February 24, 2014

Portland, Oregon - Multnomah Falls

When my friends and I were in Portland last year, 
we made it a point to visit Multnomah Falls -
a magnificent waterfall located just outside the city. 
Oregon does get more than its fair share of rain every year,
and although it may get old for the local residents,
the effect that the moisture has on the surrounding environment is wonderful. 
It felt amazing to hike to the top and take in all that fresh air! 


February 18, 2014

Lucky Liu's Chinese

We all have our guilty pleasures in life.. 
for me, the list includes designer handbags, endless re-runs of #richkidsofbeverlyhills and... Chinese food. 
Mmm... sweet, crispy orange chicken smothered on top of oily chow mein?
I'm in heaven.
Now most of the time, when the craving sets in, 
I send the husband for some trusty take out (this place being our all time favorite hole in the wall).
But I think it's also nice to throw on a pair of heels before you enjoy some beef and brocolli.
Last week I was invited to come in for a menu tasting, 
as well as the grand opening party for Lucky Liu's,
a brand new Chinese restaurant in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego. 
I didn't have to think twice about it,
especially once I found out that the new venture is headed off by Alex Thao, owner of RAMA,
one of my favorite Thai restaurants in San Diego! 

Lucky Liu’s offers classic comforting Chinese dishes, 
such as hand-made pork and shrimp dumplings, egg drop soup, lo mein, 
and special entrees from Thao’s grandma’s “secret menu.” 
I can honestly say that when I checked out the menu, my eyes may have been hungrier than my stomach,
so we ended up ordering way more than we should have,
but everything was so delicious that we nearly finished all the dishes!
Here's something I'm really excited about:
on the weekends, Lucky Liu’s will be serving dim sum during their traditional Chinese brunch.
How amazing does that sound?
Can't wait to check it out!
Spinach & Shrimp Dumplings - shrimp mousse and spices with spinach, wrapped in translucent wheat & potato starch dumpling skin. 
Chicken Wings - garlic-seasoned chicken wings sprinkled with a hint of salt & pepper, served with plum sauce and Chinese hot mustard.
These were seriously AMAZING. I could probably eat a few dozen. Not even kidding. 
Shrimp Balls - shrimp mousse and spices coated with shredded eggroll skins.
Salt & Pepper Shrimp - fried shrimps dusted with salt & pepper seasoning and tossed with scallions and jalapenos. 
Black Pepper Filet Mignon - wok-seared seasoned cube-sized filet mignons stir-fried with fresh asparagus in a black pepper sauce.
332 J Street
San Diego, CA 92101


February 11, 2014

K1 Speed

I'm a big fan of a little healthy competition,
so when I was invited to celebrate K1 Speed's 10 years in business,
as well as to check out their brand spankin' new indoor go-kart racing center in downtown San Diego last weekend, 
I just couldn't say no. 
I brought the hubby along (as if I had a choice, once I told him that I was invited to this place),
and together we headed to the heart of America's Finest City. 

The newest facility is really nice,
located near East Village in downtown San Diego. 
K1 Speed offers a fun place to come with your family and friends, 
to settle, once and for all, the bet on who's the best driver in the group. 
The newest center is huge,
and makes for a great setting to throw a party. 
In fact, the husband kept hinting at how fun it would be to have a boys night there as soon as possible..

The special event that we attended featured everything from cars, to food, to charity raffles and prizes.
It was a cool way to spend our Sunday afternoon,
and a great place to bring our friends in the future. 
My new mistress.
1709 Main St. 
San Diego, CA 92101


February 4, 2014

Portland, Oregon - Foodie Recommendations

Voodoo Doughnuts - practically a staple in Portland. 
And how could it not be?
"The magic is in the hole!"
But seriously... these diet bombs are pretty delicious. 
I'm not typically a sweets person, but my friends wanted to check this place out, and I'm so glad we did.
We stood in line for a good half an hour, 
(a pretty quick turnaround for this place, from what I hear)
and then had to pick out our flavors. 
I opted for the classic Voodoo Doll doughnut,
a raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake!
Soooo GOOD!
I could have eaten two. 
Thank goodness the line was long.. otherwise I would have probably gone for it. 
Foie Gras Ice Cream - you gotta be kidding me. So GOOD!
It's a good thing that my girlfriends and I have our priorities in order,
because when it comes to travel planning, restaurant selection is always at the top of our list.
Topping nearly every chart of great eateries in Portland is LePigeon,
a whimsical restaurant that offers impeccable French cuisine. 
We made a reservation a few weeks in advance,
and were pleased to snag seats at a cozy communal table right by the window. 
The place is snug, but the closer that I can get to Gabriel Rucker the better. 
The chef produces some outstanding dishes,
and now you can even bring him home with you!
Well.. kind of.. 

Rucker, a James Beard Rising Star chef, and Meredith Erickson, 
a cookbook that features a serious yet playful collection of over 125 recipes from his phenomenally popular Portland restaurant.
I just ordered my copy from Amazon, 
and I highly recommend for you to stop by to check out the restaurant next time you're in PDX.
Speaking of James Beard awards... 
Portland seems to be racking them up. 
I've heard nothing but amazing things about Pok Pok,
a wildly successful Thai restaurant brought to you by the James Beard Best Chef of  Northwest 2011 - Andy Ricker. 
They say that Ricker's take on Thai street food is better than the stuff you'll try in Bangkok,
but having just visited Thailand last year, I needed to test the theory myself. 
I can honestly say that Pok Pok's house specialty, 
Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings,
are the best wings I've ever had. 
No joke. 
My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

The story is pretty impressive though..
Ricker, a classically trained chef, moved to Thailand and learned how to cook their cuisine better than the locals. 
So thankful that he decided to bring his talents back to the states, 
and even more excited about the fact that he decided to share his recipes in his new cookbook,
Such a perfect quote!
I'm really trying to restrain myself from over-talking about this place,
which is fairly hard to do, 
considering that by the time my friends and I finished our dinner at this amazing restaurant,
we were all raving about how it may have been the BEST meal any of us ever partook in. 
But let me tell you how the James Beard finalist, and Top Chef Master, Naomi Pomeroy won us over. 

First of all, don't let the name of the restaurant deceive you. 
Considering that BEAST is the name of the game, 
I was kind of expecting a lot of rich, meaty dishes.
I was charmed to see so many feminine touches throughout the tasting menu. 
Don't get me wrong - the restaurant is definitely carnivore friendly,
yet it was the subtle details that resonated with me...
the way that some bold ingredients such as braised duck or pork shoulder, for example, 
can be softened with the perfect mixture of  light touches.. gelee, tartare, mouse.. 
Simply put - it's a perfect combination of flavors assembled into one dinner. 
Surely not to be missed if you're planning to visit Portland!
"Bringing fat back 7 days a week!"
Now that's what I'm talkin about!
Lardo was the perfect ending to a gluttonous weekend in Portland.
This casual joint serves up the most savory sandwiches - perfect for those hangover days. 
The Pork Meatball Banh Mi was absolutely delish,
and don't even get me started on the Dirty Fries