Feb 182015
 

Michael’s dad came to visit for a long weekend. He’s been in the beer business for decades so of course we wanted to show off some of the Oregon beers! I turned him on to my favorite beer–Boneyard IPA–a few years ago and he agrees it’s one of the best tasting beers he’s had. :D One of the local Fred Meyer grocery stores has a growler filling station and they have Boneyard on tap! Of course I had to go and fill our growler for Michael’s dad to enjoy at home during his visit (and for me too LOL).

The first night he was in town we went to Gino’s in Sellwood. It’s a really good Italian restaurant without the hassle of going downtown. It’s an old Portland institution that is always packed, no matter what time of the week you go. Thankfully we got a table pretty quickly. We shared a Caesar salad to start and I got a glass of the Pinot Grigio wine. I got the ravioli special. It was ravioli with goat cheese in it and a butternut squash sauce on the outside of the pasta. It was a really interesting take on butternut squash ravioli! It was topped with some red pepper flakes and toasted hazelnuts. It was very rich but so delicious! Considering we eat pasta like 2x a year it was a real treat.

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Monday was a holiday. I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym while Michael and his dad hung out at home and had breakfast. I did my weight routine–lots of kettle bell exercises and some ab work–and then did 2.25 miles on the elliptical. It was a good, sweaty session, that came no where close to burning off the pasta from the night before!!

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It was such a nice day out in Portland! 60’s and sunny! The perfect spring/summer tease that comes every mid-February right before the rains starts. The three of us went out to lunch at Hopworks in SE Portland. It’s a cool restaurant/pub with a bike and beer theme. How can you go wrong with that?? I ended up getting the Thai Peanut Wrap with chicken (instead of tempeh) and it was really tasty. It came with red cabbage, quinoa, broccoli and peanut sauce. It didn’t sit too heavy, either, which was good. Michael got a chopped salad and his dad got the chicken tenders. Everything tasted really great! (Sometimes the food can be hit or miss.)

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We also shared a tasting tray of 15 beers! I think the favorite for Michael and I was the Abominable Winter Ale, which was rich and smooth and hoppy like an IPA, which was odd for a winter ale. Those are usually darker beers. But it was really good! Of course I also liked the IPA’s and the double IPA’s, those tend to be my favorites. The hoppier the better. There were a lot of beers that I skipped (I’m not a fan of dark beers).

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Surprisingly, I also LOVED the Radler–which was a lager (40%) and lemonade (60%)! It was SO good. I could see myself drinking WAY too many of those lovely ladies on a hot summer day. Michael’s dad told the story of how the Radler got started. Apparently in the 1920’s some German town was full of thousands of cyclists one summer day and Radler was running out of beer in his pub so he started mixing the beer with a lemon lime soda that didn’t sell very well on it’s own and everyone loved it! Hence, the beer/lemonade combo was born. I googled it when we got home and found this ad:

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Too funny! After lunch and beer tasting we hit one more local brewery, Burnside Brewing. It’s one of my cousin’s favorites and I’m a fan of their Sweet Heat, but haven’t tried any of their other beers. It was a really nice day and they had a covered patio that was partially in the sun so we got to sit outside while we did a sampler tray.

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I LOVE their logo. It’s a little artistic devil and it’s so cute. Anyways, we sat in the sun and enjoyed our sampler tray of mostly IPA’s, a lager, a stout and of course the Sweet Heat (which is made with Louisiana Scotch Peppers). The boys weren’t a fan of that one but I like it. :)

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That yellow one on the forefront is the Sweet Heat. Normally I’d take one look at that beer and be like, “I won’t like it” but I really do…it’s unique! So we enjoyed the sun and beer and wished it were summer then called the beer tour over for the day. I haven’t been drinking alcohol except for my birthday weekend and then the holiday weekend because Michael’s dad was visiting. Just having some samples was a doozy for me!

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After that the boys dropped me off at home to hang out with Bella and do some stuff while they went computer shopping and then hit another brewery (Breakside Brewing). I’d had my fill of beer for the day (or weekend, really) and ended up watching some Gilmore Girls, cuddled with Bella and did some yard work in the sunshine.

When Michael’s dad comes to visit from Texas he usually wants seafood so we take him to his favorite spots (Jake’s or Ringside). Monday night we went to Jake’s Grill downtown. It’s a classy, gorgeous restaurant with impeccable service and it’s always a good experience. I always forget just how great dining out at Jake’s is.

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We got all gussied up and headed downtown for an early dinner.

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I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and dry just like how I like my wine! They brought out the famous sourdough rolls which are just too tasty not to eat…

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Michael ordered the calamari appetizer. He thinks it’s the best calamari in town and I tend to agree. It’s never overly chewy or greasy. I only had a few bites though, as I was saving room for my dinner!

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For dinner I ordered the cedar plank salmon that came with basmati rice and crispy leeks. At first I was going to get a salad and soup but the salmon sounded so amazing (and I wasn’t wrong) and when you go to Jake’s you really should order the fish.

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The salmon was perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I LOVED the leeks on top. They were kind of like fried onions. The portions were good too–not grotesquely huge, just right. Michael got the salmon with potatoes and kale topped with a lobster sauce. Michael’s dad got the rockfish with green beans, tomatoes and artichokes.

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Everything was magnificent. I love that place! We were all stuffed but not uncomfortably so. There was definitely no room for dessert and we called it an early night.

I love it when family comes to visit and we can show off our lovely city. You can throw a rock and hit a dozen breweries and great restaurants. The weather was perfect for Michael’s dad’s visit, too, which was nice. I will say I will be happy to get back to my normal eating routine and give the alcohol a break again. Back on track!

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Feb 162015
 

Michael and I got home from work right before Valentine’s Day to find a bunch of goodies left for us on our kitchen counter! A big brown bag with tissue paper and then two small gift bags:

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Our dog walker had made up some Valentine’s gifts for her clients! It was such a nice surprise. I opened it up and there were treats for the kitties (homemade catnip toys), liver treats for Bella, some tennis balls for Bella (her new favorite toy), some chocolate for us and some other goodies for the beasts!

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Plus there was this GORGEOUS watercolor painting of Bella! The painting was actually a belated wedding gift and it was a painting from a photo that Amy took of Bella on one of her visits. The painting is so incredible! I had a huge smile on my face all night and I absolutely LOVED it.

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I immediately hung the Bella portrait next to the other amazing art we got as a wedding gift from a friend. We are slowly decorating our house with art work but it’s definitely unfinished. Most of it will be taken down at some point when we finish the remodel (especially in the kitchen). Once the remodel is done I’ll figure out a better way to display all our amazing stuff.

Bella also got a homemade bandanna from Amy. How cute is my little Love Bug?

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Haha, she doesn’t look too amused but she is really good at holding still while mama takes photos. She’s used to it (my Instagram is basically just animal pictures). Anyways. After we unwrapped our Valentine’s gifts, we got dressed for a run. This time we took Bella!

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Since we had Bella with us on our run, we couldn’t go to the neighborhood school track. Instead we did the nearby street near our house that is currently empty. They are building a bunch of houses there, apparently, but we haven’t seen any construction happening in months so who knows. It’s about a mile long loop and it’s been our new walking loop with Bella for awhile now. It’s nice because there’s rarely anyone over there.

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We didn’t run for a long time for a number of reasons. 1) It gets dark earlier still. 2) Bella is “out of practice” running and I didn’t want her to do too much on the pavement too soon and hurt her paws. 3) Michael is new to running so he doesn’t need to injure himself. 4) My body is used to treadmill running so I need to ease back into street running.

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We did the neighborhood loop twice and then headed back to the house when it started to get darker. We hadn’t been out for a super long time so I wanted to get a little more of a workout in. I did a short kettle bell workout in our living room while I watched Downton Abbey. Nice combo, huh?

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Bella sat on the rug by the door and watched me swing kettle bells for 15 minutes, I did some ab work and then finished up with some stretches.

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The calories were a little low for me but it was better then going to the gym and spending an hour on the hamster wheel. I got to be with Michael and Bella and get outside. It was nice.

Valentine’s Day

To celebrate Michael and I went out Friday night (instead of Valentine’s Day) to Grain and Gristle in NE Portland. I’d never heard of it before but it came up on a search for new restaurants and the reviews were really good so I wanted to try it. We got there around 6pm and the place was already packed. The wait for a table wasn’t too long, though. We got an intimate table and ordered drinks. Michael got an Old Fashioned and thought it was really good. I had a sip and it was tasty (and I’m not a whiskey fan).

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I ended up getting a Bloody Mary and it was okay. Not the best one I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some really good ones before). They had a special  “for two” that sounded really good (pork with polenta and braised leeks) and we almost got that. I LOVE polenta and it just sounded so tasty. Plus it was a good deal–lots of food and 2 beers.

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In the end we both ordered the burgers because they sounded so great. And boy were they! They were so good we both said the burger makes our top 5 list for Portland burgers. It came with homemade pickles, aioli sauce, bacon. I got the salad with it and Michael got onion rings, which were the skinny shoe-string style. They were so great. Man, the food was spectacular! I got the Brussels Sprouts as a side and loved them. They were charred and just perfect. Still thinking about that meal, days later…yum!

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My only complaint about the place was that the service was SO SLOW. It took forever to get our drinks. We waited for a really long time for the food. I get that it was a Friday night and it was crowded but it was abnormally slow compared to other restaurants we’ve been to. The food came out just as I was getting to the “this is making me grumpy, I am not a fan of this restaurant” phase. And of course, once the food arrived and it was so delicious, those irritated thoughts disappeared.

After dinner we ended up going to IKEA to pick of a part we’d ordered for the kitchen and pick up a few other things we needed (I needed some soap bottles, a lamp for the spare bedroom, a picture frame). The restaurant was so close to IKEA we figured, why not? And it wasn’t insanely crowded either so that was nice. Michael ended up getting a nightstand like the one we got for me a few weeks ago. There might have been some shenanigans going on in IKEA with the carts… ;)

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On Valentine’s Day we decided to go for a hike and invited some friends to come along. Sadly one of the kids got sick so our friend had to stay home with them but Michael’s friend Dave was still able to come and he brought his adorable 2 year old son. We went over to Saltzman Road again because we figured it would be a good hike with a 2 year old. Dave ended up putting his son in a backpack though, but either way a little one could have done it.

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It was such a nice day out! Sunny and mid-60’s. So we ended up doing a little more mileage than planned 5.22 miles roundtrip! It was just such a nice day out, the trail wasn’t too crowded and we were all feeling pretty good. The trail is a gradual grade uphill but it’s never TOO strenuous that you feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest. Hopefully the whole family can join us next time!

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So 5.22 miles hiked, 505 calories burned in just under 2 hours. We were all tired out I think. Bella slept on the way home. We gave her a bath, Michael put together his new IKEA nightstand and I spent the rest of the day doing chores and errands. It was a nice little holiday!

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