When telling people that you’re headed to Portland, the word “donuts” is generally said within a few sentences of their response. Or at least when you talk to the kind of people I do.
“Skip Voodoo Doughnut. It’s for tourists. The real winner is Blue Star.”
Be it through word of mouth or word of mouse, the general consensus is nothing but praise for Blue Star Donuts – the trendy shop (of course it’s trendy, it’s in PDX) slinging inventive and delicious donuts. So naturally, it was Isabel and I’s first stop when we rolled into the city. And it did not disappoint.
I typically favour a cake-type donut (with a sour cream old fashioned being my absolute favourite) but Blue Star’s brioche-based dough gave even the best donuts I’ve ever had a run for their money. Between the two of us we sampled three delicious varieties, but the undisputed champion was the lemon poppyseed. Paired with Portland’s finest brew and what you’re left with is a breakfast fit for a big ol’ fat king.
Ever since last year’s remarkable trek to Machu Picchu, Isabel and I have tried to fit hiking into our vacation plans whenever possible. With that in mind, our trip to Washington State provided the perfect opportunity to stretch our climbing legs, and treat ourselves to some fresh, Pacific Northwestern air.
Mount Si – a 40 minute drive from downtown Seattle was the perfect daytrip. Located about 35 miles southeast of the city, Mount Si lies on the western edge of the Cascade Range, with its highest point reaching 4,167 feet. Getting to Si was not a problem, but finding the trailhead (and a place to park once we arrived) proved a bit trickier. But the extent of our confusion was not made apparent until we reached what we thought was the peak – where we learned we’d been actually climbing Little Si, the smaller, cuter neighbour of Mount Si. We had a good laugh at this fact, and took a group shot at the top, with the actual peak of Mount Si looming in the background.
Still a nice day out, though.
One of the stops on our trip to Seattle that had me most excited was Ebbets Field Flannels. This rather remarkable store located in the city’s historic Pioneer Square district sells handmade reproductions of turn of the century (the last one, that is) baseball uniforms. The cap selection alone is enough to spend the better part of an hour mulling over. With common debates being: could I carry off a pillbox cap? What about wearing the logo of a defunct Negro League team? In my case the answer to both questions was “no.” But I still managed to find a cap that suited my taste. That being, the iconic emblem of the Colorado Telephone Company of 1911. It’s early days, but I’ve already been told by a number of strangers, much cooler than I, that they like it.
Maybe because its been a cooler summer than last year, but our ice cream maker has been criminally under-utilized this season. But after picking up a couple bushels of fantastic Ontario peaches, we put that worry to bed by trying our hand at a batch of sorbet.
I’ve experimented with a number of different ice cream flavours since getting the machine, but this was my first stab at sorbet. And given the fact that it’s a much more straightforward process, with less elements to screw up, it came together even easier than I thought it would. Obviously with so few ingredients, the strength of the end product is largely contingent upon the quality of the fruit. And since we are in the height of peach season here, that was never in question. I’m sure canned fruit would work, but when you taste how fresh this version is, why would you bother with anything less?
- 8 large peaches (ripe, skin on)
- 1 cup sugar
- squeeze of lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- dash of vanilla
1. Slice the fruit and place it in a large bowl.
2. Add the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.
3. Using an immersion blender (or food processor) blitz the works until it is smooth.
4. Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours – or better yet, overnight.
5. Once the sorbet batter has chilled, freeze the works in an ice cream maker, following the instructions as if it were ice cream.
6. The sorbet will come out of the machine in a soft serve consistency. It’s tasty to consume now, but would benefit from setting for a couple of hours in the freezer.