Hallows Woodfired Pizza

A few days ago I finally had the chance to make it to a new local business. Hallows Woodfired Pizza had opened recently and they sell one thing, pizza. Their pies are 12″, and freshly made. Finally getting to them I ordered my usual, cheese with extra cheese. I always order this pizza when reviewing a pizza place because if a pizza place can’t make a simple cheese pizza, maybe they shouldn’t be in the pizza business.
Well, Jamie has a pretty damn good pizza. His menu is simple, fresh, and real ingredients. I got my pie in about 10-12 minutes after ordering it from Erin ( I think that is how she spells her name), and the aroma instantly presented itself with freshly baked dough, melted cheese, fruity (smell fresh tomatoes, you will notice this), slightly acidic, with the perfect hint of wood smoke. Wood smoke? Yes, when a pizza chef cooks freshly made pies with wood, the dough will absorb some of the smoke molecules.
Getting home, I was very anxious, like a bairn on Christmas morning, to open the box, and view the cooked results. Lifting the lid, you see the heat vapors rise from the pie, the freshly pulled matzo has melted into a beautiful collage that covers the whole pizza. The sauce posses little chunks of fresh tomatoes (the same chunks you get when you use a fruit crusher), and is so vibrant!
Before I go further into this review, I have to step back and tell a little side story. In 2000, I went to New York to watch my beloved Yankees play in the old stadium. Before the game, I went to Giovanni’s to grab a slice of Cheese and Tomato. Before and since then that was the best slice I have ever tasted, until now.
Grabbing a slice of Hallows pie, the tip of the slice is flimsy, which means that you have to fold the slice (like a taco) to eat it. You notice the crispy texture of the underside of the crust, but with one bite I was instantly back in the Bronx, enjoying that slice of pie, and enjoying life in my mid 20’s. With that bite, I noticed that the flavors and textures were top notch. The pulled matzo (not shredded, and from a bag coated with sawdust) resist just the right amount of tension, then giving in, it snaps. Freshmade and the woodfired dough is chewy, crispy, pillowy, moist, but most importantly, not soggy! I can go on and on about how amazing Hallows pizza is, but I think it is best that you venture to them and experience real pizza for yourself.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

Los Tacos de Don Gabino

Let’s talk street tacos, shall we? I mean who doesn’t like fresh, hot, simple, tasty, real tacos? I know I do, and I want to share with you a new venue to get some of those tasty tacos. Los tacos de don gabino is a food truck located in St. Helens that makes such tacos. I ordered three carne asada tacos with their Avacado salsa. My tacos arrived quite quickly, nicely organized on my plate, and was served with a couple of lime wedges. Taking in the aroma of the tacos I could smell cilantro, onion, fresh beef, spices, corn, and citrus. These things were smelling and looking pretty damn tasty. Taking my first bite (no salsa, or lime), and was greeted with a nice balance of corn, beef, onion, earthy, slight peppery flavors. Moist, chewy, crunchy, and firm textures presented themselves to me. Just after the first bite, I was already looking forward to the next few bites. I finished the taco and decided to clean my palate so I could try the next taco with fresh lime juice. This is where the taco went to the next level, as the acid in the lime juice brought out a little more spice flavor from the meat, and complemented the earthy flavor of cilantro quite well. Taco number two was tastier than taco number one, but I move forward to try the last one with the Avacado salsa. Cleaning my palate again, I dressed the third and final taco with the lime juice and salsa. This is where that taco evolved, right in front of me. Taking that bite was an explosion of flavor, the previous two tacos were missing. Peppery, spicy, slight heat, citrus, salty, corn, earthy, all the flavors had been enhanced and rejuvenated with that combo of lime and Avacado salsa. After finishing the final taco (and was quite stuffed at this point) I wanted more of those flavors. I had to hold off until next time as I didn’t have any room left to devour more tacos. Taking my first bite (no salsa, or lime), and was greeted with a nice balance of corn, beef, onion, earthy, slight peppery flavors. Moist, chewy, crunchy, and firm textures presented themselves to me. Just after the first bite, I was already looking forward to the next few bites. I finished the taco and decided to clean my palate so I could try the next taco with fresh lime juice. This is where the taco went to the next level, as the acid in the lime juice brought out a little more spice flavor from the meat, and complemented the earthy flavor of cilantro quite well. Taco number two was tastier than taco number one, but I move forward to try the last one with the Avacado salsa. Cleaning my palate again, I dressed the third and final taco with the lime juice and salsa. This is where that taco evolved, right in front of me. Taking that bite was an explosion of flavor, the previous two tacos were missing. Peppery, spicy, slight heat, citrus, salty, corn, earthy, all the flavors had been enhanced and rejuvenated with that combo of lime and Avacado salsa. After finishing the final taco (and was quite stuffed at this point) I wanted more of those flavors. I had to hold off until next time as I didn’t have any room left to devour more tacos. I am glad I reviewed this place, as I now have another place to get tacos, that are a little different than the other places.

Rings From The Shed

I communicated with Rings From The Shed to get a custom ring showing my Scottish heritage. We spoke and came up with a perfect design of a Celtic knot. I ordered the ring and was kept in constant contact about the ring’s progress. This feature alone was a blessing, as I am in Oregon, and Rings from the Shed is in Massachusetts. About a month later, the ring was shipped to my door, which arrived exactly the day they said it would, and it arrived in a secure package. The ring was not damaged in any way shape or form from shipping.
I opened the package, revealed the ring, and was completely satisfied with the quality, detail, and craftsmanship of the item. Looking at the ring closer, I knew I had made the right decision to hire them to make the ring. The Celtic knot “pops” on all aspect of the ring, the silver shines, it is truly an amazing piece of art.
Now, it gets even better. The ring was not for me, it was my anniversary gift to my wife (but I had to keep in on the down-low so I ordered it as if the ring was for me). I presented the ring to my wife, and it took her breath away (as she is also of Scottish heritage). She commented on the detail, beauty, and craftsmanship that was put into the ring. The ring fits just right on her pinky (which is where I was hoping the ring would fit when I gave the artist my fake ring size).
I am very, very pleased that I chose Rings From The Shed to craft my wife’s wedding anniversary gift. After the holidays, I will be ordering a ring similar to this one, but in my true size. Thank you so much for the art piece, as it will grace my wife’s finger for years to come.

Visit them on Facebook, or their website www.shedrings.com to view the amazing artwork that this great small business creates.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

Heavy Barrel Designs

This company has the ability to laser burn images onto pieces of wood (or shall we call them canvases?) as large as 21″ x 35″, which is dang near official flag size, they say the items that large “are freaking big!” they also perform custom image work for those of you who are looking to have something unique burnt into the wood. I asked them what else they do other than laser burning images into wood. They informed me that they also does metal work, knife making, and some one-off, fun stuff out of strange materials, all of these things you can view on the company website, and Facebook page.
Let us get back to the laser burning art form. They create the image using some (we didn’t divulge into what programs) computer programs to achieve a 3D look/image, that they then use a laser engraver to burn the created image into locally sourced wood from Longview, Washington. After the image is burnt in, they torch the edges of the wood (which gives the piece of art an excellent touch of unity with the laser etching), coat the piece of wood with a coating of polyurethane, and install a hanger system (for those items that are meant to have one, like the items I purchased) for mounting on a wall.
I want to tell you about the product I received from them, but I have to be vague about what the item is because these are Christmas gifts. I ordered some wood plaques that have a unique design on them, the plaques measure 9 1/4″ x 13 1/2″ x 1″, and they have an awesome smell of sweetness, charred wood, and slight chemical (as expected form the polyurethane). The detail on the image is second to none. Period. Everything about the image just pops and is clearly defined. When you look at this artwork, you know a true artist’s hands have been at work. I am nothing but pleased about my decision to purchase this product, and I’m happy to pass this unique gift on to those who will receive it. Finally, the company motto is “Made with Honor. Built with Pride.” and once you see the quality of their product, you will understand that their motto is something they stand behind, and deliver with each piece of art they create.
You can learn more about Heavy Barrel Designs by visiting their website (heavybarreldesigns.com), or their Facebook page (simply click on their name in my review).
**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. #thekilted1

E@t George’s

On my first stop of the Columbia County Gyro Hunt, I had visited a place that was not new to me. I had heard that EAT george’s had reopened at his usual location on HWY 30. So grab a cup of your morning drink as I fill you in about my first stop. I ordered the Lamb gyro (as I am not a fan of the chicken and beef in my gyro) and informed George that it was nice to have him back, doing what he does. After about ten minutes (George’s isn’t “fast chemical food”, so you might encounter a little waiting period while he makes it) of waiting for my order, it was finally ready for me to take and give a once over. Immediately I noticed the weight of the Gyro, and was thinking did I order two of them? Nope, just one.

Opening the foil wrapping I first noticed the amazing aromas escaping from its confinements. I was greeted with the aroma of freshly cooked meat, veggies, and earthy. The cucumber provided a nice sweet addition to the mixture of aromas, and things were looking good. Next, you will notice the vibrant greens, whites, browns, and reds from all the ingredients made the gyro look very appetizing, and rewarding for the choice I had made. I was pleased with the aroma, and presentation even before I had taken a bite.

Taking my first bite I noticed the immediate flavors of lamb, feta, yogurt, cucumber, onion, citrus, fruity, flour, and, nutty. Bite after bite, the different flavors blended well, and each bite was not the same as the last, which was very interesting. The gyro is no small dish when George makes it. This thing is monstrous, easily can feed two people. Something this big you would expect the flavors to compete, not blend, but each ingredient is added just to the right ratio for the weight. Not too many veggies, not too much tzatziki, nothing overpowered the dish. I was not displeased by the gyro, if anything it was nice to experience George’s cooking again.

There is something I plan on doing the next time I order a gyro from him, and that is taking a mint leaf from my garden, dicing it up, and sprinkling it over the gyro to taste the affect fresh mint has on this delicious meal. Well, I thank you for taking the time to read my first review in the Columbia County Gryo Hunt (more reviews) to come in the following weeks from other local places that make Gyros.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

The Black Iron Grill

Last Friday, Tracie Stevens McDaniel, myself, and the Purrrrrrrl found ourselves in Vernonia around dinner time. So, we settled into the outdoor seating of The Black Iron Grill. There was a beautiful breeze wafting across the courtyard as we sat and ordered our drinks, and peruse the menu. I went here to try The BLAST (Bacon, Lettuce, Avacado, Swiss, Tomato) sandwich, but unbeknownst to me, they were offering Prime Rib that night.

So, I ordered up the prime rib with a potato, dinner salad, and veggies. The plate showed up with a generous cut of meat (about 6″x9″x 1″) a baked potato, and green beans. The salad was presented in a separate bowl, not enough room on the plate for that. The salad was just that, a dinner salad. The greens were fresh, crisp, and healthy-looking. One thing that stood out to me about the salad was the pickled onions (I LOVE pickled eggs and veggies). Tart, tangy, vibrant pink, flavorful, and the beloved pickled aroma. Loved them.

The cut of meat was a little more in-depth as it had three “layers” to it, the crust, the cooked, and the red. The crust was a nice black rind that was about 1/8-1/4 thick, while the cooked held the patina of medium steak (135*F), and was about one inch thick (from the crust) while the red had the color of a medium-rare (around 130*F) steak, and was about the size of a large potato. The crust was made of salt, black pepper, and garlic rub, and was carried the aroma of all three ingredients in a perfect blend. The cooked and the red had a nice beef aroma, that paired nicely with the crust aroma. I turned the plate and smelt the potato (I mean, who doesn’t like the aroma of a fresh-baked potato?) and was greeted by a faint, earthy aroma of the cooked veggie. So far the meal was looking good, smelling like real food cooked the right way.

Next was to dive in and taste it. The first cut of meat was the crust. I will say that no two bites of this are the same. The first bite was garlic forward, and I mean forward. The next bite of the crust was saltier than the first, but less garlic, and touch of pepper on the back end of your tongue. Each bite carried the flavor of the three ingredients nicely. Now the cooked ring was a little more tender than the crust (as it should be), more beef flavor, and juicier, but the cut of meat didn’t stop there. Cutting a piece of the red you instantly notice that the meat is very tender, very juicy, increased beef flavor, with little to no crust flavor. Just shy of melt in your mouth, but nothing to frown at. The best way to enjoy this cut was to separate the three rings, take a section of each, and pop in it your mouth. The crust flavor blended well with the cooked flavor, and the red texture tied the whole cut together. Wash it down with a pull from the Cavatica Stout, Robert is your dad’s brother, Bob is your Uncle. Even paired a small section of each ring with the chunk of potato, the dish held its own.

The only downside to the meal was that as tender as the red was, my fork bent, badly when I was cutting it. Had to rebend it back so I could finish the meal. Will that stop me from going again? nope, not one bit. Oh, what about the green beans you ask? Don’t know, didn’t try them, didn’t smell them. I’m allergic to them so I don’t engage with them. I do know they were served with bacon.

In conclusion, the place serves a pretty tasty Prime Rib for a decent price, and good serving. If you are garlic sensitive (either via food allergy or dislike of flavor) you may want to scrape some of it off the crust before you indulge. Pair this cut of meat with a nice heavy Stout or a saucy Cabernet Sauv and you just might enjoy life for that day.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

Saint Helens Market Fresh

Well, I have to say that this week’s review is a warm welcome from a local independently owned small business. Saint Helens Market Fresh now offers online ordering and curbside pickup. Now you are probably thinking this is nothing new, which you are correct this service isn’t. But here is where that service benefits those who use it. I utilized their website (not sure if they have an app for this yet, but it’s ok to me. I like the website interface) to get my groceries. I put Dairy, meats, snacks, creamer, and other items in my virtual cart. I did not purchase produce, as I purchase my produce from local farmers, so I cannot vouch for the produce aspect of this service. Proceeded to check out, selected the time I was wanting to pick up my groceries, placed my order. Immediately after placing my order, I received an email receipt and a detailed list of what I purchased. Easy to read and understand. Here is a bonus. I registered with their website, got my virtual groceries in the cart, checked out, received a confirmation receipt, and list of items purchased, all of this within 15 minutes.

The next day I received a text from Market Fresh (about 30-45 minutes before I scheduled to pick up my order) informing me that my order was being built and that I would be notified when the order was ready. Sure enough, about 10 minutes before my scheduled pickup time I got the text informing me my order was done, and when I arrived at the designated parking spots, to call the number listed in the text. Called the number, spoke to a young lady, and within 5 minutes of that conversation here was Josh (the manager) wheeling my three bags of groceries out to my truck. Add the online time of 15 minutes and the physical time of being on their property this week’s grocery shopping time took less than 30 minutes. I will say that while this service is a spot on, and needed there are some flaws with it.

The first flaw I noticed was the difficulty in finding the correct website for their online shopping. I have reached out to Market Fresh about this, and they are working on making the website link easier to find. a second potential flaw I believe is that when this service gets better traction, the designated parking spots (currently at two) might not be enough to handle the number of orders. Finally, I am curious as to how they will handle an order that has a flaw in it. I have not experienced this with them, but time will answer that question.

 Here is where this gets even better than using the same service at a national chain in Scappoose. I save money on fuel, time, wear, and tear on my vehicle, and my dollar stays local. Every aspect the major chain in Scappoose fails at, Market Fresh succeeds. Oh, if you don’t want to wear a mask to go inside Market Fresh, don’t worry, just keep your distance when they bring out your order. Seriously nice job Market Fresh, and spot-on. Already getting my grocery list together for next week, and this service is reducing the amount of my family’s budget that goes to national chains.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

Tactical Ammunition

A couple weeks back I visited a local business to purchase some pew cartridges. Tactical Ammunition (Heller Enterprises) located here in St. Helens provided me with the opportunity to get the necessary ammo I was looking for. This isn’t the first time I have visited and purchased from them, nor will it be the last. I have run several hundred rounds of theirs (different caliber too. Ranging from .45 ACP, 30-06, 9mm) through my firearms and have only had one misfire that was ammo based (primer didn’t ignite upon firing). I honestly have not had trouble with their ammo, a matter of fact a couple years ago I used one of their 30-06 rounds to bring down a black tail. The prices were perfect for the amount of ammo (3 boxes of 30-30) I was purchasing, which is why I’m heading back to get more in a few weeks. Now, I don’t know about you, but the aromatherapy that is released when a cartridge is fired, is something I find very relaxing, as well as the smell of Hoppe’s #9 oil. Using well-crafted ammo (we have all shot shitty ammo, and we know it) is something every firearm owner should put atop their list for their firearms. Our ammunition providers in Columbia County have dwindled away over the years, but we still have one place left in the St. Helens, Scappoose, Warren, Columbia City, and Deer Island area, and it’s nice to have a local independently owned business to patronage.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. To view other reviews of mine, please visit my site www.thekilted1.com, or search for #thekilted1

Oregon Trail Lanes

Local bowling alley that has been around since the 1950’s, the decor and amenities might be dated, the lanes and beer selection are quite nice. The food menu is also narrow (mainly fried items, or sandwiches), but it does fill the stomach. Everything here is perfectly priced for the local community and patrons. Not to mention the establishment is great for families, birthday parties, or just hanging out with your friends.

**Disclaimer** I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. #thekilted1

Purrz and Paws

I learned about a new small business in our lovely town of St. Helens yesterday. Purrz and Paws Pet Supply has all the necessary food items, snacks, toys, and other items for your pet. My 12-year-old dog biscuit was welcomed into the store, where the owner Erin was knowledgeable and helped me with getting dog food for a senior dog. So, stop in, check out Purrz and Paws Pet Supply for your next animal food purchase. You can’t go wrong with them.

Disclaimer I do not, have not, will not receive compensation for my reviews, good, bad, indifferent as they may be. This is a hobby of mine that like I to share with others. #thekilted1