Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Big Egg | NE Portland

An adorable breakfast spot on NE Alberta that doesn't have a wait for breakfast? I'm in.

The Big Egg, NE Portland | A Hoppy Medium

The Big Egg is a super cute spot amidst busy NE Alberta, serving up an ever-changing variety of breakfast sandwiches - with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options to boot.

Z and I stopped in last weekend before meeting a friend at Great Notion Brewing right down the road, and we were glad we did.

To start off our meal, the cashier informed me that this chocolate cold brew creation exists. Life. Changed. (I even confessed on Instagram that this is one of my new obsessions).

The Big Egg, NE Portland | A Hoppy Medium

At The Big Egg, you order at the counter and then endure a short wait for your food (ours was about 15 minutes, but it seemed like that was only because it was a Saturday/busy). I ordered the Breakfast Wrap, which was filled with scrambled eggs, organic crimini mushrooms, organic green onions, house-made fire-roasted poblano sauce, organic yogurt-lime sauce, and white cheddar (although you could also get it with gorgonzola instead). I could have also added my choice of Olympia Provisions pork breakfast sausage, applewood smoked bacon, or Field Roast apple-sage vegetarian sausage for an additional charge, but opted not to.

The Big Egg, NE Portland | A Hoppy Medium

The Breakfast Wrap was delicious and incredibly flavorful - the yogurt-lime sauce really made it for me, and I loved the buttery, grilled wrap. 

Z had ordered The PDX Sandwich with over medium egg, local stone ground mustard, fresh organic chives, white cheddar, and Field Roast sausage (he added to it) on grilled brioche. While the flavor was fantastic, he was disappointed in how small the sandwich was. He was hungry not too long after we left, and he typically gets fuller faster than I do!

Overall, we really enjoyed our casual breakfast at The Big Egg, and we will be back. We'll just plan to order a little more food next time.

Oh, and you can't beat a short walk after breakfast to sip on Great Notion beers in the sunshine, am I right?

Great Notion Brewing | A Hoppy Medium

It was a great [late] Saturday morning indeed!

Have you checked out any new-to-you breakfast spots lately? 

The Big Egg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Garlic-Ginger Tofu with Mushrooms and Scallions

It's hot outside. None of us want to turn our stoves on, or exert much energy for making dinner besides maybe some chopping and stirring. Maybe.

I get it. But, if you're like me - meaning, without a grill - you sometimes get the urge to whip something up in the kitchen, no matter how high you have to blast the A/C. Am I right? However, that dish you're whipping up needs to be worth every drop of sweat. And that's where this recipe comes in.

Garlic-Ginger Tofu with Mushrooms & Scallions | A Hoppy Medium

Here, tofu is baked to crispy perfection (like the tofu in this recipe was), and then immediately marinated in an Asian-inspired dressing complete with soy sauce and plenty of fresh garlic and ginger. It's then tossed with 'shrooms, scallions, and more soy sauce, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger (and a drizzle or two of Sriracha, because...why not?).

The end result is a healthy, savory, incredibly flavorful dish that - despite having to turn your oven on for - doesn't take long to whip up. Take that, sweltering summer heat.

Garlic-Ginger Tofu with Mushrooms & Scallions | A Hoppy Medium

Garlic-Ginger Tofu with Mushrooms & Scallions
Yields: 4 servings

Tofu Marinade:
-1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
-Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
-Salt and black pepper

Everything Else:
-16-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
-8-ounces mixed mushrooms, chopped (or your favorite kind of 'shroom!)
-3 scallions, thinly sliced
-1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
-1 teaspoon rice vinegar
-Drizzle of Sriracha (optional)
-Salt and black pepper, to taste

1.) Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread the tofu on a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until crispy on the outside and slightly browned, turning tofu at least once so it browns on all sides.
2.) While tofu is baking, whisk together soy sauce, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, garlic, ginger, salt, and black pepper. As soon as tofu is done cooking, transfer it to a bowl and pour over marinade. Toss to coat, and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
3.) While tofu marinades, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add mushrooms and scallions, and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to brown.
4.) Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha; season with salt and black pepper. Let cook until soy sauce and vinegar have reduced slightly. Add marinated tofu to the pan and toss to coat.
5.) Serve over rice, garnished with scallions and raw cashews. (Cashews are optional but highly recommended!).

Garlic-Ginger Tofu with Mushrooms & Scallions | A Hoppy Medium

That fried tofu, though. So crispy, and so willing to soak up every last bit of flavor. 

Trust me: It's worth turning your oven on for this.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Beer Friday: Passion Fruit Kicker by Green Flash

On most Fridays, I'll share a beer I particularly enjoy, and think you might as well. This series will feature beers from all over the U.S. (and when we're lucky, the world). Cheers! 

Passion Fruit Kicker by Green Flash | A Hoppy Medium

I'm usually not a fruit-flavored beer person. In order for me to like a "fruity beer," it usually has to be sour, or a super juicy IPA with just a hint of fruit. But a wheat ale brewed with fruit, or fruit juice? That really has to be good in order for me to like it.

And this here beer is one such wheat ale that my palate enjoyed. And, quite, frankly, it just might be what I sip on as the hot weather rolls in for good here in Portland (but it's also available just about everywhere - read on!).

What: Passion Fruit Kicker by Green Flash

Style: Wheat Ale

ABV: 5.

Tasting Notes: Passion fruit juice meets a subtle hint of iced tea, while the evident malts and barely helped to balance out the fruit's sweetness. At 5.5% ABV + a light, crisp, refreshing mouthfeel, this was also dangerously easy to sip on in the sun.

Pairing Suggestion: This beer packs a passion fruit punch, so I'd pair it with more "basic" food - such as happy hour snacks (pretzels, popcorn, French fries, as we did). If you're looking for a more hearty meal to pair alongside this, I'd stick with a big ol' green salad, or a simple halibut dish. (Really, any dish that isn't wildly spicy or has a lot of competing flavors, as this beer has a lot of flavor all on its own).

Where Can I Find It? Green Flash's Passion Fruit Kicker is widely available. Check out this map to see where you can try it near you!

Are you a fruit-flavored beer person?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chickpea, Vegetable, and Feta Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Chickpea, Vegetable, & Feta Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing | A Hoppy Medium

Don't get me wrong: I love the usual pasta salads and potato salads that make an appearance at almost every summer barbecue. But sometimes, I'd like to not binge on carbs all day (keyword: sometimes). And if I'm the one responsible for said "side dish," in the middle of the summer heat wave, I sure as heck don't want to cook anything either.

That, my friends, is where this side dish comes in.

No cooking required. No heavy carbs. Mostly just nutritious ingredients covered in tangy feta, lemon juice, and nutty tahini.

Let's eat.

Chickpea, Vegetable, and Feta Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing | A Hoppy Medium

Chickpea, Vegetable, & Feta Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
Yields: 6 servings

-1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
-3 scallions, chopped (white AND green parts!)
-1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
-1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
-Salt and black pepper, to taste

-2 tablespoons tahini
-Juice of 1 lemon
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-Salt and black pepper, to taste

1.) In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, vegetables, parsley, and feta cheese. Season lightly with salt and black pepper; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2.) After 30 minutes is up, whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. (Texture of "dressing" will be thick; this helps prevent any leftovers from getting runny and soggy). Carefully stir dressing into salad until well-coated. Serve, and enjoy!

Chickpea, Vegetable, & Feta Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing | A Hoppy Medium

Summer in a bowl. With lots of feta for good measure. 

Your next barbecue needs this.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Beer Friday: Dialed-In by Trillium Brewing

On most Fridays, I'll share a beer I particularly enjoy, and think you might as well. This series will feature beers from all over the U.S. (and when we're lucky, the world). Cheers! 

Dialed-In by Trillium Brewing | A Hoppy Medium

Ah, Trillium. Besides my family and friends out on the East Coast, I miss Trillium the most (although, Tree House is up there, too). Trillium - which just opened a second location in Canton, Massachusetts (complete with a tasting room!) - has their OG location right in Boston's Seaport (next to Row 34, if you're familiar with the area). The Seaport spot is for growler fills and bottle purchases only, but if you want some of their super fresh beers on tap, Row 34 typically has you covered. And when we were in town recently for a wedding, Row 34 is where I got to have this stellar beer on tap.

Here's why you'll want to be sipping on this beer all summer long.

What: Dialed-In by Trillium Brewing

Style: Double IPA


Tasting Notes: So juicy. So hazy. So refreshing. Sauvignon Blanc juice is added mid-fermentation, giving this beer a crisp, lighter body that's perfect for summer imbibing. Galaxy hops are also in the mix, giving each sip a fresh, juicy mango flavor that makes you eager for every sip. 

Pairing Suggestion: I had this with a lobster roll at Row 34, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Where Can I Find It? Trillium's two locations! Or, if you're lucky, it will be on tap again at Row 34. ;)

What beers do you love sipping on during the summer?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Garlic Naan Pizzas with Goat Cheese, Sausage, and Onion

I actually am trying to be more fit these days.

To help balance out all those beer calories, I've been eating healthier (during the week, at least) and hopping on the treadmill at least four times a week. And it's working. However, I still crave some freakin' pizza Monday through Friday. I'm only human!

That's where these healthier, super-easy-to-make, weekday delights come in.

Vegetarian Garlic Naan Pizzas with goat cheese, sausage, & onion | A Hoppy Medium

These Garlic Naan pizzas are the perfect thing to whip up when you have leftover naan (like I did); or, if you just want to buy a brand new package and make a quick, healthier version of your favorite pizza.

Vegetarian Garlic Naan Pizzas with goat cheese, sausage, & onion | A Hoppy Medium

I used toppings that were already in my fridge, but feel free to change up the toppings to your preferences. 

Here's what it took to make three of these little guys:

Garlic Naan Pizzas with Goat Cheese, Sausage, & Onion
Yields: 3 servings (with a large side salad)
-3 pieces of garlic naan
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 cup pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)
-Toppings: goat cheese; 1 link Field Roast Italian Sausage, sliced; thinly sliced red onion

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place naan on an ungreased, non-stick baking sheet. Brush each piece of naan with olive oil, and evenly sprinkle on minced garlic. Spoon pizza sauce evenly over each piece; top with your desired toppings (or, toppings mentioned above).
2.) Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until naan is crisp and goat cheese is softened/starting to brown.

Vegetarian Garlic Naan Pizzas with goat cheese, sausage, & onion | A Hoppy Medium

I easy is that? Leftover naan no longer stands a chance.

What's your biggest, guilty pleasure craving? Besides pizza, I'm always craving nachos. Always.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Breweries to Visit in Bend, Oregon (+ Where to Sleep Them Off)

It seems like our trip to Bend was about...six months ago now. But hey, better late than never to give you guys the inside scoop on where to drink there, right? 

I hope you're thirsty.

Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Crux was right up the street from our B&B (more on that below), so it was an easy (albeit rainy) walk to and from the brewery. We parked at the busy bar and sipped on some incredibly fresh brews while we debated on what appetizer to order. (We had heard great things about Crux's food menu). We finally settled on the Savory Kale Brownie - an odd yet tasty snack where kale and smoked Havarti are baked together into a "brownie" and topped with Sriracha whipped cream and chimichurri. 

Boneyard was also a short walk from our B&B, and it was a must-visit on my list. The tasting room itself is in a garage-type setting, with industrial walls covered in Boneyard and metal paraphernalia. You can't get full pours here, but you can get taster-size portions of any of their current draft beers. (Tip; get the Notorious Triple IPA).

Silver Moon Brewing in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Oh, man. What a hidden gem Silver Moon is! We decided to check this spot out after dinner downtown on Saturday evening, and I am so glad we did. We walked in on a busy, energized crowd dancing and drinking to a local punk-rock band who was playing right in the dining room. The space is huge, so we opted to head to the other side of the bar to take in the crowd and [try to] hear each other speak. The best part? Silver Moon's beer is actually really good. We had a blast sipping on their great beer, people-watching, and listening to the live music.

If the weather had only been a little less rainy (and cold), we would have totally partaken in GoodLife's awesome outdoor beer garden - complete with an outdoor bar and corn hole. But alas, we stayed warm inside their indoor bierhall, where we sipped their made-on-site brews at a communal table. (GoodLife also offers food, cocktails, on-tap local kombucha, ciders, and guest beer taps). 

10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

10 Barrel makes some tasty beers, so I was excited to check out their Bend location. We rolled in here borderline hangry (and thirsty), so we sipped on Apocalypse IPAs and gorged on the Hippy Pie, topped with shredded mozzarella, baby spinach, marinated artichokes, mushrooms, red onion, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives. 10 Barrel's Bend location was definitely a fun place to hang out, and right up the street - a few short, walkable blocks - was Sunriver Brewing. Sunriver was about to close when we popped in, but they were kind enough to let us have a pint (or two) anyway. Definitely worth checking out!

And, once you've hit all of those breweries, you'll need a nearby place to stay. The Mill Inn - a short walk from Crux and Boneyard, and an easy, barely-10-minute cab ride to downtown - is an adorable option.

The Mill Inn in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Breakfast is included every morning, and each room is themed to a specific city (we had the San Francisco room).

The Mill Inn in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

The Mill Inn in Bend, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Our only gripe with The Mill Inn is that the walls are paper thin. As in, I could easily hear the woman next door to us whisper - as if she was in the same room. Besides that, though, we loved The Mill Inn's proximity to everything - and the homemade breakfast was pretty fantastic.

Have you done any traveling lately? Or, any trips on the docket for this summer? We're eager to get to Seattle for a weekend soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Life Lately

Spielman Bagels, NW Portland | A Hoppy Medium

Oceanside, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Oceanside, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Oceanside, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Loyal Nine, Cambridge, Mass. | A Hoppy Medium

A Hoppy Medium

We kicked off Memorial Day weekend with breakfast at Spielman Bagels on NW Lovejoy, followed by a few luxurious days in Oceanside, Oregon with dear friends from Boston. Beers and "Oh No Mimosas" (orange juice, Grenadine, vodka, bubbly) on the beach (and sun!!) had is in the summer mood.

From there, a trip to Boston for work and play commenced. I worked one morning from Loyal Nine's cafe, where an egg, cheddar, and mushroom breakfast sandwich (served on a thick, buttery biscuit) and a large cold brew got me through a busy morning.

The grand finale - and main reason for our trip back east - was to see my dear friend (for over 20 years!!) get married to her long-time love, right in their own backyard. It was an incredible day - and it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks. (Not to mention I may need bigger pants soon....).

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Pickled Red Grapes

Your next cheese plate needs these.

Pickled Red Grapes | A Hoppy Medium

Plump, juicy red grapes are quick-pickled with a savory and sweet mix of flavors to give you (and your next wheel of Brie...or cheddar...or Parmesan) one addictive condiment.

Pickled Red Grapes | A Hoppy Medium

And the best part? The grapes actually stay firm - they don't mush up, despite going through the pickling process. Score!

Pickled Red Grapes
Yields: About 1 quart
Recipe from
-1 pound red grapes
-1 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup water
-1 cup granulated white sugar
-1 cinnamon stick
-1/2 vanilla bean
-1/4 teaspoon cloves
-1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
-1/8 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

1.) Wash grapes and remove from stem. Slice stem end off of the grapes and set aside. (This helps the vinegar, etc. penetrate the grapes - do NOT skip this step!).
2.) In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, and sugar. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
3.) Place spices into the bottom of a quart jar. Carefully pour trimmed grapes into the jar on top of the spices.
4.) Pour hot vinegar into jar over grapes. Let grapes sit until cool. Place a lid on the jar and refrigerate. (Let pickled grapes rest in the fridge for at least 24-48 hours before serving).

Pickled Red Grapes | A Hoppy Medium

Super easy to make, and this recipe will give you enough pickled grapes for all of your summer cheese plates (and/or salads!).

Pro tip: Visit the bulk section of your local grocery store for the spices in this recipe. Since it requires such small amounts of each, you'll save so. much. money.

Have you ever had pickled grapes before?