Food, Wine and Friends: A Perfect Evening

Keisha, the hostess with the most-est, invited some friends over for dinner and fun. She cooked chicken cordon Bleu, I made some curry cous cous (out of the box), Jilian brought a homemade apple pie and Teddy brought over a bottle of sauv blanc.

The three of us - me, Jilian and Teddy all arrived within minutes of each other, to be greeted at the door with tantalizing smells oozing from the kitchen. We took off our coats, grabbed seats at the dining room table in Keisha's kitchen and chatted away while Keisha put the finishing touches on the kitchen. I briefly got up to prep the cous cous, one which Keisha introduced me to about six months ago. After eating said cous cous for a month straight I quickly tired of it and when I made it that night I wasn't sure if I was ready to have it again.

chicken cordon bleu, steamed seasoned asparagus, curry cous cous, red & white wines
The dinner items were ready and Keisha dished us out some steamed, seasoned asparagus; cous cous and a serving of chicken cordon Bleu. Teddy prayed the shortest blessing over our food and we proceeded to e-a-t. Need I mention that there was a moment of silence, if you don't count my loud munching of food, while everyone was enjoying the delicious meal prepared with love. The sauv blanc was a great accompaniment, and everyone soon switched over to a red wine blend.

When the three of us finished eating, Keisha suggested a game of UNO. In the middle of Keisha reading game directions Dez arrived and we chatted while he ate the plate Keisha had set aside for him. After Dez finished eating was when the real fun began. The UNO cards were dealt and even though we were going to play a practice round, that game ended up lasting over two hours, as all fun and exciting UNO games should. Though Jilian won the game almost immediately, Keisha, Teddy, Dez and I continued to play to determine who would take second place. And this is where the friendly banter, competitive spirits and
light teasing came out. We all wanted to do all we could to keep one person from winning!

Though Dez had an early flight to catch and Teddy and I had long drives home, nobody left until a second place winner was determined. It was thrilling as one person called UNO, only to pick up close to ten cards the next round. And this happened to each of us. We were so sure we would win, when we were down to one card and proudly shouted UNO. But the next round, we would be dealt a +4 wild card or +2 by the person preceding us. So it wasn't until past 11p when everyone piled out of there, only after Keisha got second place bragging rights.

evolution of apple pie
In describing all of the game craziness, I cannot forget to talk about Jilian's homemade apple pie which she kindly dished out to us, a la mode, while we were heads down in the game. The pie was heavenly. Great flaky yet thick crust, soft apple slices with a kick of cinnamon and nutmeg seasonings, topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Perfection. Thanks to all for a fabulous evening! Just what I needed to get my Thanksgiving holiday off to the right start!

A Drift from Our Normal Program: Keisha and Joe Do Cedars!

I love food of many different varieties, spices, and cultures! Food preparation, presentation and enjoyment really make me happy! Especially when accompanied by a good wine. Oh boy are we in business!

I was really excited last summer when a friend told me about Cedars Restaurant in the U-district (on the corner of 50th and Brooklyn). So I went with friends and enjoyed some awesome Indian cuisine. Fast forward to this fall I went once with Jenny after a road trip to Vancouver, B.C. in mid October. We got our order as take out and it was a little messy – quality take out containers can be hard to come by. But I went again with my friend Joe for a post birthday dinner for me (thanks Joe, great idea!) and all was lovely.

A week ago, Joe and I met at Cedars for dinner. Similar to my previous dining in experience there the restaurant was packed! Good food + decent prices = returning customers! Successful Business Practices 101. Recognize. After some catch up convo we ordered. I quite fancy the VINDALOO with chicken. I have ordered it many times in various restaurants. I thought about ordering it with lamb, BUT the server who is also a personal trainer (as he informed me) told me “…the chicken is better for you. Restaurant-prepared lamb is too fatty and not good for your heart…” Really, sir. Okay, fine.  At least he was looking out for my health. Joe ordered the CHICKEN BOTI KABAB.

Let’s talk about this vindaloo. It was delish! From the menu: ‘zesty curry cooked in a tangy sauce of wine vinegar, ginger, and potatoes.’ It’s always a mixed bag of tricks for me to have curry because I don’t like the taste coconut milk and most curries have coconut milk in them. So I am cautious when ordering. On the flip side I really have a liking for a potato that is peeled, chopped and cooked to tender perfection. Not to mention well-seasoned, spicy even. But not over done on the spice. (Side note: I had a spicy Thai seafood soup the day after my birthday and the temperature and spice level were too much for me. But it was a learning experience: lesson learned.) The chicken in my vindaloo was decent, a good compliment indeed, but not the focus of the entrĂ©e by any means. (That’s why the meat is an add-in.) The curry and the potatoes were definitely the stars of this party!

Joe’s chicken boti kabab looked oh so tasty on his plate. From the menu: ’succulent pieces of boneless chicken rubbed with Indian herbs and spices. Served with sliced onions and lemons.’ I love the colors of herbs, seasonings and spices and how they change the look of food. It changes food from simple nourishment to ART! That is indeed a beautiful thing. I did have a taste of Joe’s chicken and it had a nice kick! And I like a nice lil kick. It makes something worth remembering…and trying again.

All in all, our dinner was tasty and enjoyable. The company was even better. An evening is well spent when you can enjoy food, friendship and laughter! Thanks for the birthday dinner Joe, you’re fantastic!

OH! Before I omit, the server/personal trainer came back with a piece of baklava as a birthday treat! He, Joe and another server sang happy birthday to me. So kind! So many free birthday desserts this year! Thank goodness my office has a small gym!

To be treated like royalty you have to go to the Palace!

Oy vey! I have been so busy. It has taken me a LONG time to post this review on TD’s Palace Kitchen (PK).  Many apologies to my friends who read and to my blogging partner J Kor. Here we go…

I got to PK just a few minutes ahead of our 7:00pm meeting time. I was so excited to see a Top Pot donut location just doors away. So I went in and grabbed a couple of donuts for us and stored them in my purse for safe keeping!

We got into PK and the reservation Jenny had made online earlier that day had not gone through. We waited a few extra minutes and were seated. Let the fun begin! Jenny and I started talking about our weekend happenings. It was a fun catch up time! Yay! I’d had a great weekend and was excited to share. Honest note: sometimes I get a little eccentric in storytelling. True fact!  I am sure people sitting near me in restaurants are either a – very entertained or b – annoyed.  Moving on…

After a serious look at the menu we both decided on the burger. Let’s pause for a moment. As I have mentioned in a previous post I stopped eating beef and pork about a year and a half ago. However, I welcomed it back (to restaurant ordering only) when Jenny and I decided to take on our TD challenge.

This burger was fit for royalty! The palace burger royale - wood grilled Oregon country beef, dahlia bakery bun, pickled green tomato and fries. Boom! Check out the picture. I had mine well-done and boy was it well done! Fresh, delicious, juicy, cooked to perfection…served with tomatoes that were “brought over from the boss’ farm” our server informed us. Very nice! To accompany this very fresh Northwest packed burger there were fries. I tried to avoid those for the most part. But a fair share disappeared. 

Jenny and I also order some red wine which did not impress. At all. It is only worth noting that it was ordered to enhance the flavor of the meat – and it did not. Enough said.

After it was all said and done we decided to forgo the dessert menu as we had some treats waiting in my purse.

Lesson of this posting: to be treated like royalty you have to go to the Palace!