WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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Portland Eats

After visiting Portland, I can’t think about that city without thinking about food – the food we ate, the food I continue to dream about, and the food I want to try next time we visit. I didn’t think I could move on in my posts until I’d talked about what we ate in this delicious city. So here we go! I’m warning you now, our trip was entirely glutinous. If that’s not your thing, this blog probably isn’t for you anyway.

We got into Portland pretty late on Sunday due in part to our late start and our stop in Cannon Beach(worth it). Our first stop was Henry’s Tavern. A friend of mine had recommend it for their great beer selection and awesome Happy Hour. Lucky for us, they do all day Sunday Happy Hour. It’s pretty epic. We’d heard good things about the mac and cheese so we ordered that, a flight of beers, and a pint. The mac and cheese was just what we needed, with a creamy cheddar and Parmesan cheese sauce. At under $5, you can’t go wrong. They did last call pretty early for us so headed over to Touché for one last drink. They still had their happy hour menu going too so we shared a Lamb Gyro before heading home for bed.

The next morning we slept in a bit before heading out for the day. We wandered down 23rd, admiring all the fun shops and restaurants, to our first stop of the day: Besaw’s. As it was labour day, there was a pretty big line. Luckily, we’re pretty into brunch so we’ve done this before. (It also helped that they serve coffee while you wait.)


Surprise, surprise, N got Eggs Benedict. If it’s on the menu, he’s pretty much guaranteed to order it. I ordered a delicious scramble packed with veggies, asiago cheese, and prosciutto. I have such a weakness for prosciutto! The food was fantastic and came out really quickly. We waddled off exploring with very full bellies!

Our next food stop was only a couple hours later. To be honest, we weren’t even overly hungry, but we’d come to Portland to eat and I was determined to try as much from my list as possible. I’d read great things about Clyde Common so I couldn’t pass up the chance to try something from their menu. It was also an acceptable hour to have a beer so it was time to take a break from wandering.

I’ve already written about Clyde Common twice so if you’re even in Portland, you should probably go. Not only is their beer selection great & their design top notch, but the food is also wonderful. Everything we saw come out looked fantastic and by the looks of pure joy on everyone’s faces, it delivered in the taste department as well.

We decided to share the lamb belly trenette since we weren’t hungry yet. I’d read some reviews that they really know what they’re doing with lamb and that was definitely true. I’m not usually that into pasta since a lot of it is something I could easily make myself at home and I’d rather try something I can’t make, but this dish still sticks out in my mind. It was unreal! Every time I look at this photo, I want to eat it again.

We spent the afternoon touring around the Pearl District and downtown Portland until Happy Hour. I can’t get over how awesome Happy Hour is in the States, especially Portland. Happy Hour in Canada pales in comparison. While we might get a dollar off a pint, you can get food and drinks for incredibly cheap in Portland. Many places even include Happy Hour prices all day on Sunday

We decided to try one of my dad’s favourite Portland restaurants for some drinks and a little break. Andina does Peruvian cuisine and tapas. We ordered beer for our first drink, but quickly realised that cocktails were the way to go. Their list is extensive! They started us off with some bread and different sauces for dipping. We were pretty obsessed with all of those and devoured it all pretty quickly.

N and I both love seafood so oysters were a must for us. We enjoyed them so much that we ordered them twice. We also shared the Antichucho de Pulpo (grilled octopus kebob with rocoto and caper chimichurri). It was all fantastic.

From there we moved on to one of the brew pubs for a couple hours before deciding we had enough room for dinner. We had planned to go for tapas at Toro Bravo, but when we pulled up in a cab, they were closed! We hadn’t even thought about the fact that it was Labour Day. Luckily, we’d snagged an awesome cabbie and he started making phone calls to all the restaurants on our list to find one that was open. We finally settled on Screen Door in the Northeast and headed over. There was quite a wait (probably because no where else in Portland seemed to be open for dinner!) but they let us order drinks while we waited. We’d eaten so much food that day that we weren’t really even hungry yet.

Screen Door does southern cuisine. It’s rich and hearty, as you’d expect. We decided it would probably be wise to share a meal if we planned on continuing our evening so we went with some hush puppies (cornbread balls) and fried chicken. It definitely wasn’t the healthiest meal, but it was totally worth it. That was some great fried chicken.

The restaurant itself was lively and the servers were fun. I’d definitely recommend it for a night out with friends. (It’s always fun to share a bunch of different options!) Not surprisingly, their beer selection was great as well. Can you really go wrong anywhere in Portland?

Our second day in Portland, we headed over to the Northeast for breakfast. I was really excited to try Tasty n Sons. It’s the same owner as Toro Bravo and I’d heard great things about both! We were not the least bit disappointed. I think we were still pretty overwhelmed (or maybe horrified?) by the amount of food we’d consumed the day before so we decided to share a couple things on their menu. We went with the breakfast board to start. It had a beautiful assortment of things like bacon, pâté, and cheese.

We then shared their special which was a Cuban style sandwich with plantain chips. It was amazing! Tasty n Sons does smaller plates and bigger plates so there are so many fun things to try. We also split a spicy Bloody Mary called the Tasty Mary and some bacon wrapped dates.

Their menu is one of the coolest breakfast menus I’ve ever seen. Everything is so creative! I think next time I’m in Portland, I’ll have to try the Burmese Red Pork Stew. It just sounds like such an interesting meal to have for breakfast that I can’t stop thinking about it. Obviously this is the sign of an amazing menu if I’m still thinking about all the things I want to try 3 months after the fact!

We didn’t eat a legitimate meal for the rest of the day. We were just too full and I was too excited for the restaurant we were eating at that night. I’d heard such amazing things about Pok Pok. I’d been telling N about it for days.

When we arrived, there was a bit of a wait so they sent us across the street for drinks while we waited. We ordered a couple beers and contemplated the menu. When we realised that they had the famous Pok Pok wings at the Whiskey Soda Lounge, we decided to go for it. Looking back, I wish we’d ordered these twice. Or three times. They were some of the best wings ever. It’s really no surprise that so many people rave about Andy Ricker. The guy’s a genius with Thai cuisine!

Our table was ready right as we finished up our wings. Perfect! We headed over to the covered patio at Pok Pok and started discussing what to order. I’d read they had a great Whiskey Sours, so we each ordered one. Deliciously dangerous. I ended up having quite a few and I don’t even usually like Whiskey.

We decided to go with their suggestions and go with Papaya Pok Pok, Kai Yaang (game hen) and sticky rice. I love the entire meal. Sadly, we think N ate an entire Thai chili and was completely turned off the Papaya Salad. It sounded like a very unpleasant experience for him, which is pretty disappointing for me since I loved the meal so much! Just something to keep in mind if you’re more sensitive to spice! Watch out for chili’s. It’s hard to enjoy a meal when you’re mouth is numb or on fire.

The next morning, we packed everything up and drove over to Pine State Biscuits for breakfast before heading up to Seattle. We’d heard great things about their biscuits and were not disappointed. A friend of mine had gone for the Reggie Deluxe and found it way too much food, but after seeing what was in it (Fried Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Egg, topped with gravy), I couldn’t resist. N went for the Chicken Club and we switched halfway through. This is probably what saved me since the Reggie Deluxe is definitely ridiculous and would certainly lead to a food coma.

I couldn’t leave the city without experiencing a food cart (we’d struck out the couple times we’d tried) so on our way out of town we stopped and picked up a sandwich to go. There was a little Czech Food Cart that had a fried cheese sandwich (go back a few years to read about that obsession of mine in Prague). It was huge and unnecessarily necessary.

We also stopped at Olympic Provisions for some road trip provisions. It turned out the saucisson sec and cheese we picked up was way too beautiful to chow down on in the car so we saved it and shared with my family. If I could get saucisson sec from Olympic Provisions in Canada, I would be in heaven. If you’re in Portland, do yourself a favour, and stop by. They do lunch, happy hour, cocktails, and dinner.

I’m sad there isn’t any more Portland food to be had, but I’m pretty impressed if you made it to the end of this blog post. I couldn’t leave out any of our meals. They were all incredible. If you love food, beer, coffee, and aren’t put off by trendy hipsters, Portland is your place.


I love cooking, eating, and entertaining friends, so hosting a potluck is a pretty fun night if you ask me. A couple months ago, we had a few of my coworkers and their men over for a couples game night. It was a fun night, filled with delicious food and friendly competition.

We’ve had a few potlucks this year so I knew I had some good recipes I could whip up, but I wanted to try something new. I’d just bought two new cookbooks (Chuck’s Day Off and Gather) and I was way to excited about them both. I decided to go with a recipe from Chuck’s book. I eventually would like to try all the recipes. The majority aren’t paleo or even gluten free, but he really knows his way around a kitchen. His restaurant, Garde Manger, in Montreal is one of my very favourites. If you ever find yourself in Montreal, I highly recommend you go for oysters, lobster poutine, and steak at his restaurant. Or try out Le Bremner. It is certainly on my list of must visits.

I settled on a cheese and tomato tart. It was relatively easy to make and was both beautiful and delicious. It was a lot like a pizza, but with a buttery phyllo pastry base. I remade it tonight and added prosciutto. It was a welcome addition and I’d definitely do it again. Can you really go wrong with prosciutto?

I also decided to make some mojitos. They’re one of my favourite summer drinks. There’s something so refreshing about a delicious mojito with fresh lime and mint. Not only that, but they’re really simple and I was itching to bust out the shaker we got as a housewarming gift.

In addition to my tart, we had some delicious wings, mixed veggies, and salad roles. Z definitely stole the show with his roast beef though. I think it came out perfect! These pictures make my mouth water a little bit. (And I’m quite jealous of that gorgeous knife!)

I’d put my camera away by the time we did dessert. Nathan made his delicious ginger molasses cookies and we picked up Salted Caramel gelato from Fiasco to make ice cream sandwiches. They were a pretty big hit. 
All in all, it was an awesome evening with delicious food and great company! There are so many more recipes from both of my new cookbooks that I’m looking forward to trying. I take them to bed regularly and daydream about what recipe I’m going to try next. Maybe it’s time for another potluck soon?

Birthday Pizza

N loves pizza so it was an obvious choice for his birthday meal. It doesn’t hurt that my parents have an incredible pizza recipe that they love to use. When I suggested we make it for N’s birthday, my dad was more than happy to oblige.

Like most recipes I love, this one just takes patience, practice, and some delicious ingredients. The sauce is Jamie Oliver’s quickest tomato sauce. It’s simple and full of flavour. You can’t go wrong with this one. We usually substitute Roma tomatoes for San Marzano type and I would highly recommend doing this if you can get your hands on them. They have a really distinct flavour and it’s become what I look for in an authentic pizza sauce.

The dough is a bit of a hybrid. My dad is always the one to make it, but I’ve borrowed his recipe and was gifted some semolina flour so I plan to try it out. You’ll have to wait for that to happen for me to post my take on the recipe, but there are hundreds of great recipes out there. I really think a lot of baking is getting to know your oven and your region anyway, so be adventurous. Experiment. I mean, the worst thing that’s ever happened to me was that I ate the ingredients off my pizza. They were still delicious even if my crust was a bit of a fail.

As we waited for the dough to finish proofing, we made up a tray of appetizers, grabbed some beers, and headed out to the deck to relax. This is something my family does often, especially out at the lake, and I love it. Olives and cheese are two of my favourite things. I’m not one to get overly excited about sweets, so to me these little appies are way better than desert. Unless it’s crème brûlée. I can’t say no to that deliciousness.

We made two large pizzas that night. The first was very traditional:  tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and basil. It’s probably my favourite pizza. The flavours seem to come together perfectly without competing with each other.

My dad named our second pizza The Kitchen Sink. Basically it had “everything but the kitchen sink”. We took a bunch of stuff we had in the fridge and piled it onto the pizza. There was asparagus, spicy capicola, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, and a couple different cheeses. I’m sure I’m forgetting some things too. It turned out delicious! I still love our simple pizza, but this one gave it a run for its money.

We chatted well into the night, enjoying our pizza and wine. That’s another thing I love about making pizza with my family: with one oven the meal lasts for a few hours, so we sit around chatting and enjoying each other’s company as we wait for the next pizza.

Paleo Aloo Gobi

This is one of those recipes we turn to pretty often because of its simplicity. It is incredibly delicious for how easy it is to make. I’m not much of a believer that a recipe has to be complicated in order to be great, but sometimes I’m still surprised by how easy it can be to make great food. Some of my favourite recipes are actually very basic and this one is no exception.

I took these pictures a long time ago, but we just made this recipe again this week and it reminded me of how great it is. You can find the recipe on Juli’s blog, paleomg.

She might just be a genius. I know these photos make it look a bit on the complicated side, but it’s really not. It’s just some spices, coconut milk, chicken, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Simmer and enjoy. Your whole house will smell incredible too! (That is, if you enjoy curry and garlic I guess.)

We’re out at the lake this weekend for N’s birthday and May long so this is a pretty short post. I took some great pictures for the recipes I made over the weekend so I hope to find the time to share them this week. They were well worth the time spent over the stove.

The only thing missing from this final shot here is the cilantro. I don’t know how I dropped the ball on that one, but of course it happened when I decided to pull out my DSLR and actually take photos. How come it always happens that way?

Hope everyone is having a great long weekend! Try this recipe. I swear it’s well worth it!

Greek Style Salad

I literally brushed dust off my laptop when I grabbed it tonight. Lately I’ve been doing lots of things that don’t really involve being on my computer.

Two weeks ago, my CrossFit boxed suddenly closed. I had some free passes I was using so I’ve spent the last couple weeks trying to decide what to do with myself. I’m seriously addicted to CrossFit. I’m also playing soccer and will be training for a half marathon though so I definitely can’t justify the cost of joining a new box on top of both of these commitments. I finally made the decision today to sign up for a weekly outdoor CrossFit class. It’s run by CrossFit Calgary and is in the park a few minutes walk from my house. It starts tonight and I’m pretty excited about it.

The weather in Calgary has been fantastic, so I’ve been spending a lot less time inside on my computer and a lot more enjoying the outdoors. We’ve been getting back into running more and bought a Frisbee this weekend for sunny days in the park. I even got a mild sunburn on Saturday, which is pretty rare for me!

Work has been busy too. I spent most of last week down at geoConvention talking to clients about our software. It was lots of long days in heels, but I actually really enjoyed it. It’s nice to get out and talk to clients, put names to faces, and not be glued to my computer for a few days.

On to the point of this post, I guess! Greek Salad is one of my very favourite salads. Unfortunately, one of the best parts of it is the feta cheese. This month we were making a solid effort to eat Paleo at home so feta was out. I don’t even have any in the fridge right now, which is pretty shocking. Olives are the other delicious piece of the puzzle though, if you ask me. I took a really simple idea from Balanced Bites and edited my Greek Salad recipe a bit. I don’t even know if this counts as a recipe.

Greek Style Salad
In a large salad bowl. combine cucumber, grape tomatoes, and pitted olives. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Drizzle with olive oil. 
Easy, Simple, and Delicious.

Spicy Sweet Pasta Sauce

I’m obsessed. Seriously obsessed.
Two words: Yam Pasta. I don’t know how I never thought of this before, but ever since discovering this recipe on George’s website, it’s all I’ve wanted to make. Thank you, George! You’re a genius!
The beginning of a delicious pasta sauce.

The first night we made it, we decided to try it with a tomato sauce. We’re both big fans of spicy chorizo so we decided to make a pasta sauce with some chorizo in it. Since it’s become a weekly favourite, I thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s one of the simplest sauces we make so I’m not even sure it’s officially a recipe, but I think it’s delicious so give it a try!

Cooking up some delicious chorizo sausage.

Tomato Sauce:

·         1 can of tomato paste
·         Chorizo sausage
·         1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
·         1 tablespoon cinnamon
·         1 tablespoon coconut milk
·         A pinch of nutmeg
·         Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Cut chorizo into bite-sized pieces
2. Cook chorizo in skillet
3. Once cooked, add chorizo and other ingredients to a pot
4. Cook on medium heat until warmed
5. Add to sweet potato noodles

Cutting up some chorizo.

We’ve since made this a couple times. Usually we’ve done it with Yam Noodles, but the time I managed to remember to take photos, I had it with spaghetti squash. Both are awesome, but I highly recommend the Yam Noodles.

Chorizo and Sauce.

Delicious Paleo Pasta

Meal Prep Monday

I’ve talked before about how important and helpful I find meal planning and prep. These tools are one of the only reasons I even come close to sticking to both a budget and a lifestyle. N and I have been following the Primal Blueprint since the end of our month of Paleo in December. The Primal Blueprint is very similar to Paleo except more lenient in terms of dairy, rice, wine, and beer.

Veggies for the week

This month we’ve decided to do 30 days of Paleo while also cutting out drinking. Not only does it save us some money (no cheese, no alcohol!), but I also feel a lot better cutting these things out. What’s a month, anyway?

We honestly didn’t get off to the best start with this challenge, but we’re back on track now. Sometimes I find myself looking at others and thinking they never have setbacks. I know this isn’t true though so I don’t want to come across as one of those people who never falls short. I do. Frequently. But I try to keep it in perspective. There’s no point in dwelling on a few beers or a couple french fries you shouldn’t have eaten.

Cutting up colourful peppers for snacks

One of the best ways we’ve found to be successful in our day to day lives is to prepare snacks in advance. This doesn’t always happen Monday, but usually early in the week. (Meal Prep Monday just sounds better than Meal Prep Sunday or Tuesday). I find it easiest to do everything for the week at once, so I’ll cook up any bacon we plan to eat for breakfasts, cut up veggies for snacks, make egg bites, or bake muffins. I’m lazy so this works for me.

Breakfast for the week: Bacon Acorn Squash Patties 

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut so I’m more than grateful for websites like Civilized Caveman and PaleOMG and books like Practical Paleo. I would probably end up eating the same thing every week if it weren’t for these awesomely talented and creative people!

Bacon Beef Butternut Squash

Yup, we eat a lot of bacon. 

All of these sources have inspired me to be more creative and taught me how delicious life can be, even without my beloved grains. We tried a ridiculously good pasta recipe with George’s Sweet Potato Pasta and our own sauce creation. I’ll try and get some decent pictures of that one next time since it’s one of my new favourites and it’s ridiculously simple!


N and I spent Easter Sunday with my parents this year. Mom asked that I bring an appetizer so I got up early Sunday morning and set to work. I decided to make deviled eggs. What is more perfect for Easter than deviled eggs?

The recipe I used is from Bon Appétit and they were a huge hit! Even my brother seemed impressed with them. I can definitely see myself making them again, since they were so easy and they include ingredients we tend to have on hand: bacon, eggs, and green onions. 

Bacon Deviled Eggs

Mom set out some other delicious appetizers including homemade bruschetta, olives, crackers, and a selection of delicious cheeses. I was in appetizer heaven. This is honestly one of my favourite things about family gatherings: sitting around the island, munching on delicious things, and having a couple drinks before dinner.

Nathan hanging out before dinner
For my family, Easter is usually either Ham or Lamb. Luckily for me, my parents had decided on lamb this year. I’m just not a big Spiral Ham fan. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ham, but it inevitably makes me think of lamb and then I’m just disappointed. Sorry, Ham, you just can’t compete with Lamb!
Mom originally told me we were having Lamb when she invited us for dinner. I then came over the week before Easter and she told me she had some news for me: We were going to be having Ham instead of Lamb at Easter. She then took photos of my disappointment and laughed a lot before telling me it was all a joke. We would still be having Lamb. 
Mom Cooking
Delicious Lamb
As usual, dinner was delicious. Dad made risotto and roasted asparagus with harrissa to go with the lamb. Looking at these photos makes me wish I could go back in time and eat this right now. 

All in all, it was a wonderful day with N and my family. The weather even cooperated enough for me to wear open toed heels and a skirt! I forgot to ask Nathan to take a photo of me, but I did manage to snap this one of my gem of a brother.

What a photogenic kid!

Weekend Wears

Last weekend it finally got warm enough not to have to wear tights, so of course I took advantage of this. Since it was Good Friday and we couldn’t eat meat, we decided to go for sushi. It had been so long since we’d last gone, so it was a nice treat. We tried a place downtown that we’d never been to and it definitely passed my salmon sashimi test so we’ll be back. (I rank all my sushi experiences by how good their salmon sashimi is. It’s my absolute favourite Japanese food!)

We grabbed a car2go downtown but afterwards it was so warm that we decided to walk to a bar for a couple drinks. It felt very much like spring. I probably should have known it wouldn’t last for long. We got snow yesterday morning so it’s been back to tights or pants. 
I haven’t worn this dress since the fall, but I just love it! It’s so comfortable and easy to wear. We did a lot of walking this evening and I found my new booties totally comfortable. I think they’ll be perfect for Stampede week. It’s nice to have a shorter option when it gets really hot that week. 
Looking back at these photos has gotten me even more excited for Spring and sadly I’m going to have to bundle up a bit for work tomorrow. Come on weather! I’m tired of tights and pants! Bring on the dresses! 
Thanks to N for being such a good sport and taking these photos when he was hungry! 

Meal Prep

Daylight savings gets me every time. Somehow this week is already getting away from me and it’s only Tuesday. Between upcoming deadlines at work and CrossFit on a regular basis, life feels busy. 

I wrote a post back in December about our experience with the Paleo Diet. It changed the way I look at food and how we eat and we haven’t really looked back. We’ve both seen some awesome benefits from cutting our grains so it just makes sense to stick with it. 
We also attempt to abide by some semblance of a budget, so we both bring our lunches to work daily (or at least we try. We’re mostly successful with this, although I give into lunch with the girls sometimes). I know this sounds like a lot of work, especially after I just said that life feels busy, but it’s actually not. 
A mostly Paleo meal we made for my parents

I don’t have some crazy secret or a tip you’ve never heard before. We honestly rely completely on meal prep and leftovers. Every night we make dinner at home so we just make a little extra so we can both have lunch the next day. It’s one of the easiest things. I’m fairly certain my mom would laugh and say I told you so if she were to read this. I can’t count the number of times she told me things like this.

Sometimes our planning doesn’t work out perfectly, so I also keep canned tuna and spinach on hand all the time so I can throw together a large salad if need be. (That’s what we’ll be eating for lunch tomorrow, in fact.) Every morning, I make a smoothie that we drink before we leave the house. I prep large batches of bacon that we keep in the fridge and we cook up some eggs to go with it once we get to work. This has become a habit but I still don’t always feel like doing any of it. Of course, I’m always pretty glad I did once I get to work the next day. How can you go wrong with leftover lamb meatballs or steak?

Lamb Meatballs and Balasmic Fig Compote
Another great “trick” I rely heavily on is meal planning. I’m not going to tell you this is something that I love or even remotely look forward to, but I find it pretty essential to staying on track. Sometimes it gets altered during the week and sometimes we end up going out still, but it’s incredibly satisfying not to have to worry about thinking up dinner that night. It takes me 10 minutes on Sunday and then we’re ready for the week. 
Wasabi Salmon “Burgers”
I’m not going to pretend we’re perfect. A lot of this is an experiment, but most of what we end up eating is pretty delicious. Don’t worry, we still eat out more than we should and go over budget sometimes (that bacon is expensive!). We’re pretty human in that way. For the most part I think we do pretty well, though and I’m proud of us for that. 
What are you tips and “tricks” to saying on your budget or diet? 

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