Portland Dining Month: Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro

Last Tuesday was my last day of culinary school. To celebrate, last night my parents and I went to dinner at Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro and ate our way through their Portland Dining Month menu.

The food and wine were great, and the location really couldn’t be beat. It’s right in the south waterfront area of Portland and if you sit outside, there are views like this:




The menu had 3 first course options, 4 second course choices and 3 different desserts.


First Course: 

Seasonal Greens



Individual Hot Crab Dip



Petite Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Apple Slices


Second Course: 

Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Wild Rice and Sautéed Asparagus



Thirst Bistro Steak with Caramelized Onion Smashed Potatoes and Sautéed Kale



Pulled Pork over Truffled Polenta



Wild Mushroom Ravioli with early sweet corn cream sauce and sautéed asparagus

{We didn’t order this, so no picture}


Creme Brûlée



Seasonal Cheesecake



Prickly Pear Sorbet


The food was really, really good. We paired our meal with a glass of Michael David Chardonnay, recommended by our server, which we thought was the perfect choice.

First Course: The salad was delicious. It was some mixed greens with tomatoes, red onion, feta and some chopped nuts – simple, but tasty. The hot crab dip was great — individually presented in a ramekin with breads slices for dipping. I’m not a big crab fan, but I would definitely eat this again. The brie was probably my favourite first course dish. Cheese and apple is one of the best combinations and the melted brie was perfect with the crisp apple slices.

Second Course: The salmon, wild rice and asparagus was so tasty. The salmon was perfectly cooked, the asparagus was nice and crisp and the wild rice was a perfect complement to both of them. The steak was incredible! It was lovely and crispy on the outside, while being nice and tender in the middle. Now the pulled pork, definitely my favourite of the second course options. The pork was so full of flavour and had a nice little kick to it and that was some of the best polenta I’ve had.

Dessert: Nothing beats and good creme brûlée and this was exactly that. I didn’t think the dried fruit on top was necessary, but the creme brûlée itself was fantastic. The cheesecake was great — a simple vanilla cheesecake with a caramel sauce. Sometimes, simple is the way to go. The prickly pear was a lovely, vibrant pink colour and the perfect palate cleanser at the end of the night. The menu originally stated that it would be a mango sorbet but we were informed it was actually prickly pear that night and I’ve got to say, I’m glad it was.

Everyone visiting and living in Portland should pay a visit to Thirst. When we were there, they were only seating reservations, so be sure to use these OpenTable links to make yours. Take your friends, date or any visitors you have; the view is beautiful and the food/wine delicious.

Culinary School: Done!

IMG_5965 I’m done with culinary school. I’ve taken my last final, deep cleaned the baking and pastry kitchen, gathered all the signatures necessary for my graduation, and worn my school-issued chef pants, jacket, hat and apron for the last time. IMG_2343 IMG_3908 My actual graduation ceremony isn’t until June, but I’ve completed all of my classes so I’m considering my culinary school journey finished, even if I don’t have the expensive piece of paper yet. photo 3 I’ve taken a long, winding road to get to where I am today. Nothing has been easy and half the time I haven’t even known what I’ve wanted to do. I’m still figuring things out, but I have a much clearer picture than I ever have before. photo 4 I was a week away from my 23rd birthday when I started culinary school. My friends and family had always suggested culinary, even when I was studying exercise and sports science. I’d always argued that I’m “not cut-throat enough for culinary school” and kind of brushed it off. photo 3   photo 4 I’ve been baking ever since I can remember. I have vivid memories of a friend and I making cookies in the kitchen, eating most of the dough with a spoon before it even made it to the oven. When my friends and I started our Friday Night Dinners 4 1/2 years ago, I was making dessert 99% of the time. IMG_5503 When I started culinary school a year and a half ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I was thrown into two accelerated classes, getting through a nutrition class and an intro to culinary lecture class in 5 short weeks. There were 15 people in my cohort when I started and I’m the only one from that group finishing the program I enrolled in. IMG_4933 Over the last year and a half I’ve learned a lot, improved both my cooking and baking skills significantly, met some great people, and got to work with and learn from some great Portland chefs (including a James Beard award winner). I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, redefined a new comfort zone, made boxes out of chocolate and baskets out of bread. Tackled cuisines of the world, costed out recipes, and made plans for a restaurant that was so much work, I’m rethinking every thought I’ve had to open my own place. IMG_3944   IMG_4503 I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents. They were the ones who pushed me to get information and tour the school to see if it was something I was interested in. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to call them my parents. Thanks to Taylor for coming with me on the tour, watching my face light up as I heard all about it and your cheerleading. Thanks to Dustin for giving the best tour possible, answering all of our questions and helping me through the application process. To Mary, Annie and the rest of our crew scattered around the West (best) coast, thanks for your support, sweet words, and encouragement. To anyone I’ve ever made eat one of my random creations — THANK YOU! IMG_5935 I’m so happy to have been able to share this journey with you and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ll be posting new recipes more regularly and I’m so excited for everything coming up 🙂 IMG_5754

Portland Dining Month: Coppia

You might remember in my last post that I’m collaborating with OpenTable during Portland Dining Month. This year there are over 100 restaurants in the Portland area participating, bringing you a three-course meal for $29.

My friend and I decided to check out Coppia, an Italian restaurant located in the Pearl District. Neither of us had been there before and we were super impressed.

Each restaurant has a specific menu that correlates with Portland Dining Month. Coppia offered two courses for each course, so we ordered one of each (6 total) and split them. We were also offered a complimentary glass of Prosecco, which was lovely.


Complimentary glass of Prosecco


First Course:

Insalta — lettuce, hazelnuts, blood orange and gorgonzola crumbles


Artichoke flan with shaved fennel, chervil and caprino goats cheese


Second Course: 

Handmade gnocchi with pistachio-arugula pesto, garlic chips and Bra duro cheese


Lamb and pork meatballs with aged fontina polenta, pickled mustard seeds and pearl onions


Third Course: 

Blood orange tart with a brown butter pastry and blood orange curd


Vanilla bean panna cotta with olive oil and raspberries


The food was delicious. Each course was presented beautifully and each bite was full of flavour.

First Course: The salad was simple but so flavourful, anything with hazelnuts involved is good with me. I’m not a big artichoke fan, but oh my goodness was that tasty. They used just the right amount of fennel so as to not overwhelm the dish with a licorice taste.

Second Course: When these plates came to the table, Taylor and I were so excited. I don’t think I’ve ever seen gnocchi presented as beautifully as this was. The gnocchi was light and fluffy and the pistachio-arugula pesto was to die for. And those garlic chips on top? Yum. Now about those meatballs. Whoa. They were amazing and the polenta was so cheesy and creamy. Each bite was perfect.

Third Course: Dessert time! I’m a baker that doesn’t really like dessert. Crazy, I know. These desserts might have changed that though. The blood orange tart with brown butter pastry was amazing. You could taste the nuttiness of the brown butter and blood orange might just have become my new favourite citrus. The panna cotta was fantastic. So smooth and flavourful. Don’t be weirded out by olive oil in your dessert — it pairs with it perfectly and the raspberries provide a nice burst of colour to the plate and slight tartness to the taste.

I would totally recommend everyone in Portland or visiting Portland check out Coppia. It’s a good place to go for a glass of wine, would be great for date night, or just a nice, relaxed place to hang out with friends.