Time Magazine Heralds Portland as America’s “New Food Eden”

22 May

By Molly Norton


The New York Times and Gourmet Magazine have lusted over PDX’s pork belly, purveyors, produce, and pastrami (not to mention our food carts, waffles, and outstanding locavore scene).

Cooking Light magazine recently published an 11 page spread on Portland.

Best of all, Time magazine has trumpeted Portlandia as being the “New Food Eden.”

Check out the full article by Josh Ozersky.

When I found myself heading to Seattle for business recently, all I could think about was Portland. The Oregon city is America’s new food Eden, a confluence of every fertile trend in contemporary gastronomy. Locavorism, the New Naturalism, food trucks and so on — they’re all there. I had the sense that if I went to Portland and ate around, I might get in on the ground floor of something great, the culinary equivalent of such local musical heroes as Elliott Smith or Modest Mouse. (Hell, I would settle for the food version of the Decemberists.) My guide, Kaie Wellman, who created and writes the city’s eat.shop guide, saw to it that I got the Portland essence.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2031652,00.html#ixzz1NTaevpmL

This calls for (yet another) Portland-centric food blog. For foodie adventures with and without the kids.


Crabs, Clams, and Cava on the Columbia
(photo by Molly Norton)


Meet the Official Jelly of Rockstars, Royalty, and Voodoo Doughnuts

11 Mar

Kellys Jelly Jar

Kelly’s Jelly – hovering above Mt. Hood

By Molly Norton

Follow me on the Twitters:

“The way I see it, life is a jelly doughnut. You don’t really know what it’s about until you bite into it. And then, just when you decided it’s good, you drop a big glob of jelly on your best T-shirt.”

― Janet EvanovichHard Eight

But if you’re really lucky, that jelly will be Kelly’s Jelly and that doughnut will be from Voodoo Doughnuts – two tastes that mate once a week to birth a quintessential Portland treat (check them out on Thursdays at Voodoo, Portlanders).

We caught up with the mistress of jelly-making herself, Kelly Calabria, at Blue Moon Coffee in Lake Oswego. Blue Moon features Kelly’s blueberry lemon jelly in their drool-worthy gluten-free jam thumbprint cookies, so it was a perfect place to do jelly reconnaissance.

Kellys Jelly Portland Monthly Mag

Kelly’s Jelly – A Prestigious Portland Pantry Pick!
(photo by Allison Jones – Portland Monthly Mag)

Fascinating Facts about Kelly and Kelly’s Jelly

  • Kelly’s Jelly is a a true Portland story: borne from a jelly-and-tear stained family recipe found on a scrap of paper, The Calabrias started making their famous Habanero pepper jelly for family and friends and it quickly morphed into a mighty local empire – all through word of mouth. (Thanks, Aunt Dani!)
  • Kelly and Adam once hired the founder of Voodoo Doughnuts’ band “Karaoke From Hell” and their relationship was forever cemented — in jelly and sweet, sticky doughnut glaze (hat tip to Voodoo founder, Tres Shannon).
  • Kelly’s Jelly has delighted a Royal family in Kuwait and has traveled as far as Europe and South Africa.
  • The Jelly recently captured First Place in the international Scovie Awards – the world’s largest spicy food competition.
  • Kelly holds a degree in biology from University of Oregon – which explains why this jelly has a perfect consistency and flavor balance.
  • In true Portland fashion, Kelly’s Jelly is
    • Gluten-free – wheeeeee.
    • All natural, uses the highest quality, fresh & locally sourced berries and peppers (whenever possible).
    • Committed to supporting all entrepreneurs and local business owners.
Olympic Provisions Photo

Kelly’s Jelly and Olympic Provisions: Together Forever

Cool Stuff You Can Do With Kelly’s Jelly

  • Need a quick appetizer? Pour the Habanero Pepper Jelly over the top of a brick of cream (or goat) cheese et voilà! You can also spread the cheese over a slice of sweetheart ham from Olympic Provisions, add jelly, and roll.
  • Layer a buttery cracker with delicate chicken liver mousse from Olympic Provisions and a tsp of Kelly’s Blackberry, Tayberry, or Marionberry jam on top and watch your guests fight over the last one.
  • Millions of people are now using the Habanero Pepper Jelly in place of chutney in South Asia — ok, maybe not yet, but it’s coming.
  • More recipes can be found here – including “Kelly’s Jelly 3 Ways,” “Kelly’s SuperBowl Wings,” and Crave Bake Shop’s “Spicy Bellini Cupcake,” as seen on Food Network’s “Cupcakes Wars.”

Where to Buy

For your all your cooking and gifting needs, Kelly’s Jelly can be found throughout the land at several fine establishments, including Zupan’s, New Seasons, and Market of Choice.

Don’t live in Oregon? You can sate your craving by ordering online. Everybody is doing it.

Note: This is a Fan Site. No Jelly was harmed in the making of this blog post – nor did any money or cases of jelly change hands.

The Buzz: Honey That Tastes Like Your Neighborhood and Stuff You Didn’t Know About The Bees

21 Aug

Honey that tastes like your neighborhood

Follow me on the Twitters:

By Molly Norton

“We lived for honey. We swallowed a spoonful in the morning to wake us up and one at night to put us to sleep. We took it with every meal to calm the mind, give us stamina, and prevent fatal disease. We swabbed ourselves in it to disinfect cuts or heal chapped lips. It went in our baths, our skin cream, our raspberry tea and biscuits. Nothing was safe from honey. In one week my skinny arms and legs began to plump out and the frizz in my hair turned to silken waves. August said honey was the ambrosia of the gods and the shampoo of the goddesses.” ~Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees.

Saving the bees, one hive at a time…

Meet Damian Magista, the man who opened the eyes of James Beard award-winning / Iron Chef Vitaly Paley to a “brave new world” of honey and who is putting artisan honey that “tastes like your neighborhood” on the national map. Paley recently tapped his company, Bee Local, to be the official “Spokeshoney” for his new ventures Imperial and Portland Penny Diner in the Hotel Lucia.

We sat down with Bee Local recently for an afternoon of honey tasting to find out more about Damian, the habits of bees, and that certain je ne sais quoi which makes this honey taste so un-bee-lievably delicious.

Fascinating Facts About Damian 

1) He’s currently shooting an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern for the Travel Channel to be aired in February 2013.

2) He’s been a Delegate to China.

3) He’s been packing parachutes since the tender age of 8 – his father was a skydiving Jumpmaster,

4) He’s moved furniture throughout Zurich and Madrid.

5) Next stop on his global tour is Cambodia to check out the Apis Dorsata – giant bees that nest in trees in the open. They grow to 2 inches in the “honey mecca.”

6) He still appreciates a good bee pun, after all these years.

Suited up

Fascinating Facts About Bees and Honey 

1) Just like wine, honey has a distinct flavor profile: it manifests the water, weather, soil, flowers, foilage, etc. where the hive is located (terroir, if you will).

2) Unlike mono-crop honey, urban gardens directly influence the taste profile of the honey to produce very complex and unique honey – honey that is quite different from typical store-bought honey.

3) Honey has been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is used to treat primitive material imbalances of the body.

4) Honey has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and contains powerful antioxidants (please heed warnings about feeding honey to children under the age of one).

5) Bees have wanderlust and usually will forage 2-4 miles outside the hive, so if you have a hive in your yard, your flowers will be hosting bees from surrounding communities.

6) No need to refrigerate: honey is shelf-stable, will last for thousands of years and was even discovered in tombs of ancient Egypt.

7) Keeping a hive in your yard helps replenish the bee population and thereby provides a beneficial service to both intricate ecosystems and humans alike.

8) Not much beats a bowl of yogurt or a slice of banana bread with a drizzle of this honey for breakfast. Also a treat drizzled over the top of vanilla bean ice cream with a bit of sea salt.

Tasting Notes

1) Sellwood / Westmoreland – Wonderful scent and flavor. Think Moroccan: rosewater and cardamom spice. Affectionately known as “Reedie” (Reed College) honey.

2) Clos Electrique – Quixotically named honey is Vitaly Paley’s honey of choice. It’s extracted from hives managed at the award-winning Cameron Winery in Dundee, OR. Creamy, buttery, classic — yet more complex than any plastic honey bear honey you’ve ever tasted. Hints of blackberry. The Audrey Hepburn / Rolls Royce of honeys.

3) Beaumont Village – Floral, long, bittersweet, creamy – think orange water Crème brûlée with lingering flavors of burnt brown sugar.

4) Mt. Tabor – Intensely tropical flavors and aromas. Big, floral with a hint of sandalwood and exotic fruit.

5) Montavilla – Aromatic sandalwood meets your favorite fruit trees. Pollen-packed and redolent of apples and pears.

Don’t try this style of honey tasting at home
Photo by Mercy McNab

Where to find

The heart of Bee Local’s honey extraction is Portland, Oregon but he’s been expanding in a responsible manner. Bee Local currently sponsors hives in Eugene and San Francisco with more planned for Seattle, Olympia, Corvallis, Sacramento, Austin, and eventually, the East Coast. Look for it in a backyard or on a rooftop near you.

Get your artisan neighborhood honey on at these fine establishments:

1) Salt and Straw – Lavender Honey ice cream (coming soon: Bee Local Honey Ice Cream).

2) Imperial and Portland Penny Diner Soon-to-be-on-the-dining-scene establishments by Iron Chef Vitaly Paley. (Bee Local menu currently in stealth mode)

3) Pastaworks – Lovely European-styled markets with multiple locations in PDX.

4) Woodsman Market

5) Matchbox Lounge – on the menu and has a Bee Local hive on the roof.

6) Mr. Greenbeans – DIY Coffee Roastery.

7) Alder and Co

8) Bee Local website – Of course! For all your honey tasting and gift-giving needs.

Plate and Pitchfork’s 10th Anniversary and Upcoming Events

6 Feb

Farm to Table Goodness with Plate & Pitchfork

Celebrated Plate & Pitchfork turning 10 a few weeks ago at Grochau Cellars and what a nice party ’twas, especially since we were introduced to some of our favorite new (and existing) culinary artisans:

The Sugar Cube was offering a birthday treat of “Citrus, Fennel-Nibby Financiers,” complex little chocolate-covered goodies showcasing the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

Bull Run Distillery – Now that’s some sippin’ vodka right there. Drinkable by straw. Smoooove with extra “o’s.” They were offering a delightful “Killer Bees” cocktail with agave, ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice as well as a stunning “21st Century” with Creme de Cacao, Lillet Blanc, and fresh lemon juice. Um, yes, please.

Grochau Cellars offered up a nice Pinot and a Tempranillo-Syrah blend. As this is Pinot Country, it can be challenging to find good Syrah and Tempranillo, so was tickled pink with their “Tinto.”

Handmade pie from Lauretta Jean’s – Wow. These tasty little pecan pie-lettes included a generous sprinkling of sea salt, the result being appealing in a caramel-fleur-de-sel kind of way.

Profiteroles from St. Jack – Chocolate or Espresso. THE. BEST.PROFITEROLE.CREAMPUFFY.THINGS.EVER. Especially the espresso. Wow.

Candy bars from Beans and Bees – Their Honey Bar’s fluffy caramel, hazelnut and honey-nougat center had us drooling on the serving plate. No more! We cried…and then took two more.

Here’s more about Plate & Pitchfork from their website. I’m putting one of their “out-on-the-farm-meet-the-farmer-and-winemaker-dinners” on the bucket list. YES.

Plate & Pitchfork started nine years ago when founder Erika Polmar envisioned the simple idea of a meal where people shared a conversation focused on the amazing bounty grown by Oregon’s small family farmers. That small idea grew into a popular farm dinner series that reinforces the connection between the farm and food on your plate. Each summer farm dinner takes place in a field or vineyard and pairs a farmer with two local chefs and a winemaker. Menu items are inspired by the seasonal harvest and prepared on-site by the guest chefs. Every dinner begins with a farm tour to meet the farmer and get to know their agricultural practices.

Mission: Plate & Pitchfork’s mission is to reconnect eaters with the people who grow and prepare their food. Guests enjoy a tour led by their host farmer, and meet ranchers, fishermen, winemakers, and bakers whose products grace the table. Along the way, founder Erika Polmar hopes to make diners aware of the multiple economic and social benefits of eating local.

What’s New: Plate & Pitchfork will offer the 10th season of its popular summer farm dinners beginning mid July 2012 through the end of August. To celebrate this decade milestone, Erika has created some new events and trips to bring even more awareness to food issues and connect more people to local food artisans from chocolate makers to distillers, brewers and bakers.

Beneficiaries (The Fab Four): As Plate & Pitchfork kicks off its 10th season, the idea of giving back to the community has become an even greater focus. A portion of every ticket sale throughout the 2012 season will help four local non-profits do their best to fight hunger in Oregon and educate youth about farming and the environment.

  • Farmers Ending Hunger
  • Oregon Tilth’s Organic Education Center
  • Sauvie Island Center
  • Village Gardens/ Janus Food Works

ForkLift: The new winter series ForkLift will take guests behind the scenes with Portland’s culinary artisans to places like bakeries, roasteries, and distilleries where they will have a chance to roll of their sleeves and learn a bit about the craft before sitting down to a three-course dinner paired with beer, wine and spirits. The first dinner on February 12th is Outside the Chocolate Box with Scott Ketterman from Crown Paella and David Briggs from Xocotl de David at Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine. An April 29th dinner will begin with a bakery backstage tour at Grand Central Baking and dinner prepared by Dolen Lane of clarklewis.

Road & Raft Trip to Hells Canyon Recreation Area and Carman Ranch: Plate & Pitchfork and Winding Waters River Expeditions will travel to Eastern Oregon September 6-11, 2012 to explore rolling prairie, verdant valleys and timbered rangeland that is home to Carman Ranch and 6 Ranch. Tour the ranches and learn the art and science behind raising great beef exclusively on pasture. Rope a calf and enjoy a traditional branding style BBQ prepared by Portland chefs Benjamin Bettinger of Beaker & Flask and Jason Barwikowski of the Woodsman Tavern. After the ranch visit, guests will spend three days rafting in Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Enjoy more gourmet meals from Ben and Jason, along with the thrill of class III and IV whitewater adventure.

The Almanac Blog: The Plate & Pitchfork team has gathered a lot of culinary know-how throughout the past nine years and have launched a monthly blog called the Almanac. Columns like “Table Talk” will tackle tough food issues and “Cheats & Fakes” will reveal kitchen secrets. Also, monthly interviews with local chefs, winemakers and farmers will answer the questions you always wanted to ask yourself. The Almanac is written by Kelly Clarke, former Willamette Week Arts & Culture editor, blogger Lindsay Strannigan, and recovering restaurateur Ali Jepson.

2012 Dinners: The Plate & Pitchfork season will be announced in March 2012 detailing the entire line up of summer farm dinners. A few returning chefs include Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place; Benjamin Bettinger of Beaker and Flask; Jasper Chen, Sarah Pliner, and Kat Whitehead of Aviary; Aaron Barnett of St. Jack; and Anthony Cafiero of Tabla. Wineries to include Domaine Drouhin, Andrew Rich and Chehalem Wines, along with farm partners Sauvie Island Organics., Viridian Farms and Sun Gold Farms.

About Erika: Plate & Pitchfork founder Erika Polmar has been building things for as long as she can remember – first with Crystal Climbers and now through technology or a good old-fashioned handshake. Erika has spent the last 20+ years in positions ranging from Santa’s Helper to pink-slip wielding acquisition manager to corporate spy. Somewhere in the midst of all that Plate & Pitchfork began as a summer project and nine years later, Erika is still building. Plate & Pitchfork has allowed her to hone a funky blend of culinary, technology and marketing expertise, while developing a keen awareness and understanding of the issues facing both the culinary & agricultural communities. She puts these skills to the test every day as she builds Plate & Pitchfork from a simple farm dinner series to an organization that brings complex issues to the fore so that together, as a community, we can create a healthy, economically viable and delicious place to live.

Easy Holiday Brie with Fruit and Chai Spices

8 Dec

This recipe is pure awesomeness when you need to prepare/bring a fancy-looking appetizer on the fly. It looks like Christmas on a plate and makes the house smell like winter holiday (or Diwali, if you consider the Indian spices).

Holiday on a Plate

Most any dried fruit will do, but I usually use apricots, peaches, figs, blueberries, and a few orange cranberries for color (colour if you’re in the UK or Canada). Crystallized ginger is also a great addition if you can find it.

Wedge of mild brie — St. André triple cream is a good one or Délice de Bourgogne (which is like butter and brie and cream cheese mixed into one wedge of party-in-your-mouth goodness)
1 cup of mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Dash sea salt
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or Cointreau (you can use rum as an alternative or replace alcohol with a couple teaspoons of orange extract)

Reduce fruit, water, honey, spices, and salt by boiling down in a small pot until liquid nearly disappears. Add Gran Marnier (or orange extract), stir, keep warm. Pour over brie and serve immediately with whole wheat crackers or a nice baguette.

If you prepare ahead of time, add a little more Gran Marnier/Cointreau upon reheating.

Wine doesn’t usually pair well with citrus, but if you want to get really fancy, serve with a Moscato d’Asti to bring out the peach and apricot in the compote. Gewurztraminer is another option as it usually pairs well with Indian spices.

8 Great Whines to Pair with Your Thanksgiving Meal

22 Nov

So you’ve taken great care to select the Thanksgiving menu to end all menus. You’ve included something for everyone, performed hard-core recon at various farmers markets and now you realize you’re lacking the perfect wines to go with your feast. Here are a few suggestions…

8. “OMG, what are those hard orange things in the cranberry relish?”

7. “Smoked turkery?!? Why do you hate Thanksgiving?”

6. “I thought you said everything would be vegan / gluten-free /organic / biodynamic / locally sourced / artisinal / low-fat / grown on a commune?”

5. “That pumpkin soup gave me some serious heartburn.”

4. “Rutabega and parsnips, AGAIN?!?”

3. “I don’t want to sit next to Grandma and eat Thanksgiving Dinner. I want to sit on the couch, watch cartoons, and eat Cheetos with chocolate chips in it.”

2. “You’re serving Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving? Don’t you want Merlot like in that Sideways movie?”

1. “The next Thanksgiving I celebrate with you people will be in H*%^.”

But seriously, Pinot Noir tends to pair best with Thanksgiving. So do Chardonnay and pink sparkling wine. If you’re having smoked turkey, a Petite Syrah (Australian Shiraz) is also a solid choice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Truffled Wild Mushroom Crostini

14 Nov

This recipe was adapted from Baltimore Chef Julian Marucci and always brings the “WOW” factor to dinner parties and holidays. We use apple cider vinegar and add a little honey to balance out the acidity of the vinaigrette. Pairs perfectly with an earthy Oregon Pinot Noir.

The truffle oil really takes this dish to the next level. You can buy a bottle at Whole Foods for $12 and it will literally last for years. Seriously. The best olive oil comes from a little family run place in Lake Oswego called The Oilerie. Get the truffle-infused oil. And the garlic infused oil. And the lemon-infused oil.

Note: The vinaigrette isn’t as Chartreuse as this photo makes it look. But it’s still pretty.

Serves 8

Mushrooms with Thyme:

3 tablespoons butter

12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as morels, shiitake, oyster, black trumpet, and crimini), sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

Thyme Vinaigrette :

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 small shallot, chopped

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little more for brushing 

1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices of baguette or pain rustique

Truffle oil (for drizzling afterwards)


1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat

2. Sauté garlic, mushrooms, and thyme until browned (about 8 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Can be refrigerated to allow flavors to meld and then warmed up later.

3. Make vinaigrette by combining first 5 ingredients in blender for 10 seconds

4. With blender running, gradually add 1/4 cup olive oil; blend until almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sweeten to taste with honey.

5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bread on rimmed baking sheet. Brush with oil. Bake until beginning to crisp, about 8 minutes.

6. Mound mushrooms on each bread slice. Drizzle each with thyme vinaigrette, then sparingly with truffle oil.

5 Minute 5 Spice Pumpkin Soup Recipe

11 Oct

Pumpkin + 5 spice powder* = magic!

Friends ask for this recipe every year at Thanksgiving. It’s an elegant sweet and savory soup that only takes 5 minutes to make…ok, maybe 10, but that screws the very clever title up.

Oh, and Elyse says that this works just as well if you replace the 5-spice with curry.

The vegan version is also delicious – substitute veggie stock for chicken stock and coconut milk for half-and-half.

– 2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin (note: not pumpkin pie filling)
– 4 cups chicken stock
– 1 cup of half-and-half
– 3/4 cup maple syrup
– 2 garlic cloves (if you don’t have time to chop and sauté in a little olive oil, then use a garlic press)
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 3/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
– 3/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

Blend together pumpkin, stock, and garlic over medium high heat in a large saucepan (try using a handy-dandy immersion blender if you have one). Simmer. Whisk in half-and-half, syrup, butter, 5 spice powder, and cardamom (adjust spices and sweetness to taste). Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper. Pour into serving bowls. Swirl a little crème fraîche in each bowl and serve with a chilled chardonnay or an earthy Oregon Pinot Noir (Domaine Serene, anyone?)

Roasted pumpkin seeds or butter-sautéed shiitake mushrooms make great garnish if you have more than 5 minutes.

*Chinese 5 spice powder is different from pumpkin pie spice or allspice — It contains cinnamon, clove, ginger, fennel, anise, and yum (the 6th spice)

Making the Trek to Seattle to Get Our Chicken Back

9 Aug

Follow me on the Twitters:
By Molly Norton

Help Save Colin

Fans of the IFC TV comedy Portlandia are probably familiar with our state bird: Colin, the hyperlocal chicken raised on a commune and fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy, and hazelnuts. If not, you can watch a video about him here. Obviously, we Portlandians hold Colin in highest regard.

Recently, the 5 Spot in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood started featuring a “Portlandia” menu. According to the Willamette Week, the menu features:

With Oyster mushrooms, onion, parmesan & goat cheese. Pan fried & served with mixed marinated peppers.

A blossom of lettuce hobnobs with grilled apricots, Oregonzola Bleu cheese & candied hazelnuts tossed in a poppy seed vinaigrette.

Aged Brindisi Fontina from Willamette Valley Cheese Co. breaded in panko & pan-griddled. Served with summer tomato relish & baguette.

Portland, the home of more than 500 food carts is inspiration for our jalapeno-cornbread waffle united with Jumpin’ Joe’s bacon jam & quick fried poached egg.

BREWTOPIO-RINGS 5.75 Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale battered Walla Walla sweet onion rings served with Tutto Calabria pepper aioli.

Portlandia poultry star Colin stuffed with goat cheese, spinach & hazelnuts on a bed of Willamette Valley Fontina polenta, local grilled asparagus & raspberry balsamic redux. 

8 oz. N.Y. Strip steak with Ransom Spirit’s Whipper Snapper Oregon Whiskey-brown sugar glaze and finished with Oregonzola bleu butter. Accessorized for the stage with g-string beans & flannel fries.

Skewered marinated lamb scoots across the grill and is served with heirloom tomato-mint salad, roast fingerling potatoes & hazelnut romesco.

17.50 Jumbo lump Dungeness crab cake dipped in buttermilk, pan-fried & served with grilled asparagus, fingerling potatoes & a “saucy” Puttanesca.

Cumin & garlic spiked crispy chick pea sandwich topped with carrot-scallion slaw on toasty Ciabatta with citrus mayonnaise. Served with flannel fries.

A jumbo biscuit split & stacked with a buttermilk fried chicken thigh, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, an over-hard egg, Joe’s bacon jam & sausage gravy.

Three milk & yogurt pancakes studded with blackberries and topped with Adam’s toothsome caramel & a candied hazelnut butterball.

Inspired by the bakery at the library, it’s a hash of braised brisket, poblano peppers, parmesan cheese & red potatoes. Topped with two eggs any style & served with fancy toast.

Open faced toasted sourdough bread layered with oil poached fresh Albacore tuna balsamic onions, Granny Smith apples & pickles. Topped with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar & served with a poppy seed vinaigrette dressed salad.

B3LT 10.75
B to the 3rd power beer battered & fried bacon, butter leaf and summer tomato sandwich with bacon jam & Tutto Calabria pepper aioli. Served with a poppy seed vinaigrette dressed salad.

Sweetened whole wheat pastry filled with seasonal stone fruit & served warm with whipped cream.

Individual flourless cake with boozy Cofia hazelnut vodka macerated berries & fresh whipped cream.

Read the full article by Ruth Brown here

Notice the highlighted entry? Yes, SEATTLE HAS COLIN. We are making the 3 hour trek to save him and BRING HIM BACK HOME. The secret mission involves us walking into 5 Spot, pretending to be customers, and then *actually ordering* the chicken. We’ll also see what the heck “flannel fries” are and report back.

Flannel Fries?!? (image by WW's Ruth Brown)

We’ll be bringing you back home soon, Chicken Little.

18 Date Night Restaurants – Portland

21 Jul

Follow me on the Twitters:
Compiled by Molly Norton

It's Date Night in PDX!

Portland has more romantic restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. Ok, I just made that up, but it’s plausible. A few things are for certain: Portland does design, coziness, and low-lit ambiance really well and the prices (no sales tax) can’t be beat. Romance + supporting Oregon’s farmers, breweries, and wine makers = winning.

And here’s a quick link if you would like to support Oxfam’s donation drive addressing the East Africa drought and food crisis. OXFAM. They do good work.

Unless otherwise mentioned, these restaurants accept reservations (good to know if you’re paying a babysitter by the hour).

Top 18 Restaurants for Date Night  – PDX (note that these are just the tip of ye old iceberg)

Price Guide:
$ = Not too Spendy
$$ = Medium Spendy
$$$ = Spendy Spendy Spendy

Ava Gene’s (SE – Division/Clinton) – A 2013 recipient of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant in America, Ava Gene’s never fails to impress. Bonus: they take reservations, but be sure to book well in advance. Ava Gene’s manages to be all things to all people; elegant without being stuffy, festive without being loud, culinarily creative without being pretentious. Menu changes daily and some of the ingredients may be a mystery, but with the help of the knowledgeable wait staff, you are guaranteed to find a dish (or two or three) that will make your taste buds sing. Focus is on interesting preparations of radically fresh vegetables (radical!), amazing cheese, and perfect charcuterie, but pescatarians and carnivores seeking hearty entrees will find much to delight in. The wine list is thoughtful and reasonably priced. The sommelier suggested an amazing bottle of Sardinian white wine – a bargain at only $39. Magic. (Food: Creative Italian. Price: $$$)

Pok Pok (SE – Division/Clinton) – Portland loves Pok Pok. Cozy, loungey, hip with interesting cocktails. Known for “Ike’s Wings” – spicy chicken wings and baby back ribs marinated in whiskey. Don’t miss the Khao Soi which has a little less heat than other offerings. They don’t take reservations, but if you have to wait, mitigate the pain by sampling the drinking vinegars or the Mango Alexander cocktail at sister bar Whiskey Soda Lounge. (Food: Thai/Vietnamese “street food”  Price: $)

St. Jack (NW Alphabet District) – We won’t lie – this place is going to transport you to Paris and you won’t have to deal with any public transportation strikes. It’s swoony romantic and cozy. Start your date off with one of the best happy hours in town and then move on to dinner. Salade Lyonnaise? Mussels? Charcuterie? Whole roasted trout? All wonderful. Just leave enough room for made-to-order Madeleines afterwards. (Food: French  Price: $$)

Roe (SE – Division) – Roe is the grand-dame of the romantic dining scene in Portland, but not in a stuffy or pretentious way. Their focus is on masterful, creative preparations of seafood. The atmosphere may transport you to Tokyo, New York, and Barcelona simultaneously. Go here if your dining partner appreciates “high art” cuisine as much as you do. And if it’s a really REALLY romantic occasion, go all the way with a wine pairing. (Food: Modern American seafood   Price: $$$$)

Beast (NE) – As the name implies, this restaurant will not pleaseth vegetarians. But if the thought of the perfect charcuterie and a selection of cheeses from Steve at Cheese Bar make you salivate, make reservations here. The tables are communal, but they still find a way to make the experience intimate. Chartcuterie and slow-cooked meats are usually the highlight of their set menu which includes both a cheese course AND dessert. (Food: Modern French Price: $$$)

Toro Bravo (NE) – Perfect place for unconventional small plates/tapas. Great atmosphere, festive buzz, always a crowd pleaser. Not sure how they manage to make every item on their huge menu manifest fresh and delicious, but they do. Try the griddled bacon dates in warm honey, the sautéed chard with a sunny side up egg, Steve’s Cheese Board (we dig cheese, ok?), or the “French Kisses.” If you do have to wait, have a drink at the Victorian era lounge Secret Society next door. (Food: Modern Spanish/Tapas Price: $$)

Ataula (NW) Want a taste of Catalan, but a trip to Barcelona isn’t in the budget this year? Get you and your date to Ataula in NW Portland. The good news is that every last detail is top-notch – from the beautiful vaulted ceiling with skylights to the lovely recycled glass bar to the small plates which are some of the best Portland has to offer. The not-so-good news is that they only accept reservations for parties of 6+. Get there early, enjoy a glass of sparkling cava or their oh-so-good sangria made with brandy and vanilla beans. Tuck into Ataula Montadito – silky salmon with truffle oil and marscapone on toast, pulpos, or fantastic croquetas. Don’t leave until you’ve tried dessert featuring freshly made hot donuts or chocolate with sea salt and olive oil. Now also doing brunch.  (Food: Creative tapas  Price: $$-$$$) 

Tabla (NE) – Bills themselves a Mediterranean Bistro. Their $28 3 course pre-fixe is a steal. The Tajarin with truffle butter and truffle “pearls” is the stuff of dreams. Sample all of the pastas – you pretty much can’t go wrong. (Food: Pacific NW meets the Mediterranean  Price: $$)

Veritable Quandary /VQ (Downtown) little spendy, but VQ has one of the nicest atrium and outdoor garden patio set-ups in town. The food is consistently terrific as are the cocktails and the wine list. Duck confit spring rolls; poached egg, smoked bacon & butter lettuce with crispy cornbread, house made fettuccine with prawns. Need we say more? (Food:  Modern “Northwest”  Price: $$$)

Andina (NW) – Festive and romantic. Interesting ceviche, tapas, and sangria. Try a Tortuga (gin with cucumber, mint, and lime) and enjoy the twinkling lights with your tasty tapas. (Food: Peruvian/Spanish Price: $$-$$$)

Levant (East Burnside/Buckman)- Note that Levant doesn’t take reservations for parties of less than 5, but you should plan for an early date night here any way. The neighborhood is charming, the atmosphere is exquisite, and the food some of the most interesting in Portland. Think tapas from the Middle East with French preparation and fragrant North African spices. Don’t miss artichokes with lamb bacon or the wildly addictive fried garbanzo beans with Za-atar. (Food: Inventive Middle Eastern/French/Tapas  Price: $$-$$$)

Irving Street Kitchen (Pearl) – Top-notch happy hour. Great vibe inside and out. Upscale Cajun meets creative comfort food. Entire menu rocks. Try everything. (Food: Upscale Cajun/Comfort  Price: $$-$$$)

Departure Lounge (Downtown inside the Nines hotel) – Go here if you’re interested in a rather sexy, “loungey” vibe with a dance beat. Some of the best views and Asian-fusion small plates in PDX. And Chef Gregory has vegan selections that will knock your socks off. (Food: Asian Fusion  Price: $$-$$$)

Le Pigeon (E. Burnside) – Cozy, quaint, and charming. The pork with cabbage, bacon, and mustard is moist and juicy. Cornbread cake with apricots and bacon is a wonderful sweet and savory finish to a meal. Because bacon really does make all things better. (Food: Modern French Price: $$-$$$)

Coppia (Pearl) – Terrific food and wine pairings – don’t miss the Bagna Càuda with a glass of Deltetto rose. Pastas are fresh made and topped with ridiculously tasty ragus. Great place for happy hour with a reasonable price-point. It also has a “vera nahhhce” date night vibe. (Food: Italian/Piedmont  Price: $$)

Brasserie Montmartre  (Downtown) – The red brick interior with indentations in the wall highlights the fact that the restaurant once was next to a jewelry store where an attempted robbery occurred. And they make the most of their history. Soaring ceilings, lots of light, a hopping happy hour, and live jazz make it a venue for a date with “buzz.” You might be tempted to kiss each of the black truffle frites with sel gris – they are that good. Everything from the tomato fennel soup to the charcuterie to the perfectly cooked pork loin to the buttery/garlicky escargot was wonderful. And that live jazz may just put you in a sentimental mood. (Food: French  Price $$$)

Portland City Grill (Downtown) – There isn’t much that beats the view from the US Bancorp Tower which makes it good for business dinners and special date nights. They do a nice job with salmon and have a pretty decent wine list. If on a budget, go during one of their two happy hours featuring asian-fusion small plates and piano jazz.  (Food: Steak/Seafood/Asian Fusion Price – $$$)

Gracies (in the Hotel deLuxe) (SW) Order the lovely lavender “Elizabeth Taylor” (Creme de Violette and champagne) and be transported to the Golden Era of Hollywood. Their pre-fixe menu is usually a pretty good deal. Retire to the elegantly retro Driftwood Room afterwards or see a show at Artists Repertory Theatre. (Food: Modern Northwest  Price: $$)

Mingo West (Beaverton) – If you find yourself on the West side, heading towards The Beav, check out the popular Caffe Mingo’s sister restaurant – Mingo West. It’s a larger place with indoor / outdoor seating — just as cozy as its urban sister and even nicer in the summer months. Penne al Sugo di Carne (beef braised in Chianti and espresso tossed with penne pasta) is outstanding, but everything you order will be perfectly grilled/seared/baked and full of flavor. Save room for prunes poached in nebbiolo, port and cinnamon with housemade mascarpone or olive cake with honeyed mascarpone. Leave feeling so full of epicurean gratitude, you pay the babysitter twice their normal rate.

Like Kale for Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

18 Jul

Velvety red kale makes amazing smoothies

Have been attempting a raw food diet for the last couple weeks. Day One went well:

Raw basil cucumber soup with garlic and almond milk
Green juice
Crappy tasting smoothie from packet
Chocolate cake
Kid’s leftover burger
Glass of saké

Day Two was a little better; found some beautiful red kale at the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market and made a batch of these. Delicious, nutritious, and kale is supposed to be the “KING” of antioxidants. AND the smoothie even tastes a little chocolate-ly. This ingredient combo is recommended by the “Clean” diet by Dr. Alejandro Junger and makes good biological sense.

Kale/Avocado/Mango Smoothie
5-6 large kale leaves (preferably red kale if you can find it)
1/2 medium avocado
1/2 mango
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup coconut milk “beverage” from So Delicious® or coconut water
1/2 cup coconut water (slight preference for Taste Nirvana)
6-8 ice cubes

Blend and consume with self-righteousness. Thin with coconut water to your liking.