San Francisco Sights

wine flight before redeye flight to Boston

I definitely left my stomach in San Francisco; everything from wine to pizza to salted caramel ice cream to crudo to a mortadella hot dog. And, there are many places I didn't get to on my list.

 salted caramel + strawberry balsamic: Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission

menu + refreshing hibiscus drink: Nopalito

Omnivore Books: tiny shop full of cookbooks, old and new

Boccalone in the Ferry Building: Chris Constantino's shop devoted to tasty pig parts

Tasting menu + wine pairings: Commonwealth in the Mission

Pot and Pantry: store sells gently used high end kitchen gear and offers recreational food classes

Marin County/San Rafael Farmers Market: 3rd largest market in California

Portland of the East Coast

Portland, ME is an easy day trip from Boston.  Portland offers a casual vibe with plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, and seagulls.

Here is a list of recommended places to eat, see, and shop; all of this was accomplished (plus strolling) in five hours

Portland Lobster Company
Bard Coffee
Coffee by Design
Stonewall Kitchen
Rabelais (culinary bookstore)
LeRoux Kitchen
Monument Square Farmer's Market

On-the-Road Dining Adventures

Capturing some of the meals eaten away from my kitchen:

BBQ Chicken Salad courtesy of American Airlines (not terrible, but not spectacular .. it is airline food, after all)

Blazin' Burger with Village Fries (rosemary & thyme) from Good Stuff in DC

Dinner at Carrabba's in Panama City, FL

Spicy Chicken Sandwich & Fries from Chick-fil-a.  Craving achieved.

Chicken/Rice/Green Chile Soup and House Salad with Grilled Corn from Chili's.  Surprisingly good.

Kosher-style hot dog from Five Guys.  Tried to make it Chicago-style but no sport peppers, celery salt, or neon green relish existed.

Black & Bleu Burger from Boston Burger Company in Somerville, MA.  Simple and well-prepared.


What do your dining experiences look like when (or if) traveling for work?

Top Five Things in Portland

Two weeks ago I traveled to Portland, Oregon for an international food conference.  The conference planners picked a city bursting with hot food trends, locals supporting their local farmers, and restaurants gaining popularity.  Picking my favorite things was tough as there were so many, but I settled on five must-do/see sites.

Gruner: a five month old restaurant serving German and Austrian cuisine using ingredients found in the Pacific Northwest.  The wine list was easy to navigate with the help of a well-versed server, and I was really happy with my choice of spaetlze with braised chicken, morels, riesling, crispy shallots, and thyme.

Ace Hotel: a quirky boutique hotel that offer budget friendly rooms in order to experience the best of Portland; Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a local coffee company, cranks out excellent brews and sells pastries and Voodoo Doughnuts; patrons sip their morning cup in the lobby of the Ace while catching up on the day's news either in print or virtually (free WiFi).  Another hotel feature is Clyde Common, a restaurant and bar turning out excellent seasonal food and shaking (or stirring) appetite-inducing cocktails.  With two happy hours (one mid-day, the other after 11 p.m.), there is always a deal to be found. I still crave the fries with harissa and creme fraiche dipping sauces.
Anne Amie: spend an afternoon in the Willamette Valley at this biodynamic vineyard sampling pinot noir and pinot gris wines. Located in the Yamhill-Carlton District, the vineyard is LIVE certified which means Anne Amie uses sustainable wine growing & wine producing practices.  As part of the conference, I was very happy to taste a variety of Anne Amie wines paired with an incredible lunch from Thistle Restaurant.  

Powell's Books: an entire day's vacation could be spent in this treasure trove of a bookstore.  Multiple levels, discounted books, and a coffee shop make this store the world's largest independent seller of new & used books.  
Portland Farmer's Market: skipping out of the conference early on a Saturday morning proved to be a smart decision.  Local shoppers converged on this market buying fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers in all colors of the rainbow, cheeses, and breakfast from those magical food carts.  Seafood vendors sold oysters and salmon; bakeries displayed cookies, muffins, and macaroons.  After seeing the market (and buying some sweets for later), my only regret was not having a kitchen in which to prepare a meal.  

What are your favorite spots in Portland? Leave your picks in the comments.