Portland is a city crazy for exploring world flavors through the lens of local Northwest ingredients. Chef Carlo Lamagna of Clyde Common took back to his roots in the Philippines at a great Portland Food Adventures dinner June 26, 2015.
At Clyde Common, he has forged new relationships with suppliers including Little Gnome Farm, after moving here from stints at great restaurants in Chicago (Perennial Virant) and the Midwest. But the chance to offer six courses of his “twisted Filipino” food excited him and the lucky diners. For those who missed it, you can find hints of it in the Clyde Common menu. But catch his stint at the Lardo cart pop-up later this summer.
Our evening started in the mezzanine at Clyde Common with one of their amazing cocktails, a tequila tamarind Collins. I was excited to meet more of those joining us on the Portland Food Adventures Barcelona trip in September. We enjoyed bites including a mini-empanada.
We moved to the Ace Cleaners dining space next door and Chef Carlo introduced us to his Filipino fare – not only with beautifully plated dishes, but also his stories of how each dish drew on his memories of the Philippines. I also enjoyed being seated next to his lovely wife. Luckily, I remembered some details from his interview on Chris’s Right at the Fork podcast on their story!
The first course I absolutely loved. Jicama and long bean salad with Manila mango purée and cilantro. The jicama was brined and salty, following Chef Carlo’s tutelage under fermetation/pickling master Paul Virant. I’m usually bored with green beans, but these were finely chopped and deliciously seasoned. It was a great blend of textures and flavors.
The second course – Kilawin – showed a bit of the technique I was introduced to in college by other Filipinos. raw albacore tuna was cured with palm vinegar, coconut, serrano chilies, ginger and shallot. It was a beautiful dish. I also very much enjoyed the ’15 Julien Haart 1000L Riesling from the Mosel served with the first two courses.
The third course – Pancit – featured huge Kauai shrimp, rice noodle, carrot, celery, snap peas and crab fat. It was very satisfying, the noodles full of flavor. We also enjoyed a Loire Rose wine.
Now for quail adobo with grilled quail and quail egg and a deboned quail roll, served with garlic rice, cabbage and adobo sauce. It was delicious.
The fifth course was Lechon – crispy pork belly with blood sauce, eggplant torta and green papaya pickle. I loved the flavor of the meat and skin of the pork belly, plus the sides. It was an amazing course. It was served with local Willamette Valley Crowley Pinot Noir ’13. I always enjoy a local pinot noir.
Dessert was a young coconut pine with salted pandan ice cream. This was fantastic.
I left the meal excited about the flavors of the Philippines. The dishes were mild in general. The presentations were lovely while the tastes were very satisfying.
To continue the adventure, we received samples and certificates from some of the chef’s favorite local spots and suppliers. The samples were from Quin Candy, Jacobsen Salt and Bee Local Honey. We got to hear from Damian Magista of Bee Local – my collection of his hyper-local honey continues to grow. The candy was enjoyed within a couple of days. We got certificates for food at Noraneko and Pip’s Original and heard from Nate Snell, owner of Pip’s. They are by far my favorite donut shop in Portland and are expanding their seating. I immediately used my Noraneko certificate and enjoyed their 80’s salad and crispy fried chicken for lunch on Sunday.
The next Portland Food Adventure will be opening Coquine with Chef Katy Millard on July 16, and opening Erik van Kley’s new restaurant in August (tbd).