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 »