Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Supper Club PDX {From Russia, With Love}

Once a young lady finishes her studies, moves to a new city and becomes an "adult" it can be tricky figuring out how to meet really great friends.  Some women take fitness classes, others, join the Junior League.  A very popular option is joining a book club.  Book clubs usually involve a group of ladies that meet every month at a different members home.  They discuss the chosen book, eat a few snacks and drink {a lot} of wine.  At least, that has been my experience.  You see, I've attempted to join, crash, and start multiple book clubs.  They always fail.  I cannot pinpoint why this doesn't work.  It just doesn't.  Its not you, its me, book clubs.

{Uber Artsy Photograph Provided by  Erin}

Rachel {in case you haven't gathered from the very consistent shout outs, I just love this girl!!! She has become a really great in real life friend, with whom I chat with almost daily!} and I were discussing this predicament and our love of the Portland restaurant scene.  A scene that is consistently changing and almost impossible to keep up with.  It was in that very GChat session that the idea of a supper club was born!  A group of ladies that meet once-a-month and try out a new restaurant!  We talked out logistics, made a list of ladies we thought would enjoy the concept and came up with the telling tag line, "Why read when you can eat."  The "YES PLEASE!  I WANT TO JOIN" emails came pouring in and we quickly created a Google Doc with everyone's "best days" and list of desired restaurants.

{Look at that group of babes!!}

For our kick off event we decided to try out Kachka, a relatively new Russian restaurant in SE Portland.  We all decided to do the "Ruskie Zakuski Experience" which requires full table participation  and is $25.  With this experience they serve you multiple courses of Cold Zakuski, which allows you to try all sorts of things you might not order.  Or, even know about!  While I wasn't hot to trot about every item, I absolutely loved the entire experience and the opportunity to try new things.  The Ruskie Zakuski does not include drinks, the highly recommended dumplings or desserts.  Since we had such a large group and wanted the full experience, we decided to split an order of traditional cheese dumplings, dessert dumplings and cookies.  We ordered various drinks, as well.  In total, our entire dinner took about three hours.

{My friends, they call that ambiance}

While the food was of the highest quality, what really made this a must-try restaurant was the overall experience.  The space is beautiful and really well decorated.  They clearly put so much care into the details; like the glassware, light fixtures and art work throughout.  More than anything, the wait staff was fantastic.  They were so kind, very attentive and kindly explained the dishes, customs and Russian language to us.  It didn't hurt that everyone was real easy on the eyes.  Yes, I just said that.  I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't share that little nugget!!!

{The Menu.  In all honesty, I knew what roughly 25% of the items were.}

{A few girls ordered Moscow Mules.  Tasty, but not in a copper mug.  I'm a purist when it comes to my mules.}

{I opted to try an infused liquor flight.  Lemon Vodka, Earl Grey Vodka, Beet Gin. The beet gin was my favorite!}

{Rachel had the From Russia With Love.  Delicious!}

{Our handsome waiter thought I looked thirsty and brought me his favorite infused vodka: Horseradish!  While I did slam this, I wouldn't recommend doing that.  But, I still want it in my next bloody mary!}

{First Plate: Pickled Products!  Green Tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, sauerkraut and pickles.   The mushrooms were delightful.}

{Baltic Sprat Buterbrodi & Eggplant Pkhali Rolls.  I loved both!!  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the eggplant}

{Dacha Salat.  The dill was so fresh and delicious!}

{Time for another drink, Nasha Dama this time}

{Herring Under a Fur Coat.  Reminded me of a potato salad.}

{The beginning of our fish course.  Breads, cod liver pashtet, beet cured chinook, smoked trout and capitan.}

{Pumpernickle with cured salmon and REALLY yummy butter}

{New potatoes, butter, pickled mackerel.  Not my cup of tea, but glad I tried it!}

{Selfies with sweet Jess!!}

{Meat & Cheese Board.  I LOVED this!!!}

{Meat Aspic.  We were all reminded of Julia Child.  That's all I have to say about that.}

{Shaved backfat with Israeli pickles, cumin, Russian mustard and honey}

{Personally, I prefer my pickles to be two-state solution style, but, delicious none the less!}

{Caviar, BUTTER, Bellini, chives, eggs.}

{Can't Stop}

{Won't Stop}

{Okay, last one.  Finally stopped.  Obviously, I loved this!}

{Original Style Tvorog Vareniki.  Magical Cheese Dumplings!!}

{By far my favorite dish of the night.  I will absolutely be back for these.}

{Sirniki & Kissel: Will take you right back to your soviet kindergarten days!   All of the clever touches took this to the next level}

{The charming waiter brought us empty shot glasses.... Rut Ro!}

{For the Earl Grey infused vodka to be paired with the Oreshki cookies.  The cookies filled with nutella and dulce de leche's love child!!!  If you know me, you know Oreshki has suddenly skyrocketed to the top of my imaginary baby name list.}

{Almost every single lady had heard about the Sour Cherry Vareniki so we decided to share an order.  A cherry dumpling that had been fried and topped with mint and basil.  There were several audible "oh my god's" due to the deliciousness.}

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Five {Inspired}

Hello lovelies!!!  I hope you are all doing wonderfully and have a fabulous weekend on deck!!  I plan on doing the laundry, giving myself a facial and prepping for my trip to Montana!  I am also slated to get a good amount of sun, hike in Forest Park and go to Supper Club at Kachka!  

I spotted this image over at CapHillStyle  and can't get it out of my head.  As a control freak, having faith and trust in the bigger picture is really hard for me at times.  This is a good reminder to take a breath and enjoy the present.

I have been fangirling the forever fabulous Cass LaValle for years!!  While she consistently creates spot on content, her new home is beyond fabulous!!!  I love everything about her loft and the neutral palette with pops of green!  I am feeling the need for many green throw pillows!

This week I have spotted five women with emerald green hair, and, I don't hate it!  Actually, I love it!!  While I am not sure dying my hair green is in my style wheelhouse I am very inspired to pick up some green chalk for a night out on the town!

I have many love languages.  Handwritten cards, goblets of wine, and, really fantastic hugs make me very happy.  Know what I love even more?!?  FLOWERS!!!  Rachel just introduced me to The Bouqs Co and I catch myself stopping by the site daily, trying to decide which bouquet I love the most.  They even have a concierge service to help even the busiest of people stay on top of their flower game.  Now that is a good thing!

Garlic.  Herbs.  Lemon.  Salt.  All are magical!  Why have I not thought about smashing them all together??  Imagine that salt mixture on the best roast chicken??  Or sprinkled over freshly made pasta?!?  My mind has been blown.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Roasted Radishes with Honey & Mint

After a really intense and long heat wave, Portland has finally started to cool off.  Things are still in the high 70's and low 80's, but, it feels breezy in comparison to what we've had.  Actually, on Sunday I was able to wear jeans for the first time since May.  And, while I loved the comfort of my well worn denim, I also started to feel some Summertime Sadness.  For a multitude of reasons, I needed an emotional hug via roasted food.  And, the cool weather allowed me to make my favorite chicken, mushroom risotto and and roasted radishes.  What can I say, I was feeling all the feels?!

These roasted radishes are super duper easy, delicious and so interesting.  They also follow my favorite recipe style of throwing things together.  It doesn't hurt that they are incredibly beautiful!  

Roasted Radishes with Honey & Mint
1 bunch of radishes

1.  Preheat oven to 425 Degrees.  Wash, trim and halve your radishes.
2.  On a baking sheet, toss the radishes with a healthy drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper.  The radishes should be evenly coated in the oil and seasonings.
3.  Bake for 6 minutes and flip the radishes.  Return to the oven for 6-8 more minutes.  Until the radishes begin to blister and begin to brown. Finely chop 6-8 leaves of mint.
4.    Remove the radishes from the oven and immediately sprinkle the mint, drizzle honey and add a smallish pat of butter to the hot radishes.  
5.  Once the butter has melted toss all of the ingredients and serve immediately.