Japanese Gardens

Food Orgy, Part II…with Flowers

I left off with a sensible lunch at Meriwether’s Restaurant on Thursday. After lunch we took them to Washington Park, one of the must-see-spots in Portland. Thankfully the Rose Gardens are all in full bloom so we took a fragrant walk in the scorching sun. The flowers are a hit for all out of town guests and I’m glad they were blooming.

Since we were already in Washington Park I suggested we walk up the hill to the Japanese Gardens. It’s a fairly inexpensive, scenic tour to do when visiting.

We did the guided tour this time and the guide was excellent–very knowledgeable of all history surrounding the Japanese Gardens and she had great stories and tidbits of trivia about Japanese culture.

The gardens were peaceful and serene. I loved the greenery and it was a nice tour around the five gardens.

The koi ponds were my favorite. Water has always been a relaxing thing for me–either the ocean or lake or river, I need to be near water. Maybe that’s why I love swimming so much. It was also a good distraction from the sad news I’d received that morning. I was able to enjoy the calm gardens for a bit. Sometimes denial is okay.

The tour lasted an hour long and we enjoyed the stroll through the gardens.

After the Japanese Gardens we headed across the river to Mount Tabor Park. We had a few hours to kill before dinner time. We made a stop on the way at a total dive bar on SE Division so that Michael’s dad could try a Ninkasi beer. G is in the beer industry and he had never heard of Ninkasi. It’s one of the most popular beers in Portland (I think it’s from Eugene) so he hadΒ to try it. He liked it a lot.Β Mount Tabor is another jewel in the middle of Portland. It’s a huge park with lots of trails for hiking, roads for biking and running on and the views from the top are wonderful.

We hiked up to the top of Mount Tabor and parked our butts on a picnic bench for the next hour. The breeze was cool and felt nice in the 84 degree weather (which is hot for Portland but “perfect” for Texans visiting!).

It was nice just chilling on the bench and enjoying the view of downtown Portland.

After that we trekked back down and made our way to Laurelhurst Market for dinner. It was about 6:15pm by that time and I was worried it would be packed but we got a table right away.

We ordered two plates of the tomato appetizer to share.

Michael ordered the skirt steak with salad. I liked the mild red sauce on the steak but for the life of me I could not decipher what the spices were!

G and G ordered rib eye with onion rings and the Ahi Tuna with clams.

My dish was the TOTAL WINNER of the evening. It was amazing! I got the pork tenderloin. It was wrapped in some sort of fennel sausage and then seared I think. It was decadent and rich but absolutely breathtaking. The crunchy crust of the sausage added so much texture to the dish. It was served on top of corn and beans in a pork jus with a polenta cake on the side.

This dish was amazing. I loved every single bite of it and for the rest of the evening I kept thinking about how GOOD the dish was. (And when I woke up the next day I couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers!) I ate about 3/4 of it and took the rest home. My dinner was stellar. They wanted dessert afterward so we drove over to Sellwood to go to Papa Haydn’s–the best dessert place in town.

We sat outside in the garden patio and enjoyed the cool evening air with our ice water.

We ordered one Bourbon Ball and one slice of German Chocolate Cake to share with everyone.

Absolute decadence. Luckily I was pretty full from my dinner so I didn’t go overboard with the dessert. I had a few bites of each (more of the German Chocolate Cake than the Bourbon Ball) and then called it good. It was a great day full of delicious food.

QUESTION: What is your favorite dessert?




Saturday's Food

We can always find excuses for NOT EXERCISING. The most common excuse is “I don’t have time.” The trick is to FIND the time. I woke up this morning at 8am to go to the gym. We had plans with friends today at 11am and I wanted to make sure I got my workout. Did I want to get up at 8am? No. Was I tired and feeling like I’d rather go back to sleep? Yes. I still dragged my butt to the gym. Glad I did too!

Before heading out the door, I had a quick “breakfast”. The Atkin’s Shakes are really tasty, low calorie AND low sugar! A lot of the shakes out there are super high in sugar and carbs–basically defeating the whole “diet” shake concept. I highly recommend Atkins.
I spent about 40 minutes or so on the stair-master. It’s my new favorite machine at the gym. Then I went upstairs and did about 30 minutes of weights and ab work. I burned 630 calories. Woo hoo! For the rest of my breakfast, I ate a toasted English muffin and a handful of granola.

We met up with some friends at the Portland Japanese Gardens. Today was “Free Admission” day and I’d never been. Luckily the weather was decent and we walked around the 5 acres of gardens and enjoyed the day. Afterward, we had a leisurely lunch at Produce Row Cafe (I had a turkey sandwich–even though I really wanted the nachos!).

Tonight, Michael and I are making fajitas (one of his specialties). I will still come out pretty good for today’s calories!

Favorite moment of today: Michael noting that he thought I’d lost weight lately!! Awww! πŸ˜€ (And that’s why I bought him flowers! The orange carnations.)

Tomorrow’s plan: bike ride. Crossing fingers for no rain!