Portland Oregon came to my radar after watching an episode of "Bizarre Food" by Andrew Zimmern, one of my favorite food travelers. When Mr. C got a business trip to Portland, I jumped on it and tagged along. Annabelle got excited about visiting another place and could not be more thrilled when she found out that the only downside for her to tag along is for her to "miss" a couple days of school. So, without a doubt, we went.
We could not be happier with the decision to visit, between the innovative foods to the breath-taking views, Portland won us over 120%. The fun part is to have Annabelle experience all these and capture it on video. You just have to watch to get a taste of what Portland can bring to your next food adventure.
Here are some of the highlights.
Trip outside of the city to experience the breath-taking views of the lake, water-fall and the Gorges.
Years ago, I read an article about restaurant NOMA and that was the first time I start to realize that there is more than just Fairy Tales like "The Little Mermaid" that is fascinating in that country. Apparently, Copenhagen becomes the forefront of the New Nordic food and a revolution is underway to challenge our imagination on what food can be. Finally, I had my feet on the ground and ready to encounter what Copenhagen brings to the plate.
As always on these food trips, I had my eating events planned out. First stop, the new popular Copenhagen Street Food Market. Despite the pouring rain and tricky drive, we dived into a fully crowded indoor food hall. From Chinese to Mexican, Indian to traditional Denmark food, you have all the choices under the sun. My mission was not really looking for varieties, but rather, hidden gems. And I found one - the little shop that applied crème brulee to donuts!
Scandinavia felt so far away but after a 7 hours plane ride (which is not that different from going to the west coast, by the way) from New York, we landed on Oslo. Our excitement and jet lag were all mixed together and it made the long wait for the luggage pick-up and train ride to the hotel almost a blur to us. You have to keep in mind that this is a large family on the move - there were 9 of us, including 3 kids and 2 seniors. So nothing was going to be quick (or easy) in the coming 9 days during our stay in the viking countries.
But, the streamlined and fool-proof transportation and well designed city structure in Oslo made it quite easy for us to go from one point to another. The modern technology is so well incorporated into the traditional landscapes, it felt like we were in a modernized fairy tale land.
Now it was around 8pm local time when we settled in a cozy hotel (Scandic) right next to the train station. It was a good choice of logging for us since...
This is a recipe I developed per my family's breakfast demand. The usual whole wheat bread can no longer do for our taste bud. With my affection to jujube and nuts, it was only natural to get to this combination. Instead of the dried jujube, I used the jujube honey and the pecans were also grounded up to blend into the bread itself. Normally I would use walnuts, but pecan worked really well too!
For some of the basic build up, I would point to my post earlier (fool proof bread) . This is a slight variation to the basic bread and I will focus on the key steps here.
The inspiration of this dessert came from a garden lunch we had during our visit to Morocco. It was a British style meal with Moroccan influences and one of the desserts was milk tea with some petite cakes. After the trip, a friend of ours happened to bring us a box of very nice Chinese Black Tea called "Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong" and I actually never heard of that. When I looked it up, it turns out that it is a very popular tea exported to Europe, particularly favored by the British Royals. And I thought, this would be perfect to remake that dessert with a slight twist!
This is how the milk tea looked like during that lovely lunch.
If you don't have the same tea, any black tea should do. This is a great crowd-pleaser yet supper easy to make.
Heavy Cream 2 cups
Milk 2 cups
Black Tea Leaf ¼ cup
Dark Brown Sugar 1/2 cup
Gelatin 1 envelope
Sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of cold milk to soften up, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and milk to a medium sauce pan. Add blac...
For years, making bread was like flipping a coin - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I read many receipts to try to figure out what works and what doesn't. Some of them blame it on the salt - if you put in too much too early, it might kill the yeast. Some blame it on the fat - too much fat would also kill the yeast. After countless trial-and-errors, I finally get to the point where each loaf comes out well risen and the whole family can now count on it for breakfast. Trust me, once you taste your own bread, you'll never want to go back to the store bought!
It turns out that there are two tricks that can help to ensure success.
#1 start a simple yeast batter on the side. This helps to ensure there will always be live yeast going on no matter what you do with the dough.
#2 patience. Never rush, just take your time. It takes about 90 minutes for the first round of kneading and proofing. It then takes about 30 minutes to do second proof. Finally, it takes about another 30 minutes to b...
Our Christmas trip took us to San Diego. Even though not as warm as I had hoped, it was none the less a nice escape from the frozen New England.
As parents of two youngsters, our first fun day was dedicated to the zoo.
I loved the zoo except the overpriced zoo food, why can't there be gourmet food in touristy places! I soon realized that it was not just the zoo, it was not easy to find good place to eat when you travel with a large family with a one year old baby. Luckily there were still a few places worth noting.
It was said that San Diego has the best Mexican food outside of Mexico. So, of course, I had to try it. I narrowed my choices down to one place that is taking more of a modern take on the street food.
It has trendy deco and is super friendly to kids, even though Marlon was trying to destroy the table that we were sitting at.
We ordered absurd amount of food despite the fact that it was just a lunch. It became a taco tasting, a little bit of beef, a little b...
As we scanned nearby cities to look for good food, we set our eyes on Philly. Somewhere somehow I glimpsed a note that said it is known as the city for foodies, not sure if I remembered it right, but I will go with that. 5 hours driving was not entirely easy with my 1-yea-old Marlon on board. We had to stop several times before he went completely crazy. When we caught him napping, we speeded up as much as we legally allowed.
Finally we arrived in our hotel right on the edge of China Town. Yes, our stubborn taste buds led us to where they most familiar with and long missed. We were in time for supper and decided to walk to this Malaysia restaurant called Panang.
Their roti canai was outstanding. So much so I ordered 4 of them, completely overestimated how hungry I was and underestimated how large they were. There were quite a few other dishes also hit the spot for us that night. Hainan Chicken was super tender and I recently acquired a recipe to make it at h...
80 miles away from Niagara Fall is Toronto. I have long heard the whispering of great food, particularly Chinese food through friends. And I thought how good can it be? This is moment of truth for me to try it out myself.
We stayed at the bustling Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto which is an easy access to many restaurants and food places nearby. Our first and most memorable meal was at Lai Wah Heen. Their array of creative dim sum choices captured our eyes and stomachs. And we are still raving about it long after the trip ended.
I'll say it is definitely the most upscale dim sum place I have been to so far, beautifully decorated with Chinese Calligraphy.
Have you ever had a Foir Gras themed dim sum? My first too! And it was rich and nutty and savory and crisp and.. well, amazing.
Then came the truffle veggie roll. I never had truffle with steamed Chinese veggie in the past, it is oh so good!
The steamed cake roll with strawberry filling was also my first time. E...
After six good hours of driving, we finally arrived at Niagara Fall. I have been here 3 times in the past but the first being on the Canadian side. And I have to say, it is true - much prettier on this side!
Getting here is certainly not easy, not only counting the hours but also trying to keep my 11 month old entertained on the long road. He did just fine, and we made it!
Finding good food near the Fall was not easy, burgers and hot dogs just wouldn't do. I was very much looking forward to a nice breakfast at Paris Crepe House before we get the day started but only found out that they only open after 11:30 during weekdays... Talking about disappointments! Luckily, we did have a great meal at Rainbow Roomto wrap up the day.
The place has a great combination of food and amazing view. Just looking at the view itself made me joy. I do recommend making a reservation ahead of time to secure the window seats. Chef Massimo Capra is a well known Chef in Canada. The food was refreshing and creat...