December 4, 2013
December 4, 2013
Ever since I became an ardent green smoothier, I hardly ever get sick. But since the second edition of Best Places To Stuff Your Faces came out last month and I’ve been running around like a headless future coq au vin and neglecting my green smoothie regiment, the other day all my bragging about never getting sick was rewarded with the stirrings of a nasty cold. Naturally, the first sniffle sent me careening towards Walgreens on SE Belmont…and right on past, because I had to get up the street to Cheese Bar‘s Raclette Wednesday before the catarrh fully settled in, obliterating my most important sense’s ability to properly appreciate the wonder of melted raclette cheese.
November 20, 2013
Hard cider is enjoying an unprecedented comeback of late, and the Pacific Northwest’s many excellent cider producers are doing their part to buoy the boom. In last month’s Mix Magazine, I highlighted six exemplary local cider makers that will give you a whole new perspective on the forbidden fruit. Drink, discuss, repeat, and pretty soon, you’ll be throwing around terms like sous-bois, scrumpy, keeving and kilderkin like the most fervid of cider savants.
Read the article here, and if it gives you a mighty thirst for fermented Foxwhelps, well, how handy that Portland’s principal cider source, Bushwhacker Cidery, is hosting a lively Finnriver Farm & Cidery tasting fest tomorrow. Bushwhacker is devoting all eight of their taps to Finnriver ciders, and you’ll also be able to sample their champagne style cider, port-style apple wine and apple brandy fruit wines. Plus, chocolatier Vanessa Holden from Smitten Truffles will be handcrafting custom chocolate “cordial cups,” because why not go all the way and sip your apple wine from a chocolate cup? That is how you roll.
All event details here, but all you really need to know is that it starts tomorrow, 11/21, at 5pm and goes until 9pm. Cheers!
November 18, 2013
While positive press continues to swarm the new Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird cookbook, I had yet to check it out, so it was nice to combine my first browse with a four-course meal by Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker, Multnomah Athletic Club executive chef Philippe Boulot, and Boulot’s kitchen crew at the MAC this weekend.
The Friday night feast showcased four impressive recipes from the book, and equally or perhaps even more impressively, Gabe inscribed each cookbook with the admonition to “Have a blast in the kitchen, that’s how I do it,” then drew a pigeon underneath. I used to teach kindergarten, and I would have given this illustration an A+, although to be fair, that’s the only drawing grade you ever give in kindergarten.
Over the course of the evening, we all dined on hamachi with cured foie gras, truffles and mandarins; Read full story »
November 15, 2013
Sometimes people get mad at me when I say that I’m getting my chub on, because admittedly I could be a lot huger considering how often I eat, but fortunately I inherited my mother’s diligent metabolism. However, I can tell when I’ve been hitting the pecan sticky buns a little too hard and the “gym”* not hard enough because my hips start to jut out and form little triangular bulges. We all put our weight on differently and I don’t get love handles, I get toast points.
So the other day I was browsing the Daily Mail and came across a post about how Miranda Kerr stays in shape, and even though I know the real reason is because she’s an android with a very good wig, I still read it because I’m a sucker for articles like that, and because I thought maybe there would be some helpful advice about how to get rid of my autumnal toast points. The article said Miranda uses this app called Moves to track her steps every day, which was of particular interest because my bf Michelle had been bragging about her new Fitbit motiontracking device, but it costs the equivalent of 35 Tabor Bread pecan sticky buns, so fuggedaboutit. I have priorities, and my priorities are sticky buns.
November 14, 2013
Last fall, I drove out into the wilds of tiny, rural Goldendale, Washington, to spend the weekend with the Grand Central Baking Company family for a Mix Magazine profile about their annual family cider pressing tradition. They were all warm and wonderful hosts, and best of all, the entire family cooked pretty much nonstop.
They were cooking when I got there, they were cooking when I left, and they were cooking most of the time in between, although they did break now and then to eat, sleep, throw sticks to the five family dogs, sip bourbon around the fire pit, and take walks around their incredibly scenic farm, complete with its own apple orchard, pond, and barn (horses included). Oh yes, and they also pressed one metric ton of apples into fresh cider. There was that, too.
The resulting article, styled and photographed beautifully by John Valls and his wife Theresa, came out in last month’s Mix, and you can read it online here. It includes recipes for Butterflied Salmon Steaks With Savory Relish, Cast-Iron Brassicas With Roasted Red Peppers, Butternut Squash Gratin, Gwenyth’s Baked Apples, and Pine Street Bakery’s Savory Biscuits. They’re all very Thanksgiving friendly, so keep that in mind of you need a 6th or 36th course for the ambitious T-Day menu you’re still fine tuning.
September 5, 2013
Last Saturday, I had one goal: to sit on the sofa and read the Daily Mail while eating cake. Because that’s what Saturdays are for. But Michelle kept calling and calling, so finally I answered, reluctantly, because when she calls five times in a row it usually means she wants me to get off the couch, stop reading the Daily Mail, and leave the house. I was not wrong–turns out she had a bee in her bonnet about going to the very first Portland Diner en Blanc pop up picnic.
August 30, 2013
Here in Portland, we’ve become accustomed to happy hours with some meat on their bones. Half-heartedly discounted mixed nuts and olives simply won’t do. And as the happy hour ante continues to rise, even the city’s most esteemed restaurants are offering specials substantial enough to send cheap eats lovers into paroxysms of joy. If you’re willing to eat dinner with the early birds, here are the best places for a full-on feast at sample sale prices, as found in my happy hour roundup in this month’s Mix Magazine.
And per the big website update I’ve been working on this summer, I’ve been adding the best and most filling happy hours to the Under the Table HH section, which you can find thisaway>>
August 29, 2013
Late last August, on the heels of Pix Patisserie’s 10-year anniversary, owner and executive chef Cheryl Wakerhauser surprised many a macaron and champagne-loving Portlander when she consolidated her popular North Williams Avenue and Division Street cafes into a 3,000-square foot former Christian daycare, sharing the 2200 block of East Burnside with Heart Roasters and the late June.
She planted a few vines out front, built a pétanque court, lined the walls with empty champagne bottles, put a bull on it, and debuted her new concept — a space that’s half Pix, half Bar Vivant, a San Sebastián-style tapas bar where porrons are the reigning vessel and throwing your napkin on the floor isn’t rude, it’s expected. Having just celebrated this delicious duo’s first anniversary, Wakerhauser reflects on the nerves-fraying logistics of moving two restaurants in one day, the virtues of standing while you eat, mythical pétanque-playing frat boys, the financial rewards of being crazy, and where to find the Pyrenees in PDX, in this interview I did for Eater PDX’s One Year In feature, right this way>>
August 16, 2013
Looking at photos of the Portland Picnic Society shenanigans on Instagram, it probably looks like all fun and games and bottled cocktails and ridiculously beautiful food. Well guess what, it’s hard work. Especially the location scouting. Which is how I found myself sitting alone in the rain at the Washington Park amphitheater last night, eating gooseberry granita out of a Tupperware tub with a spoon and reading a trashy romance novel. Not. Glamorous.
This month’s PPS theme, since we attempt to adhere to themes and loosely coordinate who’s bringing what so we don’t end up with a dozen plates of deviled eggs and one bowl of chocolate frogs (not that that’s a bad thing, it’s a normal day’s lunch at UTTWJ headquarters), was Mediterranean Mezze, and it was decided that since Portland’s glorious International Rose Test Garden is in full bloom, we’d convene there.
July 5, 2013
I’ve never been a good judge of square footage, but once upon a time I lived in a less-than-400-square-foot studio and I’d say darling new Quin candy shoppe is about the size of that studio’s kitchen, so…you know, it’s teeny. But this small space has capacious charm, plus, it’s efficient, because when you’re frantically grabbing for one of everything on a store’s shelves, it’s handy to be able to stand in one spot while you’re doing so.
The sweet younger sibling of master sugar mama Jami Curl‘s Saint Cupcake brethren, this closet o’ candy is the first inhabitant of downtown’s brand-new Union Way–a narrow passageway lined with small shops to be filled with all manner of exquisiteness, i.e., a Portlandized version of Diagon Alley.
Inside, dark wood shelves showcase Curl’s painstakingly cultivated confection collection–sparkling blackberry tangerine and smoked cola gummidrops, puckery cherry sour supremes, soft caramels infused with Steven Smith chai tea or studded with popcorn, jars of Sniffle Slayer lollipops, loops of Marshallow By The Foot made with Water Avenue Coffee and Oregon strawberries, and bright, fruity Dreams Come Chews (Curl’s take on that old candy aisle favorite, Starburst).
May 1, 2013
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Southern Oregon lately, which has proved to be a somewhat unexpected trove of very talented artisans and exciting food and wine finds. When I go, my home base is the super charming historic town of Jacksonville (NOT to be confused with the not nearly as charming Jacksonville, Florida), which, in addition to being the perfect spot to spend a romantic weekend with your main squeeze or getaway with your good-time girls/boys, is the gateway to the Applegate Valley, a peaceful, picturesque landscape hiding nearly 20 top notch wineries in its rolling hills.
So, I plotted out a thorough Facestuffer Guide to a fun, winey diney weekend in Jacksonville ($3, buy here in my new store!), and although the guide lists my top 6 tasting rooms, I also put together a broader Citysearch Guide to the Applegate’s best wineries–Grapes, Gliders and Grass Pants: Best Sips on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail.
April 29, 2013
The Portland Picnic Society members do lots of things together—we dine together, we shop together, we cook together, and we even get crabs together. This past week, on a fortuitously sunny April evening, we and our crabs convened at Wallace Park in Northwest Portland for a Dungeness-fueled picnic to remember.
April 19, 2013
Last September, my fellow Portland Picnic Society members and I partook in a picnic photo shoot for Sunset Magazine. It was so grueling—seven long hours of a perfect late summer day spent languishing in St. Johns’ Cathedral Park, doing this, mostly,
April 18, 2013
We all have big dreams, and most of mine are pretty standard fare—the Parisian apartment on rue Cler, the bulldog trained to retrieve another bottle of rosé, the cashmere tea cozy that comes attached to a hot British butler, the bottomless chocolate bonbon box, the baby dragon that boils perfect 7-minute eggs with his nostrils…etc., etc. But above all else, there has hovered one thing—an iPhone case covered in croissants. The impossible dream.
But if I have learned one thing in this life, it’s that when one has an impossible dream, one just needs to email Mette Hornung Rankin of the Bureau of Betterment, brilliant designer, illustrator, and the other half of Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces. And then, approximately 10 minutes later, you have this:
February 13, 2013
As you may have noticed , the universe is a flurry of pink, red and white this week, thanks to that most insidiously endearing of holidays, Valentine’s Day. I’m not much for tacky stuffed animals, overpriced floral arrangements and stuffy white tablecloth prix fixes, but I do like any sort of excuse to get chocolate, AND the new Die Hard movie is opening tomorrow, so I think it’s going to be a good day. And on that subject, here’s my holiday Citysearch Guide: Exceptionally Romantic V-Day Dining Destinations Before/After Seeing the New Die Hard Movie.
January 31, 2013
This week on Eater, I interviewed Johanna Ware, chef-owner of Smallwares, and walked away incredibly impressed by her drive and dedication to both her restaurant and her vision. I also walked away with a curious craving for chicken lollipops, which I intend to return and do something about very soon.
January 21, 2013
Happy Monday all! This weekend I posted my latest Citysearch guide, a roundup of some of my favorite PDX soup swamis, entitled “Slurp It, Slurp It Good: PDX’s Best Soup Sources.” Citysearch has been encouraging us scouts to add video intros to each guide, and I’ve demurred 23 times, but you know what they say, 24th time’s the charm! Well, it is and it isn’t–I’m not actually the greatest videographer, as evidenced by my alluring fish face greeting you at the start of the clip, but hey, I never promised you a rose garden. Slurp on!
January 16, 2013
Sit at the wide stone bar facing this homey Mt. Tabor bakery’s giant wood-fired bread oven at your own peril—over my series of visits, I’ve received no fewer than three warnings that having a front row view of a loaf’s journey from yeast to feast can possibly result in a peel to the nose. Not a Hollywood kind of peel, but the kind that looks like a giant gelato spoon and is made of unfeeling, unyielding wood. So, consider yourself warned, and with that out of the way, let’s talk about the bread. Read full story »
January 15, 2013
After 30-something years of teaching, my mom retired this year, and she’s rapidly checking things off her retirement bucket list, which is great, because a lot of her agenda items involve meals and food-centric excursions and I’m invited. Which is how I ended up eating a seven-course breakfast in a haunted coastal cliff-hugging Oregon lightkeeper’s house-turned-B&B last week. Yes, I’m the girl who goes to B&Bs with her mom. Laugh all you want! Because the one with the ricotta-stuffed Oregon marionberry blintz in her belly laughs last, and that is me. Read full story »
January 9, 2013
Steak and kidney pie, Scotch eggs, and Strongbow–it’s what’s for dinner. Hence, my new Citysearch Guide, “Portland’s Finest Craic-Laced Strongholds of Pints ‘n Pub Grub.” Blimey!
January 8, 2013
Sunday morning, I woke up with berry jam in my hair. At first, I lay there rolling the seeds between my fingers, perplexed. We don’t have any jam in the refrigerator at the moment, it’s too full of green smoothie fodder. Had I had begun sleepeating, like those poor Ambien victims who wake up gripping a ravaged package of hamburger buns?! Read full story »
January 7, 2013
Because it’s nearly wine o’clock, here’s my latest Citysearch Guide…Sublime Spots to Relax and Uncork: PDX’s Best Wine Bars.
January 2, 2013
In honor of Day 2 of 2013, and what a brilliant, beautiful, shining day it is, I’m sharing my two newest Citysearch Guides with all you resolved-to-be-healthier sorts, because they involve mindful, plant-based eating and turning yourself into a human pretzel, in whichever order you prefer. Read full story »
January 1, 2013
Well…Happy New Year! Today’s a bit confusing. It’s sunny and bright. I woke up at 7am. I wasn’t hungover. My refrigerator looked like this:
WHO AM I? WHERE AM I? Read full story »
October 12, 2012
Recently, I joined the Citysearch team as their Portland captain, which basically means I regularly post tips and writeups on Citysearch Portland about what deliciousness I’ve been eating around town. So you know, the usual. One aspect of the new and improved Citysearch format that I’m really having fun with are the Guides–curated thematic picture boards of exceptional eats.
So far I’ve done a croissant guide (Bakeries With Croissants Worth Getting Crumbs In Your Cleavage For) and a sweet shop guide (Shops Where You May Have To Sedate Your Sweet Tooth If It’s Overly Excitable), and today, I bring you: Spots Where You’ll Never Be A Few Sandwiches Short of a Picnic. In the most literal sense, of course. See all 9 sandwich swamis here>>
October 2, 2012
Last fall, I took a road trip to one of my happiest of happy places–quaint Camp Sherman–to write an article about a few of Portland’s most talented tastemakers who just so happen to worship fly fishing. And as it turns out, despite its sedate appearance, fly fishing really works up an appetite. Naturally, this necessitated a feast of feasts, prepared in a cute cabin at the edge of the magnificent Metolius River.
My resulting behind the scenes peek at these chefs/salumists/farmer-cidermakers on their off hours, complete with gorgeous photographs by the ever-brilliant David Reamer, just came out this week in Mix Magazine. It’s a fun read with loads of recipes so good they are even tempting me to get in the kitchen, and that’s saying a lot. You can pick up a Mix on the stand, or read the article online here>>
I took plenty of pictures of my own that weekend, with my mighty iPhone 4s, pretty purple haze free ones too. I thought I’d share a few, for a look behind the scenes of the scene’s behind. Or something like that. Read full story »
September 28, 2012
Last week, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Wafu chef Trent Pierce about the Fin-to-Wafu (and Roe) transition, being true to your ramen visions, the make-or-break value of a patio, and vital lessons learned when one opens three restaurants in three years. Here’s the dish on Eater PDX:
Born to third-generation restaurateurs, Trent Pierce was more interested in sports than the family business until age 19, when a track injury and a reading of Marco Pierre White’s White Heat propelled him into his first restaurant job, at McMenamins’ Black Rabbit. After stints at Belly Timber, Yakuza, Foster Burger, and Sel Gris, Pierce finally found an outlet for his passion for seafood at short-lived but acclaimed Fin, which shuttered unexpectedly last Valentine’s Day after only six months, leading him to open Japanese small-plates hotspot Wafu on September 2, 2011….read rest of article>>
August 24, 2012
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.
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
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>>
August 22, 2012
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
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.
August 9, 2012
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.
This 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
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
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
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 »
July 19, 2012
Next weekend, the Oregon Brewers Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary (the Silver Anniversary, in Hallmark-speak), but instead of getting itself a pewter Homer Simpson Bottle Opener and calling it a day, it’s throwing you and yours a huge brewhaha at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Read full story »
July 19, 2012
I spent last weekend sailing Seattle’s Lake Washington in a 26-foot sloop with nautically-inclined friends, drinking sparkly from rubber-bottomed plastic goblets, trying not to upchuck our prawns, and sleeping with our eyes propped open in case we were attacked by Emerald City pirates and we had to fight them off with empty cremant bottles, prawn tails, and mouldy life jackets. Can we top that this weekend? Maybe not. But we sure can try!
After all, the city is a hotbed of to-dos—from lavender fests and pickle-offs to wine country mixers and car-free bike rides, to Southeast street fairs and hot Scots in kilts throwing their haggis around. All pirate free! (Not guaranteed, after all, this is Portland). Read full story »
July 12, 2012
Not content to go steady with America’s day of independence, July also has an annual dalliance with France’s celebration of their most notorious national tantrum. And more than 200 years after the fact, we get to commiserate with widespread fêtes like downtown’s Bastille in the City, various patriotic wine tastings and feasts scattered about the city like macaron crumbs, and Sunday’s sure to be glorious Bastille in the Wine Country (which I have a pair of giveaway tickets for, read on for how-to-win info), all of which will have your weekend social calendar throwing its beret in the air and screaming “Sacre Bleu!”
July 12, 2012
The other day, a confused teenager in a sturdy sedan barreled the wrong way up the Hawthorne Bridge and head-on into my front grille, totaling my beloved CR-V and reducing me to a hobbling hobble (temporarily, thankfully) and insurance company-stalking shrew, and frankly, being in a good mood this week has been challenging.
Providentially, the New York Times just ran an article about the secret of happiness, which surprisingly, does not involve installing a chocolate fountain in the kitchen (drat), but rather, giving to others. How nice then, that today I have two pairs of tickets to Widmer Brothers’ Explore Your Craft to give away to two lucky readers! Read full story »
July 6, 2012
A recent study has revealed that Vitamin D deficiency probably causes weight gain, which is unfortunate news for Portlanders already losing sleep over their rickets. With this depressing scientific epiphany in mind, it stands to reason that if our late-breaking-summer is already making you fat, what’s a few more beers? Sure, drinking may not replenish your body’s supply of the Sunshine Vitamin, but here are 11 beer and wine-fueled fiestas that will help you forget about your thunder thighs and bowlegs.
July 6, 2012
If you haven’t been following the delicious developments of Portland’s very own mega-food festival for the past few months, it’s time to get Feast fever. With its crème de la crème guest list, once-in-a-lifetime suppers schedule, and tempting array of markets, tastings and food & drink seminars, there’s the proverbial something for everyone in September’s lineup, be it Mark Bittman speaking at the Schnitz, a Bunk-hosted Sandwich Invitational, the global street food-celebrating Night Market, Nancy Silverton’s mortar & pestle sauces class, or the nearly sold-out Inaki Aizpitarte and Daniel Patterson dinner (swoon).
A few weeks ago, illustrious Feast founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch threw a lively launch party at Spirit of 77, complete with stellar cocktails, a Salt & Straw cart, and a few unforgettable eats—Xocolatl de David’s foietella toasts with pickled green strawberries, Ox’s morcilla-topped deviled eggs, and these oh-so-summery shrimp rolls courtesy of Grand Central Bakery.
Grand Central was kind enough to share the recipe, so now, just in time for what’s shaping up to be a brilliant weekend, you can be the star of the picnic show. And as for Feast, as The Happenings would say, See You In September.
July 5, 2012
We all need a little escape now and then, whether it involves a weeklong jaunt to Kauai, a four-martini, no-dessert-left-behind meal at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, a raunchy S&M bestseller-instigated trip to the hardware store for rope and duct tape, or a warm summer evening spent sampling all the delights of a local epicurean getaway without leaving the comfort of beautiful Red Ridge Farms. Read full story »
June 29, 2012
Remember in high school, when you used to drive around town on Wednesday night asking people where the party was? Well, that was embarrassing for everyone, and in the interest of you not repeating past mistakes, I found the parties for you this Wednesday, which happens to be the Fourth of July. So put earmuffs on the dog, tuck a few spare sparklers in your red, white and blue wunderpants, and go celebrate America’s birthday with gusto, green chile cheeseburgers, and a very small horse named Harley, you party animal you. Read full story »
June 28, 2012
For eight years, Park Kitchen chef/owner Scott Dolich was content serving diners the reliable and celebrated ingredient-driven cuisine that has made his cozy, enduringly popular North Park Blocks restaurant a Portland dining scene mainstay. Then, early last summer, facing a surplus of kitchen talent and the serendipitous availability of his biggest Portland building crush, Dolich opened his unique version of a tavern in an off the-beaten-path Northwest Portland nook, brought in molecular gastronomy-leaning PK sous chef Will Preisch as executive chef, and the Bent Brick was born.
A year later, I interviewed Dolich for Eater PDX about opening day out-of-body experiences, the challenges of raising two very different kids restaurants, why you’ll probably maybe never see a Bent Brick burger, and how a second restaurant is better midlife crisis material than a Ferrari.
June 27, 2012
Being a former kindergarten teacher and all, I’m quite keen on rhyming words. I’m also quite keen on wine, because one adopts certain coping mechanisms when their professional life involves spending 7 hours a day with two dozen five-year-olds, and as we all know, some of the finest coping mechanisms ever invented are liquid, chilled, alcoholic, and…pink. Without further ado, meet Drink Pink, Patton Valley Vineyard’s ode to the loveliest and most drinkable of summer coping mechanisms—Willamette Valley rosé. Read full story »
June 22, 2012
In honor of the fortuitously warm first day of summer, a few lovely friends and I convened at Laurelhurst Park Wednesday evening to celebrate the inaugural meeting of the Portland Picnic Society. It was a joyous and filling event, rendered an indelible memory thanks to a trés Portland composite of beautiful food, half-naked tightrope walkers, inquisitive dogs with little to no concept of personal picnicking space, a delightfully awkward corporate team-building gathering to openly spy on, and a soundtrack of secondhand mariachi music from the raucous graduation party down the way. Read full story »
June 21, 2012
Yesterday was the first day of summer, but here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard not to have a love-hate relationship with the onset of the fairest season of them all, mostly because the onset of summer isn’t actually very summery at all. It’s more like 60 degrees and cloudy with a chance of me moving to the Caribbean. Thank goodness for the farmers’ markets. Read full story »
June 21, 2012
Twenty-two years ago, Nicky USA owner Geoff Latham got his start in the sustainably-raised meat business by selling rabbits to Portland chefs and retailers out of the trunk of his Ford Escort. Now he has a thriving Oregon operation, his name is on the finicky lips of chefs throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and Nicky USA is expanding up into Seattle in a matter of weeks.
This week, I interviewed Latham for Poached, about the 17 years of hard knocks that preceded Nicky’s upswing, his plans for his own poultry plantation, the epic Portland-Seattle chef face-offs and “biggest chefs’ party ever thrown” planned for Nicky’s Wild About Game feastival in September, how home cooks can get their civilian hands on some highly-coveted Spanish ibérico pork, and what he’ll be grilling up this summer. Read interview here>>
June 20, 2012
There are some ingestible things in this world that are preferable when soft—baguettes, marshmallows, and scrambled eggs certainly, but in most instances, cider is preferable hard. (Elementary school autumn festivals excluded.) Read full story »
June 15, 2012
Last week, I traveled down to sunny, sultry, sexy Los Angeles—land of very big dreams, very rich mice, very shiny black Range Rovers, and very good mini-lobster rolls. For a few glorious days, I lived the ASCTV (As Seen in a California Tourism Video) life—sun, sand ‘n surf, Disneyland, and random celebrity sightings included, but when I wasn’t lying by the pool or hiking to the Hollywood sign or wandering around the Venice Canals or just sitting on a bench at The Grove wishing Jason Statham would walk by shirtless on his way to Barney’s* (hey, a girl can dream), I was, of course, eating. Read full story »
June 14, 2012
I love interviewing people for Eater‘s Gatekeepers series…this time around it’s Screen Door co-owner and bona fide popular guy David Mouton, the man who oversees that awe-inspiring weekend brunch line.
In a land where mile-long brunch lines scarcely raise an unmanicured eyebrow, Screen Door commands the most formidable of them all — a three-deep, corner-turning human chain that could prompt the uninformed passerby to suspect an indie label fitted hoodie sample sale lurks within the humble cinder-block walls of this unflaggingly popular Southern restaurant, as opposed to a kitchen full of overworked deep fryers turning out plate after plate of some of the city’s most coveted fried chicken ‘n waffles.
June 13, 2012
In all my years, I’ve never met a card game that I couldn’t lose dramatically at, which is why I never ever play strip poker if I haven’t shaved my legs for a few months. Even as a kid I never quite possessed the adequate patience, strategy, or poker face required to be a card game champion. Fortunately, Drink Deck has devised a card game that makes even someone like me, someone who can’t even beat herself at Solitaire, feel like a winner. A card game that is essentially a 52-stop super Portland pub crawl where you get a free drink at each bar. As Shaggy (a guy who looks like he enjoys a good Portland pub crawl now and then) would say, Zoinks! Read full story »
June 7, 2012
Summer is only two weeks away, and while the weather is failing to cooperate as usual, as intrepid Portlanders, we still doggedly believe that sunny skies and long, warm nights beckon. (Right?? Hey, you! Unpack that U-Haul and un-commence Tuscon migration at once!) Read full story »
May 25, 2012
You work very hard (stop laughing) and you’re likely due for a sabbatical, which is great timing, because you were going to have to take June off anyway. Why’s that? Because the entire month runneth over with so many do-not-miss Portland booze to-dos, you and your future 30-day hangover simply do not have time for sober pursuits, like, for example, your job.
(FYI: In this particular case, honesty is probably not the best policy when filling out your PTO request, ok?) Now that you’ve cleared the way for a seriously soaked June, start stocking up on tickets to these 11 must-drink events: Portland Rose Festival CityFair, Memorial Weekend in Wine Country, Zoo Brew, Amnesia Single Hop Fest, Firkin Fest, Speakeasy 721, Portland Beer Week, Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Rosé in the Rose City, Portland Cider Summit, and the North American Organic Brewers Fest, all of which I’ve detailed for you over on Eater.
May 24, 2012
Tomorrow from 3pm-close, SE Hawthorne Belgian beer bar Bazi Bierbrasserie will be celebrating its hard-earned 1-year anniversary with a good old-fashioned block party. There will be free hot dogs and cake, Timbers tickets giveaways, a 2012 La Folie Sour Brown Ale beer release, and perhaps most thrilling—(fake) Delirium Tremens pink elephant tattoos.
I interviewed owner Hilda Stevens for Eater and got the scoop on her 90-hour work weeks, secret curry mayo, why size does not matter when it comes to Belgians (beers, that is), and how her first year can only be described as “Stoemp.”
May 23, 2012
It’s conventional wisdom that good things come in threes–Stooges, Martinis, and Bachelor Fantasy Suite Dates* all spring to mind. But while wonderful, none of those can hold a candle to the grandaddy of all threes–three courses. Read full story »
May 18, 2012
Over the past few months, Portland has continued to sprout new restaurants, and according to my hasty calculations, it would cost approximately $2 billion to satisfactorily investigate them all, which could explain what happened to JP Morgan Chase. How does one stay up-to-the-minute without dissolving their Roth-IRA to afford it? Do some low-risk culinary exploring at these new and newish hotspot happy hours. Read full story »
May 17, 2012
Welcome to The Weekender, a weekly roundup of fun things for you to do on the weekend in lieu of being a big bump on a hot log, because as the Pet Shop Boys so beautifully put it, “We were never being boring, we were never being bored.” Especially in Portland, land of wild foraging book signings, German Maifest’s, oyster bar previews, catfish-fueled street fairs, and date nights that involve Cuban zombies and Ropa Vieja.
May 16, 2012
There are those of us whose knowledge of wine largely consists of being able to identify a) what color it is, b) whether or not it smells of raspberries, and c) that we like it. (And by ‘those of us’, I mean me.)
Consequently, an epic event like the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration seems almost mystical in nature–whip-smart warlocks of wine flying in from all over the world to attend the University of Pinot, brilliant sommeliers striding through Willamette Valley vineyards swirling, sniffing, sipping, and speaking in wine tongues about appellations, biodynamics and carbonic maceration. Read full story »
May 15, 2012
These days, opportunities to get up close and personal with Portland’s finest tastemakers abound–you can get their insider culinary tips at private supper clubs, you can discuss soil themes on their rooftop gardens, you can cruise the Mediterranean with them, you can river raft Hells Canyon together, and now, you can even sleep in their backyard. No, really. Read full story »
May 14, 2012
Efforts to make the world a better place come in all shapes and sizes–sometimes they are a hotsy-totsy former CIA assassin turned water warrior, sometimes they are the coffee of the person behind you, sometimes they are a couple hours of your Saturday afternoon, and sometimes they are covered in green fur and dispense nut butter. Read full story »
May 10, 2012
May has a lot going for it, holidays-wise–Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Dance Like a Chicken Day, Wildflower Week and National Blood Pressure Month are just a few of the special celebrations hosted by the only month that rhymes with toupee. As though that weren’t enough, it’s also home to Eater’s inaugural Pizza Week, which is devoted to exposing your stomach to as many of Portland’s pizza hotspots as possible. Read full story »
May 10, 2012
Everyone is always telling you to brush your teeth, sleep, and change your undergarments 365 days a year, but hardly anyone promotes tasting wine 365 days a year…until now.
Taste Pinot 365–a collaboration between 13 top Oregon pinot producers who strongly believe that wine tasting should be as much a part of your daily routine as cruising Justin Bieber videos on YouTube–comes to the Olympic Mills Building tonight at 6pm, and for $15 you can sample their wines, enjoy eats by Red Hills Provincial Dining and Olympic Provisions, and plot out your tasting trajectory for the remaining 236 days of 2012.
May 9, 2012
Well, hello again Wednesday! In case you missed last week’s pronouncement, Wednesday is now for winners, sort of like how Virginia is for lovers, but without all the heavy petting and with fun prizes. This week is actually for wine and pear lovers, as there are two tickets for next weekend’s Columbia Gorge Wine and Pear Fest up for grabs. Read full story »
May 9, 2012
Wednesdays just got extra special better–not not only can you be a winner, you can also get free corkage at Aviary.
It’s pretty simple–every Wednesday in May, buy a bottle of wine at Cork on NE Alberta and pick up a coupon for free corkage, then head a few blocks down to Aviary restaurant and pair a delicious dinner with your corkage-free wine.
Wednesday I’m in love, as the song doesn’t go.
May 2, 2012
Historically Wednesdays have only been useful for a) giving us a reason to throw out the underutilized term “Hump Day,” b) kicking off 40 days of breaking Lent resolutions, and c) pretending not to watch American Idol, but as of today they are taking a turn for the better, because every Wednesday on Under The Table, I’ll be including easy-peasy instructions on how to win tickets to one of Portland’s great food and/or drink hoopty-dos. Read full story »
May 1, 2012
Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 13th, which means you have less than two weeks to figure out what gift will adequately convey just how much you appreciate Mom and how she sacrificed her sleep patterns, overall sanity and perky boobage on your behalf. Offhand, I can think of a few things Mom doesn’t want: Kim Kardashian’s Fit In Your Jeans by Friday: Ultimate Butt Body Sculpt DVD, a new vacuum cleaner, a pet honey badger, or you moving back in, but what does she want? World peace and a Sunday brunch adventure. Here are six suggestions for pairing a fun local activity with an excellent brunch on Mom’s Big Day.
April 27, 2012
Here in Portland, we live in a dreamy little green bubble, our days filled with taking long leisurely walks through lush urban parks, sipping pear brandy toddies in cozy gastropubs, shopping for the latest in organic fleece neckties, and spending all our money at the new restaurants that continue to propagate like Spanish Fly-soused old rabbits who live in a shoe.
But sometimes, even though we live in Utopia, it’s nice to get outta town, for many reasons. Travel opens our minds and teaches us new things about ourselves, like how we will react when we accidentally board a flight to Sacramento instead of Santa Fe, or an unattractive married Italian man cops an unwelcome feel, or a rabid wolverine challenges our sovereignty over Campsite 27. And there’s nothing like packing a weekend-sized suitcase to teach you about priorities (monogrammed champagne glasses NOT optional), and what exactly we consider “essential” in life (eight pairs of shoes and two kinds of hair conditioner, check).
I’ve been getting out of town more, exploring fun destinations within a butt-ache’s-distance of Portland (A butt-ache’s distance is how long you can sit in a Honda CR-V or on a plane before you develop an unpleasant butt-ache. Three to five hours, is my best scientific guesstimate.) and bringing back some travel tips for you, so that if you too decide to get outta town, you can eat, drink, shop, sightsee and sleep in rabid wolverine-free comfort.* Read full story »
April 25, 2012
I will take it as a compliment that at the last winery where I flashed my Dundee Hills Passport this week, the girl behind the tasting room bar commented, “Looks like you got some mileage out of that.”
But really, after a few days of being put through its paces, it’s only fair that my passport should have been wrinkled, torn, battered, and stained with chocolate, chévre, and pinot rings. Sporting 32 participating Dundee Hills wineries, three inns, two restaurants, a market and a cooking school, this small burgundy booklet represents good times to be had, and this is your last weekend to get some mileage out of yours. Read full story »
April 24, 2012
I believe, because Wiki told me so, that it was Lord Tennyson who wrote “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” He was probably right, but what’s even better than love in the spring? Farmers’ markets in the spring. Because really, does love have anything on just-picked spring asparagus? No. Well, maybe. Mmm….No. Read full story »
April 20, 2012
Most of us want to be more philanthropic, but we have so many excuses and distractions—money is tight, time is scarce, we don’t look good in orange vests, etc. Well, here’s a quick, easy, fun AND delicious way to help Oregon’s hungry children at my favorite food event of the year—Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation, coming up soon on May 8 at JELD-WEN Field. Read full story »
April 18, 2012
Sometimes there is a profound rift between what Mom wants for Mother’s Day (a spa week…in Mauritius…alone) and what Mom gets for Mother’s Day (pancake batter on the ceiling and eggshells in the coffee served on her 6am breakfast tray). Well, Saint Cupcake is here to negotiate a compromise with their Top Mom Mother’s Day Breakfast Giveaway. Read full story »
April 17, 2012
We all have different ways to unwind. Some people go for a run, some people meditate, some people work in their garden, and some people buy one of everything in the Little T bakery case and then eat it all in bed while watching Bridesmaids for the 43rd time. To each their own. But on April 29th, we can all unify in our method, at the Unwine’d, Celebrate Oregon Wine event. Because what’s more relaxing than a wine festival? Read full story »
April 13, 2012
The upcoming second annual Taste Washington Portland is a great excuse to get to know our northern neighbor a bit better, the best way possible–over lots and lots of drinks. Because when you add 75 Washington wineries, a cherry-picked group of Portland’s finest eateries, and a beautiful, airy Pearl District event space in spring, there’s nothing less than an extremely fun time to be had. Read full story »
April 10, 2012
Today, I’m going to tell you the three little words we all most want to hear: Take Friday Off. I mean, clear it with your boss first and everything, I don’t want to get anybody in trouble, but if there’s ever a Friday worth abandoning your normal workday obligations for and heading into wine country, I’d say this is it. Read full story »
April 6, 2012
Since my puny human brain is hardly sophisticated enough to catalogue the myriad of Portland’s culinary to-dos and must-attends, I file the lot of them into my beloved iPhone, which means that all day long it emits a cacaphony of beeps, burbles and buzzes–like that weird daily recurring 3pm alarm that simply reads, “Happy Hour?” (I have no recollection of setting this.) Yesterday, my phone made one of its funny noises and what would you know? It was the week-away alert for Saké Fest PDX! Read full story »
April 6, 2012
Thanks to a steady, freezing, utterly miserable rain–the likes of which we’re all completely familiar with but somehow still can’t believe is really happening to us because we sometimes really truly think that this is all just a bad cold dream and we’ll wake up at our Malibu beach house wearing J Brand cutoffs and flip flops, relieved to see Chris Pine* doing laps in our infinity pool as usual–there wasn’t much competition for shopping space at this past weekend’s Saturday Portland Farmers Market at PSU.
April 4, 2012
Easter—the official holiday of Peeps, large hollow chocolate rabbits of questionable quality, and thinking it’s funny to make small children hunt through wet, icy grass for gaudy plastic eggs filled with cheap trinkets from the dollar store. (It’s totally funny!) Read full story »
April 3, 2012
I have a food-loving friend who has a husband who is kind, thoughtful, handsome, and even occasionally dances at weddings, but does not eat meat. Therefore, when we go out for a girls’ night, she delights, nay, revels in eating what she lightheartedly, but with a serious glint in her carnivorous eye, refers to as “secret meat.” Read full story »
April 2, 2012
If SE Belmont Street had a brunch line seismogram, it would quiver at 14th (hello Roost banana brown bread pancakes!) and 29th (hello Accanto ricotta doughnuts!), and go ape-doody at 32nd (hello Cricket Café Bloody Gary!), 37th (hello Pine State Biscuits gravyache!) and 41st (Slappycakes, enough said), but readings in the bustling 3300 block would remain relatively sedate, with the occasional blip in the region of peaceful (haha) Utopia Cafe and mellow Circa 33. Read full story »
January 27, 2012
I love Project Grow, for many, many reasons. They are good people. They accomplish amazing, meaningful things. They have pygmy goats. They offer a top notch CSA. And they cultivate a wondrous urban farm right in the heart of North Portland. A secret garden of sorts. You’ve probably driven past it a million times as you hurtle towards Tasty n Sons for brunch, or the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for your weekly cholesterol test. Or whatever.
Two food-related things jumped out at me from Project Grow’s latest newsletter, and I thought I’d pass them on. First, they’ve got seeds! Lots and lots of seeds! For those of you beginning to dream of this year’s garden. Also they’ve got needs. Lots and lots of needs! Just kidding. They have a normal amount of needs. Needs like wine, tea, canvases and benevolent millionaires. And you can help! I posted the newsletter excerpts, so read on, for news of seeds and philanthropic opportunity. Read full story »
January 20, 2012
This weekend, Pacific Pie Company is holding their first annual Pie Contest, in honor of National Pie Day. And I get to be a judge, which is really exciting, because I’m very fond of pie, as it falls into one of my favorite food groups–the Foods in a Buttery Crust group.
The pie contest will be held this Sunday, January 22, at PPC’s lovely Southeast Portland pie shop (1520 SE 7th Ave.) and you are invited to participate. The rules are pretty simple: competing pies–Sweet and Savory both welcome–must arrive by 1pm, you can enter as many pies as you want, and it’s free to enter. Read full story »
December 23, 2011
New Year’s Eve is a night of over-the-top indulgences–donning your new $3,0oo crystal-smothered Christmas Louboutins, kissing strangers, riding around town in a stretch Escalade, kissing strangers, and dancing all night at the Crystal Ballroom until someone in your party passes out on the dance floor and you all get kicked out. Did I mention kissing strangers?
But none of that holds a soy candle to the real reason New Year’s Eve was invented: to give you an excuse to eat an appallingly decadent NYE dinner. ‘Tis the one night a year when Portland restaurants can gild their menus with wild abandon, writing caviar, foie gras, lobster, truffle and champagne as many times as they want without anybody so much as batting a pearl-studded mink fur eyelash.
How do you wade through this sea of culinary bling and pick the perfect menu to help you ring in the new year right? I don’t know! I stay home on New Year’s Eve like a sensible person, following a simple annual routine: don my pink bunnysuit pjs, light a few sparklers, eat an entire See’s Candy Gift of Elegance box, drink too much Champagne, and watch Love Actually three times in a row. But I will help you make this weighty decision, and here is how: I’ve gone through my vat of NYE dinners press releases and assembled a simple profile for each one. All you have to do is scan the list, and when you’re finished, whichever offering resonated the most with your stomach is your last-meal-of-2011 soul mate. Easy, right?! Okay, let’s do this.
(Note: In the interest of keeping this post slightly shorter than Santa’s naughty list, if a menu had multiple choices per course, I picked a particularly tempting one to represent. Website links are included so you can peruse each restaurant’s info at your leisure.) Read full story »
December 21, 2011
And so continues All I Want For Christmas, where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too.
I’ve been a little behind on posting gift ideas for All I Want For Christmas, mostly because I fell down a rabbit hole. Just kidding, but that is sort of what this holiday season has felt like. I have been saving up ideas though, so let’s play catch up.
Be your culinary vice whiskey, wine, beer, coffee, cheese or cigars, take notes on your favorite finds in these easy-to-tote Scout Books formulated by BS Brewing‘s Dave Selden. Billed as “a pocket-sized companion and memory aid,” the index card-sized journals come equipped with features like flavor wheels, color meters, and space for your undoubtedly brilliant tasting notes. The wine books even have wine mixed into the ink for extra authenticity. Find them at fashionable retailers around Portland, or buy them at 33beers.com–booklets are $4 a piece, or for $20 you can get all six.
December 16, 2011
I’m going to risk seasonal sacrilegy here, but I’ve never been a huge fan of eggnog in its purest, straight-from-the-carton form. I’ve nothing against nutmeg-enhanced eggmilk but there’s something about the thick, cloying texture that reminds me of the fateful time I accepted a dare to drink a pint of buttermilk. Fortunately, this time of year, eggnog manifests itself in all sorts of delicious and novel ways, delivering the best of its festive flavor without taunting one’s gag reflex. Here are five ambrosial incarnations I’ve found around town this week:
This perpetually-busy Nob Hill boulangerie specializes in sweet Gallic holiday extravagances like hazelnut caramel Bûche de Noël and almond cream-stuffed king cake, but their freshly-baked eggnog bread pudding is a winter pastryscape at its best–stare at it long enough and you’ll see craggy croissant cliffs towering over eggnog custard valleys, and streams of caramel sauce trickling between snowy confectioner’s sugar-sprinkled brioche mountaintops. Or, if you’re a less fanciful/hallucinatory type, you’ll just see one heck of a December breakfast. Owner/master baker Dominique Geulin created the Eggnog Pudding in the likeness of his popular Normandy Apple Toast, a French-style bread pudding built with brioche and croissant instead of regular bread. Gripped by the holiday spirit, he drowned the pudding in spiced rum-spiked eggnog custard, drizzled it with housemade caramel and added a dusting of sugar. Ooo-la-la!
December 12, 2011
Today is Day Five of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too. If you missed previous installments, click here.
According to the Good Book, the reason for the season is newborn Jesus, but yesterday at the Olio Nuovo Class led by Nostrana chef Cathy Whims and olive oil sommelier Jeff Bergman, it came to my attention that newborn olive oil holds a special place in December’s heart as well. Read full story »
December 9, 2011
Soon, the classic accoutrements of Christmas carol lore will fill your homes–lords a leaping all over your custom hopscotch court, amorous swans a swimming in your hot tub, partridges Occupying Your Pear Trees. Thusly, you’ll have your hands full placating litigous lords moaning about sprained ankles, knitting booties for baby swans, and scrubbing partridge poop off your pears so you can slice them up for last week’s Pear Prosecco Cocktail, but please consider taking time for one more Christmas distraction–12 Faces a Stuffing, your chance to win a copy of Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces each day for the dozen days leading up to Christmas.
See, yesterday, Wieden + Kennedy graciously permitted Mette and I to set up a table in their atrium to sell Best Places To Stuff Your Faces to hungry brilliant advertising people. As part of our display, we shared Swedish fish with everyone, and held a Win A Book & The Leftover Swedish Fish! contest.
December 8, 2011
Today is Day Four of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too. If you missed previous installments, click here.
Everyone has a different relationship with soap. Some people believe that soap should perform a very basic function, that is, preventing Smelly Guy/Girl Syndrome. Some people believe that soap should be used as a decorative element, and should come in interesting shapes, emit beguiling perfumes, or have weird Goldschlager-esque flakes or scrubby specks in it. Some people use soap as a status symbol, making sure that their eight guest bathrooms, four kitchen sinks, yacht bar, and stretch Escalade’s cupholders all sport full dispensers (labels out!) of Molton Brown myrrh muske & cypress at all times. Personally, I believe that soap should look and smell like food.
Thanks to Janell Anderson‘s pretty little Portland-made Prunella soaps, which come in almost-edible blends like pink grapefruit & oatmeal, blood orange & ginger, cinnamon & coffee bean, and peppermint poppyseed, washing your hands before dinner becomes a sudsy little amuse bouche. (No really–they are organic and vegan and smell so good you’ll probably end up tasting them.) Read full story »
December 7, 2011
Today is Day Three of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too. If you missed yesterday’s installment, click here. (When you’re sitting pretty in your Doomsday Bunker, enjoying the prestige that comes with being your clan’s head marmalade maker, you’ll thank me.)
Today, you get a threesome, and there is chocolate involved. Oh boy! Before you get too excited, pervo, this threesome is a trio of a few of my favorite local chocolate purveyors–Alma Chocolate, Cacao, and Bees & Beans. And frankly, if those three made up the entirety of your holiday shopping destinations, you’d be fine. More than fine. You’d be a Hero.
I am going to pause right here to tell you a relatively pathetic little story. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was born into Jehovah’s Witnessdom. Among other things, this meant we didn’t celebrate Christmas. One year, when I grew old enough to understand what a stinky raw deal the whole getting no presents thing was, I saved my allowance, and a few weeks before Christmas, I bought a giant Hershey bar at the drugstore. You know, the one pound version. Back then, that was my version of heaven.
I snuck it home, wrapped it in some free holiday wrapping paper samples I’d found somewhere, tied a ribbon around it, and hid it in the back of my closet. It was an absolutely breathtaking secret, and about 25 times that day, I made sure the perimeter was secure, then crept into my closet, examined my prize and re-hid it. I couldn’t wait to open my secret gift on Christmas, like everyone else. I wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn’t. Even back then I wasn’t overburdened with self control, so I ended up unwrapping and eating my entire Precious that night, then shortly thereafter throwing up. Because a pound of Hershey’s chocolate isn’t an 8-year-old’s digestive system’s best friend.
The point of this story is that in spite of my holiday ignorance, I’d figured out early on that chocolate is the gold standard of Christmas presents, and now that I no longer celebrate the holidays in hiding, there’s nothing finer to be found in a stocking or hidden in the branches of a chocolate-dipped Noble Fir. (Call me an overcompensator, if you will.) Here are a few excellent local specimens. Read full story »
December 5, 2011
Today is Day Two of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too. If you missed Friday’s inaugural installment, “All I Want For Christmas Is A Few Good Dates,” click here.
For today’s “All I Want For Christmas,” I implore you to give someone the gift of knowledge. Not just any old quickly-scanned-and-forgotten knowledge, that’s what wiki is for, but more specifically, Do It Yourself Knowledge from Sellwood’s Portland Homestead Supply Co, bona fide den of delectable DIY endowments.
See, besides a quick scan of US Weekly while in line at New Seasons to buy chocolate, Champagne and pomegranates (the three major winter food groups), I try to ignore any source of current world news, but sometimes a snippet or two sneaks in from a stray NPR radiowave and from what I’ve gathered, the world is basically going to heck in a handbasket. Since we are all probably going to end up living in bunkers or caves or crude shelters in the scary end of Forest Park, it would be wise to learn some basic DIY skills. Because if a person possesses valuable talents like the ability to make sausage, cheese, beer, marmalade, and dog food (see below), I think it’s safe to say they will have their pick of the bunker tribes litter, or at the very least, be less likely to be eaten.
Not only can you find all the materials and equipment you’ll need to perfect these socially-elevating skills at Portland Homestead Supply Co, you can also obtain personalized instruction in potentially-profitable and life-enhancing/saving pursuits such as canning, chicken butchering, and backyard farming. I’ve posted their January class lineup below, and they fill up fast so I suggest you secure spots in them immediately, as a thoughtful Christmas gift to your friends and family members who a)could use a fun educational experience that teaches them something new and valuable, or b)possess very few skills that will be useful to a bunker tribe and are thus most likely to be eaten during the post-apolcalypse. Merry Christmas!
December 2, 2011
Happy December! Not to be a downer or anything, but in case you haven’t heard, there is no Santa Claus, which means you and you alone have a rapidly dwindling window of time in which to buy presents for everyone in your life who expects a present from you 24 days from now.
That said, welcome to Day One of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get. Which means you and yours would want them too, because I have great taste, except when it comes to reality television, paperbacks, and dates. Just kidding…about the dates, I actually have amazing dates, thanks to the 2012 Portland Chefs Calendar.
This Christmas, you can give your food-loving pals the gift of good dates too. A whole year of them, in fact. Silver Moss Productions’ “The Tastemakers: Portland Chefs Calendar 2012” gives us a daily reminder that life is short, so why aren’t we eating out more? The calendar has 12 beautiful full-color photographs shot by none other than the magnificent Mr. David Reamer, who deftly captures the spirit of a dozen of Portland’s finest kitchen elves–Naomi Pomeroy, Gabe Rucker, Andy Ricker, Kristen Murray, Nong Poonsukwattana and John Gorham, to name a few. A portion of the proceeds from each calendar goes to the Oregon Food Bank, which is a very nice perk, especially this time of year.
PS: If you want to meet a few of the Tastemakers in person, get your ticket to this Monday’s StarChefs 2011 Rising Stars Awards Gala at the Nines Hotel. Not only will you get to meet them, but Naomi Pomeroy, Gabe Rucker, Kristen Murray and a whole host of other local chefs are going to cook for you too. Now that’s a good date.
December 2, 2011
December is not just National Shop Til You Drop Month and National Drink Too Much Punch Month and National Scramble Around Like a Madperson Month, it’s also National Pear Month. And in honor of National Pear Month, the Pear Bureau Northwest (yes, there’s a pear bureau, and you’ll want stay on its good side, hmm?) held an exquisite four-course pear lunch at Castagna today, complete with interesting pear facts, pear tips, and a delicious and ridiculously easy-to-make pear cocktail recipe from Castagna sommelier Jack Hott.
A meal at Castagna is always interesting, and today’s lunch was no exception. The first course was interactive–we were first presented with a jet black bowl cradling an arresting salad consisting of a creamy dollop of yogurt beneath cubes of Comice pear, sprigs of fresh tarragon and dill, and fennel seeds. We were then handed a translucent pouch of housemade granola enveloped in dehydrated pear, and told to tear open the packet and crumble the whole affair over the salad. So we did.
November 14, 2011
I really, really like vending machines. Weird? Maybe. But let me explain. When I was a kid, my mother did not allow us to eat any junk food. Nor were we allowed to play any video games. So whenever we spied a vending machine, we’d stalk it like the magical mystical goldmine it was–a video game-like creature FILLED with junk food.
I’d go to any lengths to get near one. Volunteer to work Saturday mornings at my dad’s nursery to get at the 25-cent Pepsi machine. Feign a sprained ankle at tennis lessons so I could fake-hobble back to the clubhouse and spend every cent I’d hoarded in the snack machine before Mom came to pick us up. We were at a hotel and someone mentioned the empty ice bucket? There was a brawl over who got the job, because everyone knows ice machines are right next to vending machines. I still dream of owning my own vending machine.
So meeting the newly-conceived Goodie Monster was a real bittersweet moment for me. Because as demonstrated by creators Mark Jacobs and Mette Hornung Rankin, you can own your own vending machine, and you can mold it into a video game-like creature, and you can fill it with…aaaaaand here the fantasy stumbles.
November 1, 2011
I’m rather fond of Mix Magazine. It’s beautiful, informative to one’s stomach, and expertly edited by the delectable Danielle Centoni, who sometimes even lets me write irreverent things for Mix, about wine bars and ice cream and jelly shots and fly-fishing chefs, etc. And this month, Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces gets a shout-out in the Books From People We Love section of Mix’s Holiday Gift Guide For Food Lovers. Aw shucks! BPTSYF is in superb company, its writeup is penned by local writer/author extraordinaire Ashley Gartland, whose recently published Dishing Up Oregon, a must-have collection of 150 recipes from and stories about Oregon’s finest chefs, farmers and other food artisans, is also profiled in the guide. Happy reading and eating!
Read the entire gift guide HERE…
October 17, 2011
I didn’t ask to have a pet blue jay but a month after I moved into my studio this summer, he appeared on the windowsill and then he cheekily jumped through the window and onto my kitchen table so I gave him one of the Freddy Guys hazelnuts I was eating.
We became uneasy friends. He’d fly up to the window and I would give him a few nuts. Soon, he developed an entitlement complex. One morning he woke me up by jumping on the bed and squawking about his nuts. Typical guy. Once he came for a visit and I was in the middle of doing something so I told him to wait a minute. Clearly miffed, he pooped on my favorite handbag, the Kate Spade one. I was so mad. No nuts for Junior that day.
Now we have an agreement, I lay 10 organic free range almonds on the windowsill every morning and he doesn’t poop on my purse.
He’s kind of camera shy but I caught him the other day. Look at him stuffing his face. I’m sort of proud, actually.
October 5, 2011
I got my hair cut the other day, and even though I assured the hair stylist that the only post-trim activities I had planned were walking home in the rain and making cinnamon toast and watching 30 Rock on Netflix, she insisted on blow-drying it and laboriously curling it to show me “what was possible.” You know, if I cared about having sublime hair. Which I don’t, because inevitably it’s just going to get wet and frizzy and then accidentally fall in a piece of buttery cinnamon toast. After all, this is Portland, where a woman’s crowning glory is actually her best woolen cap.
I think this story (sort of) aptly illustrates what last week’s Pre-Wedge Festival cheese luncheon was like. A group of food-minded folks were invited by the Oregon Cheese Guild to convene at restaurateur/wine whisperer Todd Steele‘s lovely Metrovino at high noon, where we were all plied with a procession of executive chef Greg Denton and chef de cuisine Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton‘s ornate cheese-centric dishes, dishes that took delicious Oregon cheeses in their natural, un-blow dried and un-curled state and showed us all “what was possible.” If we were geniusy chef-types who had truffle-salted pistachios and maple-beef chorizo and armagnac prune biscotti lying around the kitchen, that is. Read full story »
October 3, 2011
October is a big month ’round these parts, and by these parts I mean my chocolate smeared “office,” aka miniscule studio apartment, which is now festooned with small pumpkins and rainboots and sandbags and other accoutrements of autumn.
First and foremost, October is my birthday month and in case you’re wondering, I want the same thing I wanted last year and didn’t get, a mini-bulldog named Admiral Toot, world peace and a chocolate waterfall. Moving on.
Secondly, I’ll be participating in a Wordstock panel this Saturday, Oct. 8th at 2pm, with local foodinistas Liz Crain of the Food Lover’s Guide To Portland fame and co-queen of Cartopia Kelley Roy. The panel, which is called Every Book Is a Startup, will be led by entrepreneurial publishing expert Todd Sattersten and we’ll all be talking about the agony joys of being an author-preneur, specifically one who published a book about Portland’s thriving food scene. Should be great fun!
Thirdly, I’m thrilled to be a part of Shades of Pink, a fun festival celebrating women’s health and wellness, which is going to be held in downtown Portland’s Pacwest Center Atrium (1211 SW 5th Ave.), on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 4 to 7 pm. Stash Tea will be there, and David Hill Vineyard, and Shakers Vodka, and Dosha, and Bonneville Hot Springs, and massage therapists, and other relaxing sorts of exhibitors. I’ll be selling and signing Best Places To Stuff Your Faces, and if you mention the secret words, I will sell you the book for $10, which is 33.1% off. Merry Halloween! What are the secret words? Admiral Toot, of course. And you have to shout that, too. Just kidding. You can say it in a normal tone because I don’t want you scaring the people who are trying to chill out and sip vodka and get massaged, okay?!
Lastly, here are some random Octoberish Under The Table-related tidbits. I wrote an article in the October Mix Magazine (the Wine and Spirits Issue), about wine bars, which was fun to write because I got to drink a lot and say I was “working.” You should get the magazine, if not for my tipsy ramblings, for the excellent articles about biodynamic winemaking and solving the mystery of Clear Creek Distillery’s mesmerizing pear-in-a-bottle-of-brandy. And to laugh at my Contributors photo, because I look really red and flushed, like I’ve been drinking too much wine or something. Oh, wait.
Also, KPTV Fox 12 was kind enough to have me on their morning show More Good Day Oregon last Friday to talk with super-nice Brian MacMillan about Best Places To Stuff Your Faces. I mostly spent the three minutes trying a)to sound somewhat coherent and b)not to slide off that green chair, but it was fun to talk to Brian, who admitted before the show that his Facestuffer score is a paltry three out of 100. I gave him a book and told him to get to work.
Anyhow, happy October and hopefully I’ll see you at Wordstock and Shades of Pink. ADMIRAL TOOT!
August 11, 2011
Sometimes, you’re sitting in your kitchen, reading Saveur and seeing how many malt balls you can hide in your chub rolls, wondering if you really should have eaten those last six carne asada tacos and contemplating becoming a healthier person, maybe going on the Kumquat Diet or becoming a Juice Fast Coach and then Ping! An invite to a scoop shop preview party arrives in your inbox.
And suddenly you’re on your feet and leaving a trail of malt balls in your wake all the way to Alberta Street, where Salt & Straw has just thrown open the doors of their brand new ice cream shop and beaming super scoopers are asking you what you want off the menu. Anything! Everything! Whatever you want! It’s all yours! And your inner five-year-old self faints dead away and your chub rolls are rippling ecstatically and high fiving each other and you wanna shoop scoop ba-doop, scoop ba-doop, scoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop.
Today was one of those days.
August 10, 2011
Under The Table Special Correspondent Lucy here. Dog about town that I am, you’ve undoubtedly seen me strolling around Portland sticking my nose into various things of interest–my trash can, your trash can, my dinner, your dinner, my crotch, your crotch. That’s how I roll.
Not to boast, but I live a pretty easy life–I’m beautiful, so people give me pretty much everything I want, and I’m a dog, so it’s humanity’s responsibility to cater to my every whim, by taking me to the park, throwing my gooey ball repeatedly even though they’re clearly sick of doing so, scratching my belly, filling my food bowl, leaving the toilet seat up, etc.
But my world of unfettered pleasure was turned upside down last night. It started out innocently enough. My Guardian Mette took me to the park after her “job,” whatever that is, and then she let me run around the back yard sniffing beetles until her friend Jen, the one who always smells like chocolate, came over for “Girls’ Night,” whatever that is–from what I can tell it’s just an excuse to watch The Bachelor Pad instead of taking me to the park again. What-ever. Read full story »