Archive for March, 2008

Mint Satisfies My Craving

Posted in Portland with tags , , on March 18, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

I had a wonderful dinner this evening at the Mint in northeast Portland. With a carnivorous craving for a bit of spice, I found the grilled chili rubbed chicken breast to be exactly what I needed. The breast was grilled skin-on and was cooked to perfection. All too often, a large grilled chicken breast is either so over cooked that it is something shy of dried leather OR, the inside is just plain raw. Tonight’s chicken, on the other hand, was moist, juicy, and flavorful.

Served with the grilled chicken was a Romesco sauce, goat cheese corn bread, and cole slaw. The Romesco sauce was a bit too acidic for my liking; however, when eaten with the goat cheese corn bread, the two were a scrumptious match. And the cole slaw. Well, initially, when reading the menu item my mind simply grazed over it. I merely though it would provide a cool balance to the chili rubbed chicken and didn’t really think much more of it.

As it turns out, the slaw had a terrific punch of heat, and the extra-long shaved cabbage and julienned carrots made the act of eating slaw a unique experience in and of itself — you could actually twirly the spicy slaw about your fork as one might do with a mound of spaghetti. Very nice touch.

Ah yes… and to top it all off, I enjoyed a tasty “O” — the Mint’s house Mojito made with orange rum. Very good.

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Great Deal for a Sweet Little Cookie

Posted in Portland with tags , , on March 10, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

Coconut Macaroon

I nearly forgot to mention my sweet dessert. During the wonder and amazement at Uwajimaya, I came across these wonderful macaroons. They’re so good, I actually seek them out every time I’m at Uwajimaya. And they’re only $1.50 for a box.

Hungry for Fishes and Sunshine of Hawaii

Posted in Portland with tags , , , , on March 10, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

With a teasing of sunshine this morning, I almost most convinced myself that the umbrella could remain stashed away. Yes, I realize this is a near-delusional idea — at least until oh, July rolls around. I could have spent another 20-or-so minutes in front of my goLite (a necessary crutch to get through the Pacific Northwest rains), but I needed to stimulate more than just my visual perception.

I cracked open my pantry in search of flavors to stimulate thoughts of summer, and there I spotted it. A bottle of my Macadamia Nut Chili Oil that I had purchased months ago from the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

Macadamia Nut Oil infused w/ Chilies

After a trek to the Beaverton Uwajimaya and a scanning of their amazing fish counter, I came across a luscious cut of Opah. Tonight’s dinner…

Sesame Encrusted Opah with a Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger

Opah

  1. lightly seasoned Opah with salt and pepper, then encrusted the sides of the Opah steak in a mixture of black and toasted sesame seeds
  2. lightly drizzled Macadamia Nut Chili Oil on both sides of the steak
  3. broiled the fish for a few minutes — just long enough to gain some great coloring

Sauce of Sweet Soy and Ginger

  1. Sauteed garlic and ginger in Macadamia Nut Chili Oil and Toasted Sesame Oil
  2. Added sweet soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a bit of mirin
  3. thickened the sauce with cornstarch slurry

Mmmm. What a way to lift the spirits!

Breakfast of Champions

Posted in Portland with tags on March 1, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

Not everyone is a breakfast eater. A lot of people out there don’t want edibles to come anywhere near their GI tracts until well after 11am… or, at least not until after the first cup of coffee.

Others are tried and true breakfast eaters. Some like pancakes, eggs and bacon. Others go for the lighter side of breakfast — high-fiber, twig-like cereals or fruit or a quick PowerBar. Me, I’m the latter. But I’m a consistent latter. Without my breakfast, I’m just an irritable bitc… um, grouch.

Weekdays are all about consistency and routine, but when the weekend comes around I gladly embrace a bit of free-for-all, at-a-whim living. For Saturday morning breakfast, that means nothing short of grazing. And this morning’s walk through the cold-fridge pasture brought me to a delightful little (albeit untraditional) breakfast…

Breakfast of Champions

Homemade hummus and bread sticks followed up with a dessert of dark chocolate and a nip of port… because, yes, sometimes even breakfast deserves dessert.

Don’t!!! Try this at home.

Posted in Portland with tags , on March 1, 2008 by Donna Arriaga

clubber girl

Oh wait… Yes, this was it.

clabber girl


It was about 2pm when I climbed onto the number 15 bus. I was headed downtown, eager to devour a much yearned for torta de lengua to make up for the lunch I had missed out on. My impatient eyes scanned the bus for a diversion, anything to keep my mind off the tortuous food fantasies. Then, I saw her.

No, it couldn’t be. I looked again. I spotted those short, wavy locks of hair. Her shoulders were slightly raised, her head meekly tilted forward as if to say, “Come on, try. It’s really pretty good you know.” Above her picture, sure enough, was her name in bright red lettering — Clabber Girl.

But why was there a spork plunged into that half-empty can?! In disbelief, I watched the woman sitting kitty-corner to me thrust her spork into the Clabber Girl can and raise a mound of white powder to her mouth. Oy Vey! Woman, I thought to myself, baking powder…. WHY?

With a deliberate, yet strained motion of her tongue I could see her fighting to pry the stuff free from the roof of her mouth, from the deep crevices between her gums and the chipmunk-like pockets of her mouth. I couldn’t turn away… the spork went in for another plunge.

Staring by this time, I became fixated on the Clabber Girl can–forcing the imagination to conceive of a more palatable alternative. So, maybe she’s just got some insatiable craving for a swift sugar rush. Yes, toting a can of 10x perhaps? No, I reminded myself. It was the Clabber Girl. As the woman in transit repositioned her thumb to gain a better grasp on the Clabber Girl can, I saw that those Clabber Girl wavy locks and girlish eyes were not marketing baking powder but… cornstarch.

My freakish curiosity was somehow intensified by this revelation. Cornstarch. That powdery substance, so soft yet somehow so disturbingly chalky. And it was in her mouth! I watched on as her efforts at mastication became evermore belabored.

The reason behind these exaggerated motions was becoming all too vivid. My imagination’s eye shot over to recollections of slurries–those first few stirring motions intent on prying freshly wet cornstarch from the sides of my little mixing bowl. The Clabber Girl powder seems so damn intent on sticking, on not mixing. Then, she lets up. She lets up and my slurry is mixed, ready to use. But I remind myself… Use it quickly or she’ll retreat to the belly of my bowl. I shuddered and could not bring myself to look back up.