April 26, 2017
Before I started writing about food full-time, I was a teacher. I taught kindergarten and ESL for five years, and before that, I substitute taught grades K-8. You learn a lot as a teacher—like, never turn your back on a five-year-old holding a bucket of dirty paintbrush water, always have twice as many snacks as you think you’ll need, and never wear white, ever (see dirty paint water tip)—but most of all you learn that kids are magic, which is why I had great fun writing the newly-released Portland Family Adventures. Read full story »
August 9, 2016
Sometimes when people are planning a trip to Portland, they email me and ask for restaurant recommendations, and because there’s nothing I love more than a distraction (um, not kidding), I generally stop everything and start writing them a long rambling reply. But this is the first time I’ve ever been paid to do it. Thanks, Serious Eats!
Here is the resulting piece on Serious Eats, “Where to Eat and Drink in Portland: A Letter.” It covers all your current eating needs, be they “best new brunch involving a rice waffle topped with black sesame ice cream” or “best dive bar fried chicken with bottomless ranch dressing” and most everything in between. If you’ve still got questions, please do email me, I’m in the middle of work and could really use a distraction. (Again, not kidding.)
May 1, 2016
I really thought my life had peaked in April, when we won an IACP award for The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket, and ate the passion fruit posset at Cassia (talk about life-changing), and got to go to opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, all in one surreal week. But then, a month later, I won a James Beard Award. Whaaaat?
The morning the nominations were announced, my best friend called, yelling, “I just heard your name on NPR! You’ve been nominated for a James Beard Award!” Like any normal person, I laughed and thought, what a weirdo, how sad that she’s going senile so young, and went back to whatever I was doing, probably picking chocolate crumbs out of my fake IKEA sheepskin desk chair cover, like I spend most of the day doing.
But it was true. The best team you could ever hope to be a part of, Team Eater, comprised of superstars Erin DeJesus, Danielle Centoni, Dina Avila, McGraw Wolfman, Stan Lee, and me, had been nominated for a James Beard Award for an interactive Eater piece we did, One Night at Kachka. Well, WOW.
March 9, 2016
We’ve had a lot of interesting surprises in the line of picnicking duty—hail and bugs, dogs with zero sense of a roast chicken’s personal boundaries, serenades by affable Argentine ukulele players—but Monday night’s surprise took the cake, because we found out that The Picnic is an IACP Cookbook Awards finalist!!
February 24, 2016
This time of year, my SAD is in full force, but since jetting off to Belize wasn’t in the cards, I decided to tear myself away from my favorite winter pastime of staring hopelessly at my rain-spattered office window while weeping softly into my leftover V-day chocolate to have some SAD-fighting edible adventures, like checking out new Tam wonton shop in Sellwood. Read full story »
January 9, 2016
I have always wanted to visit Victoria BC at Christmastime, and while Santa sure wasn’t listening when I asked for a third Cacao shop right next door to my house or when I asked for a magical Brita that turns tap water into grower champagne, I guess he was awake for the Victoria request, because that is where I spent Christmas week this year.
Every morning we got up at the crack of dawn and then spent the entire day eating and drinking, with the occasional detour to see some notable non-edible sights like Craigdarroch Castle and The Butchart Gardens and the flocks of preening peacocks that roam around Beacon Hill Park hoping Santa will make it rain breadcrumbs. (And yes, I did just now Google roast peacock and apparently that wasn’t technically a non-edible detour.)
Because I am a Type A traveler who has difficulty relaxing, I planned a very detailed itinerary for our trip, which I will now share with you, distilled into one weekend. Follow it to the letter or rearrange and pick and choose as you will, and during your travels if you come across anything that really should be included, please let me know. Read full story »
December 8, 2015
They don’t call this the most wonderful time of the year for nothing, what with all the Christmas candy, tinsel, and twinkle lights, the repeat showings of Love Actually and The Holiday, the bulging Cacao bags under the tree. And then things got even more exciting this week, when we found out that Epicurious named The Picnic one of their 21 Best Cookbooks of 2015!
We couldn’t have been more thrilled to be included in senior editor Paula Forbes’ sublime lineup, alongside the delicious likes of The Broad Fork, Franklin Barbecue, Cookie Love, and Gjelina. To read Paula’s kind words and get some very good ideas for exactly which cookbooks to slip under the tree next week (next to the Cacao bags), click here. And if you need a copy of The Picnic stat, get it from our hometown hero, Powell’s Books!
October 2, 2015
I really enjoy a good, healthy laugh, so Diner en Blanc is one of my favorite events of the year, because not only is it delightful, but watching my best friend Michelle try to pull a rickety wheelie cart piled high with one table, two chairs and three slippery picnic baskets through the streets of downtown Portland wear-ing an all white outfit and white faux fur cape made me laugh so hard I will live to be at least 120. Read full story »
September 21, 2015
It’s not easy getting ready for Portland’s fantabulous Feast food fest every year. There are pre- and post-event juice cleanses to undergo, there are heavy swag bags to be claimed, there are waistbands to be elasticized, and there are afterparty attendance strategies to be mapped out. I know, I know, the struggle is real. (Real tasty!)
August 29, 2015
When I was a kid, pretty much every Sunday, fog or shine, my family would head to downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea and get in line at the Mediterranean Market. We’d buy deli rolls, sliced meat and cheese, chips, cold Oranginas & a handful of those little boxes of La Florentine nougat, all the same flavor to minimize bloody skirmishes.
Then we’d plunk down in the grass at neighboring Devendorf Park, and have a picnic. The market’s a furniture store now, but plenty of the old Carmel I remember from way back when still remains, and its sedentary pace, old world charm, and infinite supply of hopelessly romantic twinkle-light-lit nooks make it an ideal weekend getaway. Here’s where I like to eat, drink, and stay by the bay.
July 28, 2015
So I teamed up with Edible Feast and Expedia on this guide, A Day In Portland: Where to Eat and Drink, which highlights a few of my favorite spots while taking you from your morning cup of Stumptown and a heaping plate of Tasty n Alder’s tasso hash, to your midnight snack and nightcap at Shift Drinks. It’s like hanging out with me all day, except that your chocolate is safe and there’s nobody screaming at you to not to dare eat your bay shrimp and radish smørbrød before they’ve taken a picture of it.
June 24, 2015
Summer in Portland has a few major milestones—the first day you actually have to show your pale, quivering, lightphobic flesh in a swimsuit (horrors!), the onset of Movies in the Park (bravo!), beer fests and Blues Fest and Sunday Parkways (bravo, bravo, bravo!), and then my personal favorite and the one thing I hold above all other summer milestones, Counter Culture, aka Anne Amie Vineyards’ pre-IPNC celebration of exceptional wine, food, fire dancers and hammocks (bravo to infinity!). Read full story »
June 3, 2015
Between Monday’s overall gloom and yesterday’s rain showers, picnics might not be the first thing on your mind today because you’re too busy unpacking prematurely retired winter coats and making soup. However, the weather promises to improve its attitude dramatically starting tomorrow, working up to a toasty 90° on Saturday, so obviously this calls for a picnic party, which we are hosting from 12-4pm at beautiful Brooks Winery. Read full story »
May 19, 2015
Living in Portland is always such a learning experience, and last night’s Feast Portland launch party was no exception, because I learned that a party isn’t really a party without a vodka luge and a gin and tonic fountain. It just isn’t.
Clyde Common was the staging area for last night’s Feast feast, and the Clyde crew brought it. There were raw, baked, grilled and smoked oysters as far as the eye could see, ramps and asparagus roasted in newspaper, Jäger slushies, and of course the aforementioned Hendrick’s cucumber G&T fountain and Reyka vodka luge. Read full story »
May 14, 2015
It was all fair skies and warm breezes last weekend, perfect for the first official Portland Picnic Society gathering of the year, an afternoon of brunch, bubbles, and badminton dubbed PPS: The Champagne and Shuttlecocks Edition. Read full story »
April 7, 2015
Pinch me, I’m dreaming—our new book, The Picnic, is on bookstore shelves TODAY! Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and I are the proud parents of one super cute cookbook all about picnics, inspired by our culinary adventures with the lovely Portland Picnic Society.
You can visit the book at Powell’s any time, or find links to order it here on the Portland Picnic Society website. Hooray!!
April 5, 2015
Last week I taped an interview about our new picnic book with The Splendid Table, which will air sometime in May, and I was so deeply and pathologically anxious for pretty much the entire week before the interview, that at one point I could barely even choke down solid food, including my daily half pound of chocolate. Yes, it was that serious. So for a few days there, I ate a lot of milkshakes and soup—ramen and tom yum and phở, oh my. Read full story »
March 25, 2015
If you have your priorities straight, there’s nothing you like better in this life than an oyster, except for a dollar oyster. Speaking of which, if you need a Saturday night infusion of budget-friendly bivalves and seriously generous cava pours, Broder Nord is your happy place.
Every Saturday night from 5pm until 9pm or until they run out, beautiful Hama Hama oysters on the half shell are but a dollar each. Don’t dally about getting there either, because dollar oysters are a hot commodity. We arrived at 5:15 and barely got the last couple of bar seats, and when we left at 6:45ish, there were only six dozen oysters left. If this makes you anxious (it’s making me anxious just typing it), then call and reserve a table so that the only thing you have to fret about is the one-dozen-per-person limit.
Broder Nord * 2240 N Interstate Ave. * 503.282.5555 * broderpdx.com
February 1, 2015
This year, one of our Portland Picnic Society resolutions was to picnic faithfully each and every month, foul weather be damned. And so, last week, we all gathered indoors for a raclette picnic worshipping that greatest of winter warmers–melted cheese.
January 23, 2015
If you’re my Instafriend, then you already know my big New Year’s resolution for 2015—to eat more nachos. Other than that, I resolved to: keep the spout on the Sriracha bottle clean, try a new kind of chocolate bar every week, and catch up on all the new brunches around town.
I’ve been working diligently on that last one, so here are nine new ways to pack on the weekend morning calories, which will give you extra incentive to keep any New Year’s resolutions involving gyms, yoga or Prancercise. Try them one by one, or if you resolved to be more excessive this year, go on an epic nine-brunch bender this weekend. Read full story »
December 4, 2014
I’m all for Christmas gifts that you can pluck from under the tree, shake, sniff, squeeze, painstakingly open and then reseal, etc., but experience gifts are great too, and you’ll never catch anybody opening them a week early at 2am, ostensibly under the influence of boozy eggnog. So here’s one for the Experience Gift list—Departure’s December-only holiday Peking duck extravaganza. Read full story »
October 24, 2014
When Multnomah Whiskey Library opened its doors last fall, Portland had never seen anything quite like this handsome downtown den of whiskey excess, oozing old money refinement and boasting a boggling bottle collection, dashing vest-clad bartenders mixing tableside via vintage cocktail carts, and an inch-thick drink menu dubbed “The Bible.”
Word spread, waits ballooned, and the library’s memberships sold out in a snap. A year later, the waits are still as long, the bartenders are still as dashing, memberships are still as hard to come by as a bottle of Pappy, and MWL is now a firm fixture on the discerning drinker’s spirits circuit.
Last week, I retired to the Library’s Tasting Room with general manager Jake Heil and events manager Jen Quist to discuss the challenges of a seated bar, the nuances of genteel bribery, $15,000 bar tabs, and exactly who has to dust all those bottles.
October 19, 2014
You have a lot going on this week, no doubt about it. There are brown overalls and bits of bark to be collected for Halloween costumes (yes, I am (going to be) Groot), there are mud boots to be dug out of the basement for pumpkin patch stomping, and there’s a bunch of chocolate, beer and ice cream to be consumed.
If the latter is your main priority, as it should be, put a big heart around Thursday on the calendar, because it’s your date night with both the Portland Chocolate Mob’s Choktoberfest, and Morgan St. Theater’s Night at the Opera ice cream extravaganza, which are happening within a few hours and blocks of one another so you might as well do both. That’s my plan, anyway. Read full story »
July 25, 2014
This week on Eater PDX, I interviewed dashing Holdfast duo Will Preisch and Joel Stocks. We talked seven-minute sellouts, proving themselves post-Bent Brick, the polarizing effect of fried spot prawn heads, and why, if they could go back in time a year, they’d choose pop-up over brick-and-mortar all over again.
Photo by Dina Avila
May 29, 2014
In the midst of last week’s great Portland E.coli-pocalypse, I sat down with Old Salt Marketplace‘s Ben Meyer and Alex Ganum (third partner Marcus Hoover was out buying ice) to talk backbreaking build-outs, why opening a restaurant is a lot like childbirth, ordering Thanksgiving turkeys in May, the paradox of the toilet-unclogging chef, and which of the three partners is the bossiest.
May 23, 2014
So you’ve completed all your pre-summer prep—purchasing sunblock and hair removal equipment, hiring a TaskRabbit to hold your favorite patio tables until you get off work, ceremoniously composting your vitamin D supplements—and you’re looking for something to do? Play hooky and take this day-long tour de desserts I wrote up for the Oregonian; you’ll catch up on a few of the new spots you’ve been meaning to try and you’ll get your RDI of sugar (and then some).
May 14, 2014
Once upon a time, I’d read the glossy accounts of that iconic gathering of high-ranking hedonists and food worshippers known as the James Beard Foundation Awards and wonder wistfully what it would be like to live That Life. It seemed beyond the realm of possibility. Until last week, when pigs flew and I had the opportunity to attend the awards and gala reception.
I can now say with confidence that That Life is good. Really good. And filling. Really filling. Here are some highlights of my recent trip to NYC for the JBA. OMG!
May 9, 2014
Unless you just got back from Saint Petersburg, and maybe even if you did, it’s probably been a while since you had a proper Ruskie Zakuski Experience accompanied by nine shots of vodka, Siberian pelmeni in fancy broth, short rib borscht, and Russian ice cream sandwiches dipped in black currant tea milk caramel. So thank goodness for Bonnie and Israel Morales’s new Kachka.
It had indeed been a while since Michelle and I had such a lineup, and by a while, I obviously mean never, so we were pretty excited to tackle Kachka’s menu, served in their colorful new space, which shares the Buckman block with Dig a Pony and Oso Market + Bar. And it shares the inner Southeast parking wars with nearby Trifecta, Tarad, Robo Taco and Voicebox, so plan on circling the block a few times, or better yet, bike or walk. Actually, considering that one of the menu’s helpful instructions is “fill everyone’s glass with their beverage of choice (like vodka, or maybe vodka),” you should definitely walk.
April 30, 2014
Seeking to stretch their event dollars, presumably so that they have more moolah for lobster and pennywort salads and smoked salmon and mascarpone crepes, people sometimes ask me what the best annual food event worth splashing out for is, and Taste of the Nation tops my list.
For the price, you won’t find a better lineup of A+ local food talent, and since your ticket proceeds go to a good cause—Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign—you’ll also feel like a better person. Philanthropy with a side of Xocolatl de Davíd’s fluffernutters and chocolate milk? Yes, please.
This year’s sold out Taste of the Nation shook its crawfish poutine and beef tataki-stuffed fist at child hunger last night, from the funky confines of downtown’s beloved Crystal Ballroom, where over 30 local restaurants ranging from Aviary to The Country Cat put on a facestuffing show of shows. Read full story »
April 28, 2014
As PaaDee is both on my regular happy hour rounds and right on the way to Alma Chocolate, I’ve been aware for awhile now that something interesting is happening in the back room, something involving secret doorways and exemplary tasting menus, but being a visual learner, I didn’t fully comprehend what was going on until last week, when we took the marvelous, mouthwatering Langbaan Leap. Read full story »
April 23, 2014
Regardless of the rains, the Portland Picnic Society must go on, and this month we had a very special shelter—marvelous Maurice, pastry chef extraordinaire Kristen Murray’s bright, white downtown delight, the perfect setting for PPS En Papillote.
And as every papillote picnic should, this one started with a JLo-themed invite: Read full story »
April 18, 2014
As I am extremely suspicious of any holiday encouraging the suppression of vice and excess, I generally pass on Lent*, but I do like the end of Lent, because everyone who was suppressing culinary vices and excess for 40 days and nights is ready to eat and drink everything in sight, which sounds like a plan, especially considering the proximity of Easter and all its brunches.
Since this is such a popular day of indulgence, it’s high time you plan your Easter Feaster destination, and here are a few of Portland’s tastiest, right over in Under The Table’s brunch section. Read full story »
April 15, 2014
Like most Portlanders, I love a good brunch, but unlike most Portlanders, I won’t squander 10 percent of my weekend standing in line for it, because I have way too many other things to squander my weekend on, like laying face down on the sofa regretting 100% of any decisions made about Jell-o shots the previous night.
Which means that I either rise with the roosters on weekend mornings to beat the brunch crush, or hunt down that most elusive of creatures—the great-brunch-sans-100-person-waitlist. And even rarer, the near-mythical great-brunch-sans-100-person-waitlist-WITH-PATIO. And wouldn’t you know it, on the very day that Portland’s tenuous spring temperatures soared into the 70s, that Brigadoon of brunches appeared to us. It happened like this. Read full story »
April 9, 2014
When Kir wine bar closed last year, I went through a period of great mourning, and was certain I could never go back and patronize whatever replaced Kir, even if what replaced it was a dollar store that sold real champagne and perfectly ripe mangos. Or you know, a chic crêperie run by a lovely Frenchwoman.
But a couple of weeks ago, I finally ventured back onto the hallowed ground at 22 NE 7th Avenue, and checked out the ooh-la-la new tenant, C’est Si Bon crêperie. And although there were no dollar mangos (there was real champagne, although it was slightly more than a dollar), I loved what I saw—and ate. Read full story »
April 4, 2014
Mostly because all of the carts are open on Sunday afternoon, and really, what better use of your day off than sitting on your tuffet within a hop’s throw of the Captured By Porches beer bus, eating your tortas and pappardelle? Read full story »
April 2, 2014
It has everything you could ever want—copious wine tasting, great eats, cute not-touristy shops, and the Britt Fest, which reveals its 51st summer lineup next week. I’m crossing my fingers that Arrival From Sweden will be returning.
The Britt pulls in some super acts, so make sure you get your tickets early. One thing that’s particularly splendid about the Britt is that you are encouraged to bring your own picnic, and for most concerts, you can bring your own wine and beer in as well. They’ve got a beautiful, grassy hillside for you to spread your blanket on, and Southern Oregon is blessed with long, warm summer nights, a heavenly combo. Read full story »
March 30, 2014
It’s a lot of risk, but I’ve been incredibly fortunate with Best Places To Stuff Your Faces because so far quite a few people other than my Mom have liked it, bought it, and are selling it, and not long ago I was thrilled to deliver an inaugural order to West Elm in the Pearl District, which now stocks it!
To celebrate this, plus the onset of Easter, one of the most critical facestuffing days of the year for hardcore brunchers and Cadbury egg lovers, I’ll be doing a signing at West Elm (1201 NW Couch St.) on Saturday, April 5th, from 1-4pm, joined by three of my favorite PDX purveyors of deliciousness—Olympic Provisions will be sampling and selling their famous salami and Sweetheart hams, and Quin Candy Shoppe and Alma Chocolate will be sampling and selling an array of their glorious sweets and chocolates. Come support these wonderful local artisans, get all your Easter basket shopping done in one fell swoop, and celebrate the Facestuffer Guide’s big West Elm leap with me!
March 19, 2014
Thusly, as March nears its finish, I’ve compiled a roundup of 14 tasty new Portland face-stuffing destinations that have opened in the last fiscal quarter, give or take. Run some calculations on how much lunch hour you have today, check the figures in your salad/tamale/cake/martini fund, and go out and make some edible expenditures with your revenue. Or something like that. Read full story »
March 17, 2014
Wes Anderson’s new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, debuted last week at Cinema 21 on NW 21st, and pastry fans will savor the brief but enthralling baking scenes set in the kitchen of fictional Mendl’s patisserie.
To help promote the movie, Fox Searchlight Pictures teamed up with St. Honore Bakery, who is producing a rendition of the movie’s gorgeous religieuse pastry, and obviously, this all sets the stage for the ideal date night—dinner (click here for restaurant suggestions), a movie (watch the trailer here, buy tickets here), and a couple of religieuses. But just a note—St. Honore NW closes at 8pm, so either go before the movie, or plan on making the trip up to the Division Street location afterwards, it’s open until 10pm.
Or, if you’re on a DIY movie pastry kick, watch this companion short to The Grand Budapest Hotel, which demonstrates exactly how to create your own at home.
March 12, 2014
I love all my Wordcake Weekender children, but being born and bred on the California coast, I have to admit that this one holds a special place in my beach-loving heart.
Every time I read it, I want to hop a quick flight, check into the Palihouse (one of the five Best Places to Lay Your Faces recommended in the guide), put on shorts, board a beach cruiser, and head to Blueplate Oysterette for oysters on ice, mini lobster rolls, and a bottle of white Bordeaux. Sigh. Read full story »
March 11, 2014
Judging from the sunbeams, blossoms, and randy squirrels outside my window, pre-spring has sprung, which naturally means the Portland Picnic Society is dreaming and scheming.
A gathering of the picnicerati was called for, but since faux spring can be fickle and none of us are particularly keen on our outdoor get togethers involving full body down suits, waterlogged quilts, and having to drink hot toddies nonstop to keep from freezing (actually, scratch that last one, that one we’re fine with), we played it safe and had our first meetup of the season indoors last week, with KFC and LOL at PPS: Boke Bird. Read full story »
March 10, 2014
When Ración chef Anthony Cafiero entered Reed College as a fine arts major, he never thought he’d ultimately be exchanging his metal and woodworking tools for a Cryovac, plancha, & tweezers.
But one year after opening his sleek modernist tapas restaurant in the westernmost section of the Pinot Brasserie/Corazón ruins, Cafiero’s slowly but surely making strides in his quest to enamor Portlanders with avant garde cuisine, one sous-vide egg and hay-smoked maitake at a time.
Last month, I met up with Cafiero at the U-shaped bar that doubles as a front-row seat to the open kitchen action, and talked making lemonade out of the Corazón lemon, the trials and tribulations of having party animal restaurant roommates, pushing culinary envelopes beyond pork belly and pickles, and what happens when you sous vide a Hot Pocket.
And if you’ve yet to try Cafiero’s modernist musings, March is your month. In honor of Portland Dining Month, Ración and dozens of its restaurant brethren are offering $29 three-course tasting menus every evening. See all participants and their menus here, then book a sitter/explain to your boss that you can’t work nights for the rest of the month, because you have some serious eating out to do.
March 9, 2014
First up, Jaret Foster and Mona Johnson of Foster’s Craft Cooking are hosting a very merry Oyster Social at Upright Brewing on Fri. 3.14, from 4:30 to 6pm, with spicy appearances by Marshall’s Haute Sauce and Picklopolis at the condiments bar.
And next week, on Sat. 3.22, from 7-9pm, ENSO winery will be popping corks and hinges at the release of their new Bubbles sparkling wine–$15 gets you a glass of bubbly and three bivalves.
So mark these dates on your March calendars with a little pearl, and brush up on your pronunciation of mignonette.
More info about Beer + Bivalves this way>>
More info about Bubbles + Bivalves this way>>
February 14, 2014
Depending on how Valentine’s Day goes, you might like to get out to wine country this weekend, either with your date, or to escape your date. Either is fine, no judgement here.
And if you’re headed to wine country, you’ll most definitely want to stop by breathtakingly scenic Domaine Drouhin‘s For The Love of Wine event on Sat. 2/15, from 11am-3pm, for gorgeous wines and bites by the likes of Olympic Provisions, Little T Baker, Pearl Chocolate, Briar Rose Creamery, and Oregon White Truffle Oil. I’ll be at the Olympic Provisions table selling and signing Portland’s 100 Places To Stuff Your Faces, and it would be lovely if you stopped by and said hello. Event details>>
February 13, 2014
We’ve all got a running list of important, perplexing life questions–like, how to find true happiness (most likely by eating really really fresh mini doughnuts), how exactly to hike from Macleay Park to Pittock Mansion (I get lost every time!), why all the chocolate ice cream disappears even when the only person who could have eaten it is supposedly on a cleanse, and perhaps first and foremost, when is Pépé le Moko going to open? Today, that’s when, so cross that one off your list, and please focus–we’re lost again in the Arboretum.
Last night, we stopped in–or rather, descended upon–dashing restaurateur Nate Tilden (Clyde Common, Olympic Provisions, The Richmond Bar) and esteemed Clyde Common bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s latest and much-awaited venture, a sultry subterranean speakeasy hidden deep in the Ace Hotel building’s catacombs.
Pépé’s entryway, just to the left of The Cleaners on SW 10th Avenue, is unexpectedly cheery–it’s light, bright, and white, throwing you off the bunker bar trail. When you walk in, there’s a friendly hostess perched at the top of the stairs, and for now, Tilden himself is tucked into the tiny provisions-lined kitchen, accompanied by supercute Riley Henderson and a big bowl of to-be-shucked oysters on ice.
But once you’ve gone down the stairs, it’s an entirely different world altogether–dark, sexy, cozy, touchy feely, and by that I mean that while trying to navigate your way to your table or barstool, you’re probably going to accidentally touch and feel a bunch of strangers, but don’t worry, it’s dark enough that they won’t know it’s you if you keep moving. The low lighting, cushy booths and banquettes, narrow nooks, and low, curved ceiling lend a womb-like feeling that will titillate romantics and send claustrophobics into the fetal position–just a word of advice, if you aren’t keen on small enclosed spaces, don’t venture past the upstairs oyster bowl until you’ve had some hypnotherapy. Read full story »
February 12, 2014
I’ve been with Portland for nine years now, which is officially my longest relationship, and I’ll admit that sometimes I lose that lovin’ feeling. Like, every January, pretty much. But last weekend, after Snowpocalypse 2014 forced me to scrap all carefully laid plans and I ended up just wandering around town on foot with my visiting family, eating (because that’s how the Stevensons roll), it was a good reminder of just how deliciously lovable our fair city is.
Although we had stocked the pantry with provisions,
it seemed more fun to go out, so we laced up our Sorels and stuffed throw pillows in our long johns to guard against ice slips. We spent a good portion of our free time bakery hopping, and had three beautiful meals at Accanto, Little Bird, and Xico. Blood oranges and passion fruit were a definite theme. We visited a few city landmarks, drank a lot of tea, had a downtown staycation, and managed to not get run over by the snowplow. It was a ball of a weekend, and I’m officially back in love with Portland, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of which, seeing as Cupid’s big day is nigh, you can easily use this retrospective as a blueprint for an unforgettable V-Day weekend of progressive dining (you know, if one measly little prix fixe dinner on Friday night just isn’t going to adequately express your affection). Read full story »
February 10, 2014
Valentine’s Day is this Friday, and perhaps you’ve already gotten your sweetheart something grand, like a heart-shaped Greek villa or a bathtub filled with melted chocolate and marzipan ducks or a drugstore chocolate box with all the subpar truffles removed and replaced by a clever clue that kicks off a scavenger hunt that ultimately leads to Colin Firth holding a crate of chilled pink champagne. (Please consider the above my Valentine’s Day want list.) Read full story »
February 7, 2014
So far, 2014 has been a whirlwind of dozens of deviled eggs, teetering stacks of tea sandwiches, cocoa powder in every crevice of the house, lemon curd down my back (still not sure how that happened), and puddles upon puddles of melted butter, as my lovely friend Marnie and I work nonstop on our upcoming picnic cookbook, a collaboration with our friend and author Andrea Slonecker, which will be published in spring 2015 by Artisan.
January 23, 2014
Last week, I got to sit down with Raven & Rose owner Lisa Mygrant and bar director Dave Shenaut, to talk about the ins and outs of their first year for Eater’s One Year In feature. It was a fascinating interview, because although I knew the Ladd Carriage House had some serious history, hearing about all the project details from their perspective, plus all the work that went into preserving the building’s historical integrity and getting LEED gold certification, was eye opening. It also made me crave one of their awesome Irish Coffees.
December 20, 2013
‘Tis the season to shop til you drop (hopefully not due to being Tasered by someone over the rights to a deeply discounted tea towel set), and unless being unable to find street parking in under 45 minutes elevates your blood pressure beyond medically acceptable levels, you can’t beat downtown Portland for a most festive buying experience. But besides burning money, shopping also burns calories, so you will likely need sustenance at various intervals during your spree—hence, here are 16 downtown snack stops.
Clyde Common’s Egg Nog
By now I think we’ve all either tasted or at least heard rumors of the ambrosial holiday staple that is Clyde bar manager Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s spiked egg nog, crafted with Anejo tequila, Amontillado sherry, eggs, cream and nutmeg. It’s only on the cocktail menu until the new year’s ball drops (or possibly a bit longer), which totally justifies that third round.
Multnomah Whiskey Library’s Old Fashioned
You’ve heard rumblings about the MWL’s 3-hour waits, but no worries, because you’ve got a plan. Put your name in, then see if you can get all your shopping done before it’s your turn to get raptured to whiskey heaven. It doesn’t hurt that boutique greats like Alder & Co., Frances May and Woonwinkel are all in a one-block radius, and Union Way is just up the street. It will feel like mere minutes until you’re settled into the leather sofa in front of the fireplace, a flawless Old Fashioned in hand, Buffalo Trace tartare on the way.
Tasty n Alder’s Dollar Biscuits
Tasty n Son’s super popular downtown brother can be a mob scene at high dining tide, but if you happen in during midday menu (2-5:30pm), it’s both peaceful and has dollar biscuits. And nothing fortifies a weary shopper like dollar biscuits with honey butter, $6 sparkling wine, and $7 Tasty sours. Read full story »
December 18, 2013
If 10,000 hours of doing something makes you an expert, then I’m an expert on last minute gift shopping. I always plan on doing my Christmas shopping early, like say, in March, but of course I don’t, and then sometime around December 18th, I see someone’s advent calendar on a social medium and it’s in the single digits and I pass out face forward into my hot cocoa from I-haven’t-even-done-one-minute-of-shopping shock.
Anyway, here is a very quick roundup of gift ideas for the last minute gift giver who likes to buy people things they can eat. It took me 30 minutes to put together, and should take you roughly about the same amount of time to click, buy, and then go make some eggnog punch. I’d love to spend more time on it, but I can’t, because I have to clean up all this spilt hot chocolate and then go shopping and then invent an app that does all your shopping for you, in March, then delivers everything wrapped and ready to go in mid-December, along with a bottle of chilled champagne so you can toast your brilliance, and a smartphone wielding monkey who will send smug pictures of you doing so to all your harried fellow procrastinators. I think that app will be a bestseller for sure. Read full story »
December 13, 2013
Way up high on my list of Portland happy places is Oui Presse’s front window, with a pot of tea and a warm croissant (yes, they will happily warm your Ken’s croissant for you, and then serve it with butter and apricot jam), so I’m pretty thrilled to be a part of the shop’s annual Noel Marche holiday gift fair tonight.
And even if you don’t want to come see me and Facestuffer Deux (THANKS A HEAP!), or you don’t feel like shopping (HUH? WHAT?!), or you already did all your shopping (SHOW OFF!!), you should just come for the egg nog lattes (YES, EGG NOG LATTES!!!).
December 12, 2013
As anyone who owns a highly profitable circus, Bee Gees albums, or a three-legged goose that lays three golden eggs every three hours well knows, three is a lucky number. So it seemed inevitable that baker/restaurateur/James Beard and IACP Award-winning author Ken Forkish’s third venture would be a smashing success, and from the looks of the hungry mob hanging out by the woodpile in the bar come suppertime, it is.
Like his other two ventures, Ken’s Artisan Bakery and Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Ken’s Trifecta Tavern boasts the requisite lines out the door, dough-based divinity and high quality beverages, with one key difference—the miles of red leather booths that line the ruddy-walled, industrial chic L-shaped former auto upholstery shop. Oh, and the raw oysters. And the pimento cheese toast. And the $75 “Big Ass” steak. So I guess technically, there are many key differences, all good.
December 11, 2013
Last week, my family and their terrified-by-everything miniature schnauzer, Hoppa Loppa (not joking, that is the dog’s name), came into town, which meant I had to take time out from decorating my lime green tinsel tree with Facestuffer iPhone cases to show them around town, which was fine, because my family is #crazybutsuperfun.
December 4, 2013
Ever since I became an ardent green smoothier, I hardly ever get sick. But since the second edition of Best Places To Stuff Your Faces came out last month and I’ve been running around like a headless future coq au vin and neglecting my green smoothie regiment, the other day all my bragging about never getting sick was rewarded with the stirrings of a nasty cold. Naturally, the first sniffle sent me careening towards Walgreens on SE Belmont…and right on past, because I had to get up the street to Cheese Bar‘s Raclette Wednesday before the catarrh fully settled in, obliterating my most important sense’s ability to properly appreciate the wonder of melted raclette cheese.
November 20, 2013
Hard cider is enjoying an unprecedented comeback of late, and the Pacific Northwest’s many excellent cider producers are doing their part to buoy the boom. In last month’s Mix Magazine, I highlighted six exemplary local cider makers that will give you a whole new perspective on the forbidden fruit. Drink, discuss, repeat, and pretty soon, you’ll be throwing around terms like sous-bois, scrumpy, keeving and kilderkin like the most fervid of cider savants.
Read the article here, and if it gives you a mighty thirst for fermented Foxwhelps, well, how handy that Portland’s principal cider source, Bushwhacker Cidery, is hosting a lively Finnriver Farm & Cidery tasting fest tomorrow. Bushwhacker is devoting all eight of their taps to Finnriver ciders, and you’ll also be able to sample their champagne style cider, port-style apple wine and apple brandy fruit wines. Plus, chocolatier Vanessa Holden from Smitten Truffles will be handcrafting custom chocolate “cordial cups,” because why not go all the way and sip your apple wine from a chocolate cup? That is how you roll.
All event details here, but all you really need to know is that it starts tomorrow, 11/21, at 5pm and goes until 9pm. Cheers!
November 18, 2013
While positive press continues to swarm the new Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird cookbook, I had yet to check it out, so it was nice to combine my first browse with a four-course meal by Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker, Multnomah Athletic Club executive chef Philippe Boulot, and Boulot’s kitchen crew at the MAC this weekend.
The Friday night feast showcased four impressive recipes from the book, and equally or perhaps even more impressively, Gabe inscribed each cookbook with the admonition to “Have a blast in the kitchen, that’s how I do it,” then drew a pigeon underneath. I used to teach kindergarten, and I would have given this illustration an A+, although to be fair, that’s the only drawing grade you ever give in kindergarten.
Over the course of the evening, we all dined on hamachi with cured foie gras, truffles and mandarins; Read full story »
November 15, 2013
Sometimes people get mad at me when I say that I’m getting my chub on, because admittedly I could be a lot huger considering how often I eat, but fortunately I inherited my mother’s diligent metabolism. However, I can tell when I’ve been hitting the pecan sticky buns a little too hard and the “gym”* not hard enough because my hips start to jut out and form little triangular bulges. We all put our weight on differently and I don’t get love handles, I get toast points.
So the other day I was browsing the Daily Mail and came across a post about how Miranda Kerr stays in shape, and even though I know the real reason is because she’s an android with a very good wig, I still read it because I’m a sucker for articles like that, and because I thought maybe there would be some helpful advice about how to get rid of my autumnal toast points. The article said Miranda uses this app called Moves to track her steps every day, which was of particular interest because my bf Michelle had been bragging about her new Fitbit motiontracking device, but it costs the equivalent of 35 Tabor Bread pecan sticky buns, so fuggedaboutit. I have priorities, and my priorities are sticky buns.
November 14, 2013
Last fall, I drove out into the wilds of tiny, rural Goldendale, Washington, to spend the weekend with the Grand Central Baking Company family for a Mix Magazine profile about their annual family cider pressing tradition. They were all warm and wonderful hosts, and best of all, the entire family cooked pretty much nonstop.
They were cooking when I got there, they were cooking when I left, and they were cooking most of the time in between, although they did break now and then to eat, sleep, throw sticks to the five family dogs, sip bourbon around the fire pit, and take walks around their incredibly scenic farm, complete with its own apple orchard, pond, and barn (horses included). Oh yes, and they also pressed one metric ton of apples into fresh cider. There was that, too.
The resulting article, styled and photographed beautifully by John Valls and his wife Theresa, came out in last month’s Mix, and you can read it online here. It includes recipes for Butterflied Salmon Steaks With Savory Relish, Cast-Iron Brassicas With Roasted Red Peppers, Butternut Squash Gratin, Gwenyth’s Baked Apples, and Pine Street Bakery’s Savory Biscuits. They’re all very Thanksgiving friendly, so keep that in mind of you need a 6th or 36th course for the ambitious T-Day menu you’re still fine tuning.
September 5, 2013
Last Saturday, I had one goal: to sit on the sofa and read the Daily Mail while eating cake. Because that’s what Saturdays are for. But Michelle kept calling and calling, so finally I answered, reluctantly, because when she calls five times in a row it usually means she wants me to get off the couch, stop reading the Daily Mail, and leave the house. I was not wrong–turns out she had a bee in her bonnet about going to the very first Portland Diner en Blanc pop up picnic.
August 30, 2013
Here in Portland, we’ve become accustomed to happy hours with some meat on their bones. Half-heartedly discounted mixed nuts and olives simply won’t do. And as the happy hour ante continues to rise, even the city’s most esteemed restaurants are offering specials substantial enough to send cheap eats lovers into paroxysms of joy. If you’re willing to eat dinner with the early birds, here are the best places for a full-on feast at sample sale prices, as found in my happy hour roundup in this month’s Mix Magazine.
And per the big website update I’ve been working on this summer, I’ve been adding the best and most filling happy hours to the Under the Table HH section, which you can find thisaway>>
August 29, 2013
Late last August, on the heels of Pix Patisserie’s 10-year anniversary, owner and executive chef Cheryl Wakerhauser surprised many a macaron and champagne-loving Portlander when she consolidated her popular North Williams Avenue and Division Street cafes into a 3,000-square foot former Christian daycare, sharing the 2200 block of East Burnside with Heart Roasters and the late June.
She planted a few vines out front, built a pétanque court, lined the walls with empty champagne bottles, put a bull on it, and debuted her new concept — a space that’s half Pix, half Bar Vivant, a San Sebastián-style tapas bar where porrons are the reigning vessel and throwing your napkin on the floor isn’t rude, it’s expected. Having just celebrated this delicious duo’s first anniversary, Wakerhauser reflects on the nerves-fraying logistics of moving two restaurants in one day, the virtues of standing while you eat, mythical pétanque-playing frat boys, the financial rewards of being crazy, and where to find the Pyrenees in PDX, in this interview I did for Eater PDX’s One Year In feature, right this way>>
August 16, 2013
Looking at photos of the Portland Picnic Society shenanigans on Instagram, it probably looks like all fun and games and bottled cocktails and ridiculously beautiful food. Well guess what, it’s hard work. Especially the location scouting. Which is how I found myself sitting alone in the rain at the Washington Park amphitheater last night, eating gooseberry granita out of a Tupperware tub with a spoon and reading a trashy romance novel. Not. Glamorous.
This month’s PPS theme, since we attempt to adhere to themes and loosely coordinate who’s bringing what so we don’t end up with a dozen plates of deviled eggs and one bowl of chocolate frogs (not that that’s a bad thing, it’s a normal day’s lunch at UTTWJ headquarters), was Mediterranean Mezze, and it was decided that since Portland’s glorious International Rose Test Garden is in full bloom, we’d convene there.
July 5, 2013
I’ve never been a good judge of square footage, but once upon a time I lived in a less-than-400-square-foot studio and I’d say darling new Quin candy shoppe is about the size of that studio’s kitchen, so…you know, it’s teeny. But this small space has capacious charm, plus, it’s efficient, because when you’re frantically grabbing for one of everything on a store’s shelves, it’s handy to be able to stand in one spot while you’re doing so.
The sweet younger sibling of master sugar mama Jami Curl‘s Saint Cupcake brethren, this closet o’ candy is the first inhabitant of downtown’s brand-new Union Way–a narrow passageway lined with small shops to be filled with all manner of exquisiteness, i.e., a Portlandized version of Diagon Alley.
Inside, dark wood shelves showcase Curl’s painstakingly cultivated confection collection–sparkling blackberry tangerine and smoked cola gummidrops, puckery cherry sour supremes, soft caramels infused with Steven Smith chai tea or studded with popcorn, jars of Sniffle Slayer lollipops, loops of Marshallow By The Foot made with Water Avenue Coffee and Oregon strawberries, and bright, fruity Dreams Come Chews (Curl’s take on that old candy aisle favorite, Starburst).
May 1, 2013
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Southern Oregon lately, which has proved to be a somewhat unexpected trove of very talented artisans and exciting food and wine finds. When I go, my home base is the super charming historic town of Jacksonville (NOT to be confused with the not nearly as charming Jacksonville, Florida), which, in addition to being the perfect spot to spend a romantic weekend with your main squeeze or getaway with your good-time girls/boys, is the gateway to the Applegate Valley, a peaceful, picturesque landscape hiding nearly 20 top notch wineries in its rolling hills.
So, I plotted out a thorough Facestuffer Guide to a fun, winey diney weekend in Jacksonville ($3, buy here in my new store!), and although the guide lists my top 6 tasting rooms, I also put together a broader Citysearch Guide to the Applegate’s best wineries–Grapes, Gliders and Grass Pants: Best Sips on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail.
April 29, 2013
The Portland Picnic Society members do lots of things together—we dine together, we shop together, we cook together, and we even get crabs together. This past week, on a fortuitously sunny April evening, we and our crabs convened at Wallace Park in Northwest Portland for a Dungeness-fueled picnic to remember.
April 19, 2013
Last September, my fellow Portland Picnic Society members and I partook in a picnic photo shoot for Sunset Magazine. It was so grueling—seven long hours of a perfect late summer day spent languishing in St. Johns’ Cathedral Park, doing this, mostly,
April 18, 2013
We all have big dreams, and most of mine are pretty standard fare—the Parisian apartment on rue Cler, the bulldog trained to retrieve another bottle of rosé, the cashmere tea cozy that comes attached to a hot British butler, the bottomless chocolate bonbon box, the baby dragon that boils perfect 7-minute eggs with his nostrils…etc., etc. But above all else, there has hovered one thing—an iPhone case covered in croissants. The impossible dream.
But if I have learned one thing in this life, it’s that when one has an impossible dream, one just needs to email Mette Hornung Rankin of the Bureau of Betterment, brilliant designer, illustrator, and the other half of Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces. And then, approximately 10 minutes later, you have this:
February 13, 2013
As you may have noticed , the universe is a flurry of pink, red and white this week, thanks to that most insidiously endearing of holidays, Valentine’s Day. I’m not much for tacky stuffed animals, overpriced floral arrangements and stuffy white tablecloth prix fixes, but I do like any sort of excuse to get chocolate, AND the new Die Hard movie is opening tomorrow, so I think it’s going to be a good day. And on that subject, here’s my holiday Citysearch Guide: Exceptionally Romantic V-Day Dining Destinations Before/After Seeing the New Die Hard Movie.
January 31, 2013
This week on Eater, I interviewed Johanna Ware, chef-owner of Smallwares, and walked away incredibly impressed by her drive and dedication to both her restaurant and her vision. I also walked away with a curious craving for chicken lollipops, which I intend to return and do something about very soon.
January 21, 2013
Happy Monday all! This weekend I posted my latest Citysearch guide, a roundup of some of my favorite PDX soup swamis, entitled “Slurp It, Slurp It Good: PDX’s Best Soup Sources.” Citysearch has been encouraging us scouts to add video intros to each guide, and I’ve demurred 23 times, but you know what they say, 24th time’s the charm! Well, it is and it isn’t–I’m not actually the greatest videographer, as evidenced by my alluring fish face greeting you at the start of the clip, but hey, I never promised you a rose garden. Slurp on!
January 16, 2013
Sit at the wide stone bar facing this homey Mt. Tabor bakery’s giant wood-fired bread oven at your own peril—over my series of visits, I’ve received no fewer than three warnings that having a front row view of a loaf’s journey from yeast to feast can possibly result in a peel to the nose. Not a Hollywood kind of peel, but the kind that looks like a giant gelato spoon and is made of unfeeling, unyielding wood. So, consider yourself warned, and with that out of the way, let’s talk about the bread. Read full story »
January 15, 2013
After 30-something years of teaching, my mom retired this year, and she’s rapidly checking things off her retirement bucket list, which is great, because a lot of her agenda items involve meals and food-centric excursions and I’m invited. Which is how I ended up eating a seven-course breakfast in a haunted coastal cliff-hugging Oregon lightkeeper’s house-turned-B&B last week. Yes, I’m the girl who goes to B&Bs with her mom. Laugh all you want! Because the one with the ricotta-stuffed Oregon marionberry blintz in her belly laughs last, and that is me. Read full story »
January 9, 2013
Steak and kidney pie, Scotch eggs, and Strongbow–it’s what’s for dinner. Hence, my new Citysearch Guide, “Portland’s Finest Craic-Laced Strongholds of Pints ‘n Pub Grub.” Blimey!
January 8, 2013
Sunday morning, I woke up with berry jam in my hair. At first, I lay there rolling the seeds between my fingers, perplexed. We don’t have any jam in the refrigerator at the moment, it’s too full of green smoothie fodder. Had I had begun sleepeating, like those poor Ambien victims who wake up gripping a ravaged package of hamburger buns?! Read full story »
January 7, 2013
Because it’s nearly wine o’clock, here’s my latest Citysearch Guide…Sublime Spots to Relax and Uncork: PDX’s Best Wine Bars.
January 2, 2013
In honor of Day 2 of 2013, and what a brilliant, beautiful, shining day it is, I’m sharing my two newest Citysearch Guides with all you resolved-to-be-healthier sorts, because they involve mindful, plant-based eating and turning yourself into a human pretzel, in whichever order you prefer. Read full story »
January 1, 2013
Well…Happy New Year! Today’s a bit confusing. It’s sunny and bright. I woke up at 7am. I wasn’t hungover. My refrigerator looked like this:
WHO AM I? WHERE AM I? Read full story »
October 12, 2012
Recently, I joined the Citysearch team as their Portland captain, which basically means I regularly post tips and writeups on Citysearch Portland about what deliciousness I’ve been eating around town. So you know, the usual. One aspect of the new and improved Citysearch format that I’m really having fun with are the Guides–curated thematic picture boards of exceptional eats.
So far I’ve done a croissant guide (Bakeries With Croissants Worth Getting Crumbs In Your Cleavage For) and a sweet shop guide (Shops Where You May Have To Sedate Your Sweet Tooth If It’s Overly Excitable), and today, I bring you: Spots Where You’ll Never Be A Few Sandwiches Short of a Picnic. In the most literal sense, of course. See all 9 sandwich swamis here>>
October 2, 2012
Last fall, I took a road trip to one of my happiest of happy places–quaint Camp Sherman–to write an article about a few of Portland’s most talented tastemakers who just so happen to worship fly fishing. And as it turns out, despite its sedate appearance, fly fishing really works up an appetite. Naturally, this necessitated a feast of feasts, prepared in a cute cabin at the edge of the magnificent Metolius River.
My resulting behind the scenes peek at these chefs/salumists/farmer-cidermakers on their off hours, complete with gorgeous photographs by the ever-brilliant David Reamer, just came out this week in Mix Magazine. It’s a fun read with loads of recipes so good they are even tempting me to get in the kitchen, and that’s saying a lot. You can pick up a Mix on the stand, or read the article online here>>
I took plenty of pictures of my own that weekend, with my mighty iPhone 4s, pretty purple haze free ones too. I thought I’d share a few, for a look behind the scenes of the scene’s behind. Or something like that. Read full story »
September 28, 2012
Last week, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Wafu chef Trent Pierce about the Fin-to-Wafu (and Roe) transition, being true to your ramen visions, the make-or-break value of a patio, and vital lessons learned when one opens three restaurants in three years. Here’s the dish on Eater PDX:
Born to third-generation restaurateurs, Trent Pierce was more interested in sports than the family business until age 19, when a track injury and a reading of Marco Pierre White’s White Heat propelled him into his first restaurant job, at McMenamins’ Black Rabbit. After stints at Belly Timber, Yakuza, Foster Burger, and Sel Gris, Pierce finally found an outlet for his passion for seafood at short-lived but acclaimed Fin, which shuttered unexpectedly last Valentine’s Day after only six months, leading him to open Japanese small-plates hotspot Wafu on September 2, 2011….read rest of article>>
August 24, 2012
Sometimes, thanks to wearisome plagues like jobs, budgets, offspring that are legally mandated to attend school, and/or a debilitating fear of pasta, we do not get to live the lives we were truly meant to, the lives that involve spending August in Italy.
So, intrepid, undaunted epicureans that we are, we get a little creative. We put our DIY pants on and paint the kitchen to resemble an artistocratically-crumbling 17th century Umbrian farmhouse, with questionable, but charming results (“It’s so weird honey, I came home and those darn kids had painted the kitchen walls in the likeness of an Umbrian farmhouse! Maybe it’s time to think about boarding school!). We rent out Taste Unique for a week and speak Italian with patient, gracious Chef Stefania while she lets us taste everything she’s cooking, even though we both know full well our “Italian” is the remnants of our high school Spanish spiced up with garbled Soprano-isms. We hide out in the toolshed with a crate of Sangiovese and watch Under The Tuscan Sun on repeat, shaking a pitchfork at the screen with genuine passion each time Diane Lane arrives at her appallingly good-looking lover’s gorgeous seaside apartment to find him frolicking with an Italian underwear model.
And this particular weekend, we immerse ourselves in the culture, music, vivacity and most importantly, food and fermentations of The Boot at a belly-bursting double feature—the all weekend-long Festa Italiana in Pioneer Courthouse Square, followed by a dreamlike afternoon of wine tasting, Sunday, Aug. 26th from 1-5pm, at idyllic Cana’s Feast Winery’s Italy in the Valley, a valley that looks something like this in the summer. Not too shabby, eh? Read full story »
August 23, 2012
This week, for Eater PDX‘s “One Year In” restaurant anniversary report, I got to interview chef/owner Erin McBride of 2nd Story, the tiny, quaint small plates spot sitting atop SE 11th Avenue’s Cellar Door Roasters. This month, 2nd Story quietly celebrated its one year anniversary, so I bellied up to the (homemade) bar with McBride and got the dish on first year nuances, like how to apply barn-raising principles to a rather impromptu restaurant opening, reconciling cash-in-the-walls dreams with ReStore budgets, thinking like a farm wife, and learning to laugh when the oven won’t unlock. Read article>>
August 22, 2012
If you are Wiccan, you already have Autumn Equinox celebrations covered—a little light meditation followed by worshipping Pomona the goddess of fruit trees, reclaiming your inner crone, and holding a spiral dance. But the rest of us could also use something sensationally entertaining on this most holiest of late September days, and that sensational something has been conjured in ways true foodlovers can only dream of—behold, FEAST PORTLAND!*
(For the full effect, please shout those last two words while imagining sequin-draped Feast founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch leaping out of a giant Oregon product-filled cornucopia and then dancing a vigorous spiral dance/rhumba with chefs Gregory Gourdet and Cathy Whims.) Read full story »
August 10, 2012
It’s been a blast working on the 2013 Zagat Portland restaurant guide this summer, despite the fact that I now dream in quotation marks. And now, as Zagat launches into the review period for their upcoming Portland Shopping & Food Lovers guide, you too have the chance to immortalize your opinion in quotation marks (and win prizes) by giving your two cents to and about your favorite PDX retail spots, particularly the food-related ones. Then, salivate over these lists I wrote for the Zagat blog, highlighting 10 tried, true and new eateries deliciously dotting the Alberta and Pearl District culinary landscapes.
August 9, 2012
Since chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton‘s busy, buzzy, deliciously-smoky Ox opened April 24 to near-instant adoration, general manager Natalie Obeso (Commander’s Palace, Metrovino) has deftly manned the door, as wildfire word of mouth and critical acclaim (particularly the Oregonian’s grade A late-July review) prompted waits to balloon to two and a half hours — inspiring the Dentons to open their own bar/waiting room, Whey Bar, scheduled to debut next week.
This week, I sat down with with Obeso for Eater PDX’s Gatekeepers series, and got the skinny on eager diners willing to endure two-and-a-half-hour waits, the best lamb chop she’s ever tasted, becoming immune to smelling like a campfire, and the restorative power of an empanada.
August 8, 2012
Sure, vacationing is great, but sometimes it’s excruciating to be out of town when Portland’s having one of its epically entertaining summer weekends. Like, say, this weekend, when I happen to be visiting family in Southern Oregon, which means that while everyone back in PDX will be waking up on Saturday morning all aquiver with the excitement of Cork Bottle Shop’s Txakparti at the Alberta Street Fair, I will be waking up to my mother’s raw chicken-fed giant schnauzer drooling salmonella in my face at 6am. (Not joking.)(Sometimes, “vacationing” is a loosely used term.)
But let’s focus on your Saturday, the super fun, non-pathogenic one, the one where the always highly-anticipated Alberta Street Fair colors Alberta Street beautiful with live music, arts and crafts, and plenty of food booths and carts, while Cork hosts their very own Basque beverage-fueled block party. Read full story »
August 3, 2012
Cheese and crackers are one of those childhood staples, like mac n cheese or cartoons, that you never really outgrow, you just consume them in increasingly sophisticated ways, generally involving Steve Jones’ Cheese Bar or Pixar. And since this is Portland, it makes perfect sense that at some point, sophisticated cheese consumption would merge with the food cart phenomenon, hence, this tasty peek at two new mobile purveyors of a youthful classic all growed up. Read full story »
August 2, 2012
Summer, sweet summer, so benign thus far, is allegedly going to get a lot hotter this weekend, soaring sweatily into the 90s to the delight of mad dogs and Englishmen citywide. What to do? You could eat all the frostbitten fudge pops and mail order steaks in the garage freezer and convert it into a temporary den, you could all sit in shave ice-filled bean bags and take turns hugging the frozen ice cream maker insert while watching Doctor Zhivago, or you could bravely slather on SPF 9000 and hit a local park for your very own picnic club. Read full story »
July 19, 2012
Next weekend, the Oregon Brewers Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary (the Silver Anniversary, in Hallmark-speak), but instead of getting itself a pewter Homer Simpson Bottle Opener and calling it a day, it’s throwing you and yours a huge brewhaha at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Read full story »
July 19, 2012
I spent last weekend sailing Seattle’s Lake Washington in a 26-foot sloop with nautically-inclined friends, drinking sparkly from rubber-bottomed plastic goblets, trying not to upchuck our prawns, and sleeping with our eyes propped open in case we were attacked by Emerald City pirates and we had to fight them off with empty cremant bottles, prawn tails, and mouldy life jackets. Can we top that this weekend? Maybe not. But we sure can try!
After all, the city is a hotbed of to-dos—from lavender fests and pickle-offs to wine country mixers and car-free bike rides, to Southeast street fairs and hot Scots in kilts throwing their haggis around. All pirate free! (Not guaranteed, after all, this is Portland). Read full story »
July 12, 2012
Not content to go steady with America’s day of independence, July also has an annual dalliance with France’s celebration of their most notorious national tantrum. And more than 200 years after the fact, we get to commiserate with widespread fêtes like downtown’s Bastille in the City, various patriotic wine tastings and feasts scattered about the city like macaron crumbs, and Sunday’s sure to be glorious Bastille in the Wine Country (which I have a pair of giveaway tickets for, read on for how-to-win info), all of which will have your weekend social calendar throwing its beret in the air and screaming “Sacre Bleu!”
July 12, 2012
The other day, a confused teenager in a sturdy sedan barreled the wrong way up the Hawthorne Bridge and head-on into my front grille, totaling my beloved CR-V and reducing me to a hobbling hobble (temporarily, thankfully) and insurance company-stalking shrew, and frankly, being in a good mood this week has been challenging.
Providentially, the New York Times just ran an article about the secret of happiness, which surprisingly, does not involve installing a chocolate fountain in the kitchen (drat), but rather, giving to others. How nice then, that today I have two pairs of tickets to Widmer Brothers’ Explore Your Craft to give away to two lucky readers! Read full story »
July 6, 2012
A recent study has revealed that Vitamin D deficiency probably causes weight gain, which is unfortunate news for Portlanders already losing sleep over their rickets. With this depressing scientific epiphany in mind, it stands to reason that if our late-breaking-summer is already making you fat, what’s a few more beers? Sure, drinking may not replenish your body’s supply of the Sunshine Vitamin, but here are 11 beer and wine-fueled fiestas that will help you forget about your thunder thighs and bowlegs.
July 6, 2012
If you haven’t been following the delicious developments of Portland’s very own mega-food festival for the past few months, it’s time to get Feast fever. With its crème de la crème guest list, once-in-a-lifetime suppers schedule, and tempting array of markets, tastings and food & drink seminars, there’s the proverbial something for everyone in September’s lineup, be it Mark Bittman speaking at the Schnitz, a Bunk-hosted Sandwich Invitational, the global street food-celebrating Night Market, Nancy Silverton’s mortar & pestle sauces class, or the nearly sold-out Inaki Aizpitarte and Daniel Patterson dinner (swoon).
A few weeks ago, illustrious Feast founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch threw a lively launch party at Spirit of 77, complete with stellar cocktails, a Salt & Straw cart, and a few unforgettable eats—Xocolatl de David’s foietella toasts with pickled green strawberries, Ox’s morcilla-topped deviled eggs, and these oh-so-summery shrimp rolls courtesy of Grand Central Bakery.
Grand Central was kind enough to share the recipe, so now, just in time for what’s shaping up to be a brilliant weekend, you can be the star of the picnic show. And as for Feast, as The Happenings would say, See You In September.
July 5, 2012
We all need a little escape now and then, whether it involves a weeklong jaunt to Kauai, a four-martini, no-dessert-left-behind meal at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, a raunchy S&M bestseller-instigated trip to the hardware store for rope and duct tape, or a warm summer evening spent sampling all the delights of a local epicurean getaway without leaving the comfort of beautiful Red Ridge Farms. Read full story »
June 29, 2012
Remember in high school, when you used to drive around town on Wednesday night asking people where the party was? Well, that was embarrassing for everyone, and in the interest of you not repeating past mistakes, I found the parties for you this Wednesday, which happens to be the Fourth of July. So put earmuffs on the dog, tuck a few spare sparklers in your red, white and blue wunderpants, and go celebrate America’s birthday with gusto, green chile cheeseburgers, and a very small horse named Harley, you party animal you. Read full story »
June 28, 2012
For eight years, Park Kitchen chef/owner Scott Dolich was content serving diners the reliable and celebrated ingredient-driven cuisine that has made his cozy, enduringly popular North Park Blocks restaurant a Portland dining scene mainstay. Then, early last summer, facing a surplus of kitchen talent and the serendipitous availability of his biggest Portland building crush, Dolich opened his unique version of a tavern in an off the-beaten-path Northwest Portland nook, brought in molecular gastronomy-leaning PK sous chef Will Preisch as executive chef, and the Bent Brick was born.
A year later, I interviewed Dolich for Eater PDX about opening day out-of-body experiences, the challenges of raising two very different kids restaurants, why you’ll probably maybe never see a Bent Brick burger, and how a second restaurant is better midlife crisis material than a Ferrari.
June 27, 2012
Being a former kindergarten teacher and all, I’m quite keen on rhyming words. I’m also quite keen on wine, because one adopts certain coping mechanisms when their professional life involves spending 7 hours a day with two dozen five-year-olds, and as we all know, some of the finest coping mechanisms ever invented are liquid, chilled, alcoholic, and…pink. Without further ado, meet Drink Pink, Patton Valley Vineyard’s ode to the loveliest and most drinkable of summer coping mechanisms—Willamette Valley rosé. Read full story »
June 22, 2012
In honor of the fortuitously warm first day of summer, a few lovely friends and I convened at Laurelhurst Park Wednesday evening to celebrate the inaugural meeting of the Portland Picnic Society. It was a joyous and filling event, rendered an indelible memory thanks to a trés Portland composite of beautiful food, half-naked tightrope walkers, inquisitive dogs with little to no concept of personal picnicking space, a delightfully awkward corporate team-building gathering to openly spy on, and a soundtrack of secondhand mariachi music from the raucous graduation party down the way. Read full story »