Monday, April 27, 2009


I bumped into my friend Eric yesterday at Freddy Meyer and we got to talking food, and somewhere along the course of conversation he asked if Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation was worth the $75 ticket price.

"Of course!" I proclaimed, although I had to add the disclaimer that I've never actually bought my own ticket--the first year I went I was mooching off my then-cube farm's free sponsorship package, and last year my friend Leigh and I went as volunteer Garbage Girls. You can read my Riches-to-Rags Taste of the Nation tale by clicking HERE. It's a tearjerker, let me tell you, complete with gratuitous shots of me sifting through scads of some of the most gourmet trash in town. Michelle was conspicuously absent, you may notice.

This year, Leigh, Michelle and I are volunteering again, but we have been upgraded to Ticket Girl status, so if you happen to be attending Taste of the Nation Monday night, April 27, you will see us and you should say hello and slip us some St. Cupcakes cupcakes. In my humble opinion, it's worth $75 alone to stand at the St. Cupcake booth and survey the platters upon platters of miniature cupcakes, and know that you could eat them all and not get arrested, if you were a big, bold, rude, and fast enough pig. You wouldn't do it, of course, but the possibility is...priceless, really.

If you're a Taste of the Nation newbie, here's how it works:

*On Monday, April 27, 2009, (THIS MONDAY!) enjoy an unforgettable night of gorging yourself on some of the finest food and drink Portland has to offer. 100% of ticket sales go to Share Our Strength, to help ensure no kid in America grows up hungry. Yes, we see the irony in stuffing your own face to help hungry children, but as they say, there's more than one way to skin a cat. So for 75 skins, you can fight hunger by eating a lot. That's just how this works.

*There are three ticket tiers, depending on how fancy/spendy you'd like to be. The top two tiers get you in early, plus some other exclusive perks. What's the benefit of paying more to arrive early? Supply and demand, that's what. Last year, Toro Bravo ran out of pulled pork sliders by 6:30 pm, that's all I'm saying. However, in their defense, it was their first year doing TOTN and how were they to know they'd be so darn popular? It must have been a traumatic experience though, because I didn't see them on the lineup this year?

1. LUXE ticket entrance at 5:00 pm — $200
If you pony up for the LUXE ticket you get the creme de la creme of exclusivity perks: WAY less rabble crowding you as you're sampling Davis Street Tavern's smoked duck legs or Lucy Brennan's latest cocktail, reserved parking, and entrance to the LUXE Lounge WHICH HAS ITS OWN BATHROOM. This is not a small thing. Also, if you're single and searching and want someone who loves good food and is financially solvent, remember that It's Just Lunch is almost $2000, and this ticket is only $200, AND you can tell your grandchildren that you met over Bamboo Sushi's Meyer Lemon Oil & Spring Herb Crudo instead of through a dating service for desperate wealthy workaholics.

2. VIP entrance at 5:30 pm — $125
A VIP ticket simply buys you more time, and believe me, that extra hour is all you need to get first dibs on everything and then spend the rest of the time making multiple rounds to the St. Cupcake and Ruby Jewel booths.

3. General Admission at 6:30pm — $75
Still pretty cool.

4. Garbage Girl volunteer — $-10 (dry cleaning bill)
TOTN still needs volunteers, by the way. Click above to find out more.

This year, TOTN is being held at:

LUXE Autohaus
410 NE 17th Ave
Portland, OR 97232

You have be 21 or older.

For tickets call 1-877-26TASTE or purchase tickets online.



2009 Restaurant Participants


Waffles served aboard the St Vincent de Paul Mobile Bus

Salumeria di Carlo
Sausage Bites

Tastebud Farm
Roving Restaurants


Bamboo Sushi
Meyer Lemon Oil & Spring Herb Crudo of MSC Certified Wild Alaskan Salmon atop an English Cucumber Disc

Delilah’s Catering
Deviled Crab Salad in Endive Leaf Boats

Roasted Leg of Mutton with Bitter Greens and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Al Forno Ferruzza
Sicilian-style Pizza including New Haven White Clam and Margarita; Stromboli; Scarpetta - local seasonal heirloom vegetables seasoned and prepared in the traditional Sicilian style

Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill

Causitas Moradas y Solteritos - Traditional Peruvian preparation of fresh lime flavored potatoes with savory fillings: purple potatoes with shredded chicken and aji amarillo; yellow potatoes with garden fresh vegetables

Mole Guerrerense - Autentica’s homemade Mole sauce with 8 kinds of peppers and nuts, served with white rice

Baker & Spice
Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread; Rhubarb Danish

Bay 13
Dungeness Crab on Endive


Bread & Ink Café
Belgian Sugar Waffles with Bacon, Brie and Basil

Caprial’s Bistro
Pecan Blondies Layered with Chocolate Mousse and Topped with Sugar Honeycomb

Celilo Restaurant and Bar
House Charcuterie, Smoked Fish and Vegetable Terrine on Lavash Crackers

Charlie’s Produce

Grilled Monterey Bay Calamari Salad with Poached Kingfisher Potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Wild Greens and Piment d’Espelette Oil

The Country Cat
Pulled Smoked Duck Legs on Mushroom Crackers with Mascarpone Cream Fava Beans

Cupcake Jones
Downtown Cupcake Brown - Miniature devil’s food cupcakes topped with fudge frosting

Davis Street Tavern
Seared Muscovy Duck Breast with Apricot Chutney on Brioche

East India Company
Crispy Baby Vegetable Samosas with Mango Ginger Chutney

Eleni’s Estiatorio / Philoxenia
Lahano Salata - Thinly sliced cabbage, shaved fennel and toasted almonds; tossed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and smoked paprika

Salmon Tartare with Absinthe and Crème Fraiche Hazelnut Macaroons

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Sausage with Baby Field Greens

Garden State
Frittelle Siciliano - an assortment of Sicilian street fritters

Higgins Pig and Pickles

La Calaca Comelona

Lauro Kitchen
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Hazelnut Tangerine Vinaigrette

New Seasons Market
Linda Brand Crab and Bay Shrimp Salad on Endive; Local Artisan Cheeses

Noble Rot
House-made Charcuterie and Dessert Wine

Cannellini Beans with Olive Oil Poached Albacore Tuna

Nuestra Cocina
hicharron con Salsa Verde - fried pork rinds with a jalapeno salsa; and Tostadas de Salpicon - chilled beef salad on a tostada with radishes, cucumber, cilantro, lime and chile

Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Pazzo Ristorante
Fig Bellinis; Cold-Smoked Marlin-Wrapped Asparagus

Por Que No

Ristorante Fratelli
Chocolate Blini with House-made Wild Boar Bacon, served with Citrus Marmalade or Huckleberry Mousse

Boudin Blanc Corn Dogs with Spicy Creole Mustard Sauce

Ruby Jewel
An Assortment of Miniature Ice Cream Sandwiches

Russell Street BBQ
Barbecue Babyback Pork Ribs from Carlton Farms; Frito™ Pie Shooters

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Filet Mignon - The most tender cut of Prime beef, cut generously and broiled expertly to a melt in your mouth tenderness

Saint Cupcake
Hundreds of Really Cute Cupcakes

Mussels Rellenos with Chorizo - Baked stuffed mussels with fennel, parsley, chorizo and toasted bread crumbs

Escabeche with Bay Scallops or Prawns; Miniature Lemon Tarts

Tastebud Farm

Spring Vegetable Pakoras, Grilled Naan Bread and Seasonal Chutneys

Chilled Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Crème Fraiche

2009 Beverage Participants

MIXology Station

Be an amateur MIXologist! Learn how to mix your own drink from 4 of the cities best bartenders. Hosted by MIX magazine and Lucy Brennan from Mint/820 featuring spirits by Brown Forman & Aviation Gin. A new bartender will be featured each hour.

Bartenders for the MIXology station:

* Jason Boyok from Mint/820 - Herradura tequila
* Leslie Bucher from North 45 - Jack Daniels
* Kristin Strother from Saucebox - Aviation gin
* Sean Skvarka from Departure - Finlandia vodka

Adelsheim Vineyard
Amity Vineyards
Apolloni Vineyards
Argyle Winery
Belle Pente Vineyard
Boedecker Cellars
Cara Bella Winery
Carlo & Julian Winery
Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Elemental Cellars
Elk Cove Vineyards
Evesham Wood
Foris Vineyards Winery
La Bete Wines
Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards
Left Coast Cellars
Oak Knoll Winery
Redhawk Winery
Torii Mor Winery
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Witness Tree Vineyard
Youngberg Hill Vineyards
Young's Columbia Distributing


Captured By Porches Brewery
Double Mountain
Full Sail Brewing
Sierra Nevada

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Caffe Umbria

Salivating? Buy your ticket to Taste of the Nation NOW!!

Or win two tickets here by telling Portland superbartender Lance Mayhew your most nightmarish food, cocktail or wine experience.

Okay, that made me really hungry. I am heading to the food carts.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, I don't live in Portland, but I do live in Oregon City. Check out the Acadia in N.E. Portland. New Orleans-syle and very authenic. Great beverages to boot. Best to you both!