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Our Holiday Was All About Food (and wine)


Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a lovely holiday. We spent ours with friends and family and boy did we have a great time. We visited, played games, hiked, cooked, laughed, shopped, got pedicures, and had an overall fun and mellow break from it all.

But mostly, we ate.

Kevin's mom arrived from San Antonio on the 18th of December and we immediately took her up to The Herbfarm in Woodinville, WA for her birthday celebration. The place was decorated full-tilt boogie for the holidays, complete with Dickens Carolers. The food was delicious and expertly presented, as usual. 

Then, back in Portland we did our version of kicked-up Southern BBQ for Christmas dinner (pulled pork, baby back ribs, hot links, chicken, salads, homemade BBQ sauce, cornbread, maple bacon bourbon cookies, candied bacon, truffled truffles, etc.). Fun, casual, and something for everyone.

On the 26th, as a holiday gift to our family, we took everyone out to Noisette for the chef's tasting menu. Lovely time and fantastic food. 

On the 27th our friends Jake and Patti arrived from San Diego, and on New Year's Eve Jake and Kevin and I cooked up a doozie of a meal: six courses with wine pairings. I can't believe I didn't take any photos (I was busy), but here's our menu:

1. STARTERS (Jake & Laura)

Sweet piquanté peppers stuffed with Borsin garlic herbed cheese, chives
Cave-aged gruyere
Wild boar salami
Marcona almonds
Dibon cava brut reserve, Spain
Roasted asparagus soup garnished with tiger prawn and truffled balsamic
Pavi 2011 Pinot Grigio, Napa Valley
3. FOIE GRAS (Jake)
Pan-seared foie gras, balsamic/loganberry liqueur drizzle
Lady apple, shallot, maple syrup relish, radish sprouts
Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine, 2011
Harris Ranch tenderloins, Oregon white truffle butter
Shrimp and chanterelle risotto, shaved fresh Oregon white truffles, chives
Arugula, Parmagiano Reggiano, white balsamic, olive oil
Vincent Arroyo Entrada, 2009, Napa Valley
5. CHEESE (Laura)
Anton's Red Love, washed-rind brie
Brie du Pommier
Sour cherry preserves
Salty date and almond cracker
Cypher 2008 "Strange Attraction" dessert wine, Paso Robles
6. DESSERT (Jake)
Puff pastry cups with guava jelly, lime cream and ginger creme Anglaise
Yalumba Muscat, Museum Reserve, South eastern Australia

Pretty fancy, eh? We rocked it, too! (Oh yeah, and a few days before this, our dishwasher quit, so for the full picture, imagine us doing dishes between each course!)

On New Year's Day, Jake made us a beautiful mushroom and cheese soufflé. I did manage to get a photo of that one.


I've been wanting to try making ramen at home (after going to Ippudo in NY), and Jake was game to help, so we headed over to Uwajimaya for supplies (after a TON of research). I read and read and read about all the different broths (shio, shoyu, miso, tonkatsu), and although the ramen I had and loved at Ippudo was a tonkatsu broth, that was the most difficult and time-consuming, so I opted to just wing it with a combination of my 24-hour chicken stock with some fish stock and miso. The broth was good, and solid for a first shot (if not traditional), but I have to say the toppings were the most fun. We did a braised pork belly, sliced fish cake, marinated soft-boiled eggs, sauteed corn, scallions, pickled ginger, sprouts, spinach, Tokyo negi, maitake and enoki mushrooms, wakeme, and bamboo shoots. (We quite possibly went a bit overboard with the toppings, but whatever.)

Here's what it looked like:


Luckily, we still managed to squeeze in regular hikes in the arboretum to burn a few calories. Here's a nice shot from the trail one foggy morning:


Tell us about your holiday meals! If you've got any good recipes to share, or want any of ours, just let us know!


*Oh yeah, the first shot at the top of this post is from Sauvage in Portland. I forgot to mention…we took Jake & Patti there on the 2nd. So. Much. Good. Food (and wine).


  1. Wow! What a menu! Sounds like you are good people to have as friends/family!

  2. Anna Anna

    One day I’m gonna come bustin through your land yacht door and steal your cooked food 🙂

  3. Mike Clausen Mike Clausen

    We visited our kids (31 & 32)in Florida for the Holidays and ate and drank like pirates. 🙂 On New Years I made my favorite. This sauce is to die for…

    Tenderloin Steaks with Cranberry-Port Sauce and Gorgonzola Cheese

    Bon Appétit | January 2000

    by Annie Denn, Mission Viejo, CA

    Makes 4 servings

    •4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
    •2 large garlic cloves, sliced
    •1 large shallot, sliced
    •1 1/4 cups canned beef broth
    •1 cup ruby Port
    •1/4 cup dried cranberries
    •4 5- to 6-ounce beef tenderloin steaks (each about 1 inch thick)
    •1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
    •1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot, then 1 cup broth, Port and cranberries. Boil liquid until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Set sauce aside.

    Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Add steaks to skillet; cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to plate; cover loosely with foil. Add rosemary to skillet, then sauce and remaining 1/4 cup broth. Boil 1 minute, scraping up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper; spoon sauce over steaks. Top each with cheese.

    Read More

  4. Mike,
    That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, and we’ll definitely try it!

  5. Warren Tarpey Warren Tarpey

    Happy New Year Laura and Kevin you had a great Foodie Christmas, we had a quite, but nice time with our family,hey get back on the road miss that each night,cheer’s Warren and Robyn
    Sydney, Australia.

  6. Thanks Warren and Robyn! And I know…we’ll get back on the road soon. We have two bathrooms still to remodel and then we’ll get back to the more important things! 🙂

  7. Susan Susan

    Again you took me with you sharing the Vistas and cramped little streets and food.

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