Neil and I have been trying to get a little more creative with our date nights instead of the same old dinner and drinks. On our most recent date we (finally) visited the Smith Teamaker Southeast Tasting Room. The space is bright with a modern industrial feel – I’m terrible at explaining interiors so just look here.
The tea list is pretty extensive so we decided to go share a tasting flight of four teas of our choice. We had a hard time narrowing down four but eventually we did. We chose a oolong tea, two black teas and an herbal tea.
For the tasting you are presented with a tray of teas, a spoon each, a cup of water to rinse your spoon, a few little cookies and info cards for each tea along with the teas in their un-steeped form. From there it works a lot like a coffee cupping but instead of spitting the tea out after tasting you just drink it all down.
While we peacefully sipped our teas we read through The Teamaker’s Almanac that had been left at our table. It was filled with a variety of little stories about tea, how to taste tea and what do all those numbers really mean on Smith Teamaker teas. It was pretty comical at times as well.
Overall this is has become one of my must visit spots in Portland. Stop in and try the flight if you have time but make sure to bring a friend or you’ll be downing 4 full cups of tea on your own. If you’re in a rush grab one of their cold teas they have on draft. We sampled the chai but were too full of tea to grab one to go but you know where I’ll be next time a chai craving comes on.
I absolutely love a nice glass of wine and if you pair that with vegan eats I’ll likely be your best friend. So, when I was invited to TeSóAria for their vegan brunch I just couldn’t say no. I didn’t know anything about TeSóAria before my visit besides that they have a tasting room in North Portland and the vineyard is in Roseburg.
I arrived at the tasting room and was instantly impressed by the space. It’s bright and inviting and has these big beautiful windows that let in so much light and open during the summer. Can’t you just picture it sitting either at one of their outside tables or inside with the windows open and a nice glass of wine? Okay, so basically I am planning Neil and my next date night.
Anyways I found my seat and took a look at the menu which feature four courses with two wine pairings for each course. We settled in with a bit of wine to start and of course I can’t remember what it was but it was white, crisp, slightly sweet and a great way to start the brunch.
Once everyone had arrived it was (finally) time to start eating and drinking! Founder and Winemaker, John Olson, started us off with a nice welcome and then got right into explaining the wines he had chosen for our first course. Since I know very little about wine, basically I know what I like when I taste it, it was nice to hear the back story of each wine and John did an amazing job of making it fun and interesting while also informative. John explained each pour of wine at the start of each course and I felt like I left knowing so much more about wine.
Now we will get into the food because let’s be honest I might not be a wine connoisseur but I do know vegan food.
Then it was time for our first course which was this beautiful salad. I have to say I was a bit skeptical because I’m just not one of those people who likes fruit in my salad but the roasted apricot vinaigrette was actually pretty amazing. My only gripe with this dish is that it was a bit over dressed but if it had about half of the vinaigrette on it (or twice the greens) I would definitely order this again because it tasted amazing.
Next up we have this beautiful dish that features peppers stuffed with cashew cheese and a tabbouleh. I know you’re thinking cashew cheese?!? Yes it was as good as it sounds. This dish was easily one of the top favorites at our table and I have to agree.
Our last savory dish was a cassoulet featuring a variety of beans and mushrooms, grilled fava beans and a chickpea crouton. I thought that the flavor of this dish was spot on but it honestly was my least favorite (but still incredibly flavorful and delicious) of everything we ate. I love the beans and mushrooms but I’m not big on fava beans that are still in the pod, they have a bit of a strange mouth feel and are a bit tough to eat. The chickpea crouton was good but I think with all that beautiful broth hanging out at the bottom of my bowl I would have loved a bigger crouton to sop it all up or a nice piece of bread.
The last course we had was this incredible rosemary shortcake. I could have eaten five plates (or more) of this because it was just amazing. It was sweet and savory and a little bit tart. I just couldn’t get enough and if I had been at home I would have licked the plate.
Overall I had an amazing experience and I hope they host this event again because I would love to do it again. The food was really great and the wine was incredible. It isn’t often that you find an amazing wine bar that also has really delicious and fun vegan options.
I also am looking forward to trying TeSóAria’s Vegan Thursdays, called “Shut Up and Eat Your Vegetables!” starting this coming Thursday, June 16th from 5pm on at The Portland Tasting Room.
Every Thursday, Chef Max will have a Seasonal Vegan Tapas Menu available to pair with our award winning Wines! Vegan Tapenade, Mezze Boards, Samosa’s, and more, priced $4 to $12. Available every Thursday starting at 5pm.
What is your favorite wine? Which of the four courses do you think you would enjoy the most?
Check out these other bloggers thoughts on this wonderful brunch!
We started day three in bend at Backporch Coffee where I picked up this really good bottle of cold brew.
Once we were fully caffeinated we made our way out to Smith Rock State park because we all needed to finally see Monkey Face after reading about it at least a million times in Goodnight Oregon.
We got to Smith Rock State Park and it was actually quite packed with hikers, rock climbers and fellow sightseers. While I would have liked to have gone for a hike my parents were with us and they are not the hiking types. That didn’t stop us from finding a flat path to walk around although I spent most of my time holding my breath as I watched people (both big and super little) propelling themselves off the side of the rock cliffs. When I wasn’t holding my breath I was telling Neil to step away from the edge. Something I never thought I would have to say because he used to be petrified of heights and ledges. Looking back it was quiet a stressful visit! [you can find more photos here.]
After Smith Rock State Park we dropped the kids back off at the house with the grandparents and we made a break for it. We debated a few places to go and settled on Crux were we sampled a number of beers and loaded up on amazing vegan food.
We had some seriously amazing food and then headed downtown to walk around and find more coffee before heading back to our littles.
This was our third and last full day in Bend. The following day was pretty dull and basically started with breakfast, more Backporch Coffee and ended with us driving home with a few quick stops including Rowena Crest where we saw the amazing view below.
We are looking forward to our next trip to Bend and of course there is so much we didn’t do or see. What are your favorite things about Bend?
In January I joined the gym at Neil’s work. While not the most convenient gym for me to go to the facilities are top of the line and the cost for me to join was less than my monthly coffee habit. So I joined and I have been fairly dedicated to making it to the gym at least twice per week while supplementing with at home workouts.
The thing is I am only able to go gym when Neil gets out of work or on the weekends. For months we have been making it work but I’m going to be honest it’s not without it’s struggles. My gym time is right when I would normally be preparing our dinner so by the time I am done at the gym it is dinner time for our early birds. This means I either have to prepare a meal that can easily be eaten at the gym or we end up going out to dinner.
Sleep has also become a bit of an issue. Edith who is nearly four only naps [maybe] once per week and not for a lack of tiredness but for pure strong will that she doesn’t want to nap. That being saidcome 4pm I usually find her asleep in carseat on our way to the gym or both littles fall asleep on the way home from the gym which means bedtime is a struggle. Late bedtime means that often Neil and I have little time for each other and little time to work at night.
This weekend I was finally at my breaking point because we have been so behind on dishes, our organizing projects and oh the never ending laundry. To top things off because it’s a work gym most of the workout classes are during the day or just at a time that doesn’t work with our schedule so I haven’t been able to take advantage of them.
Since workout classes were a ‘no go’ for me I bought a personal training package assuming that I would be able to find a trainer that worked for my availability and not one was available. So since I usually just spend my time doing cardio while catching up on Pretty Little Liars I figured it was time to take the summer off from my gym membership. I can spend my time outside on walks and hikes with my family this summer and who knows maybe I’ll actually take up running again.
That all being said the decision to quit the gym was one that I was very conflicted about because I have fallen in love with routine and making that time for me. Unfortunately I just hate everything that comes along with it.
I thought about joining a gym closer to our house but it would still be a lot of the similar issues that I had with the work gym. I felt a bit at a loss but then I thought about ClassPass*. I had given it a try last May and while I loved the classes and the concept where we were living at the time just wasn’t ideal for me to keep with the pass after my trial month, but right now it seems perfect so I signed up. I have decided to go with the 5 classes for $45 option so I can see how much I will really use it. If I find that I am using it enough to get the the most out of the unlimited package I will bump it up.
With ClassPass* I can go to barre3, The Bar Method, a ton of yoga studios that I have had my eye on and a meditation studio that I am so excited to try. So my new workout plans include regular barre3 online at home, hikes and walks with my family [maybe some running?] and at least one workout class per week. It sounds pretty perfect, at least to me.
Where do you do most of your workout classes (home, classes, gym, etc)? Have you tried ClassPass*? If you are local to Portland or are traveling through Portland and want to attend a fitness or meditation class together let me know! I love to go to classes with others – especially new-to-me classes!
It may have taken 4 hours and 15 minutes, a stop to pick up lunch provisions, two stops to clean up vomit (we have come to learn that Alder has a bit of a weak stomach) and the same two Daniel Tiger episodes over and over again but we made it to Bend! I was hoping we might be able to stop on the way to Bend to get out and enjoy a bit of the beautiful scenic spots but with two little ones those plans changed. At least I wore my comfy prAna clothes that ended up being perfect for a hike or for staying comfy in the car.Our first stop when we got to Bend was to pick up food to stock our rental house and then straight to the rental to relax and unwind. Neil walked over and picked us up a coffee and then I started to prep dinner, tofu with tons of veggies and rice. I have to say I just love renting houses rather than staying in hotels because it means cooking meals and it’s so much easier with two little ones. We lucked out that our place here in Bend is super walkable and we were able to find a park for the kids to burn off some energy at before bed.
We started our morning with breakfast at the house and coffee out and then we headed off to the High Dessert Museum. We had heard amazing things about it and it was so much fun and just beautiful. We spent most of our day enjoying their outdoor exhibits and nature path. I even made a quick stop to do a little yoga stretching. Luckily walking around in prAna gear seems to be pretty standard for Bend and it makes stopping for a quick yoga sesh super easy.
After our visit to the museum we went to Spork for lunch and then spent the a few hours lounging around the house before heading out for a 4.4 mile walk around the city. We walked down to the water and over to the Old Mill District and ended our night at Next Level Burger before heading back to the house once again. I always love to do as much walking around new cities as possible because it really allows me to get to know the city and plus it’s a great workout. Now I am ending night #2 on the couch watching The Returned and snacking on Dayia smoked gouda and crackers because if I’m going to be real Next Level Burger was kind of a bust. I’m not sure what we will do for our last day in Bend but I am sure a lot more exploring will happen and coffee, lots of coffee.
As you all already know prAna is my go to when it comes to active clothes. I fell in love with them about a year ago and I just can’t get enough. I am in love with their new Spring line which features the tank above. For all you plus sized girls most of their tops and bottoms fit super well and leave you feeling confident and not like an encased sausage. I am also loving that I can buy clothes from them with confidence due to their partnership with bluesign® systems to ensure that the fabrics they use meet the highest environmental and human safety standards. If you also want to join the prAna obsession I have a 15% off promo code for prAna for you: PSSS16RWTG.
What are you favorite things to do in Bend? Do you prefer active getaways or the sit back and relax type? Is purchasing environmentally conscious clothing important to you?
This post was sponsored by Fit Approach on behalf of prAna. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own.
One of our favorite things to do is head to the Oregon Coast for a weekend getaway. Our favorite spot to visit is Astoria because of it’s just over an hours drive for us and it’s filled with good food and lots of fun. I figured with the summer coming and lots Coast trips planned I’d share a few of our favorite places to Eat, Play and Sleep in (or close to) Astoria.
Where ever we travel finding a place with good food and decent coffee is an absolute must. Luckily for such a small spot Astoria has some really great food and beverage options. Most of the time we like to start our day at Street 14 Cafe which is right in downtown Astoria and attached to the Commodore Hotel. They serve up a decent cup of Stumptown Coffee but what we really go for are the apple or pumpkin bites which are essential vegan doughnut muffins. When we aren’t buying out their entire stock of bites we often go for the bagel with hummus and veggies or whatever other vegan pastry they have that day.
For lunch or dinner you can likely find us at Buoy Brewing or Ft. George Brewing. Great beer, food and atmosphere. If you only have time to go to one though I would head to Buoy as the view and the food are superior to Ft. George. If you find yourself in Seaside, just a few miles south and are looking for a spot to eat we happily ate at New Garden Asian Cuisine. Now it’s nothing spectacular but they have tons of veggie options and it all tasted good. Lastly, if you decide to head to Long Beach, WA just across the bridge from Astoria Pickled Fish is the spot to eat but make sure you make reservations first! Play
The thing about Astoria is that while it is Costal there really isn’t a beach so if you’re looking for a beach vacation I would head south to Cannon Beach or for somewhere a bit closer to Astoria you can cross the beach and head to Long Beach or Seaview. In Astoria our favorite things to do are the Columbia River Maritime Museum which might sound a bit dull but it’s actually really interesting and has great rotating exhibits. If it’s summer time the Astoria Riverfront Trolley is an absolute must. You get a nice ride along the water where you can get off and on as you wish. The riverfront walk is also great and if you are a runner it’s a beautiful running spot on a sunny Summer morning. If you’re looking for a great view the Astoria Column is a great spot to get amazing views and if you are daring enough (I’m not) you have climb the winding stares to the top of the tower for an even better view. We also just love to walk around Astoria checking out the shops, our favorites include Maiden Astoria for beautiful locally made goods, FinnWare for everything Scandinavian and Astoria Vintage Hardware for vintage and vintage inspired items for the home.
Now to be honest we have only literally slept in Astoria once and I wouldn’t recommend that hotel. This isn’t to say there aren’t some great spots to stay such as the Commodore, Norbald, or the Cannery Pier Hotel but the first two aren’t great for families and the last is usually a bit above our budget. If we were to head to Astoria sans children though my first choice would be the Commodore which reminds me a lot of the Ace Hotel in it’s style, vibe and it shares a lobby space with Street 14 Cafe.
So where do we sleep?
Most of the time we head across the bridge to Washington and stay at the vintage trailers at the The Sou’Wester in Seaview. It’s our absolute favorite spot to stay with it’s vintage trailers, walkability to the beach and now it even has a wonderful sauna. There is often live music on the weekends as well which makes it so much fun. It’s basically glamping and we love it. When we aren’t staying at The Sou’Wester you can find us down the road at the Adrift which has a really modern and slightly industrial feel. It houses a great restaurant, it’s walking distance to the beach and it’ has some really great affordable deals so get on their mailing list. The last spot I would recommend to stay is in Seaside at the Ashore which is the sister hotel to the Adrift. The Ashore and Adrift have similar styles but the Ashore is significantly smaller and has no restaurant but it is walkable to the beach…although that beach is Seaside so there is that. The hotel was nice but I personally prefer the location and amenities of the Adrift.
I have to say I feel pretty lucky to live so close to such beautiful spots and to be able to spend our free time enjoying them. We can’t wait to head back to the Coast in a few months for an anniversary trip.
Date nights have become a regular occurrence for us lately because frankly they are incredibly important. However, most of our date nights are pretty casual and sometimes they even involve running a few child-free errands. But, our last date night was one that was far from a casual affair. It was free of phones (except to snap a few photos for you), errands and our beloved children.
We were kindly invited to attend one of Farm Spirit‘s multiple course dinner seatings. Farm Spirit is the brainchild of Chef Aaron Adams, formerly of Portland vegans’ favorite, Portobello Vegan Trattoria. The restaurant focuses on thoughtful courses with the seasonal ingredients sourced almost entirely from the Cascadia region in the Pacific Northwest. Adams clearly cares about supporting local farmers and artisans, going into great detail when describing the dishes and the origins of their ingredients. Even the dishware was created by local potter Steve Kelly. Tickets for the seatings are sold in advance and are in high demand. Each seating is limited to 14 and there is only one seating each night, Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm. *Update* Starting April 6th, Farm Spirit will offer multiple seating times throughout the evening, starting at 5:15 p.m. and going as late as 8:30 p.m. The seatings will be smaller allowing for more focus and attention to be on the guests.
When you walk in each seat has a menu and a place card with your last name. The seating a is a bit unique in that all guests are seated at a communal bar and the chefs prepare and plate each one of your courses right there in front of you. You know immediately that this experience is more than just the food. Farm to table has become somewhat cliched lately but not at Farm Spirit. You come away with a great appreciation for and understanding of the ingredients, the farmers, and the process that has gone into making your meal.
Above you see the 12-course menu starting with the most amazing bread and olive oil and ending with an incredible pumpkin seed ice cream. The real highlights are all the dishes in between. But, I’ll get to that in a bit.
To go along with our meal we decided to share the wine pairing and the house-made (non-alcoholic) beverage pairing. All of the wines were wonderful. One of our favorites was the Madeira. Neil and I couldn’t get over how amazing it was and how well it paired with the last two courses. As for the house-made beverages you won’t be disappointed. They were all unique and had such a range of flavors all of which perfectly complimented their dishes. Neil has been really interested in wild fermentation lately and spent a great deal of time asking the chefs about the process that went into the drinks.
Our first dish was this bouquet of herbs and greens and a little purple carrot with the most incredible hazelnut yogurt. To eat we were instructed to use our hands, dip, our bunch and enjoy. How was it? While it almost seems a little awkward to eat at first, that dissipates quickly when you’re blown away by the variety of flavors and textures in the dish.
Another dish to highlight was the Swiss chard that was made to resemble ravioli. It was fresh, crisp and the vegetal kvass broth had me lifting the bowl to drink up every last drop. The chefs do a great job of introducing you to the dishes and reminding you to let go of your inhibitions about eating with your hands or drinking up the last of the broths in your dish.
This next dish was another one of my favorites – the roasted carrot with burdock root puree. As a home cook, this was one of the less intimidating dishes. It’s one that I’m inspired go home and recreate, maybe not to the same caliber, but I could still do it.
I have to say of all the dishes this last one is my favorite. Tim’s bread was the star of the night for me. I could have easily eaten an entire loaf of the vollkornbort with the soured filbert puree and of those pickled onions and mustard seeds.
As the evening wound down the dessert courses are presented and your hot beverage order is taken. The offerings include coffee from local roasters Cellar Door, tea from Steven Smith, and a house-made hot drink. Once everyone has cleared their plates the chefs give you a warm thank you and a sweet breakfast bread to take home to enjoy with your morning coffee or tea. Such a sweet and unexpected way to end a perfect dining experience.
We enjoyed our meal and experience so much that immediately upon returning home that night we booked our next visit. One thing to note when you are purchasing your dinner tickets is that dinner is around three hours long. I know three hours sounds a bit daunting but honestly you won’t want the night to end.
Have you tried Farm Spirit? What were your thoughts? If you are a local Portlander or are visiting Portland I recommend getting tickets right away you won’t be disappointed.
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