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Salt & Straw | Portland, OR

Salt & Straw | Portland

i honestly don’t need to say much about salt & straw since this is a portland staple.   portland natives love it, tourists come here just to eat it, and it’s one of oprah’s favorite things!  i will, however, confirm what everyone has said before me.

this place is awesome!  yes, there are long lines all throughout the day but we really didn’t mind.  this was the second place we went to after we got off the plane and ate it every day until we left.  too much? we don’t think so.

Salt & Straw | Portland

salt & straw has three locations… we visited two of them.  since we went to the one on division after a late lunch at pok pok (and on a weekday), there was no line.  we were lucky enough to sample all the flavors!

so they have a their list of permanent flavors and then a few rotating flavors. their featured flavors the week we were there were signature cocktails!  backstory: they partner up with local bartenders to come up with awesome ice cream flavors! cool, huh?

our absolute favorites:

  • cinnamon snickerdoodle
  • almond brittle ganache

Salt & Straw | Portland

since i don’t love chocolate, i never get to have “cookies” or “cake” in my ice cream (ie. cookies ‘n cream, dreyers thin mint ice cream, etc).  so i was ecstatic when i saw snickerdoodle ice cream!  large chunks of snickerdoodle cookie in my ice cream? yes, please!

also, waffle cones are a must.  you can literally smell them when you are waiting in line.  with that said, you wouldn’t be that big of a loser if you didn’t get a waffle cone (or would you? jk).  you have the choice of sugar cone or cup.  you also have a ton of options with regard to your scoops.  single, double, split, kids size or even a sample flight!

Salt & Straw | Portland

this is the little hole you put your “used” spoon in.  cool, huh?  also, i would like to point out how perfect my ice cream scoop is!

Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland

ok, so a few tips.  if you get a chance, i would go to the location on division (pictured above).  it is new so the decor is stupid cute. fresher and lighter than the original location on 23rd (pictured below).  lots of natural light and there’s a hole in the counter wall for your spoon (mentioned and pictured above).  it’s the little things.

also, i have to give a shout out to our awesome friend at the division location who welcomed us to portland, gave us the lowdown on city, gave us a list of her favorite restaurants (ava gene’s was her absolute favorite. separate blog post to come), and made us the perfect ice cream cone for my blog! thank you! thank you!

we cannot stop raving about this place.  add this to your list if you are in town!

Salt & Straw | Portland

here are some pictures of the location on 23rd. there is always a line around the corner.

Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland
Salt & Straw | Portland

Salt & Straw

838 NW 23rd Ave
Portland, OR 97210
Neighborhood: Alphabet District, Northwest

Salt & Straw on Urbanspoon

3345 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
Neighborhood: Southeast Portland, Clinton, Richmond

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By |June 29th, 2014|Dessert, Food, Photography, Portland, Restaurants, Travel|2 Comments

Pok Pok | Portland, OR

Pok Pok | Portland

what was our first stop after landing in portland?  pok pok!  everyone raves about pok pok (my cousin included) so we just had to see what all the fuss is about.

it sits on division street, a really, really cute street/area that is definitely up and coming.  so… it looks like an unassuming hut. (it made me miss thailand)  if you really can’t find the hut… just look for a large crowd of people waiting to eat here.

Pok Pok | Portland

luckily, we came here on a thursday afternoon (off-peak time).  we didn’t have to wait because we just took the counter seats. score!  to be honest, we lucked out our whole trip and didn’t have to make any reservations in advance (i.e. salt & straw, ava gene, andina, tasty & adler).  good timing?

what we ordered:

  • khao soi with chicken ($14.50)
  • spicy wings ($14.50)
  • neua naam tok ($14) –  spicy isaan flank steak salad with fish sauce, lime and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro.
  • sticky rice ($2.50) – it was recommended with the steak salad.
  • mango alexander ($9.50)
  • tam whiskey sour ($9.50)

Pok Pok | PortlandPok Pok | Portland

the steak salad with sticky rice was out of this world!  the dish itself has familiar tastes but with a little twist.  very well done in our opinion.  also, the restaurant recommends ordering sticky rice with this.  listen to them.  the steak salad is salty and is just better with the sticky rice. one of our favorite dishes in portland.

Pok Pok | Portland Pok Pok | Portland Pok Pok | Portland

the khao soi was just okay.  a little disappointing but it was our fault.  we should’ve known when the waitress did not name it as one of her favorites.  the curry itself was on the watery side with little taste.  due to the watery consistency, it didn’t stick to the noodles or the chicken leaving them bland.

Pok Pok | Portland

the drinks are okay.  not my favorite and on the expensive side.  the mango alexander looked like egg nog to me.  i honestly tried to get over it’s appearance but just couldn’t do it.  kyle liked the whiskey sour but that was about it.

Pok Pok | PortlandPok Pok | Portland
Pok Pok | Portland

spicy wings are also delicious! perfectly crispy with punch-in-your-face flavor.  people are crazy about these and we understand why.  for those folks in la who know about ob bear in ktown… think about those chicken wings.  very comparable.  for those in la who aren’t familiar with ob bear…get yourself a korean friend and head over to ob bear for the best wings of our life. #truth

Pok Pok | Portland

  • food:  this is the type of place that you just have to know what to order and you will love it.  yes, the khao soi was unimpressive but the awesomeness of the steak salad and spicy wings definitely make up for that! these two dishes make pok pok one of our favorite meals in portland.
  • service:  we loved the hostess and our waitress.  very helpful and energetic.  we regret not going with the boar collar recommendation.  shame on us. there are so many more items on the menu that i would like to try! next time!
  • ambience:  very, very casual.  reminds me of a hut but i know i am way off with my description.  wood beams and wooden tables.  there are some tables (with bench seats) that will fit 6-8 people but i really wouldn’t roll any deeper than that.
  • parking:  we found parking in a nearby neighborhood for free.  no biggie.
  • overall:  despite this being one of the more expensive meals in portland, i would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone visiting portland.

Pok Pok
3226 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

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By |June 28th, 2014|Food, Photography, Portland, Restaurants, Travel|0 Comments

Portillo’s | Buena Park, CA

Portillos | Buena Park

oh, portillo’s.  it’s been a long time coming.  we’ve been planning to eat you for a few years now.  how wrong we were for doubting your greatness.

so our two close friends, goldman and lb, are chicago natives.  they have been urging us to go to portillo’s for awhile now.  according to them, this is THE chicago spot (best chicago hot dog?).  since this location is quite a bit away from us, it takes a bit of coordination since you need to set half a day side.  google map it… you will understand why it took so long for us to make the trek.

enter: goldman’s birthday.  he wanted nothing more but to go here and have an glutton fest for his 28th birthday.  amazing, right?! goldman, so glad we’re friends bro. so glad.

here is what we were told to order:

  • chicago dog everything on it with grilled onions
  • maxwell street-style polish (one look at this online and i was sold)
  • french fries (don’t freak out, they are crinkle cut fries… aka. cafeteria-style fries)
  • chocolate cake shake (who good could this be?)
  • portillo’s chocolate cake
  • strawberry shortcake (this wasn’t on the recommendation list but since i couldn’t try the famous chocolate cake, i wasn’t about to miss out on dessert)

Portillo's | Buena Park

so the maxwell. do you see how many grilled onions are on this bad boy? a gazillion. i scarfed this thing down in two seconds.  it was bomb.

Portillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena Park

the chicago dog (pictured below) was also delicious!  be a pro. get everything but instead of raw onions, ask for grilled.  you will thank me.

so when i went to chicago, i didn’t have much time so i just picked a random place to try a “chicago dog”.  wasn’t a huge fan and didn’t understand the hype.  portillo’s has changed my mind. it’s great. everything about it is great.  and no, you definitely don’t want to put ketchup on this thing.

for those who are still skeptical, don’t be scared. i know there’s a lot going on with this dog… but it’s a staple for a reason.

Portillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena Park

the chocolate cake shake.  simple concept. if you like chocolate cake and you love milkshakes, this is for you.  let’s just say, kyle cannot stop raving about this.  can’t stop. wont stop.

Portillo's | Buena Park

dessert time!

Portillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena Park

shout out:  thanks felicia for the cake!! goldman’s life was fulfilled that day.

Portillo's | Buena ParkPortillo's | Buena Park

alright, here’s the breakdown.

  • food:  fantastic hot dogs and polish sausage.  one of my favorite hot dogs now.  one piece of advice: wear comfortable clothes (stretchy).  you’re welcome.
  • ambience:  casual hot dog joint.  eclectic interior decor.  reminds me of a typical bbq joint with a ton of stuff on the walls (like neon signs). gets packed on the weekends.  great outdoor space for large groups.
  • service:  huge menu. there will be a line so make sure you know what you want before you get to the front.  order, pay, and then wait for your food.  super efficient staff trying to get food out as quickly as they can.  keep in mind there they don’t wait on tables.  again a casual setting.
  • overall:  cheap eat.  we over ordered but it think that is the way to go (we took a nap afterwards).  solid hot dog.  we will definitely be back!  next time, we need to try the burger. we heard great things.

this would not be possible without our amigo.  happy birthday, goldman!

Portillo's | Buena Park

Portillo’s
8390 La Palma Ave
Buena Park, CA 90620

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By |June 17th, 2014|Food, Photography, Restaurants|0 Comments

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks, CA

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

annnd we’re back. we took a break from bbq for awhile after being burnt out after trying gus’ bbq, baby blues, bludsos and lucille’s bbq all in a month to two months. enter smoke city market.

we were thrilled when we walked into eclectic western decor.  this has to be good.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

before coming here, we read that the restaurant suggests that you shouldn’t put bbq sauce on their ribs. however, it does provide bbq sauce on each table if you feel so inclined.  we ordered:

  • baby back ribs
  • side of potato salad
  • bbq beast – brisket, pulled pork, sausage, cole slaw, hot vinegar (per recommendation)

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

alright. the ribs.  they were moist but rather tasteless! you would think if the recommendation is to not use bbq sauce, that the meat itself should be well seasoned.

Smoke City Market | Sherman OaksSmoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

now the bbq sauce.  i personally like a smokey, sweet bbq sauce.  therefore, tangy is just not my thing.  i did not love the bbq sauce but drenched my ribs in it anyway since it really needed flavor.

potato salad was good.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

the bbq beast. i liked the bbq beast a lot better than the ribs.  but that isn’t really saying much.  oddly, the sausage was what stood out in the sandwich.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

  • food:  we really wanted to like this place.  the bbq just fell short.  ribs were under seasoned and bbq sauce was very tangy.  sandwich was ok but still just meh.
  • service:  cashier was amazingly nice, energetic and helpful! this was the main reason we really wanted to fall in love with the bbq here.
  • ambience:  eclectic, bright, and very western.  clean and very well lit.
  • parking:  this place is on van nuys (a main street) near all the car dealerships.  ample street parking.
  • overall:  no our favorite.

Smoke City Market
5242 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

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By |June 4th, 2014|Food, Restaurants|0 Comments

Black Hogg | Silver Lake, CA

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

what we ordered:

  • popcorn bacon ($8) – bacon with maple crema.  this is one of the popular items on the menu… and rightfully so.
  • garlic scallion string beans ($8) – sautéed string beans, garlic scallion vinaigrette with hazelnuts.
  • pork belly tacos ($10) – pork belly, fuji apple slaw, and jalapeño relish.
  • duck ceviche ($13) – chilled duck confit, fish sauce lime juice, thai chili on tostadas.  this is different but very tasty.  i liked the tostada.  kyle really liked this one.
  • steak tartare ($15) – wagyu, sesame, soy, fish sauce, egg yolk with brioche toast.  pretty darn good.
  • five leches bread pudding ($8) – brioche, rhubarb, toasted pecans.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake

so bundaberg has a peach soda… yep! peach soda! it is delicious and definitely now one of my favorite sodas.  bacon popcorn…you will be surprised at how good this is.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

this is definitely up there as one of the best string bean dishes i have ever had!  the vinaigrette make this dish and will not disappoint you.  so glad we ordered you, garlic scallion string beans!

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

i’m gonna go ahead and say it.  this is the perfect taco. perfect.  pork is cooked perfectly and melts in your mouth. the fuji slaw and relish cut the pork fat and provide a refreshing kick.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

i have a weakness for bread pudding. i’m normally not a fan of tres leches but this one is stupid good. not too sweet.  the pecans add a nice crunch. the vanilla ice cream compliments it well. too good. #treatyoself

Black Hogg | Silver Lake

  • food:  we love the food here!
  • ambience:  casual, clean feel.  minimalistic design.  light wood paneling. neutral colors.
  • service:  we have been here twice and have received great service!
  • parking:  metered street parking.  if there are no meters available, the restaurant does offer valet.
  • overall:  i feel like black hogg is a very underestimated restaurant in la.  our meals here from beginning to end have been amazing! black hogg is very well one of our favorite restaurants right now.  so if you do score a table at this place, two winners are definitely the green beans and the pork belly tacos.  since this place is the small plate concept, things could get pricey.  but again, i think it is well worth it.

Black Hogg
2852 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Neighborhood: Silver Lake

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By |May 27th, 2014|Food, Restaurants|0 Comments