Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wine is good.

Some background: I used to hate the smell and taste of red wines. I had a friend that used to tease me as he drank some red wine and asked if i wanted some Juicy Juice and i would take one little sniff of the wine and make a face. I still don't like the smell of red wine, but i have acquired a taste for it. White wines are still tasty but the sweetness can get a bit much. My favorite red is Syrah/Shiraz, but i'll drink most anything. Silly though it is, Sideways actually got me interested in red wine. The characters just made red wine seem so amazing! Right after seeing the movie in our small independent theater in Sarasota me and my friend went to our local grocer and picked up Red Bicyclette Syrah. I deemed it tasty and i've been drinking red wines with no fear ever since.
So last Christmas my brother-in-law happened to pick up a bottle of Pepperwood Syrah and Red Zinfandel. I fell in love with the $6 wine. 3 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's is a good deal for what it is but it's not the best tasting. The Pepperwood wines i've had just have a very pleasant taste and they're not too dry. Recently i came across the Pepperwood Riesling at Grocery Outlet for only $3 and i found this to be tasty as well. Not too sweet. So if you're looking for a new house wine, try some Pepperwood and let me know what you think.

Also, get Screwed!

I found this at Grocery Outlet as well and was pleasantly surprised to find it to be a very good red. i'm a big fan screw cap wines. I once read that corks don't make a better wine and i gotta agree (note: i am not a fine wine connoisseur). and it makes it so much easier when you're not drinking the whole bottle that night. just screw the cap back on and you're set.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Camillia Lounge

Another nonfood entry. I think i've given up on being only vegan foods you can buy. It's just no fun when i am excited about a restaurant or, in this case, a bar.
So last night we had a girl's night out in honor of Erica (who was visiting from Chicago) and the first night out for Joanna since she had baby Milo on December 7th (i think i got that date correct). First we ate. We went to Backspace and were kicked out of our tables as soon as we were done eating. They were having some show and we were in the way. I gotta say, Backspace's service just pretty much sucks. I don't know what was going on last night but i had to ask for cups for the self-serve water, there weren't any forks in the fork holder when i went to get one for a friend's food (they hadn't brought one when they delivered her food), and they had to remake a friend's coffee drink when it was let sitting on the counter (i think they may have called it out, but it's kinda weird when they bring your food to the table, you don't really expect that they won't do the same for your coffee drink)......i've only gone to Backspace for food once before and the service was soooo s-l-o-w. (by the way, i had the Steak Sandwich with a bup of Cheezy Broccoli soup, which i had to pay an extra $1.50....which wasn't worth it...I would've thought the green peppers and onions would've been grilled's like they sauted them for 15 seconds...enough elipses....)
So we left in search for another all ages place to hang out. We had one minor with us and i've said before, this is not a place for minors! Almost every place that you would go to in the evening, you have to 21 for. We ended up walking over to The Tea Zone. They call the back half of the cafe The Camellia Lounge. The place was complately empty when we got there a smidge past 7pm. Lucky for us the nonsmoking lounge allows minors until 8pm. Not a lot, but something. We sat in the booth area, which is right in front of a wall that is covered in thin material has lights on the bottom that continously changed color. It was weird. And we weren't too into it. The music selection also was odd. When we first got there it was some sort of weird elevator type music, then it was swtiched to Cat Power, then to something else. After being there an hour a band started setting up. This is a really small lounge area and i didn't foresee us being able to talk when a drumset was set up just a few feet away....We weren't able to and eventually we gave up and left.
So i'm sounding pretty negi....But no fear, the fact the cocktails are pretty kickass put a posi spin on the evening. They're all infused with tea. My first drink was a Telmig (which i suddenly realized was "gimlet" spelled backwards last night while laying in bed....)- "A sour gin gimlet that combines our house infused Darjeeling Beefeater gin, sake, and fresh lime. Super crisp." I was kinda scared when i realized it was one of those drinks not served on the rocks, but it ended up being cold and very tasty. The second drink i had was a Mango Bobby- "Mango or blackcurrant black tea vodka and 7Up." The other girls got all other drinks and it was fun tasting them. All of the ones i tried were quite tasty. They included: Sunset on the Empire, Ginger Peach of Immortality, Smokey Robinson (this one was a favorite of ours, it was very interesting with it's smokey flavor), Shinjuki (it was one of the adult bubble teas known as Trubble Teas...hehe)...Jess had one that i tried and i can't remember the name...
For the whole menu:

My friend Susie got the "Vegan Falafel" and proclaimed it good and that she had never had an awful falafel....

Location and Number: 510 NW 11th Ave. (right on the southbound streetcar tracks, between glisan and hoyt...i think...) 503-221-2130

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wildwood Yogurt

I'm definitely a Silk obsessed girl. Their "red" -aka plain- soymilk is my favorite and i love their Hazelnut soy creamer....and their yogurt is my favorite (cherry flavor is the best flavor!). But the only grocery store (of my usual grocery haunts) that sells their yogurt is Wild Oats and i don't go there too often. Only when i'm shopping after work. So when i'm getting my shop on at New Seasons i end up with Wildwood yogurt, which is more natural and probably more local as well since it comes from California. It's good. Their best product though is the Garlic Aioli which totally kicks ass when being eaten with red bell peppers. It's a match made in heaven......
Anyways!....The other week i went to Grocery Outlet in Milwaukie with Jess (of and fame) and we found a lot of vegan goodies including Wildwood's Plain and Vanilla Soyogurt 24 oz sizes for only 99 cents! i bought one of each not knowing what i would do with it all before it expires in mid-February. Whenever i buy a big thing of yogurt, which happens every once and awhile since some recipes for baked goods call for some, i always end up throwing most of it away. Well, the other day i remembered all the "muesli" i ate while in Germany. At one of my placements i worked in a kitchen at a conference center. My boss, Ilse, would sometimes concoct a mixture of plain yogurt, milk, oats, honey, shredded apples, banana chunks, other miscellaneous fruit, and nuts and seeds to put on the breakfast buffet. You let it sit for awhile so that the oats would get soft and then eat. I loved it. So the other day i took a glass jar, put some yogurt in it (i did a mix of vanilla and plain the second time to make it less sugary and therefore more healthy), added rolled oats, shredded Gala apple, banana chunks, raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cherries and flaxmeal. I didn't add any soymilk or honey/agave since i thought the yogurt to be kinda liquidy and sweet. It was so freakin' delicious! I think i might add some soymilk next time though, it could use a little more liquid.
Portlanders: be on the look for the new Grocery Outlet opening in Hollywood area where Value Village used to be. Just don't hog all the good stuff yourself!!