Friday, March 14, 2014

#hipstervacay {Portland Day 1}

{You know I love me some hashtags...}

Hello reader! I'm assuming there may only be one of you left. I have been...uninspired? Boring? Cold which = tired? Regardless, I have some fun posts coming up since somehow the spring weather has made me feel extremely productive.

Connor and I took a week off last week and headed to the Pacific NW. We were in Portland for 4 days then we headed to Seattle. It was our first trip out to both cities, so we were really excited to explore. Basically, we didn't plan out anything at all, and went with an open mind. We drank tons of coffee, beer, & wine, and ate awesome food. And we walked. EVERYWHERE. Which helped with the aforementioned consumption of things.
We got to Portland on Saturday and our first view was of clouds. Because duh. We were immediately happy that we purchased rain jackets for this trip. Boy, did we need them!
Upon picking up our bags, we stopped into a tacky little beach bar inside the airport because UVA was playing Syracuse in basketball that day. We couldn't miss it! So we watched UVA destroy 'Cuse, much to our delight. It started our trip off juuuuuust right.
We took the light rail to the apartment we were renting in the Pearl District. I fell in love with the neighborhood right away. There were tons of small coffee shops, bakeries, and bars & restaurants on every street. We used Airbnb to find both apartments, and were extremely happy and impressed with how easy it was to check in and out.

We got comfortable in our digs, and then got ready for dinner. I made reservations at Andina, an extremely highly-rated restaurant that serves Peruvian cuisine. I knew that it would be easier to just have reservations at a place on our first night than having to agonize over too many options.

We got there a bit early and enjoyed a cocktail before being seated. The hostesses were so sweet and got us the "best table in the house", which was a cozy 2-top nestled overlooking the neighborhood. It was perfect!

We started off with a huge basket of bread with 3 dipping sauces: peanut & chile, mango & chile, and fresh salsa verde.
{three artisanal cheeses with quince jam and cancha}
We ordered only tapas, and our waitress made sure they came out at exactly the right time.We started with the cheese board. It came with aged Manchego, a local blue cheese, and a runny French cheese. There was quince paste and the most delicious corn "nuts". It was a perfect start.
{12 month-aged Serrano ham from Casa Redondo Iglesias}
We also got the serrano ham that was drizzled with the spiciest olive oil. The serrano was definitely a little more intense and pork-ier than prosciutto. We both really enjoyed it.
{our iconic preparation of fresh fish in leche de tigre}
Our second course was a bluefin tuna ceviche (paired with pickled onions that were totally necessary to help cut the raw taste of the fish, and some corn and sweet potato to mix in). We really enjoyed this.
{thinly-sliced cured tuna loin with chimichurri and an avocado-tomato majado}
This tuna loin was intense. The guacamole served with it was awesome, but the tuna was so intensely salty and almost fermented tasting that we could only have a slice each. 
{grilled octopus kebobs with chimichurri and a caper majado de papa}
Our third course was the octopus (which was greasy and totally threw off my tastebuds). It was served over a bed of mashed potatoes or yucca that was really nice.

{marinated beef heart kebobs, served with a spicy salsa de rocoto}
And my favorite dish besides the cheese & ham were the grilled beef hearts. I know, it sounds SO gross but the gamey-ness is tamed by a really fabulous marinade that was reminiscent of teriyaki. The beef was extremely tender (which Andrew Zimmern tells me is when you cook them very quickly over very high heat, overcooking leads to chewy meat!), and the dipping sauce was a perfect light addition. I am definitely a pretty adventurous eater, as I will try just about anything once. I would definitely order these again if I saw them!
{crisp quinoa-studded cannolis stuffed with passionfruit mousse, served with mango-lemongrass sorbet and mango sauce}

And as a special treat, our waitress brought out a dessert that we did not need. I must have mentioned to the hostess that we were on our anniversary trip (3 months early, but who's counting?), so the kitchen sent out this delicious dessert. The quinoa in the cannoli lent a really nice crunchy texture, and the passionfruit helped prevent the dessert from being so heavy & rich. It was a perfect finish!
At the end of our meal, we asked the waitress to snap a pic. We had the best time on our first night in Portland!

More to come!

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1 comment:

Dee Stephens said...

That food looks fab! I really would like to visit Portland. I hear it's great and they have a lot of great wineries not too far along the coast.
I'm thinking ya'll didn't make it to those?