Due to popular demand, I am really trying to bring back the blog in full force. And yes, the first part of that statement is mainly sarcastic. The partial truth, however, comes from the fact that I have been running into people that I haven’t seen in years and literally one of the first things they say to me is, “What’s new on the blog?” or “Loved that one blog post you did.” Although it was a bit odd hearing this from people I hadn’t seen since high school, it was also quite humorous and appreciated. Apparently my Facebook posts reached more people than I thought. It was nice to know that I had a few readers out there that I didn’t even know about. Maybe I even inspired a few to get into the kitchen and try out some of my recipes.
As I thought about starting up the blog again, I began by brainstorming possible posts or recipes to feature. This was a difficult task because due to my recent schedule, I haven’t been getting in the kitchen very often. And when I do, it generally consists of smearing crunchy peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast topped with sliced banana; definitely delicious, yet also lacking in creativity and fresh flavors. Now that I no longer work 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. (rough, I know), I have more time to cook and explore local restaurants during actual business hours. A luxury I used to take for granted. One of the places I currently really enjoy visiting is Harlow, a diet friendly hotspot on SE Hawthorne. Harlow’s fresh conscious cuisine includes vegetables, juices, scrambles, rice and quinoa bowls, smoothies and cocktails. In all three of my visits, I have yet to be disappointed.
On my first visit, I was accompanied by my friend Elaine. The bright, open layout welcomed us inside as we stood in line for less than 10 minutes debating which appealing treat we were going to order. We were overwhelmed by all of the options. Did we want gluten free sweet potato pancakes or quinoa with steamed greens? My stomach was not begging for a giant meal, so I opted for a juice. In all honesty, I am surprising myself with my boldness and current interest in juice; or at least juice that involves cucumbers and kale. My theory is that in order for the juice to taste great, there must be one sweet or non-green ingredient, like apple or grapefruit. In this instance, it was the “Howler” juice that caught my attention. This one consisted of pineapple, ginger, cucumber, parsley, kale and spinach. Upon my first sip, I realized ginger is a BOLD flavor that left my throat a bit unhappy, but the pineapple was a great flavor addition to offset the ginger. I highly recommend the juices as they are quite delicious and surprisingly filling.
The front counter was filled with freshly baked treats, so of course I also tried an almond protein ball. The concept reminded me of something I had seen on Pinterest and it paired well with my juice as a small, yet richly delicious snack. Elaine went with the African peanut bowl. Although I did not beg her for a bite, I can tell you that my eyes thought it was delicious. So colorful, the dish included brown rice, African peanut stew and steamed greens topped with fresh cilantro and roasted lime peanuts. She enjoyed the freshness and how uniquely well the ingredients paired together. I immediately noted that I needed to come back when I was a bit hungrier so that I could try out a bowl for myself. (Note: My next couple visits I ordered the Dragon bowl, which includes choice of rice or quinoa, beans, sea vegetables, avocado, steamed greens, sesame seeds, scallions, kimchi and garlic tahini sauce. Yummy!!)
Harlow is definitely popular among Portlanders looking for a healthy, yet fulfilling meal. The immense menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday, the SE Hawthorne location (3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd) is hip, lively and healthy. Whether you are gluten free, vegan or vegetarian, you can definitely find something on the menu to satisfy your taste buds. If you live closer to NW Portland, you can try their sister restaurant Prasad, located on 925 NW Davis Street.
And now that I am entering my third snow day, I better get back to sitting, knitting and Sochi viewing. Go USA!