Portland Zagat Guide Giveaway

January 28th, 2013

Portland's first Zagat Guide!

This summer and fall I was lucky enough to get to work on Portland’s first very own Zagat Guide. A few weeks ago I came home to a box of them hot off the presses on my front porch. Have you seen it yet? What do you think? I’m sharing most of my copies with friends and family but I’m also giving one away here to a lucky commenter. I’ve written down a number as usual and that numbered commenter will get a copy of the guide. And just so you know this is how you pronounce Zagat. I’ve botched the pronunciation for years.

What I’d like to know is this — what are some of your favorite brunch spots in Portland? I’ve been going to brunch more these days and it’s always nice to know of new spots. Some brunches that I’ve really been digging lately — Kenton Club (pop-up brunch every Saturday and Sunday), EaT Oyster Bar and Interurban. I live in North Portland and tend to stay up in the hinterland for brunch but suggestions throughout Portland are welcome.

Check out this recent Oregonian interview with Nina Zagat.

Portland Zagat Guide 2013

For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 8

January 23rd, 2013

Save the best for last. The last recipe that we tested for the book was this paella. My feet are on the right, John's are on the left and we're about to dig in with the Toro staff...

I really will get back to more regular blog posting at some point but it’s just happened to be one of those things that’s gotten a little bit of the boot during the past several chock-full months. These are always fun ones to do though because they’re quick to put up and give you a little eye candy. We’re still busy at work on the Toro Bravo Cookbook due out from McSweeney’s fall 2013. I took this photo in November during our last major recipe testing day. We’ll still continue to test right up until the book goes to print but this was our last big push for formal testing. I wish you could have tried this house paella. Perfect.

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Yard Fresh Pt. 25

January 7th, 2013

I made this version of Choi's White Napa Kimchi while working on a story about the Portland mother-son-duo kimchi business for Mix Magazine. I'm still enjoying it -- really tasty. It's a mild kimchi with no chiles but a lot of ginger, garlic, Asian pear and red peppers.

I’ve got a lot on my plate these days so I haven’t been cooking as much as usual. I had two weeks off over the holidays though and did a lot of eat, drink, be merry. I just didn’t do much of the cooking. I think I’ll put together a Cincinnati post soon — my hometown — and include some of the great food and drink there. I brewed beer with my brother (my first time brewing beer!) when I visited this time around amongst other things.

I went to Seattle for a few days at the beginning of my vacation and met with one of my publishers, Gary Luke of Sasquatch Books, while there. (I also saw Louis C.K. at the Paramount!) As a result, I’m now working on revising Food Lover’s Guide to Portland! I’m not sure when that will be complete and when you can get a new/improved copy but fingers crossed for summer or fall 2013.

After Seattle I visited family and friends in Cincinnati for a week and ate tasty German food and Cincinnati chili as usual. And to cap off my vacation I went to the Oregon coast for a few days to ring in the new year. Food/drink highlights there: We smoked Netarts Bay oysters (so good!) and then made omelets with them with goat cheese, there was a super yummy New Year’s risotto with freshly hunted seared duck breast followed by a kick-ass Caesar and much, much more. Anyway, here’s some of what I’ve cooked and eaten at home in the past couple months. Hope you’ve been eating well in the new year and are happy and healthy. Happy New Year!

I made this egg sammy a few weeks back with the kimchi above because I was craving the breakfast sandwich with kimchi and sausage on pretzel bread at the Saturday and Sunday brunch at Kenton Club. If you haven't been to this pop-up brunch yet go get it. Nik Woideck is rocking it in the kitchen there -- really good stuff.

I put all the beds under thick blankets to sleep until the spring. My neighbor Alison and I have an agreement -- if I clean her chicken coop then I get the skat straw for my yard. Perfect.

I made these garlic cheese grits for Thanksgiving. It's an old family recipe and no holiday is complete without them. Sharp cheddar, lots of butter and eggs, heaps of minced garlic and a cornflake topper.

I made a big batch of Toro Bravo's red sangria for Thanksgiving too.

And roasted some paprika glazed hazelnuts from Eric Joppie's Bar Avignon recipe in the August 2012 issue of Mix Magazine.

I also whipped up some smoked escolar butter (Newman's Fish Co.) from a Janie Hibler recipe in her cookbook titled Dungeness Crabs and Blackberry Cobblers.

I'm going to keep cooking through the Toro Bravo Cookbook (due out fall 2013 from McSweeney's) this winter. This big batch of Toro's brussels sprouts with bacon sherry cream was tasty. Life is sweet.

Nigel Slater's Trappist beer beef stew with baked brothy potatoes from his cookbook Tender. So good. Ate it for several days.

Pulled out my homemade 2 year (left) and one year miso...

And scraped and salted it. Made sure to scoop off some to eat before putting it back down to ferment. It's so fucking good. With 5 gallons of the 1 year (on the right) I think I'll be able to get it to 10-plus years. It will just get darker, richer and more developed as it ages.

And racked the plum wine. 21 gallons this year!

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