Burger with Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

For years I’ve eaten limited meat which has resulted in limited flavor and so I’m reintroducing flavor into my life!  I’m also trying to eat mostly healthy, mediterranean style food so it’s been an interesting experiment.

This burger is inspired by Bobby Flay’s Food Network Barbecue Addiction series “Bobby’s Basics.”

There are a variety of simple aspects to this meal that add tremendous flavor such as grilling the bun, the grilled sweet potato fries, and addition of chipotle to the ketchup.

Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction cookbook


Pizza Fino

The Rustico and calzone are consistently tasty at Pizza Fino.  One of these days I’ll figure out how to make the Rustico.  I particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of flavor of the red sauce and pesto in this dish!

See prior blog post on Pizza Fino.


Bobby Flay Barbecue Addiction “Fish Taco Fiesta”

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I’m continuing to work through some cooking basics from Jamie Oliver and now starting to venture into Bobby Flay recipes from his Food Network TV show “Barbecue Addiction.”  This Food Network Barbecue Addiction Fish Taco Fiesta features citrus and spice from the fish to the slaw to the guacamole and crema sauces.  There is so much flavor with each component of this meal and it’s pretty easy to make!

For simplicity sake, I used a rub that I already had that was close enough-Private Selection “Citrus and savory” with spice and citrus notes.

I will make this recipe again!



Jorge’s Tequila Factory and First Friday Art Walk

We decided to try Jorge’s Tequila Factory because the First Friday Art Walk has been recommended to us to explore and it’s in the same location for convenience. We tried the following items:

Tacos al Pastor (Barbequed pork from Guadalajara region of Mexico)

Mucho combo-chimichanga, burrito, pork

First Friday Art Walk Vancouver’s Downtown Association

The live music provided some energy and there were a number of interesting art galleries to explore!


Five Spice restaurant


The Five Spice Seafood and Wine Bar in Lake Oswego sure was a treat!

I don’t typically eat scallops, however, they were highly recommended so I decided to try it.  They changed their menu a bit, but it was essentially the following except the sauce was not truffle, but rather a beurre blanc:

Sautéed Jumbo Sea Scallops seared jumbo diver scallops, confetti of lentils, roasted golden beets, carrots, mustard greens, truffle essence.

The wine from Abacela was a perfect pairing. I intend to visit Abacela one of these days to tour the vineyard and learn more about their tempranillo and albarino.

The steak special that night was delicious as well.

I’m so impressed with the lentil confetti with the beurre blanc that I’m going to explore making it myself!


Pizza Fino

Pizza Fino is a small, Italian restaurant that we stumbled upon in the town of Kenton near the Paul Bunyan statue.  They have a wonderful wine list and delicious appetizers, pasta, and pizza.

I started out with the charcuterie and a bottle of the 2010 Barolo Reverdito (imported by Zancanella in Portland, OR) and the $38/bottle was well worth it!

Produced in the town of La Morra in the Piedmonte region of NW Italy from the Nebiollo grape.

According to Suze from Zancanella on Corkscrew wine bar’s Facebook page, Michele Reverdito only begain making wine in 2000! https://www.facebook.com/events/219689321555979/

She provides tasting notes and more information about the winemaker below:

“…Michele Reverdito Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy 2011
Michele Reverdito only began making wine in 2000, but in just a decade has “carved out a leading role” in the region, according to Gambero Rosso, Italy’s most highly-regarded wine publication.
Based in the village of La Morra, an area of Barolo known for producing soft, sensuous, dynamic and accessible wines, Reverdito begins with meticulous viticulture, and harvests a touch on the later side, resulting in terrifically ripe and complex fruit.
Michele believes in traditional cellar techniques, and this wine sees only large 1000L oak barrels – about five times the size of a modern barrique! – and none of the oak is new. This keeps the emphasis on the wonderful fruit and also the special terroir of La Morra.

-Intense ruby red in color, the nose is very hot, ethereal, enveloping you hear the sweet notes of jam of red fruit. In the mouth, the entry is delicate and aromatic with a development density of the structure. It has a good tannic structure with sweet, almost caramelized and a long and clean. A wine of great persistence…”

For dinner, I ordered what they are calling a “Rustico” with Italian sausage.  It contains baked elbow pasta with mushrooms, parmesan and mozzarella with creamy marinara & pesto. It was so simple, yet delicious so I’m going to have to figure out how to make it! It’s essentially elbow pasta pressed into a square pan and cut into squares with a mix of white and red sauces and the pesto on top.

The calzone with smoked mozzarella, pork sausage, and black olives looked delicious as well.  I’m looking forward to coming back soon!

Vinotopia restaurant and wine bar (Cinetopia theater)


The Cinetopia theaters are known for their “Living room theaters” and serving food and drinks while watching your desired movie.  One of the Cinetopias includes a wine bar inside the restaurant for tasting wines.  Vinotopia

It’s fun to purchase the pre-paid card and select precisely which wines and how much to taste.  The wines range from local pinot noir to malbec from Argentina to wines from Italy and Spain to port from Portugal.


The Columbian 1.27.15 blog post describes how the wine bar operates.


Abella Italian Kitchen and wine


The food and wine as well as the service at Abella Italian Kitchen in Wilsonville is “molto bene”!

Dinner started with a glass of La Quercia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8/glass and $30/bottle) from the Abruzzo region of Italy.

La Quercia website

Tasting Notes from the Enjoy Small website: “…This Montepulciano is a great example of what can happen when you match low-yield winemaking expertise with a prolific growing zone, and constantly cut, cut, cut back the vines. Made by winemaker Antonio Lamona, the result is one of the best quality, most expressive and balanced Montepulcianos around. This wine is also 100% organic, and delivers as a wine that takes no shortcuts…”

The New York Times article on 10.29.08 promoted this region wine region for “wine lovers on a budget.”

This 2017 “Small Talk” video talks about the winery and region.

I’m learning that I enjoy “old world” red wines from Italy and Spain, however, there are some wineries in the Dundee, Willamette valley, and Columbia valley that are growing on me as “new world” red wines as well.

The Gorgonzola cheesecake was a delicious warm up to dinner.
Menu description: Savory cheesecake with a polenta crust, served warm with a Napoli tomato basil sauce and crusty baguette.

Both of our entrees had good flavor.

Penne con bolognese
Menu description: Penne pasta with ground Italian sausage, lean ground sirloin, our house made Napoli tomato basil sauce, and a touch of cream.


Sausage calzone
Menu description: With roasted bell peppers, red onion and mushrooms.


Falafel balls with homemade salsa

I’ve been playing around with Jamie Oliver recipes and sampling various Portland restaurants for a while now so this recipe is trying my hand at being influenced by these simple ingredients to make what I enjoy.

See prior blog post on Falafel wraps with grilled vegetables and salsa.

While it was a pretty simple dish, the most interesting thing was getting started making my own salsa using my food processor!  I’m going to continue to experiment with different ingredients for the combination that I most prefer.  It’s certainly fresher with more flavor than the store bought kind!