Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

It's too hot to cook, and - despite what all my Facebook friends say - it's still summer...and I'm lazy these days. Which is why this blog has been seriously lacking in recipes lately. (Come the REAL fall, I'll start cooking again. I promise).

Anyway, my laziness has led me to whip up all of the no-cooking-required recipes I can (which equates to about one per week these days). And when I was looking for a way to use up leftover chickpeas recently, these hot weather-friendly sandwiches were born.

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches | A Hoppy Medium

This recipe is completely customizable, depending on what you like in your sandwiches. And if you have a 15-ounce can of chickpeas lying around, you can still use that with the ingredients below (it won't make much of a difference in terms of flavor/texture). But whatever you do...just make these. I promise you'll like them.

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Serves: 2
-1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-2 tablespoons Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise (or whatever mayonnaise you prefer)
-1 tablespoon diced dill pickles
-Salt and black pepper
-4 slices good bread (I used Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed)
-2 slices Havarti cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
-1/2 avocado, sliced
-Tomato slices
-Dijon mustard

1.) In a food processor, pulse chickpeas until slightly mashed, but not pureed (you want some texture; not hummus). You can also mash the chickpeas with a fork, if you don't have a food processor. 
2.) Transfer chickpeas to a small bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise and dill pickles; season with salt and black pepper. 
3.) Toast the bread lightly, with a slice of cheese on two of the slices of bread, to let it melt. Lightly smash 1/4 of the avocado evenly on two slices of bread. Scoop the chickpea mixture evenly over the avocado (you may have some leftover, depending on how full you want your sandwiches). Layer as you wish with additional ingredients (I added tomato, arugula, and a drizzle of Dijon).

Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches | A Hoppy Medium

This really is a great alternative to tuna, or even egg salad (although, I do love a good egg salad). This here is protein-packed and not drenched in mayonnaise, so you can feel full without any of the guilt. 

Now...make a batch of these, get outside, and go enjoy the rest of your summer! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beers, Eats, and Views - The Seattle Edition

Seattle. Is. Awesome.

Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

You've already heard a little about our trip to Washington (here and here), but these are the remaining noteworthy stops we visited during our weekend getaway.

Columbia Center - Sky View Observatory

That photo above? That was just one of 10,000 pictures I took at the top of Columbia Center. My cousin told me about it, and I am so glad she did. No lines + affordable entry price + the tallest building in Washington = better experience and better views than the Space Needle. Winning!

The Hangar Cafe

The Hangar Cafe, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Mimosa at The Hangar Cafe, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The Hangar Cafe is a small, no-frills spot in the Georgetown area of Seattle, and we lucked out with zero wait time. (An apparent rarity here!). The abundance of sandwiches as well as savory and sweet crepes and waffles on the menu was enticing, and they have several different kinds of mimosas. Oh, and plenty of vegetarian options/substitutions to boot. I went with the Hangar Crepe ($10.75), filled with egg, Swiss, cheddar, slivered red onion, Roma tomatoes, baby spinach, and Field Roast Chipotle Sausage in place of Black Forest ham. The crepe was also drizzled with housemade poblano-basil vinaigrette and creme fraiche. 

On the side: a mason jar glass of the OG mimosa (OJ + champagne).

Pike Place Market

I mean...duh.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Pike Place Market was high on my list - mainly for the "full Seattle tourist experience" - and it was definitely worth the walk-through.

Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The farm stands and people-watching were fantastic (as expected), but it was also fun to check out the Pike Brewery for a quick pint

Fremont Brewing

Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Fremont Brewing was high on our must-visit brewery list, and it did not disappoint. Their bustling Urban Beer Garden had great views of the water + boats + sunset across the street - I could have sat out there all night. 

 Fremont Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

At the time of our visit, Fremont also had their Ales for ALS IPA on tap, which was a delicious, borderline juicy IPA (my favorite!). Great beer for a great cause = win-win.

Holy Mountain Brewing Co.

Holy Mountain Brewing Co., Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Holy Mountain was also fun to check out, despite the lack of air conditioning in their not-so-breezy taproom. (Heads up: Few places we visited actually had A/C, so plan accordingly if you visit Seattle during the hot summer months!). I really enjoyed the Somnium saison - wonderfully thirst-quenching on such a hot day.

Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub

Pan-Seared Tofu Sandwich at Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Elliott Bay has a few locations in and around Seattle, but we stopped into the West Seattle location before heading back to Portland. The beer, in all honesty, isn't anything too special - and the space inside is dark, loud, and overall unimpressive - but I'd go back here 500 times for the sandwich above alone. This here is the Pan-Seared Tofu Sandwich ($10.50), piled HIGH with chile garlic-marinated tofu (cooked to perfection), tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, sliced avocado, and cilantro-garlic sauce, all sandwiched between a fantastic, toasted seed bread. Served on the side were addictive fries and housemade pickles.

For being a no-frills spot, I was really impressed with this sandwich and the thought that went into all of the food overall.

The Fremont Troll, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium
Who's seen "10 Things I Hate About You"?

Other notable breweries/beer bars to visit in Seattle: Reuben's Brews, Cloudburst Brewing, Outlander Brewery & Pub (for weirder beer flavors - like Lavender!), and Toronado.

Have you done any traveling this summer? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Georgetown Liquor Company | Seattle, WA

A full vegetarian menu in a [sunny] dive bar with plenty of old school video games. Did we find heaven?

Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Liquor Company is situated just a short drive outside of downtown Seattle in the cute - yet no-frills - section of the city called...you guessed it...Georgetown. Our friends who we were staying with highly recommended this spot, and we were so glad they did.

Beers on tap are mostly local, and a Crikey IPA by Reuben's Brews did not disappoint.

Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The indulgent-sounding, all-vegetarian menu (that could be all-vegan, too, if you ask for no dairy, etc.) made it hard to choose what to order for lunch. (Their motto is "strong enough for a carnivore, made for an herbivore." I love that!). I ended up going with a solid choice: the Captain Nemo sandwich ($10.45) - a toasted whole wheat hoagie piled high with housemade vegan chickpea salad, provolone cheese, Romaine lettuce, and tomato. 

Captain Nemo Sandwich at Georgetown Liquor Company, Seattle | A Hoppy Medium

Served with a pickle spear and my choice of side (salad, soup, or tortilla chips and salsa - I went with the chips), this was one filling lunch. We were amazed at how such incredible food can be pushed out of a tiny kitchen. Clearly, the chefs here know what they're doing. We almost came back that night for dinner, but decided we should explore some more of downtown Seattle instead.

After lunch (and some Mario Kart on Super Nintendo), we made the short walk over to Georgetown Brewing.

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Georgetown Brewing, Seattle, WA | A Hoppy Medium

We were hoping they'd have their Gusto Crema Coffee Ale that we tried at the Oregon Brewers Festival (it legit tasted like iced coffee), but they didn't have it at the brewery that day. The beers were still decent, though, and it was fun to check out the source! (FYI: they only serve samples of their beer on-site here - for free - but have plenty of growlers, etc. to-go).

Overall, we had a fantastic time exploring Georgetown, and I'm still dreaming about that chickpea salad sandwich.......

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Three Magnets Brewing Co. | Olympia, Washington

Last weekend, Z and I hopped in the car and headed to Seattle.

Seattle's almost a three-hour drive from Portland, so we made a much-needed pit stop along the way at Three Magnets Brewing in Olympia, Washington.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

We've tried several of Three Magnets' beers since we moved to Portland, and we've been big fans of every one of them - so we were excited to finally check out the source.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

Three Magnets is setup where you can seat yourself, outside on their medium-sized patio (overlooking apartment building construction - normal stuff in these parts), or inside their bar/lounge area. We opted to stand at the small bar (that had a few stools), as we just drove over an hour and wanted to stretch our legs. The service behind the bar was odd at first - no one could understand why we opted to stand vs. sit, and we waited a solid 10 minutes before anyone even asked us what we wanted to order. Thankfully - and strangely - the service got much better as the night went on (and after we got hungry/a table), but the first impression was not ideal.

Regardless: the beer here is good, and the food was also quite tasty.

For beer, I loved the Little Juice IPA as well as the New Mex Lager - something I would typically never order, but it was delightfully refreshing on a hot night (and paired well with guacamole).

Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

For an appetizer, we got the Nopales and Guacamole ($9), which included lime, cilantro, pickled red onion, tomatillo, queso fresco, and tortilla chips. 

Nopales & Guacamole at Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

This was some good guac, and all of the toppings worked nicely. The chips were also delightfully sturdy and salty - making them able to stand up to the thick guac and accompaniments.

For my entree, I went with the Grilled Sockeye Salmon Veracruz ($14), which consisted of grape tomatoes, Castelvetrano olives, caperberries, cilantro, lime, aji amarillo crema, and grilled flour tortilla.

Grilled Sockeye Salmon at Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, WA | A Hoppy Medium

The salmon was cooked a fantastic medium-rare, and the accompanying crema and vegetables made this dish really fantastic. The grilled tortilla, however, I found to be an odd choice as a "side." I would have preferred something a little lighter - like rice - to help soak up the sauce.

Overall, we really enjoyed checking out Three Magnets, and the location is a prime pit-stop between Portland and Seattle.

More on our Seattle adventures coming soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Current Obsessions III

Since I haven't written one of these posts since April...I think it's high time I share with you what I'm currently obsessed with!


Pickled Red Grapes | A Hoppy Medium

Pickling always intimidated me - until I tried "quick-pickling" earlier this year. Now, I'm obsessed. So far, I've pickled carrots, jalapenos, asparagus, radishes, grapes, and just recently pickled red cabbage - which I've been putting on wraps, veggie burgers, tacos, salads, falafel bowls...you name it. Quick-pickling is super easy, doesn't require many ingredients (depending on how many things you're pickling, of course), and the results are so darn tasty.

My New Hat

All summer [so far], I have been telling Z I want one of those fancy hats for the beach/life in general. Mainly to keep the sun from burning my face off, but also because I just think they look cool. Well, last week - for our third wedding anniversary - Z surprised me with the hat above. And I'm in love. I wore it all over Seattle this past weekend (more on that later). (And I call this my "vacation hair." Don't judge).

"The Night Of"

WHO IS WATCHING THIS? This show is amazing. It's a limited series on HBO, and it has Z and I glued to the TV every Sunday night. There are only two episodes left, and so many twists are taking place. Plus, the acting is fantastic. Seriously, who out there is watching it too and wants to talk about it for 5 hours?

Bagels & Lox

Bagel & Lox, Spielman Bagels, Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium
Bagel & Lox from Spielman Bagels in NW Portland.

I've always loved a good bagel, but it wasn't until recently that I discovered the magic that bagels with lox holds. I only occasionally eat fish, and really only when I know it's local and/or super fresh, so lox has always scared me a little bit. However, once I gave it a chance, I was hooked. Slightly smokey lox, a crusty bagel, creamy cheese, sharp red onion, salty capers?? I'm sold.


Anyone who's known me for longer than 2 years knows that "running" has never been in my vocabulary. However, after turning 30 two years ago - and having this whole beer hobby thing - I realized my once bean pole figure is long gone. Running has definitely helped in that department, but running also clears my head, and - with a good playlist - is actually way more fun than I ever thought it would be.

What are you currently obsessed with?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mother's Bistro | SW Portland

Happiness is...putting your name down for an hour wait for brunch, only to immediately turn around and see two first-come, first-served bar seats open up. BRUNCH WIN.

That's how lucky we got at Mother's Bistro a few Saturdays ago. (Yes, I'm way behind in blog posts).

Mother's Bistro is an adorable restaurant in downtown Portland - the chic decor includes black and gold wallpaper and charming chandeliers. At Mother's, everything is made from-scratch and the menu features dishes from mothers around the world. There's also a special menu each month that features a Mother of the Month (or “M.O.M.”)'s best dishes.

On this particular day, brunch - of course - began with Bloodys.

Mother's Bistro, SW Portland | A Hoppy Medium

This Bloody was perfectly spicy and strong - just the way I like them!

We were apparently feeling extra indulgent on this Saturday morning, as we then proceeded to order the cinnamon roll, which was [basically] the size of my head.

Mother's Bistro, SW Portland | A Hoppy Medium

The cinnamon roll, prepared by Mother's in-house pastry chef, was delightful. Perfectly flaky yet pillowy on the inside, bursting with gooey cinnamon, and topped with a thick, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting. Totally worth the calories.

For my entree, I went with the Grilled Portabella Mushroom Scramble ($11.95). The dish was made with grilled portabellas that had been marinated in garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, then scrambled with eggs, fresh sautéed spinach, and asiago cheese. On the side was nicely thick, toasted wheat bread with soft butter and crispy home fries.

Mother's Bistro, SW Portland | A Hoppy Medium

Despite having less room in my stomach thanks to the cinnamon bun, I managed to eat most of this. Everything was seasoned well, and I loved the bite of the asiago cheese in my scramble.

Overall, we had a fantastic brunch at Mother's. Breakfast is served from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends. Be prepared for a wait on Saturday or Sunday, or keep your eye on those first-available bar seats!

Where have you had a great brunch lately? 

Mother's Bistro & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Sausage

We're about to get really healthy up in here.

But I can't help it. The markets here in Portland are brimming with incredible produce right now, and I must taste everything. 

Last week's fun find? Beautiful oyster 'shrooms.

Oyster Mushrooms | A Hoppy Medium

And in an attempt to balance out all my beer carbs with healthy meals, this protein-packed dish was born. (Bonus: It doesn't taste as healthy as it is!).

Quinoa with Mushrooms & Sausage | A Hoppy Medium

Quinoa with Mushrooms & Sausage
Yields: 4 servings
-1 cup quinoa
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 small yellow onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-5 ounces oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-Healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-1 1/2 cups baby spinach
-Splash of good Balsamic vinegar
-Crumbled feta cheese, for serving

1.) Cook quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften - about 5 minutes.
2.) Add mushrooms, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper to the pan. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Add sausage and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
3.) In a large bowl, mix quinoa with onion, mushroom, and sausage mixture. Stir in baby spinach and let wilt; add a splash of Balsamic. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Serve with crumbled feta on top (because feta makes everything better).

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Sausage | A Hoppy Medium

This dish is a nutrient powerhouse. Protein-packed quinoa, mushrooms, and sausage + vitamin-laden spinach - with the feta cheese helping to make it seem not so healthy. Given the protein factor in this dish, it's also super satiating. Win-win!

Oh, and if you can't find oyster mushrooms, really any other mushrooms would do. And if you want to make this dish vegan? Simply leave out the feta.

What dishes have you cooked lately?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer [So Far]

This is my first summer living anywhere but New England...and as much as I love New England summers, I am relishing in everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer this time of year. The humidity is basically nonexistent; the cool, delightful breezes are abundant; I'm pretty sure mosquitoes don't exist here??; and all that rain we dealt with in the winter? It basically disappears June through October. I've been chasing the sun all summer long so far, and I will continue to do so until those rain clouds rear their ugly (yet necessary) heads again in October.

Here's just a taste of how we've been enjoying our first (and final...more on that later) Oregon summer!

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Dalton Point, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

A hike in and around Oneonta Gorge was borderline perfection. The Gorge area is a short drive from Portland (about 45 minutes, give or take), so our sleeping in didn't affect our hiking goals. After the hike, we pulled off at Dalton Point for much-needed beers and sandwiches by the water. 

Bay Ocean Spit, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

The Oregon Coast is my happy place, but Bay Ocean Spit might just be the happiest. This hidden gem takes about 10 minutes to walk to once you're parked, but the quiet beach and incredible views are worth every single step.

Cascade Brewing, Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

We've been beyond fortunate to have so many great friends from the East Coast come visit us. Most recently, our friends Steve and Kristen - fellow beer nerds - were in town, and we had a fun afternoon on the patio at Cascade Brewing

Angel's Rest, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

This past Saturday, we joined friends for yet another hike in the Gorge - this time, Angel's Rest. Although this hike was a bit steeper, it's also a lot shorter than the previously mentioned adventure (it's a little over two miles to the summit).

Summer beers | A Hoppy Medium

And what's a Sunday Funday without enjoying beers on your friends' roof deck? Beers, friends, a great view of the Willamette River - it doesn't get much better than that.

I <3 summer.