Thursday, October 14, 2010

Portland Food Adventures - Dinner with Sexy People at Park Kitchen

Last night, several long metallic tables were pulled together to create the stage for the latest installment of Portland's newest culinary experience. Chef's-Choice Portland Food Adventures followed up its inaugural dinner at Nostrana with a truly amazing parade of small plates and family-style entrees with Chef Scott Dolich at Park Kitchen, the jewel-box of a restaurant located on NW Glisan and 8th on the eponymous Park Blocks.

As soon as I walked in, I knew the night was going to be great, and I readied myself for a few solid hours of wine, jokes and conversation about the Portland food world with some of the best of the best, and the warm fuzzies of good regional food made really, really well. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Evan and Ali - formerly of the Little Red Bike Cafe and currently of a handful of foodie projects sure to take Portland by storm - and they could not have been sweeter (or better-looking!). Across from me sat the hilarious (also damn attractive - seriously, Portland foodies are a bunch of lookers) good people behind Integrity Spirits - distillers of Lovejoy Vodka, Trillium Absinthe, and 12 Bridges Gin. While, admittedly, I'm a sucker for Portland-centric products, this stuff is fantastic. Across the room sat Charles and Allie, the, yet again, stunningly handsome couple behind one of Portland newest food carts, Euro Trash - located in the (best) new card pod on SE Belmont and 43rd. I finally got to meet the incomparable Nick Zukin, one of the best (loudest?) voices in Portland food opinions - I'd be hard-pressed to name a single friend of mine who doesn't have a copy of Nick's Willamette Week BurgerQuest article tucked away for reference. To top it off, the wine was flowing and the food kept coming - seriously, so much food - complete with stories behind the plates from Chef Scott Dolich himself.

Long story short - ha - around this giant table sat some people I've admired for a very long time, and thanks to Chris Angelus' Portland Food Adventures, normal-looking ordinary people like you and me can rub elbows with Portland foodie greats while getting stuffed to the gills with some of the best food in town. This is how food was meant to be eaten - with celebration and friends over a period of several hours. It's kind of like a spa treatment or a yoga class - a full-body, whole-mind, soul-satisfying experience - with none of the pesky sweating or communal showers. As if that wasn't enough to get me out of the house on a Wednesday night, we all walked out with an over-stuffed envelope of gift certificates for a return trip to Park Kitchen, goodies from Steve Jones' Cheese Bar and Xocolatl de David, a nouveau-classic Portland meal at Pine State Biscuits, and tapas at Pata Negra. Seriously, this is the deal of the year, worth every penny. To get on the list for the next Portland Food Adventure, check out their website -, contact Chris, or ask me about the night! I'm always happy to eat and tell.

I could go on and on about the food, but take a look for yourself...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Five Ways to Make Unprocessed Eating Easier than Ever

"For me, eating unprocessed foods means cooking up and serving the foods grown by my farmer friends, and eating out at restaurants manned by local chefs using those same ingredients. This relationship with food has made eating simple, real foods with the seasons the cornerstone of my community — I am connected to the Oregon soil, the animals that graze, the hands that harvest, the smiles that greet me at the market, and the friends and family that prepare and share the bounty. Over the years, I’ve developed a few time-saving tricks that make an Unprocessed lifestyle exciting, fun, and delicious..."

For my time-saving tips on eating well and close to the source, check out my guest blog post for October: Unprocessed, the national movement to reclaim our right to good, whole food in a world of packaging and chemicals. Go here to find out more and take the Eat Unprocessed pledge. Don’t worry if you missed the start date! You can start your 30 days today, or simply join in for the rest of the month.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Portland Food Adventures - Family Style at Nostrana with Cathy Whims

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the first-ever Chef's-Choice Portland Food Adventure at Nostrana, featuring the insane culinary talents of Chef Cathy Whims. The brain-child of food-networking extraordinaire Chris Angelus, this series of exclusive family-style gatherings at Portland's hottest restaurants is based on a charmingly simple beginning - Chris has become somewhat of a go-to resource for many Portlanders and Northwest travelers who need restaurant and food supply tips, so he figured people would love to get similar tips from the people who know the Portland food scene best, the chefs! At each event, attendees are treated to an epic multi-course family style meal, complete with lots of face time with the chefs themselves. Guests are encouraged to ask questions about everything from the source of the wine to the farmer who raised the lamb on the menu. In addition to a memorable night of food, wine, and laughter with a bunch of new friends, the Portland Food Adventure Package comes with a packed envelop of gift certificates, hand-picked by the host chef, featuring their favorite Portland shops, bars, and restaurants. In the Nostrana package, Chef Cathy Whims shared her love of Tastebud 's Montreal-style bagels, porky products at  The People's Pig, olive oils and vinegars at Benessere, a return trip to Nostrana, and the delightful cocktails and food of the unstoppable Randy Goodman and Nancy Hunt of  Bar Avignon. Attendees of the first event at Nostrana will be invited to a cozy cocktail hour with Cathy, Randy, and Nancy, making the Portland Food Adventure a truly smart investment - it's a ticket into the world of Portland Foodies in the know, and it's a ridiculously good deal. For the price of a tasting menu, Portland Food Adventure guests are treated to not one but more than 5 food experiences.

Interested in hopping on board for the next Portland Food Adventure? Join Chef Scott Dolich for a one-of-a-kind evening at Park Kitchen on Wednesday, October 13 - featuring gift certificates for Steve Jones' Cheese Bar and Xocolatl de David, Pine State Biscuits, Patanegra, and Park Kitchen - or get to know Chef Jason French at Ned Ludd on October 20 - complete with gift certificates to Heart Roasters for Jason's favorite coffee, Bakery Bar, Meat Cheese Bread, a trip to Portland's own hipster-fab cart pod Cartopia for Perierra Crêperie and Whiffies Fried Pies, and another delicious meal at Ned Ludd. Portland Food Adventures is the perfect treat for food loving friends, clients, travelers, or Portland food experts. It's always such a treat to meet the chefs behind the food that makes this town so great, as well as to connect with people in town who love Portland food as much as I do.

Portland Food Adventures at Nostrana was featured on our local news Channel 8 - here's a link to that live broadcast - you can see me yapping away at the end of the table at around the 1:40 minute mark. Typical. Enjoy the photos - and get yourself to Nostrana - this is my favorite time of year for rustic Italian cooking - the stacks of wood and wood-fired oven seem to fit in perfectly with the changing fall leaves and darkening skies. For more information about Portland Food Adventures, check out their website -, contact Chris, or ask me about the night! I'm always happy to eat and tell.