A Whale of a Time

Seattle is all of the wonderful things I love about Portland and reminds me of all the fun things I enjoyed in San Francisco.

I had chosen to visit The Whale Wins based on a picture that popped up in my Instagram feed (@thisvalleyblog) a handful of months ago. Naturally, I looked up the restaurant (and its sister restaurants) and obsessed over their menu*.

When I learned of the cookbook Renee Erickson had written, I immediately pre-ordered it.


I got to relive all the dishes I gushed over at The Whale Wins and The Walrus and The Carpenter.


Here are a few pictures of the most amazing meal I’ve ever had. Enjoy.

2014-08-26 20.14.002014-08-26 19.41.052014-08-26 19.37.312014-08-26 19.17.372014-08-26 19.07.192014-08-26 19.02.582014-08-26 18.56.12Things that make The Whale Wins my most favorite restaurant to date:

  • the food (the most amazing marrow bones and the goat cheese plate that stole my heart)
  • the perfect date night ambiance (look at that kitchen, the lighting, and the patio)
  • the wonderful staff (that was so very accommodating)

If you ever get the chance to visit Seattle, go to The Whale Wins. I promise you will have the best dining experience.

*I will fight someone over marrow bones and tartare makes my heart skip a beat.


Baked potatoes and bubbles

You know you’re in for a good night when you leave the grocery store with a potato and a bottle of cava.

Monday was the first day of my externship and it definitely called for celebration. So I did what any starving student looking to celebrate would do- buy cheap booze and even cheaper food.

Happy first day of externship! Only six more weeks to go…


I’d been hanging on to these for a while.

So last Thursday we got a little fancied up and headed over to the Ecotrust building (which is gorgeous).

Jacket: H&M/ Shirt,Shoes: Gap/Jeans: Old Navy/Necklace: Crafty Wonderland/Purse: Fossil

Shirt, Pants: Gap/ Shoes: Steve Madden via DSW

This was the most Portlandia thing that Adam and I have done since we moved here.

It’s called Blind-Tasting Bingo. And, yes, you taste blindly. Fifteen courses of regional Mexican food cooked by the chef at Xico, Kelly Meyers. Fifteen courses of food eaten blindly and without utensils.


Bull Run Distillery was on hand serving up delicious cocktails. That made us happy.

Obviously didn’t take pictures of the food because I couldn’t see and because about half of it ended up on my face or my lap.

If you can score any tickets for Blind-Tasting Bingo, I’d highly recommend it. It was confusing and fun and such a neat experience.

Fig Newmans



Tonight we were going to go to Ox. I’ve had a gift certificate for a couple of months now and tonight was the perfect night to use it. We got there at 5:30 and there was a 90 minute wait. It seemed a bit much so we left. That really put a damper on my date night excitement.

Where did we go to hang our heads in bummed outedness? New Seasons on SE Division! After I bought some veg to juice and Fig Newmans to shove in my face dejectedly, we decided to get back to the West Side and go to Laughing Planet for a bean bowl (let’s face it, all their menu options are bowls/burritos chock full of fiber).

laughing planet southwest bowl

Moral of the story? Get to Ox at 5 sharp and also my Nokia Lumina 920 takes awesome pictures in the dark without a flash.

Happy date night, yo!


Just when I thought I had shaken this cold, round two came from out of nowhere to kick my ass. It completely disrupted my plans for today. Nothing is pleasant when your face is completely stuffed up and you feel like you’re on fire. Nothing, that is, except maybe soup. And the only thing better than that? Hot pot.

Why would you take a decongestant when you can sit next to a boiling pot of broth?! I know…how was that even a question. We had walked by Hot Pot City for months before we tried it. Now it’s a constant craving. It doesn’t get any better than sitting at a table with your own personal pot of broth and a bar full of fresh meats, veg, noodles, and seafood for you to choose from.

You know things are heating up at Hot Pot City when you walk in ten minutes after they open for dinner service and the windows are already steamy.


We can easily sit at the bar for an hour and slurp away at our soup. Each trip we make to get ingredients for our soup gets more and more outrageous. We pile our plates high with lamb, noodles, spinach, tofu, and fish balls.


How is it even possible to leave without having to be hoisted or rolled out?! I don’t even know but after an hour I was defeated and my nose was probably running down my face.

Hot Pot City.

Go. You can thank me later.

Hoppy Holidays!

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by drinking beer?

It’s not just any beer, but specially made winter ales with high alcohol percentages to warm your insides on cold winter nights. For just $30 a ticket we got 10 beer tickets and, a mug, and free re-entry for all 5 days of the fest. Last Thursday, Adam and I braved the elements and headed down to the Holiday Ale Fest at Pioneer Courthouse Square.


Celebrate Beer


We are celebrating beer


Clear tent

It was awesome! The whole square was covered in white tents so everyone could stay warm and dry and enjoy their beer. We walked around a bit and explored, mapping out where the beer we wanted to try was and what we would save for another night. After three tasters each we called it a night and planned on going back for round two on Saturday.

Going back on Saturday night was one of the worst decisions of our lives. I had only taken a few steps into the tent when I nearly got knocked over. Then I took a few more steps and almost got knocked over again. We decided that tasting probably wasn’t going to happen since there were about 200 more people there and the lines looked like mosh pits.


mosh pit lines




We stood in line for an hour and only got one beer so we dejectedly left the tent.

one beer


one beer


Instead of sticking around and being grumpy, we headed for a place we knew we could get beer in peace.



Bailey’s Taproom, as always, was at capacity and it was only 7pm (yes, we go out that early). We had a quick beer and we had to leave; Bailey’s doesn’t do food. So we headed over to a cute little place that just opened- Portland Penny Diner. I’d been eyeing it on my way to get my hair done since it opened. They lured me in with their good prices and yummy sounding sandwiches. When Adam and I went to order, the cashier said they were running a special- fried chicken oysters. If you know anything about me, you know I will literally fight someone for chicken oysters. So with that being said…

Portland Penny Diner


And we were home in bed by 9:30. That is my kind of night.


Hugs, Hops, and Happiness!!

Road trip! Day One..

Yesterday Adam and Sierra came to visit!!!

We are staying in the Gaslamp District of San Diego at a hotel chain that we absolutely love. It’s Sierra’s first hotel stay and I was a little scared she wouldn’t like elevators or being in a hotel room. But she actually enjoys elevator rides and the big comfy bed.

After we got settled, we walked Sierra around the block. A lady with a dog told us about The Park at Petco Park. As it turns out, it’s only a block and a half away from the hotel so we took a nice little walk through the park and Sierra loved it.

We went to a fun little gastropub last night that we’ve already decided to frequent while we’re in town. Partially because of the shuffleboard and partially because their mac n cheese is to die for delicious.

Stay tuned for day two…