Taste of the Nation 2011

May 9th, 2011

Celilo Restaurant's (in Hood River) morel and fromage blanc topped crackers were super tasty.

Taste of the Nation truly gets bigger and better every year. We had a fantastic time eating and drinking all sorts of amazing things from Portland area chefs and food/drink folks at this year’s Taste of the Nation at Luxe Autohaus. (Always made much better by the fact that 100% of the proceeds go toward local child hunger relief.) If you don’t know about the event you can read more about it here and here. We paced ourselves a lot better this year so that by the end (and we stayed until the very end — as in tables being folded) we felt full but not roll-out-the-door full.

It’s hard to pick favorites but I think it’s good to give credit where credit is due. SO here are my top five favorite things that I ate at this year’s Taste of the Nation (not to mention all the delicious wine, beer and bubbly) followed by photos…

Top five bites at this year’s Taste of the Nation in no particular order…
La Calaca Comelona’s rainbow chard wrapped masa with pork in a red sauce
Biwa’s braised pork and house pickled vegetable lettuce wraps
Bamboo Sushi’s Oregon albacore carpaccio
Fifty Lick’s coconut lemon saffron sorbet
Davis Street Tavern’s cold carrot fennel soup with sorrel salsa verde

Screen Door's mini chocolate and peanut butter pies were really good. Especially when eaten right after their...

Smoked meatloaf and whipped potato bites topped with crispy shallots. Yeah, pretty genius side-by-side.

Biwa kicked ass as usual with their braised pork lettuce wraps with pickled veggies.

Fratelli was set up right next to Biwa with some yummy rockfish crudo that got topped with yuzu foam seconds after I took this photo.

No, he did not get stuck in the ice cream cooler. 50 Licks' coconut lemon saffron sorbet is incredible.

Andina had a lovely spread of marinated fish in a aji colorado al batan sauce, fava bean salad and okra rellena stuffed with braised oxtail. Top that why don't you.

We hung out with friends until the lights-out end. Another fantastic Taste of the Nation with 100 percent of proceeds going to local child hunger relief organizations. Cheers Portland!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
LUXE Autohaus
410 NE 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation

Bakesale for Japan April 2nd @ Ristretto Roasters & Barista

March 28th, 2011

This Satuday in Portland 10am-2pm!

Giovanna Zivny, Elizabeth Nathan and others have organized Portland’s Bakesale for Japan next Saturday, April 2nd from 10am-2pm at two of Portland’s favorite coffee shops — Ristretto Roasters (Williams) and Barista (Pearl).

Home and professional bakers are grabbing their whisks and cranking up their ovens to raise money for Peace Winds Japan, a partner of Mercy Corps.

This is a nationwide effort (Bakesale for Japan currently has generated 17+ bake sales stretching from San Francisco to NYC) that originated with Oakland chef Samin Nosrat. She raised $23K for Haiti last year with just three bake sale locations. Portland’s Bakesale for Japan has a matching donation lined up from Intel.

If you’d like to bake (amateurs and professionals welcome) or volunteer for Bakesale for Japan contact pdxbakesale@gmail.com.

Here is the amazing list of Portland folks signed up so far to contribute tasty baked goods: Little T American Baker, Alder Pastry & Dessert, Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry, Fleur de Lis Bakery and Cafe, Alma Chocolate, Kir Jensen (The Sugar Cube), Kristen Murray (Paley’s Place), Kim Boyce (Golden Oven), Bakery Bar, Suzette, Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries, Confectionery, Little Branch Jam, and Bees & Beans.

Portland’s Bakesale for Japan
10am-2pm Saturday, April 2nd @

Ristretto Roasters (N Williams location)
3808 N Williams Ave
Barista (Pearl location)
539 NW 13th Ave

Linda Chaplik’s Oh, Goodness! Brownies

February 15th, 2011

Linda Chaplik stopped by recently with some of her peppermint chocolate gluten-free brownies for me. I'm spoiled.

I’m sorry for the silent treatment the past couple weeks. We’ve been through some hard times with our family and I couldn’t think about this, or anything beyond that, for a spell. I’m back now and here’s to good times ahead. This is a post I put together awhile back. It’s still very much pre-expiration date though. Nothing stinky…

I wrote about the Food Innovation Center’s Time to Market Showcase several weeks ago for Willamette Week and then followed that up with a Willamette Week blog post about the event. Now I’m following up my follow-up with even more here about participant Linda Chaplik’s super tasty gluten-free brownies.

Linda is a former corporate training manager turned food entrepreneur here in Portland and her gluten-free brownies (for the record, I have no problem whatsoever with gluten) are fantastic. In upcoming weeks Linda is working on securing a commercial kitchen and getting cafe accounts so keep your eyes peeled for her Oh, Goodness! brownies. I’ll keep you posted here.

Linda's gluten-free brownies are freakishly good. If you see them for sale somewhere buy them. All.

Linda Chaplik and her friend Peggy Flynn at the Food Innovation Center's Time to Market Showcase in December.

Dovetail Bakery Open: Extra, Extra!

February 4th, 2010
Tasty vegan treats at Dovetail Bakery's new NE Alberta location

Tasty vegan treats at Dovetail Bakery's new NE Alberta location

In December, I wrote about vegan Dovetail Bakery’s soon-to-be new retail location on Northeast Alberta Street. Well, they’ve delivered on their promise — they’re open for business!

This Saturday, February 6th from 5-8pm Dovetail is hosting its grand opening party with snacks, drinks and all sorts of good folks. According to Dovetail owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey the more the merrier so head on over for some merrymaking and free tasty vegan drinks and snacks this Saturday.

Dovetail Bakery 

3039 NE Alberta St.

Portland, Oregon


Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-6pm

**All photos in this post were taken by Morgan’s friend KC Tarog on Dovetail Bakery’s opening day late January.

Good morning sunshine -- Dovetail's cinnamon rolls

Good morning sunshine -- Dovetail's cinnamon rolls

More Dovetail Bakery vegan sweets. Open for business!

More Dovetail Bakery vegan sweets. Open for business!

Dovetail Bakery vegan scones and muffins

Dovetail Bakery vegan scones and muffins

The Grand Central Baking Book: Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

January 1st, 2010
Celebrate 2010 with these Grand Central Baking Book chocolate shortbread mint chocolate ganache sandwich cookies.

Celebrate 2010 with these Grand Central Baking Book chocolate shortbread mint chocolate ganache sandwich cookies.

I’m not a big baker. I don’t have a stand-up mixer, I rarely sift, I can’t remember the last time I bought shortening, and I don’t even own cake or bread tins. It’s not that I don’t enjoy baking it’s just I’ve never gotten into the habit of doing it. Not like some people I know. A couple months ago though something happened that might have an influence on that.

I interviewed Piper Davis of Grand Central Bakery in the spring for my book and shortly after spending an afternoon with her at the Fremont Grand Central, The Grand Central Baking Book hit the shelves. Piper wrote the book with local food writer Ellen Jackson and a couple months ago their publisher Ten Speed Press sent me a copy.

I’ve been reading various sections of the book since then and I really like the simple and straightforward approach they’ve taken. It’s a really nice all-level bake book because there are step by step photos for the amateur as well as more complicated techniques and recipes for the more advanced baker.

I decided to bake the chocolate shortbread, mint ganache sandwich cookies from it for Christmas and I’m so freakishly happy that I did. They were incredible.

First I made a batch of chocolate shortbread and chilled it in the fridge for a couple hours:

I doubled the batch...

I doubled the batch...

After the shortbread had chilled I sliced and baked it:

Into the oven with you!

Ready and waiting.

Then I baked the shortbread while preparing the chocolate mint ganache:

Chocolate, heavy cream, mint extract.

Chocolate, heavy cream, mint extract.

After 15 minutes in the oven the shortbread was ready:

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven.

The melt in your mouth chocolate shortbread combined with the creamy dark chocolate minty ganache was knee buckling good. These are definitely a new annual holiday cookie in my books. The only thing I’d change with the recipe would be to cut the ganache in half. It was a lot. That said, it never hurts to have a little extra ganache hanging around.

I’m really looking forward to trying Grand Central’s pizza dough next. I love homemade pizza and I’ve used the same dough recipe for awhile now. It’ll be nice to switch it up.

Even though I’ve only baked one recipe from the book so far — the success of that combined with reading through techniques and other recipes — I stand behind my loud and proud recommendation of The Grand Central Baking Book.

Two ganache covered thumbs up for this one.

Two ganache covered thumbs up for this one.

The Grand Central Baking Book

by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson
Ten Speed Press

Dovetail Bakery about to spread its wings: New retail location!

December 5th, 2009
I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I've got the scoop! The Dovetail Bakery scoop! Dovetail Bakery owner Morgan Grundstein-Helvey has some fabulous news.

I’m in the final edits stage of my book at the moment and in an effort to stay on the sunny side about the seemingly endless tedium it’s been great in the past few weeks to add some exciting new ventures to the pages of Food Lover’s Guide to Portland.

One that I’m very excited about is Dovetail Bakery’s soon to open retail location on Northeast Alberta Street. For years Dovetail has vended at farmers market and delivered wholesale only, with no retail location.

These lovely vegan baker ladies have been working around the clock the past few months to make the retail bakery happen and if all goes well Dovetail Bakery plans to ring in the new year and open shop on January 1st, 2010. The new Dovetail Bakery location has indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of bike parking in front.

Grand opening Jan. 1st, 2010!
Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

Same great vegan sweet and savory pastries at new retail location.

New menu to include:

Cinnamon rolls
Aunt Miriam’s sticky buns
Seasonally inspired sweet buns
Daily selection of cookies
Seasonally inspired loaf cakes
Seasonally inspired muffins
Sweet & savory tarts
Seasonal fruit pies
Changing selection of cakes & cupcakes
Artisan breads
Housemade coconut yogurt w/ Dovetail Bakery granola & fruit
Daily soup (featuring farm direct produce)
French press Courier Coffee
Magic Kombucha
Special orders are always welcome!

*Everything baked fresh on site.
*Loads of local ingredients.
*New CSA/CSB program. Dovetail has partnered with local farm Wealth Underground Farm that will provide the CSA portion (veggies, fruits, beans, etc.) while Dovetail will provide the bread and pastries CBA portion. Contact Dovetail for more information.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

The fabulous Dovetail Bakery ladies move shop to Northeast Alberta.

Dovetail Bakery
3039 NE Alberta St.
Portland, Oregon
Hours: Tue.-Sun. 8am-8pm

galleryHOMELAND Bake Sale @ The Cleaners at Ace Hotel THIS Saturday

November 18th, 2009

A week ago I got word of a galleryHOMELAND bake sale taking place this Saturday at The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel from 11am-2pm. galleryHOMELAND is a local non-profit arts organization and they’ve invited 30-plus chefs, mixologists, artists and others to donate baked goods and other tasty treats for the Saturday bake sale in order to drum up funds for their 2010 programming.

Hot cider and old time country music tunes will be on the house and you can buy individual baked goods for $3-$5 and various jarred goods for $5-$8.

A few participants and their treats include:

Chris DiMinno of Clyde Common: Terri DiMinno’s Sour Cream Coffeecake
Emily Katz of Emily Katz: Cardamon Apple pie
Sara Dudzinsky of Better Late than Never: Banana bread
Morgan Wu and Colette Higgins of Clyde Common: Artisan Ice Creams
Colleen French of Renegade Dinner Club: Old fashioned Chocolate Cake

galleryHOMELAND is a Portland, OR based non-profit arts organization advancing awareness of Portland’s rich cultural community by creating new opportunities and lasting cultural exchange in a unique series of programs focused on exporting local arts and artists and importing national and international art and artists.

galleyHOMELAND Bake Sale Benefit
Saturday November 21, 2009
The Cleaners at Ace Hotel
403 SW 10th
Portland, OR

More Pix Patisserie Love

November 5th, 2009
These are a few of my favorite things -- Pix Patisserie macarons.

These are a few of my favorite things -- Pix Patisserie macarons.

I think I’ve made myself pretty clear here about my undying love for Pix Patisserie. It’s one of my favorite Portland businesses which is why I’m excited to tell you about some new tasty things happening at the North Portland and Southeast Portland Pix. Here’s the scoop from the latest press release.

First up is Pix’s Time for Tea:

Each Sunday in November and December there will be a formal tea service between the hours of 11am and 3pm at the North Portland Pix. The $28 all inclusive menu will include a pot of tea from Townshend’s Alberta Street Tea House and a selection of 14 sweet and savory bite sized treats, including French macarons, soft-boiled quail eggs wrapped in prosciutto and rotating flavors of chocolat chaud. Reservations are required.

Next up is La Fete du Macaron:

On Saturday, November 28th both Pix locations will throw parties celebrating the French macaron. The macaron, made of two almond meringue cookies sandwiched together with various buttercream fillings, has been sought after in Paris for many years. To find a Pâtisserie that does not have a macaron is like finding a cheese shop that does not sell Rochefort.

While the English macaroon, spelled with double “o’s” and plump full of sweetened coconut can be a tasty treat, if you have never had a French macaron we think you are missing out! And there is no better day to try them than the day of the Fete du Macaron! Thirty different flavors will line the pastry case shelves from the traditional (Espresso, Pistachio) to the obscure (Roasted Red Pepper, Scotch Whisky, Tomato) to the sublime (What? You’ve never tried our Fleur de Sel Caramel macaron?!). There will also be macaron desserts, ice cream filled macarons, mini macarons and our new product — the Macaron Tower! At over 2 feet tall and covered with 100 colorful French macarons, this is sure to be a party pleaser! (Now available by special order. $190)

Want to win a macaron cake? Try your luck at the Macaron Cake Walk happening at Noon, 3pm and 6pm at each store.

Got a fabulous flavor idea? Enter our Macaron Flavor Contest. If we like your flavor idea and use it in our store, we’ll give you a $50 gift certificate /and/ a dozen macarons of that flavor. Start brainstorming. Submissions accepted at the festival.

And that’s not all. Every guest who buys a macaron will get a key to the Magical Treasure Chest. If your key opens the chest you could win a $20 Pix Gift Certificate or possibly turn into that genie character on Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Did I mention there will be a “Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho” macaron? To find out what flavor that one is you better come to the celebration!

And then there's always The Royale...

And then there's always The Royale...

Pix Patisserie North
3901 N. Williams Ave.
Portland OR 97227

Pix Patisserie SE
3402 SE Division St.
Portland OR 97202


Pie Time: Portland Pie-Off Sunday, Aug. 16th

August 10th, 2009
Strawberry rhubarb pear pie

Strawberry rhubarb pear pie

Because I’m feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by the fact that I have 30 days until my book is due I’m just going to post this press release pretty much as I got it. I remember hearing about this last year and wishing I could go. Sounds awesome…

Second Annual Portland Pie Baking Contest and Community Celebration

The Portland Pie Commission is pleased to announce the second annual Portland Pie-Off on Sunday, August 16th, 1pm at Peninsula Park, Site B (corners of N. Ainsworth, N. Albina and Rosa Parks Way). Part contest, part community celebration of all things pie, the Portland Pie-Off is a chance to meet other pie lovers, win fun prizes with your pie-making prowess, swap recipes and eat pie!

Why pie? Pie is egalitarian. Pie stands for sharing. Pie is humble and Pie is versatile. Pie is community!

Following on the heels of last summer’s wildly successful first Portland Pie-Off when over a hundred people and 50+ pies came together to celebrate community and pie, the second annual Portland Pie-Off is sure to be a hit with pie novices and sophisticates alike. The rules are simple: make a homemade pie (or several pies), bring it, your friends and family, and enjoy an afternoon at the park. Participants are strongly encouraged to register online http://www.portlandpieoff.com but in the spirit of pie, it’s all very simple. Step up to enter your pie, $5 donation per pie appreciated.

Categories for pies are: Savory (e.g. meat, cheese, tomato), Stone Fruit (e.g. peach, plum), Berry, Fruit, Cream, Custard, Mash-Up (rock your own weird combo), Nut, C.P.R. (ingredients beginning with C, P and R and as judged by American Red Cross). CPR pie? Of course!

Or just bring a pie for eating. In fact, we don’t even care if you bring a pie as long as you come with a stellar high-on-pie attitude. This is a grass-roots effort and it’s a first come first serve basis: don’t be late! After the judging, the pies will be available for eating. The more pies you bring, the more chance everyone has of eating some. Bring your own chairs or picnic blanket, pie serving utensils and beverages, and any toppings to your pie you may demand. There will be a 2-hour judging time so we encourage participants to bring yard games or a picnic and enjoy one of Portland’s most beautiful and historic parks.

Judges for the Portland Pie-Off include prolific blogger Jack Bogdanski, Greg Abbot (Whiffies Fried Pie Cart), Tricia Butler of Sassafras Catering (Grand Winner of Portland Pie-Off ’08), Joe of Stone Pie Joe’s, Byron Beck (journalist), County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, Kaie Wellman (Eat.Shop.Portland), Gary Walter, Stephanie Stricklen (KGW) and Rudy Speerschneider (Junior Ambassadors) as of August 4, 2009.

For more information, categories and pie-off contest rules, please go here. We are on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Photos from last year’s event.

The Portland Pie-Off is the brainchild of the Portland Pie Commission; Gretchen, Karol, LeAnn, and Lizzy all connected through their love of Pie and Twitter. We are community driven and appreciate the support of County Commissioner Cogen, The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, New Seasons and others in helping make this classic summer event happen.

Grand Central U-Bake — June 6th, 9am-1pm

June 2nd, 2009

I’m much more of a cook than a baker. I make my own pizza dough and every once in awhile I’ll bake a cake or some cookies but that’s about it. So when Piper Davis of Grand Central Bakery came by the other day with a big bag of GC’s soon to hit the market U-Bake frozen cookies, puff pastry and pie dough I felt pretty unworthy. Turns out I’m the ideal person to give them a try because I’m a novice baker who loves tasty baked goods but rarely takes the time to make them.

For my U-Bake pie I started by making this…

A strawberry, pear and rhubarb filling

A strawberry, pear and rhubarb filling

Then I filled this…

Grand Central's U-Bake pie crust

Grand Central's U-Bake pie crust

And I ended up with this…

Just out of the oven and soon to be topped with vanilla ice cream

Just out of the oven and soon to be topped with vanilla ice cream

The line of frozen pre-made and formed cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and ginger molasses) are even easier. You pull out the frozen dozen, separate a few cookies, roll them in sugar, put them on the cookie sheet and 10 minutes later you have delicious home baked cookies.

Ginger molasses cookies straight from the oven

Ginger molasses cookies straight from the oven

I made a whole bunch of savory treats with the puff pastry dough for dinner with a friend’s family but I didn’t take any photos of the cheesy puffs because the dinner was at their home and I didn’t want my camera to get in the way of our eating. Luckily right before we left for their place I took a photo of the fillings…

Ricotta/sorrel pesto/mozzarella mix with bulk spicy Italian sausage

Ricotta/sorrel pesto/mozzarella mix with bulk spicy Italian sausage

If you have a chance this Saturday, June 6th GC is rolling out its new U-Bake line (pie dough, puff pastry dough, pre-made pies and cookies) at all of its Portland bakeries. From 9am to 1pm each bakery cafe will be staffed with a baker sampling U-Bake products and sharing recipes and advice. Added bonus: 50% of the proceeds of U-Bake products sold that day will be donated to the Portland Schools Foundation. Be sweet and go buy some sweets.

Grand Central
9am-1pm Saturday, June 6th U-bake roll out at all Portland Grand Central Bakeries