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Where Has Wendy Been Eating?

I’ve been having an eventful winter eating season. Here is what I’ve covered on the Portland Sustainable Foods Examiner site:

Field & Vine Dinner in the Field at Southeast Wine Collective
Field & Vine Dinner in the Field at Southeast Wine Collective

Field & Vine offers 19 Dinners In the Field 2015
Visit the farm, vineyard, or urban winery and enjoy a dinner by Chef Pascal Chureau crafted from the bounty of the field. I attended the first dinner of 2015 at Southeast Wine Collective, Portland.

Heritage Distilling Company - the big Nonna still
Heritage Distilling Company – the big Nonna still

Heritage Distilling Co. crafts Washington spirits
Gig Harbor is home to a craft distiller that not only makes vodka from wine grapes, but also allows you to come distill and age your own spirits.

Chef Ryan Roadhouse at the Nodoguro Twin Peaks dinner
Chef Ryan Roadhouse at the Nodoguro Twin Peaks dinner

Nodoguro pop-up serves up food to match its awards: Chef Ryan Roadhouse wows diners with his elevated Japanese cuisine served at pop-up dinners with a monthly theme. I attended his Twin Peaks dinner in February, 2015. The food was an umami-bomb – packed with soul-satisfying flavor.

Patria Pop-up with Chef Cristina
Patria Pop-up with Chef Cristina

Patria pop-up brings Puerto Rican flavors to Portlandia: Chef Cristina Baez launched a pop-up series, held at Ataula. Don’t miss the next one March 15 and April 19, 2015.

Chefs Week PDX:
I was going to skip this excellent event, but as Top Chef came to the finals and Gregory Gourdet and Doug Adams were in the top three, I had to go.

Elk Shank by Douggie Adams,  Cascadia by Fire, Chefs Week PDX
Elk Shank by Douggie Adams, Cascadia by Fire, Chefs Week PDX 2015

Chefs Week PDX: Cascadia By Fire dinner review: One ticket was remaining so I knew it was meant for me. A great evening at Ned Ludd with an amazing elk shank from Top Chef fan favorite Douggie Adams.

Chefs at Chef's Week PDX 2015
Chefs at Chef’s Week PDX 2015

Chefs Week PDX: West Coast 2015 Review: The finale dinner – 24 courses, 27 chefs including the top 3 from Top Chef. Best of all, at my table were Cristina Baez and Elena Roadhouse, whose pop-ups I was booked to attend.

Purringtons Cat Lounge
Purringtons Cat Lounge

Purringtons Cat Lounge:
I communed with the kitties while enjoying coffee and a cookie on their first full day of operation. I was a little disappointed that the cats were being cats – a little standoffish, deigning to play with a toy.

Dessert at Beast Truffle Dinner
Dessert at Beast Truffle Dinner

Beast has New Chairs! And a truffle dinner to remember. The chairs at Beast were so famously uncomfortable, that half of the diners at our table said the announcement of new chairs was enough to bring them back.

A Kitchen Box: Great subscription for the home cook and food lover.

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Clutch Prime Sausagery Opens in Cedar Mill

I heard about Clutch Prime Sausagery from Chris Angelus of Right at the Fork. The first outpost opened in the Cedar Mill area at Timberland Town Center on Barnes Rd., and it sounds like one is planned for the Portland airport area. I had to find food while waiting on a relative’s day surgery at St. Vincent Medical Center, so I jaunted over to give it a try.

Pad Thai Dog at Clutch Sausagery
Pad Thai Dog at Clutch Sausagery

These are not standard sausages. They are “craft sausages from thoughtfully sourced ingredients.” It’s not just a meat sausage with toppings in a bun, there are elements of each dish inside the sausage, plus it is dressed with further elements that come together for delicious dishes.

I tried the Pad Thai Chicken sausage. It was made of chicken but included spicy peanut sauce, thai chili sauce, hot mustard, cilantro and peanuts. It cost $10, which is the average price other than a $7 hot dog. You order when you enter the bright white restaurant and the friendly server is happy to explain the concept.

I was a little surprised when it arrived in just a couple of minutes and it seemed fairly small for a $10 sausage, appearing to be maybe a quarter pound sausage. It didn’t come with any chips or other sides. Then I took a bite and kind of swooned. Wow, big flavor throughout the bite. The sausage was full of a dance of different flavors, which combined with the toppings. OK, this not-so-big sausage was going to make a great meal experience! I savored every bite and was satisfied. I have vowed to return.

Their other listed combinations were nacho, pizza, cheeseburger, cheddar IPA, hot smoked rib, hot chicken wing, and duck. They also have three salads which sound wonderful: Shaved brussels, shaved kale, and albacore tuna.

I hope they find a good audience from the surrounding condos and apartments. I’m thinking a lot of young professionals live in strolling distance and may help Clutch be a hit. I’m looking forward to their airport location as that will be much closer to the ‘Couv. They are open daily from 11:30 am – 8 pm.

Clutch Sausage Logo
Clutch Sausage Logo

Ben Bettinger – Kevin Ludwig – Patrick McKee – New Laurelhurst Market Team Dinner

The new team at Laurelhurst Market delivered a great Portland Food Adventure dinner on February 5, 2015. Executive Chef Ben Bettinger cut his teeth in the Portland culinary scene at Paley’s Place, then joined cocktail master Kevin Ludwig’s Beaker & Flask in 2009. Together they quickly earned the honor of Willamette Week’s Restaurant of the Year for their innovative cuisine and cocktails. It was there that I learned what a craft cocktail could be, and found myself eating pickled octopus and pork cheeks and loving it.

Ben Bettinger and Kevin Ludwig of Laurelhurst Market
Ben Bettinger and Kevin Ludwig of Laurelhurst Market

Alas, that partnership came to an end when Bettinger was lured away by Vitaly Paley to open Imperial. Meanwhile, Patrick McKee also honed his craft at Paley’s Place and served as Executive Chef there since 2012. Both Bettinger and McKee were Paley’s sous chefs during his Iron Chef America victory in Battle Radish in 2011.

But now all three are back together at Laurelhurst Market. Our Portland Food Adventure meal featured some classics from Beaker & Flask plus a tour de force of beef prepared multiple ways to showcase what Laurelhurst Market can provide.

Portland Food Adventures is a type of pop-up that invites chefs to design an exciting menu paired with beverages and booked at an all-inclusive price. I’ve been attending them faithfully for the past four years and I’m never disappointed. The next dinner will be at Paley’s Place with their new Chef de Cuisine Luis Cabanas and a new French/Russian focused menu.

We assembled at Simpatica dining hall, which is owned by Laurelhurst Market. The starter was a “Grounded for Life” cocktail poured by Kevin Ludwig. It was a refreshing and complex mix of pepper vodka, cointreau, fresh celery juice, lime and a salted rim. A smoked salmon rillette with fennel on crostini was the passed appetizer.

Kevin Ludwig crafts the cocktails
Kevin Ludwig crafts the cocktails

We sat down for a pleasant evening with our individually printed menus. The first course of coffee rubbed beef carpaccio, Oregon truffles, grana padano and pickled onions was superb. The 2013 Schloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner went well. It was followed by a classic Beaker and Flask dish of pan-seared veal sweetbreads, creamed kale, pickled yellow foot chanterelles and sweet onion agrodolce. I knew my friend Krista would be green with envy as she loved their sweetbreads. This was paired with a Norwegian Negroni cocktail with Krogstad aquavit, cynar, sweet vermouth and orange oil.

The third dish was the classic grilled pork cheeks, pickled octopus, braised peppers and onions on grilled bread with aioli. Weird and wonderful as usual!

Now for the beef. Smoked ribeye, grilled spinella, braised rib tip marmalade and roasted bone marrow. How’s that for different preps? We also passed around grilled romaine with salsa verde and feta. Everything was great, served with a Rioja.

The dessert was also too delicious to pass up, an olive oil pound cake with orange marmalade, creme fraiche and toasted almonds.

Bravo for Ben, Kevin and Patrick! I stopped in at Laurelhurst Market on Sunday for a Meetup historic walking tour. All three were deep into dinner prep. I enjoyed a sandwich (great bahn mi!) and hope to return soon for dinner.

Adorn Opens New Division Store

adorn-7Portland’s Fashion Week featured many bright lights of the design scene. I attended a preview of Adorn‘s new second location at 3366 SE Division, which opens on October 3rd. They will have a Grand Opening Party on October 16 from 6-9 pm. featuring giveaways throughout the event, cocktails by RAFT Syrups and Northwest Distillery, bites from some of Division’s hottest restaurants, a trunk show with exclusive Henry and Belle and Fidelity Denim styles and exciting raffle prizes from its Division St. neighbors.

Adorn focuses on brands that source and produce responsibly and sustainably. The Division Street store includes the largest denim collection in Portland and tempting displays of jewelry and accessories. Browsing the styles from Prairie Underground, Nikita, ecoSkin and more I was happy to see sizing up to 16 or XL.

Adorn offers personal styling. “This beautiful new space allows us to focus on what sets Adorn apart,” says owner Nicole Whitesell. “We’re all about style for real life. We love working with our customers one-on-one to help them find the pieces that work for their lifestyle and their body. Now we’ll be able to work with customers in advance by phone and email and style selections for them before they even walk in the door. I’m thrilled to be able to offer this amazing shopping experience for our clients.”

Whitesell opened Adorn on Fremont in 2008, and her online store tempts customers nationwide with sales tax-free shopping. Her husband Ethan handcrafted many of the fixtures in both boutiques.

The space was comfortable to browse and the fitting rooms were spacious with a beefy curtain for privacy. Customers enjoyed posing in their new fashions against photo-ready backdrops.

I was tempted by several designs, but realized I could use the personal styling services to choose the best. I loved the accessories and took home a great lulu Fierce necklace, which is handcrafted in Portland by Lacey Arnett.

Adorn’s two locations are at 4120 NE Fremont St., and at 3366 SE Division St. in Portland. For more information, please visit shopadorn.com and follow them on Twitter @shopadorn, Facebook at Adorn and Instagram @ShopAdorn.

Feast Portland 2014 – A Memorable Dinner

Gregory Gourdet, Anita Lo, Pichet Ong
Gregory Gourdet, Anita Lo, Pichet Ong

I’ve attended Feast Portland each year and this year I chose just one dinner to enjoy. I was hoping for a blogger pass to one of the showcases, but alas, I didn’t make the cut. I was very happy with the dinner I purchased, the Thursday dinner with Chefs Gregory Gourdet, Anita Lo and Pichet Ong. I love lots of flavor and I’m not shy about loving salt. Every morsel they served seemed designed for my taste buds.

It also helped that wine came from one of the wineries of which I am a member, Sokol Blosser, as well as a very good McMinnville winery, R. Stuart & Co. Plus, we had a very convivial table of interesting people.

I will definitely be cheering for Chef Gregory Gourdet on this season of Top Chef. That wasn’t the case for one local chef whose food did not wow me.

Full Review: Feast Portland Dinner with Chefs Gourdet, Lo and Ong

Walking Bend’s Ale Trail

We finally made it to Bend, Oregon for a weekend of enjoying their great breweries and brewpubs.

Bend Brewing
Bend Brewing

The first stop was at the Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House on Bond St. in downtown Bend. Arriving at 11:30 am on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, we were able to get a parking spot on the same block. I doubt that would be true for the rest of the weekend, despite the 2-hour parking time limit.

It’s a big place and only half full when we arrived. By the time we left there was a line waiting to get in. We had the 6-beer taster selection and a burger and a Reuben.

We walked around downtown Bend for awhile until our time was nearing its end at the parking space. My Bend Ale Trail app led us to Bend Brewing Company nearby, so we parked and walked over there. We had a glass of Elk Lake IPA and Metolius Pale, neither of which wowed us. It was nice to sit on the deck which almost had a river view.

After more strolling around downtown, we checked into the Hilton Garden Inn at the old mill district. I chose the location as it was close to other breweries and yet also in walking distance of downtown Bend. A huge plus was the easy access to the great walking trails alongside the river.

Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room
Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room

We strolled over the river to the main Deschutes Brewery tasting room as thunderstorms rolled in. We managed to dodge any real rain. The tasting room was very full and the staff was a bit harried. But we eventually scored the 4-sample tasting card and were able to enjoy Rich’s favorite, the rare Pine Drops IPA and the very good Inversion IPA, plus the River Ale and Black Butte Porter. Then a stroll back to the hotel.

Crux Fermentation Project Sampler
Crux Fermentation Project Sampler

Come dinner time, we decided to go to nearby Crux Fermentation Project. We had a taster of 6 beers, including Polaris (OK), Half-Hitch (OK) , Outcast (OK) and Sugar Daddy (GREAT!), plus their two Belgian styles which were OK. What was super duper were the sandwiches. The Ale Trail map said their Grilled Cheesy sandwich was a winner. It was more than that. I have to attempt to make it myself, but it would be hard to find the spent grain bread. What makes it great is an aged-asiago crust on the bread, a mixture of herbed goat cheese, provolone and pepper jack, with bacon and spicy pickles. Rich had the Chicken Bacon sandwich and it was also super. We split a glass of the Sugar Daddy. The place was as packed as you would expect for a Saturday night.

Grilled Cheesy
Grilled Cheesy

Our server was delightful, very cheery and friendly, and doing his darndest to keep up. No matter that the food took awhile to come and the full glass of beer awhile as well, everything was worth the wait. I’d love to come back on a weekday during a slow time to enjoy more.

10 Barrel Brewing Co
10 Barrel Brewing Co.

Sunday – we learned that two nearby places were closed on Sundays (Rat Hole and Brew Werks). We didn’t check to see if they made an exception for Labor Day Weekend. We enjoyed a nice 2-mile morning walk along the river and then a 1.5 mile walk to 10 Barrel Brewing. Lately we’ve been drinking their Apocalypse IPA at home. They have a great outdoor deck with a fire pit plus lots of tables shaded by umbrellas. Perfect. Their sampler includes the 10 beers they have on tap, so we sampled our way through all 10. After all, we had walked there! I have to say I loved their brewing style throughout. The Apocalypse tasted great fresh from the barrell. The OG Wheat IPA was amazing, who would expect a nicely hopped wheat beer? The Old School Pale Ale was great. Their Swill (a radler with lemon) was really delicious. We ordered a pizza and it was very good, and then had a glass of the beer we enjoyed the most.

10 Barrel Sampler
10 Barrel Sampler

We strolled back to the hotel and enjoyed people-watching along the riverfront. We were still full of pizza hours later, but decided on a visit to Goodlife Brewing. We enjoyed Descender IPA and the barman brought us a sample of the Comatose IPA. The beers were very good. I wouldn’t go there for the food as the wings and bleu balls were just OK.

Goodlife Descender IPA
Goodlife Descender IPA

That was it for beer in Bend for us. We drove back alcohol-free on Monday. Along the way we were happy to find some Goodlife Descender IPA at Bi-Mart, so we look forward to trying it from the bottle on the safety of our patio.

As we were walking, we noted some nice looking VRBO (vacation rental by owner) places along the river. Next time, it would be fun to rent a house or condo. The Hilton Garden Inn was fine, but it would be fun to have our own patio or back porch to enjoy a growler of Bend beer in the evening.