PDX Eats: Ataula

Portland is a hotbed of really, really good restaurants.

No matter what you’re craving, I can pretty much guarantee there is a restaurant waiting to fill your stomach with all kinds of gastronomic masterpieces.

I’m thinking about introducing a new section to this blog with my thoughts on some of Portland’s restaurants and I’m starting with Ataula.

Ataula is without a doubt one of my favourite spots in Portland. It’s a Spanish tapas restaurant located just off one of Portland’s most vibrant streets. The owner/chef is Jose Chesa, a native of Barcelona who has brought traditional, authentic tapas to Portland.

I went there a couple of weeks ago with two of my best friends to kick off my birthday celebrations and we had such a great time. You can see the kitchen from the dining part of the restaurant, which I really like. Towards the end of the meal Chef Chesa came from the kitchen to the dining area and talked to the people dining. I’ve never been to a restaurant where that occurs before and I was very impressed.

Now for the food/drink.

Let me start with the sangria.

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I could drink this sangria all day long. They offer three different kinds — white, rose, and red. The three of us ordered all three and we enjoyed all of them. My personal favourite was the red. It had the absolute perfect combination of flavours. It was almost like a “comforting” drink whereas I would consider both the white and rose to be more light and refreshing. You can’t go wrong with any of them though. They offer all kinds of beverages, but I would highly recommend you order one of the sangrias.

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Now the food.

We ordered a few tapas and one of the paellas they offer. To say we were impressed with the food would probably be the understatement of the year. We absolutely loved it. Everything was so flavourful. I haven’t been to Spain, but it all tasted how I imagine it would taste in Spain.

We had the “pa amb tomaquet” which is house-made bread with shredded tomato and extra-virgin olive oil. Quite possibly my new favourite way to eat bread.

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The berenjena is eggplant fries with a romesco dipping sauce. YUM. That sauce was on a whole other level — it paired perfectly with the eggplant and was delicious on its own.

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We also had a delicious rabbit dish — rabbit loin wrapped in some serrano ham on a bed of veggies with a dehydrated potato crisp on top. Might have been my favourite dish of the night. Before my friends and I made the Valencian paella, I’d never had rabbit before but oh my goodness is it good. The whole dish was superb.

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Finally, we had the rossejat. This is actually their noodle paella dish — it contains toasted noodles, chicken and chorizo. If a traditional seafood paella isn’t really your thing, this is a great alternative (they also have a vegetable paella which is good).

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I’ve been to Ataula a couple of times and I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve ordered. If this is what Spain tastes like, I’m going to have to immediately get on a plane and go there.

I highly recommend if you live in Portland, or ever find yourself in the Rose City that you go there. And take me with you :)

 

Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes

In England, strawberries and cream are a summer staple. Whether sitting in the stands at Wimbledon or making the most of the small amount of British summer sunshine, strawberries & cream will probably be there.

I put my own little spin on traditional strawberries & cream and turned it into a fluffy cupcake.

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These are so, so super easy to make and the taste pretty darn great too.

A few chopped strawberries and a little cream in a vanilla cupcake batter, topped with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

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YUM.

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Strawberries & Cream Cupcakes:
Makes 18 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes: 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Topping: 

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Strawberries, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, to butter-sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
  5. Fold in flour mixture, then gently add chopped strawberries and cream.
  6. Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For topping, whip cream until soft peaks form. Scoop onto cupcakes and top with strawberry slices.

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last night was pizza night at my house.

Of course, we had my asparagus, mushrooms & red onion pizza, but my brother requested that we also have a BBQ chicken pizza, so I came up with this little guy.

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Green onions, red onion, barbecue chicken, and two kinds of cheese. Yum.

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You can make your own pizza dough or buy it (I recommend Trader Joe’s). I would just make sure you go for a basic, plain pizza dough so the barbecue flavours can shine through.

Speaking of barbecue, I think Stubb’s BBQ sauce works perfectly with this pizza — it’s got a little kick to it, but isn’t overwhelming and is the perfect complement to the other pizza toppings. {Just be careful when you’re shaking it to make sure the lid is on tightly. Otherwise it’ll end up all over your kitchen :)}

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This pizza is really fast and easy to make. I like to stir-fry the chicken before I throw it on the pizza, but other than that all it takes is rolling out the dough, adding the toppings and throwing it in the oven. Piece of cake (pizza)!

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BBQ Chicken Pizza: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade pizza dough (or 1 bag prepared dough)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. Stubb’s BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Stir fry chicken until browned. Toss with the 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce.
  3. Roll out pizza dough to desired size and shape. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Spread 1/3 cup BBQ sauce over dough, sprinkle over some of the cheddar cheese. Combine remaining cheddar & mozzarella and set aside.
  4. Top pizza with green onions, red onion and BBQ chicken. Sprinkle cheddar & mozzarella over the pizza.
  5. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and edges are lightly browned.

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