Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cookie Casa Bakery

Los Angeles, CA. I've heard of Cookie Casa before, but why? Cookie Casa may have snuck its way into your hands too in the last few years, but not by way of a typical store pick-up. This bake-to-order bakery only recently extended its doors into a modest storefront, welcoming patrons of cookies and sweet treats alike. Good thing too, because when I want a cookie, I want a cookie in that moment. A big thanks to the friend who convinced me to give the storefront a go: cookies are now a near-weekly staple!
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nick's Coffee Shop & Deli

Los Angeles, CA. Wandering around your neighborhood you begin to learn about your neighbors, get to know those playful puppies and the ones to avoid, or which houses love to barbecue and which just love their take-out. It's something that naturally becomes a part of the rhythm of the community. Nick's Coffee Shop and Deli isn't a trendy, fancy breakfast and brunch spot looking to wow you with culinary ingenuity. No, no, it's not like that. It's community, and should you become a regular, you're practically a part of Nick's family.
Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buttered Rum Banana Bread


"Use these, I think they're going to spoil." I was handed a batch of bananas: really, really ripe bananas. Was it given to me as incentive to make a dessert? Or was it for a daily protein shake? Let's go with the former, it's a bit more fun. Banana bread is easy to make, and despite not craving it too frequently, it's usually eaten with almost no second-thought. When I was handed the bananas I was also staring at a bottle of rum sitting in the cupboard, thinking about rum cake. Taking the thought a bit further, I varied things up to make this Buttered Rum Banana Bread. With the freshly baked bread soaking up the sweetened buttered rum, what wasn't to love?
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Southland Whiskey Kitchen


Portland, OR. Serving up "savory home cookin' and brown liquor libations" says Southland's website, and oh how true does this ring. Among many food-centered strengths, the city of Portland has a happy hour culture that should be the envy of larger metros. However, it isn't the drinking that becomes the focus, but the heavily discounted high-quality food. What does this mean to its happy hour patrons? It allows a sampling of a larger cross-section of a menu of farm-to-table, even within the gluttonous comfort that is Southland Whiskey Kitchen.
Thursday, June 13, 2013

Salt & Straw Ice Cream

Portland, OR. As we wandered from the doors of the bed and breakfast, bellies stuffed, and bodies relaxed, we split off and made our way back into Portland proper for a frozen treat. "Salt and Straw!" a friend exclaimed, "we HAVE to go. SO good. SO GOOD!" We found a parking spot, checked in on the wedding cake (yup, we still had some left), and entered into an atmosphere of ice cream artisans and a menu of highly-specialized frozen flavors. Salt and Straw, the little ice cream shop nestled among eateries, hair salons, and boutiques, makes the concept of farm-fresh and local, sustainable, and organic something to boast about.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wine Country Farm Bed & Breakfast


Dayton, OR. What better way to wake up than by the crisp cool air, entering through your balcony overlooking a landscape of luscious green vineyards? What better way to retire than by the darkening evening sky, wine glass in hand, warming up to your loved one by the fire? Whatever the fantasy or reality may be, it seemed like the newly married couple I came to visit had romance in mind when we all stayed in the well-groomed Wine Country Farm Bed and Breakfast.
Thursday, June 06, 2013

Low Bar Lounge

Vancouver, WA. I reached for my weekend bag from overhead and made my way to the fresh Portland air. It felt good to finally be back in the pacific northwest! Picked up and customarily greeted by my friend's family, we drove some distance toward downtown Vancouver, WA. The conversation of dining came up and all turned me, "So, you like food, where should we go here?" Realizing that all of us were visitors of the city, and after a little preliminary research, I identified three choices in walking proximity to the central downtown area. We approached Low Bar Lounge first, and with everyone's approval sat down at a high top table in uniform decision.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Postcard from Oklahoma City


Oklahoma City, OK. Land-locked Oklahoma isn't usually a vacation destination. But with a kind-hearted, friendly vibe... a reliance on farm-to-table by necessity and history (lots of ranchland 'round here!)... and a capital city with just the right amount of hipster grit and old-school charm... should you find yourself in Oklahoma City, you'll be pleasantly surprised. There's a touristy zone (known as the Bricktown) with the usual steakhouses, large-plate Italian and chain restaurants, but avoid it. Go where the locals go: there's inventive food, reasonable prices, and a smile with every plate. Here are some of the best.

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