What was supposed to be a weekend away, was whittled down to a fabulous lunch with a good girlfriend. For my #365project and #photoaday, I took the baby along for the ride. We had an amazing lunch at Smith in Corinth, MS. Chef Russell Smith came out to see who was making all the ruckus, just to find two old ladies hassling one of his servers. Everyone was amazing and the food was incredible. I would never have ordered Captain Crunch french toast, but it was my favorite dish.
Eating good on Hawthorne just got a little easier, not there wasn’t already an ample supply of great food. But, Lardo opened it’s brick and mortar restaurant location on Friday. This cold has impaired my eating and cognitive skills, so much so, that on Friday afternoon while driving home with Christa, I wondered when Lardo would be opening. All hail my iPhone and it’s speedy google abilities. I found it was opening on Friday July 6. Without another word, Christa takes a hard left and I look at her like she’s mad. Where are you going? It IS Friday July 6th. Ooohhh, right! Good thinking.
We walked in to the refreshed space with all of its beautiful new wood and mostly well stocked bar. There was the slight air of chaos, but this being opening day, that was to be understood. We placed our order and got it shortly. Me: the pork meatball banh mi. Christa: double burger with pork belly and cheddar. We cut each in half and shared along with an order of dirty fries. I’ve had the regular fries before, which are quite good topped with parmesan and fried herbs. When we asked what made the fries dirty, the gal told us there was bacon on top. Sounds great. But, oh no, there wasn’t bacon on top, it was fried bit of pork belly and pork rind. glutenous yumminess that was out of this world!
My biggest (and most vocal) complaint was now that they are in the heart of distillery row, they had none of the row’s spirits on their bar. I talked to the bar manager and we will be remedying this shortly. Other than them not stocking local spirits on the bar, my only other beef was there were folks smoking on the patio. Hopefully they’ll curb that once they get things better under control. We did hear that later in the evening, that service was incredibly slow (and they were packed), but all the food was still outstanding. When it was a food cart and one guy was cooking, it took about the same amount of time to get your food. I’m sure they’ll get their rhythm in no time. Being where they are located, I’ll be going there often.
Saturday night was Coava Coffee’s second anniversary party. Lydia of Tender Bar was serving up New Deal cocktails that were quite tasty. I had both the Ginger Fizzle and Bumble Berry. With it being 85ish degrees out (and 110 inside), I skipped trying the milk pUnch. The Ginger Fizzle was good, but the Bumble Berry was great. We all decided it tasted like lifesavers made with fresh berries. It went down easily. As a non-alcoholic option, she had made a fresh ginger beer which was just the right amount of big ginger flavor. The Koi Fusion truck was parked outside to provide food. Bar was free and flowing, so I didn’t mind paying for good food. It was screaming hot in the space and since I get up so freaking early, I tucked out about 9:30. I heard the event went well into the night with a dance party in another part of the space.
This morning had the briefest of rocky starts. I slept like crap. For whatever reason, I couldn’t sleep Saturday night. That’s not entirely true. I fell asleep about 8pm on the couch and napped for about 20 minutes. When I went to bed, I didn’t fall asleep til about 1am. Grrrrr. So, I woke a bit sleepy.
Per my normal weekend morning, I enjoyed my morning joe on the porch watching the world drive by, picking the occasional weed. This morning, I managed to prune my roses and top off the yard debris can. That all goes in the success column.
All of that and a brunch date. A second date. He and I have flirted for a couple of years and both have very busy lives. I’ve told him the slow progression to which this has occurred is quite alright by me (being Bambi and all).
We met for brunch at a place I’ve been wanting to try. Simpatica Dining Hall , a catering company that serves dinner and brunch on the weekends.
Upon entering the building I was enveloped in the warm, comforting aromas of breakfast. Down a few steps, past a few folks waiting in line to see my gentleman caller. We were already on the list and got seated pretty quickly. Our server was a lovely woman, who made it clear she had a sense of humor pretty quickly. All signs looking good. I ordered coffee and a bloody mary. Date got a screwdriver. Bloody Mary B-, weak and not much personality. Pickled veggies that were skewered across the top A+.
I had heard from a friend and reliable source that the French toast was the things to have. But I’m not a huge fan of French toast, so I told date. He declined saying he needed meat. (he’s scoring points!) I got fried chicken with a biscuit and gravy that were great. A hint of curry powder in the batter that really made you think there’s something special going on. Just a hint so you had to really think about what that flavor was. I was stumped until the server shared the secret. When I had the second piece cold at the sink for dinner, the curry was significantly more noticeable. And still quite good.
Date had chicken fried steak with gravy and scrambled eggs. I had a taste and it was quite good. He left an empty plate, so I’m fairly certain he was satisfied with his selection. But, truth be told, I think he was a little jealous of my fried chicken. Winner. Winner.
We went for a short walk around the neighborhood before heading to the still. I had to share our bloody mary with him (seeing as it’s amazing). He took off shortly after and I got to work.
Ahhhh Sunday. Now on to the grind of the week. Happy Monday. Oh you want more dirt on the date? Oh, sorry, I don’t kiss and tell.
and ps… I posted this one entirely from my phone, so I apologize if the pictures are blurry and things look a little weird.
I have a new favorite happiest hour. There’s a new Vietnamese restaurant, Luc Lac, near my office. Everything I had heard was outstanding. Then by chance I met the bartender at an event. Just one more reason to check this place out.
The space is open and the decor is great. Whenever I walk by on my lunch there’s always a line. I had some trepidation going for happy hour on a Friday. But, I walked in and grabbed a table with the greatest of ease. And a table for 6 to boot! Should I be concerned that it is this empty?
Happy hour stayed sorta quiet. That may be because it was spring break, but I’ll never stray from this place. All the dishes on the happy hour menu were $2 and $3 and just about everything we had was great!
The signature dish Luc Lac, seared beef with greens was divine. We ordered several of those. I had the pork and shrimp salad rolls and could have easily eaten a few more. There was a repeat order of meat skewers and cream cheese wontons. The only thing I had that wasn’t worthy of a reorder was the sugarcane shrimp. Not terrible, just not great.
My drink was worthy of an Oscar. I had the O Mai with gin, ginger syrup, lemon and herbsaint. I’d been playing with some of the same flavors at home, but this may be my summer cocktail.
If you are downtown and need a snack or a meal, this is a great place to check out. The woman at the table next to us said it was the best Pho (pronounced phuh) she has ever had. She confessed it was her 6th time there this week. If you stop in tell Lacy I said hello.
Be forewarned… long day of fun with lots of pictures
This glorious Sunday morning started with an outing to the Milwaukie Center dog park to meet new puppy Jack. what a cutie and so sweet! Coe was only interested in chasing her ball and stopped only briefly to sniff a new bootie when it ran by. I’m not a fan of fenced off-leash parks because it gives dog parents who aren’t interested an opportunity to let their little hellion run wild and abuse good natured folks. This morning was cold and bright, so only the dedicated parents and pooches were out. With only a few minor skirmishes, we had a lovely time playing.
Coffee followed at the new and darling Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine. Beautiful pastries, local products, cooking classes, coffee from Ristretto Roasters, and amazing wines all in a great space. The moment I walked in I was wrapped in the aroma of baking croissants. The wall to the left is a giant chalkboard that touts the menu and upcoming classes. The rest of the shop spreads out to the right. I’d love to say, this little shop is what I someday see Lula Harp growing up to be.
Note to self… NEVER go to Winco on a Sunday morning again. It was sheer chaos. Thank goodness I needed less than 10 things, so I got the hell outta there as quick as I could. Penzey’s on the other hand was delightfully quiet.
When we got home, I turned off the heat and threw the door open to let the beautiful day in. We had a lovely 50-something spring day here today! Coe paced around the house looking for the perfect spot to take her nap, but would not lay down. Finally, I opened the front door for her and she promptly laid down for her nap in the sun. Settling in for an afternoon of watching the cars drive by.
Then I began work on my Morning Glory Muffins. I’ve had a local variation on this tasty treat. Today’s recipe hails from King Arthur but I had to put my twist on it.
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) raisins (I used dried cranberries)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar (3/4c)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (omitted and added ginger simple syrup…see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (7 ounces) carrots, peeled and grated (probably halved, not entirely intentional)
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut (I used unsweetened coconut)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts (probably increased)
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional (I added 1/3 cup BOTH sunflower seeds and flax seeds)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice (omitted oj, added ginger simple syrup and reduced by about half)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.
TO MAKE THE MUFFINS:
In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, nuts, and sunflower seeds or wheat germ, if using. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and orange juice. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened. Drain the raisins and stir them in. Put all ingredients, except flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Add flour and baking soda and again, mix well. Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan (they’ll be full almost to the top; that’s OK).
TO BAKE THE MUFFINS: Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes in their pan on a rack, then turn out of pans to finish cooling. Mini muffins took 15-17 minutes.
My variation came out, I’m sure, less sweet than the original, but as moist as the reviewers said it would. They taste super yummy and I’ll be working them into the regular rotation for an easy grab and go breakfast.
Nutrition information based on the ORIGINAL recipe per serving (1 muffin, 106g): 20g whole grains, 342 cal, 18g fat, 6g protein, 26g complex carbohydrates, 19g sugar, 4g dietary fiber, 53mg Cholesterol, 347mg sodium, 322mg potassium, 541RE vitamin A, 3mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 47mg calcium, 131mg phosphorous.
The day ended with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. 3 Doors Down had a $19 spaghetti bowl dinner. Since I don’t like football and the Saints didn’t make it to the super bowl, I had even less reason than normal to care. So, I was game for the spaghetti bowl! As many times as I have eaten at 3 Doors Down over the years, I’d honestly tell you if there was a disappointing experience. There genuinely have been no none. There are dishes that are good instead of great, but nothing terrible. The service is always nice and tonight was no exception.
Once we started looking at the menu, we all opted for something other than the special football dinner. Our server brought a cheese plate that the folks worked on and I started with a golden beet salad. N and I each had the Carlton Farms pork chop with brussel sprouts and is truly one of my favorite dishes on the menu. Dad had a seafood linguine with a spicy tomato broth.
This day could not have been better. I got lots done and got in quality time with friends and family. Here’s to another beautiful week.
I’m out of order and I’ll catch y’all up sooner or later, but I’m kinda tipsy and high on life. I met a culinary hero tonight and I’m just giddy!
We had a lazy, slow morning because we stayed out way too late last night. And this is where I’ll rewind to when I get back to reality. But this morning started with a fruit plate to balance the fat and meat I’ve been eating non-stop.
Then we started off walking with a goal in mind. Like the mothership calling me home we went to Butcher for lunch. Beer, a carcuterie plate, pastrami sandich and a pork belly sandwich and I’m in heaven. I might as well go home now.
As if the day wasn’t perfect after eating that goodness. We walked off a bit of the lunchtime pork buzz and napped before embarking on dinner… (dah, dah, dah…)
We walked to Herbsaint for a 7:30 reservation. We walked out of there 2.5 HOURS later and I cannot say a bad thing. Our server Joe was exceptional, darling fella who took great care of us. We ate our way through the small plate section so we could sample it all! and it was ALL GOOD! My top picks were the spaghetti with guanciale (pork cheeks) and the beef short ribs.
Now, I am not one to fawn over celebrities and I generally leave people alone unless they are thrown in my face. But when SIL said, Chef is in the kichen tonight, I nearly wet myself. The next time sweet Joe made his rounds, I prefaced my request with No is an acceptable answer, but I would LOVE to meet Chef. I’ll see what I can do, he said. Brother said, she came all the way from Oregon and I added it is Donald Link Day, we had lunch at Butcher. He’s really shy, I’ll see what I can do.
We’d nibbled more and I’d just so happened to have freshened my lip gloss, when I get the HE’S COMING from across the table (my back was to the kitchen). Chef walks to the man of the table and I love my brother, he directs Chef to me. He talked to us for a good 5 minutes. I told him he inspred me to make bacon. He told us about the book he’s working on now (I can’t wait!). Chef Link was delightful and charming. The rest of the evening people in the restaurant and the wait staff kept looking out to see who Chef had gone to talk to. Brother looks like Bob Villa so that always a good rumor.
I’ll sleep a good sleep now and have dreams of pork bellies dancing through my head. ahhhh…