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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mom's Chao Vit (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Duck)

14 Mom's Chao Vit (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Duck)

After such a full day of eating from Pok Pok - Portland to Tabor - Portland to Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland, I was quite happy to come home to my mom's chao vit (Vietnamese rice porridge with duck) for dinner. Such a light, soothing end to a jam-packed day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tabor (Food Cart) - Portland - Oregon

13 Tabor - Portland - Oregon 1

After a few snaps of Mill Ends Park (Smallest Park in the World), Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok and I decided to grab a snack at one of the many food carts around Portland.

I wanted to try a new cuisine so we ended up at Tabor, the Czech food cart. They're known for their Schnitzelwich, a breaded pork loin sandwich, but we only wanted a light snack so the Schnitzelwich will just have to wait until next time. The Bohemian goulash sounded mighty tempting too...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mister Lincoln Rose

6.26 Mister Lincoln Rose

For a traditional multi-petal red rose, I love the velvety Mister Lincoln.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Paul Ecke Jr. Rose

6.25 Paul Ecke Jr. Rose 1

I quite like the old-fashioned look of single petal roses. There's the pink Nearly Wild Rose, and this red one is Paul Ecke Jr., which I bought at the Armstrong Garden Center in Claremont several years ago.

6.25 Paul Ecke Jr. Rose 2

By the way, did you know Paul Ecke Ranch is the world's largest and most successful poinsettia breeder? The father of my rose?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Early Girl Beats Better Boy Tomatoes

6.24 Early Girl Beats Better Boy Tomatoes 1

The green tomatoes in my kiddie pool garden, finally ripened. A few times now, I've had a showdown between Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes to see which would ripen first.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mill Ends Park (Smallest Park in the World) - Portland - Oregon

So after getting the cross street from the guy at the tourist information office at Pioneer Courthouse Square, we were off to find the smallest park in the world.

See it?

12 Mill Ends Park (Smallest Park in the World) - Portland - Oregon 1

So the story goes that...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Downtown Portland - Oregon Redux

After leaving the Portland Farmers Market at PSU - Portland - Oregon, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok and I walked around downtown.

The Oregon Historical Society and Oregon History Building is right across the street from the farmers market. Like the 3-D effect? It's a mural.

11 Downtown Portland - Oregon Redux 1

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Portland Farmers Market at PSU - Portland - Oregon

10 Portland Farmers Market at PSU - Portland - Oregon 1

After lunch at Pok Pok - Portland - Oregon, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok and I headed downtown to check out the Farmers Market at Portland State University.

Located in the South Park Blocks, the Portland Farmers Market at PSU is one of the city's nicest, if for nothing else but the location.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pok Pok - Portland - Oregon

9 Pok Pok - Portland - Oregon 1

After visiting Ramona and Klickitat Street, Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok and I went to the other side of town for lunch at Pok Pok.

Pok Pok, owned by Andy Ricker, has received a lot of coverage by bloggers and mainstream media since it opened several years ago. It was even named restaurant of the year by The Oregonian in 2007. Pok Pok used to be a take-away hut, which replaced a vegan sushi take-away, and is now a full-service restaurant.

Was it the novelty of a white guy cooking authentic Thai street food that lured people in? Or was the food actually that good?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden - Grant Park - Portland - Oregon

8 Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden - Grant Park - Portland - Oregon 1

Do I really need to introduce Beverly Cleary? Surely everyone knows Ramona and Beezus? Henry and Ribsy? Emily's Runaway Imagination? Jean and Johnny?

So when I found myself in the neighborhood with Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok, we took a detour to stop at the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park. The statues, erected in 1995, are located beside the tennis courts. Ah, I remember several high school tennis matches on those courts. The statues went up after I had already left Portland. The books are set in this neighborhood because that's where she grew up and went to school. (Mr. Holland's Opus was also filmed at Grant High School.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oc Xao Nam He (Vietnamese Clams Sauteed with Mushrooms and Chives)

Oc Xao Nam He (Vietnamese Clams Sauteed with Mushrooms and Chives) 1

You've seen my mom's Oc Xao Nam He (Vietnamese Clams Sauteed with Mushrooms and Chives), so here's my version.

When you have fresh clams and fresh mushrooms, there's really little else needed. I used oyster mushrooms for natural sweetness. Flat-leafed chives are less harsh than other alliums, but you could use regular scallions if you wish. A lot or a little? It's up to you. If you like the taste of chives, then slice them longer like the photo on top. Lil' sis finely sliced the chives for the photo on bottom.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Karma Cafe - Portland - Oregon (Closed)

5 Karma Cafe - Portland - Oregon 1

After a late lunch at Ha & VL - Portland - Oregon, I wanted to catch up on blogging and some other stuff. While Portland does have free Wi-Fi, it really only works best in the downtown area.

So, I went back to my old neighborhood and to Karma Cafe, which is owned by cousin T's friend. Karma Cafe is located in a small strip mall with a handful of other Asian businesses that didn't exist back in the day ie. when I attended Binnsmead Middle School. Holla! Haha.

Drinks are in the $3 range. Boba, even, which only hit Portland less than a decade ago. There's Vietnamese coffee on the menu as well as the usual assortment of teas and fruit drinks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ha & VL - Portland - Oregon

4 Ha & VL - Portland - Oregon 1

After eating my mom's Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup with Crab), Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok and I went shopping at the Red, White, & Blue Thrift Store in Gladstone. Your friend comes all the way to see you and you take her thrift store shopping my mom asked? Yes, indeed! She found a nice winter coat and a pair of like-new Dansko shoes for $19.95. I got a pair of beige d'Orsay-style Manolo Blahnik pumps for $7.95! Sure they're a size-and-a-half too big, but they're Manolo Blahniks! For $7.95!

Afterward, I suggested checking out Ha & VL, a Vietnamese restaurant I had been meaning to try since my last trip home. I read a brief mention in The Oregonian about how the owner makes one type of soup each day and once it's gone, she closes up shop. Hmm. Must be pretty darn good for her to not open during dinner.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why My Mom's Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup with Crab) Is Better Than Your Momma's

3 Why My Mom's Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup with Crab) Is Better Than Your Momma's 1

As if you couldn't already tell by the photo, here's why my momma's Banh Canh Cua (Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup with Crab) is better than your momma's. And more reason why I don't share family recipes on the blog.

We start off with lots of Dungeness crab that my parents caught off the Oregon coast. None of this pig's feet banh canh that I sometimes see. Crab version only for me.

Mom makes her own noodles. I was upstairs and totally missed taking pictures of my mom adding water to the dough, rolling it out, and slicing the noodles.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Salvador Molly's - Portland - Oregon

After eating lunch with my parents, I saved dinner for meeting up with my cousins.

2 Salvador Molly's - Portland - Oregon 1

Cousin E picked Salvador Molly's. Umm, what exactly is "pirate cookin'"?

Was this "pirate" decor? This mash of oddities? For some reason, the garage door reminded me of a restaurant I dined at in Bellingham, Washington long ago. It was my first job interview. Some of my potential co-workers took me out for lunch. It was the first time I had goat cheese on pizza. I think there was chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert. They really went all-out to show me around that weekend, even taking me up into the mountains and Vancouver, B.C. Unfortunately, the pay offer was abysmal. Anyway, sorry, I tend to go off on tangents.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

PDX and My Parents' Chihuahuas

1 PDX and My Parents' Chihuahuas 1

Yay! Because of my procrastination, just when I finished blogging about my last trip to Portland, I can immediately launch into blogging about my next visit! :P

This time, I flew up alone.

PDX, the airport but we also use it to refer to the City of Roses, is always my first glimpse of home. The second is Mount Hood in the background.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland - Oregon

After lunch at Le Bistro Montage, lil' sis and I headed across the river. She went to Powell's City of Books again to buy the next book in the Twilight saga. I walked a few blocks over to Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen to get us some sandwiches for the plane ride back to L.A.

Day 5.2 Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland - Oregon 1

I first bookmarked Kenny and Zuke's years ago after catching a very brief mention in The Oregonian about how the pastrami was made and how it rivaled the Jewish delis in New York City. That's some serious praise. The menu states, "Cured 5 days, smoked 10 hours, steamed for 3, and hand-sliced just for you."

With that kind of description, how could I pass up the chance to try it? Since we were short on time, I went straight to the take-out counter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Le Bistro Montage - Portland - Oregon

On our last day in town, lil' sis and I met up with cousin T again for lunch at Le Bistro Montage, located literally underneath the Morrison Street bridge. See? Bridge right VVV there.

Day 5.1 Le Bistro Montage - Portland - Oregon 1

On the whole, I find the New Orleans-style entrees to be just OK, but I don't really come here for that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) 1

While home, I plundered my mom's cupboards for the lovely bowls you see in this post. Then JetBlue broke half of them! :( If I had known they were going to trash my carry-on suitcase, I wouldn't have let them check it. :(


I was really sad! :(

Darn you JetBlue!


To cheer myself up, because the Vietnamese cure for the blues is Chao (Vietnamese Rice Porridge), I made Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) with some of the fresh frozen razor clams my mom sent down with me.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Giveaway

Wandering Chopsticks turned three years old!

My, how quickly time flies! Deep thoughts (Ha!) will come later. For now, thanks to Liz, on behalf of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, she's letting me give away to one TWO lucky readers, a choice of the McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Cookbook or a goody bag with a T-shirt, pencils, foam stress-relief fish, and lunch box, or a $25 gift certificate.

McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant Cookbook

I haven't actually seen or read the cookbook, but I'm a big fan of McCormick & Schmick's happy hour specials. :) If you're a fan of the restaurants, need to add to your cookbook collection, or want the goody bag, leave a comment in this post.

Monday, June 08, 2009

50 Great Appetizers by Pamela Sheldon Johns

50 Great Appetizers by Pamela Sheldon Johns 1

One of the first cookbooks I was offered to review was "50 Great Appetizers" by Pamela Sheldon Johns. It's a small book, about 6 inches by 6 inches in size, 111 pages, and with well, 50, appetizer recipes. I flipped through the cookbook quickly when I got it, then put it aside and, as I'm wont to do, promptly forgot about it. It seemed like one of those books I'd buy at a bookstore's bargain bin, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as some of my favorite cookbooks were discovered that way.

I recently picked it up again and actually looked through to see if any recipes interested me, and it was a shame I had left this untouched for so long. Because one of the first recipes that I want to try is the chicken liver crostini. Sure, I have my basic chicken liver pate recipe, but this one calls for chopped pancetta and to serve it with an apple slice, which would help cut the fatty taste.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Green Tomatoes

6.7 Green Tomatoes 1

After posting How to Make a Kiddie Pool Raised Bed Garden, I've been remiss in showing you what I've been growing in those kiddie pools.

Mostly tomatoes.

Tiny green ones for now.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Pink Roses

I can't, for the life of me, remember the names of my pink roses. Been sitting in the queue too long. Duet? Tiffany? A stunted Chicago Peace?

6.6 Pink Roses 1

Friday, June 05, 2009

Geoduck, Japanese Dynamite-style

Geoduck, Japanese Dynamite-style 1

Mmm. Japanese dynamite-style geoduck clams. Served in their own shells. Dug up by my parents on the Oregon coast.

After eating my mom's dynamite-style geoduck clams, she rinsed out the shells and packed them for me to bring back to SoCal. No trip home is complete without my parents sending along some frozen food so I had plenty of geoducks to make the dish again.

Quick and easy. I just added some mayonnaise, cheese, fish sauce, sriracha, and chopped herbs. A fusion of Japanese and Vietnamese flavors. Then baked them in my toaster oven for 10 minutes.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams

How to Prepare Geoduck and Razor Clams 1

Along with my mom's razor clam sushi that my brother brought back from Oregon, my mom also sent along a dozen frozen razor clams. Well, frozen to get them on the plane, but they were pretty fresh since my parents and brother had just dug them up on the coast the day before.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Weekend Wokking #13 (Lemon)

Day 31 Meyer Lemons

Lemons are one of my favorite fruits. I love their tartness. I love their bright sunny color. I love the flavor they add to my favorite baked chicken recipe. And I love that with Weekend Wokking, I get 10 recipes to celebrate the luscious lemon.

So without further ado, in alphabetical order by the name of the recipe...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pomegranate Blossoms

6.2 Pomegranate Blossoms 1

Just some quick pictures of my pomegranate tree in bloom. Only a few because my cousin had to drastically cut it down after the break-in. The tree had so much foliage that it obscured the side view of the house. Safety first! Still, there should be plenty of pomegranates for me.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Mom's Geoduck, Dynamite-Style and Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams)

After buying books at Powell's, lil' sis and I headed home for dinner with our parents. What a long day. You realize that it was only the third full day we were home? We really crammed a lot into our short time at home.

My parents go digging for geoduck and razor clams every summer on the Oregon coast.

Mom's Geoduck Dynamite-Style and Chao Oc (Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Clams) 1

So my mom seasoned the geoduck, added some mayonnaise and cheese so it'd be like Japanese dynamite scallops, and we grilled them at the table.