Continuing my whole summer of laziness theme, here are some photos from our trip at the end of last month to Astoria, Oregon. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel, ate and drank at Buoy Beer and the Blue Scorcher Bakery, went to Fort Stevens State Park, and spent a couple of nights at the Voodoo Room.
An excellent weekend trip, even if the weather didn’t cooperate until the day we left.
Rooms with private and shared bathrooms. We had a deluxe cabin (private bathroom). Pros: Great location, cozy lobby downstairs. Modern, Scandinavian aesthetic. Cons: lacking in amenities for the price — at least for the “deluxe” rooms (no in-room coffeemaker or refrigerator, no towel hooks in the bathroom).
258 14th Street
Astoria, OR 97103
No. 1 Eighth (8th) Street
Astoria, OR 97103
Awesome beer and food. Great waterfront location!
Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe
1493 Duane Street
Astoria, Oregon 97103
This is always a good breakfast or lunch choice.
Fort Stevens State Park
West of Astoria, off Highway 101. Both Pacific Ocean and Columbia River beaches.
The Voodoo Room
This is always a good drinking choice. Sometimes there is live music — we saw Daric Moore the first night and the Slow Poisoner the second night.
The . . . → Read More: A Weekend in Astoria Featuring Tasty Food, Oregon State Parks, and the Voodoo Room
Over the next couple of days I’m going to be posting two ideas for St. Patrick’s Day meals and this first one uses two very Irish ingredients — Guinness stout and lamb. It does take awhile to cook but the reward is worth it.
Of course, there’s also the challenge of finding a pot big enough to fit the lamb shanks in (usually my downfall), which is definitely tricky, but again, very much worth it in the end. If you have leftover braising sauce (and you probably will), it’s great used in lentil soup. Just thin with a little more chicken broth and cook your lentils in it. Mmmmm….lamb-y.
On the side — Polenta & Cabbage: This is sort of a colcannon-type dish but with polenta instead of potatoes. Just cook up a batch of polenta like usual (one part polenta whisked into four parts boiling liquid), and when it’s almost done, saute some sliced cabbage in separate pan, using about a tablespoon of butter. Add salt and pepper and let it get a little golden in places. Add the cooked cabbage and butter to the polenta and stir in . . . → Read More: Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks for St. Patrick’s Day
I love this chili! I’ve made it twice in the past month. It’s really good…not mouth-burningly spicy (but it has a kick), very complex and if you are not from Texas, it’s perfectly appropriate to add beans, imho. Hooray! If you want your chili all meaty and Texas-like, just increase the meat to 3 pounds and loose the beans. How you prefer your chili is between you and your kitchen, that’s what I say. This is just how I like it.
The second time I made it, I actually grabbed a boneless rib eye steak from Trader Joe’s, cubed that up and used that for the meat. I think it was about $5 and I liked that better than the $12 worth of short ribs I used originally. Go figure.
Oh and this leftover chili makes EPIC NACHOS. Seriously. Just load some tortilla chips up on a baking sheet. Scatter some spoonfuls of (warmed up) chili on top, add cheese and diced red onions and stick in a 400 degree oven until the cheese melts and the chip get a little golden. Wow. Yeah. You’re welcome.
Portland-Style Chili with Beer, Coffee & Chocolate
Adapted from a recipe in Food . . . → Read More: Not Really So Texas-Style Chili
This makes a very good weekend meal. There are a lot of steps and ingredients but it is so worth it in the end (like a lot of long-cooking, multi-stepped recipes). It’s very similar to coq au vin, but with beer (duh). Use a good dark beer, Belgian-style if you’ve got it. I used half belgian, half regular dark. Four cups is about 2.5 bottles of beer, so you’ll have half a beer to drink while you start cooking. So, bonus points there.
Let’s see, what else? We had this with crusty bread but you could also add polenta or noodles to serve it over. I added garlic to this and subbed pancetta for the bacon but that’s about it. Oh yeah, I didn’t have leek leaves. Skipped that and added some rosemary sprigs to my bouquet garni instead.
This recipe is from the awesome cookbook, “French Farmhouse Cookbook,” and is the same cookbook with the walnut chicken recipe. That is pretty much my most favorite chicken recipe ever.
From the Aix-lea-Orchies villiage in France, right near the Belgian border. Hence the beer. Speaking of, a good dark beer works for well for drinking with this meal. We cracked open . . . → Read More: Chicken Braised in Beer (Coq à la Bière)
Last week, I caught The Big Chili episode of Good Eats and I remembered again why I love Alton Brown so much. I laughed so hard in so many spots in this episode — and the chili looked pretty good too. It’s the best kind of Good Eats episode as well, with characters, costumes, accents and a plot! Whee!
From the episode, while buying ingredients at the store:
Grumpy Gus the Cowboy (played by AB): Well, there it is, Rusty. It’s the secret ingredient of lazy chili chefs everywhere. Now you could go spending an hour slicing and dicing various vegetation. But I say why not just crack open the lid on your favorite hot salsa? This here is my favorite. It’s made in New York City, so you know it’s good.
Grumpy Gus: That’s right, imported.
Ha! But hey, that’s a great idea. Salsa in chili. The original recipe is here — check it out and try it sometime. Instead of making that exact recipe, though, I opted to just use just a few of AB’s ideas in my chili because, well, I kind of like to fancify my chili with beans, various vegetation and things of that nature. . . . → Read More: The Big Chicken Chili