Take a trip with me to the Farmer’s Market, yes again

I love the Milwaukie Farmer’s Market. Yesterday I bought some local cherries, Oregonzola cheese from Rogue Creamery, smoked almonds from Carol’s Nuts & Candies and fresh local Chinook Salmon. The man selling the fish thanks every customer for supporting local Oregon fisherman. Supporting local businesses is what the farmer’s markets are all about.

Fruits galore!

All kinds of handmade pastas

Pretty flowers

Chinook Salmon

Canby Asparagas Farms - making a huge omelet

Pork quesadilla for breakfast

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Dave’s Killer Bread

I shop local and eat local whenever I can. Today’s local adventure was a visit to Dave’s Killer Bread outlet just a couple of miles from home. Although I have bought the bread for years I had never been to the place where they make it. Dave started out selling his bread at local farmer’s markets and has now expanded to include Costco, Fred Meyers, Safeway and many health food stores. Sold in Oregon, Washington and Idaho and I saw one store on their website as far away as Arkansas.

Dave has an interesting story and the video below is worth watching. Dave was a drug user, drug dealer, had felony convictions for armed robbery and multiple trips to prison. Dave turned his life around and is now producing “Killer” bread.

My favorite bread is the Rockin’ Rye. The bread a lone is almost a meal. It is so hearty and full of good chewy ingredients.

Rockin’ Rye. Yummmy!

Sin Dawg

Diners, Drive Ins & Dives

Diners, Drive Ins & Dives is one of my favorite Sunday afternoon shows on the Food Network. The host Guy Fieri travels around the country to visit the triple Ds that viewers write to him about. Guy quite often seems to end up at burger joints. I love watching him assisting making the burgers and then he gets to taste them. I sit on my couch and think “why can’t there be a great burger joint like that around here?” There are some really good hamburger places in the Portland area but none really close to where I live.

The other day a man in my office was talking about burgers and how good the ones are at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I asked him what made them so good and he said that the patties have not been frozen, they are hand formed and the fries are really good. Then a couple of other people joined in and raved about the burgers.

So today I drove 7 miles to West Linn where the nearest Five Guys is located. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with mayo, pickles and grilled onions, a regular diet coke and regular fries.

 

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Was it the best burger that I have ever eaten? No, it was good, the bun was fresh and had just the right amount of cheese. I’d skip the bacon since I didn’t think it added much flavor to the burger. The bacon was pretty thin and maybe a little over done.

Would I drive 7 miles again to eat one of their burgers? No, but if I was in the area I would stop there. The burger, fries and diet coke came to $10. That’s a lot for a fast food lunch. I do have more than half the fries leftover for later though.

 

I’m not Guy Fieri and this wasn’t Diners, Drive Ins and Dives just in case you got confused ;>)

A little Hawaiian aloha comes to Milwaukie, OR

This weekend was the grand opening of the Ohana Hawaiian Cafe in downtown Milwaukie. This is the 2nd location for the owners of the cafe. Their original Ohana Hawaiian Cafe is on 62nd and Sandy Blvd, Portland.

I timed my lunch visit so I could watch the hula dancers. The service was excellent. The food was good and plentiful. I purposely ordered too much so I could have leftovers both for lunch and dinner tomorrow. I will return.

I hope that this restaurant does well in this spot. The previous two did not. The first restaurant that was here was really good but I knew from the start that it was not a good fit for the area. It needed to be some where more trendy and upscale. The menu was too much, everything from tofu to prime rib.The second restaurant was good the first time I ate there but the second time they were off. Also they had applied for a video poker license so they had to black out their almost floor to ceiling windows so no one outside could see in. That ruined the whole ambience of the bright, cheery place that it used to be.

Pretend you are sitting on the beach with a nice trade wind watching the hula. Block out the cars as they drive by.

Table centerpiece

 

 

Ahi poke – leftovers with the salad greens, some cucumber, zucchini and tomato for lunch tomorrow

 

 

charbroiled short rib plate – pulehu salt rub, homemade rub made with Hawaiian sea salt, fresh garlic and ginger. A scoop of sticky rice and organic green salad tossed with a papaya seed vinegrette dressing.

Leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.

 

 

Bar area, no alcoholic beverages though. They do have shave ice.

 

 

The keikis waiting for their next turn to dance

 

 

 

 

Restaurant reviews – take them with a grain of salt

I think most people would agree that a restaurant can have an off night once in awhile. So when I tried to find a restaurant to have my birthday dinner at I did a lot of research on City Search and other restaurant review sites. Overall it seems to me that the people who tend to write reviews are the ones that say a restaurant, food or service sucks. I especially like reading the really bad reviews when the owner responds asking why the reviewer/customer did not speak up when they had the bad experience. One great come back from an owner was something along the lines of “REALLY? You sat there waiting for your food for 1 1/2 hours and DID NOT say anything?”

 

My criteria for the restaurant were:

  1. Somewhere I hadn’t eaten at before
  2. Interesting décor or ambiance
  3. A variety of dishes the three of us would like
  4. Ethnic or specialty dishes
  5. Not a food cart but not too expensive for my daughter’s wallet. After all she was buying.
  6. Location, not too far away so as to make a long night of it driving clear across town and back

What I found I wanted to try were several smaller, niche or ethnic restaurants on what is known as Portland’s NE 28th Ave. restaurant row or a couple of others in that neighborhood. The difficulty was that a couple of my first choices were closed on Mondays.

So I narrowed it down to two restaurants. The leading contender became Navarre because a woman that I work with said she had eaten there and it was good. Navarre doesn’t yet have a website with their menu posted, they just have a blog.  I found reviews on City Search titled A Real Disappointment, One of the worst meals I’ve ever had in Portland!, Rustic, gritty, real, organic in every sense., pretty good, One of my favorite places in town, A wonderful place to eat, etc, etc.

 

So what did we think? Navarre is a tapas place. We ordered 10 small plates ranging from really good rustic bread with lemon grass olive oil, chicken on the bone served in a bowl with a lot of broth (great flavor, chicken a bit over cooked), French cheeses, (my daughter thought that the Camembert smelled like my aunt’s barn). I loved the Brie, Blue Cheese and Camembert spread on the rustic bread. Other dishes – daughter and SIL really liked the porcini and corn salad, we had two potato plates, an a gratin and a pancake, both of which were really good, none of us really liked the braised greens, in fact daughter wouldn’t even try them. The one dish that we all agreed was the best was a pork plate. It was hot, juicy and had a wonderful flavor. We would have ordered a 2nd pork plate but they had run out. We all three had dessert and declared them all to be very good.

Our overall rating was something like “good maybe not great but we would eat there again, service was kind of slow but they have a very small kitchen and the place was jammed packed and we weren’t in a hurry. Tapas is a great way to try many things without committing to one dish that you may end up not liking. For three people, a bottle of wine and dessert with tip the bill was about $100. Not too bad.

What has become a monthly post – Milwaukie Farmer’s Market 9-6-09

Fall was definitely in the air Sunday when I went to the market. It was windy and cool. Still I wandered around and took more photos of the offerings at the market.I got home just before the rain came.  

I just can’t help put take more photos of the beautiful flowers at this vendor’s tent. She has the best variety of the entire market.

 

 

 

 

 

 You can’t really tell from the below photo but that flower must have been 6 inches across. It was windy and I had a hard time getting a decent shot of it.

 

 

I think this is a pretty flower. There were several colors but I liked this one the best.

 

 

I love fresh picked tomatoes. Yum!

 

 

This fennel smelled really good.

 

 

The blueberries were tasty  mixed in with yogurt for a few breakfasts.

 

 

Need a gourd? There were several storage containers full of them.

 

 

 

The next two photos are why I eat breakfast prior to going to the market.

 

 This booth has some nice plants.

 

 

Sunday breakfast spot

Most Sundays I go out to breakfast. My favorite restaurant for breakfast is Sully’s Cafe in downtown Milwaukie. Everything is fresh, made from scratch and local whenever possible. Once a month they have for the special a fresh Dungeness crab leg omelet. The omelet is filled with spinach or asparagus, cheese and tomatoes. It is topped with about 8 big crab legs and a light Hollandaise sauce. It is really good and like with most of their breakfast dishes I usually have leftovers.

Sully’s is small, only about 10 tables inside and 3 outside. That’s one of the reasons I like it. The restaurant has a lot of regular customers. We talk to each other like we really know each other when in reality we only see each other eating breakfast and make some small talk.

 

 

 

This is one of the many hanging flower baskets along the streets of downtown MIlwaukie.

 

 

The photo below is of Gabi one of the waitresses. Gabi told me that she just registered to continue her college education, she is majoring in finance. It’s been a struggle for her but she keeps going even if she only takes a couple of classes a term. Good for her is what I tell her in my pep talks. All of the current waitresses happen to be Hispanic. There is a mother and daughter who work at Sully’s. Once I found out they were mother and daughter I wondered why I never noticed the resemblance before.

 

This was taken in the “Beauty” mode which “Enhances the skin tone and texture”. I did take a shot in the regular mode and I could see a little difference in the two photos. Gabi is very pretty and photogenic.

 

 

This is George. My daughter did not use to like him because he can be moody. Now Tara and Kelly think he is the funniest guy once they got to know him. Oh, yes Sully’s has become Tara and Kelly’s favorite place to eat breakfast too. George bought Tara and Kelly breakfast on their wedding anniversary without knowing it was a special day for them. He is a nice guy!

 

 

Delicious corned beef hash enough for leftovers for breakfast the next day.

 

Homemade Oregon strawberry jam.