We have made it a tradition that on each of our children’s birthdays we will do a new activity or visit somewhere new. This year for Alder’s birthday we started our morning with coffee and pastries at Jet Black Coffee. Then it was on to the Circuit Bouldering gym for a quick climbing session before heading to our main event – bowling at Punch Bowl Social.
Neil and I had visited Punch Bowl Social last year on a date night but our visit was quick and we had no idea that it had three bowling areas, tons of games and karaoke rooms as well as some really delicious food. We were all pretty excited to spend the afternoon bowling and eating especially since this was the first time Edith and Alder had ever been bowling.
We opted to eat at our lane because there was no way we were going to get the kids to sit down and eat when they knew that bowling was just a few feet away. So we ordered our food and drinks and after we convincing Alder that the lightest ball would be best for him even though it was blue (his favorite colour at the moment) we got down to bowling.
One thing that I love about Punch Bowl Social bowling is that it’s by the hour versus by the game. This means we can bowl as many games as we can in our allotted time and we aren’t paying for each string. With two kids however we were lucky to make it through one game but either way still fun. I will note however if you are into some competitive bowling these lanes are not PBA approved but are just for gathering with friends for a fun time.
Not interested in bowling? Don’t worry Punch Bowl Social is worth visiting for the food alone. All the food is made in house and is not the normal greasy, heated up food you find at most bowling alleys. This food is top notch and so are the drinks. I am still dreaming about the Superfood Grain Bowl it was legitimately one of the best things I ate all summer.
The Superfood Grain Bowl has crispy farro (something I need to learn how to make), a bunch of great veggies and an incredible miso ginger vinaigrette. We also ordered the Black Eyed Pea Hummus which was was another amazing dish and we ordered the Boiled Peanuts which I was a bit skeptical about and the first few were hard to get down but the more I ate the more I liked them and even our five-year-old, Edith, couldn’t get enough. For drinks we went with a few of their homemade sodas which were all delicious but my favorite was the Season’s Soda.
After we finished up bowling we headed home to get ready for our mini birthday BBQ with friends. Since we had a big morning out we kept it simple with homemade slaw, chips, store bought cake (Whole Foods has the best vegan chocolate cake BTW) and veggie dogs.
We kept our veggie dogs super simple with just a bit of Sir Kensigton mustard and ketchup but this weekend we will be jazzing up our dogs and I just might have a recipe or two to share with you next week.
What birthday traditions do you have? What is your favorite birthday memory? I have to say birthdays for me are kind of a sore subject. I love celebrating others birthdays but I find that for some reason mine just never seems to be great. Oh well. I do have a great memory though when I was 13 or 14 my parents took me and a few friends to New Hampshire to go shopping and stay in a hotel.
Motherhood is rewarding, enlightening, fulfilling, and just overall incredible however it can also be lonely, isolating, challenging, frustrating and overwhelming. I entered motherhood with my husband by my side but without a strong group of mothers around me. I was the first of my close friends to get married and have children and while becoming a mother was incredible and I was thrilled those lonely, isolating, overwhelming feelings easily took over.
For me moving to Portland was such a shift and really helped to change my perspective in life and motherhood. I was forced to seek out opportunities to meet new people and when you have a 6 month old that means moms groups. I met other women just like me, new to motherhood and just trying to make our way through. I became more confident as a mother and as person and began to seek out more opportunities to meet people and that’s when I found Portland Bloggers and met some amazing creatives many of whom are women and many who are also navigating motherhood while following their passions. —
As I enter motherhood for the third time I am feeling anxious as we add another little human to our family but I am also comforted knowing that I have an amazing community here in Portland. I was reminded just how supported and lucky I am this past May when my girlfriends through an incredible succulent themed baby shower for me. It was more than I could have ever expected and it left me feeling so full of love, life and light. This baby will be entering the world filled with so much love and I feel that this time around (the last time around) I will also be entering motherhood with the love and support that I desired all those years ago.
Months ago I was watching an Instagram story that featured Virtuous Pie in Vancouver BC. I was seriously salivating over all the pizzas that were featured and then at the end the person made mention that they would be opening a location in Portland OR. Well months went by and I just completely forgot all about it until we happened upon the Portland location when we tried The Baker’s Mark a sandwich shop just next door at SE Division and 12th. Since that day I have been anxiously waiting for Virtuous Pie PDX to open and that day has finally come! This week they had a soft opening and tomorrow June 10th they will have their grand opening starting at 8am with coffee and pastries from Shoofly Bakery.
Tonight we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to stop by and try out a few pizzas and ice creams. I should note that everything is 100% plant-based.The 100% plant-based pizzas combine unique flavor pairings using three-day dough and house-made nut cheeses, including cashew mozzarella, almond ricotta, and non-GMO tofu feta. The full menu can be found here. If you are gluten-free you’ll be in heaven because most of their pies can be made gluten free and they even have gluten-free waffle cones for their ice cream.
We struggled to narrow down which pizzas to order for our first visit but initially settled on the Meatball & Chevre and the Stranger Wings. To go with the pizza Neil chose one of the local beer offerings and while I wish I could have joined him I decided to start with water. Now I maybe a total geek but I was so excited to see that they had both still and sparkling water for you to serve yourself.
We chose a table outside and within a matter of 6-8 minutes our pizzas were ready and after getting my Instagram shots we dived in and those pizzas were gone in about the same amount of time it took us to wait for them. At first bite we were a bit underwhelmed with the Stranger Wings but the second slice completely changed both our minds and we were sold. It had a bit of spice (although could maybe have used a touch more for my personal taste) and the blue cheese sauce was seriously amazing. If you are from Maritime Canada I would closely relate the blue cheese sauce here to donair sauce. Neil couldn’t get over how close he thought it tasted and we are considering buying up a few sides to have with homemade vegan garlic fingers (again a Maritime thing).
Our second pizza was the Meatball & Chevre that came out with a vegan parm that not only looked like freshly grated parm but SMELLED like parm as well. This pizza was packed with so much flavor and we instantly fell in love. The meatballs were so flavourful and lemon herb chevre was like nothing I’ve ever had. Seriously amazing.
Once we finished these two pizzas we opted to go for a third for one out of pure curiosity and also because neither of us had really eaten much all day. We narrowed it down to three options and ultimately went with the Kim-Jack a Korean inspired pizza. I have to say this wasn’t the one I would have chosen just based on the description alone because while I love Korean flavors I’m not big into jackfruit but it was suggested so I agreed. The pizza came out and it was love at first bite. The jackfruit on this pizza was incredible and combined with the cashew mozza it was even more incredible and ended up being both Neil and my favorite of the three pizzas.
We ate most of the Kim-Jack before deciding to pack up the remainder to go and switching gears to something a bit sweeter. Since we really wanted to full experience we decided to go with an ice cream flight. I left the flavor choices up to Neil and he chose the Double Chocolate & Salted Caramel, Coffee & Donuts and Lavender & Meyer Lemon. All of these ice creams had really great flavor and out of the three my favorite was the Lavender & Meyer Lemon. Next time I’d love to try the Turmeric & Black Pepper and the Marionberry Cheesecake.
The Verdict? If you live in Portland (or Vancouver BC) you need to drop everything and head to Virtuous Pie. One of the best food experiences I have had in awhile and I already have plans go back tomorrow morning for a mug of Heart Coffee and Shoofly Pastries and again next week for a mamas night out so I can try another pizza and more ice cream (assuming this baby doesn’t come first).
Have you tried Virtuous Pie? Which is your favorite pie and/or ice cream?
Pickles, kombucha, kraut, kimchi, miso….fermented goodies. All the amazing goodies we got to taste at the Oregon Fermentation Festival this past weekend.
Our house is one that is constantly stocked with delicious krauts and kombuchas and we often have something fermenting (some more successful than others). What can I saw we love fermented foods so when we found out about the Oregon Fermentation Festival we marked our calendars and purchased our tickets and prepared for an afternoon of funky foods.
We sampled some of our favorites like Kevita, Health-ade and OlyKraut. We also tried some new (to us) places such as Rawkstar Creations which not only has really great kombucha but an AAAAAMAZING raw BLT.
Overall we loved the festival and the kids couldn’t get enough kombucha so of course we ended up going home with a box of different varieties.
So fermented foods and beverages- love or hate? What are you favorites?
So you have only six hours to spend in Portland, what would you do? I mean there is so much to do it can incredibly overwhelming. So here I am narrowing things down for you and giving you a few great spots to eat, play and soak up Portland.
9am – Kure
77 SE Yamhil St (or your favorite location – they [currently] have five)
Kure is easily one of our favorite spots in Portland. They have an amazing variety of healthy vegan and raw options that taste amazing. We recommend the Bowl of The Gods (acai bowl), Little Wing (smoothie), Liquid Sunshine (juice) and the Kure Bar (snack). Also take advantage of their awesome grab-and-go section.
9:45am – OMSI
1945 SE Water Ave
Just around the corner from Kure is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and one of our favorite spots to explore and play. Now you might be thinking isn’t OMSI just for kids? NO! There is so much to see, do and learn that it is fun for all ages. Currently there is a space exhibit which is a must see IMO. If space isn’t your thing don’t worry there are plenty of other things to see and there is always an IMAX show.
When you are done at OMSI head out the side door and you’ll find yourself over looking the Willamette River. Here you can go for a stroll and take in the Portland skyline. So stop, look and take a photo or two.
Now that you have played it is time to feast so we are hopping across the river for some hearty vegan BBQ or if you are looking to go a bit more refined a cheese plate at Vtopia – or go crazy and get both! Homegrown Smoker started off as a food cart here in Portland a few years ago and they now have brick and mortar spot that is serving up their delicious fare. If BBQ isn’t your thing then head next door to Vtopia where you will find some amazing cashew based cheeses and cheesy foods.
1:15pm – Wunderland
3451 SE Belmont St
Save your nickels and head to Wunderland for hours of fun at the nickel arcade. This is one of our favorite spots in town because it is fun and cheap. Again you might be thinking isn’t this a “kids” spot and while you will find yourself sharing the space with children there is more than enough fun to be had. This is actually one of Neil and my favorite date night spots; we stop into Stumptown and grab a coffee, then the nickel arcade and end our night at Sweet Hereafter for dinner and drinks – the perfect date night. If you want a little more of an adult spot and a place where adult beverages are served then head a few streets over to QuarterWorld – but warning these games don’t issue tickets so you won’t have an awesome robotic arm or Mickey watch at the end of the day.
So that is how to spend 6 hours in Portland or a few more than that if you want to add in our favorite date night spots.
If you had 6 hours in Portland what would you do?
Neil and I have been trying to get a little more creative with our date nights instead of the same old dinner and drinks. On our most recent date we (finally) visited the Smith Teamaker Southeast Tasting Room. The space is bright with a modern industrial feel – I’m terrible at explaining interiors so just look here.
The tea list is pretty extensive so we decided to go share a tasting flight of four teas of our choice. We had a hard time narrowing down four but eventually we did. We chose a oolong tea, two black teas and an herbal tea.
For the tasting you are presented with a tray of teas, a spoon each, a cup of water to rinse your spoon, a few little cookies and info cards for each tea along with the teas in their un-steeped form. From there it works a lot like a coffee cupping but instead of spitting the tea out after tasting you just drink it all down.
While we peacefully sipped our teas we read through The Teamaker’s Almanac that had been left at our table. It was filled with a variety of little stories about tea, how to taste tea and what do all those numbers really mean on Smith Teamaker teas. It was pretty comical at times as well.
Overall this is has become one of my must visit spots in Portland. Stop in and try the flight if you have time but make sure to bring a friend or you’ll be downing 4 full cups of tea on your own. If you’re in a rush grab one of their cold teas they have on draft. We sampled the chai but were too full of tea to grab one to go but you know where I’ll be next time a chai craving comes on.