Portland Dining Month: Tabla

March in Portland is Portland Dining Month, which means restaurants all over town offer a $29 dinner that usual incorporates a sampling of different choices from their menu. Most restaurants pick one appetizer, one main course, and one dessert to highlight, but some have other variations on the $29 deal.

On Sunday night I had the pleasure of dining at Tabla. Tabla calls themselves a “Mediterranean Bistro,” but for the geographically confused this might make you automatically think “Greek food!” It’s more Italian based fare here, though not the heavy red-sauce based Italian, a lighter, less Americanized Italian. Tabla’s Dining Month selection actually allowed each diner to choose their own appetizer, pasta, and main course from the entire menu. Options!

I started with the winter salad:

photo 1

I picked the salad because it has my favorite olives, castelvetrano. They’re those big lime green olives you see at the fancy olive bars at Whole Foods and New Seasons. They’re almost buttery in taste, and definitely a common indulgence of mine. The olives complimented this salad well, and it was a nice, crispy, fresh start to my meal. Although I did find the inclusion of celery in a salad odd, it actually worked well and added a nice crunch.

For my pasta dish I chose the crab tortellini: 

photo 2

I have been to Tabla a few times before, and always ordered the Tabla Ravioli, which I highly recommend. But I’m glad I decided to change things up. The tortellini is made from fresh pasta, and each one was stuffed nicely. Sometimes I’m afraid of ordering things like tortellini or ravioli at restaraunts instead of actual pasta because the servings tend to be skimpier, but this was just right. The crab was actually hard to taste at first, so if you’re wary of seafood this dish isn’t overly seafoody.

For my entree I went with the Braised Pork Braciole:

photo 4 

It’s basically a pork ragu. The sauce was good and tomatoey, and the pork was tender. There’s polenta on the bottom, and I was surprised and delighted by how creamy it was. The entire dish was delicious. At this point I was rather full, so I’m happy to report that the leftovers heated-up nicely the next day.

I highly recommend Tabla, even after Portland Dining Month is over. After March they still have a Three Course Dinner option on the menu that is only $33, which for what you get is a fantastic deal. The service is fantastic, the dining room was nice and quiet even though the restaurant was full, and most importantly the food is consistently good.

In case you’re interested in other PDX Dining Month options, Eater PDX put together a list of the best deals.

Stay tuned as I continue to eat my way through Portland!

 

Tabla on Urbanspoon

Shamrock RUN!

First of all, I totally forgot to post a weigh-in last week:

Starting Weight: 176.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 168.4 lbs
This Weigh-in: 167.2 lbs
Difference: -1.2 lbs
Total Difference: -9.4 lbs

My body does NOT want to get to the 10 lb mark. Which is too bad because I’ve already started saying “I’ve lost ten pounds.” Whoops. Anyway, the past few weeks have had many celebrations (birthdays, bachelorette parties, etc.), and while I’m definitely making better decisions that I would have in the past a) it has NOT been easy and b) I think this week and continuing on I need to REALLY switch up my priorities and stop with the gaining/losing one pound a week thing. It’s like the same pound every week, it either goes up or down!

Moving on! I did something amazing yesterday. I ran an 8k. And when I say ran, I mean RAN. None of this run/walk business for me!

The Shamrock Run was the morning after my friend’s bachelorette party, so we were a little tired:
IMG_1225

 

Those are “did we really spend all night bacheloretting and now we’re running an 8k” faces.

The Shamrock Run, for those non-Portlanders, is probably Portland’s biggest run. Ok that’s completely unofficial, I really have no idea and don’t feel like googling, but man it is CROWDED. But I love the color green, so it’s ok by me. I wish I had taken more pictures but my phone was dying and I needed my playlist to make it through. The run is along the waterfront and through downtown Portland. It’s a pretty flat run until the end when there’s a bit of a hill, which of course was a lovely challenge during the last mile of the race.

Now let it be known: I had not been training. I signed-up for the race thinking it would encourage me to train, but really I had gone on maybe 4 runs total this year before the race. I was completely expecting to run/walk it. But something kicked-in, and I just never stopped running. I literally cried when I got to the finish line, I was so proud of myself.

The ironic thing? My time last year when I ran/walked was faster than this year’s time! But that’s ok. This run was more about proving to myself that I can get back into the running game. I’m now motivated to NOT lose my running lungs/legs and to keep it up, so I’m signing-up for a 10k. Which kind of scares me, but I think I can do it. Maybe I’ll even train beforehand!

One last side note: Last week was definitely slow in the blogging department, but I have quite a few posts planned, so don’t leave me! I’m still here, I promise!

 

Lately

I have become obsessed with Whole Foods/New Seasons hot bar foods. I have no idea how to track these Weight Watchers points, but a bite here and there can’t do toooooo much damage, right? Really, I should be making the salad bar my new BFF, but it’s too damn cold.

unnamed-8

 

 

Post Bar Method brunches:

Smoked salmon pretzel at Nuvrei.

unnamed-7Chilaquiles at Isabel.
unnamed-3Both are fantastic brunch spots and deserve their own reviews, but then you’d discover how great they are! It doesn’t hurt that they’re both around the corner from Bar Method. Speaking of which…

New socks!

1653291_10102477619612263_457140323_nYes, my Bar socks are proposing to me. And I will marry them.

Lastly, and most importantly. I went to a Blazer game…and met Blaze! Yes, our team has a CAT mascot. Because we are AWESOME.

1385005_10102483493780383_1245413317_nIf you can’t tell, I was really excited to meet Blaze.

So in hopes of encouraging all 5 of my readers to speak up and join in the fun that I’m having, I’m going to try this whole daily question thing.

Question of the Day: What have YOU been up to lately? And more importantly, if you could meet any team mascot, who would it be? I would obviously pick my man Blaze. But if I could meet any other mascot it would have to be the Phillie Phanatic, simply because I remember seeing him from afar at games as a kid, and he’s a weird green blob, so that’s pretty cool.

 

Stagnant (weigh-in)

Whoops. My Thursday weigh-in did occur on Thursday, but you all had to wait. Because I was pissed. I’m a stubborn asshole and was very not happy. I knew it would happen. This is a journey, this is me making healthy lifestyle choices, blah blah blah. This is me not losing any weight this week. I should take it as a win because honestly, I drank too much, ate pad thai and chinese food, but honestly, I tracked all my fucking points and still had some leftover. Plus Bar Method. Plus a long walk on the waterfront. Sigh. But it’s ok. One week at a time. And it’s a good thing because now I’m being extra good this week. I’ll get there. I mean honestly, I already FEEL better/hotter/smaller. So what’s one week of stagnation?

In other stagnant news, I am not going anywhere today:
photo 2 (3)

photo 1 (2) Yup. It’s snowing like crazy in Portland. Which means hunkering down, watching way too many episodes of The Good Wife, cleaning my apartment, reading (currently: Midwinterblood, just finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, review to come), and watching the Olympics! I’ve got to admit, I kind of like watching the snowy Olympics in my snowy apartment. But as much as I was dying for some quality Me Time before, I’m honestly not sure I’m making the most of it. Guess how many words of my manuscript I’ve written? Big Fat Zero. Sigh.

I actually did make it out to Bar Method this morning before they cancelled the rest of the day’s classes. I’m glad I did, it felt good to move!

photo (4)

Now I have a whole lot of nothing to get back to doing! Ok, maybe I’ve just guilted myself into getting some writing done. And since you’ve all been patient and read my whiny post, you get a cute cat picture!

1794801_10102457634073443_1198333911_n

Starting Weight: 1766.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 169.0 lbs
This Weigh-in: 169.0 lbs
Difference: 0 lbs

 

All I Do Is Eat

When I decided to stop focusing this blog solely on books I was afraid that I would run out of things to write about. Turns out I should just quit my day job and become a professional eater!

Last night I went out for a friends birthday. We had dessert before dinner. I would share with you my terrible iphonography, but honestly, my scoop of ice cream looks like… a scoop of ice cream! But it was from Salt & Straw, so clearly it was delicious. I tried a bunch of their special seasonal flavors, including the bizarre “Universe II” which was chocolate pudding and lime and something else weird. It of course tasted way better than it sounds, but I ended up going with my old standards of Olive Oil and Salted Caramel. Boring can be delicious too. Oh, right, you non-Portland people are like, Olive Oil ice cream, WTF?! Well, let me tell you. IT IS SO GOOD. It’s just smooth and yummy and…mmmm. It really does taste like olive oil, but it’s subtle. I really like it because of the texture. It’s not overly sweet either. It’s kind of like eating butter flavored ice cream, but not as gross and rich as that sounds. After Salt & Straw we headed over to the Whiskey Soda Lounge.

afterlight (2)

Yes, I had a little fun with photo filters. It was really dark!! One of these days I’ll start taking my good camera out with me and the quality of photos around here will be better, I promise. Anyway. Whiskey Soda Lounge is owned by the Portland-Famous Pok Pok, and is a “bar/lounge serving Aahaan kap Klaem, the drinking food of Thailand.” Translation: They serve really cool/unique thai food and delicious delicious drinks. The lounge opened up across the street from Pok Pok when that shit got SUPER popular, so people can go across the street and have a drink while waiting for their Pok Pok table. But it’s a great place on its own, and they have delicious chicken wings.
afterlight (1)They. are. so. good. They’re cooked with fish sauce, so they’re slightly sweet, and tangy. And they’re really nicely sized, so a few chicken wings is really all you need. We also got drinks. afterlightI had the Pok Pok Gin & Tonic (left), which uses their house infused Kaffir Lime gin. Refreshing and delicious, and tall! Not your average tiny g&t. But that tiny cup on the right? It was so cute and full of something alcohol I don’t remember what. But come on, it’s a tiny cup!

In summary: Salt & Straw + Whiskey Soda Lounge = Delicious Portlandy Night. I love that Portlanders get really attached to their local restaurants/ice creameries/coffee shops, and when these places do well they multiply like bunnies–there are three Salt & Straw locations, and a bunch of different Pok Poks–including a Pok Pok in New York. Because Brooklyn is the new Portland. And if you didn’t think I could get more Portlandy: I just read that last year’s Salt & Straw/Breakside Brewery Salted Caramel Stout is back and being released at Belmont Station this week, so guess who will be saving up her weight watchers points? (answer: it’s me!)

I do love Portland. I really do.

Cider House Rules

1photo 1Usually when I think cider I think fall, but I recently had the chance to go to a cider tasting and I’m now tooting a different cider horn. Cider all year round! The tasting was at Hop & Vine, an adorable bar on Killingsworth with an attached bottleshop. Every Wednesday night they offer a free tasting from 6-8 from a different brewery or winery. This particular Wednesday night they were featuring ciders from OutCider a local cider brewery that specializes in small batch ciders–and their labels are unique for each batch!

photo 4They were offering two different ciders to taste. The first was their standard Dry Cider. I was surprised when I tried this one because it wasn’t the cloyingly sweet cider I was used to. Instead it was crisp and almost tangy. The second cider was the reason I wanted to go to the tasting. Ginger Pineapple Supernova. This one was superb. You could taste the pineapple and the ginger, but it didn’t detract from the cider flavor. They juice everything themselves and it tasted fresh and crisp–definitely a cool summer drink for a hot day. I liked the Supernova so much that I went next door to the bar side and got myself a glass. photo 4Hop & Vine also has a great beer list, and a really delicious looking menu that I would love to come back and explore sometime. This place is quickly becoming one of my favorite bars in Portland. It’s unpretentious, has a great selection, and the atmosphere is cozy but not your typical hipster-portland-bar.

While I’m on the subject of cider, this weekend in Portland is the Cider Summit NW. I won’t be able to attend, but if anyone does, please tell me how it is! And if you see OutCider there, grab a glass!

Question: What’s your favorite summer drink? Any one have any cider recommendations for this cider newbie?
In the summer I’m usually less of a beer drinker and more of a g&t drinker, BUT I have officially become a Portlander because I now like IPA. Hello hops! Definitely an acquired taste, but one I’m glad to have now.

Starlight Run Race Recap

ImageOn Saturday I ran the Starlight Run  which is an annual 5k through downtown Portland. The run is part of the Rose Festival, and is the beginning of the Starlight Parade. I’ve lived here for almost 8 years and this was my first time experiencing any of the festivities–unless sitting in my car damning the traffic and closed roads during the race counts as participating. This was a super fun race, and included a crazy costume contest–I cannot believe some of the outfits people ran in. For example:

(Photo from starlightrun.com, courtesy of Waz-Mix-Pix)

(Photo from starlightrun.com, courtesy of Waz-Mix-Pix)

Someone dressed up as a box of Voodoo Donuts! For real! And I really saw them running in the box! Amazing. The run itself for me was pretty terrible. I have NOT been running regularly and it’s my own damn fault. But it’s slightly confusing, since I actually PR’d the first mile, but was so exhausted after that that I ended up walking a ton. I had no idea downtown Portland is so hilly! I do most of my running on the waterfront, which is fairly flat. And on top of that, it was an unusually muggy night. Excuses aside, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, since I’m brand new to running, and I know I’ve been much more focused on my Bar Method practice. It was a good wake up call though, since I’m running a 10k in a few weeks. I’m going to try to mix up my Bar schedule a bit and add some runs. This post today over at Carrots N Cake really rang true to me, and made me feel better. Even runners who have been at it for awhile have their bad races and we all need to learn what our bodies can and cannot do. Granted I know my body is capable of more. But patience is important too!

oysters

After the race we went and got oysters at Jake’s and then found a good spot to watch the rest of the parade. There were a ton of High School marching bands, a fair share of zombies and vampires for some reason, and a bunch of floats with dogs. Everyone looked like they were having a great time, and it was a very Portlandy night, which I don’t mind one bit.

Question of the Day: What’s the craziest parade you’ve been to?