Posts for January, 2010

January 29, 2010

The Cheese Girl Strikes Again

Cheese Czarina Lisa Jacobs of Jacobs Creamery has big news this week. She’s starting a blog, she’s “rent-able” for parties and private gigs, and she even mentions our upcoming Oregon Cheese Festival adventure this March.

jacobscreamery Read full story »

January 29, 2010

And The Winners Are…

And the winners of Wednesday’s “Will Fan For Chocolate” contest have been chosen!

Winner of ChocolateFest Tickets–Brooke Bailey!

Winner of Chocolate Smarts, the question-and-answer-game that will make you a chocolate expert in the time it takes to snarf a bar of Scharffen Berger–Mindy Novesky!

And the winner of a perfectly whole, unopened, not even nibbled on Xocolatl de David Raleigh Bar–Danny Pettey!

Now if that doesn’t start your weekend off right, I don’t know what will. Besides a lot of champagne, which is why I’m drinking a mimosa under my desk right now.

January 28, 2010

Dear Jen

Sometimes, people send me letters. I love getting letters, especially funny letters and letters with money in them. Yesterday, I received this in my inbox.

Dear Jen,

I enjoy reading your website and feel that you might be able to help with a very difficult problem I have.   For many years now I have been dating a very special girl and she enjoys food.  My problem is that Valentine’s Day is approaching and I’m trying to decide where to take her.  She’s been to most of the restaurants in Portland, loves food, is romantic, fun, pretty, sexy…you get the idea.  I want to impress her but don’t have the money of the Kardashians or the Jersey Shore group.  I thought “Hey! Maybe Beast…but thought my chances were slim and not sure I would want to spend V-Day at a community table.  VooDoo doughuts would be fun…the Globetrotter’s apparently went there but not sure about the romance.   The Food Carts would be fun…but again…the romance.  There’s Paley’s, there’s the Ringside, there’s Higgins…what would you do to ensure a Happy Ending?  Thanks for your help Jen!



Dear Brian, I mean, “Anonymous,” Read full story »

January 27, 2010

Will Fan For Chocolate!

Unlike moldy cheese, debtors, and incontinence, chocolate is probably something you want more of in your life.

So, in honor of this weekend’s ChocolateFest, I am giving away some fun chocolatey prizes, and all you have to do to enter to win is become a fan of Under the Table With Jen on Facebook or sign up for my weekly newsletter, Table Scraps! Or both, if you want, you overachiever you.
chocolaterow One click of your mouse and you could win one of the following prizes:

1st: A pair of tickets to this weekend’s ChocolateFest at the World Forestry Center!

2nd: Your very own copy of “Chocolate Smarts!”

3rd: A half eaten Xocolatl de Davíd Raleigh bar! Just kidding, I didn’t even open it.


Deadline for me to tell the WFC who gets to pick up the tickets at Will Call is Friday at 9am, so you must be an Under the Table With Jen Facebook Fan or Table Scraps subscriber by then! I will announce the winner tomorrow morning on the blog, and I will send them a Facebook message/email too, so if you enter, make sure you check your inbox tomorrow.

Thank you, as always, for reading. You are more precious to me than my imaginary family cacao plantation, and believe me, that is saying a lot.

January 26, 2010

Eat, Help, Love

Roasted goat and rum—eat like a pirate and raise money for Haiti at the same time this Saturday night at Olympic Provisions.

I just held a supper club event at Olympic Provisions last week and it was one of the best dinner parties I’ve ever had. The space is gorgeous, the people are wonderful, and the food is A++. You’ll not be disappointed!


January 25, 2010

Etta in the Park

The mobile outpost of someday-to-open Violetta restaurant, the “Etta” truck’s cheery bright yellow and blue visage was a beacon of lunch in the midst of downtown Director Park’s cool granite and glass facade this afternoon.


Read full story »

January 24, 2010

Big Pink Chill HALF OFF!

My birthday is a mere nine months away, so you’ve probably started thinking about what to get me. I’m happy to say your search is over. Because the thing I have lusted over more than anything else in the entire universe, including George Clooney, has just gone on sale. HALF OFF!


I am Half Off. Jen really, really wants me. This seems like a simple equation.

Read full story »

January 21, 2010

Three A+ Lunches Under $10

Round these parts, you can get a lot of lunch bang for your sawbuck. Food carts, downtown dens of midday dining like Blueplate and Hush Hush Cafe, and even some of the fancier restaurants offer plenty–and plentiful–lunch specials that keep you well fed and your bill in the single digits.


Do NOT print this and attempt to buy your lunch with it.

I like to keep my lunch life both cheap and interesting, so I’m always on the lookout for new lunch spots with good deals. Here are three new places where I’ve been eating well and eating cheap these past couple of weeks. Read full story »

January 20, 2010

Pie Thunder From Down Under

When I try a new restaurant or food that captures the affections of my taste buds, I feel the need to spread my joy immediately, via telephone, via text, via departing comments to people in line and passerby near the door.

After all, when you’re in love, you want to sing it from the rooftops, be your l’amour the brooding, surprisingly-muscular-under-all-those-layers-of-black hipster you enjoyed a brief but torrid affair with on the 15 between SW 2nd Avenue and SE 39th Avenue, or be your l’amour a Pie. Yes, a Pie. Pie deserves true love too, or at least a chance at it. Read full story »

January 19, 2010

Dovetail Bakery Open, Pastrygirl Not Open (Yet)

Dovetail Bakery opened their first brick ‘n mortar retail bakery this past Friday at the corner of NE 31st and Alberta, offering long-suffering fans a permanent place to enjoy a hot cup of Courier Coffee and some of the finest vegan pastries in town.


Read full story »

January 15, 2010

Culinary Nooners Part II

This is part two of an Under the Table series entitled “Culinary Nooners,” where I find out-of-the-ordinary lunchtime destinations so you can have a little midday mini-adventure. You know, spice up your lunch life.

Ever have a nostalgic flashback to your good old high school cafeteria, pining for the days when your iceberg lettuce salad with extra ranch and concave grilled cheese sandwich and 600-oz fountain Coke came on a red plastic tray for the whopping price tag of $5? Yeah, me neither.

But while I may not miss high school “cuisine,” or anything about high school for that matter, there’s just something about a cafeteria. Maybe it’s the comforting lack of atmosphere, the predictably unpalatable but incredibly cheap food, the little cartons of chocolate milk, the 101 stories you can make up about the people sitting in rows at long plastic tables gossiping about work or playing cards or reading romance novels while chewing their rubber hamburger cud.


In this installment of Culinary Nooners, you’ll get a blast into the past, and a Nestlé Drumstick too, at the Express Cafe in the United States Post Office in the Pearl District, a hidden gem (I use this term lightly, mind you) where your grilled cheesesteak comes with a free bodice-ripper, and you just might be invited to join a rousing game of Uno by a guy wearing a t-shirt that says “I used up all my sick days, so I just called in Dead.” Read full story »

January 14, 2010

Table For Twelve Returns With A Big, Fat Fibula

Dear Food Friends**,

Once upon a time sis Michelle and I had a supper club. It was called Table For Twelve and it was a rollicking good time. We ate, we drank, we met fun new people who also loved to eat and drink, sometimes we conducted ourselves with grace and dignity like our governess Nonna taught us, sometimes we flashed our wunderpants to the occupants of Le Pigeon and ran home barefoot. It was the best supper club in Portland.

Then, Hollywood came calling. Read full story »

January 14, 2010

Lovely’s Lovely

We had a lovely dinner indeed at just-opened Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, the newest dining venture from the Minnick sisters, who delighted Portlanders with their charming North Portland dinner den Lovely Hula Hands for many years before closing the doors Dec. 31 for personal and staff-related reasons.  You can read their farewell letter here. Read full story »

January 13, 2010

Table for Twelve Returns

Table For Twelve is back. Why should you care? Because it’s the best supper club in Portland, that’s why, bucko.

Here is how it works, in a nutshell. Once a month, me and sis Michelle join 10 of our closest friends/people we’ve never even met before and patronize one of the most interesting restaurants in Portland. We eat, we drink, we laugh, we meet new people, we share desserts with them even though for all we know they have the heebeejeebees, we drink too much, we embarrass ourselves, we run home barefoot, etc. The experience varies a little each time.

We print up meal rating/comment cards for you to fill out after the meal, which Michelle almost always loses, meaning she then has to make up the ratings and comments in our post-meal “review,” which is why a lot of the “comments” say something like “my favorite part of the meal was when michelle flipped jen’s dress up in front of the front window of le pigeon and everyone saw her wunderpants.” This is a true story, actually, which now causes me to wonder why it is we’re resurrecting TFT? Oh right, because it’s the best supper club in Portland. (Note to self: Wear pants on the second Wednesday of every month.) If you want to more about how it works, please click here to see details and our commandments of etiquette. We have 10 of them, just like Mt. Sinai.

While the ship has sort of sailed as far as having TFT tomorrow night, we will be having an amazing dinner next week at a very fun meaty new restaurant. You might be able to guess which one. I’ll be sending out the official invite for next week’s dinner, and subsequent dinners, in my weekly newsletter, Table Scraps. If you don’t already get Table Scraps, you can sign up here. It’s pretty painless. You input your name and email address, which I would never ever sell for money or even chocolate, and every Thursday you get Table Scraps in your inbox. And you get first dibs on Table For Twelve. It seems like a win-win to me.

Looking forward to seeing you at the table!

January 10, 2010

Gratin and Glücklich Endes at Grüner

I went out of town for the holidays, so sis Michelle and I celebrated a belated Christmas dinner at Grüner last week. Read full story »

January 7, 2010

Lucy Loves Bacon

Mette’s dog Lucy, the official Under the Table mascot, is caught in a moment of pure bacon lust.


Lucy Gets the Last Piece of Bacon

January 4, 2010

Foster Burger Open

I’ve been off the grid for a couple of weeks, which was lovely. No tweets, no updates, no posts, no check-ins, not much of anything really. Just me, my new book Far Flung and Well Fed: The Food Writing of R.W. Apple, Jr., and a bottle of champagne. Okay, a few bottles.

Which is my excuse for not posting this press release sooner. 


Foster Burger, 5339 SE Foster Road, Portland, 97206, (503) 775-2077, opens its doors tonight.

Chef Daniel Mondok (Sel Gris Restaurant and James Beard Nominee) has put together a short and sweet menu (see attached) featuring house ground burgers, hand cut fries, meal size salads and milkshakes.  Foster Burger will be open for seven consecutive days (December 29th to January 4th) and then will phase into its normal opening schedule:

Thursday to Monday –  Open 5pm to 11pm

Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday

Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Here is the menu, in case you want to torment yourself reading it while eating your healthy New Year’s Resolution dinner of lettuce leaf-wrapped tofu.
Read full story »