spent with a friend just hanging out in a park catching up, Michael and I went out to the festival being held at Mount Hood Community College.

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It was a really nice summer day, nearly 80 degrees, and the place was packed. I was given VIP tickets which got me into the festival for free, a little swag bag and one drink ticket. We could have come earlier before it opened and gotten to try the foods without waiting in lines–which was probably a good idea but my schedule didn’t allow that.

We got there and did the loop around to see what the options were and saw long lines everywhere. Some of the carts at insanely long lines and I’m guessing they were the most popular carts. The first place we went to was Saucy’s.

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They had huge grills outside the cart and as we stood in line waiting, I got to see them cooking the ribs. They look fantastic. Michael got an order of ribs and I got the pulled pork slider. We made our way to the beer garden to get our complimentary drink (Bridgeport IPA) and eat our first dinner. I was famished!

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Michael said the ribs were okay but the sauce was fantastic. I had a small bite and agreed–the meat could have been a little better (I like my rib meat to fall off the ribs) but the sauce was great. My pulled pork was super good–but impossible to eat as a slider. I just ate it with a fork. The pork was cooked perfectly and topped with coleslaw and grilled pineapple chunks.

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Next up was the Just Wing It food cart. All they sold was wings. BBQ, Buffalo, Chipotle, and one other that I can’t remember now. I got us an order of the buffalo wings to share. At this point my friend Mindie showed up and joined us.

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The wings were pretty good but not the best I’ve ever had. The buffalo sauce was great, one of my favorites! It was really spicy and tangy and the wings had crumbled bleu cheese on them–great idea! But the chicken could have been a little more charred on the grill.

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Michael got a lamb gyro from Ramy’s Lamb Shack and I had a few bites. I liked it but again, not the best I’ve ever had. The lamb needed a little more seasoning and I would have liked more tzatziki sauce. Mindie got a waffle from the Gaufre Gourmet food cart. It was a cornmeal waffle topped with pulled pork and coleslaw.

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She thought the cornmeal waffle was weird but that the pulled pork was fantastic. The three of us finished up with some dessert and then called it good. Michael got two ice cream cones from Scoop – his was the oatmeal and brown sugar. I got the blueberry and cinnamon. It was an odd but pleasant combination!

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Mindie went to the Churros Loco food cart and got a churro sundae! I think it was vanilla ice cream with whipped cream, churros, sprinkles and caramel sauce on top. She said it was great but over the top. I agree, I would be in a sugar coma had I eaten that! It looked so good, though…

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We called it a night and Michael and I took our tired, sore bodies home. Gardening always gets me. Dammit!

I’m glad we checked out the festival. It was a fun experience. I only have a few criticisms. 1) The food carts need to post their menu on a sign or chalk board in larger writing and post it somewhere you can see –especially if the lines are long! Most of the places I had no idea what I was ordering until I got to the window. 2) The lines were really long. I kinda feel like these food carts should work out a better way to serve. Either have some tables and seating right next to the cart where people can wait for their food after ordering (instead of standing in line waiting) or have an extra person helping out during big events like this. The common complaint I heard from people was that the lines were too long and SLOW.

Other than that, it was a cool event. I enjoyed the food I tried, even if it wasn’t the best food cart cuisine I’ve had.

QUESTION: Have you ever been to a food cart or food festival similar to this? What were your observations?

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May 012013
 

As always, the weekend went way too fast. I followed my doctor’s orders and when I made it to the gym on Saturday (I was moving very slowly that morning) I took it easy and didn’t do any activities that were below the waist. I’m super stoked that I’m able to do triceps kickbacks at such a heavy weight now. I’m thinking in the next week or so I’ll be up to 20 pounds!

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After my gym session, Michael and I had a little date day together. We went back to Cartlandia for lunch. I was tempted to go back to the wrap cart I told you guys about but I thought I should branch out a little and try something new. After perusing all the options we ended up splitting an entree from the Thai Mango cart. It’s been AGES since I’ve had Mongolian Beef and the last time I had it (PF Changs), I remember it being super greasy and covered in sauce.

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Thankfully it wasn’t like that this time. It wasn’t greasy at all. It was the perfect amount for two people to share for lunch. I’m glad we decided to split it. My only complaint about the delicious dish was that the broccoli should have been cut a little smaller. It was kinda hard to eat with a plastic fork! And we might have gotten another order of those cream cheese and jalapeno wontons. Might have…

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After our lunch in the sun we caught a movie. It was such a nice day out–upper 70′s–and I was in shorts and a tank top! I wanted to spend the afternoon soaking up the sunshine. But sadly there wasn’t much we could do with my knees all borked and the doctor’s orders to rest. Soooooooooo lazy day it was. We ended up seeing the Evil Dead remake. DO NOT GO if you are squeamish in any way. It was pretty gruesome, but decent for a horror flick. (I did keep thinking about THIS movie the entire time, though…)

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading (two mindless chick lit books) and Michael watched sports. Fun times, huh? I wasn’t feeling up to doing much honestly.

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Dinner Saturday night was simple and lazy as well. Michael grilled up some spicy bratwursts and I had some slices of that fancy English Cheddar cheese on the side. I also created a fun little snack!

Buffalo Celery

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 1 celery stalk

Calories per serving: 147

Ingredients

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion

Instructions

  1. Cut the celery stalks into bite size pieces.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese with Frank's hot sauce depending on your taste. (I like it spicy!)
  3. Add the green onion to the cream cheese and mix well.
  4. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the celery.
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It was super easy and tasted great. We had it as a side dish with dinner. I know, not as healthy as say broccoli or Brussels sprouts would be but I loved it! I’d make it a little bit spicier the next time I make it. It was a fun little snack and a much better way to eat celery. ;)

The weekend wrapped up and April ended with a lackluster fizzle for me. I’m hoping May is a little bit better…

MAY 2013 GOALS

I think it’s so crucial to make attainable, achievable, realistic goals. If your goal is to lose weight, saying you want to lose 100 pounds in 4 months is NOT realistic (or healthy for that matter), so why not set the goal to lose 30 pounds in 4 months? I understand the desire to be an overachiever but in the long run, a methodical, planned out journey to reach your goal will be much more successful.

April Goals

1. Complete the 6 Week personal training program with Suzanne and possibly sign up for another 6 weeks, if needed. YES! I totally rocked this. Check back soon for the recap and final results.

2. Go for a bike ride if weather and knees permit. I did! I went for two bike rides in April.  Both rides went really well. Unfortunately, I had another flare-up of my knee issues after the second bike ride. This sparked a tearful call to my sports doc who scheduled an MRI. I also did about 8 weeks of acupuncture in hopes that it would help me.

3. Try once again to get back at running! Okay, I think it’s time to stop putting this on my month goals for awhile. I’ve been tried to get back to running since January and it hasn’t happened. So, I’ll stop for awhile.

I’m pretty happy with my April goals, despite the knee flare-ups and the frustrations of not being able to run. My goals for May aren’t really shooting for the stars. My doctor ordered rest period is kind of putting things on hold for awhile. I guess this is time for me to learn HOW to rest…

May Goals

1. Work on my core strength and glutes/start Phase 2 of Suzanne’s program.

2. Follow knee specialist instructions and REST knees for 6 weeks.

3. Try and find other fitness activities I might like.

Of course I’m disappointed that my goals this month don’t involve commuting to work on bike or getting back to running. I think I’ll live in denial for a little while and NOT think about it. I’m debating on taking a full week off from ALL activities to just give myself a break and to process things but I’m still on the fence with that…

QUESTION: Do you have any goals you want to achieve before summer arrives?

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