Category Archives: Awesome Eats

Explore Oregon with Restaurant Bingo

Every town, area, and city has its own quirks. It could be anything from wandering clowns to outlandish festivals, and it’d all be part of what makes an area so unique. Each new place visited gives us the chance to experience new things we would never be able to experience elsewhere, and it’s important to be able to take in as many new things as possible.

If you’re traveling to Oregon and want to see the sights, you probably already have an itinerary in mind, visiting the state’s most popular attractions and getting a feel for the varied terrain that makes up this Northwest state. But more than its high deserts, volcanic landscapes, wetlands and canyons, Oregon has also become known for its great food and drink. If you’re making the trip to Oregon, then you should definitely consider visiting the 25 most amazing restaurants in the area.

Not sure where or how to start? A game of Restaurant Bingo should serve to make things much easier for you, and it makes the discovery of these new places to eat much more fun by adding a more competitive vibe to things. Although it isn’t synonymous with travel or restaurant hopping, bingo is quickly becoming a favored pastime all over the world, with many restaurants now offering it as a form of entertainment. Most notably, we see Oakland’s Actual Café’s rendition of the game in Bicycle Bingo, having fashioned a bicycle-driven bingo hopper that they let their customers use. Free Bingo Hunter also reports seeing some online bingo portals encouraging travel by giving away free trips to New York.

As for Restaurant Bingo, the game is simple enough that it can be played with friends and family. Simply make your own bingo cards by visiting any of the bingo card creators available online, entering the names of each of Oregon’s Top 25 Restaurants to fill out the cells of the cards. Make as many sets as you need for your whole party, and try to include the details and addresses of all the restaurants on the back of your cards.

Hand them out and discuss the details: what prizes are at stake, and how long do you have to complete the challenge of visiting and marking off the restaurants on the card to complete a pattern? Because this game is set to take you all over the state on a gastronomic tour, we recommend giving yourself a month to complete your cards.

Awesome Eats // 2 Step Crockpot Chili

Bowl of chili

Chili is the quintessential autumn food, is it not?  Warm, hearty, spicy–I love it to DEF.  Mmmmmnomnomnomnom!  It’ funny because once upon a time, I hated chili.  My mother would make it for dinner and I would require a separate meal.  She was so good to me.  Now chili is firmly in the things-I-used-to-hate-but-now-love category, keeping bell peppers and asparagus company.  One of the best things about chili is that there are a million different ways to do it.  This recipe here is the quick and dirty version that shows up often in the Team Bowman household.  It is LITERALLY two steps.  Could not be easier.


1 pound ground beef, turkey, or whatever
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans of kidney or chili beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons dale’s steak seasoning or worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce or ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Brown your meat of choice in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and set for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  3. Top with your choice of chili accoutrements and enjoy!

xo Em

Awesome Eats // Crack Cake

Alright folks. I realize this may be a little dangerous, but I am going to give y’all the recipe to the birthday cake that Jeffrey and I enjoyed a couple of weeks ago.  I figured I would just nickname it Crack Cake, because well… yeah.  It’s formal name is “Butter Pecan Cake with Pecan Pie Filling, Coconut Pecan Icing, and a Chocolate Glaze”.  YEP.  THAT’S RIGHT.  Use that imagination for a second and pretend you are tasting those flavors right now.  Mmmmmmm.  It’s ridiculous.

Don’t like pecans?  Don’t like coconut?  Well, this here cake’s gonna change that.  Believe me when I say that there is NO WAY you cannot like this bitchin ass baked good.  I myself have never cared for pecans, pecan pie, butter pecan… none of it.  Some people would say that is pure insanity in itself.  But this pecan-laden sugar monster beat me into submission.  So I, dear friends, am here to pass that glorious experience on to you.

A disclaimer of sorts: we didn’t make this from scratch.  When we were concocting the recipe, we weren’t really sure if it was going to be as good as it seemed.  We didn’t want to waste a bunch of time baking with nothing to show for it, so we used pre-packaged cake and icing mix.  It was my birthday after all, and we had a damn romantic comedy to watch!  If you want to take this to the next level and bake it from scratch, GO FOR IT.  Just promise me you will report back.  So, without further adieu…

Crack Cake


1 package of butter pecan cake mix (we used Duncan Hines)
eggs, canola oil, & water as called for in the cake mix
1 prepared pie shell
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tub of coconut pecan icing (we used Duncan Hines)
1 bottle of chocolate glaze (again, Duncan Hines… they should be sponsoring this post damnit!)


  1. Prepare the cake mix as instructed on the box.  Make sure you make two layers… we did 9″ rounds.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Combine beaten eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, molasses, butter, flour, salt, and vanilla in a bowl.  One variation would be to add chopped pecans to this as well, but we didn’t since I don’t like pecans (or so I thought!).
  4. Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake for 30 minutes. The filling won’t be completely set at this point, but this is what you want.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flop one of those cake layers out onto a plate and start scooping out the pie filling and piling it up on top.
  6. Once you have as much pie goo as you can get on this layer, flip your other cake layer over and put it on top.  The filling is going to ooze out of the sides… don’t worry, it will still be delicious.
  7. Pop open that tub of icing and get to town slappin that stuff on.  Whatever you d, make sure you use it all.
  8. Follow the directions to heat up the chocolate glaze and pour that stuff over the cake as you see fit.
  9. Try as you might to allow the cake to sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you dig in.  But if you can’t help yourself, that’s okay.
  10. Enjoy!


You’re welcome. :)

xo Em

Awesome Eats // My Top 50

Mac n cheese

When I first saw CNN’s list of the world’s 50 most delicious foods, I was like ughh.  I mean… they got some stuff right.  But damn if it doesn’t look radically different than MY list of the top 50 most delicious foods.

So here you go, internet.  My list of the top 50 most delicious foods I have ever eaten.  AKA: the top 50 reasons I am fat.

I included beverages.  Because… mmmmmmm.

  1. New York-style thin crust cheese pizza.
  2. Lasagna and/or manicotti, but only if it is made by my mother.
  3. Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing.  Again, only if made by my mother.
  4. Chocolate ice cream.  To go with the cake.
  5. Panang curry with chicken.
  6. Tom kha gai (Thai coconut milk soup).
  7. Veggie sushi with lots of wasabi.
  8. Fried calamari.
  9. French toast, especially when made by my dad.
  10. Bacon.
  11. Goi cuan (Vietnamese summer rolls).
  12. French bread.
  13. Rib-eye steak, medium rare.
  14. Lobster, with lots o’ melted buttah.
  15. Caesar salad, but only when made traditionally.
  16. Red peppers.  On anything.
  17. Warm cinnamon sugar cake donuts, especially from this place.
  18. Squash casserole.
  19. Fried okra.
  20. Peanut butter cookies, but only when made by yours truly or my mom.
  21. Feta cheese.  On anything.
  22. Biscuits.  Southern style.
  23. Honey baked ham.
  24. Caprese salad.
  25. Roasted or grilled asparagus.
  26. Apples.  Prepared in a variety of ways, including as nature intended.
  27. Cheese.  Many kinds, especially cheddar.
  28. Sausage.  All varieties.
  29. BBQ Pork.
  30. Macaroni and cheese, again, as prepared by my mother.
  31. Carrot cake.
  32. Chicken teriyaki.
  33. Fruit salsa and cinnamon chips.
  34. Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze over cream cheese, with crackers.
  35. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  36. Grilled cheese sandwich.
  37. Soysage, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos, but only when made by my BFF, Jen.
  38. Grilled flank steak with my mother’s secret marinade.
  39. Mashed potatoes, only made by me.
  40. Garlic.
  41. Hummus, all varieties.
  42. Beer, almost all varieties.
  43. Fudge, especially when made by my mother.
  44. Chocolate chip and toffee cookies.
  45. Cheeseburgers.
  46. Green bean casserole.
  47. Chicken fettuccine alfredo, especially when made by my bestie Amy.
  48. Fried chicken.
  49. Bowman burgers!  Act like ya know!
  50. SUGAR!  Prepared as candy, many varieties.

What are YOUR most deliciously awesome eats?

xo Em

Awesome Eats // Caprese Pasta Salad

Ever since I read Rachel at Lolling About’s recipe for Quinoa Caprese Salad, I knew I had to make some of my own.  Like everyone with any kind of sense, I LOVE caprese salad.  Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil… what’s not to love?  Mix it with some stick-to-your-bones grain and protein and you’ve got a very well-rounded meal on your hands.

I would have loved to try the quinoa recipe they outlined, but I didn’t have any on hand.  So, here’s my little adaptation with pasta.  And chicken.  Cuz ME EAT MEATS.


I was too lazy to take any pictures as I prepared this meal, but here’s a picture of the oh-so-delicious leftovers I brought for lunch.  If you’re looking for a meal that only gets better the longer it’s been in the fridge, this here’s your winner.

Caprese Pasta Salad


1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup italian dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil for pan
2 cups whole wheat rotini
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
6 oz fresh mozzerella cheese, cubed
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I guess?)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I think?)
Black pepper and sea salt to taste (for me, LOTS)


  1. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and place in bowl.  Cover with italian dressing and allow to maninate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions. Let cool.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan to medium-high.  Cook chicken pieces until slightly browned, and set aside.
  4. Slice tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  5. Toss pasta with olive oil, balasmic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.  Combine all ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

xo Em

Awesome Eats // Strawberry Summer Cake

strawberry summer cake

Since one of my 101 in 1001 goals is to cook one new recipe per week (which is 34 by the time all is said and done), I decided to whip up a lil sumpin sumpin to celebrate the awesomeness that is summertime in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s been so beautiful here y’all… you just wouldn’t believe it.

Anyway, since strawberries are in season and the price is right, I baked up a strawberry summer cake for me and my sweetie. I originally found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and knew that at some point I would be makin it, and ooooooh lil doggie has that time come.

Jeffrey proclaimed that it is “possibly the best cake I have ever eaten”, and I am almost inclined to agree. This lil dish of delish was rich, but light… fresh, but with depth of flavor… and the perfect dessert for a summer evening meal. Why I do declare, YOU MUST TRY IT. Follow the recipe that follows to the letter and you cannot go wrong my friends.


Strawberry Summer Cake


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
  5. Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer.
  6. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
  7. Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.

slice o cake

Look at that picture! Despite my shoddy iPhone pic, you KNOW that shit’s gonna be good! So hop to.

xo Em