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Everything posted by stevea

  1. If you head south from Cannon Beach, you'd do well to stop at Karla's Smokehouse, which is on the north end of Rockaway. Their smoked oysters are to die for. I think they smoke them on Thursdays or Fridays and they rarely have any left by Sunday. I always pick up a bunch when I'm down that way and then dole them out one a day to nibble on while having a martini before dinner.
  2. My wife and I agree about most things. But this is one area in which we vehemently disagree. I think that knives (those that are dishwasher safe) should go into the dishwasher pointy-side down. I think this for two reasons: 1. When I go to put more silverware in the dishwasher, and it's dark, and the knives are pointy side down, I don't accidentally stab myself with all those sharp edges. 2. I think it's more sanitary to have knives (and all silverware) oriented so their handles are up. That way, when you remove them to put them away, you're touching the handles, not the part of the silverware that touches the food. My wife has one reason for saying that knives (and all silverware) should be oriented pointy side up. She says that in the dishwasher, water (and dirt) flow generally downward. Therefore, with knives pointy side up, the dirt is flowing away from the eating surfaces. Who's right? Or are we both nuts?
  3. I've eaten at both Higgins and Wildwood several times and I like them both a lot. Top chefs, top ingredients. Higgins has a better beer list, especially if you like Belgian beers.
  4. I hadn't heard of the hotel before, but if it's the one I can find online, with an address of 820 SW King Ave, that's close to PGE park (the baseball stadium), which is downtown. It's at about 20th, so that's about a 13 block walk to places such as Southpark, Higgins, Heathman. It's a bit closer to Pearl district places such as Andina, Bluehour, Geogios. Depending on how you feel about walking, it's convenient to a lot of good restaurants.
  5. You should be OK at restaurants with sidewalk seating (assuming it's not raining, which it's never safe to assume). Southpark comes to mind, and it's close. I'm not sure about Wildwood's patio though. Of course, if you hop across the river to SE Hawthorne, there's always the Lucky Labrador brewpub, probably the most friendly dog establishment in the city. You can sit on the picnic table patio, get a bowl of water for your dog, and someone will probably come by with a dog buiscuit or two. Food is pub grub, but beer is made on premises.
  6. I don't know of any strictly BYO restaurants. Corkage fees vary, and I would recommend asking when you make reservations. If you can squeeze in a lunch in Portland, I would definitely recommend clarklewis. The salads are sublime, and the whole issue of darkness and noise is eliminated at lunch. It's a very pleasant and cheery place then.
  7. Sorry for my late response on this. No, we didn't grow the lemongrass or bay from seed. Although Portland Nursery often has lemongrass, I got mine from a vendor at the Portland Farmer's Market. His was cheaper and looked a lot bigger and healthier than what they had at the Nursery (that was last year, so YMMV). My wife got the bay trees from a nursery in Scholls. For the life of me I can't remember where. But they should be easy to come by.
  8. I'll second (or third) the recommendation for the chicken livers. I confess to having bad liver experiences as a child (midwestern mom who overcooked everything and made us eat horribly overcooked liver), so I'm sensitive to things that are too "intensely livery." But, when cooked with a deft hand, the Greener Pastures livers are terrific. At Wordstock the other week, Cory Schrieber, from Wildwood Restaurant, was also praising them.
  9. Parsley also does well here. I too have had lots of problems with dill. Something (cutworms?) eats mine right to the ground as soon as my back is turned, unless I apply all sorts of chemicals. And even if it survives, it never does well and turns brown too quickly. I plant parsley and basil in close proximity to tomatoes (in the same pots, if you have room). They are plants that seem to do better when near each other. We also have bay trees and we leave them outdoors all year long (in Portland) without problem. We bought a lime tree and meyer lemon tree this year, but I'm sure we'll need to bring them inside during the winter. I've also tried lemongrass, and that does well in the summer. But it too needs to be brought inside during the winter.
  10. I received my tomatoes in the mail yesterday from Territorial. I have never ordered by mail before and was concerned how they would weather the trip. Although I haven't planted them yet, they look healthy. I decided to go heirloom this year to try to focus on taste over quantity and got the following: Koralik (a cherry tomato) Delicious Brandywine Purple Calabash (very cool looking purple/red interior, at least, in the picture it is) Since they're here, I'll be planting today. But I do need two or three more plants. I'd appreciate suggestions for other great-tasting tomatoes that grow well in the Portland area.
  11. Has anyone planted their tomatoes this year yet (out in the open, that is)? I'm getting antsy, but I ordered several heirlooms from Territorial and they haven't arrived yet.
  12. On a similar note, my wife and I went to Hurley's in NW Portland for dinner last New Year's Eve when they were doing a multicourse dinner with several courses containing foie gras. At the time, they were getting a lot of heat from foie gras protesters and people who would protest by making reservations and then not showing up. So they were doing one big blow-out before taking foie gras off their menu. We expressed to our waiter our support of the restaurant's right to serve foie gras, and that we were there that night to support the restaurant. It was interesting to note, he said, that people complained only about foie gras, and not about the other duck courses on the menu. Interesting, he said, because all the duck meat, including the foie gras, comes from the same ducks.
  13. I skimmed over the entries here and didn't find this one (pardon the bandwidth if it has been mentioned before). This method works best with the thick asparagus. After trimming, peel the tougher, lower parts. Then heat a bit of olive oil (or butter/olive oil mixture) in a pan to medim high. Lay the stalks in the pan, but keep them uncrowded. Leave them untouched for a couple of minutes until they start to brown. Then, flip them over, add salt and a little stock, cover, and steam until done. Top with a drizzle of lemon juice if desired. Delicious. A flavor reminiscent of the roasted version, but done much more quickly. I read about this method in a recent magazine (Fine Cooking?), but now I can't remember exactly where it was. We use the same method for other vegetables too. I just hate leaving the flavor in the pot of boiling water.
  14. Indeed! Viande is where we got the pate. BTW, the pizza dough turned out great. I believe the flour is higher gluten than what I usually use because it absorbed more moisture. The pizza recipe, from Crust and Crumb, was the tastiest, easiest to handle pizza crust I've ever made (though I might back down on the honey a bit next time). The last time I made it, the dough was a bit wet and sticky. But with this flour, it was perfect.
  15. We got some flour last week from Columbia Plateau Growers, a high-gluten flour called Shepard's Grain. I'm using it for pizza dough tonight. They are new to the market and we were their first customer ever at the market. They were so thrilled, they took our picture with one of them handing us the five-pound bag of flour. They also sell beans, lentils, garbanzos, and wheat berries. We also got some terrific morels from the mushroom guy in the corner. He had some that were as big as globe artichokes, but we stuck to the smaller ones. We separately sauteed the mushrooms, fiddleheads (I agree, not the best I've had), and pea shoots, and mixed together with bit of pesto (minus the cheese) that I had frozen from last year's crop of basil. Delicious. I don't remember the names of some of the other vendors, but we also got some grass-fed veal from a new meat vendor. Looks good, but we haven't had it yet. Also, we purchased some Dukkah, an Egyptian spice mix that contains chopped hazel nuts, sesame seeds, paprika, tumeric, and "spices." It was terrific, but you can easily make your own given the inspiration after tasting it. It's a lot like Za'tar but without the fresh herbs. We also got bourbon liver pate from the pate guy. It's really good, but he doesn't have it all the time.
  16. Well, the trip to Corvallis was quick and now it's over. On the plus side, we stayed at Hanson's B&B near the OSU campus, and it was delightful. Lovely house, friendly staff, tasteful breakfast, chocolate chip cookies and port in the evening, and even a friendly cat to share the bed. The dining experience wasn't quite as good. We did go to Le Bistro for dinner. The decor is simple elegance (white tablecloth with butcher paper, white napkins, etc), and the menu is french bistro. However, the first bad sign appeared with the salad -- greens with beets, eggs, and olives. The beets were miniscule flavorless pieces, and the black olives were canned. We also had the escargot appetizer because of some recommendations. Perhaps things have changed since others sampled this dish, because these snails tasted almost metallic, as if they were canned. The main dishes, rabbit and pork loin, were OK but not spectacular. And unfortunately, they were almost identically prepared. Same sauce, served over the same not-especially-flavorful mashed potatoes, adorned with identical carrot, snow pea, and green bean garnish. We certainly didn't feel ripped off, but would probably not go back again. I had lunch at Big River, and it was OK too, but definitely a couple of notches down from "fine dining." They had lots of tasty looking desserts, but I'm not a dessert guy, so I didn't try them. The best food I had in Corvallis was the first morning for breakfast, at a bakery on Second, just around the corner from Le Bistro. (The name has slipped from my mind.) They make their own bagels and they were terrific. The pastries looked artery-hardeningly huge and good, but I didn't have any.
  17. Thanks. What about Le Bistro? The description (typical french bistro fare) makes it seem a possibility.
  18. I'm accompanying my wife to a conference in Corvallis and we're staying the night. Anyone have a restaurant recommendation?
  19. We'll be spending a couple of nights in Scottsdale in March. We're staying near Scottsdale Stadium (to catch a ballgame or two). Lunch will probably be hot dogs and Anchor Steam at the park. But I could use some recommendations for nearby nice restaurants, so I can pay my wife back for agreeing to sit through baseball games with me instead of shopping at the art galleries. We'll have a car, but closer to South Scottsdale is better.
  20. stevea


    Thanks much, folks. Sounds like paste is the way to go over concentrate. I've never seen fresh pods in the stores I frequent, but then I've never looked either. I will keep my eyes open.
  21. stevea


    I have some tamarind concentrate in the refrigerator (a thick syrup), but I'm never sure how much of it to use (and whether to dilute with water) in recipes that call for tamarind paste (where you break off a piece, soak in boiling water, and strain). For example, the Pad Thai recipe in RecipeGullet calls for two tablespoons of tamarind paste (treated the way I just described). Anyone have any idea how much tamarind concentrate to use to achieve similar results?
  22. This may sound stupid, because the recipe's so simple. But I love Bittman's stir-fried broccoli. There's nothing in it but broccoli, oil, stock, and sugar. But I think it's sublime.
  23. I'm quite partial to Flameboy for it's smokey hotness. Plenty of varieties, all good.
  24. stevea

    Turnips, I got 'em.

    And don't forget the turnip greens! They're delicious when trimmed from the stalk and prepared as you would kale or collards. I continue to grow turnips in my garden despite my lack of success at producing actual turnips larger than a marble simply because of the greens. SteveA
  25. nutcakes -- thanks for posting the recipe. It's getting almost time to plant the vegetable garden here, and I had some Tuscan Kale wintering over (it even survived the January snow storm). So to make room for the new planting, I picked it all, a huge pan of small, delicate kale leaves and made the recipe last night. I varied the amounts a little and added some soy sauce to season. It was delicious!
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