Anniversary Day Date in Willamette Valley Wine Country

This past weekend my mom came over and hung out with the kids while Corey and I headed out to wine country for a little day date to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary! Sometimes I think day dates are even more fun than evening dates, but it’s definitely hard to choose. I guess you can’t go wrong with a little adult time #amiright?! 😉

We started our day with brunch at Jory — the restaurant at The Allison Inn & Spa. Corey and I have stayed here overnight a couple times and their breakfast rivals some of my absolute Portland favorites — it’s definitely worth the drive out there! We started with their beignets and you just cannot pay them a visit without ordering some. They come out hot with fresh cream and berries and basically melt in your mouth. Oh my gosh I feel like I need some more right.now!

After stuffing our bellies we headed over to taste wine at a new winery in the Willamette Valley – L’Angolo. I have to admit what really brought me to this place was the gorgeous tasting room. It has floor-to-ceiling windows all around the structure with 360 degree views of beautiful grape vines and an impressive vaulted ceiling. We were eyeing the indoor/outdoor fireplace knowing it would be a dreamy place to watch the weather patterns pass along during the fall, winter and spring months. We also pretty much had the place to ourselves and Jacob, the hospitality manager on site, was so charming and knowledgable we couldn’t speak more highly of our visit. We walked out as their newest wine club members and can’t wait to return to pick up our first wine shipment in November.

After our long stay at L’Angolo we made a quick stop at Penner-Ash, a wine country favorite. Stunning views, plenty of space to sit and a large grassy area to walk and admire the grounds. Instead of tasting we went straight to a bottle of Pinot Noir Rose and casually sipped a glass before heading home to greet our sweet babes.

It was such a special day and a great reminder to take the time to focus on each other, do things we love together and celebrate the beautiful life we’ve built. Cheers to another seven(ty) years! 😉

P.S. Apparently I like really popular things because this dress and cardigan are both totally sold out. If you scroll to the bottom of the post I chose a few other darling little white dresses that I love!

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Little White Dresses

Best Portland Restaurants

IMG_7302 2Okay, so this title might not be entirely true. A better title might be “Best Portland Restaurants According to Liz & Corey Denfeld”, but that’s just what I love about the Portland restaurant scene. There are so many amazzzzzing restaurants, the list of favorites you get from one person to the next will be totally different. Not because we disagree on what is great, but because there is just truly such an abundance of ridiculously good food in this city.

The restaurants on this list are not places we’ve tried once or twice. These are our go-to absolute favorites. They’re the ones we keep going back to again and again – for the food, the ambiance, the service and everything in-between. So if you or a friend or family member are visiting the Portland, OR area soon and are looking for some awesome spots to stuff your faces, you’ve come to the right place 😉

Brunch:
Olympia Provisions: While I’m putting Olympia Provisions in the brunch category, it is also open for lunch and dinner. To be honest, it is one of the rare restaurants I would gladly go to for any meal, but brunch is what really hits the spot for us here. Even though “brunch” and “charcuterie” might not seem like the most likely pair, you’d be remiss not to try one of Olympia Provision’s Spanish boards. I’m not even a big meat eater and I am practically fighting Corey for the last pieces of salami every time. The classic Benedict, lemon ricotta pancakes and biscuits and sausage gravy are also winners.

Mother’s Bistro*: Oh, Mother’s. An oldy but goodie. A Portland tradition. If you get here much past opening just expect to wait… But know that it is so. worth.it. I also need to get a little bossy and tell you that you must order the Wild Salmon Hash. Just trust me, okay? You will NOT regret it. I don’t even bother trying anything else anymore because nothing can beat it. It’s one of those meals I would daydream about when we lived in Amsterdam and brunch was hard to come by.

Tasty ‘n Sons*/Tasty ‘n Alder*: Either of these restaurants are exactly what they promise: TASTY. No, seriously. Of the hundreds of times we’ve been (okay, that might be an exaggeration..) I can hardly think of a time I’ve ever ordered something that didn’t make me say “oh wowwww… but seriously wow wow wow”. Brunch and dinner are equally good here. It’s a toss up to pick which is better! The menu is ever-changing, but there are some staples that we can whole-heartedly recommend: Potatoes Bravas, Radicchio salad, Auntie Paula’s French Toast, Fried Egg & Cheddar Biscuit and the fries.

Interurban: One thing to note about Interurban is that they are just as much known for their cocktails as their food — perhaps more so. So if there’s ever a spot to justify a boozy brunch, this is it. I’m also borderline obsessed with their Salted Caramel French Toast. How can you not be? If you’re visiting with kids, you should note they don’t have high chairs — so bring your own or be prepared to have your littles sitting on your lap!

Grain & Gristle: If you’re looking for a restaurant that’s a little off the beaten path and a brunch spot with amazing food, but without a crazy wait, then Grain & Gristle is your spot. We used to live pretty close-by and it is open early, so it became a go-to for us (after an early morning wake-up with Elodie we’d all pile in the car and come here for many cups of delicious hot coffee). Their menu is always changing, but every time we visit their pastry of the day is out-of-this-world good.

Irving Street Kitchen: In the heart of the Pearl District with impressive decor, this is one of our favorite places to dine with the kids. It’s big, loud and has great food and drinks. I’m partial to the Moroccan Slow Poached Eggs or Smoked Soft Scrambled Egg Nachos while Corey is all about the Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich.

Besaw’s*: Of all the restaurants on this list, this one might win for the most times we’ve ever eaten here. Especially since they moved locations a year or so ago, we’ve been frequenting this Portland favorite even more. As with many of the restaurants on this list, if you don’t get here really early, you should be prepared to wait. But no worries, their sister restaurants right next door – The Solo Club – is the perfect spot to grab a coffee or latte and a snack while you wait. I’m usually loyal to the Farmer’s Hash or the Belgian Waffle with lemon curd and dark chocolate depending on if I’m in a sweet or savory mood.

Harlow: If you’re vegan and/or gluten-free Harlow will become a new favorite for you. We used to frequent this gem a lot when we lived on the east side, but it is definitely worth your while to stop in if you find yourself on Hawthorne. Their Walnut Flapjacks and Chipotle Chili Bowl are superrr yummy (any bowl, really!). This is also a really great place to take kids as it is really loud and always full of families!

Coffee/Tea/Quick Bite:

Lovejoy Bakers: I recently took some out-of-town friends to Lovejoy Bakers for coffee and a quick bite and knew that I am a super-fan when one of them needed the code to get in the bathroom and I could give it to them. So I guess you could say I’m a big fan of this place. Their iced vanilla lattes are one of my favorites and I can’t stop in without getting either the B.E.L.T sandwich or their classic egg and fontina on homemade ciabatta roll. The icing on top is that the space is super cute and full of gorgeous natural light and they have Adirondack chairs lined up outside if you can stay awhile and enjoy some great people watching.

Commissary: At first glance this may seem just like any other cool Portland coffee shop – it’s small and cozy, with very instagrammable decor and you can tell the baristas know what they’re doing. But the best kept secret is Commissary’s food is equally as incredible as their coffee. They serve the best scones I’ve ever had and their “Lights” egg sandwich on house-made biscuits (that can be dressed up with arugula, bacon, sausage, jalapeño jam and much more) are to-die-for. This is a Denfeld family favorite for sure!

Tea Bar: My absolute favorite place for an iced vanilla matcha latte. Each location is super minimal and bright with tons of natural light! They also have matcha soft serve at their Division location, which I have yet to try, but I really want to!

Heart: Heart has an Eastside and westside location. We mostly frequent the Westside location, which is right across the street from Tasty ‘n Alder (see brunch restaurants). They serve fantastic espresso drinks, and if you’re willing to pay upwards of $7 for a latte, you should try their house-made nut milk. It’s a decadent treat!

Stumptown: If you’re even remotely interested in Portland and Portland’s coffee scene, you’ll be very familiar with Stumptown. It is our household’s coffee of choice – we buy fresh beans every week or so to enjoy at home, but anytime I’m near one of their cafe locations I stop in for my coffee drink of choice: a vanilla latte.

Barista: The people at Barista take coffee seriously. Very seriously. And while this might seem intimidating or pretentious to some, to a coffee snob like me I appreciate the heck out of it. It’s one of the few places that will lure me in even in the afternoon for a decaf latte, because they are that good (I typically think decaf coffee is blasphemous).

Donuts
:
Pipp’s Original Doughnuts: There’s a great debate in Portland about which donut spot is the best in the city. For us it is a very close tie between Pipp’s and Blue Star, but if forced to choose, Pipp’s all the way. How can you possibly compete with hot, fresh, made-to-order mini doughnuts?! I can’t say enough about how absolutely delicious and one-of-a-kind they are.

Blue Star: Three words: Classic. Brioche. Recipe. Okay, I really only care about one of those words: brioche. That basically means these donuts are the bomb. Blue Star is known for their inventive, seasonal flavors — like Blackberry & Habanero Jam w/ Peanut Butter Powder, Maple Bacon, Matcha Latte and Orange Olive Oil. The consistency of these donuts is so good and while the flavors can seem intimidating at first, they taste uncomplicated and flat out delicious.

Dessert:
Papa Haydn: For us, this is the only real dessert spot worth visiting. If you’re looking for delectable cakes the size of your head, a giant rhubarb crisp served piping hot with melting ice cream on top or the best baked Alaska you’ve ever tried, then you can’t miss a stop at Paps Haydn. (I am really impartial to the Georgian Peanut Butter Mousse Torte… but I’d recommend sharing, the portion is extremely large and the cake is very rich!)

Salt & Straw*: Another Portland favorite where you’ll find a line wrapped around the corner nearly any day or time. A little known secret is if you’re willing to skip the experience of tasting all the different flavors, you can skip the line and go straight to the cold case, pick up a pint and a couple waffle cones and head on your merry way! It’s the only way to go for us — we always grab the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.

Ruby Jewel Scoops: If ice cream sandwiches are your jam, then Ruby Jewel is your place. You can pick your cookie and ice cream, get it dipped in sprinkles or chocolate (or both!) and it is sure to be the best ice cream sandwich you’ve ever had. Trust me.

Cacao: Maybe you’re visiting Portland during the winter, and it’s cold and rainy and the last thing that sounds good is a scoop of ice cream. In that case, popping into Cacao for a cup of drinking chocolate is definitely the way to go. But be warned, after a stop into their shop you might not be able to enjoy grocery store chocolate ever again.

Dinner:

Navarre: So hard to choose a favorite date night restaurant in Portland, but Navarre is very, very high up on our list. It’s a small restaurant with an ever-changing menu. Food is meant to be shared and they work with a CSA, so all the items on their menu are based on what is delivered that week. I can’t say enough about the romantic ambiance, the extensive wine list and the wonderful food. If you run into a wait for dinner you can pop next door to Angel Face — a really amazing bar (with awesome interior design).

Laurelhurst Market: A great spot for meat lovers especially, but I don’t eat beef or pork and still really enjoy my meals here. The ambiance is fantastic and they mix up great cocktails. It’s lively and the food is delicious every time!

Olympia Provisions: See my note from brunch — you can’t go wrong with any meal here! Both locations are stunning, on the smaller size, which I love for the vibe.

Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty*: Our absolute favorite place in Portland for pizza — especially when they have truffle pizzas on the menu, but they are all so incredible. The combinations may sound strange/unique, but these pizza chefs know what they are doing, they are all melt-in-your-mouth goooood. Then you can top your dinner off with house-made ice cream. Yes please! Very family friendly!

Ataula: Fun fact: We visited more cities in Spain than any other country when we lived abroad. Needless to say, we are huge fans of Spanish food and Ataula was the first place we tried in the States that had food that came close to the real thing straight from Barcelona. I’m going to be bossy and tell you what you can’t leave without tasting: Pa Amb Tomaquet, Tortilla de Patatas, Nuestras Bravas***(MUST) and one of their paellas (I’ve never been disappointed but if I had to choose a favorite it would be the Paella Ataula).

Le Pigeon: We love sitting at the bar and watching the talented chefs at work. Top notch food, great ambiance. Reminds me of being in an amazing restaurant in Europe. It’s always bustling in there and smells divine. Definitely need reservations for this one!

Piazza Italia: Best authentic italian in the city hands down — the decor is no frills, like what you’d find in Italy down a cobblestone path behind an unassuming door. In the heart of the Pearl District – never disappoints!

Bamboo Sushi: Just go here. Please. You think you’ve had good sushi, but you don’t know great sushi until you go to Bamboo. It’s the WORLD’S first certified sustainable sushi restaurant, which should give you an idea of the quality of the fish, meat and produce they use. You can’t leave without trying the Green Machine roll (with crab!) and they surprisingly have one of the best burgers in the city (wagyu beef).

Bollywood Theater: Loud, fun, crowded. A great spot to grab dinner with friends, especially if you go to their Division location during the summer months and can enjoy their large patio.  They specialize in Indian “Street Food” — my favorite dish is the Goan Style Shrimp.

Por Que No: I hate to admit that Portland has a serious shortage of really good Mexican food. Por Que No is without question the best in the city — and they have the lines out the door to prove it. Trust me when I tell you to have the Brian’s Bowl and don’t miss one of their Agua Fresca Margaritas. I am typically not a margarita fan because they usually taste too sweet with fake mix to me, but these are fresh and strong and sooooo good.

Stammtisch: Do you like German food? We do, but delicious and authentic German is not exactly the easiest to come by. Especially not in a spot that is this cozy and stocked with an amazing German beer list. We know it’s good because our friend from Berlin joins us for dinner here — if it has his stamp of approval, it certainly has ours. I can’t stand to order anything but the Maultaschen, it is so rich and flavorful.

Tasty ‘n Alder*: See brunch section — you’ll be sorry if you don’t go to one of the Tastys while you’re in Portland.

Toro Bravo*: Oh, Toro Bravo, how I love thee. I do not, however, love the long wait that is almost guaranteed, but your food is so, so worth it. Another favorite spot for date night, even better for a group of friends. Food is meant to be shared and everything is so flavorful, rich and delish. They also serve up a mean cocktail!

DOC : This place is special. It’s a quaint 20-seat restaurant, with the tiny kitchen at the front of the restaurant. That’s right, you can see the entire kitchen, the chefs at work, everything, right in front of you. It’s more of a special occasion place, at least for us. Reservations are a must!

Nostrana: If I had to pick a favorite food, I’d probably saying anything cooked in a wood fired oven. Ha! But seriously, you can hardly ever go wrong that way. Nostrana is well-known for their thin, wood-fired pizza (I daydream about the Funghi Verde Pizza) and famous for their Insalata Nostrana — made with radicchio, parmigiana, rosemary-sage croutons (!!!) and a Caesar style dressing. Yummmm.

Drinks:
Expatriate: I’m putting Expatriate in the drinks section, but their food is also amazing, so you could easily grab a snack and drink here before grabbing a bite somewhere else in the neighborhood (we love Yakuza, right across the street).

Angel Face: Amazing interior design with stunning hand-painted “wallpaper”. This is the kind of cocktail bar you go to and just tell the bartender what strikes your fancy (i.e. vodka & citrus, bourbon drinks, etc) and they’ll whip something up for you!

Interurban: Equally delicious food here, but also known for their craft cocktails. Great outdoor patio, too!

Multnomah Whiskey Library*: This place is really well-known among locals and tourists alike, and they have the wait to prove it. We’ve never waited or been quotes less than two hours, so your best bet is to check-in and leave your name then head somewhere in the neighborhood for dinner and come here for a night cap (we’d recommend Tasty ‘n Alder, Bamboo Sushi, Grassa, Lardo or Shalom Y’All).

Clyde Common: A great spot for dinner, too. But you can also grab a great cocktail and head next door to the Ace hotel and lounge in their lobby area – by the infamous “HOTEL” sign. Very instagrammable 😉

St. Jack: One of our favorite places to sit at the bar and eat and drink for date night. A French restaurant with amazing mussels and frites and tasty cocktails and an extensive wine list!

Wine Bars/Urban Wineries
Cooper’s Hall: Gorgeous, open space, great for big groups. The food, in our opinion, is mediocre, but this would be a great place to drink lots of delicious wine with friends! Best to check their schedule ahead of time as they do often get rented out for private events like weddings and such.

Southeast Wine Collective: A small urban winery with indoor and outdoor seating, great food and fun wine flights. Cute spot for a date night or good for a girls night out!

Muse: Tiny wine bar right off NW 23rd. Amazing selection of wines from all over the world, and the owners are awesome — super personable, not snooty in the least bit. Love this spot for a pre-dinner glass of vino!

{Checking In}

Well, after several comments from friends and family about my lack of blogging, I finally decided it might be time to check in! It’s hard to believe we’ve already been back home in Portland for a month (as of tomorrow!). I am happy to say that my reason for not blogging isn’t just because we’ve been busy catching up with people, but also just because we’ve spent a good portion of time just being lazy and getting settled into life in Portland! Corey are I have both been back at work for a while now (took a whopping 3 days off!) and have been living between my in-laws’ house and my mama’s house. We’re currently searching for a place of our own and hoping to be out of the parent’s house by the end of the summer. But I can’t complain about living rent-free and having dinner cooked for us when we get home each night. Yeah, we’re pretty spoiled at the moment!
A lot of people have been asking if we miss Amsterdam. Mostly, I must admit we’re just happy to be home. Everything feels so familiar and comfortable. But there are certainly times my heart aches for those canals or our perfect apartment where we made such amazing memories. There will always be a big, special place in my heart for Amsterdam.
So what have we been up to? Lounging by the pool, eating lots of home-cooked meals, venturing downtown for dinner + drinks with friends, welcoming our new nephew Ryder into the world, and working on checking things off our summer to-do list. Time is flying!
I have an overwhelming amount of travel posts to blog (some even going back as far as Switzerland in December!) and I can’t wait to get back to it. I keep telling myself this week is the week I’m going to get back to blogging. And somehow it just doesn’t happen. I know I just need to make it a priority! I’ve just been having too much fun being lazy 🙂 So bear with me… I’ll be blogging regularly again soon…
Hope you’re all doing well out there! I’ve so appreciated the few emails and comments I’ve gotten from those saying they miss my posts. It makes me feel so good, you have no idea! And a little guilty, but mostly just really good. I miss you guys and can’t wait to be a regular blogger again soon! Thanks for hanging in there with me! Below you’ll find a bunch of iPhone photos from the last month at home!

{We’re Moving! + A Portland Summer List}

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, this is old news… But, we’re moving home to Portland! We always knew we wanted to live in Amsterdam 2-3 years and somewhere along the way it just became clear that two years would be best for us for a mutltitude of reasons. I can’t say enough about the experience of living abroad, especially as a carefree newlywed. We really lived it up and traveled our hearts out, and now it’s time to go home. 

This is a little earlier than we were anticipating to move, but Corey got an amazing job offer back home that he would’ve been crazy to pass up. Luckily I was also able to land a job back home, so things have already started to fall into place. We have plenty to sort out with our move coming up in less than a month… Corey’s finishing grad school this week, my in-laws arrive in Amsterdam tomorrow and I’m off to Italy next week. It’s going to be a crazy few weeks, but I’m excited to soak up every last second here.

As we deal with our mixed emotions of leaving Amsterdam, we are also getting really excited to return to Portland. To get us a bit more excited, we put together a quick sumer bucket list. It’s a work in progress, but so far it’s looking like it’s going to be one super fun summer in the Pacific Northwest! If you’re familiar with the area, I’d love to know… What would you add to the list?



{1} We’re planning a weekend at the Allison Inn & Spa to celebrate our 3-year wedding anniversary in August! It looks incredible and I’m so excited for a weekend of pampering in Oregon wine country!

{2} A trip to the Oregon Coast – always a summer must!


{3} A trip to the Portland Art Museum. We haven’t been in ages and all our museum trips in Europe inspired us to plan a trip to our local art museum.


{4} Go to a Portland Timbers game (our local soccer team) – there’s that European influence again!

{5} Go to the Organic Brewers Fest. We went a couple years ago and had so much fun, we’re looking forward to going again!

{6} Visit Smith Rock State Park. We want to expand our horizons and see new places in Oregon – we’re both natives and have never been to this beautiful state park. 

{7} A vist to David Hill Winery – the place we said “I do”

{8} Go to the Portland State University Farmers Market. A favorite summer weekend activity!

{9} We want to try at least 5 new restaurants in Portland. A lot of great new places have opened in the last two years and we’re excited to give them a try!

{10} Attend an Oregon Zoo Summer Concert. The perfect way to enjoy a beautiful summer night.

{11} Go to Hood River – maybe go for a hike, definitely visit Double Mountain Brewery – who happen to make one of our favorite IPAs 🙂

{12} Participate in the Color Run on September 7th in Portland. I’ve heard so many fun stories about these runs around the U.S. and can’t wait to finally participate in one!

Do you have a summer bucket list? I’d love to see it! Maybe I’d get some good ideas from it 🙂

{image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 {me}, 6, 7 {me}, 8 {me}, 9, 10, 11, 12}

{Meghan + Jeff via iPhone}

I wanted to share some iPhone snaps from the wedding I was in last week. I’ll post more about the wedding when I share the “real” photos, but what I’ll say now is this wedding was a true testament to Meghan and how unbelievably creative and detail-oritented she is. This would’ve been an impressive fete to plan no matter what, but knowing she has a full-time job and a small baby at home made this even more extraordinary. I was so honored to be a part of Meghan + Jeff’s big day and couldn’t be happier for them! Can’t wait to share more!!

{Long-Haul Flight Essentials}

Greetings from Portland, lovely readers! I made it safe and sound and pretty much conquered jetlag like a champ, so no complaints here!
Over the last 14 or so months, I’ve made the trek home 5 times.  Writing that down just now I thought that couldn’t be true, that sounds like so much, but it is in fact true! Between work and weddings, Portland is constantly calling my name 🙂 And not to brag, but I’ve become kind of a pro at this whole long-haul flight thing. Hopping on a plane for 10 hours and landing in Portland feels a little too normal nowadays.
I know that long of a trip can be intimidating if you don’t do it often, so I thought I’d share with you  a roundup of some of my favorite in-flight essentials. Hope this is helpful – and if you have any to add to the list, I’d love to hear!

1. First piece of advice –  layer up! The temperature fluctuates
throughout the flight and you want to stay comfortable. I bought this amazing wrap cardigan sweater from ASOS a few weeks back (mine’s a different color) and I am not kidding, I pretty much live in it. It’s so warm and cosy and can be worn a couple different ways. It was the perfect layer on my flight over!
2. I invested in some wool socks from J.Crew last year and I am still singing their praises. On long flights I like to get rid of my shoes (stinky footers, please refrain!) and switch them out for a cozy pair of wool socks. They keep my feet warm and then I feel more comfortable throughout the flight.
3. This L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream is incredible. The cream feels so luxurious and hydrating and the lavender scent is extremely soothing. The soap and water on the plane dries out my hands so I like to have this lotion with me to counteract!
4. I never used an eyemask until I got one on my first business class flight over to Amsterdam a few years ago for work. Now, they are an in-flight essential for me! I have to sleep in complete pitch black, so my mask helps block out the tv screen lights coming from my seat mates next to me. You should try it!
5. I swear by this Kiehl’s lip balm. I carry it with me everywhere I go. And just like my hands, my lips feel super dehydrated after a few hours on a plane, so I keep this lip balm on hand to soothe them!
6. Noise cancelling headphones – such a luxury, I know. A couple years ago I had no idea what to get Corey for his birthday, so I decided to splurge and get him a pair of Bose Noise Cancelling headphones. After using his a couple times and loving them, he sweetly gifted me with a pair of my own (mine are Able Planet brand). I never fly without them!
7. The number one thing I do on flights to keep myself feeling good – especially when I land after 10 hours – is drink a ton of water. Sipping that free wine or beer on the long haul flight is so tempting, but after learning the hard way (landing totally dehydrated making my jetlag 10 times worse) I now sip on sparkling water with a lime the entire flight instead (Picture: Lifefactory Water Bottle).
8. Miss Sarah Tucker turned me on to the J.Crew Pixie Pant last year and I have to echo her love for them. They are sturdy enough to not look like scrubby leggings, but stretchy enough to be super comfortable. They are pretty much the perfect travel pant! 

So there they are – some of my favorite long-haul flight essentials. Do you have any you swear by?

P.S. Check out my awesome new sponsors on the right! And if you’re interested in joining the club, shoot me an email, I’m still running a special on ad spaces! exploredreamdiscoverblog {at} gmail {dot} com