terribly behind with posts

Eeep.  It has been one of those spaces of time where everything is busy, everything is rushing, and there is tons of food, but little time to say anything about it.  There was a weekend of wine a little over a week ago, and then there were three Thanksgiving dinners, none of which I have had a chance to say a thing about.  I promise posts on both wine and holiday food in the near future.


November 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Koi Fusion

I got an email today telling me that the Koi Fusion taco truck would be visiting my work again today over the lunch hour.  Koi Fusion is apparently patterned off of a similar taco truck found down in the L. A. area.  Last time they were here, I didn’t make it out there to try anything.

Today I headed out to the parking lot shortly after they arrived.  Mostly they serve meat items, but there is a spicy tofu option.  I ordered a spicy tofu taco.  It came with sauced tofu, bean sprouts, cilantro, thin slices of cucumber, kimchi, and a piece of lime on a small corn tortilla.  I put a dab of each of their hot sauces on the side and took my food in to my desk.

I squeezed the lime on, took a tiny taste of each hotsauce, then took a bite.  It was tasty, but didn’t have any where near the punch that I was expecting.  The couple of bites with hotsauce were quite good though.  It think that it was just lacking the heat punch and extra flavor they added.  That spicy bite left me licking my lips and looking for more.

I just got a text from M, saying he was headed over to try it out.  So I will have a round two, and layer on the hotsauce.

November 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Du Kuh Bee

M suggested that we check out this Korean restaurant last night.  I was excited to see that it was located in Beaverton, close to places that I go fairly frequently on errands.  I have passed that corner numerous times and never been in.  Beaverton does have some good places to eat, but Portland has a far higher concentration of interesting and innovative restaurants, so I am always excited to find new places a little closer to home.

Du Kuh Bee was written up in the Willamette Week Restaurant Guide 2009. Oddly enough, their description of its location could fit the restaurant next door, which is also Korean and in close proximity to a hair salon.  They are mid way down the building to the east of Watson on 1st.  Their signage is minimal compared to the large windows of the other restaurant.

We were initially seated by the door, but a couple minutes later the people at the bar left, and we were able to move up where we could watch the kitchen.

The atmosphere is unassuming.  It is a long, narrow space.  There is seating for roughly 20.  A TV was playing the news in the background.  Sitting at the bar you get to see their ingredients spread out in front of you, onions, cabbage, and such, in numerous containers of mostly humble origin (at one point I saw him take sliced green onions out of a blue lidded ziplock container).  A small fridge off to the left appeared to hold their fish and meats.

We ended up ordering the two dishes that were recommended in the Willamette Week, the squid pasta and the bok choy.  They brought us plates and chopsticks, and two little bowls of appetizer while we waited for our food.  One was a kimchi, while the other was a slightly pickled or vinegared daikon radish.  Both were tasty, but I was especially partial to the daikon.

Sitting at the bar we got to watch them prepare the food.  It was fun to watch them make everything, though watching them prepare the noodles was the best part.  Long, blocks of dough were taken out of the fridge and 3/4″ square lengths were cut off of the dough.  The chef then stretched them and pulled them repeatedly, slapping the strands of noodle hard against the counter top, before tossing them into a pot of boiling water.

Their compact kitchen manages to cram in a grill, stove, prep, and storage space.  A giant stockpot of water appeared to be kept at a fairly constant boil, briefly becoming home to both noodles and seafood.  A large portion of the food was prepared in a wok on the stove.  We also watched them grill up numerous things and at one point something they were doing on the grill sent up a large fragrant cloud of steam.

Our noodle dish arrived first.  It was a lovely red-orange color and had bits of onion, cabbage, and pepper along with the noodles and squid.  The squid blended itself well with the noodles, many of which were of a similar size.  It was pleasantly spicy, without being terribly hot.  The flavors were tantalizingly on the verge of familiar.  I kept thinking that I ought to be able to identify things, but it was also uniquely its own thing.  I love asian food and eat a fair bit of Thai, Chinese, and Indian.  It was really nice to be introduced to some new cuisine.

The bok choy was also lovely and different in flavor from the noodle dish.  It was somewhat akin to the ways you might see bok choy prepared at a Chinese restaurant, coming with a liquid, light brown sauce which perhaps owed some of its flavor to soy sauce.  But it was also slightly sweet and had a lovely smokey flavor.

They do have some veggie dishes on the menu, but it looks to me like this isn’t the friendliest place for a strict vegetarian.  Luckily, I also encompass fish and seafood in my diet, which allows me to mark this restaurant some place I must return to.

Our meal was very reasonably priced (we got out of there for $26 including tip), and generously portioned.  We ended up with a meal for one from the leftovers.  I also hear tell that they are open fairly late, even on weeknights, which is rare for this part of town.  We’ll definitely be going back and hopefully dragging a few friends along.

November 19, 2009 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

Cubicle Foraging – Spinach, part 2

Well, I got half a block from work on Thursday when I realized that I had left the spinach in the fridge at the office.  I dithered a few moments, then decided to walk back to work to get it.  I was actually excited to make something out of it and nothing else in my fridge at home was really calling to me.  I ended up making sautéed garlic spinach along side jasmine rice and a lovely french cheese.  I love the sweetness that you can get from garlic if it is sautéed but not browned.  The jasmine rice with a bit of butter and salt was aromatic.  The port salud cheese was a little reminiscent of Muenster.  It was on the softer side, rich, and salty.

Sautéed Spinach with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Butter

large bag of small spinach (perhaps roughly a pound)

6 – 8 medium cloves garlic

2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

salt and pepper to taste


Peel the garlic and chop it up into medium pieces.  Rinse the spinach and discard any pieces that seem excessively wilted or slimy.

Put a large saute pan, with available lid, on the stove with medium-low heat and add the olive oil.  Let the oil heat a couple minutes, then stir in the garlic and butter.  Let it saute for 3 – 5 minutes.  You want to soften the garlic, but do not want to brown it.  After letting the garlic saute in the oil and butter for several minutes, add the spinach and turn the heat up to medium.  Stir and cover.  Let the spinach cook, stirring every few minutes until all the spinach has wilted.  Salt and pepper to taste either at the stove or at the table.

Note: If you notice that your garlic is starting to darken, quickly toss in your spinach and mix, the cover.  This will help prevent the flavor from shifting farther away from the sweet end.

November 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Cubicle Foraging – Spinach

Well, here is my inspiration to start cooking again this evening.  I got a bag of fresh spinach from work that needs to get eaten tonight.  I don’t think it will last the weekend until I am back from out of town.

Sauteed spinach with garlic sounds pretty tasty, perhaps some jasmine rice, and some sort of protein thrown in.

I think the fact that food is starting to sound interesting again is a good sign.

November 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

A Lack of Cooking

Well, of all the unusual things, I haven’t been cooking lately.  Some personal stuff came up and completely knocked everything else out of the running for ability to focus or do much of anything else for that matter.  I don’t believe that I have cooked anything but popcorn for the last week.  That isn’t to say that I haven’t been eating.  I don’t generally count heating leftovers as cooking and I have had take-out and a few random restaurants thrown in.  There’s been tea, cereal, and other such things lacking preparation.

I am hoping to get back to it a little bit tonight, and this weekend I am heading out to Sun River with friends and likely there will be some fun cooking there, though I have no idea what sort of kitchen we will have at the house there.

November 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

Tabla Mediterranean Bistro

My best friend and I ended up at Tabla last night for his birthday based on M’s suggestion.  M didn’t say anything about the restaurant really, other than to suggest it when I said Sel Gris was unavailable.

They offer a 3 course tasting menu which lets you pick an appetizer, pasta, and entree dish, or you may choose al a carte.  We both chose to do the tasting menu.  I also opted to order the set of wine pairings to go with mine.

My appetizer: beet and buckwheat salad with ricotta di capra, succulent greens, tarragon

Rounds of cooked and slightly sweetened beets were then layered with thin, similarly sized buckwheat crepes and then topped with leaves from a succulent and ribbon like curls of cheese.  The succulent I wasn’t actually able to identify, not being the world’s most plant savvy person.  The salad was slightly sweet (beets), slightly earthy (buckwheat), a little milky (cheese), and brightly green in flavor (succulent leaves).  The textures also bridged a variety of categories.  The beets still had a nice solidity, the tiny crepes were  tender, the cheese was creamy, and the greens….  The succulent was the most intriguing and surprising thing about this dish, both in appearance, flavor, and mouth feel.  They were firm and crisp, slightly furry, and your entire mouth exploded with juicy green flavor when you bit into one.

It was paired with a glass of 2008 domaine rochette, gamay rosé, beaujolais, france.  The wine was a rosy pink in color.  It smelled of strawberry and lemon and added apples flavors when you sipped it, having light sweetness.

Z’s appetizer: delicata squash flan with brussels sprouts, maple brown butter, crispy prosciutto, walnuts

A small flan shaped delicata custard perched atop a bed of thinly shaved brussel sprouts done up with brown butter and walnuts.  A crispy long piece of prosciutto was decoratively place on top.

My pasta: mushroom and sherry agnolotti with pickled chanterelles, sorrel, parmigiano-reggiano

This dish was the prize of the evening.  Everything was delicious, but this pairing was so perfectly matched I would have eaten it all night.  Agnolotti are tiny little pocket like pasta that are a bit like ravioli and a bit like flattened tortellini.  They were about the size of the first joint of my little finger and oh so delicate.  I believe that they were filled with something similar to what was served mixed in with them, pickled chanterelles and strips of sorrel.  I have never had a pickled mushrooms before, but now may have to look into how to do that.  It added this light flavor which would have been hard to identify if you hadn’t been told.

It was paired with a pinot noir, and I had selected to have a glass of their wine special of the evening instead of the usual pairing.  I believe what I had was the 2007 Evesham Wood, Le Puits Sec, Eola-Amity, though it is possible I am wrong.  It is the only thing present on their online wine menu that sounds like the description I got verbally and I didn’t end up calling back last week to check.  I think that this might have been the best wine pairing I have had, definitely the best one in a really long time.  The pinot noir was lovely, very fruity nose, with plum and raspberry scents, with cherry and currant flavors once you tasted it.  It was lightly sweet and had a mild level of tannins, but enough to give the wine body.  And it tasted ten times better when you took a sip right after a bite of the agnolotti.  I am pretty sure that it had something to do with the pickled mushroom flavor, though I am afraid I can’t put my finger on just what.

Z’s pasta: tajarin – thin housemade pasta, truffle butter, grana padano

This was also very lovely.  The pasta texture was walking that lovely zone between tender and al dente, the truffle butter added some lovely deeper notes to the flavor of the sauce, and the grana padano was a creamier tasting version of Parmigiano Reggiano.

My entree: pan-seared sea scallops, fall vegetable scafata, celery root, salsa verde

Once upon a time I disliked scallops, but I had never had them done right.  They have in recent years become a favorite if I am going for seafood.  Tabla knows how to do them right.  They were seared the right brief amount of time the salsa verde on top was lovely with them.  The scafata and celery root I believe were both served pureed (though I am behind on posting and it has been a few days now) and I wasn’t quite as keen on the flavors there, though it was certainly unusual.  I think that perhaps the scafata was just slightly more earthy than I wanted it to be along side the scallops.

This was paired with an unoaked chardonnay, 2007 domaine de montlaville, mâcon-villages, france.  It went nicely with the scallops.  It had hints of grapefruit, pear, apple, and lemon on the nose and added some peach and apricot flavors upon tasting.  This was Z’s favorite of the three wines.  He isn’t much of a wine person, so it was nice to discover one that he liked.

Z’s entree: the special on offer, a of rack of goat, to which I am afraid I have forgotten the sides

His description of this dish stuck out in my mind.  He mentioned that he really loved the unadorned flavor of the goat.  The way the dish was prepared, the goat was resting on an artistic presentation of the accompaniment, and the sauce was to the side, which allowed him to use sparing amounts according to taste.  Apparently goat is often served with strong sauces or marinades which obscure some of its natural flavor (or this is what I gathered from him, still haven’t been truly tempted yet to find out myself).

We glanced at the dessert menu, but were both quite full.  So instead we opted to head home for cheese cake and raspberry coulis, as it was already in my fridge and the travel gave us some time to digest.

November 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

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