As you can imagine, life has been a bit crazy lately. We are 2 months away from the wedding. In the past, D and I have taken an early spring vacation. Las Vegas, Palm Springs etc. This is why we chose our wedding date- to keep that tradition alive. Well this Portland weather is making me want Palm Springs right now. In order to keep things simple in the weeks leading up to the big day, we thought a staycation was a better idea. When AC Hotel Portland reached out to me about a stay at their new … Read Post
Welcome to the first post of 2017! As some of you know, big things are ahead for me in 2017, but more on that later. I’m here to bring you a post about one of the most famous places to eat in Portland. Pok Pok. It’s a staple watering hole for locals and tourists alike. Pok Pok, “serve(s) food found at pubs, restaurants, homes and the streets of Southeast Asia with the majority of the food coming from Thailand, and specifically from the North and Northeast of Thailand.” It’s flavors are out of this world. Trust me you won’t find these dishes anywhere in the US. They are unique and beautiful. I just love this food.
You can expect long longs most hours of the day at this gem, but like most amazing things, its worth the wait. For this dinner, I joined my friend Chloe to explore the Pok Pok menu.
Pok Pok’s extensive menu can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid! You can’t really go wrong here. My favorite dining style is to order several plates and share with the group. Chloe and I may have ordered enough to feed a small army, but it’s all SO delish.
In my opinion, a lot of the dishes are quite spicy. If you aren’t into spice- make sure to chat with your server. Everyone who has waited on me has been extremely knowledgable about the menu. They will surely steer you in the right direction.
Another thing to note- the bar program is excellent! I love the innovative and fresh cocktails always offered at Pok Pok. Make sure to check out the cocktail specials- they are usually creative and seasonal.
What I Order at Pok Pok:
I’ll be honest- I do not order the same thing regularly at Pok Pok. The diverse menu has so much to order. That said, I do have some favorites and tried and true staples. I go for a mix of spicy, sweet and fresh flavors. I tend to lean towards noodle dishes in general and you will see that reflected in my choices. So here it goes:
- Sunny’s Yam Wun Sen Chao Wang
Spicy and sour glass noodle salad with naem (a house-made sour pork sausage), ground pork, mussels, dry shrimp, Chinese celery, pickled garlic, Thai chiles, shallots and carrot. Lime, fish sauce, garlic oil dressing.
- Tam Kai Yaang
Spicy roasted game hen salad with long beans, tomatoes, peanuts, cilantro, Chinese celery, Thai chiles, dry shrimp, garlic, lime, palm sugar and fish sauce.
- Khao Soi (Chicken, Beef, or Vegetarian)
Northern Thai mild curry noodle soup made with our secret curry paste recipe and house-pressed fresh coconut milk. Served with house pickled mustard greens, shallots, crispy yellow noodles and roasted chili paste.
- Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
Half dozen fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic and served with pickled vegetables.
- Whiskey Soda Float
Homemade bourbon ice cream and cola float with a brace of Amarena cherries on top.
Now you have the local insights- Next time you head to Pok Pok- try one of these dishes. You won’t be disappointed. Maybe one of your New Years resolutions was to try a new restaurant- give this a whirl.
Hope you are enjoying the new year and staying warm!
Something about cream tea reminds me of the holidays. Although, I don’t think cream tea has any holiday connotation. So now you may be asking yourself…what IS cream tea?
Traditionally in England, cream tea a form of afternoon tea. The tea is served with scones, clotted cream and jam. When I traveled around England I had my first cream tea in Cornwall. There are two variations of cream tea which depend on where you are in England. In Cornwall, they serve scones, then butter, then jam then clotted cream. In Devonshire, they serve scones, then clotted cream, then jam. It’s quite the debate as to which is the “proper” way, but it all tastes pretty amazing.
It’s hard for me to find clotted cream here in the USA unless you are at a specialty grocery store. I can find mine at stores like Zupans or Market Choice. It keeps in the fridge for quite awhile, so make extra scones! I love making my own scones instead of store bought. One of my favorite recipes is a dried fruit scone. Thanks to Graceland Fruit, who helped sponsor this post. I made some delicious cranberry scones for my holiday cream tea. Graceland prides themselves on having the best, wholesome fruit. Truthfully, several people commented at how the cranberry flavor was so vibrant in this recipe. In this recipe, it’s important to really use quality ingredients – so I was very pleased with the final results – thanks to Graceland!
Scones are pretty simple- I’m not a seasoned baker and I seem to have good luck with them!
2 cups of flower
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons of COLD butter (the colder the better!)
1/2 cup Graceland dried cranberries. (This can be substituted for any Graceland dried fruits you fancy!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in Graceland cranberries.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
- Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
- Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Get a good quality jam and clotted cream. Serve in whichever order you see fit. For me, it’s Scone, Cream, Jam! Serve warm for best results!
Thanks again to Graceland Fruit for sponsoring this post- Your product is wonderful! For more information on where to find Graceland Fruit near you- please check out their website.
The holidays, as merry as they may be, can be stress bombs. If you are like me, the last few weeks have been jam packed. For me, it’s about getting the perfect gift or attending friends gatherings. Adding that on top of an already busy work/life routine makes life a bit overwhelming. I know holidays are a time to be joyful, but as a result they cause me a significant amount of stress.
Stress is a terrible, no good, very bad thing for humans. It can cause physical reactions such as: headache, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. It can also have an emotional toll. For me, I’m much more of an emotional stress case. I get irritable, sad and depressed at times.
I am here with Hand and Stone, who is sponsoring this post, to bring you some ways to relieve your holiday stress. Let’s get into the tips!
5 Tips for Relieving Holiday Stress
Go in with a Plan: For me, I work best with a plan in place. Get all your tasks laid out. Buying gifts, holiday parties, family schedules etc. Trying to lay the ground work early will help you feel efficient. I usually make a list of the people I buy gifts for and possible gift ideas. That way, as I buy, I can cross them off. The physical “crossing something off” also gives me that sense of accomplishment
Set a Budget: The financial aspect of holidays is a HUGE stressor. Setting a budget early can help you mentally prepare for the spending ahead. It will also help post holiday planning. I can remember many holidays gone where in January I was left thinking “Where did all the money go?” Set budgets for gifts, holiday party attire, travel etc. Give yourself a small cushion for those unforeseen expenses.
Get Plenty of Exercise: I know what you are thinking. “I HAVE NO TIME.” But you do. You need to stay active and energized. Although it seems counterintuitive, exercise reinvigorates the body. It can be as simple as going for a walk daily on your lunch break. Parking at the very end of the parking lot while shopping. Hitting the gym for a 30 min cardio blast. Those little moments really help your mental health. Stay Fit!
Keep Things Simple: As the holidays arrive, our inner Clark Griswold comes out. We want everything to be perfect and over the top. Setting unrealistic expectations can send your stress level skyrocketing. Stick to a simple and easy plan (see tip #1). Make sure you aren’t overextending and say “no” when necessary. Your mental and emotional health will thank you come January.
Personal Time: I know the holidays are about others, but it’s okay to spend some time on personal health as well. For me, I stopped by Hand and Stone Spa for a massage. Its a quick way to escape the hustle and bustle of this time of year. You will leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the holiday chaos. Hand and Stone Spa has a variety of spa menu items to soothe your holiday stressors. Facials and Massage are their specialties. I also added on a foot treatment to mine. Hey, those feet need some love too! Importantly, it provides a moment of tranquility in this stressful time of year.
Overall, take care of yourself as well as your loved ones this time of year. It is SO easy to get swept up into the pressure of the season. Stay calm, stay focused, and treat yourself.
Finally, thanks to Hand and Stone for sponsoring this post. I received a complimentary massage, but the opinions reflected are my own. To find your nearest location, please visit http://www.handandstone.com/ Trust me, you’ll want to try this spa!
Together with many of my friends, family, co workers and co-earth inhabiters, I am still reeling from the events of the election. Regardless of my disappointment with the outcome, I want to move forward. This post is about progress and peace.
My post- election thoughts have been focused on how divided we are as a nation. My bubble burst to see how many people are SO utterly different than me. It seems like an awkward thing to say. Of course people are different. In this instance and I am talking about polarizing opposites. After Tuesday’s outcome I spent the better amount of the week in tears. How can people be rejoicing when I am in complete despair. Are people not as absolutely terrified as I am?
As I pass people on the streets I wonder. It has lead me down a path of discovery. I want to learn more about american life. Those americans whose background, skin color, sexual orientation, class and socioeconomic status aren’t like mine. What is it to be an american? What divides us, and what can bring us together.
One of the moments I reflected on was my media dinner at Park Kitchen. It was a PR dinner planned to have media try the new Happy Hour menu. I’m not sure if it was the food, the atmosphere or the company, but there was something about that dinner. Chef David Sapp entertained us with stories of change throughout Park Kitchen’s history. He told us about chefs with different visions, palates, and backgrounds who passed through Park Kitchen. Yet the clientele has remained loyal and strong in the community. It’s a great example of weathering the storm of change. Embracing it and finding your own unique way of prospering. Park Kitchen continues to thrive under new head chefs. I have the upmost faith it will continue along that path.
We sat there as a table full of completely different people cloaked in the comfort of food and drink. I enjoyed that moment and I’ve reflected back to that dinner several times the past week.
In these moments of change, keep the faith in those who you believe in. Support your local community and businesses. Treat people with kindness. Most of all, keep peace and grace in your hearts. It is an easy time to continue segregating ourselves. But the power comes in how we can conquer this divide and come back together. We are the United States of America, the greatest country on earth.
Thank you to Park Kitchen for hosting us. Your food was delicious, your stories were enlightening, and your spirit inspiring. Get to Park Kitchen for the new 17 item Happy Hour. The dishes are stunning and equally as tasty.
Park Kitchen is located at 422 NW 8th in Portland
Love, Rachel xo