Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cake Wreck


M celebrated his birthday recently and I made a cake... not from scratch, don't get excited. I'd hate to see how it would have turned out if I had made it from scratch instead of a box! My sis tells me you're supposed to let it cool in the pan *before* you attempt to free it onto the cooling rack.

Oops...



But hey, it was delicious and M was happy, so that's really all that matters. But boy did I amuse myself in the process!

To see more Cake Wrecks, visit the official blog here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Garlic Knots


This twisted take on breadsticks was inspied by a meal at David's in Monument Square. We were a little puzzled by our overall experience there (the food was good though!), but one definite positive was the garlic knots they serve as your pre-meal snack. So I gave it a whirl at home. I followed the pizza dough recipe from The Joy of Cooking and gave them a little tie before they went in the oven. They turned out much bigger than I expected! These babies are a fun little twist on your regular breadstick.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Buffalo Wings-N-Things

Note: Buffalo Wings-N-Things has since closed.


Buffalo Wings-N-Things on Cumberland Ave. in the East End of Portland is one of M.'s favorites from when he lived in Portland in a previous life. So when I suggested we order wings for dinner one night, his eyes lit up. Unfortunately, he was a little disappointed when he revisited his old fave. Seems like memory *didn't* serve him well...


Our only gripe was that the wings were so expensive! We got an embarrassingly large number of wings (a double order plus another single for a total of 18 wings) and ended up paying $23. Eek! The menu (and the counter guy) said our wings would come with bleu cheese dressing, carrots, celery, and steak fries. But when we got home, we found that we had just the dressing, wings, and celery. Not a big deal if that's what you were expecting (not a big deal regardless, but I would have ordered some fries if I hadn't been told they were coming with my wings).


The decor inside is fun - M was a happy upstate New Yorker with all the Buffalo paraphernalia. You can eat in as well as take away, and the menu has several other items aside from wings (subs, pizzas, salads). And while the wings were good, we both agreed that they were a little too pricey to be a regular stop on our culinary tour of Portland.

Buffalo Wings-N-Things on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Local 188

Everyone who's anyone in Portland knows about/has eaten at/has reviewed on their food blog Local 188. And for good reason. So here's the obligatory review, and I apologize in advance for the photography (or lack thereof)... I was a little, how do you say, drunk.

M and I have dined at Local three times now and have come away with a more favorable impression each time we do. Our favorite appetizer has been the grilled moro flat bread ($3), that comes with a huge dollop of herbed, whipped butter (as best I can tell that's what it is). The second time we dined, I had the sopa de la noche ($5), which was cream of mushroom.


I liked it, M did not- he said it was unremarkable. However, he and I both enjoyed the braised short ribs ($13). They were soft and well flavored, although I got a bite of something with the grossest texture- like crunchy, but spongy fried fat. I actually had to spit it out into my napkin, and I hardly ever encounter something I can't choke down.


On the aforementioned night, we sat at the bar and had nice service- the bartender was knowledgeable about the menu and didn't mind stopping to answer our questions, even though the bar was pretty busy.

On our most recent visit, we scored a table after about a ten minute wait at the bar, without a reservation, kinda late on a Saturday night (nineish?). So I was happy. M and I again shared the flatbread to start, and then shared the salad special and the steak special. The steak was a sirloin (actually cooked rare, the way we ordered it, yay!), with Yukon gold mash and asparagus.

Each time we dine at Local, we find that we come away having had some awesome food, for a reasonable price (our bill, including drinks, averages around $60). I have heard complaints about the service from other reviewers, but we have never personally experienced any hiccups. However, we are pretty low-maintenance diners, preferring to be left alone- as long as our drinks are full! Local is definitely one of the hip spots of Portland, and from what I've seen so far, the hipsters are definitely on to something here.

Local 188 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Feast of the Irish


Our St. Patty's Day dinner was corned beef, Irish soda bread, colcannon, and boiled green cabbage. Pretty traditional, pretty delicious! The soda bread was particularly great, with buttermilk (first time I've cooked with it). It came out so moist and delicious.

Irish Soda Bread
from the Joy of Cooking

Makes one 8-inch round loaf

1 2/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons caraway seed, optional
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and still warm

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a large baking sheet. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir in currants and caraway seed.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix or your bread will be tough. Scrape batter onto the baking sheet and shape into a mound 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Score top of the round with an X.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. Serve with lots of butter!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bonobo Pizza

Located at 46 Pine Street, in Portland's West End, Bonobo Pizza is super cute on the inside, and achieves a nice balance between casual eatery and take-out pizza place.


On our second visit to Bonobo, M and I shared the Caesar salad ($6, and which disappeared before I could snap it!!). It was great, with the right amount of dressing, lots of fluffy, finely shaved Parmesan, and croutons that weren't too hard, with plenty of flavor. I opted for the white anchovies, for an additional $1.


Our pizza was off the specials' menu, the name escapes me now..., but it was a white sauce with brie cheese, thyme, chicken, mushrooms, and spinach. We subbed the chicken for prosciutto for no extra charge (since I have yet to meet a chicken on a pizza that I liked). Of course, the pizza was great, and this time around, I was more impressed with the place than the last.

Last time I felt like I was... bothering the staff? Between the hostess/ take-out counter chica who wouldn't stop her conversation about art school with a waiting patron to greet us (for like 5 minutes!), and our waitress, who when asked how a meat pizza was, replied cooly, "I wouldn't know, I'm a vegetarian." But maybe it was just an off night, because on our second visit, everyone was warm and polite. I hope when you visit, you find the same, because the food is definitely worth a trip down to the West End.

Bonobo on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's A Boy!

Another classic from Jesika, recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Dutch baby, the best sweet breakfast thingy in the world. Just as easy, if not easier than, pancakes, and a million times more buttery and yummy.


Dutch Baby
From Joy of Cooking

1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, room temp.
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 ccup flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Whisk milk, eggs, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in flour and whisk until smooth. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or other ovenproof pan. Add flour mixture and cook for one minute without stirring. Place pan in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat (without opening the door, the hardest part!) to 350 and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Pancake should be large and puffed out of the pan. Sprinkle with sugar and serve immediately (before puff falls). Serve with maple syrup, of course.

So yeah, this thing is delicious and very easy to make. This particular morning, we had our dutch baby with homemade Maine syrup (thanks, Dave!) and local sausage that I got at the market (forget the details, sorry).