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

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

Taste of the Nation Portland 2012 — Ticket Giveaway!

April 23rd, 2012

Biwa kicked ass at last year's 2011 Portland Taste of the Nation as usual with their braised pork lettuce wraps with pickled veggies.

Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation on Tuesday, May 8th at Jeld-Wen Field is just two weeks and a day away and it’s the 25th anniversary of this fantastic event. In the interest of shouting it out loud and clear and getting as many people to come out for it and support it as possible I’m giving away a pair of tickets here on my blog.

I love this event 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 50 restaurants, 25 wineries and 5 breweries — these folks. 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 general admission 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. and there will be a pair of tickets waiting for you at this year’s Taste of the Nation will call the night of May 8th. Please help me to spread the word about this ticket giveaway and Taste of the Nation on Twitter, Facebook etc. 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 — just because I’m curious.

I’ll announce the lucky winner early next week!

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

Young Winemakers of Oregon Event

December 12th, 2011

Young Winemakers of Oregon this Saturday...

Please consider checking out the second Young Winemakers of Oregon event this Saturday, December 17th from 5-8 pm at Red Slate Wine Co. (also known as Ambonnay Champagne Bar; next to Olympic Provisions) in Southeast Portland. It costs $10 to taste the nine wines featured and that fee is waived if you buy six or more bottles. Here are the details pretty much straight from the source…

Taste wines from these winemakers:

Division Winemaking Company– It started as an “itch” when Tom enrolled in an entry level sommelier course and when Kate visited her family home in the Loire Valley in central France. It has now evolved into a winery on Divison Street in Southeast Portland, the site of Tom and Kate’s first home together.

God King Slave Wines – At 24 and 27 years old, Christine Collier & Chris Jiron, have released their inaugural wine, a Syrah-Tempranillo blend from the Rogue Valley. Their mission is to “Create like a God. Command like a King. Work like a Slave.”

Brigadoon Wine Company– Having caught the winemaking bug at an early age, Matt Shown has been working in the vineyards since he was 8 years old. Matt will be showcasing the Pinot Noirs and Pinot Blanc his family is committed to making.

Saturday, December 17th
5-8pm
Red Slate Wine Co./Ambonnay Champagne Bar next door to Southeast’s Olympic Provisions
www.redslatewine.com
Portland, Oregon
$10 tasting fee for tastes of nine wines (waived with a 6 bottle purchase)
Facebook event page

Voodoo Vintners & Montinore Estate

November 7th, 2011

My friend Karen checking out the cow horn stuffed with *@#! at Montinore Estate.

In early September I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the Hardy Plant Society’s Kitchen Gardening Group outings. I’ve been to other events with this group and they’re great. You might remember this talk all about grapes that I went to last spring.

For September’s outing we met at Montinore Estate vineyard and winery just outside of Forest Grove. We waited in the vineyard parking lot — it was a beautiful day — until everyone arrived and then moved into the tasting room where we met Montinore owner and vintner Rudy Marchesi and his wife Susan Fichter. Lucky for us they took us on a tour of the 230+ acre vineyard that Rudy’s owned since 2005. (He owns 30+ additional acres at other area farms.) Here’s a great article in The Oregonian all about Rudy and Susan’s passion for food and drink.

Check out Katherine Cole’s book that came out this summer that features Montinore Estate — Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers — if you haven’t already. I wrote about Cole’s book and some of her upcoming book events and wine tastings in last week’s Willamette Week.

During the Montinore tour Rudy taught us all about biodynamic farming and it was inspiring. I worked on a biodynamic farm in Spain for several months in 1996 through WWOOF and it was a trip down memory lane for me listening to him describe and sometimes demonstrate various biodynamic practices.

On biodynamic farms cow horns, such as the one above, are packed every year with cow manure, buried and overwintered until the spring when they’re dug up and mixed with water in a vessel shaped like a pregnant woman’s belly. I got the job of stirring that shit so to speak and then applying it to the fields of the culinary herb farm that I worked on. Biodynamic practices are very unique and from my limited experience they seem to work.

Rudy Marchesi of Montinore Estate talking with the Hardy Plant Society's Kitchen Gardening Group about biodynamic farming.

The group taking in the scenery and learning the history of Montinore Estate.

Where water turns into wine at Montinore...

It wouldn't be a wine tour without a tasting in Montinore Estate's beautiful tasting room.

I learned a lot during this tour including:

The name Montinore comes from the original ranch owner who was from Montana before he moved to Oregon. Get it? Mont-in-Ore.

Because of all the moisture this growing season mold and mildew have been a constant struggle in vineyards. It’s been a challenging and expensive season.

Rudolf Steiner was a rad dude. He’s the grandfather of biodynamic agriculture as well as Waldorf education.

The reason Rudy got into biodynamic practices…phylloxera. An area of the vineyard was destroyed quickly by this pest so Rudy reevaluated growing practices and in 2001 (before he owned the vineyard) stopped all use of herbicides.

In 2003, Rudy took a biodynamic course in New York while still farming back east and in 2005 he bought Montinore Estate. In 2008 it was certified as biodynamic.

There are 25 or so biodynamic vineyards in Oregon but only seven are certified.

Hardy Plant Society Oregon
www.hardyplantsociety.org

Montinore Estate
3663 SW Dilley Road
Forest Grove, Oregon
503.359.5012 ext 3
Open daily 11am-5pm
www.montinore.com

Buy Katherine Cole’s book Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers
Read my review of Voodoo Vintners in Willamette Week

Taste of the Nation May, 2nd 2011 — Ticket Giveaway!

April 18th, 2011

Nuestra Cocina at last year's Taste of the Nation...

Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation on Monday, May 2nd is just two weeks away and in the interest of shouting it out loud and clear and getting as many people to come out for it as possible I’m giving away a pair of tickets here on my blog.

I love this event 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.

So it’s a VERY worthwhile cause that I highly recommend buying tickets for. You can also try your luck for a pair here. 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. and there will be a pair of tickets waiting for you at will call.

So what to comment about? Let me know your favorite new (to you or truly new) food find in Portland that is not a restaurant. It could be a food or drink product, a market, a coffeeshop, brewery — anything PDX food that’s not a restaurant. Just because I’m curious.

This year’s TOTN will showcase food and drink from these folks:

Restaurants:
Andina
Aviary
Boke Bowl
Davis Street Tavern
Heathman Restaurant & Bar
Metrovino
Ned Ludd
Saint Cupcake
Screen Door
Simpatica
The Gilt Club

LUXE and VIP Gems:
Beast
Castagna
Genoa
June
Laurelhurst Market
Tasty & Sons

Beverages:
Amity Vineyards
Anne Amie Vineyards
Cana’s Feast Winery
Domaine Drouhin Vineyard
Johan Vineyards
Sineann Wines
Willamette Valley Vineyard
Youngberg Hill Vineyards
Dry Fly Distilling
House Spirits
Full Sail
Sierra Nevada
Captured by Porches
Smith Teamakers

I’ll announce the lucky winner early next week!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
5-9pm
LUXE Autohaus
410 NE 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Tickets $85 (order by phone 877.26TASTE, online or at any New Seasons Market)
www.portlandtaste.org

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

Allium + Oregon Tilth Dinner Sunday Dec. 5

November 29th, 2010

I spent some time at Luscher Farm in fall 2008 for Portland's first Organic Gardening Certification Program. I took this photo during one of our classes. Beautiful.

There are a lot of eat for a good cause events in and around Portland so it’s always hard to choose which ones to write about here. I don’t have a complicated formula. It’s usually pretty simple why I write about one and not another. If it’s an event that I’m going to, or would want to go to, and if I like the folks involved and I have time and space to write about it then I do. It’s that simple.

This Sunday’s Winter Neighborhood Dinner at Pascal Chureau’s Allium Bistro in West Linn — The Farm Comes to Allium — has all that going for it. The dinner is in partnership with Oregon Tilth and 10% of the evening’s proceeds go to the organization. I wish I could attend but unfortunately I’ll be at the Oregon Historical Society’s Annual Cheer all day and have plans for the evening. Check out the info. below if you’re interested in attending and be sure to make your reservation soon because there aren’t too many seats left.

More info. from Allium’s site:

Join Farmer Conner Voss of Oregon Tilth’s Demonstration Garden at Luscher Farms & share the farm’s organic provisions and inspiration.

Cheese Plate~local & imported, fruit confiture, toasted almonds, grilled breads
Sautéed Shrimp~citrus marinated shrimp, garlic, almonds, romesco sauce, piri-piris Endive Salad~mache, oregon blue cheese
Coq au Vin~braised chicken, smoked bacon, pearl onions
Steamed German Butter Balls Potatoes~truffle butter, chives
Pan Roasted Rock Fish~confit garlic, cream, mustard, tarragon
Oven Roasted Butternut Squash~ Kruger’s Farm wild blackberry honey, cumin, oregano
Warm Chocolate Cake~caramel crunch, eggnog crème anglaise
Red wine & White Wine

7 dishes + wine ~ $36 per person including wine/ $10 per child

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Oregon Tilth’s Educational Farms

Reservations required– 503.387.5604

Allium Bistro Winter Neighborhood Dinner
Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
6:30pm, drinks at the bar at 6pm
www.alliumoregon.com

Oregon Culinary Institute Pig Project Dinners

November 5th, 2010

Red Wattle piglets...

In October I got an invitation to attend one of two Oregon Culinary Institute dinners that I’ve been looking forward to ever since. Both dinners sound great but by process of already-have-plans elimination I’m going to the first one next Tuesday night.

What exactly am I talking about? Here’s some info…

Tuesday, November 9th, 7pm @ Oregon Culinary Institute — Suds & Swine five-course fundraiser dinner with beer pairings from Upright Brewing to benefit Chefs Collaborative. MENU & TICKETS.

Wednesday, November 10th, 7pm @ Oregon Culinary Institute — Wine & Swine five-course fundraiser dinner with wine pairings from Chehalem Winery to benefit Ecotrust’s Farm to School program. MENU & TICKETS.

Tickets for each dinner are $75.

Oregon Culinary Institute chefs at Heritage Farms Northwest.

A little background…

In May, OCI purchased three Red Wattle hogs from Heritage Farms Northwest in Dallas, Oregon. Red Wattles are a breed of hog listed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste. According to Slow Food USA, “Red Wattle pork is exceptionally lean and juicy with a rich beef-like taste and texture.” Mmm.

The breed is named for its color and distinctive wattles that hang from either side of its neck — similar to the wattles of some goat breeds. Since May two of the pigs have been pen-raised at Sweet Briar Farms in Eugene and the other pasture-raised at Heritage Farms Northwest. All OCI culinary students were invited to participate in the project.

On November 9th and 10th OCI Chef Instructor Josh Blythe and a crew of students will prepare five-course dinners with each dish featuring side-by-side comparisons of the pasture- and pen-raised pork. OCI Baking and Pastry Chef Instructor Salvatore Hall and his students will prepare dessert. Each course will be tailored to the beverages served that night.

Wealth Underground Farm, an organic CSA farm located on Newberry Rd. off Skyline Blvd. in Portland, is providing produce for both dinners.

All events surrounding this project, leading up to and including the final dinners, are being filmed and edited into a final video production by Actual Industries.

Learn more about the dinners here.
Learn more about the pig project here.

About Oregon Culinary Institute:

Established in 2006 as a division of Pioneer Pacific College, Oregon Culinary Institute offers a complete, practical and affordable culinary arts education where students can earn Associate of Applied Science degrees in Culinary Management, Baking and Pastry Management, and Restaurant Management. The school also offers diplomas in Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, and Restaurant Management, Students may also earn a Sommelier Diploma at Oregon Culinary Institute in cooperation with the International Sommelier Guild. OCI’s student-run fine-dining restaurant serves lunch and dinner, most Mondays through Fridays. Reservations are recommended.

In the walk-in until next week's dinners...

Homemade Plum Wine

August 26th, 2010

This homemade plum wine is better than our cherry wine.

Making fruit wine has quickly become one of my favorite summer things. I initially got into it via dandelion wine — my gateway home hooch. Next up was hard cider (although not a wine it’s a home fermented beverage that’s similar to DIY wine) and this summer I got to bottle both my first attempts at homemade cherry wine and now plum wine.

I made the plum wine with Sandor Ellix Katz’s recipe (check out my abdriged version of that here) last summer with some of our sideyard plums and it’s been sitting pretty in the utility room ever since. After the initial ferment in a food-grade bucket I funneled it into a three-gallon glass carboy. A few months later I racked it but other than that it’s just been doing its thing. Until I bottled it this weekend that is.

***Just so you know I’ve been using about half the called for sugar when the fruit is good and sweet and the wine has been tasty.***

I thought it would be good but I had no idea it’d be this freaking good. It’s tart, dry and tastes like a perfect plum. Except better. And alcoholic. We’re not sure what kind of plums they are but they look like these cherry plums.

Everything that makes these plums not so great as fresh eating plums — small fruit to pit ratio, very sour and slightly bitter skin, not so sweet flesh — makes them perfect for wine. Most of the sugar and sweetness is fermented off and the sour and bitter of the skin adds character and body.

This year is the first year that our front yard Brooks Plum is significantly fruiting — we planted it three years ago — so I started a batch of plum wine this week out of those. I’ll be sure to let you know how that is about this time next year.

All you need is a two gallons of plums to make 10-plus bottles of tasty plum wine. What are you waiting for?

Plum wine -- straight from the vine!