Friend Food Pt. 6

February 11th, 2013

Went to my friend Chris and Karen's a couple weeks ago for a sauna and their friend Paul Yonchek (he photographed a couple of Caprial Pence's cookbooks) made these tasty pretzel breads with mustard for everyone. So good!

I have incredible friends and family and we give each other a lot of love with food and drink. I started this blog series a while back to chronicle that. Here are some of the tasty things that I’ve gotten to be involved in with friends or have been given by friends lately…

Debbie gave me a big bag of delicious Green Salmon Coffee, from Yachats, to brew and fill my new mug withfor Christmas.

Several weeks ago my friends Chris and Karen invited me over for dinner and we made buttternut squash and chevre raviolis. So good.

What dinner looked like that night.

My friend Loly made peppermint schnapps and Kahlua for the holidays and I was lucky enough to get both!

My brother and sister-in-law gave me this mug with my nieces on it when I went home to Cincinnati for Christmas this year. It makes me happy.

My neighbor and friend Chris made a batch of this tasty raspberry jam and I got some.

And his girlfriend and my good friend Alison has been giving me eggs from her hens for years. I love my neighbors so much.

My friend Michelle and her daughter Kylie and I making beet salad.

My friend Emily gave me this jar of rendered pork fat from a class that she took recently at Portland Meat Collective.

And just so you know that the gifting goes both ways -- here are most of the edible gifts that I gave to loved ones over the holidays.

Friend Food Pt. 5
Friend Food Pt. 4
Friend Food Pt. 3
Friend Food Pt. 2
Friend Food Pt. 1

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
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)

Signed Copies of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland

November 14th, 2011

I'll write sweet nothings and send you some books.

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland
Custom message with signature?

Even though my book is available from all sorts of great sellers including Powell’s Books, New Seasons Market, Elephants Delicatessen, In Good Taste, Elliott Bay Book Company, Mirador Community Store, Alma Chocolate, Kenny & Zuke’s, House Spirits and Reading Frenzy I get more requests than usual around the holidays for signed copies. To remedy the situation I’ve added this magic little PayPal button above for folks who want signed copies of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland. You don’t need a PayPal account to buy books this way but you do need a credit card.

I think my book is a nice gift on its own (yes, a little biased) but I think it’s even better with a tasty treat or two from one of the many food and drink folks featured in it. I’m going to post 100 local pairings for the book between now and the end of December on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing. For now, Food Lover’s Guide to Portland pairs nicely with…

Pickled herring and house-cured salame from Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen
A bottle of Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir or Pear-in-the-bottle brandy from Clear Creek Distillery
A Spella Caffe gift certificate
An Urban Cheesecraft DIY cheesemaking kit
Another local food book or two from Powell’s
Farmstead cheeses and charcuterie from Cheese Bar
Smoked seafood from Newman’s Fish Company in City Market
Custom Kinder eggs or chardons from Pix Patisserie


I’m taking care of the shipping on continental U.S. orders via media mail and there are discounts for multiple book orders. Media mail takes a few days to a week but you can also spring for priority mail for a bit more $. If you want even quicker shipping, more than three books, books to multiple addresses, or a chicken in a zebra costume please just drop me a line and we’ll figure it out.

From my shelf to yours...

Portland Fermentation Festival 2011 Redux

October 21st, 2011

Matt Choi serving up his spicy, crunchy, awesome kimchi.

What an amazing event and turnout! Yes, we know that many of you got stuck in the long line last night that snaked down the stairs, out the building, and around the block but we hope with all hope that you stuck it out and found that the wait and the crush was worth it. We put Portland Fermentation Festival together every year with a shoestring budget + heaps of volunteered hours and we’re so grateful that Ecotrust puts up with us every stinking (literally) year. Thank you again Ecotrust! We love you.

But yes, we do hear you, it was too crowded and the line was too long this year. We’ll problem solve and come back in briny style next year for 4.0. Thank you so much to everyone who exhibited, volunteered and attended! Portland Fermentation Festival is an annual love letter to our fair city. True blue Portland spirit fuels it and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks again to everyone who was a part.

If you’d like to keep up with local fermenty goings-on please check out our website, Facebook and Twitter. This year we had a very generous serving of media attention. Here’s a slice of that coverage if you didn’t get enough firsthand last night…

Willamette Week
Portland Tribune
Portland Farmers Market

I was able to take a good amount of photos at the festival last night before we opened the doors as well as after…

Erica Fayrie's as good as it looks sauerkraut with beets.

Eva Sippl's Eva's yummy Herbucha in the house.

Lynne Van Dusen's Vine to Brine lacto-fermented sodas. Really tasty.

Festival co-organizer Mr. David Barber of Picklopolis aka King of Brine! Ghost pickles! Ah!

Peg Butler and posse serving up krautini (fermented cabbage tonic), fermented garlic, sour dills and sourdough rye. Yum!

Galen Williams and Pete Mulligan's delicious hard cider.

Biwa chef-owner Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz serving up Biwa's hurts so good spicy daikon kimchi.

Earnest and Sumiko Migaki of Jorninji Miso cooking up a stockpot of their amazing miso, and sampling miso sauce and amazake made with their own koji.

Allen Field rocking his spicy kimchi and Turkish sauerkraut.

Nat and Sarah West sampling tart and tasty hard cider. Ridiculously good.

Anna Stulz with more fiery good kimchi.

And then the doors opened and the crowd moved in...

Courtlandt Jennings' Pickled Planet with all sorts of big, briny goodness.

Curious Farm's Cathy Smith serving up leek horseradish kraut, fermented chili sauce and more.

And the crowd kept growing...

Hank Tallman's Mama Hank's Pickled Veg. The spicy fermented green tomatoes were kick-ass good.

The line wrapped around the staircase out the door of Ecotrust and around the block within twenty minutes. We knew that the festival was going to be big this year but we didn't realize it'd be this big. Wow.

The lovely Kate Patterson sampling her festival favorite-- fermented salmon. Mmmm.

Festival organizers David Picklopolis Barber, me, and Mr. George dapper foodist Winborn right before the doors closed at 8pm.

One of the better looking cleanup crews in town! Good night and good luck.

Thanks to everyone who made the third annual Portland Fermentation Festival happen! We love you.

MoonBrine Pickles

August 29th, 2011

Spicy MoonBrine Pickles really made this ham sandwich. Freaky good.

I’m kind a pickle freak although I’m particular. I’m not so into bread & butter or other sweet pickles. I like the salty, sour and spicy pickles the best — namely fresh garlic, spicy, dills and crock-fermented dills. Just made some of the former, in fact, and can see them on the kitchen counter from where I’m typing at the kitchen table — my studio is too hot today.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I came home to a lovely package on my front porch — two tasty jars of MoonBrine Pickles courtesy of the pickler himself — Stew Golomb — a former elementary school teacher from Boston who moved to Portland a little more than a year ago. Thanks Stew!

I love them. We’ve eaten most of them as is but have added some to sandwiches too. They’re tasty fermented pickles with a little vinegar added for good measure. By the way, some of my favorite local pickles are Picklopolis Pickles. Picklopolis’ Mr. Briney Barber is a very good friend of mine so I don’t want to let a pickle post go without a shout-out. He knows how much I love him.

I recently got to ask Stew some questions via email about MoonBrine Pickles and here’s what he had to say — sometimes abbreviated…

Can you give me a short/sweet explanation of your process. Fermented and then vinegar added?

MoonBrine Pickles are 100% fermented (lacto-fermented). The cucumbers/vegetables start in a pail of brine, consisting of water, salt and a small amount of (gluten free) distilled vinegar. The pails sit at room temperature for a couple weeks until the vegetables are fully fermented. The pickles are then packed and refrigerated in quarts for retail and pail for restaurants.

You have a pickle tasting room/space?

I do have a little shop. I roll my pickle bar out of my kitchen and sell right there in the basement of the Ford Building at 2505 SE 11th Ave. in Portland. People seem really into discovering it. I call it the MoonBrine Shop N’ Snacketeria.

There you’ll find quart glass jars of our fermented MoonBrine Super Dill, Pretty Hot All Natural Pickles, MoonBrine Sour Mash (Relish) and our MoonBrine Brine, a magical product all on its own. Rotating offerings of deliciousness also include half-sour cucumber pickles, pickled green tomatoes, pickled cauliflower, pickled carrots, pickled cabbage and whatever else comes off the farm and lands in the brine.

MoonBrine Snacketeria hours: Monday – Thursday 11am-3:30pm. Off-hours by appointment if you email email Stew at

Where can folks purchase MoonBrine Pickles? Can you give me a price list of various types if bought direct?

Currently, in Portland the pickles are available at the shop – all quarts are $5.
Folks can also buy the pickles at which is a food buying club in town. Ford Food & Drink and Detour Cafe use the pickles on some of their plates and in their Bloody Marys. More stores and restaurants are on the horizon and there are five stores and two restaurants in Boston currently carrying the pickles.

MoonBrine Pickles

Further evidence of my pickle obsession -- me and friends at Kenny & Zuke's Pickle Throwdown earlier this summer.

Portland Food Roundup

June 20th, 2011

Afternoon reading material...

Sometimes it’s nice to pull together a little food roundup so below I’ve linked up to some recent stories that I’ve written as well as food stories by others that I’ve liked lately. If you’ve come across something too good to not share then please leave a link to the story in the comments. Hope all is well!

Recent stories I’ve written or contributed to…
Cooking Light, Portland Food Rules
Budget Travel, America’s Best Food Regions
VIA Magazine, Portland’s North Williams Avenue
The Progressive, Joe Sacco interview
Willamette Week, Devour
Willamette Week, Summer Guide
Portland Woman, Eat Your Way Around Portland
Cooking Up A Story, 5-part Lisa Weasel interview

Other folks’ stories and news that I’ve dug lately…
Speaking of Faith Show, interview with Dan Barber
McSweeney’s new food quarterly Lucky Peach (Just subscribed! First issue out!)
Portland Farmers Market looking for winter space
Cooking Up A Story, raising backyard chickens with Naomi Montacre

Friend Food Pt. 2

June 6th, 2011

So many good things have come our way food-wise from friends in the last few weeks. We’re so lucky. Here are some of the yummy things we’ve been gifted lately…

Our friend Amanda Myers of Infinity Tattoo keeps bees and we got some of their spoils -- two jars of liquid gold honey.

Our next door neighbors recently went to Portugal for a couple weeks and brought us back this lovely olive oil.

Our friend Ariel Kempf gave us a jar of her Creaux Creole Mustard. Hot and spicy good. Learn more about it at

Our friend Dave gave us two jars of super yummy almond butter.

We got a couple Woodblock Chocolate bars from the makers themselves. Delicious!

Eat anything tasty lately?

Check out Friend Food Pt. 1

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
Facebook Mangia, Mangia! event page

THREE for Tuesday!

December 10th, 2010

Paul Gerald's 2nd edition of Breakfast in Bridgetown is out!

I don’t usually have multiple plans on a weekday night but next Tuesday , December 14th there are three fantastic food events that I’m not going to miss and all of them are free and open to the public. I don’t know how I’m going to pack them all in but I will. Here’s the scoop…

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!

Breakfast in Bridgetown Party
5:30-8pm @ Cafe Nell

My friend and fellow PDX writer Paul Gerald is throwing a killer breakfast-for-dinner launch party for the second edition of his Breakfast in Bridgetown book at Cafe Nell. There’s no charge to attend but you do need to RSVP here.

Here are the details straight from the source:

* Cafe Nell is at the corner of NW 20th and Kearney, and they do have a parking lot.
* “Breakfast for dinner” provided by Cafe Nell, including cups of hash, quartered Monte cristo sandwiches, house made pork sausages, Pumpkin breads, shrimp and grits, silver dollar pumpkin pancakes. Mmm!
* Signed breakfast books for $16 each, or two for $30.
* $2 from every sale will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank.
* Full bar available with amazing cocktails
* Short program around 6:30, with comments from the author, contributors Nick Zukin of and Brett Burmeister of, and perhaps a little snippet from Portland’s appearance in the PBS documentary Breakfast Special.

This is how in the field, literally, a Friends of Family Farmers internship can be.

Friends of Family Farmers End of the Year Celebration and InFARMation
5:30-10pm @ Holocene

Come out and celebrate the end of the year with one of my favorite local organizations — Friends of Family Farmers. One of the best part of the night is the silent auction that will benefit FOFF programs and initiatives. Here’s the schedule followed by a list of some of the awesome items that will be on auction…

5:30 Door to Holocene Open – come early to order food, get drinks (food and drink is not paid for so bring your $) and socialize

6:15 Friends of Family Farmers – don’t miss this short presentation of our programs and successes over the last year, pretty impressive for such a small group if we say so ourselves.

6:30 Silent Auction Starts, Live Acoustic Music & MC

8:00 Silent Auction Ends, Live Auction Starts – some of the bigger auction items will be dealt with by our auctioneer

8:15/30 Greasy Chain String Band – dancing and celebrating! Winners get to cash out and take home their items!

This InFARMation (and Beer!) is 21+, so don’t forget your ID.

Some of the many amazing items on the silent auction list…
* Pig Butchery Class Gift Certificate – Portland Meat Collective & Camas Davis
* Private Breadmaking Class with Professional Baker from Nostrana – Giana Bernardini
* Raw Honey-White Clover, Raspberry Blossom & Forest Wildflower- Mountain Meadow Honey Co.
* Loaf of Rustic Bread per Month for One Year – Grand Central Bakery
* Pizza Gift Certificate – Hot Lips Pizza
* Fruit Trees from Local Sustainable Nursery – One Green World Nursery
* Three Night Romantic Getaway in Yachats Cabin – Sue Tate & Dave Morgan
* Widmer Party Pack (1/4 Barrell, Tap & Tub, Sleeve of Cups and Ice) – Widmer Brewing
* Basket of Rogue goodies and Rogue Beer – Rogue Ales
* Magnum of Bethel Heights Justice Vineyards 2007 Estate Pinot Noir – Bethel Heights Vineyard
* Handcrafted Wood Cutting Board – The Joinery
* One-Year Family Membership to OMSI
* $75 Gift Certificate to to 50 Plates in the Pearl – Ginger Rapport of 50 Plates
* $50 Gift Certificate for Feed Concentrates – Concentrates NW
* Laptop Lunch Box – Mirador Community Store
* $75 Gift Certificate to Meriwether’s Restaurant. Specializing in Farm to Table Meals
* $50 Gift Certificate Higgins Restaurant & Bar. Cuisine rooted in our Northwest Soil
* $20 Gift Certificate from the Urban Farm Store, a Family-Owned and Operated Local Business
* Farmer Love Basket – A Collection of Goodies from Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply
* 2 Tickets to to the September 24th Farm to Fork Farm Dinner at Kiyokawa Family Orchards
* Holiday Wreath Lovingly Handcrafted with Local Greens by Kelly Ingram

Food Innovation Center’s Time to Market Showcase
6-9pm @ the Food Innovation Center

I already wrote about this fantastic event in this week’s Willamette Week so I’ll just point you in their direction for the scoop.

Webinars on Specialty Foods Business

October 13th, 2010

Take your homemade pickles to another level.

Even though this isn’t local I think a lot of you will appreciate this opportunity organized by University of Vermont’s Extension office. Last month a press release landed in my inbox on their eXtension webinar series on specialty food businesses.

I’m a slacker because I meant to post this before the first in the series but I didn’t get around to it. You can still watch that one and all past webinars here.

Here’s the dish straight from the source:

Mark your calendars! The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar series is back for the fourth season. All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at 2:00pm (ET); 1:00pm (CT); 12:00pm (MT); 11:00am (PT).

On Thursday, September 9, 2010 we open with a three-month series on specialty food businesses. September’s topic will be Starting Right in Specialty Foods. Join Brian Norder, Director of the Vermont Food Venture Center for an informative session on what it takes to start and grow a specialty food business. Brian has over a decade of experience assisting entrepreneurs in all phases of food-related business development.

On October 14 the webinar will focus on the importance of branding and will feature specialty food business owners Judith Moore of the Charleston Cookie Company and Robin Rhea, Slather Sauce.

The November 11 webinar will conclude this series with a look at Culinary Tourism, an emerging niche that combines agriculture, specialty food and tourism. This presentation will feature a panel of Extension specialists working on Culinary Tourism initiatives.

No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. About 10 minutes prior to the start time simply go the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room. You will be presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as Guest” option. Enter your full name then click “Enter Room” to join the conference. You will be able to hear the audio directly from your computer’s speakers.

University of Vermont Extension