Aug 042014
 

My weekend started with this:

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Unapologetic IPA from Stone Brewery. After a swim on Friday night I met my friend Robyn at N.W.I.P.A in SE Portland. It’s a beer bar/store that carries mainly IPA’s (my favorite). It was a good beer, of course it did not compare to my beloved Boneyard…I love this beer bar but it was insanely hot and stuffy in there. They did NOT have AC. I probably sweated out the beer! I left with a large bottle of Firestone Union Jack IPA and a bottle of Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat, for later.

Then Saturday morning I woke up to have my ass kicked at the Warrior Room Boot Camp:

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I’ve been trying to hit a Boot Camp class for awhile now and one was cancelled and then I had to cancel one that I had signed up for. So I finally made it. It was an exceptionally hot morning and the sun was beating down on us the whole time. There were some guys practicing soccer on the other end of the field and there were some older people walking around the track (and watching us with horrified expressions).

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We met at the Warrior Room, got our kettle bells and a plate and then walked a few blocks to the nearby school football field and track. We did a warm-up of jumping jacks and squats and then ran once around the track.

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Time to start the workout. We did a LOT of sprinting. I’m not really a sprinter. I’m a slow runner but I recognize that sprinting is beneficial (and burns more calories). I was feeling a little rusty as we did sprints from the goal line to the 25 yard line and then back. Then we did walking lunges holding the plate (15 pounds) to the 20 yard line where we left it. This was the hard part. We did burpees with the plate weights. So you go down, do a pushup, jump up with the plate and then do it all over again. We did sets of 5 of this, then sprinted back to the goal line, then back to the 20 yard line for more burpees. Yikes. This was HARD.

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Time for some kettle bell work. We did alternating single arm swings, then squats, then kneeling presses. Then more sprinting. Then back to the kettle bells. Two kettle bell swing, the high pull and more squats. It was SO HOT out. I brought some Gatorade and a bottle of water and was taking a lot of drinking breaks. My heart rate gets pretty high when I do kettle bell work in the air conditioned gym…outside in the stifling heat? My heart rate was insanely (too) high. I had to take more breaks than normal.

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We bent over and pushed the plate weights from the 20 yard line back to the goal line (that was difficult) and then we did a sprint/pushup combo. As a group we sprinted from one end of the track to the corner, all got into plank position in a circle with our heads in the middle and did a “waterfall” push-up. Person 1 does a pushup, then the next person, and so on. We did 3 rounds of that, jumped up and sprinted to the next corner, did it again, then ran to the next corner, and so on.

We ended with some more sprints then abs. I was totally cooked by this point. I wore sunscreen and I took a lot of water breaks, but I was so hot and felt like I was just burning up. It took awhile to cool down, too. My heart rate had been way too high during the class as well.

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Nice calorie burn, though! I felt like I was going to die at the end…Would I do Boot Camp again? Maybe. If it wasn’t 80-90 degrees. I absolutely loved that it was outside in the fresh air and sunshine, I loved that it was a bunch of new stuff to shake things up. I did NOT love how high my heart rate got and how hot I felt. When I got home I took a very long cold shower.

Then it was off to Papa Haydn’s for lunch. Michael treated me to a lunch date and we sat outside on their shaded patio that thankfully had “ceiling” fans. It was nice and cool and just the right temperature. Michael ordered the fried chicken sandwich and I got a Cobb salad. I had a bite of Michael’s sandwich and it was just ok. The fries were fantastic, though.

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My salad was great! I rarely get Cobb salad and I should get it more often. This one had a really delicious, creamy garlic dressing and all the usuals: avocado, bacon, Gorgonzola cheese, tomato, a hard boiled egg and turkey. The salad was so filling! We got two slices of cake to go to test for the wedding.

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Later that evening, Michael’s mom and stepdad came over for dinner. We made prime rib and a tomato, cucumber and mozzarella salad and sat outside on the deck while we ate and drank a very wonderful bottle of Gnarly Head Pinot Noir–it was so smooth and creamy, mild in flavor and just perfect. It went well with the steaks. But before dinner, Michael’s mom had brought over a few different bottles of wine to test for the wedding. They are graciously getting the wine for the wedding and we’ve got a healthy mixture of different varieties, more red than white, but there’s some good Pinot Gris (which I like) that they got, too.

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I’m not a huge chardonnay fan but this one she got was pretty good. The other? Not so much. We all made a “no way” face when we took the first taste.

For dessert we brought out the Papa Haydn’s cake. The first one was a slice of their German Chocolate Cake. The second was their Velvet Gianduja–chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut milk chocolate mousse, almond joconde and chocolate ganache.

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So I put out the two slices on different plates. Michael and his mom started with the Velvet granache hazelnut slice and Michael’s stepdad and I shared the German chocolate and then we switched. Of course Michael preferred the velvet cake and I liked the German Chocolate. I just felt like it was more “cake” and not as much of a torte…the texture was more cheesecake-like and I thought that would be difficult for us to cut and feed each other at the wedding. While I don’t think we can go wrong with either choice, I think we’re going to keep looking…

And my weekend ended with this:

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Thorns game! It was the first one Michael and I had ever gone to and it was crazy and FUN. We met up with my cousin Anna, who has season tickets, and her friend.

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The fans are CRAZY. ;) And apparently you stand the entire game and sing and chant. They all knew the words. Crazy I tell you! There were 19,123 people packed in the stadium. If you were there or watched it on TV and saw these nutjobs holding a sign on the jumbotron? It was us. :)

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Haha! It was for a scavenger hunt one of Anna’s friends was competing it. So hopefully they won something! Anyways, it was a rockin’ weekend. :) And the Thorns won!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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