Plum Deluxe Teas

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One of my favourite things about having this blog is being able to support and tell you all about small, independent food and beverage companies here in Portland.

About a month ago I was contacted by Andy Hayes, founder and owner of Plum Deluxe.

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Plum Deluxe is a Portland-based tea company. They hand-blend small batches of a variety of loose-leaf teas with the idea that people should take some time to slow down and enjoy the little things in life over a cup of tea.

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Every tea blend is organic, non-GMO, vegan, free of chemicals and sulfites, with ingredients sourced from right here in the Pacific Northwest. I was sent samples of the Oregon Breakfast Black Tea and the Portland Rose City Chai and they were delicious! I’m a tea girl, and I can be pretty picky about the teas I drink; I thoroughly enjoyed both of these (although I think the Chai blend was my favourite ;))

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Through their website you can order any of their current blends — they’ve got some good ones! Or, if you’re like me and tea is your thing, you can sign up to join their “tea of the month” club. For $10/month, you will receive 1 oz. of a custom tea (enough for about 20 cups) made especially for club members as well as a 2nd tea sample from their current selection of tea blends (teas are usually $7/oz). You will also get tea-inspired recipes, discounts and special offers, as well as a couple of surprise gifts and treats throughout the year.

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You can purchase membership to the tea of the month club in 3, 6 or 12 month increments.

A friend of mine and I have had countless incredible conversations over cups of tea, so I can attest to the power of tea and conversation.

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I’m working on developing a recipe or two using these blends, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, happy tea-drinking!

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Break You Make

Chobani is currently promoting their #BreakYouMake project. They’re challenging everyone to talk about someone in their life (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) in need of a break.

The premise behind this project is that people throughout America work hard and need a break. Their Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt is the perfect way for everyone to get the break they deserve.


My mum is without a doubt one of the hardest workers and most inspirational people I know.

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Almost 15 years ago, my family and I moved from Stevenage, England to Portland, Oregon due to my dad’s job relocating here. My dad moved a couple of weeks before us to get settled in and set things up, so my mum made the trip halfway across the world with three kids aged 10, 8, and 6.

Trying to keep three kids entertained on a 10 1/2 hour flight from London to San Francisco, then a flight up to Portland was no easy task and I don’t envy that she had to do that. Especially with children that weren’t used to flying.

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Once we settled into Portland, she took us to and from school, to all of our soccer, volleyball and tennis games and practices, went to all of our school events, and even helped coach my little sister’s middle school volleyball team.

My mum is a nurse and is currently working as a hospice nurse here in the Portland area. Hospice nurses provide comfort care for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given six months or less to live. She frequently has a full case-load of 13 patients and it is her responsibility to provide comfort care for them and be someone that they, they’re families, and caregivers can talk to.

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She spends her day driving around Portland, visiting patients at their houses or the care facilities they are living in. Some days she drives up to 80 miles and sees five different people.

When most people get home from work, they can sit down and enjoy the rest of the day. My mum’s work hours are 8-5:30, during which time she is making phone calls, calling in prescriptions, coordinating with doctors, sending faxes/emails, and visiting patients throughout the city.

Most nights though, she isn’t done with work at 5:30. She might be home at that time, but she will likely still have a couple of hours of documentation to do for each patient from that day’s visits. Her daily grind is absolutely insane.

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Despite how hard she works and everything she has to cram into a single day, it’s easy to see how much she loves what she does. She develops relationships with her patients and their families, allowing her to do her job to the best of her abilities.

Because her patients all have terminal illnesses, she deals with death often. I can only imagine the mental and emotional toll it must have on her; I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

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As well as being an incredible hospice nurse, she’s been a great nurse for me too. Over the last 10 years, I’ve had six knee surgeries and she and my dad have been there for each one, taking me to post-op appointments and physical therapy until I was cleared to drive again.

Did I mention she also runs half marathons? She’s incredible.

She has been a constant source of encouragement for me. It was my mum who first suggested I apply to culinary school and it’s definitely not an understatement to say I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

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So thanks, mum. You’re the best. You deserve a break more than anyone I know.

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:

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

Menu: 

First Course: 

Seasonal Greens

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~OR~

Individual Hot Crab Dip

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~OR~

Petite Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Apple Slices

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Second Course: 

Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Wild Rice and Sautéed Asparagus

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~OR~

Thirst Bistro Steak with Caramelized Onion Smashed Potatoes and Sautéed Kale

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~OR~

Pulled Pork over Truffled Polenta

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~OR~

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

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Dessert: 

Creme Brûlée

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~OR~

Seasonal Cheesecake

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~OR~

Prickly Pear Sorbet

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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.