Sunday, June 29, 2008

Confusingly, Portland is full of beer, not port

During this week's mini-vacation, I learned about many fine things Portland produces, mostly in the form of alcohol. Notably, Emma (another fine thing Portland has produced) and I consumed Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir at Sokol Blosser, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Lange (along with an excellent view), Foggy Notion Weissbier at Bill's Tavern, Rope Walk Amber at Bridgeport Brewery, and Black Butte XX at Deschutes. (We also went to the Erath Winery, but weren't impressed by anything.) There seems to be a microbrewery on every corner in Portland, which is awesome.

To wash all this down, we had great taffy and pizza in Cannon Beach, tacos and tamales at Por Que No?, mango gelato at Mia Gelato, polenta at Lovely Hula Hands (restaurants have funny names in Portland), and various tasty things at Emma's parents'. Our trip was not limited to eating, however. We also walked and ran on Cannon Beach, which has a giant rock (pictured here) called Haystack Rock, and we wandered the Rose Garden and the Pearl during Portland's record heat. Luckily, Portland has a giant water fountain where you can sit and have water massage your feet. As an added bonus, the square is filled with a bunch of dazed newfound fathers letting their babies loose in the mini-pool the fountain creates.

But going for a run tonight reminded me why New York is still awesome. It turns out the crazy public art waterfall thing is a few blocks from my apartment, and totally breathtaking, and worth dragging your lazy butt to go see. (I also saw a graceful and fun temporary building made of wood set up for citysol up at 23rd.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gramercy Tavern + Anniversary = Happy Kushal

photo.jpgOne big challenge as a vegetarian is finding fancy restaurants that have tasty vegetarian options. (yes yes, I know, life is sooo hard) Some places don't list anything on the menu, but can whip up amazing things, like the crazy olive and pine nut concoction on the vegetable plate at Allen & Delancey. Some places have boring vegetable plates, so unmemorable I can't even remember where I had them. And Italian places like Babbo are awesome, but variety is nice. Wandering through the list of New York Michelin restaurants (how many have you been to? I've been to five. looking at the list reminds me, Saul also did a great job putting together something vegetarian, as did Grocery. yay Brooklyn! all I remember about Cafe Bouloud was the bread, though)...where was I? Oh yeah, going through the list reminded me that Gramercy Tavern always looks so gorgeous when I run past it on my 20th st loop. When I saw the vegetarian tasting menu that had nothing I was allergic to, many of my favorite things, and some removable seafood, it was love at first sight. (Per Se also has a vegetarian tasting menu, but I don't think I'm quite ready to take it to that level yet.) Emma made a reservation for our one-year anniversary (one year? really? wow! Hi Emma!), which is technically later this week, but which we celebrated yesterday.

So how was the tasting menu? Yummmmmy. Our favorites were the nettle soup with pea shoots, and the mushroom ravioli in balsalmic, but the range of treatments of radishes, asparagus, and ramps were also really exciting. (The gelatin in the asparagus terrine was a little off, though, and the desserts were just good, not amazing). The celery in the lemon risotto had a nice bite to it, and the rice was perfectly cooked. It felt like we were in Top Chef! (Which we watched when we got home. Yay <spoiler>Stephanie!</spoiler>.)

This was just the latest in a range of recent adventures that have kept me too busy to blog, including Coney Island, Passing Strange, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Little Branch, Angel's Share, Flatiron Lounge, Cookshop, Po, Alvin Ailey, I'm From Barcelona, Barrio Chino, a new favorite wine bar, hiking, arm wrestling, a not-so-fry party, a chocolate fountain, caparinhas, tasty house-cooling goat cheese tarts, and BSG & margs. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.