The Slide Inn

 

Hi guys! Have you heard of The Slide Inn? It recently opened in Portland (right next door to the Jade Lounge, on 23 and Ankeny). It’s got a German-theme going, so I wasn’t sure about it at first. (Vegan German Food? What would that entail?)

My friend and I had plans to get together yesterday for happy hour, and all the spots we wanted to check out happen to be closed Mondays. Of all the rotten luck. So when she suggested The Slide Inn, I hopped online, saw they were open Mondays (thank God), and their Happy Hour is from 530-7. PERFECT.

 

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The menu had quite a few vegan options. We weren’t terribly starving, but we decided to share a few things.

 

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The warm spinach salad with tofu, carrots and red bell peppers was good. It was sweet and slightly spicy. It was slightly over-dressed, but the flavors were spot-on. I would totally order it again.

 

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The salad rolls were a favorite of both of ours. The wraps were light on the rice noodles, heavy on the non-romaine lettuce, and served with a thick peanut dipping sauce. I will totally be back for these.

 

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The Yam Fries with horseradish ketchup were so good. I mean, how can you go wrong with horseradish ketchup? You can’t. I like that the fries are hand-cut. I LOVE that they’re served with horseradish ketchup. There’s also whole grain mustard available that goes splendidly with these little guys. I preferred the skinnier crunchier fries, but the thicker big ones sure got eaten too.

 

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The whole spread

 

The Slide Inn is the perfect spot for summer people watching. (All the single ladies: my friend and I conducted a scientific study and that corner sees A LOT of cute boys.)

It’s a quiet street, with families and friends walking around, bicyclists going by, and the occasional car whizzing past. For ever car that drove by, there were 5 bikes. (<—This one was not a scientific count.)

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I already have plans to  go back next Monday. White wine, boy-watching and vegan food on a sunny sidewalk? Color me perfectly pleased.

Summer Picnic Menu

 

Summertime means picnics. And bike rides, and river trips, and sunburns with freckles, and sangria on rooftop patios, and camping, and farmers markets. But today, in this surprising Oregonian May heat wave, it means picnics.

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The Rose Garden in Washington Park is a perfect picnic spot. Fresh green grass, rose bushes, a beautiful view of Portland… if you live in the Portland-area, I recommend it.

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The roses are just now starting to bloom, and they are SO PRETTY and smell SO GOOD. I love roses.

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Last week, I researched recipes and created a Google doc with links to share with my picnic pal. Nothing like a little hardcore picnic prep. I knew I wanted fresh whole foods. Light and refreshing fare, utilizing vegetables and fresh herbs.

And bubbles, naturally.

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The menu I ended up with:

Pineapple Jarritos Champagne Cocktails

Crispy Baked Chickpeas (<—a Steamy Kitchen recipe)

Dijon Vinaigrette Potato Salad (<—Whole Foods recipe!)

Massaged Kale Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Hemp Hearts (<—recipe included here)

Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches (<—from the PPK!)

Cranberry Coconut Lemon Polenta Cookies (GF)

Sliced Strawberries

 

My original menu included watermelon agua fresca, but my bike means of transportation was not conducive for me to carry a watermelon home from the grocery store. Does anyone else think of this scene from Dirty Dancing when you think of carrying a watermelon? I love that scene.

 

The chickpeas were fun. I actually took the skin off each one, something I’ve heard that people do, but I’d never considered as an option. It was meditative. And it looked hilarious when I was done, having a little chickpea exoskeleton explosion in the sink.

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They were also way addicting. I added sea salt, paprika, cayenne and nutritional yeast to my (double) batch.

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I knew I needed fresh herbs in my picnic menu—I’m obsessed with dill, mint, basil and cilantro, and have been mightily intrigued by tarragon recently. I ended up finding a use for the dill and mint in Isa’s cucumber avocado tea sandwiches. This recipe was pleasing to me as well for using avocado for the fat in the sandwich rather than cream cheese or vegan mayo (<—so 2010). The potato salad recipe called for parsley, green onions and tarragon. Tarragon! Sold.

The sandwiches turned out pretty good. They were light and refreshing, just like I wanted. Next time, I think I’d add fresh sliced jalapeños for a little kick. They were fairly easy to make and fun to look at.

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I actually tried really hard to stick to the recipes, which for me is quite a task. I succeeded for the most part, only adding a little Wayfare bacon bits to the potato salad recipe for a bit of smokey salty goodness.

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I made up the Kale Salad recipe. I considered—for a hot minute—making a Vietnamese-style kale salad, with lemongrass vinegar, mint, cilantro and peanuts, but I’ll save that for another time.

 

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Massaged Kale Salad with strawberries, almonds and hemp hearts

  • 1 head Kale, de-stemmed and torn into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 5 large organic strawberries, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, cut into slivers
  • 3 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 1 large carrot, cut into ribbons
  • salt, to taste

Wash the kale thoroughly. In a large bowl, massage into the kale the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the maple syrup and mix in until kale thoroughly covered. Taste at this point to season. Add strawberries, almonds and carrots. Mix together. Toss in hemp hearts, and refrigerate until ready to use. Kale is hardy, so you can make this hours ahead of your picnic. Serves 4.

 

The pineapple Jarritos champagne cocktails were a last minute decision. A DELICIOUS last minute decision.

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The cookies, which shall remain picture-less, were another last minute idea. I loved the idea of lemon cornmeal cookies, and for some reason, thought that attempting a gluten-free recipe was a super idea. Note: It wasn’t. I used a mix of cornmeal, coconut flour and sweet white sorgum flour. The flavor was there—I zested lemon and added lemon and almond extract, in addition to coconut flakes and dried cranberries—but the texture was a little off. That said, I think they will get eaten-by me if no one else—because the texture sort of reminds me of soft biscotti. In fact, I just had 2 for breakfast. (It’s ok, they’re healthy-ish—I used coconut sugar instead of white sugar. That’s healthy, right?? Don’t answer that.)

I made way too much food. I tried scaling down the recipes to be just enough for two people, but naturally, there were tons of leftovers.

Fine by me.

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Other summer picnic recipes:

Red White and Blue Sangria

Birthday Cake Balls

Dijon Dill Pasta Salad

Burgers and Soba Noodle Salad

Cashew Cream Tarts with Sugared Berries

 

 

 

 

It’s my Birthday!

 

I drank a yellow birthday cake smoothie.

 

YURM!

 

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My roommate made this for me, per my request. And then brought it to me in bed. <3 Guys, it was SO GOOD.

 

And lookit, my mom bought me a PURPLE kindle cover!

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I’ll peek back in later with a Korea post and stuff. Gotta go celebrate my birthday. Pedicure time!

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Cocktail with Maple Oatmeal-Infused Rum

 

This is the best autumn cocktail you will ever drink. It requires two components, but they’re both relatively easy and well worth the time.

I present the Spiced Pumpkin Pie Cocktail with Maple Oatmeal-Infused Rum.

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A few weeks ago, I had half a dozen left-over Taste of Nirvana Coconut Water bottles. I was drinking coconut water like crazy leading up to and during Vida Vegan Con weekend. With the left-overs, my roommate and I decided to experiment with a few mini infusions.

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There was jalapeño tequila (R), vanilla bean vodka (C) and fresh peach bourbon (L).

peach bourbon fresh peach bourbon infusion. BAM.

And then. 

And then I thought about how much I love oatmeal  (I eat in in my apples and in my smoothies) and how oatmeal should be in adult beverage form.

I infused rum with raw oats and maple syrup and let it sit for two weeks.

Part One

Maple Oatmeal-Infused Rum

1 cup white rum

1/2 cup raw oats

2 T real maple syrup

Combine and let sit—refrigerated—for one to four weeks.

Last weekend when I arrived back home from my San Francisco vacation, I had THE BEST PRESENT EVER waiting for me.

pumpkin welcome home

 

My roommate knows me so well.

I immediately googled ‘pumpkin pie simple syrup’ and as soon as I did a happy dance and unpacked, I hopped to experimenting in the kitchen.

I used Julie from Savvy Eats recipe as a guideline, making a few changes. I used more pumpkin, used pumpkin pie spice in addition to the spices listed, added garam masala and used vegan sugar.

My recipe looks like this:

Part Two

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Simple Syrup

1/4 cup organic pumpkin (not the pre-spiced and sugared filling)

1/2 cup organic vegan white sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 

I’ve been drinking it in my coffee at work and making pumpkin Italian soda concoctions with the syrup. It is glorious.

Last night it was time to get serious.

Last night I made the best fall cocktail ever.

 

The sum of all parts: Part Three

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Cocktail with Maple Oatmeal-Infused Rum

1 shot Maple Oatmeal-Infused Rum

2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Simple Syrup

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I tried both unsweetened Almond Milk and Coconut Milk with pleasant results.)

Mix together over ice and stir. Stick a straw in and inhale.

 

Oh geez, this is so good. It’s breakfast in a cocktail!

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Enjoy!