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

Toro Bravo Cookbook Events

September 5th, 2013

Got my first advance copy in the mail of the Toro Bravo cookbook!

It’s real! I got my first advanced copy of Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull and I couldn’t be happier about it. Two and a half years in the making and it’s finally here! The launch date is October 15th but you can pre-order copies from Powell’s, McSweeney’s and Amazon now.

We’re going to seven cities so far for the book tour this fall — New York, D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco, Boise, Seattle and Eugene. Below are events that we’ve already slated in Portland and beyond including the book launch party on Wednesday, October 15th at Toro. I’ll keep updating with posts here as we add new events. If you’re interested in having us visit for a book event or any sort of media please contact McSweeney’s director of publicity Isaac Fitzgerald. You’ll like him. He’s really nice.

New York City James Beard House dinner + Toro Bravo cookbook preview
Essence of Spain: Tapas to Sherry
Thursday, Sept. 19th 7pm
$130 for members, $170 otherwise
Call 212.627.2308 to reserve a seat

Portland Powell’s City of Books reading and signing
Saturday, Sept. 21st 4pm

Portland Wordstock panel — On and Off the Menu: PDX Chefs
Sunday, October 6th noon
John Gorham, Liz Crain, Gabriel Rucker & Meredith Erickson for the Toro Bravo and Le Pigeon cookbooks
Moderated by Karen Brooks
Wordstock event description: “Two famed Portland chefs. Two books hot off the cutting board! What does it take to convert perfect food from restaurant plate to cookbook page. These panelists are shaken not stirred.”

Portland Farmers Market Cookbook Fest
PSU Farmers market
Sat., Oct. 12th, 9am-1pm

Portland Toro Bravo book launch party at Toro
Music. Food. Drinks. Books. Partaaay!
Tuesday, Oct. 15th, 5-10pm

San Francisco Omnivore Books on Food Toro Bravo dinner at Contigo + book signing
Wednesday, Oct. 23rd
Fixed price TBD

Brooklyn Powerhouse Arena book event
Tuesday, Nov. 19th
7pm

Mario Batali thinks you should PRE-ORDER THE BOOK!

Toro Bravo according to him:

“These guys make Portland one of the most exciting restaurant cities in the world today.” -Mario Batali

One of David L. Reamer's many amazing photographs in Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull.

Back of the book with all of the fantastic blurbs from Mario Batali, Cheryl Strayed, Gus Van Sant, Carrie Brownstein, Paul Bertolli and Karen Brooks.

And the beautiful spine. Love!

Taste of the Nation Portland 2013

May 30th, 2013

Bollywood Theater's bhel puri with green and tamarind chutneys.

This year’s 26th anniversary Portland Taste of the Nation at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom was incredible as always and rather than type up all of the reasons why I’m going to lay it all out in photos for you. This was the first year Taste was held at the Crystal Ballroom and it’s a great venue although next year they should consider cranking up the air. It got a little toasty. If you weren’t able to make it please consider attending next year. It costs a pretty penny but 100% of proceeds go toward hunger relief in Oregon. Without further ado…

Biwa's soy cured escolar with shaved beets.

Lardo's beautiful porchetta.

Boke Bowl sui mai action.

Craggan hydrating and about to eat a Boke Bowl pork and shrimp sui mai.

Racion's chicharrons topped with tuna? Ahhh, took too long to post this and can't remember exactly but DO remember they were super tasty.

View from the balcony an hour or so into this year's Taste of the Nation.

Our plates of Trigger hot wings and other tasty things with Captured by Porches kolsch.

Anthem Cider's organic hops cider.

Departure's grilled scallop hand roll with coconut miso.

St. Jack's not so pretty but delicious chicken liver mousse with port poached prunes.

Laurelhurst Market's corned beef tongue reubens with a smoky bourbon cocktail. One of my favorites of the night.

And for dessert, 50 Licks soft serve churros and chocolate ice cream.

Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation! Always delicious and always 100 percent to a great cause.
www.portlandtaste.org

Winner of Taste of the Nation Portland 2013 Tickets!

May 3rd, 2013

Lucky commenter #4 wins two VIP tickets to this year's Taste of the Nation Portland on Tuesday, May 7th! There are still tickets available to purchase.

You know who you are lucky #4 commenter. You’ve won yourself two VIP tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation on Tuesday, May 7th at McMenamins Crystal Hotel & Ballroom! Drop me a line at info at lizcrain dot com with your name and contact info. and I’ll pass that along to the organizers who are donating the tickets. Your pair of VIP tickets will be available the night of the event at will call.

Thanks everyone for all of your tasty comments. I hope that some of these businesses come to fruition. As for me, I want a soft pretzel cart in my North Portland neighborhood, near my house, or fuck it, in my driveway with all sorts of homemade mustards and sauces.

For those of you who didn’t win tickets there are still tickets available for this year’s 26th anniversary Taste of the Nation. It’s one of the best food events in town and I highly recommend it. In addition to it being delicious and super fun 100% of proceeds go toward ending local child hunger.

Thanks everyone!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
6:30-9pm
McMenamins Crystal Hotel & Ballroom
1332 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97205
Tickets $85 and up (order by phone 877.26TASTE or online)
www.strength.org/portland

Taste of the Nation Portland 2013 — Ticket Giveaway!

May 1st, 2013

Oven & Shaker's meatball sliders were super tasty at last year's Taste of the Nation Portland.

Share Our Strength’s 26th annual Taste of the Nation on Tuesday, May 7th at McMenamins Crystal Hotel and Ballroom is less than a week away and in an effort to help generate last minute ticket sales I’m offering a ticket giveaway here. The bighearted, hardworking folks at Taste of the Nation Portland have donated a pair of VIP tickets ($150 dollars EACH, gen. admission is $85) to me for this year’s event. (Actually, two pairs. I get to go as well.) VIP ticket holders head in to Taste of the Nation and sample select food and drink an hour before everyone else and they also get complimentary valet parking.

I love Taste of the Nation because 100% of ticket sales go toward working to end child hunger via Oregon Food Bank, Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Food Recovery Program and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Read about last year’s Taste of the Nation here.

This year’s TOTN will showcase food and drink from 30-plus restaurants, 17 wineries, 7 distilleries and 7 breweries. The list is growing daily.

So it’s a VERY worthwhile cause that I highly recommend buying tickets for. You can also try your luck for a pair of VIP tickets here on my blog. I’ve got a number in mind and I’ve written it down and taken a photo of it as proof. That numbered person to comment takes the cake — you get me your name and contact info. Please help me to spread the word about this ticket giveaway and Taste of the Nation on Twitter, Facebook etc. so that we can all help promote and support the event and generate ticket sales. I’m foodloverPDX on Twitter.

So what to comment about? Let me know what sort of food/drink business you’d love to see launch in Portland. It could be a food or drink product, a market, a non-profit, coffeeshop, brewery. It could be something that already exists and you’d like to see replicated in another neighborhood or it could be a business you’ve just always wished existed here that you’ve never seen. Leave a comment and let me know — I’m curious.

I’ll announce the lucky winner this weekend or early next week!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
6:30-9pm
McMenamins Crystal Hotel & Ballroom
1332 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97205
Tickets $85 and up (order by phone 877.26TASTE or online)
www.strength.org/portland

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
$14.95
www.zagat.com

Cocotte Contest

October 29th, 2012

Comment here for the chance to win two $25 gift certificates to Portland's Cocotte!

Have you checked out this year’s Willamette Week Restaurant Guide that came out last week? I look forward to it every year. Partly, because I always get to review restaurants for it but also because it’s a great compass for Portland dining and always makes me hungry to try more places.

This year I wrote three reviews for the guide — Ocean City, Bamboo Sushi and Cocotte. I’d never been to Cocotte and loved it and think you might too. Here’s a bit of what I wrote:

“For all of the complaints that Portland doesn’t do seafood right beyond a few sushi spots, let’s have a drum roll for Cocotte. This pretty little corner bistro on Northeast 30th Avenue’s restaurant row (neighbored by Beast, Yakuza, Autentica and DOC) is all about small plates and entrees from le mer. The smoked salmon salad over a fallen potato soufflé with tarragon aioli is topped with farm-fresh greens, moist and not too smoky salmon, and slivers of radish in a lemony shallot vinaigrette. It’s perfect…”

Read the full review

Cocotte’s co-chef/owner, Kat LeSueur, sent me two $25 gift certificates for a blog contest so I’ve chosen a lucky number and that numbered commenter gets both gift certificates. This is what I’d like you to comment about here — what’s one of your favorite dishes to prepare solo at home when the days get shorter? When the weather gets cold a lot of times we tend to want to make big pots of stews and soups and braises — enough to feed a small army. What’s a smaller dish — just for you — that you love cook in the fall and winter?

Cocotte
2930 NE Killingsworth Street
Portland, Oregon 97211
503.227.2669
www.cocottepdx.com

For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 5

August 27th, 2012

Toro Bravo's John Gorham cooking up some incredibly delicious back patio Rabbit Sausage Squid Ink Fideos for the Toro Bravo Cookbook.

Things have been crazy around here in more ways than one so rather than writing much this week I’m putting up a snapshot from recipe testing for the Toro Bravo Cookbook: The Making, Breaking and Riding of a Bull (McSweeney’s fall 2013). We’re quickly approaching our deadline and making so much headway. And in three weeks we head to Madrid for it! Hope you’re doing well and spending as much time outside as you can.

www.torobravopdx.com
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 4
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 3
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 2
For Your Viewing Pleasure Pt. 1

Taste of the Nation Portland 2012

May 14th, 2012

Oven & Shaker fixing up and serving tasty little meatball puccia at the 2012 Portland Taste of the Nation.

This year’s 25th anniversary Portland Taste of the Nation at Jeld-Wen Field was incredible and rather than type up all of the reasons why I’m going to lay it all out in photos for you. If you were there you might see yourself in some of the photos below because I snapped a lot and managed to only drop my camera once. It’s ok. This was the first year Taste was held at Jeld-Wen Field and I think it’s a fantastic venue. You’ll see from the photos. If you weren’t able to make it please consider attending next year. It costs a pretty penny but 100% of proceeds go toward hunger relief in Oregon. Without further ado…

One of the most decadent treats of the night was Gruner's foie gras torchon on toasted brioche topped with riesling pickled rhubarb. One of my favorites of the night and they went fast.

Another favorite only available to VIP ticket holders (spend more on your ticket for several additional tastes and early entry) was Bamboo Sushi's amberjack topped with red jalapeno, cilantro, black flying fish roe and miso vinaigrette.

My friend Craig joined me this year and this is what his tray looked like 10 minutes in. So many tasty treats. And we got to sample a lot of nice wine, beer and spirits as well.

Chop's table was very popular and they had one of the most diverse spreads of any of the partipants. Tried all kinds of delicious salames, proscuittos and pates and had a difficult time leaving that table and moving along...

This was probably about 30 minutes into general admission. Packed but not uncomfortable because of all the natural light and air flow above. Everyone was in great spirits sampling all the food and drink and knowing that all money spent goes to a great cause.

For $25 you could try your luck at restaurant roulette. All sorts of local food and drink gift certificates to be won...

I won these! Anya Spence of Miss Zumstein is a good friend of a friend and looking forward to using both GCs.

Departure was serving up one of my other favorites of the night -- spicy steamed honey chicken bao.

They deserve a close-up -- Departure's spicy chicken bao.

I always look forward to what Andina cooks up for Taste of the Nation. This year they did lomo saltado empanadas and potato, avocado, smoked tomato causitas. Both were delicious as always.

My boyfriend's friend Brewer Dylan Goldsmith of Captured by Porches poured my friend Craig an alt beer right before Mayor Sam Adams gave a speech declaring May 8th officially No Child Hungry Day and at the end thanked Dylan for the tasty IPA he was drinking.

Happy to donate some copies of my book to the silent raffle. My book came with gift certificates to Chop, Nong's Khao Man Gai and Missionary Chocolates. Not too shabby.

Closing shot -- love this one of Irving Street Kitchen's station cooking up potato latkes with gravlax and apple butter. Can't beat cooking in sunglasses...

Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation!
www.portlandtaste.org

Winner of Taste of the Nation Portland 2012 Tickets!

April 30th, 2012

Congratulations lucky number 6 commenter! Email me so we can set aside two tickets for you at will call!

You know who you are lucky #6 commenter! You’ve won yourself two tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation next Tuesday, May 9th at Jeld-Wen Field. Drop me a line @ info at lizcrain dot com with your full name and contact info. and I’ll pass that along to the organizers who are donating the tickets. Your two general admission tickets will be available the night of the event at will call. (Don’t worry if it takes me a few days to respond — I’m out of town for work and will be back mid-week.)

Thanks everyone for all of your tasty comments! I hope that some of these businesses come to fruition. If you build it they will come!

For those of you who didn’t win tickets there are still tickets available for this year’s 25th anniversary Taste of the Nation. It’s one of the best food events in town and I highly recommend it. In addition to it being delicious and super fun 100% of proceeds go toward ending local child hunger. Gotta feel good about that.

Thanks everyone!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
6:30-9pm
Jeld-Wen Field
1844 SW Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97205
Tickets $85 and up (order by phone 877.26TASTE, online or at any New Seasons Market)
www.strength.org/portland