Food and Drink in Portland – fall 2018

We’ve been in Portland for a little over 2 months now, and sometimes it feels like we never left. We keep having to remind ourselves that it’s been 2.5 years since we were here last – like the time I tried to take Heidi to a wine bar only to find out once we got there that it’s now a coffee shop. We’ve been thoroughly enjoying revisiting some of our favorite haunts and trying new places as well.

Coffee

When we were here in 2016, we were just starting to get into coffee. Now, we’re bona fide coffee snobs. It’s been fun trying out new roasters to find ones that we love.

Kiosko – this has been the favorite so far. It’s a tiny shop down by the river that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. We randomly found it while staying in a hotel the first week we were in town, but we’ve been back multiple times since. The beans are roasted perfectly – not too burnt – and they make an excellent pour over in house. They source all of their beans from Mexico and rotate their selections throughout the year.

Case Study Coffee Roasters – Case Study is a coffee shop right in the heart of downtown. We tried two pour over coffees here: the Costa Rica Las Lajas  (notes of honeysuckle, peach jam, vanilla) and the Ethiopia Sidama (notes of raspberry, nectarine, and lemonade). Both coffees were light and flavorful. The Ethiopan had a nice acidity while the Costa Rica had a deeper, creamy mouthfeel coming from the Honey Process.

Good Coffee – Good Coffee has a couple of shops around the city. The location we went to focuses primarily on espresso and espresso-based drinks. We didn’t have a cup there, but we did pick up a bag of beans to brew at home. We tried an Ethiopian roast that was light and complex with a light acidity on the front end and a rich finish.

Food

Por Que No  – an old favorite that stands the test of time. The tacos are fresh and stuffed to the gills with meats, veggies, and other toppings, and the margaritas are a perfect mix of booze and tart. There’s usually a line, but it moves fast and once you get inside you can order your pint of margarita.

Food Trucks – we love all of the food trucks in this city. It’s so nice to be able to walk down the block when you don’t know what to have for dinner and get something cheap and delicious. Our favorite block is at 10th and Alder, though it will soon be closing to make way for a high rise. We also enjoyed Cartopia on the East side, which is set up more like a food court with plenty of seating and places to grab a beer.

 Raven and Rose – even though this was right down the block from our 2016 apartment, we only just now made a visit. The restaurant looks like an English pub on the outside and is broken up into two distinct spaces inside: the downstairs is a full-service dining room while the upstairs bar is a more casual lounge-style atmosphere. The house cocktails are unique and mixed well (they even had fresh eggnog for the holidays!) and the food is rich and delicious.

The Daily Feast – this is a casual diner serving up breakfast and lunch. It’s a small space and can get crowded fast, but they turn tables quickly. They have a nice selection of healthy and hearty breakfast dishes and churn out some decent lattes. We’re fans of the lox bagels and omelettes, but everything on the menu sounds tasty.

Quickfish – poke joint focused on sustainability. We’ll go here when we’re craving something fresh and a little healthy. We love the different bowl options but also like crafting our own bowls. You don’t get as much fish as other places, but they don’t sacrifice on flavor or quality.

Drinks

Deadshot – we stumbled on this bar on our way to a brewery and it was the happiest accident. The drinks caught our eye with their unusual ingredients (mustard, fish sauce, and kimchi, to name a few), and they were executed impeccably. The bar is casual with comfortable couch-like seating and is the perfect location to meet up with friends for a drink.

Shift Drinks – Shift Drinks is downtown and, as the name implies, started as a way to unwind after a day of work. They have an all-day happy hour – since not everyone works the traditional 9-5 – that has plenty of food and drink specials. The drinks are crafted well and the food is tasty. We’ve gone a couple of times and can’t help but getting the bread and olive oil plate to eat alongside our cocktails.

November and December 2018 Hikes

Bald Mountain via Pacific Crest Trail

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Bald Mountain is located in the Mt. Hood National Forest and reached via a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The drive to the trailhead alone offered amazing views, but the hike is definitely worth the effort.  The trail is moderate due to an initial elevation gain of 1,000 ft. in the first 1.5 miles, but it isn’t too steep and levels out after that point. On the day we went it was pretty lightly trafficked, though it was early November and very cold. Since we were in the mountains (starting at 3,500 ft.), as we climbed the temperature dropped and trees became frost-covered. After the initial climb, you’re treated to a spectacular view of Mt. Hood rising out of the valley. The trail continues an additional 1.5 miles through pine forests before opening up to sweeping views of the valley and Mt. Hood. Go on a clear day to maximize the views and you won’t be disappointed.Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 8.40.34 AM

Dog Mountain

Dog mountain is a 4-6 mile hike in the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side of the river. It is a moderate to difficult trail and hikers have the option of a 4 mile lollipop loop or adding in an additional 2 miles out and back to the peak. The trail climbs steadily for the first half and there is an option of a difficult or more difficult route. The overall elevation gain is just shy of 3,000 feet for the full 6 miles and about 2,000 for the 4 mile loop. We did the 4 mile loop, taking the difficult route up and the more difficult route down. The more difficult route has fewer switchbacks and is quite a bit steeper. The day we went was snowy making the trail a bit slippery and pushing it into a more difficult trail for us; on a clear day we likely would have rated it moderate due to the climbing. The trail is rated moderately-trafficked, however since it was winter we didn’t see an overwhelming number of people. The spring and summer are likely a bit busier. On the way up, we had some great views of the gorge; it was shrouded in a moody winter mist. Overall it was a fun hike, and we’d love to go back to the top on a clear day.Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 1.14.05 PM

Forest Park

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Forest Park is right in the heart of Portland and contains a vast network of trails. It wasn’t our favorite place to go initially because many of the trails are overly crowded. We found that the further north you go, the less crowded it becomes, so we’ve been exploring more trails further in the park. It’s a great place to get out for a trail run or easy hike without having to drive too far.

Kings Mountain Trail

Kings Mountain is located in the Tillamook Forest, 40 miles west of Portland. I ran my ultra in this forest but didn’t get to the summits, so we knew we wanted to get back and hike. The trail is not easy – it is all uphill gaining 2,500 feet in 2.25 miles until you reach Kings Summit. It’s moderately trafficked, and even on a rainy/snowy day we passed plenty of other hikers. Unfortunately there was no visibility at the top the day we hiked, but on a clear day you can supposedly see all the way to the ocean. We’re planning on going back in nicer weather to do the double Elk-Kings summit loop.

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Lemon Cranberry Muffins

It’s no secret that we love muffins. To change it up from our weekly banana nut muffins and to use up some leftover cranberries, I decided to whip up some lemon cranberry muffins. This cranberries are cooked before being added to the batter to remove some of their inherent tartness, and then lemon adds such a brightness.  I also added poppy seeds, which aren’t necessary, but balance out the tartness of the lemon with a slight nuttiness.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C  all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour – can sub all-purpose if desired
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t  salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 T water

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place cranberries, brown sugar, and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium until cranberries start to pop. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add to dry mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

Divide into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

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October 2018 Hikes

We’re a little behind on posting, but better late than never. 

Marquam Trail

The Marquam Trail remains one of our favorite running trails in Portland. We used to run this weekly back in 2016 and our return has been no different. The trail is in the Marquam Nature Preserve in the Southwest hills of Portland, near OHSU. There are many trails in the preserve and it’s easy to add quite a few miles. We typically go out for 4-6 miles and a favorite route is up to Council Crest. There’s a large park and on a clear day you can see all of the mountains (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen’s, Mt. Adams). The trail is lightly trafficked and there are no bikes allowed, which makes it very enjoyable for pedestrians.

Wildwood Trail

The Wildwood Trail is another trail we used to do back in 2016. While it’s not our favorite, it’s a great place to do some trail running in the city. It’s located in Forest Park with numerous points to get on and off the trail. Unlike the Marquam Trail, the Wildwood Trail is very heavily trafficked, especially along the Lower Macleay creek portion. After the Witch’s Castle (an old stone house) the crowds and kids thin out a bit making it more enjoyable, but there are still plenty of hikers and trail runners. Fun fact: the house was actually built in 1929 as a ranger station and restroom for hikers, but it was badly damaged by a storm in the 1960s and only the stone framework remains. The trail runs 27.9 miles point-to-point making it a great place to log some miles.

Pup Creek Falls via Indian Henry Trailhead

Pup Creek Falls is a 9.5 mile, lightly trafficked, out and back trail in Clackamas, OR. It’s in the Mt. Hood National Forest, and there are actually two ways to get to the falls – both along the Clackamas River Trail. The trail is pretty easy with only about 1,200 ft of elevation gain over the course. It runs along the Clackamas River and there are numerous creek crossings along the trail, which Snickers loved. At the turnaround point, you’re treated to a gorgeous 240 ft waterfall nestled in the cliffs, which is well worth the distance.Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 8.39.29 AM

 

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Photos

Summer 2018 was the summer of National Parks. Yellowstone and Grand Teton marked our 7th and 8th National Parks of the year. We drove up to Wyoming the weekend after Labor Day and stayed at a cabin just outside of Yellowstone. The mornings were crisp and cool and the days were sunny and warm. It was a perfect weekend to get out of town and enjoy nature. Without further ado, a massive photo dump from our weekend:

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Grand Teton

 

Elk-Kings 50K

On a beautifully cool and sunny October morning, I ran the Elk-Kings 50K in the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon. I’ve never been much of  runner, but I got it in my head last year that I wanted to push my body to see just how much it was capable of. I followed a 16 week training program and felt prepared both mentally and physically when October 13th rolled around.

The race started at the Jones Creek Day Use Area. The weather was crisp and cold and there was a gorgeous fog blanketing the forest. The trail was a double out and back; it went out for 4 miles along the Wilson River before turning back to hit the starting point again and head out in the other direction for 12 before turning back around and finishing at the Tillamook Forest Center. There was roughly 5,600 ft. of elevation gain by my Garmin (though the website says it was closer to 6,500 ft.) with the majority occurring in the second half of the course. DSC_0961-X3(source)

The first 11 miles went by quickly. The trail was full of rolling hills and the energy was high. I rolled my ankle at mile 4 – the terrain was much softer than the rocky ground I trained on in Utah – but I was able to walk it out and keep moving forward. Though it was cold when the race started, the sun came out and I was able to shed my outer layer around mile 8. Matt and Snickers met me at the second aid station around mile 11 to give me a fresh water bladder and take my shirt. DSC_1713-X3

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The trail started to get much more difficult after that point. We crossed a bridge and climbed about 1,200 ft. in 3 miles. There was a steep downhill followed by some rollers and another climb before hitting the turn around point at mile 19. At this point my right IT band was getting inflamed from all of the downhill and my knee was in pain (you can see it on my face in the photos below). Luckily Matt came to my rescue with some Ibuprofen and some motivation and I was on my way again.

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The return was HARD. The 1,200 ft. we climbed on the way out was compressed into 1.5 miles on the return and my glutes and hamstrings were on fire. I wanted to stop so many times, but literally pushed my legs up that hill. At this point I knew I was 5th place female – the lady in 4th place was behind me in the first half, but left the aid station before me – and thought if I pushed it I could potentially catch up to her. I was never so relieved as when the trail went down again to the aid station at mile 29. From that point, it was 2.75 miles of rolling hills to the end where Snickers and I crossed the bridge to the finish line.

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Since I did pretty much all of my training solo, being in a race environment was both foreign and invigorating. I pushed myself harder than I probably would have otherwise. I finished 31.76 miles in 6:09:13 by the race time (5:59:44 moving time – I stopped with Matt and Snickers at a few aid stations), which was far better than I could have hoped. Going in I just wanted to finish under 7 hours with a goal in the back of mind of 6.5, so to finish just over 6 hours was amazing for me. I was 21st overall, 4th place female (out of 30), and 1st place female in my age group (the top 3 overall weren’t eligible for age group prizes, so I technically finished 3rd in my age group 🙂 but I’ll take the win).

A big thanks to Matt and Snickers for being my cheerleaders and support staff all summer and to the Go Beyond Racing crew who put on an amazing race.

September 2018 Hikes

Stansbury Crest Trail to Willow Lake – Wasatch Cache National Forest

The Stansbury Crest Trail to Willow Lake is a 7 mile out and back hike in the Wasatch Cache National Forest. It is ~50 miles west of Salt Lake City and the last few miles are on an unpaved gravel road. The trail is lightly trafficked with 2,000 feet of gain over the course of 3.5 miles. At the end, you’re treated to lake surrounded by cliffs – it was muddy and a bit dried up when we went (end of a hot summer) but it’s likely full in the spring and early summer from snow runoff. We ran into some cattle towards the end enjoying the shade, but otherwise it was a nice, peaceful hike. The leaves were already starting to change colors in early September, which made for a picturesque drive through the canyon on the way out.Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 12.44.35 PM

Sawmill Slough Preserve – Jacksonville, FL

Sawmill Slough Preserve is a preserve at the University of Northern Florida in Jacksonville, FL. I was able to get out there while I was at work and do about 5.5 miles on a few of the trails: the Gopher Tortoise Ridge Trail and the Goldenrod Trail. The trails are very flat and easy, and run through a tree grove. They’re not the best maintained – many of the bridges are missing boards – but it’s a good option close to the city. None of the trails are very long, but doing a few loops can get you some decent mileage.Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 10.40.32 AM

Military Reserve – Boise, ID

Military Reserve is a 728 acre area of land in the foothills of Boise. It is filled with miles and miles of trails suitable for both running and biking. The trail system in Boise connects a couple of different nature areas including Military Reserve Park and Camels Back Reserve. Beth did a 15 mile run through the hills with Matt and Snickers joining for the last two one day and went back during the week for some shorter runs. The hills are rolling and sandy, making for a relatively easy run. The trails are not shaded so we wouldn’t recommend them for hiking (it’d be a relatively boring hike), but they were perfect for getting mileage on a cloudy fall day. There are so many trails it’s easy to do as much or little as you’d like. Snickers thoroughly enjoyed doing a couple of shorter runs through the area.Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 10.45.26 AM

Table Rock Trail – Boise, ID

The Table Rock Trail is a 3.5 mile, heavily trafficked trail. The trail climbs approximately 890 ft. up to the mesa, and the uphill climb makes it moderate difficulty.The trail starts by an old penitentiary, which you get a nice view of as you climb the hill.  With plenty of breaks to catch your breath, it’s a very doable trail offering a great view of the city and canyon from the top.Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 10.46.51 AM