Phở Oregon might have just made all of my meat soup dreams come true.
As far as phở in Portland goes, I’ve got plenty of favorites. I’m a fan of Luc Lac because it’s some of the first phở I had here in Portland and that makes it comforting and familiar, because I think it’s delicious, and because their hours are incredibly accommodating to someone who works a bar schedule and sometimes needs to eat dinner at 2AM.
I’ve also tried and loved Phở Dalat, Fish Sauce, as well as a handful of other beef noodle soup places all over the city. Phở Oregon is a strong contender for that current top spot because it’s just nearly perfect in all of its simplicity. The broth is perfect, more savory than sweet and the addition of their house chili/garlic spice paste adds exactly the perfect kick of umami. And, the meat is so tender that it just falls apart between your chopsticks (my meat favorites are brisket, round steak, and sometimes meatballs).
The search for the best will never be over, but this new addition to my Phở favorites has made me a very, very happy eater.
I’ll admit it. Getting back into the habit (can we really call it that yet?) of writing and publishing on a regular basis is challenging. I’m not sure what I want to hold myself to, and [#realtalk] I’m still fighting my way through a bit of Imposter Syndrome. With the intention of creating a habit, I’m going to start with an attempt at a weekly series recapping and sharing people, places, and things that I’m currently excited about. We’ll jump right into it with my current favorite kitchen tool, vodka, and food delivery service.
You know those simple things that make a huge different in your every day life? This is one of those things. I’ll do my best to refrain from going completely brand ambassador on this, but I can’t express strongly enough just how much I love this little noodle-maker. It is incredibly easy to use, easy to clean, and has made cooking and eating vegetables so much more fun and interesting. I don’t have a problem liking veggies — I love them — but this has opened up so many new ways to prepare produce that I want to try everything a million ways.
So far, I’ve made a cucumber salad with Caesar dressing, curried sweet potatoes with chicken, zucchini “noodles” tossed in Alfredo sauce, and fried shoestringy potatoes. Next up: parsnips, beets, and peppers. No vegetable is safe from a spiralized future! (Ok, that’s not entirely true. I’m not going to try to spiral a tomato. Or am I?)
DSPCA-126 is a vodka distilled from grain and grapes, and it drinks almost as if Grappa and Vodka got drunk on Grappa and Vodka, hooked up, and begat a tiny little 80-proof baby.
It retails in Oregon for about $40 (I think; it’s still new to Oregon and I have not yet confirmed the price). Find it if you can.
*I know, I know. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta sample all those spirits. #ivolunteerastribute
ACME Farms + Kitchen Locavore Boxes
ACME Farms + Kitchen is a Bellingham, WA-based local food delivery service that just announced its expansion to Portland. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of the launch week, and have spent this last week checking out their Locavore Box.
The timing couldn’t have been better as I’ve been considering something exactly along these lines for my monthly (or bi-monthly) fruit, vegetable, and grocery needs. I’ve looked into CSAs, have used organic produce delivery services in the past, and have bookmarked some meal prep/delivery options to consider as well. But, when this literally just fell into my lap (or, inbox), I jumped on the chance to try it.
I love this one for a few reasons:
It’s all local(ish) and organic products. That doesn’t need much more explanation than that, but I will add that I love local not just because it supports local businesses, but it supports the notion that eating seasonally is healthier and more responsible all around. And I’m into that.
The box doesn’t only include produce! Where CSAs can be largely produce-focused and other options are only or mostly meat or seafood (godblessum), ACME Farms + Kitchen includes an awesome mix of more than those two things. On top of produce like apples, squash, onions, leeks, garlic, potatoes, kale, greens, and parsnips, my box included a pound of ground beef from Deck Family Farm (OR), a Coho salmon filet from Yakobi Fisheries (AK), a box of fresh rotini pasta from Portland’s own Pasta del Sol, corn tortillas, a fresh baguette, farm fresh eggs, Willamette Valley Cheese Pepper Jack, and a tasty seasoning mix from Thyme + Season that, when squished into that ground beef, made for some really great meatballs (and then when added to a creamy, brothy pasta pot, made for a really great stew*).
Recipes are included! In a sense, this is CSA-meets-Blue-Apron or Plated or any one of those other meal prep/delivery services that are popping up. I love this because I’ve got enough options to create my own meal plan based on my own cravings and creativity, as well as being supplemented by some great suggestions and recipes for new things. For instance, I’ve never bought (or to my knowledge, tasted) kabocha squash, and ACME included a simple recipe for Kabocha Squash + Apple soup that will help introduce me to a new vegetable without having to dig up recipes or rely on my own experimentation.
The boxes are available in both small and large, and there are meat, veggie, and Paleo options. Small boxes are $75 and are recommended for a week or so for 1-2 people. Large boxes are $95 and are suggested for 3-4 people, or families with small children. I cook at home for myself; sometimes this is just for me, sometimes this includes my roommate, boyfriend, or a handful of friends.
The large box was plenty of food for me (and I’ve included my boyfriend in a couple of meals as well), and it’s lasted me nearly a week, PLUS I still have enough food left for at least a couple more meals. I’ll post more on the meals crafted with these (especially on Instagram), but if and when I purchase this for myself in the future (and I’m sure I will), I’ll opt for the small box ($75), counting on that to last me about a week to a week and a half. I’d like to give this the chance to replace my primary grocery shopping, supplementing with pantry items and spices, and at $75-150/month, that’d be a cost-effective swap.
If you decide you’d like to try, I’ve got a promo code for your first box! Use PDXFRIEND at checkout to save 15% on whichever box you choose.