Posts for August, 2012

August 24, 2012

Hey Mambo, This Weekend’s So Italiano!

Sometimes, thanks to wearisome plagues like jobs, budgets, offspring that are legally mandated to attend school, and/or a debilitating fear of pasta, we do not get to live the lives we were truly meant to, the lives that involve spending August in Italy.

Naughty Marcello!

Naughty Marcello!

So, intrepid, undaunted epicureans that we are, we get a little creative. We put our DIY pants on and paint the kitchen to resemble an artistocratically-crumbling 17th century Umbrian farmhouse, with questionable, but charming results (“It’s so weird honey, I came home and those darn kids had painted the kitchen walls in the likeness of an Umbrian farmhouse! Maybe it’s time to think about boarding school!). We rent out Taste Unique for a week and speak Italian with patient, gracious Chef Stefania while she lets us taste everything she’s cooking, even though we both know full well our “Italian” is the remnants of our high school Spanish spiced up with garbled Soprano-isms. We hide out in the toolshed with a crate of Sangiovese and watch Under The Tuscan Sun on repeat, shaking a pitchfork at the screen with genuine passion each time Diane Lane arrives at her appallingly good-looking lover’s gorgeous seaside apartment to find him frolicking with an Italian underwear model.

And this particular weekend, we immerse ourselves in the culture, music, vivacity and most importantly, food and fermentations of The Boot at a belly-bursting double feature—the all weekend-long Festa Italiana in Pioneer Courthouse Square, followed by a dreamlike afternoon of wine tasting, Sunday, Aug. 26th from 1-5pm, at idyllic Cana’s Feast Winery’s Italy in the Valley, a valley that looks something like this in the summer. Not too shabby, eh? Read full story »

August 23, 2012

2nd Story, One Year In

This week, for Eater PDX‘s “One Year In” restaurant anniversary report, I got to interview chef/owner Erin McBride of 2nd Story, the tiny, quaint small plates spot sitting atop SE 11th Avenue’s Cellar Door Roasters. This month, 2nd Story quietly celebrated its one year anniversary, so I bellied up to the (homemade) bar with McBride and got the dish on first year nuances, like how to apply barn-raising principles to a rather impromptu restaurant opening, reconciling cash-in-the-walls dreams with ReStore budgets, thinking like a farm wife, and learning to laugh when the oven won’t unlock. Read article>>

Photo by Dina Avila of Dina Avila Photography

Photo by Dina Avila of Dina Avila Photography

August 22, 2012

Winner Wednesday: FEAST PORTLAND!

If you are Wiccan, you already have Autumn Equinox celebrations covered—a little light meditation followed by worshipping Pomona the goddess of fruit trees, reclaiming your inner crone, and holding a spiral dance. But the rest of us could also use something sensationally entertaining on this most holiest of late September days, and that sensational something has been conjured in ways true foodlovers can only dream of—behold, FEAST PORTLAND!*

(For the full effect, please shout those last two words while imagining sequin-draped Feast founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch leaping out of a giant Oregon product-filled cornucopia and then dancing a vigorous spiral dance/rhumba with chefs Gregory Gourdet and Cathy Whims.) Read full story »

August 10, 2012

10 Top Alberta & Pearl Eats

It’s been a blast working on the 2013 Zagat Portland restaurant guide this summer, despite the fact that I now dream in quotation marks. And now, as Zagat launches into the review period for their upcoming Portland Shopping & Food Lovers guide, you too have the chance to immortalize your opinion in quotation marks (and win prizes) by giving your two cents to and about your favorite PDX  retail spots, particularly the food-related ones. Then, salivate over these lists I wrote for the Zagat blog, highlighting 10 tried, true and new eateries deliciously dotting the Alberta and Pearl District culinary landscapes.

10 Must-Try Restaurants Near the Alberta Arts District in Portland

Where To Eat Near Portland’s Pearl District Read full story »

August 9, 2012

Gatekeepers: Ox

Since chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton‘s busy, buzzy, deliciously-smoky Ox opened April 24 to near-instant adoration, general manager Natalie Obeso (Commander’s Palace, Metrovino) has deftly manned the door, as wildfire word of mouth and critical acclaim (particularly the Oregonian’s grade A late-July review) prompted waits to balloon to two and a half hours — inspiring the Dentons to open their own bar/waiting room, Whey Bar, scheduled to debut next week.

gatekeepersnatalieThis week, I sat down with with Obeso for Eater PDX’s Gatekeepers series, and got the skinny on eager diners willing to endure two-and-a-half-hour waits, the best lamb chop she’s ever tasted, becoming immune to smelling like a campfire, and the restorative power of an empanada.


August 8, 2012

Winner Wednesday: Txakparti!

Sure, vacationing is great, but sometimes it’s excruciating to be out of town when Portland’s having one of its epically entertaining summer weekends. Like, say, this weekend, when I happen to be visiting family in Southern Oregon, which means that while everyone back in PDX will be waking up on Saturday morning all aquiver with the excitement of Cork Bottle Shop’s Txakparti at the Alberta Street Fair, I will be waking up to my mother’s raw chicken-fed giant schnauzer drooling salmonella in my face at 6am. (Not joking.)(Sometimes, “vacationing” is a loosely used term.)

But let’s focus on your Saturday, the super fun, non-pathogenic one, the one where the always highly-anticipated Alberta Street Fair colors Alberta Street beautiful with live music, arts and crafts, and plenty of food booths and carts, while Cork hosts their very own Basque beverage-fueled block party. Read full story »

August 3, 2012

A Tale of Two Cheese Carts

Cheese and crackers are one of those childhood staples, like mac n cheese or cartoons, that you never really outgrow, you just consume them in increasingly sophisticated ways, generally involving Steve Jones’ Cheese Bar or Pixar. And since this is Portland, it makes perfect sense that at some point, sophisticated cheese consumption would merge with the food cart phenomenon, hence, this tasty peek at two new mobile purveyors of a youthful classic all growed up. Read full story »

August 2, 2012

Mad Dogs and Picnic Clubs

Summer, sweet summer, so benign thus far, is allegedly going to get a lot hotter this weekend, soaring sweatily into the 90s to the delight of mad dogs and Englishmen citywide. What to do? You could eat all the frostbitten fudge pops and mail order steaks in the garage freezer and convert it into a temporary den, you could all sit in shave ice-filled bean bags and take turns hugging the frozen ice cream maker insert while watching Doctor Zhivago, or you could bravely slather on SPF 9000 and hit a local park for your very own picnic club. Read full story »