Never Felt So Good

I wanted to take full advantage of the lovely summer weather instead of being cooped up in the gym. When I got home from work I went for a run at the track nearby. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and around 87 degrees. A little on the hot side for running outdoors, but I was committed. I filled my running water bottle with half Gatorade and half water (that seems to work well for me in hot weather).

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I love the track in the summer time. It’s not very crowded, it’s easy on the knees, and it’s close to home. The five minute walk from the house was my warm-up and then I got right into it. I am always a little slower than normal (and I’m already slow) when it’s hot out but that’s ok. Not trying to set any records here! I turned on Pandora and one of my favorite new songs popped up.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that music makes a HUGE difference with my running. If the right song comes on with the right beat/pace, I notice that I am a little faster, my form is a little better, I have more endurance and I’m lighter on my feet. I wonder why the perfect song can make such a difference? I guess maybe your feet just start to run to the beat.

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The far side curve of the track was completely shaded from the trees so I used this section of the track for walking. I cooled down a little bit, my heart rate reduced and then when I was back in the sun I was ready to run again. I ran for a little over 35 minutes and then decided to head back to the house. I walked to cool down and when I got back in our yard I played ball with Bella for a few minutes while my heart rate got back to normal.

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She was SO happy to play ball! Her favorite thing ever. It took a little bit for my heart rate to lower. I guess it was the heat? Anyways. She continued to show off and be totally adorable:

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2.86 miles and 413 calories burned. Here are my stats, complete with a Bella photobomb:

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Read this hilarious article: 22 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Are A Runner. I had to laugh at some of those–especially the tan one. I’ve got super awesome (ugly) tan lines that I have to get rid of before the wedding!

After that I met up with my friend Sam for an early-ish dinner/snack at The Brooklyn House in SE Portland. I had never heard of it but when I searched for  restaurant that was kind of a middle point between us this popped up with great reviews. It was a cute a little house next to that German grocery store that everyone raves about (and I still haven’t been there) off SE Powell. They had an adorable outside patio that was partially shaded and that was perfect for us. It was quiet and comfortable and we had the patio to ourselves.

I got an iced tea that was lovely and the waitress, also named Lisa, who was very friendly and prompt, brought out a little simple syrup instead of traditional sugars for the tea for easier mixing. It just needed a teeny bit of the syrup. The tea was wonderful. Sam and I ended up ordering three appetizers and sharing those. The first was their “nibble plate.” It was a basket of large, warm, fresh out of the oven, buttery crostini with four “dips.”

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There was an olive tapenade that was to die for, tzatziki sauce, a white bean puree and a little bowl of Mama Lil’s Peppers (my favorite!). The crostini was perfect. Sometimes you get crostini in restaurants and it’s so hard you feel like you are going to break your teeth trying to eat it. This was not that!

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We also shared the grilled cabbage. They must have blanched the cabbage before grilling it because all the bitterness of the cabbage was gone and instead it had a smokey flavor. The texture was perfect. It came with a lemon aioli sauce on it and my one complaint of the dishes was that the lemon aioli didn’t have much flavor. Despite that everything tasted great and the presentation was gorgeous!

The last dish was the roasted carrots in brown butter sauce. I did not get a photo of that, sadly, because I was too busy eating! The carrots were probably my second favorite dish next to the dips. The carrots were perfectly prepared–a slight crunch was still soft, the butter flavor was rich and there was a hint of salt every once in a while. The carrots were amazing. Loved them! Overall it was a great meal and I’d like to go back and see what else they have. Their entree menu was very limited but the appetizers were vast and they all sounded so good. I will definitely go back here!

Cornmeal Crust Pizza

Run. Do not walk. RUN to your local movie theatre and see “The Cabin in the Woods.”

Over the weekend, Michael and I had a date night at the movies. We went to the Laurelhurst Theatre here in Portland. It’s an old movie theatre with food options. You can get your typical popcorn movie theatre experience, but they also have pizza, salads, wraps and beer. It was our first time going to the Laurelhurst and we’ll definitely go back. The theatre has small tables throughout where you can eat your meal. We got there late so we didn’t get a good seat with a table so we skipped the pizza and salads (which I kinda wanted) and shared a small popcorn and we each had a beer. Going to the movies with a beer is awesome.

I had no idea what Cabin in the Woods was about other than my brother recommended it and it was a horror movie. I was so pleasantly surprised and shocked at what the movie was. I kind of liked going into it with no idea what to expect. Most movies are pretty predictable these days. The movie was AWESOME. I won’t give out any spoilers, but trust me that you should see this movie! What a pleasure!

Since we skipped the pizza at the theatre, we were on the hunt for dinner afterward. Unfortunately, it was prime time on a Saturday night and everywhere had a line. We tried a pizza place near the Laurelhurst and there was over an hour wait. No thanks. We ended up at Dove Vivi. It was a little hole-in-the-wall nestled between a Plaid Pantry and a laundromat. It was hard to find but once we did we saw the line of people! This place was popular!

First off, the staff was wonderful. That alone says a lot about a restaurant. They were all pleasant and nice and the service was fantastic. That goes a long way for me. We didn’t have to wait too long for a table even though the restaurant was completely packed. A table opened up outside and we gladly took it.

They had a decent drink menu but I stuck to the Ninkasi Total Domination beer because that’s what I had in the movie. It was hoppy and bitter, just like I like my IPA’s. Since I had been “detoxing” since our Texas vacation, I’d been refraining from drinking alcohol for nearly two weeks. I just didn’t want those extra calories. Our date night beers were the first I’d had in awhile and wamboozled me a bit.

We poured over the menu and I was intrigued by many of the pizza options. What to order? What to order? Michael and I finally agreed to do a half and half. Settled!

The first half was the night’s special: The “Coppa” which was mozzarella and provolone cheese with Italian cured ham, sliced green olives, and fresh tomatoes chopped up. It was salty and savory.

The other half was what I wanted: the “Goat Cheese” pizza. It was pizza with gooey mozzarella and creamy goat cheese with rosemary, tomatoes and green peppers. I LOVED my half of the pizza! The goat cheese was so creamy and flavorful. The huge chunks of tomatoes must have been roasted or marinated in something because they tasted outstanding as well.

Apparently this place is a deep dish pizza place only. The crust is made out of cornmeal and it’s thick and crunchy, like a crispy cornbread muffin. It was seriously fantastic. I don’t know that I’ve had cornbread pizza crust before. I want to find a recipe to try it at home!

The pizza came out in a cast iron skillet. It was a neat presentation. The one thing that was a tad disappointing was the size of the pizza. It was pretty tiny for the amount we paid for it. There were three slices of both types, so only 6 pieces totals. I guess it’s “artisan” so that means smaller. Kind of a bummer, but the pizza was still really, really good. I ate one piece of my goat cheese pizza and one piece of Michael’s Coppa and I called it good. Yes, I wanted my last piece of goat cheese pizza but I restrained myself (yay leftovers).

QUESTION: Have you ever had cornmeal crust pizza and what recipe did you use? Did you like “Cabin in the Woods?”