Cocotte Contest

October 29th, 2012

Comment here for the chance to win two $25 gift certificates to Portland's Cocotte!

Have you checked out this year’s Willamette Week Restaurant Guide that came out last week? I look forward to it every year. Partly, because I always get to review restaurants for it but also because it’s a great compass for Portland dining and always makes me hungry to try more places.

This year I wrote three reviews for the guide — Ocean City, Bamboo Sushi and Cocotte. I’d never been to Cocotte and loved it and think you might too. Here’s a bit of what I wrote:

“For all of the complaints that Portland doesn’t do seafood right beyond a few sushi spots, let’s have a drum roll for Cocotte. This pretty little corner bistro on Northeast 30th Avenue’s restaurant row (neighbored by Beast, Yakuza, Autentica and DOC) is all about small plates and entrees from le mer. The smoked salmon salad over a fallen potato soufflé with tarragon aioli is topped with farm-fresh greens, moist and not too smoky salmon, and slivers of radish in a lemony shallot vinaigrette. It’s perfect…”

Read the full review

Cocotte’s co-chef/owner, Kat LeSueur, sent me two $25 gift certificates for a blog contest so I’ve chosen a lucky number and that numbered commenter gets both gift certificates. This is what I’d like you to comment about here — what’s one of your favorite dishes to prepare solo at home when the days get shorter? When the weather gets cold a lot of times we tend to want to make big pots of stews and soups and braises — enough to feed a small army. What’s a smaller dish — just for you — that you love cook in the fall and winter?

2930 NE Killingsworth Street
Portland, Oregon 97211

Hillsdale Paella Party 2012

September 10th, 2012

Chef Greg Higgins cooking up paella for 300 people at last year's Hillsdale Paella Party.

Last year I wrote about the Hillsdale Paella Party here and I’m doing it again because there’s a 5 foot paella pan involved (!) and all sorts of other tasty food and drink and I really like the community behind this Hillsdale Main Street, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing Hillsdale, second annual event.

I’m going to pull all of the most important info. from the press release below. If you’re interested in attending I suggest getting a ticket sooner than later (purchase tickets here) because last year’s event sold out. From the press release…

This Saturday you’re invited to eat, drink and be merry for a great cause with the largest paella offering in the Northwest — cooked up by James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Higgins. Desserts will be by Portland’s Baker & Spice Bakery, with executive baker Julie Richardson who just released her new book Vintage Cakes. Latin music will be by Ojos Feos. This year more 300 Portlanders will attend to support this annual fundraiser.

On September 15th, guests will escape to Spain in an outdoor summer setting here in Southwest Portland, enjoying Spanish wines, live music, gourmet tapas and desserts, along with traditional paella. “When added to the outstanding tapas, still raved about after last year, and the decadent desserts created and donated by Hillsdale’s own Baker & Spice Bakery, this year’s event will be one-of-a-kind.”, says Hillsdale Main Street Executive Director Megan Braunsten.

While attendees dance to Afro-Cuban and South American style music, enjoy wine and tapas and, they will also be entertained by the making of the paella. The paella dinner, a tradition in Valencia, Spain, is a means of bringing the community neighbors together to connect, share in the meal and have fun. The paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish including saffron, shrimp, chicken, sausage and vegetables, cooked in a large round pan (a paella) outdoors for large groups of people.

Sponsors include Wyse Kadish, Willamette Week, Baker & Spice Bakery and Food Front. Hillsdale Main Street, one of the three Portland Main Street programs, is a program of the Hillsdale Community Foundation, a 501c3 whose mission is to make Hillsdale a better place to live, learn, work and shop by fostering community building and by raising and distributing resources. A portion of the proceeds will also go to benefit the Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program. Neighborhood House now serves approximately 14,000 low-income children, families and seniors around the city each year through programs that educate children and parents, feed and house hungry and homeless families, and assist seniors so that they can continue to live independently.

Hillsdale Paella Party
Saturday, September 15th, 2012
In the Hillsdale Business District in the big tent next to Bank of America at
6309 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon 97239
$100 per person (Proceeds benefit Hillsdale Main Street and Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program)
Purchase tickets
Contact Tamairah Boleyn for more information:
tam at korkagewine dot com

The Parish: Q&A with Tobias Hogan and Ethan Powell

March 5th, 2012

Ethan Powell and Tobias Hogan are at it again -- their new Cajun/Creole restaurant The Parish is set to open this summer in The Pearl.

If you haven’t heard already these two fine looking fellows — co-owners of EaT Oyster Bar on North Williams — are set to open another Cajun/Creole restaurant in the Pearl this summer called The Parish in the space that used to house In Good Taste. According to a recent press release:

“The menu at The Parish blends urban New Orleans cuisine with the country-style Cajun cooking. Focusing on locally sourced ingredients, the menu will reach beyond seafood and oysters to local wild game birds, rabbit, and even a whole pig. The co-owners have strong ties to the oyster farmers in Oregon, CA and Washington and will continue to offer fresh raw oysters year-round with a shucking bar and a new retail oyster program. A section of the menu will include classic southern dishes that won’t change such as BBQ shrimp, Seafood gumbo, Shrimp Étouffée, and an assortment of po’boy sandwiches.”

Here’s what Tobias had to say to me recently about The Parish, which is set to open this summer…

Why the Pearl?

We like it because of it’s central location for the Metro area. We’ll have close proximity to the central business district providing access to business luncheons as well as after work meet-ups. We’re also excited about the opportunity to expose our concept to people who live on the west side of the city and the suburbs to the west who don’t generally head to the east side of the city.

So you’ll be selling oysters wholesale and retail?

We will have an oyster wholesale center to service downtown restaurant customers as well as a retail oyster basin up front to sell directly to the public.

What are a couple menu items that you’re really excited about?

Our Duck Confit Gumbo (served with a crispy Confit Leg on top) is really good, we’re also going to be doing some great hot apps and oysters off the grill that will be visible up front by the oyster bar.

Can you give me some details about the space?

It will have a large visible oyster bar with other fresh seafood available. There will be some nice booth seating and a nice big bar where we’ll have local wines on tap by the glass, several local beers on tap and serving some great cocktails from the pre-prohibition influence that Portland has become famous for. To reference this tradition we’re referring to the bar as Bar Vieux Carre or “The Old Quarter” or a common name for the French Quarter in NOLA. It’s also a Tennessee Williams play set in NOLA.

Will there be live music at The Parish?

We’re planning on having a classic Jazz Brunch on Saturday and Sundays maybe music will happen other nights, but we don’t have plans for that quite yet.

Number one thing that you’re looking forward to with the new restaurant?

Getting open and presenting the space to our city as a showcase Creole restaurant and oyster bar. We’ve been strong proponents of oysters for many years with EaT and before. We’re very excited to update the concept of an oyster bar using our Farm connections to showcase the best oysters from the NW and beyond.

The Parish (and Vieux Carre Bar) opening summer 2012
231 NW 11th Street, Portland, Oregon

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

Homemade Dim Sum

January 6th, 2011

Christmas shrimp serrano ginger shao mai.

We had a home on the range, quiet Christmas this year. It was just my boyfriend and I so we decided to cook up two of our favorite things — seafood and dim sum. For supplies we went to Uwajimaya in Beaverton. We filled the cart with shao mai ingredients, two Dungeness crabs (live when we chose them but killed and eviscerated before handed over the counter), a couple pounds of prawns, nice sake, Kirin Ichiban, and more.

On Christmas Eve for dinner we started with Dungeness in drawn butter mixed with a generous squeeze of lime. One of my favorite things in the world to eat. Then we set to making our traditional shao mai, skins and all, from the cookbook below. The next day we used the same techniques but changed the filling to mostly shrimp with lots of serrano, ginger and shitakes. Awesome.

I’ve had Mai Leung’s book for years and finally got around to using it. I love potstickers and have pretty much used the same Florence Lin recipe, and variations of it of course, for years. I’ve finally taken a bite out of this book now and I’m looking forward to trying other recipes. I love Leung’s stories peppered throughout. The illustrations are pretty great too. Here’s what we made. Happy New Year!

This is what we filled the shrimp/serrano/ginger shao mai with...

Our instructor...

Nice illustrations...

We also made these classic shao mai -- skins and all.

And steamed them up.

10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.
Beaverton, Oregon

A Week Away…

June 24th, 2010

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland Book Launch Party Invite

A week from today on Thursday, July 1st, from 6-9pm at Fortune Tattoo I hope that you’ll join me in celebrating the launch of my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland! It’s been a long time coming and I’m more than ready to celebrate with friends and fellow Portlanders. It’s First Thursday after all so if you’re hitting up the galleries head across the river for a bit and celebrate PDX food and drink.

((ATTENTION: My boyfriend, Tyler Adams, no longer co-owns Fortune Tattoo. Visit his North Portland shop — Grizzly Tattoo — which opened June, 2011! For more info. visit, 503.265.8146. Grrrrrrrizzly!))

If you scroll down on the invite above you’ll see some of the fine food and drink folks donating incredible stuff for the party. These are some of my favorite Portland people and I’m so happy that they’re helping me out in this way.

I’m also grateful to my boyfriend Tyler Adams and his business partner Ms. Mikki for hosting the party at their open-since-April-1st tattoo shop — Fortune Tattoo. THANK YOU guys! Toward the end of the night I’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky book buyer that involves needles and ink. I wonder what it is…

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland — Book Launch Party
Fortune Tattoo, 1716 East Burnside St., Portland, OR
Thursday, July 1st — 6-9pm
Food. Drink. Music. Books.

River’s Edge Smoked Salmon

March 29th, 2010

It doesn't get much more spring than this...

I got a really nice package on my doorstep a few weeks ago from a woman that I used to work with at The Alameda Cafe — Erika Simeon. I hadn’t spoken with her in years and since then it turns out that she and her dad have started a business smoking and selling the above — River’s Edge Smoked Salmon.

The past two and half years they’ve been perfecting this secret recipe smoked salmon and I was lucky enough to get samples of the King and Coho. The King was definitely my favorite because it was so moist and flavorful. The Coho — on the salt bagel above with cream cheese, capers, and scallions — was a bit drier but still really good.

According to Erika they use wild line caught Northwest salmon, organic brown sugar, and solar evaporated sea salt for the small batch alder smoked salmon.

We went to the coast last weekend and I brought along a couple packages of chevre, along with some fresh herbs clipped from the garden and some of last year’s garlic. I minced the herbs (oregano, mint, thyme, chives, sorrel) along with the garlic and whipped them into the chevre with a good amount of half and half. One of the tastiest things that we ate over the weekend was wamed and sliced Pearl Bakery baguette smeared with the garlic and herb chevre and topped with River’s Edge Smoked King Salmon along with a nice, dry French rose.

Although River’s Edge products aren’t available in local stores yet — I’ll let you know when they are — you can purchase the smoked salmon online. If you’re local email Erika at for free Portland area delivery.

Local smoked salmon at your service

River’s Edge Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon Alfredo — Siletz Tribal Smokehouse

November 17th, 2009
Introducing smoked salmon alfredo

Introducing smoked salmon alfredo

Even though this isn’t a recipe-based blog every once in awhile something happens in my kitchen that I have to share. A few days ago, armed with a quarter pound of smoked salmon and a handful of brussels sprouts I decided to make smoked salmon alfredo. With brussels sprouts. It was delicious and I’m going to give you a recipe in a minute.

First I want to tell you that the smoked salmon I used was a nice surprise. I often get shelf stable smoked salmon (rather than refrigerated, often vacuum-packed smoked salmon) for various far away folks during the holidays and walking down the aisle where I normally find it at New Seasons I noticed a new package of smoked salmon on the shelf — this one from Oregon. I grabbed a box.

You can't miss the packaging

You can't miss the packaging

I’d like to give you some info. beyond the fact that it was yummy, and moist and made my stomach happy but for some reason the website attached to the product — Oregon Smoked Foods, Inc. — is acting funny. I’ll revisit it soon and get you some more information. I’m curious. The only info. I can give you about the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians is that I gathered and included some very interesting old recipes from the tribe for a story I did about lamprey in 2006 for the Portland Tribune.

For now, let me tell you about the tasty smoked salmon alfredo I made.

First I sauteed several thinly sliced brussels sprouts over medium heat with half a diced yellow onion and two minced fresh cayenne chiles in a couple teaspoons of bacon fat and tablespoon of butter. After a few minutes I added the broken into hunks smoked salmon and took the pan off the heat. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees.

Next I put a salted pot of water to boil and once boiling I added a pound of spaghetti and let it cook till done.

While the pasta boiled I put a small oven-safe dish in the oven once it was preheated to 400 degrees and left it in there for a few minutes to warm up. I removed the pot once it was hot and cracked a couple eggs into it with a cup or so of finely grated asiago, a half cup or so of half-and-half and I whisked that together.

Then I mixed this heated egg/cheese slurry with the right out of the pot and still piping hot cooked pasta and the hot brussels/onion/chili/salmon mix. I ground some fresh pepper over the lot, added a few shakes of sea salt, and topped the spaghetti with some minced parsley. It was delicious and I highly recommend it.

This smoked salmon salad from Tria Cafe in Philadelphia that a hungry blogger recently wrote about sounds pretty yummy too if you’re looking for other smoked salmon ideas.

Farmer-Chef Connection — Hosted by Portland Chefs Collaborative and Ecotrust

November 11th, 2009
Vanity strikes.

Vanity strikes.

Yes, I took a photo of my nametag. It equated me to my book and since it was the first time I got to “wear” my book I was pretty excited.

And what was the nametag for you might ask? This past March was my first time attending the Farmer-Chef Connection — a Portland Chefs Collaborative and Ecotrust hosted event. It was held at Clackamas Community College — a half hour south of Portland.

I love farmers. In fact I considered becoming one right after high school when I worked on a small herb farm in the Extremadura region of Spain. In recent years, one of my favorite long-term assignments was visiting and interviewing local farmers for the Portland Tribune. I still interview farmers from time-to-time but not regularly.

The Farmer-Chef Connection is put on annually as a way to bring producers and food buyers together to chew the fat, break bread, share advice, and most importantly speed date. The latter is just another way to say make connections. Mid-day farmers and producers gathered on one side of the conference room and took turns giving microphoned introductions and quick run-downs of their farms and crops. After that restaurateurs, chefs and other food service folks buzzed around talking with them about their needs.

Lunch was a big potluck with foods prepared by participating farmers and chefs. On the long buffet table were delicious Picklopolis Pickles from David Barber of Three Square Grill, a Cattail Creek Lamb roast from Nostrana, New Seasons Market spicy Thai lamb ribs, a kale salad from Organically Grown Company, Sweetbriar Farms pulled pork, Hot Lips Soda and much more.

I sat at a table with a friend who’s enrolled in the Clackamas Horticulture Program and broke bread with Cathy Whims chef/owner of Nostrana, her sous chef and other culinary and farm folks. Toward the end of lunch John Witte of Tenino Farm in Southeast Portland stopped by and handed Whims a small container of his farm-grown, salt cured black olives. It was a charming gesture and Whims seemed touched as we passed the dish around the table. I heart farmers. I heart chefs.

Tasting table madness. David Barber of Picklopolis samples his briny goods at the Farmer-Chef Connection.

Tasting table madness. David Barber of Picklopolis samples his briny goods at the Farmer-Chef Connection.

Farmer-Chef Connection

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