Tuesday, July 30, 2013

European Cuisine with a Modern Twist

Happy Tuesday friends! 

One of the best things about Portland is that it has an amazing food scene; I'm so excited to explore it more now that we live here! From gourmet food trucks to award-winning breweries to farmer's markets filled with local ingredients, this city is truly a foodie paradise. Cameron and I love good food and trying new restaurants and while I don't plan on turning In the Pink & Green into a completely food-focused blog, I am looking forward to using this space to share my discoveries! (Especially now that I have my beautiful new blog design!) I'm hoping eventually it might serve as a resource to people who live in/are visiting Portland as I plan on keeping a list of all my restaurant reviews (as well as other must-see/do things here in the city) on the Portland tab on my nav bar.

So without further adieu, let's get to today's reviews!

Both of these restaurants are a little more upscale and feature menus that offer a fresh take on classic European dishes. They're also both located in the Southwest/Downtown area of Portland so I thought it made sense to share my thoughts on them both in the same post.


Raven & Rose

This restaurant is actually located in a historic carriage house that came from the Ladd Estate in the late 1800s and it's been beautifully restored. The building provides the perfect setting for this restaurant as it seems a little more dressy than some of the very casual places in Portland, and I thought the vibe was a good balance trendy and traditional. Their menu is classic British and Irish cuisine with an updated twist and offers lots of interesting options. We went there for dinner a few weeks ago with Cameron's parents on a Sunday and had a really lovely evening...

I started my meal with a delicious Romaine & rabbit salad
One of the unique side dishes they serve is Yorkshire pudding; it's an English specialty that's made from batter and is typically served with roast meat. It was fun to get to try it! (It's the thing that kind of looks like a crescent roll)
On Sundays, they offer an option of a platter of roast meat served family style with a variety of sides which is what Cam and his parents ordered (you need at least 2 people to order this option, just FYI)
I had the beef short rib and it came with chard and horseradish mashed potatoes. It tasted like classic comfort food--very filling and I loved the flavors!
For dessert, I had the butterscotch pudding with toasted streusel. It was creamy and had such a cute presentation!
Because the food here is more heavy and the restaurant is very cozy, I feel like Raven & Rose is probably a little bit better choice for the winter than the summer
Upstairs, they have a separate area called the Rookery where they serve a bar menu and craft cocktails (along with live music on Wednesdays!). The hostess explained to us that this area actually used to be the old hayloft when it was a carriage house which I thought was cool! And if you like bourbon, they have their own special single batch bourbon that's bottled just for the restaurant. I think this space would be a perfect spot for a group outing or event!

Raven & Rose on Urbanspoon


GrĂ¼ner

Cameron and I actually ate a Gruner a few years ago, but decided to go back and have dinner there the other night since it had been quite awhile. The restaurant has a more decidedly trendy vibe than Raven & Rose and has a modern minimalist aesthetic when it comes to the decor. They do have outdoor seating and that's where we ended up having dinner. Gruner's menu is inspired by alpine cuisine from countries like Germany and France, however, the word "gruner" does mean "greener" in German and it's obvious the menu is inspired by the Pacific Northwest as well. They have an interesting wine list with a lot of European options, along with a variety of creative cocktails. 

Although it's a little bit pricier, the vibe of many of the decor elements is very casual
One of their specialities is their beet-pickled deviled eggs--I loved these, plus they're so pretty!
Cameron got the spaztle entree which had black forest ham, snap peas, cream, and asiago cheese--it was delicious! However, I said this place was "trendy" and that definitely equates to somewhat small portions, just FYI!
I wasn't super hungry, so I just got an appetizer called maultaschen--it was ravioli filled with pork, beef, and spinach served in a meat broth...I was not a huge fan of this dish at all as it was really under-seasoned and had no flavor. However, there are lots of other dishes on the menu that look delicious!
Your bill comes to your table inside a German paperback...like I said, trendy.
Gruner has an interesting cocktail menu, and then they also have separate place called Kask which is connected to the restaurant except it's got more of a modern saloon feel apparently? We haven't tried it out yet but I'd like to soon!


Gruner on Urbanspoon

My conclusion on both restaurants is fairly similar--they're both very good and we had some dishes at each one that were excellent. However, I can't necessarily say that I was blown away by either place to the point that I would want to go back right away or bring an out of town guest here.


So there you have it, the first of my official Portland restaurant reviews! 
There will definitely be more to come, and I'll be updating the Portland page in my navigation bar at the top of the page as I continue to try more new (to-me) places! Bon appetit! Xoxo

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Oregon Brewers Festival

This weekend, Cameron and I went to the Oregon Brewers Festival!

July is Craft Beer month in Oregon, and this giant festival that takes place at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park right by the river seems to be the culmination of this celebration of beer. Although I had heard that this event gets pretty crowded, being a Portland newbie I had to check it out!

The weather on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous! Also, I'm loving this dress that I got for a great deal at Madewell while I was Michigan--it's hard to see in this picture but it's got a cute little floral print and also the back is really fun!
There were over 80 different breweries at the Festival; most were from Oregon (hence the name, obviously) but there were also some breweries from other states as well
There was definitely some colorful people watching...
...and all sorts of interesting things for sale--anyone need a kilt?
Each brewery only had one beer on tap and they used a token system for payment
You had to buy a tasting glass to participate and then it was one token for a taste and four tokens for a full beer
Cam wanted to wear a unique beer t-shirt so he went with his Goldstar Beer one my sister got him in Israel
The majority of the beers seemed to be wheat beers or really hoppy ales, neither of which are my favorite
There were also really long lines at pretty much every tap

We didn't end up staying at the festival for too long because the lines were just so crazy! Granted I have a feeling Saturday was probably the busiest day of the event, but still. I wasn't a huge fan of the style of a lot of the beers they had on tap, and it was a little tough to figure out where specific breweries/beers were located at the event. There are so many great breweries right in downtown Portland along with so many other bars/restaurants that have awesome draft beer selections that it didn't really make sense to have to wait in 20-minute lines just to get a beer! I am glad we checked it out since obviously it's a very popular summer event here in Portland, however, it's definitely not one of those things that I feel like we'll have to go to next year now that I've experienced it.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Xoxo

PS: I'm linking up with Sami today!

Friday, July 26, 2013

My New Blog Design + Five on Friday

Happy Friday everyone! 

Things have been a little quiet in terms of posts this week...but as you can see there have been some pretty big changes around herel...I'm so excited to finally share my new blog design with you! 

In edition to debuting my new design today, I thought I'd also kill two birds with one stone and join in for the Five on Friday link-up. That way I can tell you all about my blog's new look along with sharing some other randomness here at the end of the week. Here goes! 


1. New Blog Design/URL/Facebook Page
I have been wanting to give my blog a makeover for awhile now, and our recent move seemed like the perfect time to go for it. In the past, I've always been hesitant to make my design tied to where live in any way because I knew that we most likely be moving. But now that we're living in Portland and hoping to be here long term, I really liked the idea of incorporating something to do with that into my design. I'm also looking forward to posting more things like restaurant reviews (I already have at least five places to share!) in the future, and I wanted to make that content easier to access. I knew I wanted a design that was clean and modern, while still fitting with my personality. I started researching designers and came across Ashley Ella Designs through Etsy and decided to go for it!
Ashley has been amazing to work with and I've been very impressed with her throughout the process. I sent her a Pinterest board with the overall aesthetic I was looking for and she captured my vision perfectly! I'm a huge fan of the aesthetic of Rifle Paper Co. and really liked the idea of incorporating some of those modern vintage floral elements into my new design, especially because I decided I wanted to incorporate one of Portland's nicknames (The City of Roses, in case you didn't figure that out) into my tagline. Ashley did an excellent job of bringing what I envisioned to life and she was incredibly fast with any changes/revisions I requested. Plus, she somehow managed to put up with my crazy detailed OCD emails and trust me, that's saying something! I'm so pleased with how the design came out, and I would highly recommend her if you're looking for a new designer!


in addition to the new design I finally decided to make a Facebook page for my blog as well! I know I follow a lot of my favorite blogs on Facebook, and it makes it easier to keep up with their new posts so I figured it might be a good idea to jump on the bandwagon. I would just love it if you could "Like" In the Pink and Green on Facebook for me! {click here} My blog is still somewhat of a work in progress as I am planning on adding some additional content to certain pages on my navigation bar/sidebar, so liking my page on Facebook is a great way to keep up with those updates!

Last but not least, with all these changes I decided it was high time to update my URL as well!
You can now find my blog at:
www.inthepinkandgreen.com
(www.inthepinkandgreen.blogspot.com will still work too though!)

I truly appreciate each and every one of you that reads my blog, and I'm very excited that I now have such a pretty space to share my words and photos as we settle into our new city!

Now onto some other slightly less exciting, but still fun things I wanted to share...


2. Luna & Larry's Organic Cafe Latte Coconut Bliss Bars
 I've talked about the Dark Chocolate version of these bars on my blog/Instagram before, but I recently discovered a new flavor that is so so good! I snapped up a box at Whole Foods the other day, and I think it must be a newer flavor as it's not listed on their website. These bars are so creamy and the flavors of coconut and coffee blend surprisingly well together. They're organic, made with fair trade ingredients, and because they're non-dairy they are a great Paleo (and vegan) alternative to traditional ice cream. They are seriously the perfect after-dinner sweet indulgence that's not filled with a bunch of weird chemicals/additives! Definitely check 'em out!


I am just loving this colorful cotton pajama set I picked up at Target a few weeks ago. The bright floral pattern is a little loud, but I think it's so pretty! Since we're staying at Cam's parents' house right now, I figured a new pair of PJs might be in order instead of constantly coming down for breakfast in my old, mismatched sweats (although who am I kidding, I still do that too). I tend to get cold pretty easily (plus Cam's parents usually keep their house on the cool side) so love that these PJs have pants/long sleeves to keep me warm, yet they're lightweight enough that I don't too hot while I'm sleeping. Plus, as evidenced by my new design I am loving all things floral lately and just think these pajamas are fun!
 (Because the are 100% cotton they will shrink in the dryer...just FYI!)


4. New apartment update
I mentioned last week that we did find an apartment in Portland (yipee)! We are currently living with Cam's parents but move into our place downtown in two weeks and I'm looking forward to getting settled in! Unlike our rental house in Tahoe, this apartment is very modern and I'm excited not to have to try and decorate around things like 1970's wood paneling! We aren't going to have a ton of space though, so I really want to make the most of the room we have by only incorporating pieces that we love. We actually ordered a new couch this past weekend (and it's made in Oregon, as it says in the Instagram above) and I can't wait for it to be delivered next month. (It's not the color/fabric in the photo above though, just FYI) Now I'm on the hunt for a few additional items including a dresser, a rug, a coffee table, pillows, and a headboard. I'm hoping that we'll be able to complete a few DIY projects to check some of those items off the list, so if you have any DIY ideas you've tried and loved let me know!

5. Oregon Brewers Festival
When people think of Portland, they often think of great breweries and it's definitely a big part of the culture here. July is actually Craft Beer Month in Oregon and this weekend there is a big beer festival down by the waterfront featuring over 80 different craft beers. Apparently the festival is pretty big deal and gets quite busy, but Cameron and I are looking forward to checking it out! Follow me on Instagram (@inthepinkandgreen) to keep up with us as we imbibe and celebrate summer in our new city! :)




Be sure to let me know if you're also joining in the fun for the Five on Friday Linkup today as I always love reading everyone's list posts! Also, don't forget to like my Facebook page and grab one of my beautiful new buttons on my sidebar! Have a great weekend everyone! Xoxo


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

How's that for a post title to get your mouth watering?


 I made this recipe before we left Tahoe last month, and can't believe it's taken me so long to share it! It's basically a fact that anything baked in a cast-iron skillet is going to be delicious, and this dessert is no exception. It's so easy to make because you actually mix everything in the skillet, which means no dishes for the win! Plus, is there really anything better than a warm chocolate chip cookie straight from the oven with vanilla ice cream on top?

 

No. No there is not.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe Source: Lemon Sugar

Ingredients

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chocolate dark chocolate chunks 
(I just used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
In an 8-inch cast iron skillet, melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat.  


When butter is melted, add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 


Beat the egg, and add a small amount (about 1/4 cup or so) of the melted sugar and butter to the egg mixture (to temper it) and whisk to combine.
Pour egg mixture back into the skillet, and stir until completely combined.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir to completely incorporate the dry ingredients. Add vanilla and chocolate, and stir to combine.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. 


Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!


And if you're looking for an excuse to make this completely unnecessary but amazing dessert, Kate Middleton did have a baby yesterday...so there's that.

I say, celebrate the future king of England and make this cookie. 
(I realize that makes no sense, but just go with it mmmkay?)

You'll be glad you did. 


 Hope you're having a great week so far everyone! Xoxo


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