Tag Archives: local

Thanksgiving in Portland and Dinner at The Farm Cafe!

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and the weather is nice and sunny (not like it is here – super rainy and gloomy!) So since we can’t really do anything outside, I figured it would be a good time to write about our trip to Portland for Thanksgiving. While we usually spend Thanksgiving in the Bay, this year we decided to visit my sister/brother in law and our nephews – we left Tuesday night and got back late last night – and had an awesome trip!

One of the best things about Portland is the FOOD – and this trip was no exception. Other than the amazing food my sister (technically she’s my sister-in-law, but I really just think of her as my sis, so we’ll just call her that 🙂 ) cooked, we also ate at the coolest restaurant the night we got in – The Farm Cafe!

The Farm Cafe actually reminded me of a less-fancy Chez Panisse – and they actually have a very similar mission: organic, locally sourced food, totally veggie friendly and super flavorful dishes!

We were pretty hungry when we got there, so we ordered a few appetizers right away (and I ordered a soup for myself hehe). First up: The Williams Baked Brie which is made to order and comes out melty, cheesy and piping hot! The brie was served with warm, toasted sugar, roasted hazelnuts, bosc pears, and a fresh baguette. It almost felt like dessert – but in a good way!

We also ordered the Hummus Plate which came with an antipasto olive mix, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, and warm Greek flatbread. The hummus was sprinkled with sesame seeds and tasted really fresh – like it was made right at our table!

And the soup I got for myself was the “soup of the day” and was a white bean soup served with fresh crostini. The soup was super flavorful (even though it was simple) – it definitely had some garlic and good crushed black pepper in it, was very warming, and had a creamy / chunky texture to it which was just perfect.

For our entrees, I think most of us ended up getting one of two things: the first was a Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala which was served with garlicky mashed potatoes and a crimini mushroom marsala (the sauce was divine!)

And the second favorite entree of the night: the Butternut Squash Stuffed Ravioli – handmade ravioli stuffed with butternut squash, ricotta and pecorino cheeses, caramelized onion, and crushed hazelnuts, and was drizzled with a brown butter sauce.

And of course, we couldn’t pass up dessert! We ordered two for the table – first: The Sunken Chocolate Souffle with Coffee Ice Cream

The souffle was dense and had the richness of dark chocolate, the center of the cake was molten and melty, and the coffee ice cream was a perfect complement to the warm cake 🙂 Our second dessert was absolutely amazing too – The Marscarpone Cheesecake  with Pecans and Dulce de Leche Sauce…

O.M.G. Seriously – the most amazing cheesecake ever!! The cheesecake itself was fluffy and light, had the hint of vanilla and was baked on a shortbread sweet crumb crust. Toasted pecans were delicately placed on top, and the caramel sauce was to die for! All in all, an amazing meal that was the perfect start to a great weekend 🙂 I can’t believe our trip to Portland is already over! It totally flew by – we had a wonderful time and a great Thanksgiving.

We got back late last night, and have spent most of today doing laundry, errands, and groceries (to prep for the awesome dinner I’m making tonight – Corn & Quinoa Chowder! but more on that later). I’m definitely trying to enjoy the rest of the long weekend as much as possible (and we’re seeing Harry Potter tomorrow which I am so excited about!)

Stay tuned for a post on the dinner I’m making tonight, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway today as well – you only have until tomorrow at noon! 🙂

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Amazing dinner at Chez Panisse!

On Monday, my amazing husband passed his oral exam for his PhD. After 3.5 years of studying, he finally moved from PhD student to PhD candidate! Hooray! 🙂 So, to celebrate, I decided to surprise him with dinner at Chez Panisse, which is seriously one of the most amazing restaurants in the Bay Area.

For those of you who don’t know, Chez Panisse is an all organic, locally sourced restaurant with an inventive menu that changes daily. Alice Waters is a pioneer in her field – and I greatly respect her for the work she’s trying to do for the school lunch program and The Edible Schoolyard (but that’s for another post 🙂 ). My husband was obviously super excited when he heard that we were going to Chez Panisse. I’m not usually good at keeping surprises for months at a time (I had to make this reservation months in advance!) But this time I did – which made it even more of a surprise for him 🙂 Our reservations were for the cafe upstairs, because there were more vegetarian options for us there.

I love the warm, inviting ambiance of this restaurant! We were already starving when we got in, so we went right to ordering – after they brought out their fluffy, warm, homemade bread with the tastiest all-natural butter I’ve ever had!

Our first entree was the hand cut herb pasta with wild mushrooms – which sounds simple, but it was the most flavorful pasta I’ve ever had! I’m pretty sure they added a lot of garlic and a variety of herbs to the sauce, along with what was probably a healthy helping of butter and olive oil 🙂 Soo tasty though!

I also ordered a ginger orange soda – which looked like rose wine when it came out! It was a really interesting drink – the soda wasn’t too sweet at all – it was actually quite refreshing with a nice hint of ginger to it.

But back to our entrees. In addition to our pasta, we ordered the pizza with wild nettles and pecorino. My husband didn’t even know what nettles were before the pizza came out – and I had only had them once before and didn’t really enjoy them (nettles can be kind of bitter if they aren’t cooked properly). But these nettles were crispy and really flavorful – with hints of garlic, crushed red pepper and probably a host of other spices that I couldn’t identify 🙂

Yummy! And of course, we couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. We ended up getting the Sierra Beauty Apple and Cranberry Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream. The tart wasn’t too sweet and you could really taste the apples and whole cranberries! The cinnamon ice cream just had a hint of cinnamon and when paired with the sweet crust of the tart and the “tart” filling, rounded out the dessert perfectly.

As usual, and amazing meal at Chez Panisse! My husband and I left very full, content, and happy. And of course – he was relieved that his exam was over! It was the perfect dinner celebration 🙂

 

 

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