Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Besaw's for Dinner (Portland, Oregon)

We are fortunate to live very close to Besaw's restaurant in NW District of Portland. They just celebrated their 110th (!!!) year of business in operation as a restaurant/bar. Over the years, Besaw's has improved with the times but still kept the historic building intact.

Besaw's is best known for their weekend brunches and midweek breakfasts. People drive from all over the area to breakfast here. Lines form early outside. 

So sometimes we opt to avoid the weekend crowds there and instead go for dinner. There is nothing more cozy and comforting to tuck in to Besaw's on a cold rainy evening and enjoy their fabulous locally-purveyed food. This evening I enjoyed the Tails & Trotters brined pork loin with spinach and polenta. It was outstanding! Flavorful, juicy, delicious.

My husband loved the meatloaf with roasted potatoes and carrots, and mushroom gravy. So satisfying! We decided to slow down the pace and just enjoy another glass of wine. We like to nab at table by the windows and watch the people and cars rush by outside while we kick into a leisurely slow-motion pace.

And this is how we felt about our food. So good!

Besaw's on the corner of NW 23rd & Savier St., Portland, Oregon. (The crowds lined up here waiting for a weekend brunch table.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Portland Marathon 2013

We happened to be at our place the weekend of the Portland Marathon in September. We were awakened by the sound of cheering, so we dressed quickly and went outside to investigate.

Even though we didn't know anyone running this year, we'd heard that lots of people just line up on the course to cheer people on. So we found a fun group in the neighborhood who were playing loud music and cheering loudly for the runners as they passed by.

Since the runners have their names on the front of their official badges, it was easy to call out their name as you cheered! "Way to go, Cheri"  "Keep it up, Stewart!" It was fun to see them smile through their panting. A fun way to watch the marathon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Tile Inspiration from Portland's Street of Dreams

In August, my sister-in-law and I spent a fun day visiting the 2013 Street of Dreams in Portland's suburb of West Linn. So many great houses this year! Pricey, yes. But there's always some kind of inspiration to take away from the home decor even if you can't plunk down $2 million plus to purchase one.

I took lots of photos, and this year I was fascinated by some of the new tile treatments in kitchens and bathrooms. I noticed lots of metallics and interesting layout (like this herringbone pattern above). Thinking about replacing some tile in our 1992-built house when plain square tiles were the norm.

Love the inlaid smaller tiles latice-style here. Wouldn't need an area rug with this!

Tile that looks like agregated rock! Like this one.

Mix of tiles on the floor and shower of this bathroom. Love the dark gray colors.

Tumbled rock flooring tiles. These were flattened on top, making it easier on the feet than some of the rock floors of recent years. Love the mellow natural colors - beige, ivory, tan, light gray, dark gray. Goes with everything. Dress it up or down.

The same fossil-looking tile was used here on both the floors and counter-tops! Brown paired with white and black.

A reflective glass tile used on wall sections here. Interesting alternative to mirrored walls.

More metallic tiles on the back wall of this amazing entertainment room bar!

More metallic tile on the backsplash wall of another cool bar! Love the mix of metallic tile with granite. Not so matchy-matchy, but stayed with neutral colors.

Use of patterned backsplash tile in this mostly neutral bathroom. And it's repeated along the top ceiling line of the bathtub enclosure. Subtle but effective.

This amazing fireplace surround is made with metallic textured tile rather than brick! Love this!

Another tiled fireplace in this dining room. No, that's not rock. It's tile that either looks like rock or is actually stone tile.  Again, neutral colors go with all the other finishes and patterns in the room.

And still seeing glossy white subway tiles. Can't go wrong with this choice for the backsplash wall in this baking center. Mixed with marble, it's great! Notice too, the small diamond-patterned backsplash in neutral dark mix colors. Smart choice for those areas that might actually get splashed while mixing and baking.

So much tile inspiration - for use on flooring, fireplaces, accent walls, back splashes, showers, tub surrounds, kitchens, bathrooms, outdoor spaces and more! Tile is back!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lyle Lovett on the Lawn - at Portland Zoo

We went to the Lyle Lovett concert at the Portland Zoo this summer. Very fun! Portland has a lot of great outdoor concert venues. We hope to explore more next summer. The Lyle Lovett concert was great! Beautiful evening with fabulous music and happy people. Our advise: arrive early to wait in line and then nab a spot on the grass as soon as possible - it filled up and overflowed quickly. We brought a quilt to spread out and sit on, low chairs, bottled water, and some simple picnic food. We purchased wine and beer at the zoo venue. Our group took turns getting up to walk around while the others stayed to preserve our space. Perfect!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stella Scooter with Sidecar!

Spotted just about the coolest scooter ever seen in my neighborhood the other day. So amazing! Wondering if its vintage and restored or just new and made in the old styling. Such coolness!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tasty n Alder - in Westend of Downtown Portland

Tasty n Alder is one the those great new restaurants in the west end of downtown Portland that is getting a lot of buzz. Even on a weeknight, the place is just hopping with happy diners.

We've gone twice now and I can't wait to go again and try their brunch on Saturday and Sundays. They don't take reservations, so you need to go early when they open at 5 or be willing to wait it out for a table in their small bar. (Their cocktails are good too!)

Their new American menu has a creative twist to most dishes and their serving method is interesting. They bring out the dishes you order "as they are ready", so you are served in courses of small plates. Most of the items are made to share, like this radicchio salad which came in a large bowl and we dished up to serve. Very "Tasty"!

This is the little sister restaurant on the westside to Tasty n Sons in North Portland. So good! It's also fun to sit at the "chef's table" which is just a counter space in front of the kitchen. A good place to eat for a single who enjoys watching the cooks in action...but it gets a little heated there.

In warm weather months, Tasty n Alder has retracting windows that open up both sides of the dining area to the outside sidewalk. (SW 12th & Alder). You can see the historic church across the street here.

And from the outside, looking back in. Very tasty food! We share housemade chips & dip (yum!), radicchio salad, and Kev had the steak while I very much enjoyed the chicken under a brick! We'll be back!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Craft Iced Tea - Steven Smith Teamaker

All Portlanders tea-lovers are familiar with Steven Smith Teamaker teas. The little brick shop is in Northwest Portland but their artisan teas, both loose and bags, are packaged and sold in grocery stores all over Portland area. I was surprised to recently see that now they're making iced tea blends as well. I tried out this flavor - Black Cap berries blended with brewed black tea. Delicious!

You can find Steven Smith Teamaker fine teas in Portland's groceries stores or at the original shop on NW Thurman & NW 17th, next door to Olympic Provisions's northwest outpost. Here is the website: http://www.smithtea.com/

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mid Century Modern Homes in Portland West Hills

In May, my niece and I went on a special tour of midcentury modern homes in Portland's West Hills all designed by architect, Saul Zaik, in the 50's and 60's.

Such a delight to be able to walk though these special architectural beauties and enjoy the views of Portland from the West Hills. The architect also designed Timberline Lodge and the Vista House at Crown Point!

I love the clean, minimal lines of midcentury modern homes and these six were all gems.

Love the connection of the outside landscape and the interiors. There were views of trees and sky from nearly every window!

We even got to tour Saul Zaik's home and he was there chatting with visitors! (Gray hair and black specs.)

I love the open vaulted wood ceilings and minimal use of interior walls and doors!

When you have views like this, why would you even need any artwork? But in fact, we also admired the abstract contemporary paintings in several homes as well.

Notice how the window view of tree tops looks just like a painting in this room!

My niece and I also noticed the built-in bookshelves and desks, and "floating" cabinets and buffets! Many built-in cabinets were attached to the walls but not the floors. He made use of every nook and cranny! So smart! Why aren't we still designing these into more homes?

Again, I was taken by the integration of natural landscape and the interior living spaces. Views of trees everywhere!

Lots of interesting lights and skylights too...

Beautiful landscape in this turnaround driveway. These homes didn't look too impressive from the outside, but the interiors were so cool! Understated.

One home had a small architectural model of the original design on display. And the following photo is from the actual left side of the house.

And I'll end with my favorite photo from one of the decks. The view goes on forever!

The tour was sponsored by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon.
If you would like to read more about the architect, Saul Zaik, and some of the articles about the house tour, here are some links:

Saul Zaik bio from Portland Modern: http://www.portlandmodern.com/features/zaik/zaik.html