Mark Bittman at the James Beard Public Market Fundraiser in Portland January 22, 2015

January 23rd, 2015

Mr. Mark Bittman and me at the James Beard Public Market fundraiser dinner at Leftbank Annex.

I’m a very lucky lady. I got to be Mark Bittman’s date when he was in town for the James Beard Public Market fundraiser dinner at Leftbank Annex last night. Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant put together an incredible Pacific Northwest bounty meal comprised of recipes inspired by Mr. B’s latest book How to Cook Everything Fast which Higgins joked in his intro. to the event was probably “the longest book on fast cooking.” It’s a whopping 4+ pounds after all. (My favorite dishes that I’ve cooked from the book so far: miso glazed catfish with mushrooms, caramelized cod and Vietnamese-style fish sauce brussels. Mmmmm!)

The James Beard Public Market has been in the works now for nearly 15 years and it looks like we’ll finally have a market sooner than later. There have been all sorts of recent developments including the securing of the space at the west end of the Morrison bridge from the county for development, the partnership with the Norwegian design firm Snohetta to design it, the partnership with Bon Appetit Management Company to develop the teaching and demo. kitchens and on and on. In other words, things are moving right along now and gaining momentum. There are so many great local food folks involved including board secretary Janie Hibler, outreach and operations director Ann Forsthoefel, board members Lisa Sedlar and Greg Higgins and many, many more.

The dinner met the night’s fundraising goals and the highlight was Mr. Bittman’s inspiring speech which I uploaded here if you weren’t able to attend. The sound is pretty crappy but if you crank it up you can get most of it. There were a lot of bodies in the room and a lot of wine glasses if you know what I mean.

I’m really looking forward to one fine day when we have a large urban, indoor/outdoor year-round public market. I grew up in Cincinnati with Findlay Market and I really get how important these hubs can be to local culture. I want it! I want it now! Patience. It will soon be. Help make the James Beard Public Market dream a reality. Let’s do this thing.

Leftbank Annex all pretty for the event. Three Leg Torso playing on the stage just out of view of the photo to the right.

Mark and Bon Appetit Management Co. CEO and co-founder Fedele Bauccio before the dinner.

Super tasty menu from Greg Higgins.

EVERYONE left with a copy of Mark's How to Cook Everything Fast.

Mark giving his inspiring speech. Link to the audio is above.

Greg Higgins' yummy dessert.

Mark and James Beard Public Market executive director Ron Paul at the end of the night.

The happiest and luckiest person I know at the end of the night. Yep.

Learn more about the James Beard Public Market at www.jamesbeardmarket.com

Dana Cowin, Mark Bittman and Liz Crain Walk into a Bar errrr Powell’s

October 31st, 2014

Me and the very charming Mr. Bittman after the Powell's event.

I’ve been very lucky lately. So lucky, in fact, that I recently got to be “in conversation” with two of my food heroes at my favorite bookseller — Mark Bittman AND Dana Cowin at Powell’s Books. Dream come true. They both have new cookbooks out and we talked all about their books and then some in front of very happy audiences — Dana’s Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen and Mark’s How to Cook Everything Fast. I’ve cooked from them both already and love them so much. Get ’em!

I may or may not have called Mark Bittman a prostitute (tune in to the audio recording below at 12 minutes 30 seconds) and I may or may not have called Dana Cowin a lush (ditto at 7 minutes). We drank rye from lucky flasks that my friend Loly made at both events and laughed a lot. Intimate, engaging, inspiring and a wee bit revealing — as all great book events should be.

For those who couldn’t make one or both I uploaded the audio so you can get an earful. The Mark Bittman conversation can be played here and the Dana Cowin conversation here. And here are some local media bits for both events: Oregonian Cowin, KATU Cowin, Oregonian Bittman, KATU Bittman.

Below is a show and tell of photos from both October Powell’s events starting with Mark Bittman’s followed by Dana Cowin’s. Dream a little dream. There aren’t any photos from the meals I got to have with Mark or Dana while they were in town but we managed to go to Tasty n Sons, Olympic Provisions and Du Kuh Bee. Not too shabby.

Picking up my advanced copy of Bittman's book from the Wonkaland of books -- Powell's.

Almost as importantly picking up the lucky flask for the event that I filled with Bulleit Rye.

Bittman's and my view. Cute crowd.

Mark signing my books after he'd signed everyone's in the loooooong line after our conversation -- including my filthy aka well-loved copy of How to Cook Everything.

A sight for sore eyes.

Gifted flour sack towels can be turned into skirts!

Getting cozy with my advance copy of Dana Cowin's Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen before the Powell's event.

Day of the event lucky hot dog flask shed pick-up! This one is now MINE. Thank you Loly!

Dana and I telling Lena to lay off our lucky flask. Bulleit Rye. Again.

We obviously got our flask back.

After Dana talked with folks and signed allllll the audience copies Renee from Powell's asked her to sign a bunch of store copies. Finger cramps!

Yet another sight for sore eyes.

Thank you so very much Mark, Dana & Powell’s! I am the luckiest.

Purchase How to Cook Everything Fast
Purchase Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen