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Paley’s Russian Tea Experience at Headwaters

The Heathman’s Tea Court has been transformed into the Russian Tea Experience at Headwaters by Chef Vitaly Paley. He brings his native Russian inspiration and grandma’s recipes to the beautiful and comfortably refurbished tea room.

Debuting in time for the holidays, three seatings were available, and our group snagged a 1 pm seating on January 1, 2017. It was a lovely way to start the year.  We were seated in some of the cozy easy chairs and a banquette along the wall. The tables were set with colorful Russian linens and a menu explaining our tea choices and what would be served on the tea tray.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Headwaters Russian Tea Experience

It was very pleasant to be seating in a room where we could hear each other talk and also not be bumping elbows with other diners. It’s much more conducive to intimate conversation as befits high tea.

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The tea is from Steven Smith Teamaker, and choices included Bai Mu Dan, Georgian Caravan, Bungalow, Lord Bergamot, Sencha, Chocolate Peppermint Pu’erh, Meadow, and Peppermint Leaves. I chose the smoky Georgian caravan. Each diner gets to select a tea rather than having to make a choice for the whole table.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Headwaters Russian Tea Experience

The teacups were a mix of Russian glass cups in a metal holder and china cups. The tea arrived in white pots with a strainer provided as we poured. Sugar and jam were provided for sweetening, but no milk.  I enjoyed the Caravan with a little jam; it was perfect.

The tea tray arrived with three levels, each with five delights. The middle and bottom were savories and the top were the sweets.

img_1975The bottom tier included buterbrodi – various open-faced sandwiches on rye bread. There was also khachapouri – Georgian cheese bread with local honey.

Buterbrodi
Buterbrodi

The second tier had mushroom piroshki, deviled eggs, walnut-stuffed eggplant roll, and blini with house cured caviar and sour cream.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Piroshki, Blini, Stuffed Eggs, Eggplant roll

The sweet tier featured steopka – grandmother’s sour cream and walnut cake, Bird’s milk cake with marshmallow and chocolate, chocolate and orange halva, tort po kievski (hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate cake), Zapekanka Russian cheesecake, and Kulaga belorusskaya fruit gelee.

Headwaters Russian Tea Experience
Sweets

The teapots were refilled between when we finished the savories and started in on the sweets.

There are bubbles and cocktails available, but our server didn’t push them, and we didn’t order any. It would have been fun to try the Pixie Dust with aquavit and brut sparkling wine or the K’vass Punch with rum and Russian bread wine.

For $38, it was a delightful and pleasant afternoon. The biggest drawback was the phone-only reservation system. Fingers crossed that the Paleys decide to allow online reservations.

Paiche – Peruvian Splendor from Chef Jose Luis de Cossio

Paiche chef Jose Luis de Cossio honed his skills as the Executive Chef of Gaston Acurio’s “La Mar” Restaurant in Lima, Peru. He and partner Casimira offer elevated Peruvian dishes on Corbett in SW Portland. Their restaurant is notable for being open for lunch Wednesday through Friday noon – 4 pm and then for dinner on Saturday 3 pm – 8:30 pm.

This schedule allows them to have time for their family, and leaves diners eager to catch a seat in their tiny spot nestled below Pill Hill. Chris Angelus brought 20 diners together to fill up the dining room for a Portland Food Adventures Peruvian feast.

Chef Jose Luis de Cassio and Casimira
Chef Jose Luis de Cossio and Casimira

You’ll have to keep your eyes open for their sign, so it’s best to navigate with the street address, 4237 SW Corbett Ave. Portland, OR 97239. Inside there are tables and counter/window counter seating.

I was not familiar with Peruvian food and on my first stop enjoyed the Pastel de Choclo – Peruvian corn pudding with mushrooms, olives, carrots, peas and cacao nib crumble. I wanted to come back to enjoy more.

Our 8-course meal began with a snack of toasted corn kernals and then the flavorful empanada de papa seca with aji amarillo spread.

Paiche - Empanada
Paiche – Empanada

Next, Tiradito de Pescado – California halibut with aji habanero leche de tigre. The offerings were all either fish or vegetarian, as Lima is an area with abundant seafood.

Tiradito de Pescado - California halibut
Tiradito de Pescado – California halibut

Now for Potato Causa – colorful potatoes with sauces and seasonal vegetables.

Potato Causa
Potato Causa – colorful potatoes with huancaina sauce, escabeche, veggies

The regular menu offers three cebiches – mixed, pescado blanco and vegan. We enjoyed the Cebiche Mixto with mixed seafood, aji rocato leche de tigre, purple sweet potato, onion, corn and cilantro.

Cebiche Mixto
Cebiche Mixto

The crab croquette, Croquetta de Cangrejo, included red quinoa, octopus and nectarines salsa criolia.

Crab Croquette
Crab Croquette

The Chupe de Camarones included bay shrimp with shrimp jus, trigo, peanuts, shallots and berries.

Chupo de Camarones
Chupo de Camarones

The final savory course was Sudado de Pescado – avocado and seaweek leche de tigre, corn cider poached fish, rocoto pepper, yuca rot, tomato and seafood salad.

Sudado de Pescado
Sudado de Pescado

We were quite full from the savory courses, but the dessert was worth saving room for. The alfajor cookie had house caramel with fruit.

Alfajor cookie and fruit
Alfajor cookie and fruit

The meal left us very much filled and tantalized to return to explore more.

See: Paiche

The Columbia Gorge Wine Trail Beckons You

If you need a little getaway from the Portland/Vancouver area or you are visiting and want to sample the best of the Northwest, a great choice is to follow the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association’s Spring Trail. Don’t worry, it’s a great itinerary throughout the year. I enjoyed the two-day, one night excursion as they lay out featuring wineries at the east end of the Gorge, which I hadn’t tried before.

Columbia Gorge
Columbia Gorge

Start off with a drive down the Columbia River Gorge, either on I-84 or Washington 14. Our first stop was a viewpoint on the Washington side across from Hood River, on our way to our first winery stop. I’ve almost always frequented the Oregon side, so this vista was a lovely change.

We visited AniChe Cellars at their rustic winery on the Washington side. They also have a tasting room in downtown Hood River, Oregon.  Owner and winemaker Rachael Horn showed us her ceramic amphora vessels used for some of the wine. Her wines are European-styled and food-oriented. The pairings are done with nibbles to complement them. I was sorely tempted to join their wine club to enjoy their food and wine events. The vista from the winery was magnificent. The winery tasting room is open noon-6pm Wed-Sunday while their Hood River tasting room is open 12 pm Thursday through Monday, closing at 6 pm except for Friday and Saturday when they close at 8 pm.

Aniche Cellars
Aniche Cellars
Aniche Cellars
Aniche Cellars

The wine trail suggests a walk or hike to Mosier Creek Falls and up to the Mosier Plateau. We went up the trail past the pioneer cemetery to view the falls.

Mosier Creek Falls
Mosier Creek Falls

Our next winery stop was Garnier Vineyards on the Oregon side, east of Hood River. They have over 300 acres of vineyards on the historic Mayerdale estate in a variety of microclimates.  This family-owned vineyard has a nice tasting room with views of the hillsides. Plus, if the cherries are on, you can enjoy them as well. They are open Saturday and Sunday, noon till 5 pm (ish) until October (closed October through mid-May).

Garnier Vineyards
Garnier Vineyards
Garnier Vineyards
Garnier Vineyards
Cherries
Cherries

We stopped at the Apple Valley Country Store in Hood River to sample the jams, mustards and other preserves.  I took home some mustard with sweet onion.

Apple Valley
Apple Valley Store
Apple Valley
Apple Valley Store

When you are planning your Columbia Gorge wine adventure, your first stop should be to make a reservation for dinner at Celilo Restaurant and Bar in Hood River. Chef Ben Stenn is passionate about local sourcing, sustainable practices, and honoring the ingredients. As a foodie, I was blown away by the quality of the dishes.  You can enjoy small plates or traditional entree-sized portions. I had the Pork Trio, with Payne Family Farm pork schnitzel, seared pork belly and house-made chorizo over purple cabbage and kale with mustard seeds and pork jus. Of course, you can have salmon. My fellow travel writer Elizabeth loved the wild mushroom bucatini. Celilo features Columbia Gorge wines by the glass.  After one visit, this will be my first choice for dining in the Gorge. In fact, I think I’ll plan to stay over after the Columbia Gorge Marathon this year simply to dine there! They are open for both lunch (11:30 – 3 pm) and dinner (5 pm – close).

Celilo Restaurant
Celilo Restaurant

We were hosted for a night at The Dalles Inn, located in the historic downtown area. I was impressed in walking around to see the architecture, coffee houses and even a brewery. The Dalles Inn has a nice breakfast room included in the price and features large, comfortable rooms.

The Dalles
The Dalles

Next, we drove the historic Columbia River Highway to Rowena Crest for the grand view. You can go for a hike here if you wish from the Tom McCall trailhead to McCall Point.

Rowena Viewpoint
Rowena Viewpoint

Our final winery stop was at Analemma, where owners Kris Fade and Steven Thompson use organic and integrative techniques to grow their grapes in the Mosier Valley. The tasting room was lovely, but we got a real treat of the Countryside Picnic. A picnic basket includes a bottle of still wine of your choosing, a carefully packaged charcuterie plate, sparkling water, and a few surprises. You are seated on a comfortable outdoor couch overlooking the valley, with binoculars to spot birds and wildlife. The cost is $65 per basket serving up to four guests, available Friday, Saturday and Sunday by reservation. They also do guided vineyard tours on Saturday and Sunday for $30 per person. The tasting room is open Friday-Sunday through October 31.

Analemma
Analemma
Analemma
Analemma

I encourage you to explore the wines of the eastern Columbia River Gorge. It’s a much more pleasant drive from the Portland area than the drive to Dundee or Carlton, much as I love the pinot noir in those areas.

As is standard in the travel industry, the writer was hosted for this itinerary.