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So What Makes a Smaaken Waffle so Tasty Anyway?

Guess what?  There are a lot of types of waffles out there.  Because we live in a big world and people all over love waffles!  The most popular types are Dutch waffles and Belgian waffles.  But let’s not forget the American waffle, the Italian style waffle and varieties of Asian style waffles (from Hong Kong to Vietnam). 

Portland is well represented with waffles and I will admit I declared one of my favorites sometime last year.  All it took was one bite into a Smaaken Waffle and I was hooked.  When I learned that the word smaaken is Dutch for tasty, it was so obviously befitting.  In fact, Smaaken Waffle is one of my overall favorite food carts in Portland and my go to on a regular basis, even when I am not bringing people there for the Bustling Buckman Food Tour.

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Fun Facts about Chocolate – Portland Food Tours

A really sublime chocolate experience is heavenly.  And chocolate is a health food and has been considered such for eons.  Only in relatively recent times has chocolate been denigrated to junk food, because of the additions of so much milk and sugar. It shouldn’t surprise you that a self-proclaimed foodie has a bookshelf full of books about food.  Many cookbooks, but also a lot of books that focus on a single ingredient, or the cultural aspects of food.  So I whipped out my book The Chocolate and Coffee Bible and dug around for some fun facts about chocolate.

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Weirdest Wine Shop in Portland – Pairings Portland

Pairings Portland’s claim to fame is “Weirdest Wine Shop in Portland.”  I have not patronized enough wine shops to firmly agree, yet still, I agree!  The weirdness is undoubtedly part of its charm and so is the fact that it is totally unpretentious and uber quirky. Additionally, there is a focus on organic wines (from organic grapes) and natural wines (no added yeast).

The first time I went in was Tarot reading night.  A man in a wizard hat did a simple tarot reading to address whatever question I asked.  After that, he did a tarot reading to assess my mood.  The three cards he selected yielded states of being and I brought them up to the counter and then it was the wine expert’s task to find me a wine that fit my mood.  How fun!

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What Makes Wolf and Bear’s Falafel Epic?

Wolf and Bear’s has almost a cult like following.  I know that is claiming a lot for a humble chickpea dish.  But indeed, Portlanders just go gaga over the falafel pita wraps.  Currently, Wolf and Bear’s has two food truck locations.  One on North Mississippi (between Shaver and Failing).  And the other in Pod 28, which is on SE 28th and Ankeny, on the southern end of the renown Kerns Restaurant Row.

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Get Your Israeli Street Food Fix at Shalom Y’all

Through the years, I have watched John Gorham build his Portland food empire, one delicious restaurant at a time.  His business model it interesting, as he serves different cuisines, but they all have delicious dining in common.

The John Gorham empire expands

It all started with Toro Bravo which is Spanish influenced, although not in the strictest of ways.  Tasty and Sons and Tasty and Alder soon followed.  Then Tasty and Sons morphed into Tasty and Daughters.  They are excellent brunch spots, serving upscale and creative twists on traditional items like poached eggs, and French toast.

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A Slice of Hog Heaven – Tails and Trotters

Every time I walk into Tails and Trotters I comment (to myself), “this is a slice of hog heaven, well actually it is not heaven for a hog, but it sure is heaven for a human.”  Of course this assumes that you are not vegetarian.  And if that is the case, then keep reading!

Pork is nutrient dense and flavorful, not to mention adaptable to different cuisines.  Now imagine if those happy pigs were finished off on hazelnuts.  I bet you realize that would impart a distinctively complex and rich flavor to the meat.  Well that is exactly what you can discover for yourself at Tails and Trotters.

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Jasmine Pearl Tea Company – a tea lovers’ delight

I had already noticed signs at other local businesses displaying “We Serve Jasmine Pearl Tea” so I assumed Jasmine Pearl was a local company procuring and possibly making their own blends of tea.  There is a sign before you step in requesting you do not use your cell phone or other electronical devices.  How refreshing!  Somebody thinks tea is sacred and is bold enough to make others acknowledge the same.

The spacious room has plenty of varieties of tea and tea preparation paraphernalia.  Tea pots, tea cups, tea infusers, and other accessories are all on display in an appealing and uncluttered fashion.  There are different styles, mostly Asian inspired, but some European styles.  And there is a rack with the more popular tea varieties prepackaged in two ounce bags for customer’s ease. Jasmine pearls are a tea variety themselves. The leaves from green tea are rolled up into little pearls and blended with jasmine flowers, which are intoxicating in their own right.

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Portland’s Pizza of Many Origins on Restaurant Row

Pizza aficionados are very attached to their favorite type of pizza.  I grew up in NY and gorged on pizza for a couple decades, with the occasional hiatus to gorge on bagels, egg creams, and pastrami sandwiches.  So, I admittedly have a bias for New York pizza.  But when a wave of rationality sweeps over me, I am the first to admit there are other contenders for excellent styles of pizza. And Portland’s pizza is worth taking a closer look at.

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A Night at Erizo Is a Night Worth Remembering

I had been to Bar Casa Vale once before and liked it well enough.  But the announcement from its parent company that a second restaurant, with a focus on sustainable seafood was opening up next door really grabbed my attention. It’s name was to be Erizo.  It sounded like a fun place to eat in Portland.

Usually it is the fancy restaurant that opens first and the casual cousin comes next, to make the chef more accessible to the masses.  But hey, this is Portland, and things don’t happen in any particular order.  Someone creative gets an idea, goes with it and often, they are successful doing it their way.

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Providore Fine Foods – Visit on a Portland Food Tour

Providore claims to be a purveyor of fine foods and it is indeed just that.  It is actually a mix of several businesses that each occupy space in the same building.  And the synergy of the mix is awesome.  Providore’s website lists:  Pastaworks (fresh pasta, wine, and a deli), Arrosto (rotisserie chicken), Flying Fish Company (replete with its own oyster bar and soup samples), The Meat Monger (think duck, quail, hazelnut finished pork, and pasture fed beef), Rubinette Produce Market (with unusual varieties of usual fruits and veggies), Little T Baker (artisan bread and sweet treats) and Hillary Horvath Flowers (think seasonable like eye popping peonies and wild berry flowers).

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