Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Washington Park Wildflowers

The other day the Oregon Zoo mentioned there is a wildflower garden near by. Got my interest so when I went up to find tea at the Portland International Rose Test Garden I also went for a search for the wildflowers.

The Oregon Zoo is in Washington Park which is where the Portland Japanese Garden, World Forestry Center and many other places are located.

Along with this small area aglow with a multitude of colors reminiscent of a Monet painting.

In fact it's a street divider just off the Zoo parking lot.

But they did put it to good use with many wildflowers that even with warmer weather were still blooming. So many that I am not going to try to name them. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Washington Park is located in Portland, Oregon. The wildflowers are located to the right of the Zoo entrance if you are facing the entrance. There are buses and the MAX train that stop at the park also.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Best Smelling Place in Portland

Has to be the International Rose Test Garden.

Located in Washington Park it's a very popular place for people to visit.

Understandably why with so many rose varieties that everyone wants to photograph.

In almost every color you could imagine.

 Since the weather was mild the other day I decided to take the train to the park and then the tram to the rose garden. That really is a good way to get there since you don't have to pay for parking.

I've been to the garden a few times which resulted in hundreds of photos. So many it has kept me from doing a blog post in the past.

This time I didn't take as many because I was there for something else.

 But I still took time to stop and smell the roses like these amazing Elina Hybrid Tea blossoms.

Along with a lot of other people with cameras and smart phones. So many so that I made my visit to the interior of the garden brief.

Many of the roses have signs stating what they are but since I wasn't spending much time I only noted a few like these gorgeous Twilight Zone Grandiflora.

Which look even darker in person and smell lovely.

In fact it was nicer just to look at the flowers and just take a few photos.

 If you like flowers and ever in the Portland area I really do suggest visiting the Portland International Rose Test Garden and the area around it during spring and summer.

Because it's more than just these flowers and I may do another post about that.

As for what I really went there for, it was a box of Steven Smith Teamaker White Rose Tea. Because the Portland Rose Garden Store is the only place that sells this. I am looking forward to having a cup soon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Golden Camel Mongolian Bar-B-Q in Torrance, California

 One of my favorite places to eat many moons ago was Golden Palace Mongolia BBQ in Pasadena, California. Good to see they are still in business. I loved their puffy pita bread along with a bowl of freshly cooked vegetables. So one day when I lived in Torrance, California we decided to check out the local Mongolian BBQ place, Golden Camel.

 Similar to Golden Palace there were buffet bins of fresh vegetables and meats along with various sauces and oils. A chart noted how many spoonfuls to obtain certain levels of hotness.

 While some people like to pile on the meat, I like to pile on the vegetables and pineapple if they have it. Sometimes I would also add a bit of turkey but still stuck with mostly vegetables. You know they reduce less than meat so you actually get more once it's cooked?

 Of course they use one of the big grills. Always interesting to watch the chef cook our food. Interesting how they have it placed right by the parking lot window.

 The bowls came with soup, little egg rolls and rice. A pot of tea was offered and I think they did have desserts. Looking at their Facebook page they do say they have a dessert bar. We were there in 2010 so trying to remember back then...

I do remember this was a pretty good bowl of Mongolian BBQ. I wish I had gone again. I do need to see if there are any decent places around where I am now.

Golden Camel Mongolian Bar-B-Q is located at 21006 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503 for lunch and dinner. Their Facebook page is here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Tamale House in Beaverton, Oregon

 I am going to start this post by stating this is not The Tamale House in Tigard, which has been around since 2008 and has a decent reputation. I have not been there yet but plan to check it out. This post is about the newer Beaverton location which opened 2014.

 When I heard they were opening a second location that was less of a drive I was looking forward to trying out some of their food. I thought it would be a good fit in the Beaverton Town Square. I did think the prices compared to other similar places around town were a little high but thought since they are suppose to be good maybe it's worth it.

 I stopped by in April and of course I bought a couple tamales. I ordered their chicken and their cheese and jalapeño to go. There was a little wait even with no one else in there but I figured it's tamales and they need to be steamed properly.

 Just to show what is inside each one. The chicken one was pretty good. The cheese tamale had huge jalapeño peppers which were bigger than I was use to. I've eaten my share of tamales and usually the home made ones I've had the peppers are sliced to make them easier to eat and allow for more cheese. But I know people do things differently so there may be some that use whole peppers like this.

What really put me off was the fact that the cheese was not melted at all but was a long rectangular lump. It's possible it doesn't happen all the time but considering how long I waited this should not have been like this. That and just the grumpy feeling I got from the guy who was running the place and took my order made me not want to try anything else at this location.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dining at Portland Penny Diner

 Remember my post yesterday mentioned the Portland Penny Diner was only open for breakfast and lunch? Well last week (6/4/15) that all changed. Because they are now open for dinner and later!

 They opened with a presentation of bites of different menu items for Happy Hour on Thursday, put together by Executive Chef Doug Adams. Who was dishing up and then topping off shooters of their Tomato Bisque.

 It was great getting to sample a variety of items since I usually dine alone so am limited in what I can try. I was able to start with a couple of Chef Paley's frybread tacos. Left is the Soy Braised Pork Belly with banh mi pickles, cilantro and spicy mayo. This taco impressed me with just enough heat and great taste. It was spot on. Right is the House Smoked Pastrami with Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut reflecting Chef Paley's Russian heritage.

 The new menu has three different burgers on it. We were offered little Falafel Burgers with a bit of lettuce, tahini and harissa. This was nice with a taste of green in the falafel and good crunch. This did carry a bit of spicy heat.

 Another welcome menu item is Chef Doug Adam's famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I saw this plated up and diners will get a number of pieces along with mashed potatoes and gravy. Definitely a decent serving and I'm happy I got to try the chicken finally. Really delicious with a little Imperial Fresno hot sauce, honey and I could taste a little salt. Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside, it really is what everyone raves about. You might remember it went over big on Top Chef. No wonder.

 So what has changed inside of the diner to make it more happy hour and dinner friendly. Banquets with tables offer more comfortable seating along with tables outside. Also Imperial bartender Tony Guardian has created new drinks that are on tap along with paired shots, wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks.

 Samples of the eight draft cocktails were offered along with the bites. I think this was the Martinez or El Presidente.

 I do remember this was the Mad Hatter which Chef Paley recommended. Whiskey, lemon, sugar and absinthe with a bit of orange and a cherry. This was a favorite of those around me that tried it.

 A couple other Portlanders were there enjoying the evening. Pechluck tried the short order of Pisco with grilled pineapple coated with a bit of espelette.

Diners were also trying out the other dishes. I saw the Blackened Trout plated and really want to try that. However there was something I was hoping to taste even more. Thankfully I was not alone in this. Marlynn of Urban Bliss Life also wanted to try the Hangtown Fry Taco so thanks to Chef Paley we got our wish!

 Honestly this was amazing. Chef Doug Adams perfectly fried oysters with spicy mayo, bacon and nicely seasoned eggs on fry bread was really delicious.

 I added a few drops of their special Fresno hot sauce which meshed so well with this savory taco.

 Here is a very happy Chef Paley serving up more of Doug's fried chicken. It definitely looks like Portland Penny's dinner service will be a winner. With this menu and drinks I think a lot of people will like the changes.

One final photo of Chefs Doug Adams and Vitaly Paley cooking up some really good food with Laurelhurst Market and ex-Imperial Chef Ben Bettinger checking things out. I'm glad I went to the opening and was able to tell Chef Adams that the DaNet Kulebyaka was one of the best things I have ever eaten.

So I'm going to recommend stopping in at the Portland Penny Diner not just for happy hour or dinner but also later since they will be open from 4 pm to 11 or 12 pm depending on the day, from Monday through Saturday. Portland Penny Diner is next door to The Imperial at 410 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97205 and their menu and other information is here.