Saturday, December 18, 2010

Classic Holiday Cocktails: Booze and Brunch at Irving Street Kitchen

What: Booze and Brunch: Classic Holiday Cocktails
Where: Irving Street Kitchen's Extra-long bar at 701 NW 13th Street (at Irving Street) in the Pearl District
Who: Irving Street Kitchen's own Brandon Wise (Eater PDX's Shaker of the Year 2010) and Jacob Grier (of Metrovino) - Complete with tacky Christmas sweaters and Santa hats!

I had the amazing priveledge to sit with some of Portland's favorite booze enthusiasts this morning for the first of these fun events with Brandon and Jacob, two of the best shakers in town. We were treated to four holiday drinks along with some tricks of the trade, like the precise definition of a "ropey" drink texture or fact that egg whites are, in fact, located INSIDE of eggshells... All kidding aside, these were great cocktails, including a classic New Orleans Fizz, a Bols Genever Hot Cocoa, traditional holiday Wassail, and a Dutch 75 with Bols Genever, champagne, and lemon It was very fun to get tips for holiday mixing and watch our fellow diners wear out their arms trying their hand at shaking.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Medlar? What's a Medlar?

A few weeks ago I was at Park Kitchen chatting with Chef Scott Dolich about the sources of his produce and the reliability of local Portland farmers coming through year after year. Scott's a regular customer of Sheldon and Carol Laeity of Your Kitchen Garden in Canby, because they supply their "beyond organic" produce to the Portland restaurant scene almost year-round (all but January) and they provide some unique varieties of greens, veggies, and fruits that you just can't get anywhere else. Another favorite farmer of Scott's is Tremaine Arkley who owns land in Independance, Oregon (just north of Keizer). Tremaine is the source of some of Park Kitchen's more interesting menu items, including these homely little guys. These, my friends, are medlars. When Scott pulled out a canister of these wrinkly things from under his counter, he had this big grin on his face because he knew he was introducing me to something I had never heard of, much less seen.

New Year's Eve Specials in Portland: Ring in 2011 with a Full Stomach

If you're still searching for your New Year's Eve plans, let Eater PDX help you out. I've done the legwork for you with an overview of the best New Years Eve Parties for Foodies in Portland. I've listed restaurant specials, late-night dancing and DJ's, and stellar tasting menus all around Portland. Some of my favorite places, including Accanto, Gilt Club, Nostrana, Roost, and Bar Avignon (pictured above), are pulling out all the stops to end your year right. Many places have early seatings if you have somewhere better to be for the ball dropping. They say the way you spend New Year's foreshadows the year to come, so what better way to guarantee a good 2011 than by making sure the evening of December 31 is spent stuffing your face? Eat on, good friends. Eat on.

P.S. If you've got family in town for the holidays and need some recommendations for places it eat in Portland, let me know. Got a vegetarian niece? Parents that want to splurge on something fancy? An adventurous foodie brother? I've got tips for any family sitch. My parents are coming up next week, and I'm going to try my best to convince my dad to try somewhere other than the Screen Door. What can I say, the man knows what he likes, but three SD trips in a week gets a bit intense. If you'd like Portland holiday restaurant tips, email me at or leave a comment below!