Posted 27 May 2011 - 09:46 AM
I took the pork coppa roast that I bought last week out of it's brine yesterday (I left it in for about 24 hours) and vacc'd it. It's been in the SVS since about 12:45 pm yesterday, it should be ready at about the same time today. However, I'm hoping that this was, actually, a tough cut, and not a tender one, because by now it's pretty much going to be pudding if I'm wrong. Anyone care to weigh in?
I got a slow start today (Jon's home to wrangle the kids) after last night's foray into the world of Portland Cocktails. Thanks to Chris Amirault, I got some great recommendations for bars to try, and ended up going to Teardrop Lounge and the bar at Zeus Cafe. I'll be posting pictures once I get back from breakfast.
Posted 27 May 2011 - 09:46 AM
Those cakes! Do you take a shot of the child when they first lay their eyes on your creation? That would be a super advertising tool. Do you have art training or are you a natural artist?
Posted 27 May 2011 - 11:20 AM
I've returned from my donut hunting and gathering expedition. The place I went (where we go to relatively often, as a matter of fact) is called Every Day is a Donut Day, aka just Donut Day. It's about 5 minutes from my house, and the donuts there are amazing. First of all, they're huge. The buttermilk bars (what I'd have called a crueller back in WI) are about 4 inches wide and 6 inches long. And the apple fritters are a blob about 5" across, filled with chunks of cinnamony apples. They also do blueberry and raspberry fritters as well, but I'm a traditionalist and stick with the apple ones. It's so nice to bite into one, fresh from the fryer. I think their donuts are so much better than Voodoo, which is the city's darling donut place. And I don't have to drive for 20 minutes to get there!
Here's the menu:
And one of the aforementioned apple fritters, wielded by the owner, who's, coincidentally, a super nice guy.
And my haul:
My kids were quiet for a whole 20 minutes after I brought them home...
Posted 27 May 2011 - 04:36 PM
learn, learn, learn...
Cheers & Chocolates
Posted 27 May 2011 - 07:59 PM
Lovely, isn't it? Tasted lovely too. It's called a Sweet Basil, and it's made with Lillet Blanc, Plymouth gin, thai basil syrup and orange flower water. It was sweet, but not too sweet, herbal without being soapy, and all together delicious. I could have had lots more, but in the interest of trying new things, I then moved on to this:
I love the glass that it's in, it's so cool looking. I want a set of them. I'd LOVE to tell you what the drink was called, or what was in it, but all I can say is there's tequila in there, plus something citrusy, egg white for froth, and topped with orange peel. It was wonderful. If I hadn't had both drinks on an empty stomach, I'd probably remember what it was called, too...I did email Dan to get the name though.
At that point I thought it prudent to order some food, lest dancing on the bar ensued...I got a lovely charcuterie plate, with various salumi, bread, and pickled strawberries, rhubarb, chili flake brussel sprouts. I also got an order of garlic fries, which were devoured before I could take a picture. Here's the charcuterie plate:
Both my husband and friend opted for the buffalo brisket sandwich with aioli and arugula. It looked wonderful but no one shared with me so I don't know for sure...
At that point we decided to head to our next location, Zeus Cafe. Based on my experience at Teardrop, I'll definitely be going back. It's a wonderful atmosphere and all the staff clearly could teach me a thing or twenty about mixing drinks. And all the little bottles of tinctures and bitters lined up a fancy kid's chemistry set definitely bear investigating...
Zeus Cafe is a fairly new addition to the Portland bar scene. It's part of the McMenamins restaurant group, which owns quite a few brewpub type restaurants around the city, as well as some historic hotels with restaurants and various other amenities like pools, spas, movie theaters, etc...Zeus cafe is kind of a departure from their usual style. It's a much higher end, fine dining type establishment, although being in Portland, you could still wear sandals and crummy jeans and be right at home. The man running the show from behind the bar, David Shenaut, was extremely easy to talk to, and the whole ambiance made me feel at home right away. As a matter of fact, the whole bar staff was great, very knowledgable but totally non-pretentious, which is important to someone who's still in the "I'll have a Bacardi and Coke" phase of drinking. When I asked what his thoughts were on a good place to start, David recommended this beauty:
A Vieux Carre, which was one of the more interesting-looking drinks I've ordered recently. The ingredients are (as you can see from the menu) Hennessy VS, Rye Whiskey, Noilly Pratt, Benedictine, Angostora, and Peychaud's Bitters. It was deee-licious. And pretty, too, the ice ball in the drink was pink from the bitters they freeze into the ice. And when I finished it, Dave topped the ice off with some really nice whiskey, since, as he said, the glass was already seasoned...it'd be a shame to let a perfectly seasoned glass go to waste! Quite a few of the other drinks on the menu looked interesting as well, we'll have to go back and sample some more, though, just to make sure. We also ordered some food, I got beef carpaccio, which was served with an arugula salad and black garlic aioli, and my friend got a halibut and papaya ceviche. Both were delicious, and waaay above any other food I've had at a McMenamin's in terms of taste, quality, and presentation.
All in all, both Teardrop and Zeus Cafe made me want to start going out for cocktails on a much more regular basis.
Posted 27 May 2011 - 08:25 PM
This time, we opted for the dumplings, egg fried rice, and mild-spicy chicken noodles. Here they are:
As it always is, everything was delicious. They were also super cool and pulled some noodles just so I could take a picture. Yet another reason this place rocks! I wish the pictures I'd taken were better, but the light was low and he works FAST!
It's one of those places I could eat every night. Pure comfort food, Korean-style.
Posted 27 May 2011 - 11:10 PM
Posted 28 May 2011 - 06:30 AM
BTW, are you planning to visit Clear Creek at all?
Posted 28 May 2011 - 08:34 AM
For some reason I thought Clear Creek was in Bend...so happens they're having an open house today, which they only do twice a year. I'll be there with bells (and camera!) on, just for you!
Haresfur-Yes, there's a distillery at Edgefield...I'm not sure if they do any distilling anywhere else as well.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:43 AM
So when I walked in to The Meadow, the first thing that hit me was the smell of flowers. They also sell specialty flowers, but it's not set up like a "floral section" off to one side, they actually have a giant table in the middle of the store with all these incredible flowers in vases, like a totally oversized and over-the-top centerpiece. It's really gorgeous and smells amazing.
The salt is in little jars on two walls, and there are samples of each to smell, and presumably taste, although I opted to just smell them. The variety was amazing, I didn't think there were so many salts in the world! Here's one of the walls:
Here's an example of one of the specialty salt sets that they had for sale:
And some more salts:
The pictures of the chocolate wall:
And the bitters! Oh my goodness I've never seen so many interesting little bottles in my life! The fact that I have NO IDEA what to do with any of them was the only reason I didn't go on a gentian-fueled rampage. And they had open bottles of almost everything to smell and contemplate. One that I found particularly interesting was the peppercorn and bacon bitters. Not sure what they'd be used for (maybe in a bloody mary?) but I thought they were pretty interesting.
And the staff were super helpful. I have a feeling if I'd had a specific question, they could have given me exactly what I was looking for, but it was pretty overwhelming, and I figured requesting them to "tell me everything about everything in the store" would be both time consuming and difficult to record. I'll be going back there, without my children, preferably, to do some more research.
Edited by Genkinaonna, 28 May 2011 - 09:58 AM.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 09:56 AM
Ruby Jewel is a local ice cream company that started selling ice cream sandwiches at farmer's markets, which is where we got acquainted with them. Now they're sold in a bunch of the local stores, and you can buy pints of their ice cream at their store on Mississippi. My favorite part of their menu is that you can make custom ice cream sandwiches, you pick your flavor of ice cream and your flavor of cookie. I opted for brown sugar sour cream ice cream and chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Sooo good, even though it was only 50 degrees outside. Here are some of the flavors you can get by the pint:
My other favorite is the honey lavender ice cream sandwich with lemon sugar cookies. It's like summer in frozen treat form!
Posted 28 May 2011 - 10:33 AM
Have you ever been to Sahagun? I love their chocolates. Don't even know if they're still open, though.
PDX also has my absolute favourite farmer's market of the ones I've been to (other than the Naschmarkt in Vienaa). Fantastic produce and great ready-to-eat options, too.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 10:46 AM
It was pretty tasty, but I think I'd use a finer grind of cornmeal next time, it was a little crunchy for my taste!
And the coppa roast I brined and SV'd for 24 hours at 160 degrees? Best pork I've ever had. Hands down. I've never had pork so tender, it melted in my mouth. We ate most of it right off the plate I put it on to cool. The little bit that was left went into sandwiches, like this one:
I think it'd also be great with gravy and mashed potatoes, kind of like a pork pot roast. It's definitely going onto my regular rotation.
Off to Clear Creek Distillery! I will post pics on the fly so I don't run up against the end of the blog deadline tonight...
Edited by Genkinaonna, 28 May 2011 - 10:54 AM.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 06:11 PM
When we went in, we were greeted by the smell of coffee, and the first thing we saw was this:
And a lovely selection of green beans:
They also had cheese making supplies, sourdough starters, and DIY soap making supplies. My husband was coveting the toddy coffee maker that used a giant bucket and 5 lbs of ground coffee at a time but he showed some self restraint and didn't buy it.
Posted 28 May 2011 - 06:34 PM
Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:26 PM
Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:32 PM
Clear Creek is where we started, because, hey, everyone needs 94 proof Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir at 11:30 in the morning, right? Right. So here's the space:
It worked out nice that we got there when we did, as we were leaving it started to get really crowded.
One of the people who worked there gave us a really nice tour of the place and explained the procedure for how they make their brandies, whiskies, and eaux de vie, as well as their grappas. It was really interesting, he said that it took 80 lbs of raspberries to make one 350 mL bottle of framboise, and over 40 lbs of pears to make the pear eau de vie. One of their signature items is the Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir, which they make with a neutral spirit, which is distilled on site. The staff of the distillery actually go to the owner's property at the foot of Mt. Hood to pick the new tips off of the Douglas Fir trees that grow there. Those are macerated in the spirit for several months, and then redistilled. After distillation, more of the tips are macerated in the resulting spirit to give it that amazing green color. He said that it's a higher proof (94.7 proof) to preserve the color in the chlorophyll, as adding more water would make it cloudy. The taste was like the essence of Christmas, it tasted like a snowy day in a pine forest...really incredible stuff.
I also tasted the pear eau de vie, which was amazing, although it was really strong, the kind of thing you take a tiny sip of and let peary fumes of deliciousness float through your sinuses. In between that and the Douglas fir, I tasted the brandy, which I wasn't a big fan of by itself, but I think it'd be great in an Old Fashioned, and the Cherry and Cassis Liqueurs, both of which were super amazingly fruity and delicious. I contemplated buying a bottle of the Cassis to have on hand for baking as well as making Kir Royales, but I opted to wait, since it's relatively easy to find in stores here, and because of Oregon Liquor Commission laws, which mean that prices are set and there's no discount for buying on-site. I opted instead to buy a gift (haha like I'm SHARING) box of 50mL bottles of the Kirschwasser, which I use pretty frequently in my baking, the two year-aged apple eau de vie, the brandy, grappa, and the pear eau de vie. They're all the perfect size for baking, and I'm excited to start experimenting with them. Maybe I'll take a trip back to The Meadow and make up some cocktails too!
Here's the whole lineup minus the liqueurs, which I couldn't fit in:
From left to right, pear eau de vie with a pear in the bottle, pear without the fruit in the bottle, 2 year aged apple eau de vie, 8 year aged apple eau de vie, blue plum eau de vie, mirabelle plum eau de vie, kirschwasser, douglas fir eau de vie, brandy, Nebbiolo Grappa, Gewurtztraminer (Marc) Grappa, Sangiovese Grappa, Pinot Gris Grappa, Pinot Noir Grappa, and the Loganberry and Cherry Liqueurs on the end. They were sold out of the Framboise and apparently the whiskey that was released this year sold out in two hours. I also saw a large bucket (presumably of booze-in-process) labelled "blueberry." When I asked about it, he said that it was something that they were working on, but it didn't look like that batch would make it to market. He also said that it took 10 years to get the Douglas Fir where they wanted it before they started bottling. I took pictures of some of the first couple of years' experiments, which they still have:
It was a really interesting place, I'd love to go back again some time.
After Clear Creek, we stopped at August Cellars, where you can taste wines from several different producers, including the wine that August Cellars itself produces, along with (today) Toluca Lane Winery, and Artisanal Wine Cellars. I really liked (and ended up buying) the August Cellars Baco Noir, which is made from a hybrid grape, is pretty low in tannins, very fruity, and super easy to drink. I also got the August Cellars Rose, which is pretty sweet and will (sometime very soon) star in a lovely pink sangria with blueberries, honeydew, and raspberries. Toluca Lane was tasting a Pinot Noir, which I enjoyed, but it was a little heavy on the tannins for me to really love. Artisanal Cellarss had three wines, a Pinot Noir, which was pretty light and fruity, a wonderful peppery dry rose, and a pinot gris, which would go great with seafood. Each wine maker had a separate room to do tastings in, with August Cellars' wines themselves at the front bar. We had a wonderful man guide us through the reds that August produces. That's one of the differences that I've found between tasting in Oregon and tasting in Napa. In Oregon, there's none of the pretension that seems like it goes with wine tasting in Napa. It's just fun, the people are nice, there's usually yummy snackies, and you can go in knowing nothing about wine, and the people there are happy to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with you. Plus it's cheaper to taste here!
Our last stop was Penner Ash, which produces a bunch of different wines, focusing on the Oregon favorite, Pinot Noir. It's a really beautiful location, and I have photographic evidence that it does not, in fact, rain constantly here!
See, blue skies and everything! Granted, it did get cloudy about 10 minutes later, but you take what you can get...
Here's the tasting room:
At that point, we opted to head home so I could make sure I got everything written down by the end of the day...
I've really enjoyed blogging this week and giving you a peek into my culinary world. Next week, I'm going to have salad every night to let my waistline and checkbook recover!
Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:38 PM
kayb-yeah, if I were independently wealthy and had a rabbit's metabolism that's all I'd do!
Posted 29 May 2011 - 05:53 AM
Posted 29 May 2011 - 08:28 AM
Posted 29 May 2011 - 12:55 PM
Posted 29 May 2011 - 01:44 PM
I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?
Posted 29 May 2011 - 04:35 PM
Posted 29 May 2011 - 05:42 PM
Wow. Everything looks so good. But I have to tell you that one of my secret (maybe not so secret?) dreams is to have a food truck. We don't really have them here, but i'm fascinated by them.
They're a big business here in NYC.
They're especially popular with the midtown lunch crowd, although sometimes I want to tell people that it's a crime paying $6 for dumplings when you can go to Chinatown and get 5 for less than $2 (as evidenced by the Anita Lo dumpling truck). 2 orders of dumplings + water equals $14.
Edited by SobaAddict70, 29 May 2011 - 05:43 PM.
Posted 29 May 2011 - 06:33 PM
Cooking and Gardening Store is you walk between the
open door between them!
Have found it best to get a snack at the old Pasta Works
Sandwich Shop prior to buying in the Pasta Works.
The bookstore tends to fuel the buying spree!
Posted 29 May 2011 - 08:19 PM
Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:49 PM
Wow - that sounds amazing - I can imagine some fascinating winter desserts...
Thanks so much for sharing your week - I had a blast!
"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."
"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father
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Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:23 AM
Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:29 AM
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