‘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.
Abby’s Table Weekly Dinners
609 SE Ankeny St.
Wednesdays, 7pm, $18
Every Wednesday evening, Chef Abby Fammartino of Abby’s Table takes a break from crafting her line of gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugar-free sauces and prepares four-course family-style dinners inspired by her international travels and passion for all-natural, organic and allergy-free foods. The menu might include crisp coconut scallion fritters in a drizzle of spicy persimmon dipping sauce, fresh celery tossed with slivers of fennel, Asian pear and Viridian Farms ficoide glacial (ice plant), hunks of creamy roasted black cod in a sake reduction, and forbidden rice pudding. Served at long tables in her inner Southeast kitchen, dinners are BYOB and Abby suggests suitable wine pairings to match her weekly menu.
Dates, locations, and prices vary
Sign up for info at www.dindinportland.com
Chef Courtney Sproule’s fantastic dining adventures warm the belly and soul, as she pairs her unique menus with equally unique wines and venues. A self-taught cook who caters and teaches cooking classes at Robert Reynolds’ Chef Studio, Courtney might start the dinner with sparkling Vouvray and deep-fried mussels on the rooftop of a Southeast gallery, then usher the group to whimsically-decorated communal tables, where plates of grilled oysters and chanterelles served over tender slabs of Yukon Gold potatoes in a pool of rich porcini vermouth sauce magically appear, followed by bowls of clams with fresh capellini, pancetta and tomato sorrel salsa verde. Din din venues vary with the menu, so you may find yourself dining in the beautiful back gardens of Artemesia nursery with movies being projected on the garden walls, or supping next to Chef Robert Reynolds’ French robin’s egg blue stove in the intimate Chefs Studio space.
Dinner details vary
Cute food-lovin’ couple Ashley Brown Bisagna and Ethan Bisagna know good food–between them, they’ve worked everywhere from Washington’s famed The Herbfarm to Portland heavys Clyde Common, Park Kitchen and Laurelhurst Market. In addition to their Feastworks catering company, which is devoted to “food that is beautifully simple and honest” (they can even hook you up with a whole pig roast), come December they’ll launch their new FEAST dinner series–prix fixe multi-course meals that pair the Bisagnas’ cooking with the swillable fruits of a local winery or distiller. You can sign up for the first dinner–a five-course extravaganza paired with lush Penner Ash wines on their website, and for information about future dinners, sign up for their newsletter while you’re on there.
This popular East side lounge and dance club is doing some intriguing things in their kitchen, like a Friday Apertivo Happy Hour where they serve up free appetizers and music alongside house cocktails and $5 glasses of cava. Once a month, Chef Jeremy Larter also cooks up hyper-seasonal themed multi-course market dinners, with optional wine and spirit pairings. Guests at October’s $35 Italian Alpine Market Dinner were greeted with smoked goose rillettes and chestnut fritters, then gorged on beets with fig vinegar, Südtiroler speck with housemade pickles, pizzoccheri pasta with chanterelles and smoked trout, braised pork and pumpkin polenta, apple strudel with walnut ice cream and an Alpine cheese plate. (Wine and spirit pairings were $20 extra.) I know, not exactly what you’re expecting to be served a dance club, right?
As a general rule, Italians love food and plenty of company to eat it with, so it’s fitting that Taste Unique Chef Stefania Toscano throws big festive weekly dinner parties at her Southeast kitchen. Dinners are faithful to a theme–a Florentine Dinner might include a history lesson about Caterina dè Medicia’s role in establishing France’s modern food movement, and a recent culinary revisitation of Stefania and her husband/partner Lawrence McCormick‘s first trip to Sicily featured tomato and Pecorino-stuffed ‘Nfigghiulata (say that three times fast in your best Italian accent), a traditional caponata, eggplant parmigiana, and pistachio-covered cannoli Siciliani. With prices ranging from $25-$30 and wine offered at $6 a glass, these dinners are a good time and a steal.
If you like to talk with your mouth full, investigate this educational and delicious dinner series held in the Abby’s Table kitchen—there is a new dining theme and chef each week, and diners are encouraged to connect with and learn more about the local chef and producers behind their meal. One week you might be dining with a local educator dishing up locally-sourced braised lamb while Fausse Piste Winery’s *Jesse Skiles ‘09 Viognier and ‘08 and ‘09 Syrahs and talks wine, another week Culinary Artistry sous chef Bree Rostan will show you how to break down a chicken and school you on the best ways to cook its bits and jibblies, then you’ll all wash your hands and enjoy a feast of chicken soup, braised chicken thighs, and seared chicken breasts. Educational and delicious, all in one.
trans_Port Social Dining
Dinner details vary
Underground supper clubs and pop-up restaurants are all the rage, and the chef known as Woggs (just Woggs) and his team–the equally mysterious Ms. Jaffo and The Cap’n–are stepping up to feed Portlanders’ thirst for secretive, exclusive dining. Calling their cuisine “modernist and local ingredient driven,” this threesome’s dinners will be held monthly, in different venues around town, and the “experimental” menu for the first dinner included pickled butternut squash baskets filled with herbs, marrow and honeycomb, Lady apples with chestnut butter, living sprouts planted in bulgur and steamed in mushroom tea, and lamb shank braised with persimmon and lemongrass, while dessert was yeast-pear clouds with quince and kombucha. (Nope, no idea what a yeast-pear cloud is.) If you want to be in the trans_port know, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the mailing list.
Salt Fire and Thyme Friday Community Feasts
1902 NW 24th Ave. Portland
Fridays, 7pm, $10/plate
Chef Tressa Yellig of Salt Fire & Thyme spends most of her time creating beautiful bone broths and unique fermentations for her clients’ weekly boxes of seasonal, organic prepared foods, but on Friday nights she takes a break to hosts delicious (and inexpensive) Friday Night Community Feasts around the fire pit outside her kitchen.
Portland Food Adventures
Dinner details vary
This innovative supper club is like a Christmas stocking of epicurean delights. Founder Chris Angelus starts your adventure with a private dinner at a well-known local restaurant, where you’ll meet the chef, eat a private multi-course meal prepared by them, get insight into their favorite local spots to wine and dine, then receive a packet of gift certificates so you can experience them yourself.
The Kitchen Supper Club
609 SE Ankeny St.
Dinners held twice monthly, cost varies
Well-known Portland chefs, caterers, instructors, authors and cooking show hosts Caprial and John Pence host interactive monthly suppers at their Southeast Portland kitchen. Part supper club, part cooking class—you get to watch, learn and ask questions as the couple prepares a dinner right in front of you.