Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And the Eat Goes On....

Hello TableTalk readers, 

It's been a while. Hope you're all healthy, happy, and eating & drinking well!

Just a quick announcement of sorts. You've undoubtedly noticed that the blog has been curiously silent this summer. This is because Michelle and I have been working on new and exciting projects, both of which are finally coming to fruition. 

I'm exceedingly thrilled to announce the launch of my new food website, Under the Table with Jen. This beautiful website was designed and illustrated by Portland designer Mette Hornung Rankin and was written by me. You can use the site to find out all sorts of information about Portland's best restaurants, bakeries, food carts, bars, coffeehouses, farmers markets, events, etc. There are cool features like the Cravings and Occasions sections, where you can find a place to eat based on what you're craving (Wine & Cheese? Chocolate? Comfort Food?) or by the sort of occasion you're planning for (Special & Splurgey? Romantic Date? Pre-Theater?). Every Thursday I'm sending out a newsletter, Table Scraps, full of food news and links, so be sure to subscribe! You can also follow Under the Table on Twitter and Facebook. And yes, there's a BLOG!   

Michelle has partnered with our favorite super cute chef Elias Cairo, Nate Tilden, Jason Barwikowski, Carly Laws, Elizabeth Bisegna-Gaston, Tyler Gaston and Marty Schwartz, to open Olympic Provisions restaurant, which will be located at 107 SE Washington Street, in the big yellow Olympic Mills building down on the Southeast waterfront. Jason, currently the chef at Clyde Common, will be at the helm in the kitchen, and Eli will be heading up OP's USDA-approved meat department, making all his phenomenal cured meats for both the restaurant and for retail. Olympic Provisions is going to open up in the next couple of weeks. Visit the website (still under construction), or stay up to date by becoming a fan on Facebook!

Thanks for following our edible exploits this past couple of years, and we hope you join us in our future endeavors by reading Under the Table and eating at Olympic Provisions! 

Jen & Michelle 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jen You Look So Happy!!

Today Jen, Beth, and I decided that we were grown woman and deserved a decent breakfast before going to work, so we created a Friday Morning Breakfast Club. This morning we went to The Original. It looks like a bar/cafe from the 50s, so we felt very sophisticated having our ladies breakfast before scooting off to do our charity work... oh wait, I mean go to work.

Jen was being difficult AGAIN and demanded that they cook her the Voodoo Burger, which isn't on the breakfast menu for obvious reasons. The Voodoo Burger is a cheeseburger sandwiched between a grilled Voodoo glazed doughnut. It wasn't the most sophisticated woman's breakfast, but what can we say- we are modern women.

Jen was obviously excited and triumphant that she convinced them to make it for her breakfast.

I have to admit that it was an amazing burger and the sweet doughnut around it made it a great guilty pleasure breakfast!

I would totally go there again and I was surprised to find out that it has had some awful reviews. We are going to go and try happy hour and dinner soon, so we'll let you know how that goes.

The Original*300 SW 6TH AVE PORTLAND OREGON 97204 P: 503.546.2666

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kir Wine Bar

Drinking the Kir Royale

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's been awhile...

So, Jen is doin' it up at the Clyde!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My first tamale of the season at Farmers Market

We haven't just been neglecting the blog this summer... This is my first time at the market all summer. I have been busy with summer and opening a restaurant with partners called Olympic Provisions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We couldn't handle Beesaws garlic breakfast, so we headed to Cafe D'arte for cappuccino.

Seriously 19 Cloves of Garlic

This morning I decided to stop at Beesaws for breakfast with my niece. I ordered the salmon scramble and the potatoes had 19 cloves of garlic. Are they worried I am going to get attacked by vampires?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oregon Summer Food Adventures

Well, Jen and I have been gallivanting all over Oregon this summer and have lagged on posting... as I am sure you can tell! I have been having my own culinary adventures, so in the interest of efficiency I am going to tell you all about it in one loooong posting.

The summer started out with camping at Trillium Lake by Mount Hood.

Yes, I camp, but I do typical Michelle style- bringing my posturepedic queen side mattress pad, amazing food, row boats, and tent warmers. The BF catches fish and I love to cook them over the camp fire with just simple slices of lemon and salt and pepper.

Camping is the type of vacation that I always need a vacation when I get back, so the BF and I decided that we needed to explore Oregon's wine country more.

We booked an amazing B&B called Tuscan Estates in McMinnville and they had the best full breakfast prepared by chef, author (The Food Encyclopedia and The Cooks Essential Kitchen Dictionary) and sommelier Jaques Rolland. We really lucked out that Jaques was a sommelier from France, because he gave us his opinion on where to go for the best wines of Willamette Valley. The following were some of his suggestions:

We knew we couldn't hit them all, but we made an all out effort!

We started with Winter's Hill, because Jaques said they had one of the best rosé at the best price and to top it off he said that the winemaker Emily was a young genius from France. This is a darling family run winery and Emily is the daughter-in-law who met the owners son while working at a winery and now they live happily making wine. We ended up purchasing a case of the rosé for $8 per bottle (I love rosé in the summer) and a bottle of the Early Muscat. I am not typically a fan of Muscat, but this one is very dry and it smells like a bouquet of flowers.

We moved on to Walnut City WineWorks, which is housed in an old Walnut Factory and they partner with other wineries (Z'IVO Wines, Robinson Reserve, Bernard Machado and their own Walnut City Wineworks) to make world class Pinot Noir. We bought a bottle of the 2005 Piont Noir Reserve.

After all the tasting we were feeling famished and the onset of slight intoxication, so we decided to head of to Cana's Feast to get some lunch. The meal consisted of cold spring pea soup, chicken liver pate, and a bottle of their rosé and a beautiful view of the vineyard.

After lunch we headed to Beaux Freres, which is a winery owned by Robert Parker and two brothers. This was by far our most expensive winery that we visited (bottles ranged from $50-$90) and Jacques told us that this is one of his splurge wines. They did produce amazing Pinot and the BF and I did splurge on a special occasion bottle.

We decided we could hit one more winery and chose Laurel Ridge, which they do everything from bubbles to Tempranillo to Port at incredibly reasonable prices. The lady who runs it is a hoot and we ended up spending hours tasting and talking. We loved the Port, Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, and Dry Gewurztraminer.
Well after the long day of tasting it was off to a nap and then a late dinner at Bistro Maison in McMinnville. This place is adorable and has an amazing patio.
It was a relaxing dinner, where we dined on house made mozzarella with tomato salad.
Then followed it up with braised duck with an orange cognac sauce and the most amazing pomme frites served with saffron aioli.
We ended up having to take our desserts (creme carmel and lemon cake) to go, so we could catch the July 4th fireworks.
The next morning we awoke with slight hangovers and decided that we just wanted to sit somewhere quiet and relax and we found the PERFECT place...Red Ridge Farms . It happens to an herb and plant nursery, but they also do their own olive oil and serve lunch. The grounds are absolutely amazing.

We ended up ordering a meat and cheese plate and sat for hours under a canopy of vines drinking a bottle of rosé.

It has been a great summer so far... much better than last summer when Jen broke my foot!!! (Just kidding sis!) This coming weekend Jen and I are headed back to wine country for Plate and Pitchfork at Domain Serene.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Put Your Vote Where Your Mouth Is--Portland Farmer's Market is the Best!!

We received this email this morning from Amber at the Portland Farmer's Market.

We are hoping to win America's Favorite Farmers Market this year. Voting is easy and quick, just voted myself!

If you think we are the best, please vote!



I was voter Number 37, and it only took me approximately 45 seconds to complete the voting process...take a break from your morning perusal of tmz.com and VOTE!!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whiffie's Fried Pies

The line at Whiffie's Fried Pies is something to behold. The entire city of Portland appears to have turned out for a fried pie tonight. Pulled pork, salmon with chipotle mayo, vegan bbq tofu, blueberry, lemon, strawberry and more. Come join the crowd, SE Hawthorne & 12th.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Ping Now Serving Lunch

Beginning TODAY, lunch is now served at Ping, Monday through Friday, 11am to 2pm. I had the kuaytiaw pet pha lo, aka, duck leg stewed thai style with fresh wide rice noodles, big fat tender shiitake mushrooms, stewed pickled mustard greens, and sour yellow chile dip ($10). Delicious. Yet another excellent lunch time dining option in Old Town\Chinatown, just in case you need a break from the tuna melt at Davis Street Tavern.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

When our plates arrived, it was almost worth the trauma of that long line. Flaky puff pastry topped with a salad of warm ribbons of asparagus, tender bright green pea shoots and sweet shreds of blue crab, two poached eggs, and a drizzle of tangy creme fraiche.
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Sweet Cream biscuit with homemade apple butter

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Thank goodness

Apparently if you don't want to wait in line at Screen Door on a Sunday, you need to head over just after getting booted out of your favorite neighborhood bar at 2:30 am, and get in line for the 9am opening. Despite arriving at the late hour of 9:02am, I slipped in with the rest of the waiting herd and made the first seating. I called Michelle and told her to turn around and come back.
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I left Jen in line. I am going to Broder!

Waiting at Screen Door

We are numbers 492 and 493. We expect to eat by noon.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Metrovino Begins Happy Hour Today (Last Night For Some of Us)

Last night Jen and I decided to try Metrovino's new happy hour menu and upon arrival we found out it didn't actually start until today. Jen and I both started crying when the hostess told us that we would have to order off the regular menu and Jen started going on and on to Todd the owner about how this was the worst day of her entire life, because she wore two different colored flip flops to work and everyone kept starting at her and now she wouldn't be able to try the happy hour menu. Todd, being the nice gentleman that he was and wanting to avoid more of Jen's sobs told us that he would let us order of the happy hour menu. We were intstantly happy and ordered a bottle of the Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rose ($25) to celebrate. It is a grenache Rose with beautiful with hints of strawberry pie and a light mineral taste.

We almost ordered one of everything to compensate for Jen's bad day...

We started with the delicious 3 Oysters ($3) served cucumber mignonette, ponzu wasabi and horseradish cocktail.

Tataki of hawaiian yellowtail with radish, meyer lemon and white soy ($9), which is the epitome of a perfect summer dish with the tender slices of tuna and the tartness of the meyer lemon, and perfectly salted from the white soy.

The charcuterie of the day, which was housemade pork and duck rillette ($3) with a pickled beet.

The perfect chilled cream of asparagus soup with cauliflower mousse and oregon bay shrimp $5.

After all that Jen and I were still feeling like we needed something small so we orderd a bowl of the new england style seafood chowder with bacon lardons and garlic croutons $6... I am going to say that it was the BEST chowder I have ever had. It was so chunky with clams, halibut, oregon bay shrip, and pototoes and topped with a pile of lardo on top.
As Jen and I were enjoying the patio and our very full bellys, staring out at the sun soaked Pearl we thought our Rose had made us look at everything with rose colored glasses when we saw this Pearlie couple walking by in matching pink shirts.

Metrovino* Happy Hour 4-6 everyday except Tuesday (they are closed)* http://www.metrovinopdx.com/ *1139 NW 11th Avenu* 503.517.7778

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Michelle is back from a week and a half in Key West Florida, and is happy to trade her vacation diet of boneless Cajun chicken wings and nachos for good old Portland cooking. So we came to Belly Timber on SE Hawthorne for happy hour. Ah, home sweet home.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enjoying the patio at brand new Nel Centro

Me and Bethie are downtown at Nel Centro, David Machado's (Lauro Kitchen, Vindalho, Pazzo, Southpark) newest culinary venture, located inside (and outside) the chic and swanky new Hotel Modera,  at SW 5th & SW Clay. The large sunny patio is tucked into the center of the fashionably remodeled U-shaped building, and is accentuated by striking rectangular metal fire pits filled with rugged chunks of amber-colored granite, which blaze brilliantly when turned on at dusk. For now, we're able to balance our plates on the rim of the unlit pits, which is good since the slanted tables keep sending our dishes and silverware flying into the sand. Dusty silverware aside, we are finding this to be the perfect spot to enjoy a sun-drenching, an after-work drink and some snacks off the bar menu. 

We shared the pizza of the day--merguez sausage and artichoke hearts, with fresh oregano scattered atop ($10). It's got a nice crust, soft but not at all sodden, with golden bubbles and a good chewiness to it. 

The warm hazelnut encrusted chevre came accompanied by a dollop of tapenade and a clump of brightly colored piperade ($9). The soft mild goat cheese balanced the briny bite of the tapenade and the spicy savory piperade when all three were piled on the accompanying bread or a bit of leftover pizza crust. It was our favorite dish of the evening.


Fresh fava beans with shaved fennel and pecorino, tossed with quite a bit of lemon juice ($9). Very pretty and quite fresh, but a little tangy for us. 

We had to take a peek at the dessert menu and although we wavered between the lemon semifreddo with hazelnut dacquoise and the Scharffen Berger chocolate souffle, it was a warm evening, so the semifreddo won out--the light as air, perfectly puckery frozen lemon filling sat on a bed of sweet, nutty, slightly chewy hazelnut meringue ($7). The chantilly cream that accompanied the semifreddo was laced with Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur, which we found a scant overpowering.

Nel Centro has only been open for one short week, which was evident upon our arrival as we were ignored for a good 8 minutes after being seated by a stream of passing servers, despite being the only new people in the bar, but once we made it onto the staff's radar the service was friendly and efficient and everyone was exceedingly helpful and understanding when we practically knocked over our bar table scrambling to claim two abandoned chairs on the full patio (the restaurant plans to add two more rows of outdoor tables in the near future, according to our server). Another server told us that thus far, business is good, which is a nice thing to hear. We're excited to watch Nel Centro develop. 

The restaurant has a very informative blog, you can read everything you need to know about Nel Centro and more here. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Staccato Gelato

It is Weird Flavor Wednesday at Staccato Gelato on NE 28th, and this neighborhood cat is here for his cup of Saffron Almond gelato and a spot in the sunny front window.
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The cat is protesting the Three Or More Legs, No Service policy by staging a lie-in.
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RPM @ Savoy Tonight Until 8 PM!!

House Spirits Distillery's Recession Proof Mixology series comes to SE Clinton Street's Savoy Tavern tonight, and as a nod to "overworked" attendees, RPM will go until 8 pm instead of the normal 5-7pm.

What's RPM? As Matt Mount explains...

Every Wednesday during the happiest hours of the day, House Spirits Distillery collaborates with a different restaurant or bar and plants one of us behind the well with shaker in hand. House Spirits intends to keep this up until the end of the year, both here in Portland and the surrounding area and as far North as Seattle. We are honored to have the chance to share the same bar-mat with our talented and amazing bartenders from the community. So, to inject a little sunshine into the middle of your work week and to drive those stocks back up, come join us on Wednesdays for delicious $5 signature cocktails and great happy hour nibbles. Here's our next stop:

Please join us this Wednesday at:
RPM@ Savoy
May 20th from 5-8pm
2500 SE Clinton st.
(503) 808-9999

This evening's RPM cocktails:

M Collins
Medoyeff Vodka, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a touch of simple syrup and soda

The Old Fashioned Aquavit Cocktail
Krogstad Aquavit, a touch of simple syrup and few dashes of Regan’s No.6 Orange and Peychaud Bitters

Northwest Blackberry Bramble
Hand pressed blackberries and fresh thyme, Aviation Gin, freshly squeezed citrus and a touch of Brut champagne

The Casino Cocktail
Aviation Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Freshly Squeezed lemon juice and a dash of 50/50 Orange Bitters

The Last Word Cocktail
Aviation Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraska Maraschino Liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice

All RPM cocktails served tonight are $5

Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Barista: A Land of Vacuum Pots, Better Beans, and Otherworldly Mocha Mustaches

It was early this morning when I arrived at Barista, a tiny gem of a coffehouse in the lobby of the Gadsby Building on NW 13th Street in the Pearl District. The normally buzzing neighborhood was still pretty sleepy, and so was I, so coffee was in order.

I'd been meaning to visit Barista for ages. I'd pinned the NW Examiner's blurp about it to my desk's Wall 'o GottaGetThere, right above my tape dispenser and the picture of a lecherous leprechaun that my coworker Rob drew for my St. Patrick's Day cards this year.

Then I read the very recent Frugal Portland article in the NY Times, where fledgling Barista got a glowing mention--well, more than a mention, more like a whole paragraph--which gave me the push I needed to finally make it in. 

Barista occupies the space formerly known as Acorn Cafe, and while I miss Acorn, I love Barista. It is beautiful, with an old red brick wall to the east, big bright windows, warm blonde wood throughout, and quite a variety of seating for such a small place--indoor bar stools along the brick wall, a long row of lobby tables, and a handful of outdoor bistro tables. A table for everyone, even my exhausted brother, who was in town visiting and was being exceedingly good-natured about being dragged out to eat three to five times a day, because I kept thinking of yet another amazing eatery he "just HAD to try" before he left. 

Barista owner Billy Wilson, formerly of Albina Press, is the man behind the Barista bar, turning out deep, rich, melodic espressos (selection varies, and is posted on the chalkboard), French Presses, lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, americanos and mochas using his holy coffee trinity of Stumptown, Ecco Caffe and Intelligentsia coffees. 

The black and tan coffee list on the counter reads more like a tasting menu than a typical coffee board. "Made with Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend...made with whole milk. It's better that way.," explains the description for Barista's latte. 

It seemed to me that coffee is more than just...coffee at Barista, it's a way of life and a drink rife with philosophy and possibility, judging from the series of coffee-thought-provoking questions that appear on the Barista website, including: 

What if we carried multiple roasters, and you could choose your espresso roast?
What if we created a conversation about coffee, instead of merely serving it?
What if we turned the job of being a Barista into the profession of bein
g a Barista?

This was too much profundity for me this early in the morning, but after tasting my brother's Intelligentsia Cappuccino when it came up, I knew this much: Billy Wilson makes some damn good coffee. 

Also on the menu is a selection of Vacuum Pot brewed coffees, the apparatus for which is pictured below. Each of the three coffees comes with a description that would do the back of any wine bottle proud, with detailed descriptions of each vacuum pot coffee's flavor profiles, like "exceptionally clean flavors of dark berry and sugar cane," and "sure to please those who like a little less fruit in their coffee and a little more brawn." If you, like me, didn't know beans about vac pot, also known as siphon-brewed, coffee, you can learn a little more in this very informative article on coffeegeek.com

Taking a peek around the small shop to see what coffee accompaniments might be available, I saw that Billy graciously stocks my favorite Two Tarts cookie--the marvelous Peanut Butter Creams, along with the Chocolate Chip Fleur de Sel and Cappucino Creams. 

Barista, obviously a paragon of good taste, also sells a full assortment of superlative Nuvrei pastries, so I was able to buy my beloved Nuvrei ham and cheese croissant, which has been rumored to be the secret to happiness.
By now, I was pretty awake. But nothing could have prepared me for Barista's Valrhona Mocha. According to the Barista menu, this gorgeous, creamy, slightly frothy concoction of coffee and 61% bittersweet Valrhona chocolate contains 20 grams of chocolate per each 8 ounces. I was hooked, although at $4.50 a cup, the Valrhona Mocha is a pricey habit indeed. Well worth the occasional Friday morning splurge though, methinks.  

Sated beyond all expectations, I finished my ham and cheese croissant, wiped away my Valrhona Mocha mustache, and we set off into the warm late-Spring morning, both caffeinated and somehow bettered as human beings. Thanks, Barista. You're the beans knees.