May 192014
 

My fairly easy going Saturday turned out to be really busy! I got up a little early for the gym and got in a great workout. I hit the weights pretty hard–I feel like I’ve been slacking in that department lately what with traveling and training for the 5k. The scales have tipped towards cardio and while I’m still getting strength training in, it’s definitely not enough or as much as I did over the winter.

photo
I met up with my friend Erika for lunch at Laughing Planet (I got a beef and black bean bowl) and we hung out there for a few hours chatting and catching up. I ran a few errands, went home and worked in the yard for about an hour talking to Michael about the rehearsal dinner planning and then we decided, why not go out and try one of the places we were thinking about?

We went to Firehouse Restaurant over in NE Portland. It’s a restaurant I’ve heard a lot about for several years and had wanted to check it out but never really make it to that side of town much. If we go out for dinner in NE Portland it’s usually somewhere on Alberta. Im glad we decided to check out this place. It was such a charming space, built in an old firehouse, and is the front runner for the rehearsal dinner.

The building it a two story brick building with a glass garage door that opens up and makes it an open air restaurant. The interior walls were brick and they had charming old black and white photographs of what the building looked like before and the firemen who worked there. There was a humongous brick pizza oven in the corner and while the place looked small and crowded, there was actually a lot of seating available. There was the main area then a back room as well.

photo 5

photo 4

Before dinner we checked out the space for large parties upstairs. You walk up an old, narrow staircase to the second floor and the area was large. There was a lounge area with a few couches, a bar, and a bathroom. Then there was the main dining room that could fit a lot of people standing for a cocktail hour or about 34 people seated. There were three large tables that fit 12 at two and 10 at one. It would be family style dining.

photo 2

photo 1

The space was really cool and large enough for our rehearsal dinner. I totally fell in love with the space. It was very unique and “Portland.” It wasn’t just another banquet room in a restaurant. The exposed brick walls and windows overlooking the yard decorated with Christmas lights was very romantic.

Now, time to test the food. I had a taste of their wine selection and ended up picking the Montepulciano red wine that was really tasty. The Primitivo was way too sweet for me.  

photo 2

They had a three course meal option for not very much money. For $29 I could pick an appetizer, salad and entree. I went with that option and Michael did the $25 appetizer, salad, pizza selection. We picked several different things to get a taste of all we could get. The first was the arancini–fried cheese balls.

photo 3

They were piping hot and crispy and while they were good, they needed a dipping sauce. That would have made them fantastic. The other appetizer was the seasonal bruschetta. It was goat cheese, grilled asparagus in a lemon vinaigrette and shredded cheese on top. It came out on a large hunk of crusty bread. I liked this dish a lot but it would have been better had it been on smaller slices of bread. It was kind of difficult to eat. The flavor was great, though, very unique!

photo 1

We got a complimentary dish courtesy of the manager–it was the fried cauliflower. Michael remarked that it was like a play on calamari. The dishes were very playful in their interpretations. The fried cauliflower was so fascinating! It wasn’t breaded and it had a crunch to it that was delightful. It came with a lemon dipping sauce that was slightly overpowering. I think a garlic aioli sauce would have been better. The lemon was just the dominant flavor tasted. Still, loved the fried cauliflower!

photo 4

Next up was the salads. Michael got the romaine hearts which were basically a Caesar salad. It was tasty and had a nice presentation. He thought the salad was a little too salty. I had a few bites and it didn’t seem like it to me, but maybe it was.

photo 2

My salad was greens with dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese. I won the salad competition! Mine was fabulous!

photo 1

By the time our main dishes arrived I was pretty full. I don’t normally eat several courses when we go out to eat dinner. Sometimes we’ll split an appetizer and then get entrees, but rarely do we get all of it! I ordered the meatballs with kale. I’m glad it didn’t come with pasta because that would have been just too much food. Loved the braised kale and the meatballs were perfectly soft and crispy on the outside. I ate two meatballs and took the rest home for lunch the next day.

photo 3-1

Michael got the Zoe’s Pizza –soprasetta and mozzarella cheese. It was small but big enough for two people to share for a meal. The crust was PERFECT. It was chewy and smoky from the wood burning pizza oven. It was also very, very spicy. Surprisingly so. Michael’s only complaint was that it was a little on the greasy side which made the pizza slightly soggy in the middle. If they could fix that it would be perfect.

photo 4-1

With everything we had we enjoyed the food and it tasted great. Some of the things I criticize in this post are mild alterations that would make the food absolutely perfect. Just small tweaks it would be magical.

Even though we didn’t have room for more food, we wanted to get dessert to give it a try. The manager comped it for us, which was very nice. We ordered the ice cream sandwich. Holy moly! This dessert was AMAZING! The “sandwich” part was on the inside of the ice cream as opposed to the outside. It was topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate almond bark.

photo 3

If this is where we have the rehearsal dinner, that’s the dessert I want. It was so amazing! We left so full and happy with our experience. The “cons” didn’t make us rule this place out. I think everyone would have a wonderful meal here if this is where we had the party. The logistics of everyone getting from our wedding venue in Beaverton to NE Portland are kind of a pain and parking is all street parking but those are minor things.

We have one other place to check out but if it were up entirely to me, I’d pick The Firehouse. This is Michael and his dad’s choice though. Time will tell!

Share
Jan 272014
 


IMG_2318

I haven’t seen a number that big in a LONG time. 951 calories burned! Holy Smokes!

We did our warm-up and then got right into it. Saturday was a day of new things at the Warrior Room. We started with a workout where we did pushups for 20 seconds and then a plank for 20 seconds, rest, repeat 8 times. Yes 8 times! It was a hard start to the day but I got through it.

We moved onto the station workout. One station was a deadlift, goblet squat and another kind of squat (I can never remember the name). We did that 6 reps, 6 reps, 3 reps then repeat. The next station was a bent over row with the kettle bell, lat raises, and jumping jack planks. The next station was hammer curls with kettle bells and triceps. Finally there was a one-handed swing station with a few other moves. It was hard work! I was feeling it with just one time around the stations.

IMG_2313

Then it was time for a run.

It was a bitter cold morning but sunny and blue-skied. The big group broke up into two teams to do a “snake run.” I’ve described this before: you run in a single file line, the last person does a sprint to the front and so on. It’s really challenging but for me with my knees–sprinting is not wise. Thankfully Ashley told me to just go run outside at my own pace. Wise idea. We did the run every 20 minutes to break up the kettle bell workouts. I ended up run/walking about 1 mile total.

IMG_2311
We did a few different sets of abs and honestly that felt like a bit of a break from the super intense stuff we were doing before. After the abs we did a routine similar to the pushup-plank one. This time it was squat jumps for 20 seconds then holding a squat for 10 seconds–repeat 8 times. Ouch! My thighs were BURNING after three rounds. I wasn’t sure I could make it to 8, but I did with taking it easy and going a little slower during my 20 second set.

There was a few other station workouts and another ab sets and then we did something I’ve only heard about before: the Turkish Getup. Michael talks about this move a lot. It’s part of his kettle bell routine at home. He’s been telling me how challenging it is for years but I never tried it. It was fun but HARD. Mostly hard because it was the end of the workout and I was spent. My arm was shaking as I tried to hold myself up.

IMG_2316

IMG_2315

The Turkish Getup seems like a very efficient move to me. It works your entire body and relies on strength AND balance. I think I did ok. The part that was hard for me (other than holding myself up) was the move to get your leg under your body to get ready to stand up. That is gonna take a lot of practice I think!

Later that night, I had some friends over for dinner and a little crafting. It was time to send the save-the-date postcards. Well, according to bridal website calendars I was months behind on this but oh well. I don’t know that save-the-dates necessarily need to go out a year in advance. Plus, most people who are invited already know the date. :)

Michael created out postcard with photoshop. He did a fantastic job and I love the way it looks. We mailed a few test postcards to see how they’d hold up in the mail. They did ok. Most of the “test” ones held up, one or two were  a little torn. I searched for the heaviest paper/postcard paper I could find and couldn’t find anything heavier than what I got.

unnamed

Michael printed out all the postcards and I invited my bridesmaids over for dinner (bribe) and to help address and stamp the cards. I was so glad they helped! I think hand-cramping would have set in around postcard #40….

IMG_9528
IMG_9524

Michael made his amazing mac n’ cheese, my cousin Anna brought some white wine and we got started! We ate dinner (so good) and then cleaned up before starting the postcards. Anna was smart bringing white wine instead of red! But we got lucky, no spills or anything. :) It was fun and having Erika and Anna there to help me we were done with the post cards pretty quickly. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and just hanging out. I was happy to have the company AND to cross one more thing off the to-do list.

Share