Taste of the Nation 2011

May 9th, 2011

Celilo Restaurant's (in Hood River) morel and fromage blanc topped crackers were super tasty.

Taste of the Nation truly gets bigger and better every year. We had a fantastic time eating and drinking all sorts of amazing things from Portland area chefs and food/drink folks at this year’s Taste of the Nation at Luxe Autohaus. (Always made much better by the fact that 100% of the proceeds go toward local child hunger relief.) If you don’t know about the event you can read more about it here and here. We paced ourselves a lot better this year so that by the end (and we stayed until the very end — as in tables being folded) we felt full but not roll-out-the-door full.

It’s hard to pick favorites but I think it’s good to give credit where credit is due. SO here are my top five favorite things that I ate at this year’s Taste of the Nation (not to mention all the delicious wine, beer and bubbly) followed by photos…

Top five bites at this year’s Taste of the Nation in no particular order…
La Calaca Comelona’s rainbow chard wrapped masa with pork in a red sauce
Biwa’s braised pork and house pickled vegetable lettuce wraps
Bamboo Sushi’s Oregon albacore carpaccio
Fifty Lick’s coconut lemon saffron sorbet
Davis Street Tavern’s cold carrot fennel soup with sorrel salsa verde

Screen Door's mini chocolate and peanut butter pies were really good. Especially when eaten right after their...

Smoked meatloaf and whipped potato bites topped with crispy shallots. Yeah, pretty genius side-by-side.

Biwa kicked ass as usual with their braised pork lettuce wraps with pickled veggies.

Fratelli was set up right next to Biwa with some yummy rockfish crudo that got topped with yuzu foam seconds after I took this photo.

No, he did not get stuck in the ice cream cooler. 50 Licks' coconut lemon saffron sorbet is incredible.

Andina had a lovely spread of marinated fish in a aji colorado al batan sauce, fava bean salad and okra rellena stuffed with braised oxtail. Top that why don't you.

We hung out with friends until the lights-out end. Another fantastic Taste of the Nation with 100 percent of proceeds going to local child hunger relief organizations. Cheers Portland!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
5-9pm
LUXE Autohaus
410 NE 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation
www.portlandtaste.org

Bakesale for Japan April 2nd @ Ristretto Roasters & Barista

March 28th, 2011

This Satuday in Portland 10am-2pm!

Giovanna Zivny, Elizabeth Nathan and others have organized Portland’s Bakesale for Japan next Saturday, April 2nd from 10am-2pm at two of Portland’s favorite coffee shops — Ristretto Roasters (Williams) and Barista (Pearl).

Home and professional bakers are grabbing their whisks and cranking up their ovens to raise money for Peace Winds Japan, a partner of Mercy Corps.

This is a nationwide effort (Bakesale for Japan currently has generated 17+ bake sales stretching from San Francisco to NYC) that originated with Oakland chef Samin Nosrat. She raised $23K for Haiti last year with just three bake sale locations. Portland’s Bakesale for Japan has a matching donation lined up from Intel.

If you’d like to bake (amateurs and professionals welcome) or volunteer for Bakesale for Japan contact pdxbakesale@gmail.com.

Here is the amazing list of Portland folks signed up so far to contribute tasty baked goods: Little T American Baker, Alder Pastry & Dessert, Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry, Fleur de Lis Bakery and Cafe, Alma Chocolate, Kir Jensen (The Sugar Cube), Kristen Murray (Paley’s Place), Kim Boyce (Golden Oven), Bakery Bar, Suzette, Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries, Confectionery, Little Branch Jam, and Bees & Beans.

Portland’s Bakesale for Japan
10am-2pm Saturday, April 2nd @

Ristretto Roasters (N Williams location)
3808 N Williams Ave
&
Barista (Pearl location)
539 NW 13th Ave

Portland Italian Food Panel @ Elephants Delicatessen Tuesday Night

January 10th, 2011

Darryl Joannides owner of Cork: A Bottle Shop will talk about Italy to Portland wines at Mangia, Mangia!

A few months back Jesse Locker of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association (PBSCA) asked me to be a part of PBSCA’s January Know Bo event at Elephants Delicatessen. I was honored and now here it is mid-January and the event is tomorrow night.

I’ll be hosting the Mangia, Mangia! panel for PBSCA’s monthly Know Bo tomorrow night at Elephants on NW 22nd Ave. from 6-8pm. The event is free and open to the public. There will be minimal food/drink samples but plenty for purchase to eat/drink during from Elephants Delicatessen. I’m the event moderator so I’ll strive to sound smarter than I am about Italian food while asking local experts about everything from red sauce to Italian ristretto style espresso.

Joining me on this Italian food folk panel will be folks featured in my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland — Cathy Whims of Nostrana, Andrea Spella of Spella Caffe, Patricia DiPrima LeConche of DiPrima Dolci Bakery and Darryl Joannides of Cork: A Bottle Shop. I’m really looking forward to it. The more the merrier. Come on out and mangia, mangia with us.

Andrea Spella will talk all things Italia coffee at Mangia, Mangia! Tuesday night.

Portland Bologna Sister City Association (PBSCA) January Know Bo Mangia, Mangia!:
A food panel about Portland/Italian food hosted by me
@ Elephants Delicatessen
115 NW 22nd Ave., Portland
Tuesday, January 11th 6-8pm
Free and open to the public

www.elephantsdeli.com
Facebook Mangia, Mangia! event page

Portland’s Mississippi Marketplace: The Big Egg food cart

February 22nd, 2010

If only James Beard had a food cart tip jar category...

On Saturday morning my boyfriend and I woke up early by our weekend standards (thanks be to sunshine) and by 8am we were ready for breakfast. We rolled by Por Que No because we’ve been wanting to check out their breakfast but it turns out they are on the Portland lazy hazy weekend schedule and open for brunch at 11am. We drove south on Mississippi and decided to check out what Portland’s newest food cart pod — Mississippi Marketplace — has to offer for breakfast.

There were a few options and we went with The Big Egg saddled in between the newest Garden State outpost and a coffee cart.

We both got the same sandwich to a T — The Portlander ($5, $6 add protein) with two eggs over easy, blue cheese (other choices: cheddar, fontina) and applewood smoked bacon (other choices: ham, veggie sausage). These savory sammies are made with soft and eggy Grand Central brioche. One slice is slathered with punchy whole grain mustard and minced chives and the other with blue cheese and minced chives…

No seat for Goldilocks

Inner workings

Two bites in

It was is good as it looks. The soft brioche sopped up the sunny yolks, the blue cheese melted into the bacon, and we stopped talking for a while. Yum. You can check out The Good Egg’s full menu here.

It’s nice to be at a food cart pod in the early AM if you love food as much as I do. It’s similar to getting early to a big show and watching roadies unload and set up. There just aren’t as many bus tubs of alcohol involved with food cart set up. At least not in plain sight. There were several carts prepping for the day and we even got to sample Southwestern Pizza Company’s breakfast pizza which was delicious.

Just so you know Mississippi Marketplace’s lot is landscaped, there are tents to ward off the rain, there’s loads of seating, plenty of bike parking, and vendors are asked to use recyclable packaging and compost food waste. Here are some other snapshots from our Mississippi Marketplace morning…

We sampled his breakfast pizza and it was tasty. No sauce just lots of butter and bacon.

Sharpen your sweet tooth

Garden State's menu

Vegan food and drink.

Mississippi Marketplace
www.missmarketplace.com
SW corner of N Mississippi Ave. and Skidmore St.

Dovetail Bakery Open: Extra, Extra!

February 4th, 2010
Tasty vegan treats at Dovetail Bakery's new NE Alberta location

Tasty vegan treats at Dovetail Bakery's new NE Alberta location

In December, I wrote about vegan Dovetail Bakery’s soon-to-be new retail location on Northeast Alberta Street. Well, they’ve delivered on their promise — they’re open for business!

This Saturday, February 6th from 5-8pm Dovetail is hosting its grand opening party with snacks, drinks and all sorts of good folks. According to Dovetail owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey the more the merrier so head on over for some merrymaking and free tasty vegan drinks and snacks this Saturday.


Dovetail Bakery 

3039 NE Alberta St.

Portland, Oregon

503.288.8839

Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-6pm
www.dovetailbakery.blogspot.com

**All photos in this post were taken by Morgan’s friend KC Tarog on Dovetail Bakery’s opening day late January.

Good morning sunshine -- Dovetail's cinnamon rolls

Good morning sunshine -- Dovetail's cinnamon rolls

More Dovetail Bakery vegan sweets. Open for business!

More Dovetail Bakery vegan sweets. Open for business!

Dovetail Bakery vegan scones and muffins

Dovetail Bakery vegan scones and muffins

The Grand Central Baking Book: Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

January 1st, 2010
Celebrate 2010 with these Grand Central Baking Book chocolate shortbread mint chocolate ganache sandwich cookies.

Celebrate 2010 with these Grand Central Baking Book chocolate shortbread mint chocolate ganache sandwich cookies.

I’m not a big baker. I don’t have a stand-up mixer, I rarely sift, I can’t remember the last time I bought shortening, and I don’t even own cake or bread tins. It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking it’s just I’ve never gotten into the habit of doing it. Not like some people I know. A couple months ago though something happened that might have an influence on that.

I interviewed Piper Davis of Grand Central Bakery in the spring for my book and shortly after spending an afternoon with her at the Fremont Grand Central, The Grand Central Baking Book hit the shelves. Piper wrote the book with local food writer Ellen Jackson and a couple months ago their publisher Ten Speed Press sent me a copy.

I’ve been reading various sections of the book since then and I really like the simple and straightforward approach they’ve taken. It’s a really nice all-level bake book because there are step by step photos for the amateur as well as more complicated techniques and recipes for the more advanced baker.

I decided to bake the chocolate shortbread, mint ganache sandwich cookies from it for Christmas and I’m so freakishly happy that I did. They were incredible.

First I made a batch of chocolate shortbread and chilled it in the fridge for a couple hours:

I doubled the batch...

I doubled the batch...

After the shortbread had chilled I sliced and baked it:

Into the oven with you!

Ready and waiting.

Then I baked the shortbread while preparing the chocolate mint ganache:

Chocolate, heavy cream, mint extract.

Chocolate, heavy cream, mint extract.

After 15 minutes in the oven the shortbread was ready:

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven.

The melt in your mouth chocolate shortbread combined with the creamy dark chocolate minty ganache was knee buckling good. These are definitely a new annual holiday cookie in my books. The only thing I’d change with the recipe would be to cut the ganache in half. It was a lot. That said, it never hurts to have a little extra ganache hanging around.

I’m really looking forward to trying Grand Central’s pizza dough next. I love homemade pizza and I’ve used the same dough recipe for awhile now. It’ll be nice to switch it up.

Even though I’ve only baked one recipe from the book so far — the success of that combined with reading through techniques and other recipes — I stand behind my loud and proud recommendation of The Grand Central Baking Book.

Two ganache covered thumbs up for this one.

Two ganache covered thumbs up for this one.


The Grand Central Baking Book

by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson
Ten Speed Press

Dovetail Bakery about to spread its wings: New retail location!

December 5th, 2009
I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I’m in the final edits stage of my book at the moment and in an effort to stay on the sunny side about the seemingly endless tedium it’s been great in the past few weeks to add some exciting new ventures to the pages of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland.

One that I’m very excited about is Dovetail Bakery’s soon to open retail location on Northeast Alberta Street. For years Dovetail has vended at farmers market and delivered wholesale only, with no retail location.

These lovely vegan baker ladies have been working around the clock the past few months to make the retail bakery happen and if all goes well Dovetail Bakery plans to ring in the new year and open shop on January 1st, 2010. The new Dovetail Bakery location has indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of bike parking in front.

Grand opening Jan. 1st, 2010!
Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
503.288.8839
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

New menu to include:

Cinnamon rolls
Aunt Miriam’s sticky buns
Seasonally inspired sweet buns
Daily selection of cookies
Seasonally inspired loaf cakes
Seasonally inspired muffins
Sweet & savory tarts
Seasonal fruit pies
Changing selection of cakes & cupcakes
Artisan breads
Housemade coconut yogurt w/ Dovetail Bakery granola & fruit
Daily soup (featuring farm direct produce)
French press Courier Coffee
Magic Kombucha
Special orders are always welcome!

*Everything baked fresh on site.
*Loads of local ingredients.
*New CSA/CSB program. Dovetail has partnered with local farm Wealth Underground Farm that will provide the CSA portion (veggies, fruits, beans, etc.) while Dovetail will provide the bread and pastries CBA portion. Contact Dovetail for more information.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
503.288.8839
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm
dovetailbakery.blogspot.com

galleryHOMELAND Bake Sale @ The Cleaners at Ace Hotel THIS Saturday

November 18th, 2009

A week ago I got word of a galleryHOMELAND bake sale taking place this Saturday at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel from 11am-2pm. galleryHOMELAND is a local non-profit arts organization and they’ve invited 30-plus chefs, mixologists, artists and others to donate baked goods and other tasty treats for the Saturday bake sale in order to drum up funds for their 2010 programming.

Hot cider and old time country music tunes will be on the house and you can buy individual baked goods for $3-$5 and various jarred goods for $5-$8.

A few participants and their treats include:

Chris DiMinno of Clyde Common: Terri DiMinno’s Sour Cream Coffeecake
Emily Katz of Emily Katz: Cardamon Apple pie
Sara Dudzinsky of Better Late than Never: Banana bread
Morgan Wu and Colette Higgins of Clyde Common: Artisan Ice Creams
Colleen French of Renegade Dinner Club: Old fashioned Chocolate Cake

galleryHOMELAND is a Portland, OR based non-profit arts organization advancing awareness of Portland’s rich cultural community by creating new opportunities and lasting cultural exchange in a unique series of programs focused on exporting local arts and artists and importing national and international art and artists.

galleyHOMELAND Bake Sale Benefit
Saturday November 21, 2009
11am-2pm
The Cleaners at Ace Hotel
403 SW 10th
Portland, OR
www.galleryhomeland.org

More Pix Patisserie Love

November 5th, 2009
These are a few of my favorite things -- Pix Patisserie macarons.

These are a few of my favorite things -- Pix Patisserie macarons.

I think I’ve made myself pretty clear here about my undying love for Pix Patisserie. It’s one of my favorite Portland businesses which is why I’m excited to tell you about some new tasty things happening at the North Portland and Southeast Portland Pix. Here’s the scoop from the latest press release.

First up is Pix’s Time for Tea:

Each Sunday in November and December there will be a formal tea service between the hours of 11am and 3pm at the North Portland Pix. The $28 all inclusive menu will include a pot of tea from Townshend’s Alberta Street Tea House and a selection of 14 sweet and savory bite sized treats, including French macarons, soft-boiled quail eggs wrapped in prosciutto and rotating flavors of chocolat chaud. Reservations are required.

Next up is La Fete du Macaron:

On Saturday, November 28th both Pix locations will throw parties celebrating the French macaron. The macaron, made of two almond meringue cookies sandwiched together with various buttercream fillings, has been sought after in Paris for many years. To find a Pâtisserie that does not have a macaron is like finding a cheese shop that does not sell Rochefort.

While the English macaroon, spelled with double “o’s” and plump full of sweetened coconut can be a tasty treat, if you have never had a French macaron we think you are missing out! And there is no better day to try them than the day of the Fete du Macaron! Thirty different flavors will line the pastry case shelves from the traditional (Espresso, Pistachio) to the obscure (Roasted Red Pepper, Scotch Whisky, Tomato) to the sublime (What? You’ve never tried our Fleur de Sel Caramel macaron?!). There will also be macaron desserts, ice cream filled macarons, mini macarons and our new product — the Macaron Tower! At over 2 feet tall and covered with 100 colorful French macarons, this is sure to be a party pleaser! (Now available by special order. $190)

Want to win a macaron cake? Try your luck at the Macaron Cake Walk happening at Noon, 3pm and 6pm at each store.

Got a fabulous flavor idea? Enter our Macaron Flavor Contest. If we like your flavor idea and use it in our store, we’ll give you a $50 gift certificate /and/ a dozen macarons of that flavor. Start brainstorming. Submissions accepted at the festival.

And that’s not all. Every guest who buys a macaron will get a key to the Magical Treasure Chest. If your key opens the chest you could win a $20 Pix Gift Certificate or possibly turn into that genie character on Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Did I mention there will be a “Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho” macaron? To find out what flavor that one is you better come to the celebration!

And then there's always The Royale...

And then there's always The Royale...

Pix Patisserie North
3901 N. Williams Ave.
Portland OR 97227
503.282.6539

Pix Patisserie SE
3402 SE Division St.
Portland OR 97202
503.232.4407

www.pixpatisserie.com

It’s Getting Chile: Homegrown Spice

October 2nd, 2009
The containers might be small but the flavor and heat is fierce.

The containers might be small but the flavor and heat is fierce.

I’ve never had huge success growing chiles. And although the Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly the best place to grow them I often see friends and neighbors’ chile plants often grow two, three and four times the size of mine. I know that our yard isn’t the best spot in Portland to grow chiles since the arc of the summer sun is so often interrupted but I keep trying anyway. Heat is a big factor and some people in cooler climes surround their chiles with heat holding stones or cover the surrounding soil in black landscape plastic to keep the soil temperature up. I’ve thought of doing both but never have.

Our friends Anthony and his girlfriend Deborah grow incredible chiles. Lucky for us they process a lot of them and often give us everything from pineapple juice and bourbon soaked, dehydrated and toasted habaneros to sundried tomato and chile powder blends…

Just like bay leaves -- don't forget to remove the habaneros before serving like I did.

Just like bay leaves -- don't forget to remove the habaneros before serving like I did.

Anthony and Deb's habanero, cayenne and tomato powder.

Anthony and Deb's habanero, cayenne and tomato powder.

This year Anthony even gave me a bunch of rare chile seeds and starts — most of which he got here. I did my best with them and although none took off like theirs I’ve been making all kinds of tasty hot sauces and salsas with them as they ripen. And if I hadn’t lost my copy of The Spicy Food Lover’s Bible I’d be tapping into that for hot recipes too. At least I finally found my lost recipe satchel (recipes from old restaurants I’ve worked at, family recipes, old neighbors’ recipes) which is much more important than a still in print book.

Left to right: white bullet habanero hot sauce, jamaican hot chocolate habanero salsa and kung pao chile hot sauce.

Left to right: white bullet habanero hot sauce, jamaican hot chocolate habanero salsa and kung pao chile hot sauce.

Here are some shots that I took today of my front and backyard chiles. It’s amazing how many colors some of them go through as they ripen.

These Jamaican hot chocolate habaneros are going into hot sauce this weekend.

These Jamaican hot chocolate habaneros are going into hot sauce this weekend.

According to my friend Anthony the best thing he ever did with Jamaican hot chocolate habeneros was sautee orange marmalade with some dried pieces of them and a little brandy for about 15 minutes. He said it was an amazing cooking glaze.

From pale yellow, to purple to orange to red…

Twilight chile peppers

Twilight chile peppers

Wrinkled old man chiles are sweet and flavorful.

Wrinkled old man chiles are sweet and flavorful.

And finally one that’s really good pickled…

Just beginning to ripen hot cherry peppers.

Just beginning to ripen hot cherry peppers.

How are your chiles growing? Any great recipes? I can never have too much hot sauce or salsa but some new fiery recipes would be great.