Seafood: Newman’s Fish Co. in City Market

May 27th, 2009
Newman's slices and filets all the fish in house

Newman's slices and filets all the fish in house

And gets daily deliveries

And gets daily deliveries

Even though the Portland area is woven by rivers, studded with lakes and not far from the Pacific we’re not known for our seafood. I recently had coffee with the editor of a local magazine and she was bemoaning the fact that our fair city has such slim pickings in terms of fish markets.

It’s true but with a little effort and a little more gas or peddling you can source some super fresh, delicious seafood here. When most people think about seasonal food they think of produce but everything is connected to the seasons including seafood.

Right now Newman’s Fish Company in Northwest Portland should be rolling in Copper River salmon but prices are way too high this year — so high that they’d have to charge $40 a pound to make any kind of a profit. Newman’s manager Angela Stewart isn’t shedding any tears — she’d much rather eat ocean caught wild, fresh salmon any day. Yes, she’s a little biased — her family runs a chinook and coho salmon fishing boat out of Southeast Alaska — but she claims that river caught salmon doesn’t have the fresh flavor and great texture that Pacific salmon is known for.

Newman's smokes all sorts of seafood at their North Portland warehouse

Newman's smokes all sorts of seafood at their North Portland warehouse

Other fresh and seasonal Newman’s seafood — halibut started in March, crawdads open the first of June, and Oregon albacore is up in July. Pretty much year-round you’ll find all the tasty farmed shellfish — clams, oysters, mussels — as well as crab, lobster, squid, shrimp, scallops, herring and more.

There's always a great selection of locally farmed oysters, clams and mussels

There's always a great selection of locally farmed oysters, clams and mussels

Dungeness and Maine lobster are usually in the Newman's tank

Dungeness and Maine lobster are usually in the Newman's tank

A vast majority of what's in the case is fresh and line caught and almost everything else is frozen at sea.

A vast majority of what's in the case is fresh and line caught and almost everything else is frozen at sea.

Newman’s Fish Company
735 NW 21st Ave.
503.227.2700
www.newmansfish.com

Read about the wholesale side of Newman’s Fish Co. here.

Biked Beans: Courier Coffee

May 22nd, 2009
Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis (left) and Alex Geddes

Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis (left) and Alex Geddes

I recently met up with Courier Coffee owner Joel Domreis and employee Alex Geddes at their small backyard roastery and talked coffee, and of course drank coffee, for a couple hours. Alex had roasted some Bolivian Cenaproc Cooperative coffee that morning and he brewed us a pot in one of their new Hario vacuum pots. This was my first experience with siphon brewed/vacuum pot brewed coffee, even though I’ve heard a lot about it, and it was delicious and really fun to watch. The standout for me was that there was no silty residue in the cup and the coffee was hyper full of flavor. I don’t think I’d ever own a vacuum pot though. I have a hard enough time not breaking the glass in my French press. These are works of art.

Most of my interviews for the book so far have been about an hour long but the really good ones often seem to spill over. There were a lot of beans to be spilled in this case…

Where 10,000 pounds of Courier Coffee is roasted annually

Where 10,000 pounds of Courier Coffee is roasted annually

28 year old Domreis started his bike delivered Courier Coffee three and a half years ago and for a year and a half he ran the show. Now he has one full-time (Alex Geddes) and one part-time (Matt Sperry) employee to roast beans with and peddle around town with. A typical day for these guys starts at 4am and ends after the sun has set and all the coffee for the next day has been roasted. Deliveries are made from as far southeast as Southeast 92nd and Johnson Creek Blvd. to as far north as St. Johns. And even though Courier only has about 30 accounts (coffeeshops, restaurants, bars and offices) they deliver daily to many of them in order to ensure super fresh, super tasty bean. Some of their most valued clients include Half & Half, Little Red Bike Cafe, Sel Gris, Olea, Two Tarts Bakery, Eastmoreland Market & Kitchen and Dove Vivi.

Domreis talked me through their roasting process, showed me their burlap sack stacked coffee storage area and discussed the merits of slow growth in particular to his business. Understandable since every new account adds many miles literally and figuratively to their work week. That’s not the only reason Domreis is reticent. Courier has a certain ethic and culture that clients need to jive with. If you don’t want to discuss things like first and second crack, or if you want all your coffee ground and delivered a couple times a month Courier doesn’t want you.

Joel Domreis of Courier Coffee hopes to open a Courier Coffeeshop one day soon

Joel Domreis of Courier Coffee hopes to open a Courier Coffeeshop one day soon

Map of Portland's coffeeshops and Courier's Hario vacuum pots

Map of Portland's coffeeshops and Courier's Hario vacuum pots

You can buy bags of Courier Coffee beans at Half & Half, Little Red Bike Cafe, Eastmoreland Market & Kitchen and Two Tarts. You can also have Courier Coffee delivered to your door step or pick it up at the roastery — just call ahead first.

Courier Coffee
SE 40th and Hawthorne — call for directions
www.couriercoffeeroasters.com
Joel Domreis — 503.545.6444

Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest by Tami Parr

May 19th, 2009
Judge this book by its cover -- if it makes you hungry buy it.

Judge this book by its cover -- if it makes you hungry buy it.

Last weekend I finally got my copy of Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest by Tami Parr of the long-running popular blog Pacific Northwest Cheese Project. Now I have some questions for you:

1. Do you ever have more types of cheese in your refrigerator than can be juggled?
2. Do you wonder where and how said cheese is made?
3. When you hear the name Wallace do you think — “Cheese, Gromit!”
4. Do you wish that more restaurants would stop serving the ubiquitous berry cobbler and chocolate cake every night of the week and start serving cheese boards for dessert?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions I think you’re going to like this book. I’m tossing mine in the back of the car whenever I head out for a road trip because chances are good that one of the 17 Oregon, 31 Washington, 3 Idaho and 20 British Columbia cheesemakers profiled in the book will be en route.

Tami spent much of last year traveling, visiting and interviewing 70-plus Pacific Northwest cheesemakers so each entry is studded with photos of cheeses being mixed, molded and dried; goats, sheep and cows that make the cheese possible; curd vats, cheese in molds and more. She writes about many of our region’s most interesting and delicious cheeses and includes farm and creamery visiting hours if you want to stop by for a curd or two.

There’s a cheese primer at the end of the book with info. on everything from storing and pairing cheese, to where to buy artisan cheese in the Pacific Northwest, as well as tasty cheese-centric recipes from restaurants such as Park Kitchen and Boat Street Cafe.

Those responsible for this should get a copy of Tami Parr's book

Those responsible for this destruction should get a copy of Tami Parr's book

I’ve already learned a lot from the book. Last night I read that Ancient Heritage Dairy owner Kathy Obringer worked at Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati way back when. I’m from Cincinnati and Mecklenburg’s has long been one of my favorite restaurants there. Spaetzle, schnitzel, ham and sauerkraut balls and big steins and glasses of all kinds of amazing German beers on draft. I visit almost every time I’m home. Next time I’m near Scio I’ll stop by Ancient Heritage. Or maybe I’ll say “hello” at the PSU Portland Farmers Market first…

Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest

By Tami Parr
The Countryman Press, spring 2009
196 pages

Tea: Foxfire Teas, Tea Chai Te and DIY Home Herbal Tea

May 12th, 2009
Future tea...chamomile, sage, lemon balm and peppermint in the front yard

Future tea...chamomile, sage, lemon balm and peppermint in the front yard

I think that this year is the first that I’ll actually have enough herbs to dry for herbal tea. The old garden adage — the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and and the third it leaps — is ringing true in our yard. It’s the beginning of our fourth year in North Portland and plants that never before seemed to take a shine are going off — namely the blueberries, raspberries, fruit trees and lots and lots of herbs.

I think we’ll have enough lemon balm, mint, sage, thyme, valerian and other herbs to keep us sipping plenty of home grown and blended herbal tea for months. I recently read that the best way to dry herbs for tea is to take the entire plant or sections of it, leaves still attached, and tie it upside down so that the oil and flavor gravitates to the leaves.

Tea time with Quinn and Katherine Losselyong owners of Foxfire Teas

Tea time with Quinn and Katherine Losselyong owners of Foxfire Teas

I didn’t learn this from Quinn and Katherine Losselyong of Portland’s Foxfire Teas but I did learn a lot when I met up with them recently at their shop. Here are a few things that they told me while we shared a pot of Golden Yunan tea.

1. They like to use steeped Darjeeling and various green teas as a substitute for broth in risotto.
2. They met on a plane heading to Portland and were engaged three months later.
3. Their business is often referred to as Firefox Teas because people confuse them with the browser.
4. You can find Foxfire Teas in cafes as far away as Raleigh, North Carolina and Santa Barbara.
5. Marco Shaw of the much missed Portland restaurant Fife did some amazing things with their lapsang souchong (a smoked black tea) and duck.

At first sniff Foxfire's smoky lapsang souchong doesn't even smell like tea. Close your eyes, inhale, and you might think you're sitting around a campfire.

At first sniff Foxfire's smoky lapsang souchong doesn't even smell like tea. Close your eyes, inhale, and you might think you're sitting around a campfire.

Some of the best kombucha I've ever had -- Quinn and Katherine's home fermented pu-erh kombucha

Some of the best kombucha I've ever had -- Quinn and Katherine's home fermented pu-erh kombucha

After hanging out at Foxfire I met up with Tami Parr of Pacific Northwest Cheese Project at Tea Chai Te in Northwest. Not great planning on my part — I think I filled up on my tea intake for the week in one day. Tami’s book — Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest — is hot off the presses and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. We talked about the book, about her blog and about random things like our favorite Indian restaurant in Vancouver B.C. and why we both want to keep chickens.

Tami had an iced black tea (any of their teas can be iced) and I had a cup of the ginger pu-erh. If you haven’t been Tea Chai Te is a really nice space nestled in the second floor of a beautiful old house. When we arrived at 3:30pm it was quiet but by 4:30/5pm it was almost full and there was a long line for steeped goods.

Please don’t buy the terra cotta looking large clay teapot that’s cut in half on the bottom right of the photo. I’m saving up.

Tea Chai Te does tea right

Tea Chai Te does tea right

Foxfire Teas
2505 SE 11th Ave. #105
503.288.6869
www.foxfireteas.com

Tea Chai Te
734 NW 23rd Ave. — upstairs
503.228.0900
www.teachaite.com

Pacific Northwest Cheese Project
www.pnwcheese.typepad.com

Tami Parr’s spring 2009 title Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest

Mom Day: Sahagún Chocolate Shop

May 8th, 2009
If your mom doesn't live here you can ship her Sahagún's Oregon Kisses

If your mom doesn't live here you can ship her Sahagún's Oregon Kisses

Elizabeth Montes was a decorative painter of dolls and puppets in NYC before she caravaned across country nearly a decade ago and gave herself up to chocolate. She’d made her own truffles and small chocolates for friends and family for years before she left New York for a new home in Portland with her then boyfriend now husband Rodney Muirhead of Podnah’s Pit Barbecue.

In 2001 Montes began handcrafting chocolates out of her apartment kitchen and selling them at the PSU Farmers Market for several years before opening Sahagún Chocolate Shop on Northwest 16th Avenue in 2005.

I got to spend a morning with Montes at her shop last week as she planned and readied for Mother’s Day and I’m here to tell you that there are all kinds of amazing things you can do for your mom or any special mom in your life at Sahagún this year.

Have you tried the Luscious Caramels?? They’re salty, buttery and dark chocolate sweet all at once. And I mean “all at once” literally — there’s no nibbling or pulling apart with these. You pop the whole thing in your mouth and bite down so that the caramelized sugar, which isn’t thickened by corn syrup, washes over every last one of your taste buds in a rush of roasty salty sweet.

There's a reason why this plate is almost empty and it's only 10am

There's a reason why this plate is almost empty and it's only 10am

Would she like a single origin Sahagún hot chocolate?

Would she like a single origin Sahagún hot chocolate?

There's always a lot to choose from. Ask about the Sundrops...

There's always a lot to choose from. Ask about the Sundrops...

Sahagún's pretty boxes -- fill them up with chocolates, truffles and barks

Sahagún's pretty boxes -- fill them up with chocolates, truffles and barks

And just so you know Sahagún does online sales — you can place your order here.

Sahagún Chocolate Shop
10 NW 16th Ave.
503.274.7065
www.sahagunchocolates.com

Wild and Free: Another Wild Food Adventure with John Kallas, Dandelion Wine and more

May 5th, 2009
Dandelion petals: If you want yellow fingers but don't smoke...

Dandelion petals: If you want yellow fingers but don't smoke...

In the past few weeks I’ve done a lot of foraging. First I gathered dandelion petals with my friend and her daughter for this year’s batch of dandelion wine. If you want 3 gallons of dandelion wine you need 3 gallons of dandelion petals. That’s what we wanted but we settled with one gallon — which took the better part of an afternoon to collect. I wrote about last year’s dandelion wine for Imbibe.

Yes, those scissors are a little big but she insisted. At least it's not a sweat shop.

Yes, those scissors are a little big but she insisted. At least it's not a sweat shop.

Another wild food event this season was an informal gathering of all sorts of Portlanders — connected via food, work, friends — that I won’t share too much about since a story is currently in the works. I will show you a photo of a bit of the resulting food — 3 jars of delicious collective kraut. In our collective batches of vegetable ferments, amongst MANY ingredients, were backyard bull thistle, dandelion greens and black radish…

There are things in these jars that I'd never heard of until this spring

There are things in these jars that I'd never heard of until this spring

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend another one of John Kallas’ Wild Food Adventures. Kallas is one of my favorite Portland food people because he often goes where no one else does in search of delicious wild foods growing all around us — urban, suburban and off the beaten path. This Sunday we went to Oxbow Park out in the Sandy River Gorge not far from Troutdale.

Eat me -- stinging nettles

Eat me -- stinging nettles

We were lucky that we didn’t get rained or hailed on as we hiked around sampling all sorts of wild spring greens including sheep sorrel, waterleaf, salmonberry stems (the inside of new growth stems tastes sweeter and juicier when peeled than fresh asparagus), miner’s lettuce, stinging nettles and much more. Well, we didn’t try the nettle but John did. He has a trick for plucking them with his bare hands and eating them on the spot without a sting….

Our fearless leader -- stinging nettle in hand

Our fearless leader John Kallas -- stinging nettle in hand

I haven’t been foraging for morels yet this spring even though one popped up in our backyard a few days ago! I hear it’s a later season for them this year so maybe there’s still hope. Happy foraging everyone.

Wild Food Adventures
John Kallas
www.wildfoodadventures.com
503.775.3828
mail@wildfoodadventures.com
***Most workshops still have openings but they fill up fast***