True Portland 2017 Book Launch Party

June 27th, 2017

Left to right: Rhonda Hughes, Teruo Kurosaki, Liz Crain. Right before the party started. Kanpai!

Wow. What a party. Thank you so much to everyone who came out for our Hawthorne Books + Media Surf/Bridge Lab + Reverent Nat’s Hard Cider True Portland: The Unofficial Guide for Creative People book launch party last Thursday night. 500+ people came out and raised their glasses (filled with Nat’s delicious Magnificent 7 made with seven Japanese apple varieties from Kiyokawa Family Orchards, Culmination Brewing’s dry-hopped yuzu sour +++) with us including Teruo Kurosaki and his Japan posse, all of whom crossed the great Pacific from Tokyo to Portland for the party.

Sure, we got some great coverage for the party including this and this but mostly I think we can attribute the awesome attendance to the combined sparkling, lovely, wild and creative greatness of everyone who participated including our super talented food/drink/wares vendors (all in the photos and linked up below), Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider’s Mr. Nat West and event coordinator Carolyn Winkler +++, the 400+ wise ones and businesses featured in the book and, of course, Hawthorne Books’ Rhonda Hughes and moi. I have been lucky to be an editor and publicity director at Hawthorne Books since 2009.

My boyfriend DJ Jimbo played so many sweet summery tunes for us including one of my favorites (and Lola’s of Umi Organic) Strawberry Letter 23 written by Shuggie Otis and largely popularized by this The Brothers Johnson rendition of it. Hawthorne Books interns Stephen Hyde and Melina Hughes were hosts with the most at the Hawthorne Books table. (I stacked the books like a mountain pre-party and by the end the mountain was just about gone!) And the Travel Portland folks (hugely supportive of all editions of True Portland) came out and brought a lot of fun including their sasquatch-like Dude-head Japan mascot. You’ll see.

I managed to snap a bunch of photos throughout the night and many of them are below. You can also check the hashtag #trueportland on social media to see more. Oh, and, if you want to get a copy of the book head to your favorite independent bookseller and purchase it. Some businesses that we love who are carrying it include Powell’s Books, Broadway Books, Monograph Bookwerks and Tender Loving Empire. It’s easy to find now that it has launched. Thank you again to all of you and to Portland for celebrating True Portland with us. One of my favorite parties yet in all of my 40 years. So fun.

Here are links to all of the lovely vendors who took place in our party’s Japan marketplace: Biwa/Noraneko/Parasol, Marukin Ramen, Yume Confections, Jorinji Miso, Kiriko Made, Wanpaku Natto, Seisuke Knife, Obon PDX and Umi Organic.

Mount Fuji-sized stack of True Portland!

Katsu Tanaka and Oleya of Kiriko Made. Their fabrics are incredibly beautiful. Can’t wait to get some.

Partyyyyyy! Really fun to have it in the heart of the cidery amongst all of the fermentation tanks.

Seisuke Knife. Check out their shop. So many beautifully crafted Japanese knives. They regularly host Japanese bladesmith’s at their Northeast Portland shop.

Chef Mayumi Hijikata of Marukin Ramen serving up their DELICIOUS cold ramen. So lovely on such a hot summer day/night.

Rev. Nat’s event coordinator superstar Carolyn Winkler with Randy Kiyokawa of Kiyokawa Family Orchards in Parkdale. Seven Japanese varieties of his apples comprise Nat’s super tasty Magnificent 7 hard cider along with sake yeast that was poured at the event and is available in Japan.

The lovely Gena Renaud of Yume Confections. Her wagashi are so beautiful you almost don’t want to eat them. You can get them at the Portland Japanese Garden’s Umami Cafe and watch her make them on the Portland Bizarre Foods episode +++

Not a great photo of Gena’s gorgeous entirely edible “koi aquariums”

Party lovelies! Left to right: Sarah Hart, Dory Athey, Rhonda Hughes, Alisha Gorder.

We were all so lucky to get to sip on the rare (most of it has shipped to Japan) Rev. Nat Magnificent 7 cider. Link to it is above. Sooooo yummy and special.

The hugely talented and dedicated folks at Stumptown Printers (featured in the book) made us these (out of the goodness of their hearts) beautiful commemorative cards for the event. Everyone who bought a book got one of these — three color, entirely analog, 100% recycled paper board, 2-color offset litho using hand-cut rubylith and 1-color letterpress linotype.

My fine fellow DJ Jimbo made the night so fun with all of his great vinyl. He mixed in several rad Japanese songs that our friend Takeshi gave him just for the party.

Yuri Migaki (left) and Lola Milholland of Jorinji Miso and Umi Organic. They partnered up (no photos of Earnest sadly!) and served up really tasty noodle + miso dishes.

Jorinji’s classic and delicious hiyashi chuka made with their miso, Lola’s Umi Organic ramen noodles and summer veggies.

And Lola’s super tasty Umi Organic ramen noodles with Jorinji’s Goma Miso Sauce and crisp fresh veg. So good.

Jeff Hammerly of Travel Portland putting on their Japan mascot dudehead. I love Travel Portland.

Jeff Hammerly all Duded up.

My friend Heidi Nestler of Wanpaku Natto and…

Heidi’s super yummy natto. I don’t love natto but I do love hers. It’s much milder and more balanced in flavor than most. I went back for seconds 😉

Hawthorne Books interns Stephen Hyde and Melina Hughes slinging books. Cheers to these two and True Portland!


Gabe Rosen and Ian of Biwa/Noraneko/Parasol. Their onigiri was awesome!

Me and Etsuyo Okajima — my Tokyo friend and one of the editors of the Japanese editions of True Portland. Happy.

Etsuyo and Joy Church — executive director of The Portland Kitchen. If you don’t know of the great work that TPK does with underserved youth and the culinary arts check them out.

The Rev. Nat Beers Made By Walking CIDER that launched that night. Wood shavings in the tea bag for flavor.

My dear friends George Winborn of Metro and Michelle Gilmore of SMART.

Fumiko Hozumi and Jason Duffany of Obon PDX. I had never had their food before and it was so yummy! Will definitely be checking them out and you should too —

The cidery’s awesome taplist for the party. My favorite cidery on the planet.

Sarah Hart, Rhonda Hughes, me and Dory Athey. Good times were had.

I got my chance with the Travel Portland Japan mascot Dudehead.

And the closing shot goes to the True Portland super talented book designer Shinpei Onishi. Traveling all the way from Tokyo to Portland will do this to you 😉

Thank you again to everyone who came out and celebrated the first English edition of True Portland with us. So fun. XOXOXOXOXO

Coverage of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2.0

September 22nd, 2014

This shit never gets old. Cover of my book near the entrance of Powell's City of Books. I must be dreaming.

Well, it’s been three weeks since the second edition of my book launched and it’s been a wild ride of press and events. All of both have been great which is something I’m definitely not taking for granted. Nothing but gratitude these days for the big bear hug that Portland — particularly Powell’s Books — has given me. And all of the folks who came out for my book launch party. Nothing but love there too.

I’m including links here to all of the coverage for the book so far. Next step is adding all these links to my website buuuut this is as much as I can muster at the moment so this step will help when I get around to that. My favorite coverage so far has been all of the radio interviews. I love radio (especially this new Portland station — XRAY.FM) and it’s really fun for me to be on the airwaves. I’ve put the radio links at the top of the heap.

I hope that you’re doing well and enjoying the seasonal shift. I really am. I’m happy things are settling down a bit now starting this week and I can do things like stay at home on a Monday — today — and can tomato sauce from the garden before I set to work. Life is pretty fucking great these days. Without further ado…

Radio interview, KBOO Food Show

Radio interview, Carl in the Morning on XRAY.FM Get Lit

Tasty Tuesday radio interview, Portland Radio Project

Guest essay, Powell’s Books

Signing books at Powell’s, Powell’s Books Tumblr

Q&A With Liz Crain On Portland’s Food Scene, Zester Daily

Feature and review, Portland Tribune

Get Outside and Eat Before Summer’s End, Portland Monthly

Portland Fermentation Festival, Portland Monthly

Launch party photo gallery, Hawthorne Books

Book review, The Register-Guard

Book review, Portland Mercury

Book review, Cooking Up A Story

Book review, Portland Food and Drink

Book launch party video, YouTube

Mini review, Booklist

Book review, Food Carts Portland

Book review, Good Stuff NW

Book teaser, Rose City Reader

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland 2.0 Launch Party ++

August 6th, 2014

Oh, just me and me checking out my gigantic book cover in the window at Powell's City of Books. That's all. Thanks Buddy Bodin for twinning me!

I went camping on Memorial Day weekend this year and during that trip I made a pact with myself to spend as much of this summer outside as possible. I succeeded! It’s been an incredible and very lucky summer for me filled with trips back and forth to the coast, day trips to rivers, lots of barbecues, camping and long hot summer nights spent around campfires, on beaches, in backyards. It’s been amazing. And now I’ve been reeling it in and getting back to the business of books and writing and food — all of which I love. Wish summer could last just a little bit longer though.

The second edition of my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland comes out in less than a month and the day that it launches Hawthorne Books is throwing a big launch party for it at my friend’s Reverend Nat’s Cidery & Public Taproom — Monday, Sept. 1st 6-10pm. It’s going to be a whole heck of a lot of fun with Nat’s hard ciders for sale, food donated from folks featured in the book, music from DJ Jimbo of and more. I really hope that you can come out for it and help me and Hawthorne Books celebrate.

So far, you can look forward to tasty treats from Boke Bowl, Cheese Bar, Toro Bravo, Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Ruby Jewel Ice Cream, Fleur de Lis Bakery, Full Circle Creamery, Hotlips Soda, Slow Food Portland, Berry Good Produce, Bowery Bagels and Remedy Wine Bar. AND there will be a cake with an icing-based cover of my book courtesy of Hawthorne Books from Helen Bernhard Bakery. If you have something tasty you’d like to donate to the party spread please contact me at info at liz crain dot com. Thank you!

Three other events to quickly mention that I also hope you might make it out for:

Powell’s Books Food Lover’s Guide to Portland panel with me, Gabe Rosen, Nick Zukin, Nat West and Brett Burmeister
Thursday, September 11th 7:30pm @ Powell’s City of Books

People’s Co-op Harvest Festival fermentation demo with me, David Barber and George Winborn in promotion of the upcoming Portland Fermentation Festival
Wednesday, September 17th demo 3-5pm @ People’s Food Co-op

Fifth Annual Portland Fermentation Festival
Thursday, October 16th 6-9:30pm @ Ecotrust

See you soon at one or more of these events I hope!

Rachel Smith: Editorial Assistant Extraordinaire 2nd edition Food Lover’s Guide to Portland

June 25th, 2014

Oh, just hanging out in the Swiss Alps. Rachel Smith, world traveler and on her DOWN TIME editorial assistant for Food Lover's Guide to Portland 2.0.

I just want to quickly introduce the lovely lady pictured above. I first met Rachel when she interviewed for the fall 2012 internship at Hawthorne Books — the publisher of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland and where I’ve been publicity director and an editor since 2009. Right away, Hawthorne publisher, Rhonda, and I knew that Rachel was in. She’s bright, passionate, always curious, has a great sense of humor and is just a genuine pleasure to be around.

Rachel kicked ass during the 10-week internship and we were sad to see her go. When we decided to do a second edition of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland I was in the thick of completing Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. and felt a little overwhelmed but knew that the time was ripe and that the book needed an update. I thought about how to best manage my time, how to lessen the stress of another book project as much as possible and then I had the bright idea to hire an editorial assistant. Rachel was my number one choice and she said YES!

During the insanity of updating Rachel did everything from fine-tooth combing all of the contact info. throughout the book and making sure addresses, hours etc. were up to date to interviewing new subjects and writing the respective listings. I couldn’t have done the second edition without her. She was on top of every project every step of the way, and most importantly, she was really fun to work with. Love you Rachel! Without further ado…

Sweet, sweet Rachel Smith on food, travel and working on the second edition of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland:

When I was 6 years old, I used to pretend I was allergic to pizza and spaghetti sauce—not tomatoes—just pizza and spaghetti sauce. I disliked mushrooms, melted cheese, and loathed mustard. Strange textures and peculiar flavors were a no-no. I could barely choke down cooked vegetables. Sausage, meat on the bone, and meat cooked rare made me gag.

Eventually, as it happens for most of us, my taste buds and I began to grow up. Traveling became a priority in my life, and being a picky eater doesn’t go along well with it. I came to learn that one of the best parts of going abroad is experiencing the food. I also realize, when I travel, I desperately miss the food at home, and when I’m home, I crave the food from abroad.

Portland is a food-obsessed city. We know it, we love it, we partake in it. My head could explode thinking of the incredible variety of restaurants we have, the locally sourced vegetables and meats, the microbreweries and markets. As Portlanders, it’s in our veins. Outside of Portland, this isn’t as common—no news flash here. Yet every time I travel, I notice I have forgotten this. What, your bar doesn’t serve food? Your grocery store closes at 6? You don’t have any Mexican restaurants, because I could kill for a burrito right now.

I don’t mean this out of ignorance; I mean it is as a fantastic appreciation of what we have at home. It wasn’t until assisting Liz that I came to understand this even more.

As I write this, I’m on the brink of my third month visiting Switzerland. I’ve been eating melted cheese on the regular, devouring pizzas the size of my face, and obsessively ordering sausage. I recently tried horsemeat (and though it’s a horrendous thought to many people, and I vowed I would only try it once, it was quite good). But my stomach is rumbling at the thought of eating chorizo tacos from Uno Más or fresh sashimi from Bamboo Sushi. The idea of a Painted Hills burger with blue cheese and applewood-smoked bacon is enough to make me weak in the knees. Whining is not part of my intention here—I’m thoroughly enjoying the food and the experience, yet I do miss the access to variety.

Eating well in Switzerland...

Sweet Rachel in France...

Working on the second edition of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland was a reminder of our access and diversity. We have the ability to go straight to the source and pick fruit on Sauvie Island, go crabbing at the coast, or take a drive into wine country. We can feast on Vietnamese, Thai, Cuban, African, or Japanese food any day of the week. And we’re really lucky to have that—not only in restaurants, but in our grocery stores too. Did you know how many ethnic grocery stores we have? Or that Cheese Bar sells raclette so I can get my fix when I’m missing Switzerland?

My point is: the delicious world of food is at our fingertips right here in Portland. We can find just about anything we’re after. And when I’m home in 3 weeks, the first thing I will be doing is hunting down and demolishing the tortilla-wrapped goodness of a marinated pork burrito.

Pre-order the 2nd edition of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland
from Powell’s
Pub. date September 1, 2014