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 »
August 8, 2011
Walking into new Three Pigs, it didn’t take long to find this diminutive deli’s namesakes–one pig was lying in the breakfast sandwich, one pig was floating in the soup, and one pig was tumbled up in a meatball. And they were all delicious.
August 2, 2011
I remember the first time I choked down a swig of Mad Dog like it was yesterday. It was a hot, still summer night in Ontario, Oregon, I was on my friend Tina’s pheasant farm holed up in a stifling barn with the merry band of miscreants we’d just finished dragging Main Street with, and I was being earnestly wooed by a guy named Nacho. Considering how we all felt the next morning, I thought I’d never see the business end of a MD 20/20 bottle until I was reincarnated as a cast member of a revived My Name is Earl. And then, one fateful evening last week, I walked into Metrovino. Read full story »
July 22, 2011
This afternoon, Michelle and I were sitting around like little old Greek ladies, sipping Ouzo and roasting a lamb in our toaster oven and complaining about the neighbor’s brash new donkey and bragging about who had skinny-dipped the most in the Aegean Sea with that village boy up the lane who pretty much is the spitting image of Apollo (the Greek God of Sexy Hotness) and moaning about how much we miss our beloved supper club Table For Twelve.
And while we’re planning to revive Table For Twelve next month with a yet-to-be-announced supper, it occurred to us that we might not be the only ones who’d like to eat lamb and drink Ouzo and skinny dip with Apollo. Serendipitously, it just so happens that Olympic Provisions Southeast is hosting a fantastically delicious lamb dinner THIS SUNDAY, complete with lots of lamb that has not been roasted in a toaster oven, salami of the Gods, and complimentary Ouzo for all our guests. Because like any good Greek, we hate to get blotto alone. Opa! There will also be a kiddy pool provided for skinny dipping but you’re going to have to woo Apollo on your own. We’ll be too busy gossiping about your donkey. Read full story »
July 15, 2011
I’ve known for a while that I have magic powers. I figured it out not long after I read the first Harry Potter. We had so much in common. I wore glasses. I had a weird scar on my forehead. I was kind of whiny. My mom made me sleep under the stairs. (Just kidding, I was in college at the time so if I slept under the stairs, it was because my room was sooooo far away and the jungle juice had made my legs sooooo heavy). My powers weren’t as pronounced as Harry’s, but they were definitely special.
If I walked into a room, not five minutes later all the chocolate had vanished into thin air, racing via Portkey to my stomach. At a party, I could instantly divine who the champagne hogs were as though I had my very own internal Champagne Marauder’s Map, and when it was time to wash the dishes after supper club, it was like I was wearing an Invisibility Cloak. But most importantly, now that I’ve just recently moved back to the Alphabet District, new eateries have begun sprouting up around my apartment as quickly and lushly as Hagrid’s beard. Coincidence? Probably not. Here’s a quick rundown of four new Northwest Portland dining destinations that you and your wand should explore. Read full story »
July 14, 2011
There are many unanswered mysteries in this life. Like…where do all my spatulas disappear to? There were three in the drawer yesterday. Why does my new neighbor keep sneaking through my kitchen window and stealing all my Freddy Guys hazelnuts? (Sure, he’s a blue jay but that’s no excuse.) And how on earth does one roast a footlong Olympic Provisions frankfurter on a stick without ending up with a morosely-drooped U-shaped weenie?
July 12, 2011
This morning, the guidebook and I got to be on TV. KOIN 6’s Studio 6 was kind enough to have us on as guests, and it was so much fun talking with hosts Jake and Jenny. Our segment was just after the Pet of the Week, which was Uhura, the pink tutu-wearing pit bull. She didn’t seem nervous at all, she had a grand time rolling around on the studio floor and eating treats. I, however, was nervous, and was sitting in the parking garage before the show trying to compose myself when my mom called to tell me “good luck and don’t show too much cleavage.” Gee, thanks, Mom.
Here’s the interview. I can’t watch it because I don’t like seeing myself on camera, but I’m posting it so my mom can rest assured that I didn’t look like a hoochie mama on TV. I’m going to go watch Uhura’s clip.
July 8, 2011
We’ve all heard the fable of the Phoenix–the Bird of Paradise is incinerated by a careless angel and reborn as something grander, glossier, and even more full of pastries than before. Or something like that. And so goes the story of new Saint Cupcake Galore–the downtown reincarnation of Portland’s beloved Saint Cupcake, which has moved to grander, glossier digs even more full of pastries than before.
July 8, 2011
Once upon a time, a girl who loves candy so much she once accidentally ate 50 whole boxes of Reese’s Pieces that she was supposed to be selling for 50 cents apiece to raise money for the 4th grade band trip and had to forfeit her allowance for 50 weeks as a result, was walking along SE Hawthorne Boulevard when she saw this sign:
July 7, 2011
Everyone knows the best part of publishing a book is the satisfaction and pride that comes from realizing your dream. I mean, the launch party. Please join me at Olympic Provisions Northwest for the official Facestuffer Fiesta on Sunday, July 17th from 6 to 8pm. There will be world-famous charcuterie. There will be bubbly (while supplies last, and just warning you–I’m a very thirsty person). There will be SUN. (I ordered some anyhow, let’s see how that goes.) I hope you can join me! Please RSVP here>>
June 28, 2011
This morning I was sitting at my dining nook table, eating breakfast (soft-boiled eggs and a perfectly ripe mango, since you asked) and reading the manual to my fancy new camera that the camera store guy said takes amazing food pictures but that I can’t even figure out how to turn on (a Canon PowerShot S95, since you asked), when a fat baby blue jay landed on my windowsill and stared critically at me for a really long time (at least a decade in bird years) until moving on. Sorry I don’t have a picture of him for you but that would have required turning on my camera.
Because I’ll do almost anything to prolong breakfast and avoid getting to work, I decided to do some research on whether blue jays are an omen. I Googled, “Is it good luck to see a blue jay?” and the first answer that came up was “It’s just a bird, stupid.” Fair enough. I washed my plate and got to work.
But guess what? Blue jays are good luck, because not an hour later, I saw that the lovely Leslie Cole had penned a delightful writeup about Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces in the O’s FOODday section. I did a little happy dance, and then set out a very small dish of mango on the windowsill for my new good luck charm.
Here’s the link to the FOODday writeup. You’ll have to get your own blue jay.
June 27, 2011
June 27, 2011
Last week, I had a baby.
No, not a REAL baby! I need a few more years of uninterrupted beauty sleep, uninhibited imbibing of Tempranillo, and unburped-on sweaters before I go that route. But I did produce a little paper baby, which I named Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces Stevenson. Or something like that. 220 pages, 4.25″x6.25″. A bit on the small side, I know, but that’s okay because sometimes you need your baby to slip right into your pocket while you grab for your chocolate praline croissant/foie gras bon bon/pork belly and fried egg sandwich/Tums.
January 21, 2011
As a general rule, one should try to avoid ingesting deadly foods. Blowfish, death cap mushrooms, bitter almonds, and botulism pie are not generally found on most must-eat lists. So it’s understandable that a savvy diner might blanch when confronted by this newish Northeast Sandy burger joint’s signage for the first time. It’s pretty blatant. They’re out to get you, and your little arteries too.
January 20, 2011
Last weekend, I had the privilege of accompanying the Olympic Provisions delegation to the first annual Good Food Awards, which were given out at a special evening ceremony at the magnificent San Francisco Ferry Building. Out of 800 nationwide entries, 80 awards were bestowed upon 71 artisan producers who best embodied the notion of melding responsible production and superior taste. Olympic Provisions won four awards, three in the charcuterie category and one for pickles.
Consequently, the group was in pretty good spirits.
January 14, 2011
There are a lot of reasons your lover/imaginary friend/cat might request that you vacate the bed and spend the night on the couch. Maybe you snore. Maybe you are a covers hog or a twilight tooter or a sleep walker/talker/stalker. Maybe you are Wayne Rooney. Or, maybe, you ate a piece of new East Burnside pizzeria Sizzle Pie’s What We Do Is Secret pie.
There really isn’t anything too secret about a piece of pizza that contains a golf-ball sized allowance of roasted garlic. But while Sizzle Pie’s offerings may eschew subtlety, they’ve not skimping on flavor, so anyone who is willing to brave a lumpy sofa for an evening, unfazed when asked to move their desk onto the office patio after lunch, or on the lam from a determined vampire would do well to investigate this hip new lunch-to-late-night pizza joint, where creatively conceived and brashly-named garlic, fresh jalapeño, truffle oil and cilantro-pesto festooned pies share the case with everything from a classic sausage and onion (the Bad Lieutentant) to the Vegan Angel of Doom. Read full story »
January 14, 2011
Sometimes I wonder, if I’d been in Keanu’s shoes in The Matrix, if I would have gulped the redpill and jumped down Morpheus’ rabbit hole, or if I would have eschewed the black trench coat and straight razor-wielding silver twins and continued on in blissful bluepill ignorance.
After taking green bean enthusiast Trevin Miller’s highly informative Intro to Home Coffee Roasting class at Mr. Green Beans–the N. Mississippi shop he co-owns with wife Ginny Miller–I think I might have inadvertently taken the coffee roasting redpill. Because one day, you’re enjoying a monotonous but comfortable morning routine of shelling out $1.50-$4 for your cup of morning coffee, and the next, you realize that for a mere pittance of the price, with a sense of adventure and possibly a bit of burn salve, you can be The One–The Roast-It-Yourselfer. If only the Oracle had told you this sooner, you might not have laughed in the face of the Latte Factor and squandered your retirement/yacht fund on joe. And now, you have a choice to make:
January 7, 2011
Growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Christmas, so come winter vacation, instead of spending our two-week school leave shopping and stringing popcorn like everyone else we knew, we took an arduous and mildly-traumatizing family road trip in the trusty ol’ royal blue Oldsmobile station wagon, fighting for the travel Yahtzee and the best car snacks as my dad pressed petal to the medal up I-5 in search of the next indoor pool.
Old habits die hard, and almost every year, my family and I convene for Christmas vacation in an unfamiliar city, roaming the eerily empty urban landscape searching for food, feeling very much like an extra in The Walking Dead. This year, we explored beautiful Vancouver (BC) for Christmas, managing to track down some very worthy eats despite holiday closures. If you’re headed up there anytime soon, I’d suggest sniffing out these spots. Merry New Year! Read full story »
January 6, 2011
When I try a new restaurant, I hear things. Like if the meal is lackluster, I might hear the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or if it’s grand, I might hear wind chimes or the Happy Days theme song, or if it’s just somewhere in the middle I might hear the flat thud a cupcake makes when it falls from your hand onto the ground, frosting-down. Last night, Michelle and I stopped into St. Jack for a light meal (she’s on a New Years diet, I’d had two lunches), and as I was eating, I heard The Price Is Right theme song.
You could take this literally, the prices were reasonable and quite a good value, although St. Jack isn’t a cheap eat. But beyond that, you know when you’re watching The Price is Right, and they’re playing that happy little song and ringing bells, and the studio audience is clapping maniacally, and people are running willy-nilly down the aisles towards dreams of a new jet ski and a Corvette and a hug from Bob Barker? It’s all very exciting! And since I’ve been anxious to try St. Jack, hoping that it’s great because it’s in my hood and terribly cute and such an ideal addition to the Clinton neighborhood, it was The-Price-Is-Right-exciting to have an excellent first meal there. Read full story »
December 17, 2010
Christmas is only eight days away, which means you’ve got to line your larder, and fast. Perhaps you haven’t even thought about where your goose, sugar plums, personal snacking ham, golden quince liqueur, 15-lb pasta ball, local chocolate-filled organic bamboo gift basket, and Super Dooper Reindeer Pooper are coming from. Hopefully, this (mostly) edible holiday essentials guide will help. That’s what I’m here for.
Read full story »
December 17, 2010
Portland added one-and-a-half new eateries to its bulging restaurant ranks this week, with the openings of Grain & Gristle–a casual Northeast Portland trifecta of brews, meat, and wood, and SE Clinton Street’s Patisserie St. Jack–a charming French-style bakery adjoining soon-to-open Restaurant St. Jack. Behold, the tale of two first impressions: a pastry-heavy Parisian lunch and stockings-fatal 3-P (pretzel, pickles, pork) dinner. Read full story »
December 17, 2010
There are a lot of great things about Christmas–presents, peppermint bark, and paid vacation come to mind, but we rosy-nosed tipplers know the real holiday magic’s in the bowl…the punch bowl. The tradition of serving up Christmas punch from a big crystal bowl harkens back to the beginning of civilization, when cave people used to throw whatever interesting-looking berries they found in the woods into a celebratory crystal skull, add rum, and stomp on it for awhile. Sometimes this proved fatal, sometimes they created a fun new recipe for the family Christmas cookbook, which they had Kinko’s chisel onto stone tablets for the relatives up in North Pangaea.
Last week, I learned an exciting new non-fatal punch recipe the modern way–I joined a group of local food writers, the lovely Bette Sinclair, Tim Vincent of Vincent Family Cranberries, and bartender extraordinaire Kelley Swenson in the lounge at June restaurant, where Kelley handed us tumblers of his sublime Christmas cranberry punch and a copy of the recipe, which I took a picture of with my iPhone. See, things are so much easier these days! Read full story »
December 15, 2010
I always like getting Pok Pok updates, because they make me hungry and/or thirsty, which is my favorite state of being. As a dedicated Pok Pok drinking vinegar aficionado, Chef Andy Ricker’s latest bit ‘o news made me thirsty and spendy. I’m thinking the below-mentioned bottles would probably fit just perfectly in my stocking this year. I hope you’re reading, Santa!
Pok Pok Som Release
Pok Pok Som Full Strength drinking vinegars are now available for purchase by the bottle at Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge and Ping restaurants (they make a great gift!). Tamarind, Honey, Apple and Pomegranate are the first four flavors to be released, and there is a limited amount available. They come in a 16 oz apothecary-style bottle (makes at least 10 drinks) and sell for $15 each. Look for more flavors and broader distribution in the new year. Happy holidays!
December 10, 2010
When new restaurants I’ve been eagerly anticipating finally open, I’m like the proverbial kid in a candy store. I love the energy of opening day, the shiny newness, the nervous excitement, the unfamiliar menu, the unpredictable reactions from the crowd. It’s like going to the theater, except better, because I get to eat and there’s no risk of accidentally drinking too much champagne beforehand and having to hold it until intermission.
Little Bird has been on my radar for ages, and I was so excited about its arrival, I somehow ended up going for lunch and dinner on opening day. Both my déjeuner and dîner experiences are included in this two-part piece, along with our brief detour to Central, a bewitching new downtown speakeasy hiding down an alley mere blocks from Little Bird (I’d suggest combining the two for a surefire date night!).
Read full story »
December 10, 2010
Guess what!?! There’s a new food cart pod on SE Division!
Hey, you didn’t even look up. Your expression hasn’t lifted in the least, and I’m no nurse/personal trainer, but I can tell your pulse didn’t quicken even one little beat. I can’t believe you are so jaded. One would think you have been spoilt living in a city with, by my last informal count, 539,249,247,303 food carts. For shame!
I do hope you’ll manage to drag your blasé bones out Saturday (tomorrow!) to SE Division & 32nd, between 11am and 10pm, for new D-Street Noshery’s Grand Opening Party, to show your support for this sweet little pod filled with pie holes, pulled pork-stuffed waffle cones, brick oven margherita pies, chicken green chile arepas, fried nutella with plantains, Korean short ribs tacos, and beer. Yes, this pod has a beer truck. And they’re supplying free cider and hot cocoa all day. See, now you look a little bit more festive.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve taken a few turns around D-Street Noshery, checking out what everyone’s cooking (and baking, and frying, and pouring), and I’ve compiled a few of my findings into this handy D-Street Noshery primer.
Read full story »
December 6, 2010
This afternoon I stopped into the Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop, because even when it’s 40 degrees outside, you gotta have ice cream. They’ve got some tasty holiday flavors on the menu, like peppermint, egg nog and maple pecan, and I did pick up a to-go pint to make peppermint hot chocolate affogato tonight, but that’s not why I was there. I had come for the board. Ruby Jewel’s new Chalkboard of Daily Deals.
How fun is this? Dollar mini-sundaes and ice cream sandwiches days, free topping days, two scoops for the price of one days, free cookie with a scoop days. Today was $3 ginger pumpkin ice cream sandwich day, so I stocked up. The board won’t get dragged to the curb along with the Christmas tree at the end of the month either, Co-owner Becky Burnett said it’s a permanent fixture now. Sweet news!
December 3, 2010
My bf wandered into the kitchen the other day, interrupting me in the middle of making cassoulet and a big mess, to complain that my Christmas list wasn’t fleshed out enough. “All you wrote was ‘bulldog’ and ‘a trip to Paris,’” he griped. “I need something more to go on than that.” Personally, I think that’s a brilliant and refreshingly succinct Christmas list, but our irksome exchange got me thinking, what would be a thrilling under-the-tree surprise for the food lover in one’s life if a bulldog and a trip to Paris are out of the question? So I went shopping, purely as research, of course, and I found these locally-sourced treats. Read full story »
December 3, 2010
All of the cookbooks on my overburdened kitchen shelves are well-loved, if not well-worn. Cursed with the compulsive desire to own every shiny beautiful new cookbook I see, it seems impossible to fully bond with all of them beyond an admiring initial read-through. There are a few, however, that I couldn’t live without. And come the holidays, I always find myself turning the sticky, scuffed, chocolate-stained pages of pastry chef Sherry Yard’s “The Secrets of Baking,” particularly when I’m in the mood for hot cocoa. Read full story »
December 2, 2010
This just in from Genoa…looks like Chef Daniel Mondok will be moving from June to Genoa as of Tuesday, Dec. 7.
Genoa is proud to welcome its newest team member.
Executive Chef David Anderson is excited to announce that his long time friend Daniel Mondok will be joining the Genoa kitchen as Sous Chef as they move into their second year of service since the re-birth of the Portland Landmark. Read full story »
December 2, 2010
Park Kitchen doesn’t send out newsletters very often, but when they do, they drop a lot on you at once. Like, that they aren’t going to be serving lunch anymore beginning Dec. 24, but they are going to start serving Pork and Pinot Noir dinners on Sundays, and they’ll be dishing up a fantastic Christmas Eve dinner so you don’t have to go out for Chinese food, and they are starting a BLOG. One more thing–they want you to have a wonderful holiday season too. It’s quite a bit to take in in one reading, but here you go: Read full story »
December 2, 2010
Wildwood‘s happy hour has skipped around a bit–served late night, or just on Tuesdays, or not at all, but starting Tuesday, Dec. 7, it’s getting a regular weekday gig at the bar. From 4:30-6:30pm, Mon-Fri, you can get your fix of truffled popcorn, onion rings, and Wildwood’s gorgeous burger, among other items. The seasonal draft is $3, while wine and the daily cocktail special ring in at $5. The menu looks simple and delicious, my only complaint is that there’s no $5 bubbly.
Here’s a sample happy hour menu. See you Monday! Read full story »
December 2, 2010
This just in from Olympic Provisions:
As we enter the holiday season and celebrate our first anniversary this month, we’re experiencing some exciting and challenging new developments at Olympic Provisions.
Most notably, Executive Chef Jason Barwikowski has left Olympic Provisions as of Saturday, Nov. 27, and wine director Carly Laws will depart on December 18th.
“The partnership has decided to go in a separate direction due to creative differences,” said co-owner Nate Tilden. “We respect the hard work and creative contributions they’ve made to Olympic Provisions and hope this is an opportunity for them to pursue their individual interests and continue to share their considerable talent with the food world.” Read full story »
November 23, 2010
Just last week, the New York Times declared pie the new “it” dessert, pushing cupcakes from their long-held pedestal. I’m sure grandmothers the world over cackled uproariously. Imagine, pie being trendy? Those creative geniuses over at Wieden+Kennedy likely had a laugh too, as they’ve been elevating pie to its rightful place at the top of the pastry chain for the past decade, in the form of the annual W+K Pie Contest.
Yesterday afternoon, following the sweet smell of fresh pie and competitive spirit, Mette and I stuffed our forks in our pockets and stopped by the W+K building to witness this raucous celebration of pie–complete with plenty of crust, crushed spirits, and cream-filled orifices. Read full story »
November 19, 2010
‘Tis the season to be eating with others, but once the Thanksgiving turkey has been reduced to stock fodder, the family has packed up and left you with naught but memories and lots of dirty towels, and the leaf has been taken out of the dining room table and put back to its normal use as a makeshift TV tray for two, you may be craving that lovin’ Table For Twelve feeling. Behold, a cheat sheet of 10 Portland communal dining experiences and supper clubs, just for you.
November 18, 2010
With Thanksgiving on the very near horizon, many of us will be spending this weekend cleaning the house, putting fresh sheets on the sofa bed, stocking up on butter, cranberries, brandy and Valium, and chasing a reluctant Mr. Wattles around the backyard with a hatchet. If you find the time, however, here are a few diversions.
Perhaps you’ve spent many a Tuesday night with cartons of Taste Unique’s bechamellian vegetarian lasagna and moka-brewed coffee-spiked tiramisu, maybe you’ve munched a lunch of their warm, chewy flatbread, bean soup and Spaghetti alla Carbonara, perhaps you’ve even been to one of their weekly communal dinners…but have you experienced this homey Italian kitchens newish Aperitivo Italiano yet? Three hours, 20 traditional Italian appetizers, one glass of wine, $15. It’s excellent end-of-the-week math, if you ask me. Bigger better visual>>
November 17, 2010
If Laurelhurst Market is your go-to neighborhood butcher shop stop for everything beast and fowl, get your feathers in a bunch over their naturally raised, hormone free, antibiotic free, air-chilled Nicky USA gobblers, which can be ordered ASAP for your Thanksgiving table.
What’s the big deal about an air-chilled bird? As Chef Ben Dyer says, “Most birds are slaughtered and sent through a blast freezer tunnel, making them rock hard in a super fast time. Have you ever thawed a frozen anything and noticed the water that comes out? That’s not ice, that’s the moisture from inside the meat. These turkeys are air chilled, which allows them to retain way more of their natural moisture, resulting in a moist, flavorful and delicious finished product.”
If this sounds like the bird for you, call the Laurelhurst butcher shop at 503.206.3099. Turkeys can be ordered in the 12-16 pound range, although there will be a few that are 20 pounds and up.
November 17, 2010
Curious about how to forage and cook your own wild edibles? This Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2pm, you can cook with super cute Beaker & Flask chef Ben Bettinger at the Pearl District Whole Foods for a complimentary “Cooking Where the Wild Things Are” class focusing on local wild edibles.
What’s a wild edible? Delicious plants/fungi/herbs (ie: wild strawberries, dandelions, nettles, burdock, salsify, ginger, watercress, mushrooms, truffles, etc) that you can pluck right out of the ground and eat. Ben will cook up some tasty dishes in the lovely Whole Foods kitchen and give you some tips about how to forage in the Pacific Northwest without poisoning yourself. If this sounds like your cup of truffles, email email@example.com to secure a spot in the class. Did I mention that this class is free? You have nothing to lose but your foraging ignorance!
Where: Whole Foods Pearl, 1210 NW Couch St. 503.525.4343
When: Sat. 11/20, 2pm
How Much: It’s FREE. No really! Ben is that nice.
Sign Up: By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
November 15, 2010
Travel Oregon just concluded their 10-week Oregon Bounty Wanderfeast series, which features beautifully shot and edited videos that give you fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into the phrase “farm-to-table.” Olympic Provisions’ salumist Elias Cairo’s “Meat Week” masterpiece, which posted a few weeks ago, was shot at Sweet Briar Farms in Eugene at the end of August, and we went with him to see what it was all about. So I suppose this post is a behind-the-scenes look behind the scenes? Or something like that. Read full story »
November 12, 2010
Sometimes, by booking services with novices, you can get steeply discounted haircuts, eyebrow waxes, massages, brake jobs, and gallbladder surgery. Fine dining is no exception—if you reserve a table at a culinary school restaurant, you can often enjoy lavish multi-course meals for the cost of a glass of wine at a nearby bistro.
That said, like student-administered haircuts and amateur gallbladder surgery, not all culinary school restaurant meals are created equal and can sometimes prove quite painful. Recently opened Sharp Restaurant, which offers the public a glimpse into the stylings of the Art Institute of Portland’s International Culinary School, is a risk that pays off with an excellent meal and an excellent value–$12 for an upscale three-course lunch in a white tablecloth setting.
Read full story »
November 11, 2010
If your street looks like mine, you’re probably planning to spend the whole weekend with Mister Rake and approximately 4 billion soggy sycamore leaves. If you decide to take a break, or realize the futility of your efforts, give up raking, and hope for an early snow to conceal your slothfulness (my favored method of yard maintenance), here are a few fun weekend food events.
Drink Oregon-made Belgian-style beer at Bailey’s Taproom’s BelgianFest, sample obscure beer-tails at Brewing Up Cocktails, indulge in a four-course James Beard-inspired cocktail brunch with din din, sample artisan cheese and charcuterie at Foster & Dobb’s anniversary party, dress up in your Saturday best and hit the NW Food & Wine Festival, eat and learn at the latest Open Kitchen dinner, and EAT FREE POK POK WINGS at Pok Pok’s birthday party. (I know you think I just dreamed that last one, but it’s REAL! I promise!) Read full story »
November 10, 2010
As anyone who attended school with me can attest to, I was abnormally short most of my young life and coming in at around 5′ today, that “growth spurt” everyone was always promising never did materialize. In fact, my elementary school nickname was “Midget.” And now you know a painful little piece of my past. Please don’t use it against me.
As a result, I am perhaps inordinately fascinated by real midgets, so when I came across Lonesome’s Pizza, a super quirky delivery-only, super late night pizzeria owned by, in their own words: “3 rednecks, a gay guy, and a midget, out to win you over,” I was hooked. Reading the website, it all sounded fantastic–the honest mission statement, the until-4am delivery, the in-box swag, the wild and crazy pizza names…the midget was just the cherry on top. Read full story »
November 9, 2010
When Thanksgiving rolls ’round, as it’s apt to do in November, many of us are faced with a sobering conundrum:
Do I slave over a hot oven to make ravishing rows of Sunset magazine-worthy homemade pies, or do I pay someone else to do all that and watch Home for the Holidays three times in a row while drinking hot buttered rums in preparation for having to spend three entire days with my crazy family?
It is a very serious seasonal dilemma.
Should you decide to take the rum and Robert Downey Jr. route over the domestic goddess/god scenario, here are a few local pie-xperts who can help you fake it, and fake it good.
November 8, 2010
I walk past Ken’s Artisan Pizza often, on my way to the grocery store or Crema or Alma or Staccato Gelato, and I love to peek inside at everyone chomping away on their spicy Soppressata pies. Or whatever pies they’re eating, although I have no idea why you’d ever cheat on the Soppressata, it’s the perfect pizza.
Everyone inside Ken’s always looks so happy, warm, and well-fed. Except on Monday nights, when nobody looks happy or well fed, because Ken’s is closed and anyone sorely craving a soppressata pie after an excruciating first day of the workweek has to run home and cry into their Wolfgang Puck’s frozen four-cheese about it. (Or, cross the mighty Willamette, somehow find parking along NW 21st, and get in line at Ken’s Artisan Bakery’s Monday pizza night.) That is, until…TONIGHT. A new reason to like Monday!
And with Bruce Bauer’s recently relocated Vino wineshop getting ready to open any day now across the street from Ken’s, and the second, double-decker Grilled Cheese Grill coming to the parking lot between the new Vino and Crema, 28th Avenue just keeps getting better and better.
October 26, 2010
It just so happens that growing up, I never ate a Twinkie, that springy, spongey, golden ”cream”-filled American dietary rite of passage. Not one. Not even a bite of one. We were a no refined sugar/no white flour household (not by choice, as far as us kids were concerned) and Twinkies violated every dietary rule in the hungry hungry hippie handbook, particularly the one about not consuming anything that doesn’t biodegrade in under 75 years. (Just kidding, according to Hostess, a Twinkie’s shelf life is 26 days.)
Since deprivation oft breeds obsession, I’m still somewhat fascinated by Twinkies. So when I scanned the menu for Bokebowl’s pop-up ramen night, marveling at soup descriptions like “caramelized fennel broth, Japanese eggplant, butternut squash rice cakes, crispy shallot” with slow-poached eggs, handmade noodles, fall greens, wild mushrooms and miso corn, all that gloriousness suddenly took the back seat when I locked in on the “Boke twinkies” section. Two kinds of handmade twinkies–chocolate with almond star anise cream and vanilla with miso butterscotch?! Surely they jest. Read full story »
September 24, 2010
Those of you bemoaning the calorically-carefree days of summer, when the sun melts away the effects of too many pork belly and four cocktail-drenched evenings on restaurant patios (I wish), I regret to report that any hope of not growing in girth this winter is slim (ha ha). Why? Because Portland won’t stop breeding great restaurants, that’s why.
Following in the footsteps of bears, gophers, and ladybugs everywhere, I have been plumping my fat layer in preparation for a long, cold winter, at the following three new eateries…
September 23, 2010
This just in from the Victory Bar, one of the city’s finest watering holes. I glazed over completely after reading the words “Sausage Spätzle,” but I think the gist is that they’ve updated the menu and added a late night happy hour. In case you weren’t at Wild About Game last weekend, Victory’s Chef Eric Moore, wearing both his trademark flannel and infectious grin, was sous chef for winner Gabe Rucker. Here’s the skinny on Moore’s bacon cheddar poutine and hot sausage po’ boy…
Our website designer is M.I.A. so you won’t find our new food menu posted on our site…..yet.
But I’ll just mention, SAUSAGE SPATZLE and HOT SAUSAGE PO’ BOY to you now
Early Bird Happy Hour AND Late Night Menu/Happy Hour!
It all starts this week at Victory. Here’s a list of our Happy Hour offerings: Read full story »
September 23, 2010
I drove past Roost today, at SE 14th & SE Belmont, and noticed the paper was finally off the windows. It’s spare inside, just blonde tables, black chairs, and a row of pegs along the east wall, but it’s much cuter than that dive bar that used to occupy this corner.
Tonight is the soft opening, according to the chef, who was chopping ham in the kitchen when I popped my head in the back door. She’ll initially be serving dinner, and brunch is a possibility in the near future. I know I should have gotten more information but I had a car full of takeout from Lilikoi and I was distracted by the thought of the Kalua pork sandwich and guava strawberry cream cake waiting for me.
Here’s a picture of the restaurant and the menu. There’s a reflection on the menu pic, if you can’t see it, here are the dishes: Read full story »
September 10, 2010
Today was Food Cart Friday for Mette and I, so we decided to check out the Dreamer’s Marketplace on NE Martin Luther King Blvd. My motivation in making the trek was two-fold: 1) This pod’s been on my must-eat list for a while, and 2) my Foursquare buddy, local mixologist and writer Jacob Grier, has been checking in repeatedly at Wet Hot Beef, so naturally I was feeling like he had one up on me.
The Dreamer’s pod, which half fills a parking lot just down the way from lovely Alu Wine Bar, has an interesting mélange of mobile eats. While waiting for Mette, I spied a lone trailer at the far end of the pod, Viking Soul Food. Since Viking soul food has thus far eluded me in this life, I was hooked. “For the Valkyrie within,” the menu promised. This initially conjured up a vision of Tom Cruise, which was very unappetizing, but according to trusty Wiki, a valkyrie is actually an ancient Norse term for “chooser of the slain,” a gang of hot girls who decide who will die in a battle, then escort them to the big mead hall in the sky, when they aren’t romancing heroes and feeding their pet swans pickled cabbage. Now you know. Read full story »
September 7, 2010
Want to sneak a peek at Ned Ludd chef Ben Meyer’s new Northeast Portland restaurant venture Grain & Gristle while helping send some of the local culinary scene’s best and brightest to Terra Madre? Behold, your wish has been granted, courtesy of Slow Food Portland’s Anatomy of a Feast: A Trio of Terra Madre Fundraising Dinners and Demo. Read full story »
September 3, 2010
Much-awaited PortlandEatsOut.com just went live!
What is Portland Eats Out, you may ask? In a nutshell, it’s a community-focused dining program supporting local restaurants and the Oregon Food Bank. It encourages you, the intrepid Portland diner, to help bolster our wonderful local restaurants by eating at them on “slow nights,” Sunday through Thursday. Your Portland Eats Out membership card gets you a 15% discount at participating restaurants on those nights (excluding happy hour). And as the only discount dining club that advocates collective giving to help eliminate hunger in Oregon, Portland Eats Out donates ten percent of your membership fee to the Oregon Food Bank.
While Portland Eats Out ‘Staff Eaters’ are out beating the streets to sign up more restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bars and food carts to join the fun, a whole slew of quality eateries have already joined, including Tabla, Fratelli , Acadia, Olympic Provisions, Genoa, Accanto, Patty’s Wagon, Roythai, Ruby Jewel Scoops, An Xuyen Bakery, Flying Cat Coffee House, Seven Virtues Coffee, Vino Paradiso, Viking Soul Food, Trebol, Ten 01, FIN, Eleni’s, Pepper Box, Lauro Kitchen, Vindalho, India Chaat House, El Palenque, and Yakuza.
To get a membership card of your very own, go to the just-launchd www.portlandeatsout.com, or visit the Portland Eats Out booth at the Belmont Street Fair on September 12th. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Portland Eats Out on Facebook and Twitter.
Let the eating, saving, and philanthropy begin!
September 3, 2010
My fantasies of eating thick stacks of peach maple compote and whipped cream-slathered Auntie Paula’s French Toast for dinner come true in less than two weeks–Tasty n Sons has announced the official start date of their new dinner service as Tuesday, Sept. 14.
The dinner menu will feature burgers (including the “Toro Bravo” burger), breakfast-for-dinner (a selection of Tasty n Sons’ signature brunch items), some of Chef John Gorham’s favorite classic diner recipes, good beer, and classic cocktails. Initially, dinner service will be offered from 5-10 pm Tuesday through Saturday as the restaurant eases into a daily dinner schedule in a few weeks. They’ll also offer a limited menu during the 3-5 pm afternoon lull between brunch and dinner.
On another note, don’t plan on a tasty Tasty n Sons Labor Day brunch–it’s closed Monday, Sept. 6.
September 3, 2010
Congratulations to the ever-effervescent Cheese Czarina, Lisa Jacobs of Jacobs Creamery, for her big win at last weekend’s American Cheese Society’s 26th Annual Cheese Judging and Competition! Lisa was in good company, alongside cheese greats like Cowgirl Creamery, Bellwether Farms, Mt. Townsend Creamery, Rogue Creamery, Cypress Grove Chevre, and Willamette Valley Cheese. Read all about Lisa’s triumph, her ricotta tears, and where to find this award-winning créme fraiche in Lisa’s weekly newsletter, always a good read… Read full story »
September 3, 2010
Adventurous eaters seeking a fresh Portland communal dining experience have a new frontier–Eating With Juan. Hosted every Tuesday night by Navarre Chef John Taboada and his lovely wife Giovanna Parolari, at the Luce event space on East Burnside, Eating With Juan showcases the delicious Yucatan cuisine of long-time Navarre chef Juan Alvarado.
September 3, 2010
At the tail end of Ben Dyer’s weekly Simpatica Dining Hall emailer, comes this update on his new Hawaiian-style plate lunch joint, Ate-Oh-Ate.
For those of you who are interested, Ate-Oh-Ate is coming along quite nicely. We have been madly working on getting it put together and should be open late next week (like Saturday). I will let you know for sure in next week’s email. Thank you for your continued patience – we are all very, very excited to unleash our new baby upon the world. I have a million things to do between now and then – wish me luck, I’m really going to need it.
Ate-Oh-Ate will be located at 2452 E. Burnside, and will be open daily from 11am to 9pm. They now have a website, which offers a teensy preview of plates to come–promising “Teriyaki, Kal-Bi, Katsu, Loco Moco, Spam Musubi, Housemade Kimchi, Saimin and more…” along with beer and Mai-Tais. And Spam, of course. As the website explains,
Ate-Oh-Ate is brought to you by the owners of Laurelhurst Market and Simpatica Dining Hall & Catering. Our goal is to provide you with the finest and most delicious Hawaiian Style food possible. We use only the highest quality products, including all natural meats, fresh vegetables, real Best Foods Mayonnaise and authentic Spam (accept no substitutions!). Feel free to dine in or take-out.
September 1, 2010
First Thursday’s extra interesting tomorrow, what with the unveiling of the restored Hung Far Low sign over Ping restaurant in Old Town Chinatown. Besides the exposure of the big re-erection, there will be beverages and dragon dancing too. The party begins at 5 pm, with the official unwrapping scheduled for 7 pm. Personally, I try and attend pretty much anything that incorporates dragon dancing into its itinerary.
August 29, 2010
I’m ready for fall, but I’ll miss the fresh blueberry milkshakes of summer. This one was made with small, sweet Liepold Farms’ blueberries from their Portland Farmers Market stand. With fall in the air and all, I was thinking about pumpkin patches and corn mazes the other day, and Liepold Farms’s looks formidable. According to the website, it’s open between October 1-31, so add that to your list of fall field trips.
August 27, 2010
Oh, my achin’ stomach. As AMPM once said, there’s just too much good stuff…to eat in Portland, that is! If you’re currently contemplating your weekend feeding schedule, consider one of these noshworthy and nectarous eastside newbies.
I’ll sidestep the ’shoulda named it August’ jokes and get to the point–former DOC Chef Greg Perrault’s recently opened tiny-lovely East Burnside restaurant is a delight. On our inaugural visit, we feasted on a summer salad with pickled strawberries and shallots, roasted carrots and frikeh surrounding an unusual bay leaf panna cotta, smoked black cod with fingerlings and tender French filet beans, and housemade egg noodles tossed with what seemed like five pounds of morels and topped with a poached egg and a sprinkling of chive blossoms, sipped sparkling rosé, and bragged about how close June is to our house. Befitting the neighborhood, the space is intimate and unpretentious, with a small bar manned by popular local bartender Kelly Swenson (who came from Ten 01), herb-filled window boxes, and a stylish suede banquette-lined lounge that will make the wait for a table more bearable. For the time being, Chef Daniel Mondok (Carlyle, Sel Gris, Foster Burger) is Greg’s right hand man, so your plates come blessed with a double dose of culinary talent. Read full story »
August 4, 2010
This just in from Andy Ricker…
Pok Pok Noi
I am happy to announce that we have just signed a lease for the space that Podnah’s Pit now occupies on NE Prescott and 15th. Once our buddy Rodney and his crew get their new space on NE Killingsworth built and they move out of the Prescott space, Pok Pok Noi will take the place of Podnah’s. Read full story »
July 16, 2010
Portland’s brimming with picnic-perfect perches, but sometimes your neighborhood park simply won’t cut it. You want to lay your red-and-white-checked gingham blanket in a land of open air, rolling hills, and views-a-plenty. With the help of a few wine country picnic-savvy readers, I compiled a list of seven picnic-ready terraces, decks, and grassy knolls in the scenic Northern Willamette Valley, plus a Picnic 911 cheat sheet for the spontaneous or slothful picnicker.
Read full story »
July 15, 2010
If you’ve felt like your summer social calendar has been full lately, it’s certainly not going to slow down this weekend. Dress up like a unicorn and patronize N. Mississippi watering holes, sip international ales and lagers in the North Park blocks, run the mini Médoc and storm the giant Bastille Tower of cream puffs in honor of Bastille Day, eat cupcakes and dance like a monkey’s uncle, discover a newfound appreciation for beer cocktails, drink beer and eat burgers in the streets of the Pearl District, and ride your bike around East Portland one-handed (you’ll need the other to hold your Voodoo Doughnut). Read full story »
July 15, 2010
I love my neighborhood, but I have to admit that N. Mississippi Avenue gets cooler by the minute. Literally. This morning, Portland’s beloved Ruby Jewel opens the doors of their first scoop shop, selling handmade ice creams, sundaes, waffle cones, and of course, their signature ice cream sandwiches. It’s giving me a serious case of neighborhood scoop shop envy. Read full story »
July 14, 2010
This just in from Ping. Sounds like they are offering even more mouthwatering happy hour delights that you will never get to partake of unless your boss releases you from your Monday-Friday-9-5 prison early. Perhaps you can bribe him with a $5 Kobayashi Hot Dog? Read full story »
July 14, 2010
I’ve always thought it’s got to be a pretty swell life, being a chicken. Assuming you aren’t marked for a neck-wringing and subsequent butter massage and roasting, of course. Or a terrifying group bath. Let me explain. Read full story »
July 13, 2010
Summer has a lot going for it–temperatures above 40 degrees, the proliferation of cute sundresses in your favorite boutique, and floats. While it’s fun to get innovative with these simple, refreshing desserts — after all, who doesn’t love a caramel espresso float or white peach, cassis, and champagne float — fun fancy schmancy recipes aside, the grandaddy of all floats is still Root Beer. Read full story »
July 9, 2010
This weekend, Portland has something for everyone–ice cream lovers, Francophiles, fútbol enthusiasts, those who worship at the altar of Alsatian-style wine ‘n sausage and old-school heavy metal, and last but not least, anyone who has repeatedly eaten their weight in cherries and yet never seems to learn a lesson.
So tie on your finest red neckerchief, start planning the ideal build-your-own Ruby Jewels ice cream sandwich, dig your favorite Black Sabbath t-shirt out of the attic, stock up on Imodium, and practice your little Dutch headbutts–it’s going to be a fun, fabulous, sweaty, delicious weekend in Portland.
Read full story »
July 3, 2010
July 2, 2010
July 2, 2010
With almost two weeks of summer behind us, we’re well into one of the most important seasons of the year–Rosé Season. This past Monday, a bevy of lively pink wine-loving ladies convened at elegant gal-about-town Bette Sinclair’s airy West Hills perch to conduct a thorough tasting of six vibrant Oregon rosés, complete with triple créme Bries and strawberry tartlets, tales of the Bradley Cooper that got away, and a mass pass-out, er, nap. Read full story »
July 1, 2010
With new Portland restaurants opening faster than my weary fork can cry uncle, it took us a few weeks to come round to former Food & Wine Best New Chef and Chicago transplant Kevin Shikami’s new Pearl District eatery, Kin, which quietly opened on NW 14th Avenue nearly a month ago. Read full story »
June 30, 2010
After a long wait for Coalition Brewing Company to open on SE Ankeny & SE 28th (in the old Noble Rot space), Buckman neighborhood beer drinkers got their wish last week. I stopped by the new brewpub this afternoon for a midday snack.
June 29, 2010
I cherish my baby-blue KitchenAid mixer with a deep and abiding affection normally reserved for expensive champagne and baby bulldogs. A KitchenAid mixer is a rite of epicurean passage, an objet d’lust, a culinarily-inclined girl’s best friend. After all, what are first marriages for, if not the immediate post-engagement stampede to Williams-Sonoma to register for THIS beauty? And true love, of course. Ahem.
Given my feelings about stand mixers, I couldn’t help but be entranced by this vintage mixer charm ($36), hanging in tiny pretty Verabel Jewelry Studio (3012 NE Alberta St.). It even comes with a cupcake pan for good measure.
June 28, 2010
Water Avenue Coffee opened bright and early this morning to a steady stream of caffeine-craving folk bearing welcomes and well wishes. Located in the old Q Center space on SE Water Avenue, the coffeehouse is just around the corner from the much-mourned Southeast Bakery Bar outpost, in which WAC set up service temporarily during the buildout of their bright and shiny new coffeehouse/roastery.
June 25, 2010
I’ve been really busy with some big projects, and my weekly newsletter, Table Scraps, has been neglected. But it lives again this week, and the latest edition landed in an inbox near you a few moments ago. If your inbox has newsletter envy, you should sign up. You can check out this week’s issue here, and sign up here. Happy Friday!
June 25, 2010
There’s nothing I like more than walking around eating, unless it’s sitting around eating or standing around eating. So I was looking forward to trying brand-new Forktown Food Tour’s foodie whirl around Northwest Portland’s Alphabet District today. Led by fun, food-loving Portland girl Jessica Kleiderman, the tour starts at Besaw’s and ends with a full stomach. Read full story »
June 25, 2010
Life has given you a weekend, now use it wisely. Here are seven enticing events occurring in Portland this weekend, all of which are almost guaranteed to be a good time, unless you somehow muck it up. You can wax poetic about pie, drink too much organic beer/root beer, pay a visit the Project Grow folks to admire their new garden and pet their pygmy goats and join their CSA, show some cleavage while learning to make medieval stew in the Beaverton Farmers Market’s Shire of Dragon’s Mist, butcher a pig, watch fútbol and stuff crawfish until your belly resembles a soccer ball, or ride your bike around in a vehicle-free NoPo eating pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, and shave ice. Ain’t Portland a kick in the head?! Read full story »
June 24, 2010
Here’s the press release announcing “eco-modern seafood restaurant” FIN’s July opening, as well as a few sample menu items.
FIN, an eco-modern seafood restaurant, is slated to open July 28, 2010 under the direction of executive chef Trent Pierce and owner Joan Dumas. FIN will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 5pm to close through the summer. Beginning early fall, FIN will move to a seven day schedule. Read full story »
June 24, 2010
June 24, 2010
I was poking around in Memento (formerly Greg’s) on SE Hawthorne, when I came across these two gems.
An excellent gift for the sharkophile or sharkophobe (depending on whether or not you like the giftee) in your life, this Kikkerland shark peeler deftly skins carrots, zucchinis, and cats.* Kikkerland also makes a darling squid peeler, but it didn’t have teeth, so I eschewed it in favor of the shark peeler. Memento carries them both for the low, low price of $3.
With barbecue season looming, you now have the perfect host/hostess gift for your favorite cowpatty cook. This delightful hamburger kitchen timer will ensure that they never burn the brioche buns again because they’re engrossed in an overly long anecdote about that time they almost qualified for the Krystal Square Off. Except for the puzzling absence of bacon and blue cheese, it is anatomically correct, and sells for only $5.
3707 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
*Just kidding, Mr. Whiskers! Please accept my apology for such insensitivity and go back to napping on that pile of freshly laundered pelts.
June 23, 2010
My dear Mette’s birthday was last Saturday, and since I seem to have “issues” with “remembering people’s birthdays,” (Sis, I said I was sorry like 7,000 TIMES! And you were in Hawaii that week anyway!!) we celebrated it Monday night, with interesting gifts like a hamburger kitchen timer, and a massive Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake, the official dessert of belated summers and belated birthdays.
June 21, 2010
Despite the sulky grey skies and morose drizzles that have blanketed our fair city of late, signs of summer were everywhere this Saturday at the Beaverton Farmers Market.
There were rows upon rows of ruby-hued raspberries and strawberries, bushels of Rainier and Chelan cherries, fresh watermelon juice, smoking grills lined with racks of barbecued ribs and juicy German bratwurst, buckets of rosy peony blossoms, coconut gelato, sweet tiny golden cherry tomatoes, crates piled high with fat buttery fava beans, tall cups of fresh-squeezed lemonade on ice, and little red Radio Flyer wagons filled with produce and toddlers displaying diverse levels of agreeability.
June 18, 2010
Ah Lucky Strike, fiercely fiery den of Sichuan peppercorn power. Until recently, if I craved a Lucky Strike blaze in my belly (pretty literally), I drove all the way out to SE Powell & 122nd and tried not to feel guilty for being sketched out by the restaurant’s shabby storefront, next to a cigarette store.
Last night, that changed, as Lucky Strike threw open the doors at its new location in the west wing of the Hawthorne Theatre, for a soft opening that was anything but–to my stomach lining at least. Read full story »
June 18, 2010
This just landed in my inbox:
June 17, 2010
Sometimes you wake up with a craving that demands immediate attention. Today, that craving happened to be waffles and strawberries. Seeing as I was plumb out of syrup and this morbid weather has sucked every ounce of my motivation, I thought I’d see what newish waffle cart Wicked Waffles had to offer. Read full story »
June 11, 2010
Before you pull the ol’ Snoopy Snow Cone Machine out of mothballs, I think you should know that your favorite icy summer treat might have competition. Beer slushies. Yes, you read that right. Behold the immortal words of Pok Pok Executive Chef Andy Ricker–
“This March, I made a trip to Thailand and shipped back a couple of machines to make “Bia Wun”, or “Jelly Beer” in Thai (because the slushy beer looks like jelly to Thai people). They look like this. Well, they arrived a week or so ago here at the Whiskey Soda Lounge, and after sorting out some problems with converting 110v AC power to 9v DC (they run on windshield wiper motors!), we got one up and running today. They work just as advertised. Bia Wun will be a permanent fixture on the Whiskey Soda Lounge drinks board from now on, featuring Singha 22oz beers. One machine will live out on our new back patio, and one in the lounge itself. I am fairly confident that the WSL will boast the coldest beers in town this summer. Bring on the the hot weather!
Thanks, best, Andy”
I’m actually quite overcome by this announcement. The thought of drinking a Singha slurpee made with windshield wiper motor power is almost too much to bear. Bring on the hot weather, indeed.
June 10, 2010
This is fascinating. And torturous. And delightful. I love the sniffers, the dancing brothers, and the little blond girl who nibbles at hers until it’s mangled but doesn’t actually eat the whole thing. Not sure how she fared in the end.
June 4, 2010
It’s Friday morning and while you should be hard at work, reading snooze-inducing memos and toiling over Excel spreadsheets, you’d rather browse the internet looking at menus, trying to decide where to take your honey for a romantic dinner out tonight. At least, that better be what my boyfriend is doing at work right now.
This week Travel Portland and a whole host of other sponsors kicked off Dining Month Portland, a month-long celebration of the wonders of prix-fixe dining. During the entire month of June, you can get a special three-course dinner menu for $25 at nearly 50 participating restaurants Portland-wide. Read full story »
May 25, 2010
We all have guilty pleasures. Pedicures, romcoms, tawdry chick-lit novels, overpriced handbags, big beautiful glossy cookbooks that you mean to cook out of but never do, eating entire chubs of Olympic Provisions’ salami in one sitting, ordering one of everything on the Fenouil dessert menu, dressing up like a pumpkin and a tomato and walking up and down SE Belmont Avenue handing out strawberries and shilling for the Buckman Portland Farmers’ Market, etc., etc. (Wait, move that last one from Guilty Pleasures to Memories to Repress.) Read full story »
May 7, 2010
Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned food writer/blogger, or somewhere in between, this workshop sounds like a great opportunity to hone your craft AND the perfect excuse for a weekend getaway to Seattle!
Blanching, braising, dredging and dicing: words that describe or terms that terrify?
Food writer and editor Dianne Jacob, author of “Will Write for Food,” knows how to navigate the fine line between precision (”sauté”) and dumbing down (”cook”). She’s coming to Seattle next month to share her insights at an all-day workshop entitled “Food Writing for Food Lovers.”
Attendees are expected to include foodies, bloggers, writers, and cookbook authors as well as aspiring columnists, freelancers, journalists , PR professionals, caterers and chefs looking to publish a cookbook or anyone who wants to learn more about the food writing world. Read full story »
May 5, 2010
Giorgio’s is one of those restaurants most everyone I know has eaten at, but they can’t quite remember when. Here’s an incentive to get reacquainted with this venerable Pearl District mainstay–for the first time ever since its opening in 2000, Giorgio’s has instituted a daily happy hour. Read full story »
May 5, 2010
Spotted this on Facebook today. Apparently if you buy one of Xocolatl de Davíd’s Chicharrón bars, you might be lucky enough to find a ticket to the upcoming Cochon 555, where five of Portland’s best chefs will play with nearly a ton of heritage pork as they vie for the title of “Prince/Princess of Porc.” Like you needed another excuse to eat David Briggs’ chocolate.
Xocolatl de Davíd Alright Portland, your time has come. The COCHON 555 US TOUR Golden Ticket contest will be kicking off at 4pm Today!
Purchase one of the specially marked Chicharrón Bars and you could win a ticket to the greatest pork show on earth!
The Chicharrón Bars will be available at the following locations:
Cork Wine Shop
Meat Cheese Bread
May 4, 2010
Last night I was working on an events listing for the Portland Farmers’ Market May newsletter (sign up to get it emailed to you monthly HERE!), when I came across the website for eat.think.grow, a network of state, local, and community partners who support and advocate for better quality school food and garden education in the Portland Public Schools district. These include Ecotrust, Slow Food, Portland State, and the City of Portland. Read full story »
May 4, 2010
I just got my ticket to the second annual Cochon 555, and I’m hoping you’ll join me next Sunday evening to pig out on more than 750 pounds of pork prepared by five of Portland’s best chefs, sip fine wines from the likes of Elk Cove, Domaine Drouhin, and Domaine Serene, and help crown Portland’s next “Prince of Porc.”
What is Cochon 555? It’s not a fancy car race, as I initially thought when I first heard of it last year. Founded by Brady Lowe of the Taste Network, Cochon 555 is the only heritage breed pig and chef competition in the U.S. Lowe created the event with the intent of raising consumer awareness of heritage breeds, which include Duroc, Berkshire, Landrace, Red Wattle, Gloucester Old Spot, Hampshire, and Yorkshire. Read full story »
April 27, 2010
Is Big Meat pushing the USDA for burdensome and seemingly unnecessary testing that will ultimately put small meat producers out of business? What do these proposed regulations mean for our local farmers and salumists? Read this informative–and alarming–Salon article.
Will the USDA doom locally produced meat?
New testing regulations may end small-scale meat production — and keep the market safe for the big boys.
Read article here>>
April 22, 2010
I’ve been having a terrible recurring nightmare this week. The plot is pretty basic–I’ve just eaten the biggest meal of my life, only to look at my watch and have the horrifying realization that Taste of the Nation starts in mere minutes. My favorite food event of the year has finally arrived and I’M FULL! Suffice to say, I’ll be restricting my diet this Monday to six peas and a small glass of grappa so I’m ready to graze, gorge, sip and socialize all night long.
If you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about, on Monday, April 26, Share Our Strength’s 23rd Annual Taste of the Nation fundraiser brings its yearly dose of charitable gluttony to Portland. Your ticket includes unlimited tastes and pours from over 50 restaurants, 20 wineries, and five breweries, and with the roll call featuring gastronomic A-listers like Beaker & Flask, Beast, Gruner, andSimpatica Dining Hall, you’ll have to be rolled home a la Violet Beauregarde–just don’t crush the Saint Cupcakes stuffed in your pockets.
Hope to see you there! More info and tickets here>>
April 22, 2010
Who says there’s no such thing as free dessert? Lucky Strike (12306 SE Powell Blvd.) is offering all celebrants of its 2nd b-day free dessert tonight! All you have to do is show up.
April 22, 2010
Tomorrow’s IACP Book Fair is not the book fair of your youth–there isn’t a Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary tome in sight. But it is a literary food lover’s paradise–meet nearly 60 of your favorite foodie authors, including former Gourmet Editor and food critic Ruth Reichl, New York Times’ writer Kim Severson, actress/food writer Madhur Jaffrey, and local cookbook authors like Diane Morgan, Ivy Manning, and Chef Lisa Schroeder. And, if you weren’t already excited enough, wine will be served.
This event will be held at the Oregon Convention Center from 1:3o-3:30pm tomorrow (4/23) afternoon. For more info and tickets, click here.>>
April 22, 2010
This just in from Chef Naoko. If you haven’t tried her delicious and carefully-sourced Japanese cuisine in her serene downtown cafe (SW Jefferson & 12th), you really must. Now you can go for lunch OR dinner. For more info on the restaurant, see the Under the Table writeup here.
Chef Naoko is now beginning the third summer season in business, and I have learned so much during this time. I have made some great relationships with Oregon farmers and suppliers, and continue to get creative suggestions from my customers. I thank all my customers for making Chef Naoko a success, and now it is time to graduate to offer dinner service as well as lunches. From May, Chef Naoko will be open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There will be a new dinner menu, and I do hope that you get a chance to visit us for dinner. Please see below for our new business hours. Read full story »
April 15, 2010
It’s been a long while since I last passed through the doors of the Castagna dining room, and it seemed like last night was as good a night as any. I was plumb out of champagne and ham sandwiches, my usual Wednesday night dinner. I had a cute new outfit and felt like dressing up a little without enduring the hubbub of the Pearl. And I was curious–as you’ve likely heard unless you live in an earplug factory on Tristan da Cunha, Executive Chef Matt Lightner just won a Food and Wine Best New Chef 2010 award, to keep his 2010 James Beard Rising Star Chef nomination company. Read full story »
April 15, 2010
I type this with a heavy heart, because Portland is losing one of its greatest, quirkiest, most delicious little eateries–after 10 years, Half & Half has been sold to Courier Coffee and will be leaving our lives, taking with it its unparalleled sandwich library, its damn fine pie and deviled eggs, its wonderful coffee, its wacky zine collection, its sea animal squirt guns and retro candy.
I wanted to post this letter, written by Robin Rosenberg, co-founder of Half and Half. It’s a lovely, lovely letter and will quite possibly leave you with a lump in your throat…and a craving for a fluffernutter sandwich and a grape Crush. Read full story »
April 13, 2010
When I’m not obsessively hunting down new food finds for Under The Table or planning my next fictional trip to Spain or daydreaming about macarons or brainstorming destinations for Mette and I’s new picnic club or writing my upcoming guidebook (more details soon), I’m working with my lovely Wordcake Communications clients.
Normally I wouldn’t blog about a client meeting because well, on average, how interesting is a client meeting? But today, my meeting was exceptional! Not only is my potential client buying a wine club (fun!), but he came to lunch bearing gifts from the recent Spring Beer and Wine Festival, in which he was a participant. Read full story »
April 9, 2010
If you have yet to experience South Slavic home cooking, and I’d venture to guess few of us have, here is your chance–Chef John Goddard of Bistro Luka is kicking off a private supper club series beginning Sunday. Here’s his invite:
April 9, 2010
Having trouble committing to Saturday plans because nothing feels quite right? Perhaps that’s because the Food Alliance Scavenger Hunt is that event you’ve been waiting for. Form a team, get free Hot Lips, meet neat people, use your encyclopedic Portland Food Knowledge to win fun prizes.
April 8, 2010
If you have a serious cupcake addiction and live in the vicinity of SE Belmont and 33rd, it’s probably been a difficult past few weeks for you, what with Saint Cupcake being closed for its “super cute” remodel.
The newly (and aptly) named Saint Cupcake Deluxe shares its SE Belmont Street address (3300 SE Belmont to be exact) with magical marvelous wondrous den of treasures Noun: A Person’s Place For Things. Not only does Noun have the most gorgeous refrigerator on earth (a concord grape-purple Big Chill), but it’s also got one of the most lovingly curated collection of non-stinky antiques, jewelry, vintage glassware and other brick-a-brack in Portland. Noun used to occupy the front of the store while Saint Cupcake brought up the very rear, and as part of the remodel, the two have switched spots, so the first thing you see upon entering is cupcakes, glorious cupcakes. And sprinkles, lots of sprinkles. Read full story »
April 1, 2010
Jay-Z touts the Empire State of Mind, Steinbeck opined that Texas is a state of mind, and here in Portland, well, Brunch could probably be declared the official state of mind, at least on weekend mornings. So when some of us heard that the team behind one of Portland’s culinary bests, Toro Bravo, was opening a new brunch spot, Tasty n Sons, we dropped in a delighted faint, very nearly losing our spot in the Screen Door line. Read full story »
March 30, 2010
According to my Justin Bieber wall calendar, it’s supposedly spring, and although all the classic signs of spring are here–the tender young leaves bursting forth and proudly unfurling on the maple trees outside my window seem to be doubling in size every day, I see puppies and lovers slobbering all over each other everywhere, the Portland Beavers open the 2010 season next week at PGE Park, and I ordered a J. Crew swimsuit that will without a doubt not fit–I am having trouble believing. Maybe it’s the 90-mile-an-hour winds and the muddy bootprints all over my kitchen floor. Read full story »
March 18, 2010
This week we tried two new Northwest lunch spots, sampling Dragon Bowls at Yoga in the Pearl’s new neighbor Prasad, and stuffing sloppy gloppy (in a good way) meatball sandwiches at new Breken Kitchen in NoLo. This sort of hard-hitting food journalism takes energy, and nothing fuels an intrepid foodster quite like the mighty cacao bean, so I’ve also been rather shamefully scarfing Double Chocolate Nibby Wondercookies at Meat Cheese Bread and massive wedges of Mom’s Chocolate Cake at Alma Chocolate. Here’s the sordid tale. Read full story »
March 17, 2010
This Saturday, celebrate the first day of spring any number of ways–go on a cleaning spree, balance an egg on end, buy a skimpy swimsuit and book a Cancún vacation, dust your collection of sparkling rosés, and join the staff of Olympic Provisions for your first lunch or dinner of the new season.
Beginning March 20, Olympic Provisions will offer Saturday lunch and dinner service, and will now be open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm. The Saturday lunch menu will expand to include a selection of brunch dishes, breakfast sandwiches and sweet and savory pastries, and the bar will be mixing mimosas. Olympic Provisions’ popular Aperitivo Hour menu, offered daily from 3-6 pm, will also be available on Saturday, so stop in and while away the afternoon with a charcuterie plate and a refreshing glass of rosé or Prosecco. Read full story »
March 16, 2010
This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a lovely brunch put on by my lovely friends Andrea Slonecker and Lila Martin.
Andrea (left) is an accomplished cook, food writer, and IACP committee member, and is conspiring on a soon-to-published cookbook with local author Diane Morgan. Lila (right) helps promote Portland and its vibrant food scene as the Media Relations Coordinator for Travel Portland and writes a fun food blog called Eat This! Read full story »
March 13, 2010
This man is wearing banana underpants. Or rather, underpants made from banana tree fibre, courtesy of AussieBum. For all those times you’ve asked your guy “is that a banana in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”
March 10, 2010
You can tell how old you’re getting by how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Once upon a time, St. Patty’s Day meant breaking out my green and white striped cropped tube top and plastic drugstore shamrock baubles and drinking enough green beer to turn my belly button emerald from the inside out.
These days, I stay home and watch my Far & Away DVD and make Irish soda bread, with only a smidgen of wistfulness.
Searching for recipes, I found that soda bread is something of a touchy subject, everyone seems to have their own variation, to which they’re very loyal. Going to the source is always a winning strategy when seeking an authentic formula, so I browsed flights to Dublin on Aer Lingus. Then I remembered I was out of vacation time, which squelched that dream, so I started poking around for a more local source. Did I know any Portland Irish? Read full story »
March 9, 2010
There are certain party tricks I’d like to master–how to dance the tango, how to turn water into Châteauneuf-du-Pape and loaves into toasted coconut cream cupcakes, and above all else, how to open a bottle of bubbly with a cleaver.
In the video clip below, Olympic Provisions sommelier Carly Laws demonstrates one of her favorite party tricks, a technique known as sabrage, which was apparently very popular with Napoleon Bonaparte’s crowd. Not one to need a fancy saber when a vintage cleaver will do, Carly deftly beheads a bottle of Prosecco with one swift slice, earning our eternal admiration. She also tells me a little bit about how she came to possess this talent in the below interview.
It goes without saying–don’t try this at home. And please excuse my less-than-skillful videography. It’s on my list of things to master.
March 8, 2010
Today my friend Mollie and I attended the 10th Annual Farmer-Chef Connection at Clackamas Community College. We aren’t farmers or chefs, just eaters, but they let regular people come too.
Put on by the Portland Chefs Collaborative and Friends of Family Farmers and sponsored by New Seasons Market, FoodHub, and Cascade Pacific, the event was both informative and inspirational. We were a bit late, rather ironically due to a distracting stop at New Seasons en route, so we missed the opening remarks by HOTLIPS Pizza co-owner David Yudkin and had to slink into seats at separate tables in the standing room-only auditorium. Read full story »
March 8, 2010
When Steve Jones announced that he was moving his revered cheese shop from its cozy nook inside Northwest Portland’s Square Deal Wines to the old Parkside Deli digs in Mt. Tabor and fattening it up into a cheese shop/café/neighborhood hangout, you knew instantly which side of the river Portland cheeselovers lived on by the resulting screams of joy/great gulping sobs. Read full story »
March 3, 2010
This just arrived from Toro Bravo, so I thought I’d pass it on.
Hello from Toro Bravo!
We would like to share with you some exciting news…
We are working on our next project: Tasty n Sons – a Portland brunch restaurant that will be located on 3808 N Williams, at the southern end of the building (in the old Nutshell / Anju space). Read full story »
February 26, 2010
While weekends all too often degenerate into frantic pinballing between sports games, birthday parties, and trips to Ikea, they’re also prime time for new food finds. This weekend Portland has plenty to offer in the way of edible entertainment–Italian wine dinners, Chowder-Offs, new Montavilla sweet spots, and a romantic night at the theater topped off with a nightcap of Hennessy and handcuffs. Read full story »
February 26, 2010
In honor of the pink-bud strewn trees on my street, I must share these “Bird with Cherry Blossoms” cupcake wrappers by Bella Cupcake Couture, possibly the most charming thing since, well, a fresh cherry blossom. Thanks Erin!
February 25, 2010
Sometimes, the thought of going home and having to cook dinner seems about as far-fetched as the possibility of you tearing open your belted beige raincoat on the crowded evening Max train to reveal your sexy pink polyester Ann Taylor sweater set and screaming, “Take me, take me NOW, DERANGED SMELLY MAN WHO VERY VAGUELY RESEMBLES JAVIER BARDEM!” **
Fortunately, you don’t have to do either. If you desperately need a date and some nookie, please see this new match.com ad that I am very fond of. If you desperately need an exquisitely fresh, pre-prepared Italian dinner that tastes and smells deliciously homemade (if you were channeling your Umbrian grandmother that is) please exit the Max train immediately and get to Taste Unique as quickly as possible. Read full story »
February 23, 2010
Sometimes I really think that if I was poking around my favorite vintage shop and I found a magic brass lamp containing a genie, one of my three wishes would be for a copy of everything Phaidon Press has ever published.
Phaidon produces lavish, beautiful, exceptional works, and their books related to cooking are tremendous additions to any collection. A few months ago I was starry-eyed over the receipt of I Know How to Cook. Read full story »
February 20, 2010
If you don’t get Groupon’s daily updates via email, Twitter or Facebook, you may have missed yesterday’s offer–“$12 for $25 Worth of Seafood and More at EaT: An Oyster Bar.”
February 19, 2010
This box came in the mail today. It was for Erin. We both got really excited about it. Erin got excited because she rarely gets interesting looking boxes in the mail at work, and I got excited because there was obviously food inside.
February 18, 2010
This year for Valentine’s Day, Michelle and I did not get what we wanted, even though we asked for very simple things.
Michelle wanted a pink Bentley just like Paris Hilton’s, and for her sewer line not to back up into her basement and for her not to walk down into the basement to do laundry without turning on the light first. I wanted a bulldog puppy with a heart-shaped nose, and a villa in France, preferably one that neighbors the Valrhona family estate. Read full story »
February 17, 2010
Whenever I’m loitering in Sahagun Chocolates, scoping out the Luscious Caramels, and owner Elizabeth Montes tells me to wait just a second because she has something for me, I immediately do a little happy dance inside.
Sometimes she gives me a complimentary Sundrop for being the Foursquare mayor of Sahagun, sometimes she shares a sliver of spicy peanut-y dark chocolate bark, and last Sunday, she presented this: Read full story »
February 17, 2010
The recent re-opening of Wy’east Pizza made me do some thinking about the marvels of Food Cart Pizza. There are huge advantages to pizza on wheels–it’s cheap, it’s fast, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to wait in line for 45-90 minutes to get a seat when you’re struck with a craving. Here are my favorite places to get pizza on the go. Read full story »
February 17, 2010
February 15, 2010
SE Water Ave Bakery Bar Sold; Will Close March 2
We are finally able to confirm that Bakery Bar’s location on SE Water Ave has been sold. Its final day of business will be Tuesday, March 2. The new owners are currently making arrangements for an entirely new and very different food and beverage venture. Read full story »
February 14, 2010
Yesterday we visited Northwest Sweets on NW 23rd, and found plenty of goodies for our guys, including a bag ‘o MAN CANDY.
What’s Man Candy? I’ll let NW Sweets candyman Steve Gazda explain: Read full story »
February 12, 2010
As you may have noticed, I’m a sucker for cute food drawings. So I’m rather fond of this new match.com ad featuring classic food love matches like strawberries & cream, salt & pepper, milk & cookies, knife & fork, and of course, peas & carrots. It is infinitely better than the “I’m just a goof looking for my ball” ad, which used to prompt me to throw my glass of champagne at the television.
Watch for the fish ‘n chip, it’s my favorite. Read full story »
February 12, 2010
It’s not every day you get called “a sausage party” in a writeup on Forbes’
America’s Best New Restaurants list.
Congratulations Olympic Provisions!
February 12, 2010
Blueplate Chef Jeffery Reiter sent a very succinct email this morning.
Subject: Fried Chicken and JOJO’s
Message: “That’s right. It’s back.”
If you’re thinking that sounds like a fine Friday lunch, you’ll probably want to get going. Blueplate fills up fast.
February 11, 2010
You can be a lot of things in Seattle–sleepless, wet, caffeinated, a member of a hot, trampy band of medical residents…and of course, hungry. Last weekend sis Michelle and I followed the train tracks to the Emerald City, and had a grand old time.
It occurred to me that our adventure has all the trappings of a romantic mini-break for you and yours this Valentine’s Day weekend. It’s not to late to make the reservations–and won’t you be all the more lauded for your spontaneity? Read full story »
February 11, 2010
Sometimes I feel that the kindergarten set isn’t well enough represented here on Under the Table. So I asked a very special correspondent, 5-year-old Eva, for her impressions of her recent meal at Sky City, the revolving restaurant atop Seattle’s famous Space Needle. Read full story »
February 10, 2010
Mette Hornung Rankin–my friend, The Bachelor-watching partner, and brilliant designer–sent me a few of her Valentine’s Day foodie gift picks.
When Mette first sent me a picture of this darling “Delicious Dough Mini Wallet” wallet by indie designer FluffyCo, I instantly wished it had a cupcake on the front. Then I remembered that doughnuts are the new cupcake. Plus the brilliant magenta hue matches my new Canon SD1200 camera. I can’t wait to flash this baby the next time I’m at Voodoo. Read full story »
February 10, 2010
I love valentines. Growing up, I could not receive them during my formative grade school years due to being raised in a non-V-Day-celebrating religion, which naturally, made me crave them all the more.
Many moons later, when I became a kindergarten teacher (oh yes, I was a kindergarten teacher for 5 looooong years), I overcompensated with lavish class parties that involved 3-dimensional valentine holders and over the top valentine-making projects that far overutilized doilies and lace and ribbon and GLITTER. Why is it that when you are five years old, you simply cannot use enough glitter? Read full story »
February 8, 2010
This Valentine’s Day, I hope you get your sweetie something scintillating, like a younger hotter pool boy/girl, instead of what you were going to get them–flowers made out of fruit. Fruit flowers are so predictable, and they don’t empty the pump basket.
If you don’t have a pool, don’t despair. This week, I’ll be randomly highlighting some great locally-sourced gifts for you to give your Valentine. Why? Because I’m nice. And because I want my sweetie to get these for ME for Valentine’s Day and nothing says “I hope you get me this” like sending him a link to a posting about neat-o Jen-approved gift ideas.
And without further ado, here are my first two picks for What To Get Me Your Sweetie for Valentine’s Day. Read full story »
February 5, 2010
If you’ve ever wanted to actually eat Thai street food in Thailand, and with Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker no less, here is your chance: Read full story »
February 4, 2010
Even before you read all the entries found at the currently trending Twitter hashtag #thisdateisover, you know the ugly truth–even the most initially promising of dates can curdle faster than custard in a too-hot double boiler.
Tonight, local personalities will fill the Bagdad with their stories of dates gone bad at Planned Parenthood’s fundraiser “It’s Not Me, It’s You: Stories From the Dark Side of Dating.”
Since many dates involve food and eating, most everyone has a terrible tale in this context. I asked some of my funniest pals to contribute theirs. Names have been changed to protect the innocent/guilty. So here you go, and hope to see you tonight. Read full story »
February 3, 2010
Congratulations to Olympic Provisions for their meaty mention in this month’s edition of Sunset Magazine! The magazine praised the OP’s soppressata as “crunchy, yet juicy.” What a coincidence, that’s exactly how we describe supercute Meat Curing Chef Elias Cairo.
January 29, 2010
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.
January 29, 2010
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
January 24, 2010
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!
January 21, 2010
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.
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
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 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.
January 15, 2010
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
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
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 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
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
Mette’s dog Lucy, the official Under the Table mascot, is caught in a moment of pure bacon lust.
January 4, 2010
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 IS NOW OPEN- DECEMBER 29, 2009
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 »
December 21, 2009
This is part one of a new 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. And at the end of the article, you can enter to WIN A FUN PRIZE.
I try to eat lunch out every day. I know the financial whiz people who write bestselling books about how every time you so much as sniff your morning latte you take one symbolic step closer to the poorhouse would scorn me, but I don’t care. My retirement plan has always been to die young and beautiful and in mid-sip of Grande Dame anyway.
When I was little, eating lunch out on the town was an rare thrill, a welcome change of scenery from my own kitchen counter, an adventure that transcended my usual noon routine of a sorrowful, concave peanut butter and jam sandwich served on my mom’s hideous floral print plates. But now that I’m all growed up and can eat lunch out whenever I want, sometimes it gets boring. The thrill is gone. I needed to spice up my lunch life.
So come lunchtime, I went to China.
December 19, 2009
I sincerely hope you are a fan of my dear friend Lisa Jacob’s tremendously good cheeses, if you aren’t yet, make a point of stopping by her Jacob’s Creamery booth at the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market this winter (the Hillsdale market runs bimonthly year-round) for a taste of her delectable feta, crumbled mozzarella, cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, and new Irish Cashel blue cheese. And please don’t pass up the pudding.
Lisa writes one of the funniest newsletters in town, and was gracious enough to let me reprint it. Recently, Lisa took a position as cheesemaker at Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheeses, setting off a whole new adventure that involves cheesemaking to the strains of Edith Piaf, learning to make blue cheese with noted cheesemaker-down-under Neville McNaughton, and living in a drafty old farmhouse in “Nowheresville” without luxuries like kitchen plugs.
Here’s the latest installation of Lisa’s hilarious chronicling of her life as a Cheese Czarina. If you want to be included in her mailing list, email her at email@example.com.
Read full story »
December 18, 2009
Once upon a time, when someone mentioned Belly Timber Executive Chef David Siegel, I immediately thought of candied bacon.
December 17, 2009
It seems like everyone’s buzzing about Big-A** Sandwiches, a highly anticipated addition to Portland’s seemingly bottomless food cart community. Of course, with a name like Big-A** Sandwiches, curiosity and Big-A** expectations are only natural.
After a few Twitter-chronicled setbacks, Big-A** Sandwiches looks set to open downtown at SW 3rd and SW Ash on Monday, Dec. 21, for both breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, and on Thursday-Saturday nights they’ll be dishing up late night grub as well.
The menu is simple and fun, offering four hearty sandwiches on Fleur de Lis bread and the option to douse any of them in creamy béchamel sauce for an extra dollar. Sides include coleslaw and three kinds of fries, from plain to bacon cheese, and you can wash everything down with a Mexican Coke. Big-A** Sandwich heaven. Read full story »
December 16, 2009
Slappy Cakes, the newish make-pancakes-right-at-your-table restaurant on SE Belmont Avenue, was the most fun I’ve had for $10 in a long time, even trumping my last good paw through the Walgreen’s clearance section. And that’s high praise.
December 15, 2009
My friend Laura sent me this clip. It’s a prank of great ambition–wait until you see the gift-wrapped refrigerator and paper towels…priceless. I don’t know if the perpetrator deserves coal or a Zhu Zhu Hamster in their stocking.
December 15, 2009
I’ve been accused in the past of seeing, smelling, and tasting chocolate where no chocolate exists. I suppose there are worst hallucinations to be had. But I could just swear there was cacao in the air when I left Slappycakes (SE Belmont & 42nd) Sunday morning, and a few peeks inside the sleek space next door caused a hopeful theobromine rush.
Read full story »
December 14, 2009
Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending a bona fide Julefrokost, a traditional Danish Christmas Lunch, hosted by Under the Table’s very own Mette Hornung Rankin, designer extraordinaire and honest to goodness Dane, and her husband Darin, an honorary Dane.
December 13, 2009
I sure do love Martha Rich.
And I love her new website. I think you will too, because who doesn’t love vivid paintings and illustrations of cake, steak, & lobster (and so much more), especially those with a story? Seems like the perfect Christmas present to me. HINT HINT.
December 12, 2009
Christmas trees are probably like babies, you’re certain yours is the most beautiful, even if realistically, it looks kind of like a constipated monkey. But seriously, my tree is the fairest of them all.
Sure, it’s a little lopsided, and someone didn’t distribute the blue lights all that evenly, and I’ve only dug up 11 ornaments thus far, and–as evidenced by the lone gift–I am waaaaay behind on the Christmas shopping, but all that just adds character.
December 11, 2009
This post is inspired by an email written by my coworker Heather, the shortest email she has ever written, in fact.
Date: December 9, 2009 12:58:59 PM PST
where should I go for dinner?
I am always happy to help when someone asks me this question. In fact, I tend to drop everything I’m currently working on (in this case, my expense reports, which is my least favorite activity, narrowly edging out ‘picking up the dog’s doody just as the street car goes by’) and devote myself to finding the person a perfect dining venue.
In this case, Heather wanted to try something new. This is the list I made her. Perhaps you will find it useful too.
December 10, 2009
With the exception of a defibrillator, nothing warms the heart faster than a good old-fashioned candy shop. Thus, my heart went a-thumpin’ when it heard that Northwest Sweets had opened on NW 23rd Avenue.
December 8, 2009
Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re craving until a nice pork-loving man named Cliff Allen wraps it in foil and hands it to you.
Today, I was shivering and chattering my way to Blueplate for Pot Roast Tuesday when I was sidetracked by The People’s Pig, a new food cart at SW 2nd & SW Stark, tucked into a parking lot right next to Al-Amir Lebanese Restaurant. It’s a cheerful cart, painted yellow with red stripes, with a nice porky logo that’s difficult to see when the awning is up. I tried to take a picture for you, but I’m only 5′2″ and I didn’t think the owner of the shiny black SUV in front of The People’s Pig would appreciate my bootprints in his/her hood so this is what you get. I scanned the menu and noticed they had two very tasty sandwiches on it. Plus, I’m such a sucker for a new food cart. My pot roast run was suddenly derailed.
Read full story »
December 3, 2009
In honor of this past Tuesday being the first day of Oregon’s crab season, I made a card for my friend Rob.
For myself, I made a crab dinner. I love, love, LOVE fresh Dungeness crab. Is there anything more satisfying than cracking open a crab leg and gently tugging out a fat, gorgeous hunk of sweet flesh? (Gosh, re-reading that, I feel kind of cruel. Sorry. Click here to join the Facebook Group “Against Cruelty to Crabs;” motto: “Go pick on a prawn.” )
Just in case you’d like to celebrate the onset of crab season yourself, I thought I’d share my perfect crab dinner.
December 3, 2009
City girl that I am, I like to joke that I try to leave city limits as little as possible, but in all truth, I don’t get out of town nearly as often as I’d like to. Last week, as part of the Parents-in-Town holiday weekend curriculum, we drove out to the Willamette Valley wine country, where a day of wine tasting, fresh country air-breathing, and driving around in circles on random unpaved roads was capped by an exceptional supper at McMinnville’s Thistle restaurant.
Thistle opened this past July, helmed by chef/owner Eric Bechard and his partner Emily Howard, a wine buyer and McMinnville native. You might remember the talented Bechard from his days behind the stove at now-closed Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill. He’s super cute, has a way with roasted beets, and was named the Oregonian’s Rising Star in 2006. In summer 2008, he defected to Seattle to work at Opal Bistro, but it wasn’t long before he returned to Oregon, eschewing Portland in favor of going west into wine country to open his own place.
December 2, 2009
This sounds awfully fun, what with the whiskey prescriptions and secret passwords.
December 1, 2009
Mette, Shellie & I attended the Olympic Provisions’ Friends & Family Sneak Preview lunch this afternoon, so I thought that in the spirit of the season, I’d share my pictures.
November 30, 2009
There are a lot of neat food blogs out there, but every once in a while I stumble up on one that’s irresistible. Like Bakerella. Beware, clicking into her site right now may cause you to fritter away most of your Monday morning looking at cake pops. This post in particular might pique your interest, provided you are a fan of Sesame Street. Which everyone should be.
The kitchen door swung open and Jen gasped as an ancient ham and gruyere omelette hissed menacingly and darted behind the refrigerator. She surveyed the carnage. It was never pretty when the leftovers went on a rampage.
November 25, 2009
The ripping and tearing sounds you’ll hear in the week following Thanksgiving aren’t your favorite jeans finally giving up the post-11-helpings-of-leftover-stuffing good fight, it’s the brown paper coming off the windows of four new Portland restaurants. Or so we hope. Keep your fingers crossed for the following eateries to throw open their doors as scheduled. Read full story »
November 24, 2009
This is probably old news to most of you, I accidentally let both of these press releases age in my inbox for a few days, but they caught my eye this morning while I was trolling for job offer emails from French champagne houses in need of tasters, so I will post them now, old news or not.
First up, Foster Burger.
Next, good news from Chris Israel about Grüner, which is only blocks from my apartment, so I’m extra excited about it. It’s a long one, but just click to keep reading. Read full story »
November 21, 2009
Here are my favorite food funnies of November, thus far.
1. Girls in cute dresses making Ham Daquiris
November 19, 2009
Ice cream lovers (and I hope that’s all of you), put down that tub of Haagen Dazs or Coconut Bliss and pay attention–there’s a new ice cream maker in town, and he and his trusty Carpigiani have big plans to seduce you with their cold, creamy creations, passion for excellent local ingredients, and maybe even the sweet strains of the ukelele.
I sat down this week with Fifty Licks‘ Chad Draizin in the marvelous smelling Lower East Burnside kitchen he shares with Abby’s Table and Salt, Fire & Time, over a bowl of soup generously provided by kitchenmate Tressa Yellig, and we talked about Chad’s winding path from college dropout to beer brewer to ice cream man (all before the age of 30), his passion for the “science nerd” aspects of ice cream making, the impromptu tequila and chocolate-fueled think tank that resulted in the name Fifty Licks, and his dreams of his very own scoop shop filled with retro waffle makers, shoestring fry-studded malted ice cream, and of course, plenty of jimmies. Read full story »
November 19, 2009
The line wasn’t quite out the door yet this morning when I arrived at brand new Lovejoy Bakers, but it was getting close.
A partnership between former Pearl Bakery head baker Dan Griffin and the owners of Pizzicato Pizza, Lovejoy Bakers’ opening was eagerly anticipated by neighbors, industry folks, and curious food lovers alike. I’ve been peeking through the brown paper on the windows for weeks, myself. Maybe even months. Having suffered through meals at three of the four restaurants who occupied and then unoccupied the space before the arrival of Lovejoy Bakers, I was sincerely hoping the fifth time would be a charm. It’s certainly looking, and tasting, hopeful.
Inside the beautiful glass and steel-framed bakery, tantalizing freshly baked breads and pastries were lined up in neat rows, a full coffee bar fueled those on their way to work with Ristretto Roasters brews, and a selection of fresh fruit, natural juices and sodas, sparkling water, and Nancy’s organic yogurt filled the cold case by the registers.
I ogled the lunch menu, which includes 17 sandwich selections like open-faced smoked salmon tartine with creme fraiche and egg salad with lemon zest and chives, a few soups, house cheese and charcuterie plates, breakfast sandwiches served all day, and salads like roasted beet and citrus with chevre and the Lovejoy Salad–Bleu d’ Auvergne, San Daniele proscuitto, house-roasted turkey, sliced egg, and cured olives in a tarragon dressing. For pictures and menu click here>> Read full story »
November 18, 2009
What with Twitter being all the rage these days, it’s hard not to be a follower, even though Mom told us it was a bad idea because no good comes those who channel their inner lemming. Just the other day, overwhelmed by the relentless tide of incoming tweets rolling down my @jenlikestoeat page, I cleaned out my “following” box, and in the process took stock of my favorite existing tweeps, and added a few new must-reads.
Here’s my list of 12 of today’s tastiest Tweeters. If you aren’t already following them, you probably would enjoy doing so, assuming you give two twits about food. (I know. I’m sorry. I could not help myself.) Read full story »
November 17, 2009
I got this invite from Mette today. In true Mette style, it was exquisite.
A traditional Danish Christmas lunch, Julefrokost starts at 1 pm, and from what Mette tells me, lasts at least seven hours.
“You are invited to our Annual Holiday Lunch for victuals and cheer. Arrive prepared for good food, drinks, and conversation,” reads the invite in both Danish and English when you lift up the four tiny doors that Mette painstakingly crafted with an X-Acto knife. Then it spells out a few menu teasers. “Schnapps, herring, fish, liverpaste, cucumber salad, beer, ryebread, mackerel, and more.”
Apparently, Danish Christmas lunch also involves a great deal of Aquavit. Oh my.
November 16, 2009
Last week, my boyfriend and I went to see The September Issue, a rare treat since neither of us ever seem to have the time for the luxury of a movie-theater movie. I was set for movie snacks, I’d just gotten a sampler pack of Theo chocolate bars as a birthday gift and it was securely buried in my handbag beneath a scarf. Eschewing my stash of chocolate, he bought a small soda and a small popcorn at the theater snack counter, the total for which came to $11, which sent him into spasms of indignity. To which I said, “That is why you SMOS–Smuggle Your Own Snacks.”
I’ll probably get my Regal Crown Club card pulled for this post, but I’m a firm believer in packing in your own movie snacks. It’s not just the outrageous cost associated with in-theater snacks, it’s the selection and quality control. It’s true that a few theaters around town, like The Academy Theater in Montavilla or downtown’s plush Living Room Theater or (depending on how you feel about the McMenamin’s menu), any of the McMenamin’s theaters, serve up a decent spread at a not-too-ungodly markup, but almost invariably the first-run theaters serve up the same tired boxed candy, oversalted popcorn, and conventional soda. The food-lover needs more.
Michelle and I are huge advocates of the above-and-beyond theater repast. We shared a bag of freshly made cart tacos at Wolverine, we feasted on strawberries, chocolate and Brie in The Proposal, and we took a bottle of Veuve and Riedel flutes to the Sex & the City screening, unintentionally popping the cork at a pivotal point in the opening sequence and earning a theater-wide ovation for it. A few weeks ago we went somewhat thematic and smuggled hot Altengartz bratwursts into New York, I Love You, and packed a French picnic for Coco Before Chanel–ham & gruyere sandwiches, green olives, crisp apples, good dark chocolate, little cans of Sofia Blanc de Blancs, and tiny bottles of Segura Viudas cava. The picnic fit in a small Banana Republic bag, and the ticket-checker didn’t give it a second glance.
It made me wonder what other people smuggle into the movies. Please, do share your Confessions of a Snack Smuggler. What’s the finest feast you’ve taken into a movie? Do you smuggle your snacks in the giant purse you reserve for moviegoing excursions, in your back pocket (oops), in your scarf-with-pockets? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will compile the best ones and post them, sort of a la Cosmo confessions, but less raunchy. Well, I think they’ll be less raunchy, anyways. Who knows what memories people might dredge up about what they snacked on at the screening of 9 1/2 weeks.
November 12, 2009
As the eagerly anticipated restaurant and salumeria Olympic Provisions prepares to open in the Produce Row neighborhood of the Southeast waterfront next week, there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the OP and its roster of influential and accomplished partners, which include Clyde Common owner Nate Tilden, Clyde Common Executive Chef Jason Barwikowski, and former Executive Chef of Castagna Elias Cairo, who will assume the unique title of “meat-curing chef.”
Last weekend Eli, Michelle (Eli’s sister and OP co-owner) and I went to breakfast at Broder (one of Eli’s favorite breakfast spots) and talked a little bit about his globe-trotting meat-loving adventures, his taste in meat-curing music, his favorite spot to get meat, his ironic stint as a happy teenage vegan, and why Olympic Provisions will be the biggest and most exciting challenge of his career.
November 12, 2009
Once upon a time, I was not fond of Foursquare. When you are forced to wear glasses AND a headgear in elementary school (why yes, this did scar me for life, thanks for asking), you develop a wariness of games involving hard rubber balls being bounced in the vicinity of your face.
But time changes everything. Teeth get straightened. Nearsighted eyes get Lasiked. The scars of youth are replaced by those inflicted by adulthood. And one day, you wake up and Foursquare is the most compelling thing since bacon-infused chocolate–Foursquare the location-based social network, that is.
I’m new to the Foursquare scene, myself. My first introduction came this summer, as I read Whiffies Fried Pies owner Gregg Abbott’s tweets declaring himself mayor of this or that. At first, I ignored them. I thought he had delusions of grandeur, or was living out some sort of weird twisted mayoral recall-gone-wild fantasy. Au contraire, he was “playing” Foursquare, a fast-growing mobile social networking phenomenon with a loyal and quickly expanding Portland following and strong implications for social food lovers about town. Read full story »
November 12, 2009
Once upon a time a wise man, I think it was Jack Handy, said: “When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmmm, boy.”
Some people’s idea of pie heaven is holing up in a warm kitchen with a lot of cold butter, a rolling pin, a heaping fruit basket, and a library of spices, while other people’s idea of pie heaven is walking into Random Order bakery, pointing to the brandied peach pie and handing over their money. Let’s not quibble–there’s no right or wrong pie heaven.
But with Thanksgiving on the horizon, it’s time to think about where you stand, because while the turkey gets a lot of space on the T-Day playbill, it’s the pie that brings down the house–warm spicy pumpkin pie, could-die-happy-now chocolate pecan pie, cinnamon and nutmeg-laced good-old-fashioned apple pie.
Whether you believe the road to pie heaven is paved with good intentions, Grandma’s secret lard-laden crust recipe, or cold hard cash, Portland’s pie scene has something for you. Read full story »
November 12, 2009
Not wanting to make pie is nothing to be ashamed of. Not everyone has pie-making in their blood, or even a remote interest in breaking cold butter into a willing mound of flour, rolling out a flaky dough, wrestling it into a pie pan, crimping it, and filling it with deliciousness.
Fine. So be it. But there must be pie on the Thanksgiving table, so you are going to have to go out and forage in the urban wilds of Portland to find it. Fortunately many fine local bakeries are opening their pie-making arms to you. Here they are.
November 11, 2009
Someone cute just sent me this. Considering I paid $6.25 for a ham sandwich at lunch today, I feel wistful. I could sure go for a 25-cent deluxe tulip sundae right about now.
November 5, 2009
I woke up so all aflutter this morning, I half expected to see plane tickets to Paris on the nightstand. But then I realized that my morning butterflies were just preemptive insulin spikes resulting from my anticipation of the Grand Opening of much-missed The Sugar Cube food cart, the newest and sweetest addition to North Portland’s Mississippi Marketplace.
November 4, 2009
(Okay, so maybe Ben didn’t tell all, but he did tell me what it’s like being named Restaurant of the Year when your kitchen is barely four months old, he revealed his early affinity for melted Brie and apple sandwiches, and he admitted that while he works at one of Portland’s premiere cocktail hotspots, after a long night in the kitchen he drinks Coors from the can.)
After nearly a decade spent in the kitchens of some of Portland’s most respected restaurants, 30-year-old chef Ben Bettinger has come into his own at four-month-old Beaker & Flask, a much-anticipated cocktail bar and restaurant that garnered a significant buzz around town leading up to its rather prolonged opening on June 25th. Read full story »
November 3, 2009
I’m sorry to break it to you like this, but your services won’t be required this Thanksgiving. Yes, I know you’re accustomed to full racks four times over on Turkey Day, I know you were ready and willing to bravely spray, wash, rinse and pulverize at least 25 pounds of turkey gristle, butternut squash soup smears, port and tangerine zest-accented cranberry sauce glops, pecan pie crusts, and the half-eaten remnants of Aunt Martha’s dreaded leaden corn muffins like you do faithfully every year, but this year Mother has asked that we dine out, and Mother always get her way.
PS: If you’re thinking of picking up some freelance work on T-day, you might try one of the following bastions of Turkey Day gluttony:
November 3, 2009
Bravo TV’s Top Chef combines two of my favorite things–food and reality tv–and affords me the opportunity to gape at sexy Chef Tom Colicchio, so it was exciting to hear that Top Chef is holding auditions for the show’s 7th Season right in here in our dear Portland, next Sunday, Nov. 15, between 10am – 2pm, at the Benson Hotel.
The stakes are high and so are the producers’ expectations. Contestants must have “a passion for food, creativity, a thorough knowledge of cooking techniques and trends and oodles of charisma.” According to the 24-page application, hopefuls must also:
*Create a culinary interpretation of the lyric “Eleven Pipers Piping” from the song “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
*Create a dish based on the color yellow.
*Dish on who your least favorite chef is and why.
*Describe your most embarrassing moment.
*Reveal an odd fact about yourself or talent you possess.
*List any celebrity chef contacts you have.
You also have to submit a five minute video, in which you are directed to “show off.”
“We want to be impressed with you as a chef, but we also need to get to know you as a person and your personality–make us laugh, cry, have fun…most of all, be YOU,” requests the network.
That’s all very nice, but after reading through all 24 pages of the application, my one question was not answered: Is Tom Colicchio going to be there giving out free smooches or what? Because if he is, even I could be persuaded to make a video revealing my passionate, charismatic rendering of yuzu pancakes with corn and yellow bell pepper salsa in a French’s mustard & lemon reduction.
November 1, 2009
If you’re prone to the Sunday evening blues, and are known to stay home alone eating leftover lo mein, watching Ace of Cakes reruns, and trying to forget that you are working class and thus have to return to your cubicle in roughly 12 hours, take heart–starting TONIGHT, Tastebud Pizza has brightened your Sunday nights considerably with their new All-You-Can-Eat Pizza and Salad extravaganza.
Each and every Sunday night from 5-10pm, at Tastebud’s pretty little hidden dining room at 3220 SE Milwaukie (across the street from the Aladdin Theater), for $15 you can choose from 4-5 kinds of seasonal brick-oven-baked pizzas (think roasted squash, pancetta, pears, and spicy kale) and a variety of winter salads, and then keep on with the pizza and salad-eating force and don’t stop ’til you get enough.
October 29, 2009
Come autumn, the mighty and annually-anticipated pumpkin—great golden gourd of fairy tale, Charlie Brown, and state fair lore—can sometimes fall victim to the indignity of epicurean profiling. Pumpkin ‘pie, pie, pie, soup!’ is the repetitive rumble heard round the patch, er, kitchen. But our favorite fall fruit has so much more going for it than being smashed, mashed, mixed with cream and warming spices and baked in a flaky shell, although that sounds quite nice. Read full story »
October 28, 2009
Today is my birthday. I won’t tell you how old I am, because after a certain age, a lady should never tell, unless the Trader Joe’s clerk asks you because you’re buying a case of Blanc de Blancs, which by the way is the best $4.99 bottle of sparkly ever.
The day is going well. I had a round of La Tur and a small bar of Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate (both from Pastaworks) for breakfast, because, it’s my birthday and I can.
October 24, 2009
It was Friday night, work was a rapidly fading memory, and my tumbly was rumbly. Time to play the ‘where do you want to eat tonight?’ game. I had a few ideas, I usually do.
“Some people like to come home after a long week, put their feet up, watch a little TV, relax,” my boyfriend said wearily. “You want to go drive around and look for food.”
October 23, 2009
Every Friday morning at 7:15 am, Bethie and I (and Michelle if she can get out of bed), meet for Friday Breakfast Club. It can be a little tricky to find a good breakfast joint that’s open before 8 am, but we ferret them out. We both work downtown, so we aim for west side destinations, in a largely futile attempt not to be later to work than usual.
This week we met at Byways Cafe on NW Glisan Street, in the Pearl. Byways is a cheerfully eclectic diner with an old fashioned soda counter and wonderful sparkly red vinyl booths to sink into on a rainy morning such as this. Hot coffee comes almost immediately, and you can hear the scrambles a’sizzling and the line cooks ribbing each other. A motley collection of regulars sit silently at a table or on a barstool and leisurely read the paper. It’s a great place to wake up and smell the bacon.
October 19, 2009
Oh, the things I do for my job. Today, I volunteered to have my leg tattooed with henna, for a video shoot we’re doing this week. Laura was supposed to be the victim but whoever got the tattoo couldn’t shower until tomorrow morning and she wanted to work out tonight. At first I objected but she bribed me with a bottle of champagne. We all have our price. Read full story »
October 19, 2009
Like me, you probably have food dreams yet unfulfilled. Cooking school in Montalcino, dinner at elBulli, centipede skewers at Beijing’s Dong Hua Men Night Market, a steamy snog session with Jamie Oliver, I could go on and on. Perhaps your yet-to-be-realized food dreams include a year’s worth of Portland Farmer’s Market shopping sprees (yes, please!), or making dinner with famous Portland chef… Read full story »
The kitchen door swung open and Jen gasped as an ancient ham and gruyere omelette hissed menacingly and darted behind the refrigerator. She surveyed the carnage. It was never pretty when the leftovers went on a rampage.
August 15, 2009
I knew it would be a good summer when my mother called me up and asked if I wanted to take a little road trip–up to the esteemed The Herb Farm in Woodinville, Washington, for their summer Basil Banquet dinner and then down to Yountville, California to dine at the famed French Laundry, a meal I have dreamed about for many moons. My momma didn’t raise no fools, so I had my Dora the Explorer duffel bag Goyard vintage travel bag out and half-packed before she’d even finished her sentence. Read full story »