Foodie Adventure: The Woodsman Tavern

Since I started chronicling my foodie adventures, my dinner date requests have increased exponentially. It was no surprise that my sister Amy was quick to ask if we could go on a foodie adventure when she was home for Christmas. As my list of must try restaurants grows daily, I was happy to oblige. My wonderful roommate Melissa was along for the ride(And she did literally drive us. Thanks, Mel!) for our adventure to the high brow hipster joint, The Woodsman Tavern. Next door to the original Stumptown off of SE Division this “tavern” is so popular we had an hour and a half wait for a table for three. There sure are a lot of high brown hipster lovers in Portland!

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The menu is separated into separate specialties and plates. It includes drinking snacks, raw & chilled seafood, country ham, first plates, second plates, and side plates. It is quite a menu, but it doesn’t hold a candle to their drink menu. Pages and pages of bottles, glasses, and tumblers. I went with a glass of Montepulciano, while Amy and Mel each chose a glass of white. I don’t drink white wine, so I don’t keep track of it. I believe drinking white wine is for sweltering summer evenings or beginners. If you want to prove me wrong, go ahead. You’re buying.

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Get to Gather: Christmas Eve Dinner

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Every year since I can remember my family has done the real Christmas celebrating on Christmas Eve. We go to a Christmas Eve candlelight service, eat dinner, and then open all of our gifts. Not one, all of them. Yes, you heard that right, we open all of our gifts on Christmas eve. Okay, I suppose we save our stocking gifts for the Christmas morning, but all of the big-ticket good stuff is received on Christmas Eve. Patience is not a family virtue.

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This year for dinner I volunteered to make the same ham I feasted on at Thanksmas. The rest of the meal was left to my mother.  I’ll take the rest of this post to share our meal and the semi-homemade cooking style she exudes.
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Foodie Adventure: Toro Bravo

You would think that the wait for a table would be reasonable on a Monday night, right? Not at the famous tapas restaurant Toro Bravo. The wait for a group of four was over an hour when we arrived at 6:30, and boy was it worth it!  My cousin Beth, our friends Vashti and Amy, and I weathered out the wait upstairs at Secret Society. Toro Bravo called us when our table was ready, but that wasn’t until after the Red Cross called and roped me into my next blood donations.  I don’t think a group of people have ever been as disappointed by a red cross cold call as we were.
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Above is the menu for Toro Bravo. You see that star next to the Griddled Bacon Wrapped Date, that was my way of marking a dish we ate. My group and I chose to embrace the adventure of the evening and order the Chefs Choice Tasting Menu. We were informed the Chefs Tasting Menu consisted of six to eight separate dishes with enough for everyone. On a previous trip to Toro Bravo the server had been very clear on the strict nature of the Chefs Menu, so I was surprised when our wonderful server said she could just do the choosing and keep our tasting within budget and low on the gluten side for our gluten free party members. After going over the menu that I took for research purposes there are twelve dishes with stars by them. Our server was a rock star.
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Get to Gather: Thanksmas

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I’m pretty sure you understand that if you read any of my Thanksgiving associated http://wp.me/p2UOdB-1U. The sadness that accompanied the end of my Thanksgiving leftovers was just too much for me. So I decided to celebrate Thanksmas! I was so proud of myself thinking I made this up, but I didn’t. I suppose everything can be found on urban dictionary these days. For me, Thanksmas is that special time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas and is meant to be spent with those special friends that aren’t family, but might very well be more fun to hang out with.

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Christmas and Thanksgiving can be stressful, that is not what Thanksmas is about. I am a virgo, so I can have a hard time letting go of control sometimes. That’s why I usually make everything for my dinner parties. Everything. You can’t have a coursed meal if someone might be bringing some random crap. Okay, it’s not crap. It’s just not what I can work with when planning a nice meal. Well I decided to throw that psycho attitude out for Thanksmas and have a potluck! Each person was asked to bring a traditional holiday meal side to accompany the main courses I made. I am happy to report that no one brought any crap, just amazing food that I’ll share with you!
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New Dazzle: Kitchenaid

I guess you can trace my luck with kitchen gadgets back to the stockpile my Aunt Marylee had in her basement when I first moved out of my parents house. My mother and her sisters are garage sale masters and my aunt had been collecting used dishes, pots, pans and utensils for what must have been a very long time. I still have the set of fruit rimmed dishes she let me choose from the pile. That is where it started… And I’m afraid it will never end.

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Here is the beautifully used Kitchenaid from my mothers kitchen which was today bestowed upon me. I’ll be using it for the first time to make rolls on Thanksmas. This is the mixer I grew up watching my mother bake with and I couldn’t be luckier to have a mom who likes to upgrade. Thanks, mom! Xoxo

Dish Debut: Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Waffles

This all started with a box of pumpkin pancake and waffle mix from Trader Joes. It seemed a simple and righteous idea to make breakfast for dinner. But then things got a little crazy. I couldn’t make just waffles. I had to top them with something fried and slather them with syrup. Yeah, I swear I had the best of intentions. Then there was this…

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Oh yeah, I just made fried chicken ‘n waffles for the first time! If you’ve never tried chicken and waffles I’m really sorry for you. But I’d advise against it. Because for me it started a dangerous search for the best chicken and waffles. I turned my nose up the first few times I saw the sinfully delightful fare on menus. But eventually I was intrigued enough by the odd couple to give in. And now I’ve crossed another line I can never uncross. I’ve taught myself how to make them at home. What have I done?

I wrote out the most amazingly specific description of how I made the chicken.  Then it didn’t save on my wordpress app….. So…. I dredged some chicken tenders in buttermilk and eggs, then through a flour/breadcrumb/sage mixture.  I looked up a complimentary flavor for pumpking in my Flavor Bible and it had sage in bold.  It was a stellar combo people.  Then the chicken got fried.  The first description was sassy and thorough, this description is all I can offer now.  But don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I’ll be frying chicken again.  And you can bet I won’t cancel that draft update.

So, I used a pumpkin waffle mix from Trader Joes, so that was just a whisk and some eggs.  Though don’t believe the package, you need more than what they tell you you’ll need to make four waffles.  I love everything from Trader Joes, so obviously I really enjoyed the waffle mix.  So the moral of this adventure: Press save and there is very rarely such a thing as too much maple syrup.