Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Finally! We made it to Maine. After a year and a half traveling and living on the road full-time we are here and it is better than I could have imagined.  I have always wanted to visit Portland Maine. What a super cute town. It is on the top of my "favorite places" list.  I will defiantly come back and am looking forward to the next week! I was told that Portland has the highest amount of restaurants and bars per ca pita than any other city in the Country who knew?
We ran into a couple of food trucks and realized it was a part of  Food Networks The Great Food Truck Race. How cool is that!? We chatted a bit with Seoul Sausage and helped them out and bought an order of the Flaming Balls of Fire! These are pork sausage with kimchi, sticky rice then deep fried. Its served with a spicy mayonnaise. Basically a Koren style arnacini and darn tasty!

We also found a great burger place called Elevation Burger. Ingredients matter here and I for one really appreciate that this is catching on all over the country. It is basically a Five Guys concept but way better! 

We will be here for a another week and I am excited to explore more great food finds! Here are a few more pictures of neat stuff we have seen. I will post again about Maine before we leave.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Lonestar State

The former home of my grandma and papa in Fredricksburg TX now a B&B

Texas has always been a bitter sweet State for me.  I have some fond and not so fond memories. My father and grandparents are from Texas and we lived here for about a year or two when I was about 4. After we moved back to Oregon I remember visiting my grandparents at this house in Fredricksburg when I was about 8. I used to play in the creek, catch snapping turtles and feed grandmas prized pet ducks. The house was very small but grandma had it perfectly decorated with art, antiques and other historical collectibles. I thought they were really cool as a kid and tried as hard as possible to not touch. The house always smelled good and it had homey cozy feel. Everything was perfectly randomly placed with purpose and clean without feeling sterile. It felt like they lived in an antique store.  My grandmother loved antiques and worked at a store for awhile to satisfy her craving.  Probably because the small historic house couldn't hold anymore or papa wouldn't let her buy anymore. They secretly eloped very young she was 18 and he was 19. They were madly in love until they both passed he first in 2001 and her 5 years later at the age of 87. I haven't been back to this house since I was about 8 so it was a bit of an emotional reunion for me. I miss them both dearly and their relationship with one another was an inspiration to me. If you haven't been to Fedricksburg you should check it out it is a super cute German town with amazing architecture and history.

historical marker in front of grandma and papa's old house

This is the barn that has bedrooms above and where I stayed as a kid. You can stay too if you like, it is now the Shady Creek Bed and Breakfast.

Cool old house in Fredricksburg

The other memory I have of Texas is more on the "bitter" side. I attended Air Force basic training in San Antonio TX back in June 1992 when I was young and uncertain of what to do with my life. It was hot, buggy, muggy and just downright miserable and I swore I would never re-visit this state which I considered a Hell hole, again!

I am going a little out of order here. We visited Austin and Fredricksburg last and actually started our Texas journey in Dallas.  Avila's was one of my favorite Dallas finds.  I was looking for authentic home style Tex Mex and I found it here. Its not fancy nor do they do an amazing presentation or anything but the flavor and love in the food is off the charts!

The best Pozole ever, simple, perfect and packed with flavor!

One brisket and one pork enchilada

This bread pudding is on my the "best thing I ever ate" list. The picture doesn't do it justice it was unbelievably good.

We also really enjoyed Bolsa in Dallas! We had lunch here where everything had local ingredients and was fantastic. Bolsa has a great atmosphere and nice cocktail menu. I had a burger and Chris had a soup and sandwich. I would for sure go back for dinner.
Farmers Burger Bolsa

Passion whiskey fizz Bolsa

Next stop was Austin! I had heard so much about this City and how much I would love it and it was true, I really did. It was a lot like Portland but with more culture. Portland, as cool as it is, can be pretty "white".  I really love that TX has so much color and a variety of nationality's. Culture adds layers of concentrated flavors that cannot be duplicated.  It really needs to come from the source and there are many sources in Austin. Oddly, once such source was a Thai restaurant that was fantastic. Now, granted, we have our share of great Thai food in Portland.  I was sorta over BBQ and comfort food so I went on a search and found this great Thai place called the Tam deli and cafe. Again, this is no fancy schmantzy place. In fact, it's in a strip mall, in a part of town that is just sort of the suburbs. It was great and very authentic.  I have never been to Thailand and am not an aficionado of Thai food, but this place seemed pretty authentic.  What I do know, is that when I start getting uncomfortable and weirded out with some of the ingredients I am probably heading in the right direction. It also appears that I was right because when I got there I learned that they had won many awards.

Tam Deli grilled pork Bahn Mi

Next we were off to some fine dining...at least as fine as I care to have anymore.  I'm not interested in going out to snooty, pretentious places where everyone has to dress up to eat.  At least for now, while being on the road in the RV we do not have our fancy clothes.  They are in storage and I expect that they will remain there for quite some time and then get donated one day.  That is not to say that I don't occasionally like to dress up, but it's just not feasible right now.  We had dinner at Justines Brassiere and it was a great experience. Justine's is a very quaint French Brassiere with outstanding food.  To start I ordered the escargot and french onion soup; both were amazing.  I moved on to the duck confit with white bean and spinach which was equally as tasty.

French Onion soup Justine's Brassiere

Duck confit with spinach and white beans

 There is so much to show and tell and I will have to come back to Austin soon to do more food scouting! I loved the Continental Room where we saw great music. I loved Curras Grill which had the best Mexican food and best queso I ever ate in my whole life!
Curra's delicious Queso and salsa

The best carnitas of my life at Curras

We had a great time in Texas and it is no longer so bitter sweet! It's great and we had a lovey Thanksgiving with our friends that came to visit us. I had fun cooking the thanksgiving side dishes in the RV. I will be writing again soon with my tales of NOLA! We are here now, it is my first time and I just love it! If you have any favorite NOLA places to eat feel free to fill me in. Ciao!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kansas City MO

We left Kansas City about a week ago and really enjoyed our stay. I didn't do a lot of cooking there mainly because there were so many great places to eat.  The time I would have spent cooking I spent working out.  It could be really easy to get fat on this journey we have been on and I have to make a conscious effort to workout regularly! The one thing we really like about this adventure is visiting all of the cities we normally wouldn't see.  Its one thing to visit a city for business,  but the cool thing is we get to do both business and pleasure.  Kansas City isn't a place we would ever think to go on vacation and yet we get to experience it like we are!
Its pretty rare that Chris's business www.rms-ontheroad.com and my blog and food interest ever meet but they did in KC! Justus Drugstore http://www.drugstorerestaurant.com was the reason.  This is a great place in the small town of Smithville MO just north of KC that is owned by Chef  Jonathan Justus. Everything here is locally sourced down to the herbs and garnish.  These folks are on top of their game and the food was outstanding!  The bar is a world of its own.  They have more house made infused liquors and bitters and herbal tinctures for drinks than I have ever seen and it is just incredible. Chef Johnathan's mother ran the local pharmacy for something like 45 years.  After she closed it, he decided to start his restaurant in the same building.  He also wanted to keep the name.  Funny thing is the State board of pharmacy didn't like that idea and filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that the restaurants name could confuse people into thinking that he could heal people with his food. Crazy right!? (As far as I am concerned he could! I am a believer!) Well, he won and got to keep the name. Chris was very interested in this story since her business and the reason we are on the road is to help support small independent pharmacies survive in a brutal environment.  So we had a nice time chatting with him about his journey in creating the concept.  The food was outstanding and again I wish I would have taken more pictures! But I have a few, so here you go...If you are reading this Chef Jonathan, I am sorry if I dont get all of the descriptions right...blame it on the wine, oh and ya the cocktails!
Fried striped bass pate with an arugla salad and a soy citrus jelly.
The Farmers Platter wild persimmon seed spiced rabbit terrine, house made sausage, house smoked Berkshire bacon, pickled and grilled vegetables, bone marrow mousse, and a beef tongue pastrami
 I have to make a comment on this...I am a newbie when it comes to offal and Charcuterie.,as well as some things on this plate (Beef tongue and bone marrow).  I  have always wanted to try them and this seemed like the right and safest place for it so thank you Chef Justus! I tried to play it cool but I was a little intimadated when it arrived. I really enjoyed everything! The only thing that was a little weird for me was the bone marrow mousse.  I'm sure it was only because of my own head and had nothing to do with the preparation or maybe it is just an acquired taste.  I will give it another try for sure.

A look at their many house made liqueurs

Indian summer sazerac

Ceviche soup special with fish broth and pea shoots

On to the other side of the coin, due to my alter ego and at a friends suggestion I ended up at The Peanut http://www.peanutkc.com/ Kansas City's first bar and grill. Here we noshed on hot wings, BLT's and local brew! It was old, grungy, had intentional mediochre service to the non regular patrons and was equipped with a cigarette machine! Not that I smoke (very often) but I love the nostalgia. I felt right at home...this place would be a hit in Portland OR!  I have to say in all honesty the BLT wasnt the best I ever had.  The bacon was a little over cooked for my liking  and was slightly bitter tasting but it wasn't terrible.  The wings were very crispy, juicy, spicy, tangy and GREAT! The bluecheese has a very garlicy kick that is best enjoyed with a friend! Its a conversation about commitment that you should have prior to ordering!

I know it is "supposed" to be all about BBQ here and yes, I had some of that too. I do love BBQ! It seems to be the first thing everyone wants to suggest.  So, I went to two BBQ joints and liked some things about one more that the other and vis a versa. 

Arthur Bryants http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com  and Smoking Guns www.smokingunsbbq.com

I know I know, everyone is going to say you should have gone to Oklahoma Joes or Jacks Stack or Gates. Well, I didnt get to all of them and was so busy getting to everything else that I will have to save it for KC II the sequel.

I liked Arthur Bryants ribs better than Smoking guns, but on the other hand,  I liked smoking guns burnt ends more than Arthur Bryants;  it is mainly because Arthur Bryants chopped the burnt ends up really small and doused them with sauce.  I prefer my BBQ suaceless so I can add just a drop here and there.

Arthur Bryants burnt ends

Smoking guns burnt ends

So, as you can see they are very different but I liked that I could really taste the meat and smoky fat on the smoking guns version.

Other honorable mentions are Strouds Fried Chicken www.stroudsrestaurant.com This was pretty close to where we were staying and we went there twice to get take out.  Great chicken and great chicken noodle soup!

We stayed at the Worlds of Fun RV park on the North side of town.  It was a nice park and probably, from what I hear, the only one worth staying at  in the KC area.  The only downfall is the thunderous roar of the roller coasters at night with the screaming kiddies...But I got used to it and tuned it out pretty quickly http://www.worldsoffun.com/public/lodging/village/

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Kansas City and get a chance to check it out for yourself!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Twin Cities

Minneapolis had some great food finds and a welcoming energy that we really enjoyed! We stayed in Prior Lake, MN which is about 10 min SW of "The Cities" at Mystic Lake casino RV Park (It was the best option in the area). Here are a few interesting fact about Mystic Lake Casino (www.mysticlake.com/ for future reference).

1. It is a "dry" casino so there is no alcohol allowed on the tribal property. :-/
2. It is one the highest profiting casinos in the country.
3.There are about 250 tribal members that get a check from the profits of the casino that range anywhere from $30k to $80k per month starting at age 18.  Yes, you heard me right it is not a typo "per month".  I don't know about you but I don't think any18  y/o kid should ever have access to that kind of money. It has gotten the nickname by some locals of being called "Mistake Lake". For our purposes, it was a good place to stay.

Now, we had a couple really great food experiences but the one that I really loved the most was probably Brasa! http://www.brasa.us/ What a great spread of all organic and locally sourced fare!  This place is a Cajun/ Creole style rotisserie. We ordered a little of everything on the menu and here is a look at that!

Rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, cornbread w/honey glazed,collard greens with smoked turkey,yellow rice/ beans,crispy yucca, roasted yams with andouille

It was all just fantastic, quick, simple, inexpensive, all local and organic, which made me very happy! It is a place that I would probably hit a least once a week if I lived in Minneapolis.  What a great concept this owner had and it showed; the place was a crowded, local, hot spot!

Other Minneapolis notable mentions was are Hells Kitchen located right down town (not related to Gordon Ramsey) We like it there a lot too! Im sad to say we didnt make it to Piccolo which I hope to try next time!

Next we went to Duluth for the day which was a few hours north up on Lake Superior.  I heard through Twitter about a place called Northwest Smokehouse. You can also try it yourself and buy right online! http://www.northernwaterssmokehaus.com The pictures on their website are better than anything I could take.  The place is very crowded and very small, so it was hard to get any good shots.  Please trust me when I say being from the Pacific NW I am a major salmon snob.  The smoked salmon I had here was the best I have ever had.  It was light, very moist, buttery, tender and perfect! So was the smoked whitefish and the house made salumi.  I made a nice smoked salmon Benedict a couple days later that was outstanding, and pretty healthy too as far as Benedict's go.  I started with a whole wheat English muffin, braised kale with onion & garlic, the North Waters smoked salmon, a poached egg and topped it with a made for scratch hollandaise with a little fresh dill, cayenne and red onion garnish. 

We also found the cutest old school malt shop in the whole entire world called the Portland Malt shop http://www.portlandmaltshoppe.com/.  It is perched up on top of the hill looking over Lake Superior. I am a big fan of malts. I think they are way better than just a regular old milkshake. These folks are mixing up the real deal!

What a perfect ending to a great day! Except for this part...I couldn't finish my malt so, it melted while sitting in the cup holder of the car and on the drive home my iPhone got dropped in and went for a swim! ...Occupational hazard I guess!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Although we have left Fargo and since moved on to Minneapolis MN for a few weeks, I still wanted to pay tribute to a cool little town.  I must say I had a really lame preconcieved idea about what our culinary finds might be.  Fourtunally, I was totally wrong and pleasantly surprised about how much I really liked this little town. There were several cute shops, very cool drinking holes and a few great restaurants. Hotel Donaldson (check out thier menu) http://www.hoteldonaldson.com/eat.html was one such place. We stopped in to check out their happy hour menu.  I was so impressed with it, that we ended up having dinner! The food was prepared perfectly and the presentation was spectacular. They have a rooftop garden from which many of the restaurants ingredients are sourced, as well as a listing on the menu of all other sources for the ingredients they use.  They are down with eating locally and have a strong alliance with local farmers. These folks have passion and they put it exactly where it belongs and that is on your plate! You have taught me a good lesson about making assumptions Fargo, and I truely apprieciate it...Thank you
A picture of the asparagus salad with quail egg, lamb bacon, horseradish & beet vinaigrette.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taco Tuesday!

Hey folks! Well we are in Fargo ND for the next few days.  It has been a little stormy the past couple of days. Which, always puts me in the mood to put on a good movie and cook all day! I am a BIG fan of Mexican food and as I have been driving around Fargo I haven’t seen one Mexican restaurant other than chains.  So, I decided to satisfy my craving by making some tacos! Now I really love carnitas, crispy pulled pork how could you go wrong? On the other hand, I also like chili Verde... delicious stewed pork in silky, green chili sauce.  So, I thought I would try and combine them to fill both desires and put them in a taco!

They came out amazing and here is how I did it...

Carnitas "Verde" style


3-4 lb. Pork roast (You can use Pork Butt if you like as well.) They were too big for our little RV oven.

1/2 cup whole milk


(You can adjust this to your liking)

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. coriander

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. spanish paprika

1 1/2 tsp. Oregano /Mexican oregano

Pinch clove

Pinch cinnamon

Verde Sauce

6-7 fresh tomatillos husk removed cut in half

1 tomato cored seeded quartered and halved

1/2 white onion quartered

1 or 2 (your preference) fresh jalapeno seeded and rough chopped

2 Pablano chilies cored, seeded and rough chop 1" pcs

1 Tsp. fresh chopped Marjoram

1 small bulb top cut off for roasting

1/2 cup chicken stock

Cover meat all over with rub you may have some left over. Wrap meat in plastic and put in fridge overnight


Put meat in roasting pan and let sit for about 45 min before putting in oven.

Preheat oven to 450

Rub pork with 1 tsp. of oil.

Roast pork for about 20 min remove

Turn oven down to 325

Add chopped vegetables to roasting pan surrounding meat cover with chicken stock

Place back in oven, cover with a cookie sheet (helps it brown on top better than foil and still retains moisture)

Roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. It should be fork tender and want to fall apart when lifted.

Remove and it should look like this...

Remove meat and let rest for at least 30 min

Transfer Verde to small pot put on med heat add the fresh chopped Marjoram. You can add a little more stock if you want a looser sauce.

Reduce by half then use a hand blender to blend sauce.

Sauce should look like this when done...

Pull Pork discard fat

Return to roasting pan drizzle and toss with milk (a little at time you may not need the entire 1/2 cup).  You just want the meat just coated not saturated or soggy. Also add 3 or so tablespoons of the Verde sauce and toss.

Return meat to a 350 degree oven to crisp up for about 30 to 45 min stir meat and scrape pan occasionally.

I made a quick slaw to accompany my tacos, but you can certainly serve your taco’s with whatever you like...


2 cups cabbage slice very thin

1 diced jalapeno or habanero if you want it spicier!

1 tablespoon oil

1 tsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. pineapple juice

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Season to taste


Place meat and slaw on a heated corn tortilla ( I put mine in a pan with a bit of oil to crisp it up a little)

Drizzle the meat with some of the Verde sauce

Add a litttle diced raw onion if you like and your done!