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...

Thank You Portland! Food Lover’s Guide to Portland Book Launch Party

July 2nd, 2010

The dessert table pre-party...

So much has happened since I last posted. I really don’t know where to begin so I think I’ll start with what’s consuming my thoughts just 100 percent today — my book launch party last night for Food Lover’s Guide to Portland at Fortune Tattoo. I know it’s probably dorky to say but last night was one of the best nights of my life. I’m beyond happy that so many friends, fellow food folks and complete strangers came out last night to celebrate. It was magic. Loving life right now.

((ATTENTION: My ex-boyfriend, Tyler Adams, no longer co-owns Fortune Tattoo. Visit his North Portland shop — Grizzly Tattoo — which opened June, 2011.))

I’m overwhelmed by the thought of describing the evening so I’m just going to post a bunch of photos for those of you who were there and those who couldn’t make it. It was a blast and couldn’t have happened without the overly generous food and drink donations as well as awesome help of my friends, boyfriend, Fortune Tattoo and of my publishing house Sasquatch Books. Thank you Portland. I love you more than ever!

And then it was on...

And on...

My friend Rale Sidebottom rocking it in the loft for the party...

They got the Fortune Tattoo sign up just in time!

Tyler eating the Newman's Fish Co. smoked black cod...

The savory side...

Good mugs in food coma.

Before the perfect storm. Cheers to you! Thank you Portland!

Travel Oregon’s Cuisineternships — applications due Friday

September 15th, 2009
If you don't tell them about your basement frankenstill you might be able to learn from the pros.

If you don't tell them about your basement frankenstill you might be able to learn from the pros.

There’s no time to lose if you feel like free schooling with some of Oregon’s finest food folks including Full Sail Brewery’s brewmaster Jamie Emerson, salmon and rockfish fisherman Lars Robinson, Bendistillery distiller/owner Jim Bendis and others. Travel Oregon’s Oregon Bounty Cuisineternship applications are due this Friday. What do you get if you win? One of seven all-expense-paid trips (including airfare, lodging and a $1,000 meal stipend) in Oregon which includes a five-day, six-night apprenticeship as a chef, cheesemaker/chocolatier, craft brewer, distiller, rancher, fisherman or winemaker.

The biggest component of the application is putting together a two minute digital video of yourself. Check out already submitted videos here. Keep in mind that you can apply for as many of the seven cuisineternships as you want. Go here for answers to some contest FAQ.

Winners will be announced after September 28th on Travel Oregon’s website.

The chef — Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon
The cheesemaker and chocolatier — David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery and Jeff Shepherd of Lillie Belle Farms
The craft brewer — Jamie Emmerson of Full Sail Brewing Co.
The distiller — Jim Bendis of Bendistillery
The ranchers — the Pickard and Boyer families of Oregon’s Country Natural Beef
The fisherman — Lars Robison of Dockside Charters
The winemaker — Lynn Penner-Ash of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery is waiting for you in his cave.

David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery is waiting for you in his cave.

Lars Robison looks fine but did Gabriel Rucker take his Dramamine?

Lars Robison looks fine but did Gabriel Rucker take his Dramamine?

Travel Oregon
Oregon Bounty

Worth the Wait: Hopworks Urban Brewery

July 27th, 2009
You're not allowed entry unless you bike to Hopworks' first Biketoberfest all day Saturday, September 19th.

You're not allowed entry unless you bike to Hopworks' first Biketoberfest all day Saturday, September 19th.

Months before Hopworks Urban Brewery opened its doors in March of 2008 I was chomping at the bit. I’d been drinking HUB beers — along with many other lucky Portlanders — since fall 2007 at various pubs and restaurants around town and they were good. Very good — especially the IPA.

Hopworks owner Christian Ettinger didn’t plan to open the doors to his extreme green Southeast Powell Boulevard brewpub several months after he’d started wholesaling kegs to local establishments but that’s just the way it worked out. According to Christian the production facility took a lot less time to build out than the upstairs brewpub. It’s a good thing it did because it was genius marketing. Folks drank delicious local mystery brew at top Portland pubs and the buzz about it and its home built and built.

I met up with Christian recently at the brewpub and talked with him about what it’s like when everyone tells you you shouldn’t do something and you do it anyway (open a brewpub on a busy arterial lacking in foot traffic), his architect dad Roy Ettinger who was HUB’s contractor, Christian’s plans for another Hopworks (probably within the next two years), and 3,440 barrels of organic beer on the wall. That’s the number of beer barrels HUB brewed from its opening in March 2008 until March 2009 — a lot more than the 1,500 Christian anticipated for HUB’s first year. He’s been maniacally busy since retail and wholesale is booming and on the home front Christian’s wife gave birth to their second child two months after HUB opened.

At HUB there are always 10 beers on tap and two cask beers. The six standards include HUB Lager, Crosstown Pale Ale, Velvet ESB, Hopworks IPA, Survival Stout and Deluxe Organic Ale. There are also always four seasonals on tap which keeps the brewers and customers happy.

Hopworks recently started bottling.

Hopworks recently started bottling.

HUB owner Christian Ettinger won best brewmaster and brewery with Laurelwood Pub and Brewery in the 2004 World Beer Cup. Here he promotes peace and his ability to count.

HUB owner Christian Ettinger won best brewmaster and brewery with Laurelwood Pub and Brewery in the 2004 World Beer Cup. Here he promotes peace and his ability to count.

Hopworks uses spent fry oil from the restaurant upstairs to fuel its brew kettle and delivery truck.

Hopworks uses spent fry oil from the restaurant upstairs to fuel its brew kettle and delivery truck.

Reuse is a big part of HUB's aesthetic and culture.

Reuse is a big part of HUB's aesthetic and culture.

Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd.

Portland Beer: Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

June 10th, 2009
Optical illusion: this man looks short

Optical illusion: Joe Casey looks short

Widmer’s brewmaster Joe Casey is not short but the 1,000-barrels-of-beer (on the wall…) fermenters he’s standing in front of tend to dwarf things. I met up with Joe Casey recently and even though I’ve lived in Portland since 2002 and really dig Widmer beer I’d never taken a brewery tour. I highly recommend it. I learned a lot including the fact that beer regularly flows underneath Russel Street between the two Widmer buildings which gives a whole new meaning to walking on sunshine. Walking on Widmer Hefeweizen…

The fermenter behind Casey in the photo is filled with that liquid sunshine — Widmer Hefeweizen — the brew that made 20-plus-year-old Widmer Brothers Brewing Company famous. The Hefeweizen (pronounced HEH-feh-vite-zen) sits in the fermentation tank for only about a week since it ferments quickly and doesn’t need a lot of cold conditioning. Most Widmer beers spend two weeks in the fermenter.

Here are a bunch of other things I learned while walking around the brewery with Casey…

* Widmer brews about 320,000 barrels of beer in their North Portland brewery annually.
* They brew 24 hours a day.
* They use a New Zealand variety of hops that Joe Casey says sometimes tastes like onion.
* Widmer operates a 10-barrel pilot brewery at the Rose Garden where they brew a lot of small batch Gasthaus Pub beers that aren’t available anywhere else (Including the Collaborator Series beers in conjunction with the Oregon Brew Crew) and festival beers.
* Their 100,000 pound malt silos are filled by tanker trucks several times a week.
* The spent grain and yeast goes to a cattle ranch in Central Oregon and a farm on Sauvie Island.
* In the summer the brewery often pushes 110 degrees.
* Widmer hops come from Oregon, Washington and New Zealand.

No that's not bunny food it's hops pellets

No that's not rabbit food it's Oregon hops pellets

Most commercial brewers brew with hops pellets or extracts these days. Casey told me that Anheuser-Busch was one of the last major breweries to hold out on pellets and use whole hops.

Augustus Glup should be happy he didn't fall into one of these

Where eight to nine Widmer beers are brewed daily

If you’re looking for Widmer’s version of the Everlasting Gobstopper — the Widmer Altbier yeast strain that Kurt Widmer brought back from Bavaria in the early 1980s — head to OHSU and book flights to Chicago, the UK, and New Hampshire because its safeguarded in labs in all these places.

I can't really explain this but Joe Carey can

Take a tour and the mystery of this photo from Widmer will be solved

Widmer Brewing Company
929 N Russel St.
Schedule a brewery tour

Portland Wine: Cork

June 1st, 2009
This is my idea of a bubble bath

This is my idea of a bubble bath

I like baths. One of my favorite things is to bring a cup of coffee and good book into the bathroom, fill up the tub and read and sip coffee until the sun don’t shine. I like the coffee part especially because it counteracts the sleepy steamy side of the bath a bit and keeps me from falling asleep in a towel on the couch.

I also on occasion like to drink a glass of wine or beer in the bath but this is a showstopper and I have to be committed to the fact that I’ll accomplish nothing more that day or night. So you can imagine that when I was at Cork on Northeast Alberta a few days ago their bubbly-in-a-clawfoot display above made me really happy.

Darryl Joannides opened Cork on Northeast Alberta in 2006 and last fall he opened a second Cork in Northwest Portland. I love that Cork is owned an run by a first-rate chef — Joannides was chef-owner of Sellwood’s much missed Assaggio so beyond Joannides passion for wine (he’s worked harvests in Sonoma and regularly makes his own wine at home) and great selection of wine you can also buy all sorts of other tasty sweet and savory treats at Cork.

I also appreciate that Cork will never call you a cheapskate — even if you always go for the $8 bottle. The majority of bottles set up on crates and shelves throughout the shop are $20 or less and according to Joannides you’ll always find at least 20 wines less than $10.

In addition to a large selection of wine at Cork you’ll also find bulk and bottled olive oil…

Reuse your bottle and you get a buck off

Reuse your bottle and you get a buck off

Bottled beer…

Lots of local OR, WA and CA beers and lots of Belgian beer

Lots of local OR, WA and CA beers and lots of Belgian beer

Chocolate bars and truffles…

Chocolate is one of Joannides' favorite things

Chocolate is one of Joannides' favorite things

And right now a great selection of light and sippy rosés….

Rosé is not girly

Rosé is not girly

Stop by the Alberta Street Cork for Friday night drop-in tastings and the Northwest Cork for First Thursday tastings. if you never got to Joannides’ restaurant Assaggio he also hosts regular multi-course food and wine pairings. Check out the online calendar for events and tastings.

Cork: A Bottle Shop
2901 NE Alberta St., 503.281.2675
1715 NW Lovejoy St., 503.501.5028

Sour beer here: Belmont Station and Biercafe

April 27th, 2009
Carl Singmaster puckers up

Carl Singmaster puckers up

Although I never stepped inside the original Belmont Station bottle shop I’ve heard plenty of stories about the legendary tiny location next to the Horse Brass on Southeast Belmont. A friend of a friend used to work there when the bottle list was usually around 450-strong but there was only space for one bottle of each beer to represent on the floor. If you wanted more an employee would disappear for awhile and find what you wanted in the back.

The new location — just a few blocks north on Southeast Stark — generally has about 1,200 types of beer available and a lot are available first grab from the beer coolers and aisles of all things ale. In addition to beer Belmont sells hard cider, mead, sake, wine, soda and more. If you like hard cider you can find just about every local variety here.

I met up with owner Carl Singmaster (he owns Belmont Station and Biercafe with Horse Brass owner and beer god Don Younger) last week. After talking to him about his musical past — he owned seven record shops in the Carolinas for nearly two decades — and his long seated love of beer my friend showed up and the three of us did what you’re supposed to do at Belmont Station’s Biercafe — we drank.

Carl really likes cask-conditioned beer (less harsh, more flavor) so we started with an IPA showdown — a taste of Alameda Brewhouse’s IPA (delicious) and a taste of cask-conditioned Double Mountain IPA (delicious). It was interesting to compare the two and the pluses (longer shelf life…) and minuses (debatably less interesting flavor…) of force-carbonated beer. They were both tasty. Jury’s out for me but we weren’t exactly comparing apples to apples with two very different, fine IPAs.

The most interesting beer that we tasted without a doubt was the Mouton Rouge — a sour beer from Cascade Brewery. This was my first ever sour beer so it was quite a shocker. This locally brewed version of a traditional Belgian style sour beer is injected with very particular yeasts to give it a winky full flavor with the lingering aftertaste of in Carl’s words Sweet Tarts. It’s true.

This is the kind of beer you’ll find at Belmont Station proper and the adjoining Biercafe. They’ve got all the regular hoppy beers that Portlanders love (right now the top seller in shop is Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo) in addition to heaps of other interesting quality craft local and international beers that you can’t find anywhere else in town.

When one of the 17 kegs blows at the Biercafe it's always replaced with something different

When one of the 17 kegs blows at the Biercafe it's always replaced with something different

Belmont Station and Biercafe
4500 SE Stark St.