Hello Portland!

Hello Portland!

Whenever I visit a new city; visiting their local eateries is definitely on the top of my list of things to do. There’s something wonderful to be discovered by eating and drinking at the places the locals love. This is exactly what I did on my recent trip to Portland, Oregon! Join me in this blog post as I reminisce about some of my favorite eats in PDX!

Coffee and Tea

Did you know that Portland is the 3rd most caffeinated city in the US; following San Francisco and Seattle?  Being the coffee aficionados that we are; we definitely had to make our way to some of the best coffee and tea spots in town!

Stumptown Coffee was the first coffee spot that I thought of when I was first planning my Portland trip. It’s only appropriate that this place is associated with Portland because Stumptown happens to be one of the early nicknames of the city.

We visited Stumptown’s largest cafe, in Portland’s Old Town and tried their Hazelnut Latte as well as their Woodblock Mocha. The Woodblock mocha is made out of Woodblock Chocolate. Woodblock Chocolate is from a Portland Oregon family-run, bean-to-bar chocolate manufactory.

Both the Hazelnut Latte and Woodblock Mocha had rich, bold flavors that were perfect for kicking off a lovely day in Portland. Stumptown Coffee definitely knows their coffee!

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Cafe Umbria was the next coffee spot we tried.  Based out of Seattle, Washington; Caffè Umbria is a full-service, wholesale coffee roaster with Italian roots. Their specialities are authentic Italian espresso.

We visited Cafe Umbria’s Madison Cafe location in Portland. The coffee house at Madison is located in a historic Georgian style building. It is a relaxing and classic cafe that is great for relaxing after visiting the Portland Art Museum nearby.

I throughly enjoyed my Matcha Latte. It had the perfect hint of sweetness and flavor of matcha. I also enjoyed the complimentary dark chocolate that they gave along with the coffee.

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Aside from great coffee; we were also able to try some amazing tea places during our Portland Visit.

Townshend’s Tea Company  is a tea shop with several locations in Oregon. They specialize in several loose leaf tea; black, green, white, chai, herbal; as well as other beverages with tea as the main ingredient.

We visited the location in historic Mississippi Avenue in North Portland. The cafe here  was formerly a 1940s carpentry shop. This made for a unique environment.

For our trip; I chose to get their special Mint Cream Latte. It was made out of half Mt. Hood Vanilla, half organic Peppermint. It was made latte-style like their chai tea. This tea was lovely and reminded me a lot of the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. I loved how it had a special Oregon touch via the Mt. Hood vanilla.

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The Spice and Tea Exchange in Portland was one of my favorite tea spots for some to-go coffee for home.

Located at the heart of Portland on Broadway street; they offered an abundant amount of teas. Among their various teas offerings were black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, pu-erh tea and matcha tea.

I chose to get three bags to take home;  Bonita Peach Roobios,  Creme Brûlée tea and Gone Bananas Tea. The Gone Bananas is my favorite, It has sweet flavors of vanilla, banana and rock sugar combined with bourbon and rum extracts. It smells just like banana and has the perfect hint of banana flavor too!

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Donuts

Aside from being well known for their coffee; another treat that Portland is known for is for their donuts! In fact; they are home to not just one but two famous donut shops! We of course got to try both 😉 during this trip.

Voodoo Doughnuts was definitely the one donut I shop I did not want to miss. I had several people recommend this place when I first mentioned I was going to Portland.

Located in Portland’s Old Town district; it was definitely be an adventure coming here. There is even the large “Keep Portland Weird” sign right across from the location. As eccentric as it’s surroundings are; so is the shop itself with it’s pink decor and giant donut hanging from the ceiling.

We chose to get the famous Voodoo Man donut as well the Guava Colada. The Voodoo Man donut was filled with raspberry jelly and is topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake. The Guava Colada had guava jelly and was topped with vanilla frosting, flake coconut and a toothpick umbrella. The donuts were tasty and not too sweet.  I can definitely see why they are famous! They’re not only uniquely cute but scrumptiously delicious.

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Bluestar Donuts is the other famous donut shop in Portland. I had previously tried Bluestar Donuts when their California location opened up in Abbot Kinney. I however didn’t want to miss the place where it first originated from; Portland!

I tried the Bluestard Donuts location at Mississippi Avenue. It was a cute and small shop that offered several of their regular favorites as well as one of kind items.

For this trip we chose to get the Chocolate Almond Ganache and Meyer Lemon Key Lime Curd. The Chocolate Almond Ganache is brioche ring glazed with dark chocolate made from natural cocoa powder. It is topped with chopped salted Marcona almonds. The Mayor Lemon has their signature brioche  stuffed with a curd made from Meyer Lemon and Key Lime purees. The outer shell is dusted with powdered sugar. For chocolate lovers and lemon lovers; these donuts are for you. Bluestar definitely brings out their flavors with their donuts!

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Savory

From coffee, tea and donuts; my Portland trip couldn’t be complete without trying some of their famous restaurants for brunch, lunch and dinner. I was fortunate to try some of PDX’s well known restaurants; with two even being headed by James Beard award winning chefs!

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen was one of the first spots we got to try in Portland. It is a popular spot in downtown Portland famous for their pho, banh mi & other Vietnamese favorites.

For lunch we tried the Papaya Salad, Crispy Rolls and Coconut Chicken Curry. The Papaya Salad was definitely a favorite. With it’s julienne green papaya, shrimp, peanuts, bell peppers, onions, basil, & lime vinaigrette; it was so refreshing for a hot day in Portland. The Crispy Rolls and Coconut Chicken Curry paired well together for a nice light meal.

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Umami Cafe located at the Portland Japanese Gardens was another amazing place we tried for lunch in Portland.

The cafe is located in the heart of the garden and is designed after Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera temple. Surrounded by the beautiful trees and plants; it is such a serene place to enjoy a mini meal.

I truly enjoyed the Hojicha with Fried Rice. Their Hojicha tea comes from the Tokyo-based Jugetsudo tea company, while their yakitori chicken style fried rice comes from the Japanese food company, Ajinomoto. It’s a perfect light meal after walking around the beautiful gardens.

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Tasty n Alder located in downtown Portland is an amazing place for brunch, lunch or  dinner. This modern steakhouse is super popular and always has a line. It is definitely worth the wait though.

Tasty n Alder lives up to the “Tasty” in it’s name and has some truly amazing dishes.

My favorite entree here was the Duck…Duck….Steak! It consists of lovely double R Ranch teres major on a stick and it is complimented with potatoes confit in duck fat, onion sour cream and a sunny duck egg. The steak was cooked just right and was so tender. The potatoes were amazing.

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Bistro Agnes in West End, Portland was definitely a favorite in our books. We loved everything in this cafe that is headed up by 2017 James Beard Award winning chefs Greg and Gabi Denton.

We were treated with Amuse Bouche; complements of the chef. We loved the creamy  soup that the chef gave. We had also had Warm Asparagus appetizer with morel mushrooms and gratineed sauce bearnaise. The starters were wonderful but there were even more treats awaiting in the main courses. For our entrees; we had the Mussels Mariniere, Beef Short Rib Bourguigon and Truffled Vegetable Pithivier. The Truffled Vegetable Pithivier was my dish and it was mouthwatering to say the least. I was in love with the butternut squash, oyster mushrooms, black truffle, leeks, chèvre & comté in the  puff pastry that was complemented with truffled vegetable demi. Je t’aime Cuisine Francaise.

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Higgins  in downtown Portland was the next James Beard awarded restaurant that we tried.  Higgins is owned by Greg Higgins; a James Beard award winner of Best Chef Northwest.

We kicked off our meal here with a lovely Roasted Beet Carpaccio with black sheep fresh cheese, horseradish,  pomegranate molasses, sumac and pistachios. For our entrees we enjoyed the specials of the night; Hangar Steak, Pan Seared Pacific Cod and Salmon. I loved the rich sauce in my Hangar Steak; it was so savory and flavorful.

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Sweets

It just wasn’t savory treats we enjoyed because we also had some sweet treats that made our trip to Portland even sweeter!

Portland is well known for Salt and Straw but we decided to go with a different route by trying Wiz Bang Bar; the soft serve bar that is sister to Salt and Straw.

Located at the fabulous Pine Street Market in Portland; this spot was perfect after walking around during a 98 degree day in Portland!

I was also ecstatic to get to try two Portland favorites combined in one because they were offering Blue Star Old Fashioned Donuts soft serve. It definitely had that donut taste.

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Pix Patisserie was the best spot of all. This hidden gem on Burnside street is a little slice of France that landed in Portland. For us, this is the best dessert and coffee spot in Portland!

They have the most amazing lattes. The Oregon hazy latte is simply the best. It has the perfect hazelnut taste and it tasted so fresh. The Fleur de Sel latte was also a winner with the lovely caramel taste.  They have amazing macarons but the must try is their Macronuts. Macronuts are a combination of French macarons and donuts. The Macronuts are made fresh and come out piping hot and oh so soft. I am still dreaming of my visit here and wish to be back!

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Portland was truly a wonderful time and I loved each and everyone of our culinary adventures here! Hello Kitty Foodie loves PDX! Till next time…

Hello Blue Star Donuts!

Hello Blue Star Donuts!

Donuts for grown ups. One will never quite look at donuts the same way after trying out Blue Star Donuts.

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Originating in Portland, Oregon, these gourmet brioche donuts have come to Los Angeles via a new shop in Venice on Abbot Kinney. The dough of the donuts is made fresh daily in a 18 hour labor of love. Ingredients include Shepherds grain bread flour, cage free eggs, hormone free milk, European style butter, rice oil and a special add on that will bring a little bit of an adult flair! What exactly is that that little something something added into their donuts that makes it more adult like? Think bourbon, hard cider, mimosas, olive oil, rosemary….ingredients not typical found in your normal donut. Yes,  gourmet. Yes, different. That is Blue Star Donuts.

I recently had the pleasure of trying out a variety of various of these delicious different donut and I can definitely say they are some thing else.

The first Blue Star Donut I got to try was the Passion Fruit Cocoa Nibs.  At first bite, I could taste instant fruitiness. The passion fruit is very pungent in this donut.

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Next up on the tasting menu was the Blueberry Bourbon Basil. This flavor is one of Blue Star’s most popular flavors. I attributed most of the blueberry taste to the bourbon basil glaze on top.

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The third donut I tried was the Pineapple Pistachio Pina Colada. It is an exclusive flavor to the LA location and a must try! This donut was on top of my favorites of all the Blue Star Donuts I tried. I loved everything from the fresh pineapple to the thick coconut cream to the Caribbean rum and the touch of California pistachios. It made feel like I was in a tropical paradise somewhere enjoying a pina colada on the beach.

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The Mexican Hot Chocolate was my next treat. This is for chocolate lovers. It is very rich in chocolate taste. It has a dark chocolate flavor that would go well with a cup of the Stumptown Coffee that they offer.

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The Marrionberry Pepper Jam with Peanut Butter Powder was another favorite of mine. With powdered sugar outside and jelly oozing out from inside, this donut is peanut butter and jelly heaven. It is a grown up peanut butter and jelly sandwich made into a dessert.

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The Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk is one I found to be very different.  This pretty in pink donut had a really strong rosemary aftertaste.

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The Chocolate Almond Ganache is another one for chocolate lovers! Similar to the Mexican hot chocolate, this had a dark chocolate flavor. The almond on top was a nice crunchy touch.

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For those wanting a more simple, light treat, the Orange Olive Oil Cake is the one for you. I found this donut to be very light and fluffy with the flavors not too strong.

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The Cointreau Creme Brûlée was one tasty, unique treat. It has house made vanilla custard, Cointreau syrup and is sweetened with Madagascar canola beans in a pipette. The vanilla custard is packed in the inside of this donut and really brings out the creme brûlée flavor.

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Last but not least, I tried their Hard Cider Apple Fritter. I have always loved apple fritters and found their take of apple fritters here true to the classic apple fritter donut. The hard cider glaze and sugar on top along with the crisp donut texture, makes for one delectable donut!

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Blue Star Donuts are definitely not your ordinary donuts. From their buttery brioche dough to their unique ingredients, these doughnuts are definitely a star on their own. They’ve got a little more pizazz, a little bit more oomph, a little bit more adult. They’re like no other. Blue Star Donuts are donuts for grown ups.

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Blue Star Donuts.