Entries in Travel (8)


Portland Eats - Sweedeedee

I love anytime I can get to Portland. It feels like an older cooler sister to Seattle. This weekend we were headed to Bend again to see my mom and I love this trip partly because we get to go through Portland both ways!

We needed a lunch spot on the way and ran through our list of regular spots undecided.

Mr. Ramon then commented that maybe we should try the place next to the record store on Albina. I felt this night just be a ploy to get into the record shop - Mr. Ramon is an avid collector.

I looked up this little spot called Sweedeedee and found out it had rave reviews. A small breakfast/lunch spot with amazing baked goods. I was in!

What a cute place. You order at the counter and then find a seat. I noticed all of their coffee mugs were mismatched finds from someplace like Goodwill. They have a tiny kitchen in the back where the magic happens. It all felt so homey in the nicest way. 

When faced with this type of baked goods arsenal I have a hard time choosing and then limiting myself. I want to taste everything! It was lunch time and quite busy. We were lucky enough to be able to find an outdoor seat in the shade so I could let the crazy dogs hang out with us.

We ordered some sandwiches and a piece of the most amazing bread I have ever had. Honey Bourbon Bread. Light and moist with the subtle honey and bourbon flavor throughout. Delightful! 

It was tough also to choose sandwiches - Mr. Ramon chose the brisket on brioche toast and I love a ham sandwich so that was the easiest choice for me. My sandwich had the most incredible ham on a pretzel roll. Both of our sandwiches came with delicious house made pickles. 

It was a really nice little lunch and left me wanting to come back for breakfast sometime. Mr. Ramon went next door to peruse the record selections and I picked up one of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had and a piece of zucchini marmalade bread for the road. If you have some time in Portland this is a spot I can highly recommend! 


5202 North Albina Avenue.
Hours :: Monday through Saturday 8am to 4pm
Sundays 8am to 2pm

phone :: 503.946.8087
email :: sweedeedeecafe@gmail.com


Wandering Goose Seattle 

Mr. Ramon and I popped in at the Wandering Goose on their first day open. This cosy spot in Seattle's North Capitol Hill is the work of Heather Earnhardt. Heather is many things and one of them is an amazing baker. I know her work well from Volunteer Park Cafe - she is one half of the talent that brought us this amazing gathering place full of meals to remember. 

I have never met Heather but think I would like too. I love what she is creating here. She seems to have had a rich life that really shows itself in the atmosphere and food at Wandering Goose. The space is small - no more than 30 seats. It fills quickly and has a buzz about it that feels like a family gathering. The tables are raw blonde wood and butt up against pews that line the walls. Every piece in the space feels found and useful. 

The bakery case is full of gorgeous rustic delights. On our visit we enjoyed the Plum Galette. A superb crust and the delicious fragrance of roasted plums with a hint of almond. We fought over every last bite. 

Who am I kidding though - we came for the biscuits. We just missed breakfast and chose two things of the menu to share. "The Easy" a classic egg, bacon biscuit sandwich and "The Sawmill" a  fried chicken biscuit sandwich with the road house gravy. Both of these left me totally satisfied in buttery, salty goodness. 

It was nice to see some familiar faces within the staff and the service was genuine and warm. Both Mr. Ramon and I look forward to making it early for breakfast and trying a few other things off the menu. If you have not had a chance to go yet - do. I know you will enjoy it as much as we did. 


A Lovely Gift

I am a really lucky girl. Mr. Ramon loves to bring me little gifts when he travels. I like that. It feels nice that he is thinking of me when he is away. 

He just got back from a week long trip to Los Angeles where he was visiting his family. While they were out one day he picked me up a box of French macarons from Bottega Louie. This amazing place is a restaurant, patisserie, gourmet market, cafe and bar. Full of tasty and beautiful things. 

The French macaron is a wonderful cookie. Wikipedia says "A macaron is a sweet meringu-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies."

The flavors he brought me were - salted caramel, strawberry, violet, pistachio and passion fruit. They were almost to pretty to eat. 

While not something I seek out these were the perfect little treat. They had a crispy outer shell with an airy soft melt in your mouth center. I really loved the salted caramel and the strawberry. 



Iowa Squirrels

So here it is I unveil my love of squirrels. Yes - the little vermin with those cute fluffy tails. I love watching them play in the tree branches and chase around the tree trunks. I love watching my dogs chase them - knowing they are never going to be able to catch them .

When I travel I am on the lookout for squirrels - especially city squirrels. New York and Chicago have some awful nice ones.

Ramon just traveled to Iowa for work. Now I had placed a few things on Ramons' agenda while he was away. One was to find me a taxidermy squirrel. I really want one for one of my wedding tables. And heck - Iowa seemed like the kind of place to find one. He knows of my squirrel love and heard from a couple of people that there were these black squirrels in Iowa. I wanted to know what the heck that means - what is a black squirrel - after all grey is the classic. A little more investigative work and he learned that these black squirrels hang out in the cemetery. Weird - right?

Here is what you wear in Iowa to sneak up on squirrels in the cemetery.

Here is the cemetery.

And here are the squirrels - the first picture is a black squirrel and the second is his friend mr. auburn squirrel.

Mr Ramon said they were so cute chasing each other and playing. One of the best things about this time of year - the squirrel fun.

Oh yeah - if anyone out there has a taxidermy squirrel that they would let us borrow - just let me know!!


Le Marais - our neighborhood in Paris

While in Paris we stayed in the wonderful Le Marais neighborhood. Full of great food and shopping but also all of the usual Paris type establishments that make this city so fun - cafes, butchers, bakers, pastry shops and green grocers - just to name a few.

We arrived tired but exhilarated - so we decided to start walking our neighborhood and get a sense of what is and Paris had to offer.

Hungry and ready for a breakfast - we stopped in for a little coffee and Croque Monsieur (a wonderful version of grilled ham and cheese with a bechemal or mornay sauce). This is not your typical breakfast item and garnered some unusual looks from our waitress. But once she knew we were americans it all made sense.

I was amazed at the amount of pastry/bakery options that one neighborhood could support. From basic bread to fancy pastries and confections.

This store had amazing marshmallow options as well as beautiful cakes and pastries.

The butcher shops were so pretty - these people take their craft very seriously and meat was displayed like works of art. Some still had feet and heads attached - it was nice to see a culture still in touch with their food. Not like here where most things are shrink wrapped - boneless and no longer representing the animal that it once was.

There were a great deal of deli type stores - filled with cured meats, salads, cheeses etc. A great place to stop and pick up a meal or side dish. We oohed and ahhed over the aspics and meat gels.

One very cool little chain of stores is called the Daily Monop. Here you can get a wide variety of pre-made sandwiches, salads and soups. Also prepared fruit, yogurt, beverages and dry snacks. There is a variety of fresh-baked bread and rolls to choose from as well.

We stopped by here regularly for little snacks - it was so convenient to say - "I am running down to the Monop", it was so close and handy.