Monday, August 11, 2008

A Whirlwind TableTalkPortland Weekend

What a weekend! Sure, I say that every weekend, but seriously, it was quite a weekend here at First Thursday, Bite of Oregon, Farmer's Market, Toro's all kind of a blur. Fortunately, I took lots of pictures.

First stop, the Pearl District's Teardrop Lounge for First Thursday.  Heather and Patrick secured the big booth in the corner for our relaxed sipping pleasure, and we all piled in--Michael, Patrick, Heather, Bradley, me, Michelle, and Teardrop Executive Chef Alyssa Graff. 

It was Sake Sangria night for me--Teardrop makes fantastic sangria with sake, fresh seasonal fruit (peaches and blueberries this particular night), brandy and spices. At $6 a glass, it's the best bargain on the cocktail menu. And if you happen to make it in during happy hour (4-7 pm), it's only $4 a glass. 

We'd neglected to eat dinner, so Michelle ordered the lamb meatballs,  

and the Panzanella salad--chunks of crispy brioche, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives, tender pieces of mozzarella, a chiffonade of basil, olive oil and vinegar. Delicious.

Then we moved on to the Everett Station Lofts for a courtyard art party. Our friends Fabian and Mary Anna (who was singing at the party, hear her lovely voice HERE) were hosting a mojito party in their loft. Fabian has a distinct mojito-making style, which involves cutting up tons of limes with a very big knife and a maniacal grin.

Fabian kindly provided his Quick 'n Easy mojito recipe, which uses 7Up in place of simple syrup and soda water to streamline the mojito-making process. He also puts lime zest in his mojitos, which releases essential lime oils into the drink for an extra punch of citrus.

Fabian's Mojito Recipe
Juice and zest of 5 limes
4 liters of 7Up
1 bottle rum, "quality dependent on quality of your guests"
Crushed ice

Mix above ingredients in a big pot. Crush ice with a cast iron skillet and fill cups, then ladle mixture into them. So easy! So good!

After all those mojitos Thursday night, it is understandable that I was a little late to my Friday morning volunteer shift at Bite of Oregon, Portland's annual Waterfront culinary festival benefitting Special Olympics. Leigh, Erin and I were in charge of selling commemorative 25th Bite of Oregon Anniversary Riedel wineglasses to festival patrons.
It was a very hard job, but somebody had to do it. 

After our shift, we browsed the booths. Hip Chicks Do Wine was there, and we tasted a few of their wines, including the Bad Birl Blanc and the Riot Girl Rose. 

I'm a big fan of Hip Chick's sassy labels. I believe I will get this particular one for Michelle for her upcoming birthday (September 5). Don't tell her please. She doesn't actually read my postings so I am safe telling you my plan. 

Leigh and Erin took their pictures with the Thomas Kemper root beer models. 

After our grueling day at Bite of Oregon, we met up with Mom and Dad, who were in town for the weekend, for happy hour at Bluehour. We sat next to Bruce Carey! Oh my!

The drink of the day was Sparkling Sangria! Mom liked it very much!

We also shared a few appetizers off Bluehour's phenomenal happy hour menu, including the Portabella mushroom brushchetta.

Feeling in need of dessert, we headed to Fenouil for a flight of Italian digestifs

and a delectable peach tarte tatin.

Saturday morning Michelle and I were at our 8:15 am Taste the Place volunteer job at the stroke of 8:37 am, and after buying roughly 10 pounds of Gathering Together Farm's beautiful eggplant, we were soon frying up thin strips of eggplant to woo the eggplant skeptical and delight the eggplant loving. We used the family Fried Eggplant recipe. Slice eggplant thinly (a quarter inch works) then dredge in flour and pan fry in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkling lightly with garlic salt, until golden and crispy on both sides. See, so simple! 

Michelle was very bossy today and quite frightening wielding her big eggplant slicing knife. "Cut faster! Dredge faster! Dance, I SAID DANCE!" she snarled. "I do not wish to dance," I informed my cantankerous kitchen tyrant of a sister, slapping her with a slice of undredged eggplant.

After a brief flour fight and a few good wallops with the frying spatula, we settled our differences.

Saturday night we raced the clock to get to Toro Bravo at 4:55 pm, just in time to slip into the looooong line of hungry patrons hopeful of making the 5 pm seating. Thankfully we just made the cut, while the unlucky sods who didn't were forced to sit out the first seating in Toro Bravo's skinny little waiting closet. To soothe our nerves, Dad and I had Blackberry Pimm's.

Mom dishes out the Singing Pig greens salad,

we gobbled up crispy little Manchego and paprika fritters with spicy pico de gallo

and the superb lamb with apricot and coriander.

Michelle had coffee and we shared the sweet-salty chocolate almonds for dessert.

Sunday morning was breakfast at Junior's on SE 12th Street. I like Junior's very much. It is tiny, with sparkly gold vinyl booths and walls filled with mirrors clasped in gilded frames. The pictures on the back wall are crooked, which made Mom dizzy, and I could see she was itching to straighten them, but really, I think they are intentionally crooked just to panic the obsessive compulsive, which is rather amusing. 

However, there were a few things about Junior's Cafe that were NOT amusing.
They were:
-out of spoons (we're living in a spoonless world for the next few minutes, says the server)
-out of all freshly baked goods (you'll just have to use your imagination, says the server)
-out of Nutella toast (we're out of Nutella, says the server rather unapologetically. huh? what?! who runs out of Nutella??????????!!!!!!!!)
-low on menus (you want one to keep? forever? we're short, but maybe next time, says the server)

Despite all the shortages, breakfast was very good. I'd love to tell you all the details, but I couldn't keep my menu and my memory is poor. I will try though. 

Mom had the Migas  scramble--three fresh free-range antibiotic free eggs, green chiles, jalapenos, tomatoes, chorizo, salty goat's cheese and lots of yummy fresh cilantro, served with fresh fruit in lieu of potatoes ($3 extra) and whole grain toast.

Dad had the basic eggs 'n bacon. "It's not fancy, but it's good," he growled when I accused him of being an unadventurous breakfast eater.

I had the maple smoked ham, brie, and leeks breakfast sandwich on whole grain bread. It was like a very nice grilled cheese sandwich, although I thought it could have benefited from some sort of spread to give it a little more flavor. But maybe the lack of Nutella in my system was just making me surly. 

I guess I know where I got my love for jam. Thanks Mom. 

And that's about it, folks. Hope your weekend was fabulous too.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a fun-filled weekend you had! Looks like fun!

    Thanks for the link to my myspace page, and what a great picture of Fabe. You truly captured his essence, maniacal grin and all!

    Mary Anna