Coffee Shops & Restaurants, Uncategorized

Nola Doughnuts- Portland and Lake Oswego

How have we missed Nola Doughnuts? Seriously. Where have we been? Nugget recently had soccer camp at Providence Park, so Chicken and I had the week to explore downtown. One of the days we decided to go to Powell’s Books, and we saw a sign right behind Powell’s. So we popped in. And fell in love.

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As soon as we stepped in, we were charmed by the environment. There are artistic and artful menus, decorations, and informational displays along the wall But the coolest part is a the facade that looks like the fronts of colorful New Orleans homes.

Samples of the different products were in a case near the front. We passed over the doughnuts, which looked like they had the structure of a cronut and went for the order of mini beignets. Then we settled in to wait. Considering there was only one other couple in the shop at the time, we started to wonder what the heck was taking so long to bring out some square doughnuts. Turns out they prepare the beignets to order and bring them out fresh and piping hot. Color us sheepish.

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I will be honest. I haven’t been to New Orleans to compare these to the real deal, but I can’t imagine them being much better. They were hot, slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and sweet without being too sweet. They develop an air pocket when cooking, so it is like biting into a little pillow of heaven. They were dusted with powdered sugar and were delicious.

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So delicious, in fact, that a few days later when we decided to go to the Children’s Museum, we took the Max train so that it would be easy to zip down to Nola’s and treat Nugget to our new discovery. During rush hour. In the rain. They’re that good.

Nugget is a hard core fan of another well known Portland doughnut establishment, and even he was blown away. This time we asked for two orders, one with powdered sugar and one with their raspberry drizzle. Turns out, we needed that drizzle in our lives. Nugget may have wound up with sauce on his nose from licking it off the plate. Kids. Can’t take them anywhere.

Nola’s does have other doughnuts as well as a small selection of sandwiches and a variety of coffee drinks- including coffee with chicory. Yum! Order any of these if you feel inspired, but make sure to get the beignets!

Information about their menu and locations downtown and in Lake Oswego can be found here: http://www.noladoughnuts.com/menu

Happy eating!

Uncategorized

Holiday Adventure Box/Mailbox Update

So, I did it! I got our Adventure Box, what I am now referring to as the Holiday Mailbox- because, well, it’s in a mailbox- going! I have to say that I didn’t set it up well. They had opened their gifts, we were at Great Grandma’s house, and they were all wound up and overstimulated. The concept didn’t really stick.

And then time passed. And their central nervous systems began to return to baseline. Thank goodness! And they became more curious. And now they love it! Phew!

The first time the opened the mailbox, they read the letter and each got an envelope that they would be going to see a Wizard the Oz play (there is a related post). Nugget also found out he would be going to the Evergreen Air Museum. Which was a big hit, by the way! He went with his dad and some friends so I don’t have a personal review, but he came back convinced he had flown to space, repaired a rocket ship, and ready to be a pilot when he grows up. So a win!

Now they are itching to see what comes next. Even though the letter was signed from “mom and dad,” somehow Santa is getting all the credit. There are lots of questions about how practical it is for Santa to visit us this frequently, how Santa will let me know when to tell them to look in the mailbox, all kinds of things. I am being the bigger person and rolling with it in the spirit of Christmas fun. But I’ll be happen to take that credit right back given the opportunity. 🙂

They have even started making wishes, which I have to say is coming in handy. Some were already on the list- like Nuggets hope that he gets to go bowling. Others were not but likely will be now- like Chicken’s hope that she gets to go to the local art museum. Who knew that was somewhere my 8-year-old wanted to go?

Anyway, we are all excited about it and at this point it seems it will be a hit!

 

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Parks, Uncategorized

Mountain View Champions Park

When it’s sunny in December in the Pacific Northwest, you take advantage.  So this weekend we put on our coats and made the trek to one of our favorite local parks- Mountain View Champions Park in Beaverton.  Apart from its sign, there is not much to see from the road.  But take a moment to pull into the entrance, and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.  It is a joint effort between the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department and the Portland Timbers/Thorns, and it’s a great addition the the community.

We did exactly that about a year ago, after noticing indications of construction that had been going on for a while.  It’s been a favorite ever since.  There are two playgrounds.  The one closest to the entrance is newer and is one of the more accessible playgrounds for children with physical limitations.  It uses that bouncy turf stuff instead of bark chips, making it easier for children to navigate the area.  It has large disc swings that kids can sit or lay on.  There is a strip of easily reachable plastic “instruments” and a merry-go-round thing with seats to sit in.  There are also rocks to climb on, small slides to go down, structures to climb on and short concrete paths to go down.

Go past the first play structure and through a few trees, and you are at a second play structure.  It is a more typical play area with traditional swings, bark chips, and things to climb on.

There are multiple sports fields- a smaller one with the Timbers and Thorns logos designed into the turf (making Timber fan Nugget feel like a super star), and a large one that appears to get used for everything from soccer to football.  Tournaments are frequently held, so parking can get tricky during weekends of sports season, although there is additional parking available at a nearby school.  The field are lit at night only for tournaments. There is a concession stand we have found in use during larger events, and there are plenty of bathrooms.  There is a small covered area with tables, as well as a couple stand alone picnic tables.

On any given day, you will find kids running, riding bikes, climbing, swinging, playing sports, and laughing.  There are walking paths around the sports fields, so it is common to see parents walking laps while their kid has whatever practice they are there for. It is a free lunch program location during the summer, and last year there was an attempt at a very tiny farm’s market- although market is a bit of a strong term.  Sports teams practice there, birthday parties happen there, there is always something going on.  We love it.

What it is: a fun community park with lots of different activities, more accessible than most parks.

What it is not: surprisingly, not a great place for picnics. For as big of a park as it is, there are very few picnic tables, and they are usually taken in the summer. That being said, if you don’t mind sitting on the ground, bleachers, or the concrete borders, picnic away!

You can find out the location and more information about amenities here:  http://www.thprd.org/parks-and-trails/detail/mountain-view-champions-park