Including a recipe for chocolate shots — ooooh! 🙂
As I mentioned in a previous post, we took a trip in Portland. Several people have asked me about it, so I decided to share some thoughts. And pictures!
First up, I have to show you where we stayed.
We had a goal this trip – avoid chains whenever possible, both restaurants and hotels. Some of the hotels we stayed in had a lot of… shall we say… character? But the rooms were clean and the owners were happy, in some cases positively elated, to see us.
Our Portland hotel was conveniently located by the train, so the first day Daughter and I went downtown and took a walking tour with a guy in a green shirt.
Ryan entertained our group with history lessons, quirky tales and weird facts about Portland. The tour was free as he relied on tips. From what I saw, he seemed to be doing well.
One thing he showed us was Portlandia. He warned us not to post her picture because we might get sued, but I like to live dangerously.
Before we left on our trip, several friends told us, “You HAVE to go to Voodoo Donuts!”
That third picture? Do you see the line? And Daughter and I aren’t big on donuts. (I’m not kidding.)
What I’m not showing is that next to Voodoo Donuts was a large group of homeless people. Any business that only accepts cash (as is true for VooDoo), you can count on being approached by panhandlers.
Actually, this is true for much of Portland. One thing I read said there were about 1,200 homeless in Portland, another article said it was more like 4,000. From what we saw, I’d lean toward the higher number. (This is something they leave out of travel brochures.)
We only had one encounter with a very pushy panhandler, but it was enough to put me on edge. He saw a coffee vendor hand me back a 10 dollar bill for my change, and he wanted it. Like, asked for it repeatedly. When I refused repeatedly, he turned to Daughter and pestered her. I finally gave him a handful of coins to get rid of him.
One other bad part of our trip I’ll mention: both Daughter and I were having tummy troubles and Portland is a rotten place for that. Because really, Portland has some great places to eat. But as it turns out, they have some great bathrooms too.
Don’t worry, the tummy problems subsided after a few days and we managed to enjoy ourselves.
Last, our favorite parts of Portland. Daughter and I made return visits, because we loved them so much.
Powell’s bookstore is the BEST! Four floors of new and used books — or was it five? I don’t remember, but we loved this place. And look — a whole display on Existentialism! It’s like they knew I was coming!
This is from Cacao, a little chocolate shop in the lobby of the Heathman Hotel. (If you watch the TV show, Portlandia, you’ll appreciate the name of the shop.)
Daughter and I found their shots of drinking chocolate and cappuccinos addicting. We returned daily.
Once home, I had to try making drinking chocolate myself. This is not your normal cocoa, my friends. This is a chocolate indulgence sent from the gods, to be enjoyed year-round. Seriously! Heck, if I can drink it in in Phoenix in July, you can certainly try it.
Chocolate Shots with a Kick
My favorite from Cacao was their spicy chocolate shot, hence my addition of cayenne. This is a truly rich drinking chocolate, hence the ‘shot’ — the perfect amount.
- 4 to 6 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate, cut up in pieces
- 1 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A few dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)
Place the chocolate, milk, cream and sugar in saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. In about five to six minutes the chocolate should be melted, do not let it boil. Add vanilla extract and cayenne, stir well.
Keep stirring and cooking until mixture thickens slightly. Serve in small dishes or espresso cups.
Note: This makes several shots worth, so keep any leftovers in the fridge and reheat as needed. It will keep for about a week.