Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pigging Out in Portland

As per usual, I was on the road again this week. This time in Portland, OR for work. This is the perfect month to visit (I was there in December and it was less than cheery with the freezing rain and wind.) After a solid day of working with my colleagues, we headed to the only soft serve version of the famed Salt & Straw family, Wiz Bang Bar. All three of us ordered the Rhubarb Anise Crumble mini-sundaes.
It was a big hit with all of us - Lindsey and me (and Mehan, taking the photo).
We then headed to the Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library for a cocktail. It was a bit dark (so pardon the less than crystal clear resolution above), but I wanted you to see how giant the selection of spirits is. After placing your order, the bartender gathers up the ingredients for your drinks using the ladders on the wall, stocks a wooden drink cart, and wheels it to your seat to make it front of you.
I had this delicious Amburana Sour - avua amburana cacha├ža, lemon, lime, cane, egg white.
We then went to another bar to meet up with some current and past colleagues before heading to dinner with them at the Mediterranean Exploration Company for dinner. As you can see, it was a feast of epic proportions. I had the grilled artichoke (with tzatziki, brown butter, and grilled lemon), the salmon carpaccio (with dukkah, dill, and lemon), lots of the Israeli pita, and a baklava. I also sampled some of the hummus someone else had ordered and it was to die for!
After our second solid day of getting work done, we walked to Salt & Straw on 23rd Avenue. After many samples, I landed on the honey lavender on a giant homemade waffle cone. 
During my lunch break, I bought these beautiful, locally crafted hiking boots from Danner - I can't wait to break them in on our trip to Iceland in September!
As you might know if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, my co-workers and I try to do something active together. We had a great time at The Grinning Yogi - I would highly recommend checking out a class with Jamie if you're in town.

Okay, that's the first day and three quarters. Our final meal was so epic, I'm giving it it's own post tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Some Family Fun in NC

For the past four days, we've been in Black Mountain, NC at the triennial McGoldrick family reunion at the Red Rocker Inn. While we had a great time seeing everyone, the breakfast was so good at this B&B, it threatened to upstage the rest of the activities.
On Thursday, we headed to the Biltmore Estate with some of our family who had arrived early.
My two nephews had the handsets that guided their tours. My youngest nephew, Keating, was particularly entertaining. He would enter the number of the room and then recite random facts to the crowd around us (whether he knew them or not). He liked the secret doors and the basement the best.
I also liked the basement the best. This amazing pool room was a bit hard to photograph, but was impressive nonetheless.
Before heading out to see the gardens, we stopped for lunch at the Stable Cafe, which used to house all the estate's horses. I had this amazing lentil burger with a tomato and cucumber salad.
We were lucky enough to be visiting during the Chihuly exhibit, so we enjoyed the tour of the gardens even more. I loved the aquatic plants and sculptures the best.
Chihuly glass and flowers is a hard combo to beat.
On Friday, we headed to Mount Mitchell State Park for a family hike and picnic. 
Nephews in the rocks along the trail.
On Saturday, we went on a walking tour of Asheville. I really liked this Catholic church. (Also, sorry for the speedy highlights, but I was doing my best to visit and not be the annoying picture taker the whole time.)
After the walking tour and a quick lunch, a group of us headed for a tour of the Eastern outpost of the Sierra Nevada Brewery 
Brian and I have been on quite a few brewery tours before, but we'd never been in a hops room. This one even let you take a bud and rub it in your hands to check out the aroma of the different kinds - so cool!
And, of course, the tasting at the end is always fun. Grandpa (left), my sister-in-law, Sarah (to his right), and my brother-in-law, Andrew (to his right).
The 36 of us before our final family meal and the passing of the torch (literally) to the next hosts for 2021's reunion. Our cousins Peter & Carmen will be hosting us in Estes Park, CO! Thanks for another great gathering all (and to Ryan for hosting).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Taste of Toronto - Part II

After work and a dance class led by my co-workers, I headed to Montecito for dinner with three of my colleagues. I started with this cocktail - May Flowers - a concoction of gin, yellow chartreuse, Bigallete Verbena, lime and cucumber. So refreshing!
We shared a giant kale salad, some delicious bread, and I had this beautiful albacore tuna crudo with smoked tomato jam, egg yolk, and grilled gem lettuce. 
On Thursday, I went for a long walk to dinner with one of my work friends and we made it to the Harbor. I will never get enough ocean or tall ships in my life, so this was a win for me!
There's a really nice paved path all along the water that's lined with little pocket parks. Not sure what these flowers are, but took they're pretty!
The CN Tower in the background of a cool metal sculpture.
After the whole Foundation crew had a celebratory meal together, I headed to WVRST for some beers with four of my teammates, Lindsey and Mehan (pictured) are two of my favs! The giant selection of ciders, sours, and funky ales could have kept me there for days had it not been for needing sleep to survive the last day of meetings.
The last highlight of my trip, which you may have caught on Instagram already, was my friend Vanessa (who lives in Boston) reaching out via IG to see if I might just happen to be in Chicago O'Hare. Not only had I just landed, but we were ten gates apart in the same terminal - what are the odds? We hadn't seen each other in a year and packed a rapid pace conversation into the hour we had over cava and prosecco. It was the best!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Taste of Toronto

I was in Toronto for work this week and due to all-day meetings and all-night catch up with teammates, bring you a slightly delayed collections of highlights from my trip. I arrived mid-morning on Monday (due to a 5:15am flight from KC > Chicago > Toronto), and wandered around the city a bit. After a full day, I headed to kiin for some delicious Thai food. The alley and the front signage were so pretty - I knew I was in for a treat.
The inside was cozy and classy. I loved the curved marble bar and the vintage decor.
I had the Roy Thai royal thai platter with chor ladda, rhoom, and thoong thong. It was coconutty, sweet, spicy and crunchy.
And the Pomelo Salad - pomelo, peanuts, poached shrimp, toasted coconut, lemongrass, sawtooth coriander, and lime fish sauce dressing. It was very good (although the fish sauce dressing was a tad too fishy for me).
The next morning, my boss and I walked to work the long way and got coffees from this adorable little nook called The Coffee Lab. It was so charming and they even provided you with water in a beaker while you waited for your drink.
Since many of my Foundation colleagues live in Toronto, they hosted local tours we could all choose from. My colleague Ruzanna (who you might recall from my January Torontonian adventures) hosted a night of hip hop and rooftop brewery dining.
Here's our group at The Underground Dance Center's rooftop penthouse studio in our "selfie" pose. If you're ever in town, it's easy to sign up and attend a class.
After working up a sweat, we headed to Mascot Brewery for some drinks and dinner. I had a delicious tempura cod po' boy, a Waterfelon (gin, St. Germain, watermelon, lime, rosewater), and a Too Julep to Quit (bourbon, amaro meletti, dolin rouge, ginger, lemon, mint). It was a lot of fun.
After dinner, a few of us walked through the city (checked out the iconic sign above, that changes colors) and headed to meet up with some other co-workers for some karaoke. I'll be back with the rest of the highlights tomorrow!