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Jim Dixon

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Everything posted by Jim Dixon

  1. Annie Peterson, who used to bake for Tavola Catering, does tarts, tortes, and cheesecakes to order. Very good and reasonable, between $22 and $28 each. Call her at 503-771-3739 or email anniepastrypoet@comcast.net Jim
  2. While I obviously like both Lauro and Fife, I think Lauro has more potential for a celebratory dinner. Other good choices include Higgins, Carafe, Tabla, or Navarre. Happy Birthday (and if you don't get that new slow cooker, hit a few garage sales and you'll find a crockpot). Jim
  3. I'll pick out the most obvious infestations, but often follow a chef friend's advice: eat them in the dark Jim
  4. I don't think the clarklewis review in the WW Restaurant Guide does justice to the place. For example: You pay for bread at every restaurant, whether it's explicit or as a percentage of food cost factored into the price of every dish. At clarklewis, you get Ken's bread and about $1 worth of really good olive oil (I import oil from Sicily especially for clarklewis). That's worth $3. The usual caveats apply: I sell clarklewis olive oil (and salt), and I'm related to JJ's friend the manager. Jim
  5. My mushroom-picking friend HC gave us a huge bag of near-perfect matsutakes last week. He forages around Mt Adams, and we also got a nice bag of chanterelles. HC's wife Gail had slow-roasted some of the matsutakes with good results, so that's what I did. Tossed with a little olive oil, added a few cloves of garlic, and roasted at 300 for about 90 minutes. I sliced a few and ate with salt, but diced most into a pasta sauce made with a sofrito and a little tomato sauce. The mushrooms were still firm, but not as tough as the grilled versions I've cooked before. Jim
  6. very sweet...congrats clarklewis is one my biggest customers, so take this with a few grains of flor de sal (and a slug of extra virgin), but I agree that the food is incredible and the service very good. Jim
  7. The first Saturday in November (11/6) is just before bourdain appears, and if he knows what's good for him he'll be at the 70th annual Verboort Sausage Festival. Jim
  8. Haven't been to Mio, but I do like Staccato Gelato (and they're at both the Wed and Fri farmers market downtown. Ken's over St Honore (Ken makes the best croissant this side of the Atlantic...I've heard that St Honore doesn't make the ones they sell)' Park Kitchen, the Gotham Coffee Shop, or the Higgins burger for lunch (only served in the bar); and clarklewis for dinner...if you only go to one restaurant, make it clarklewis (lunch on weekdays, too). But make a reservation now. I'll also be at the farmers market Sat, 8/7, which is the annual bread festival (aka Summer Loaf), so come early if you don't like crowds. Jim
  9. I first tasted pollinea di finocchio at Alla Testere in Venice about 8 years ago, and it's my understanding that the most flavorful pollen comes from wild fennel. I gathered some in Sicily, but the plant also grows along the west coast (it's considered a noxious weed in California). I dug one out of the gravel under the freeway across the river from downtown Portland and have it growing in my yard. I've yet to maximize pollen production, but I can go out and shake a flower during the early summer and get a little. jim
  10. I've been making nocino for a few years. Here's what I do: Split a dozen or so geeen walnuts (in Portland, they are at the right stage now) and combine with 750 ml grain alcohol (aka everclear) in a clear jar. Seal and place in the sun for the rest of the summer, which means late September here. Strain out the walnuts with cheese cloth and dilute with sugar syrup to 95 proof (equal amounts syrup and alcohol, which is 190 proof). Let sit for a month or so if you can before drinking. I've been using less sugar lately, about 3 parts sugar to 4 parts water, and I like the results. Jim
  11. Ore, Thanks for taking the time to do this...now we can attend the Instituto without leaving home (altho' I would much rather be in Italy). Could you toss out a few simple recipes, like the eggs with red onion, and maybe tell us about the town, too? (All this in your 'spare' time, of course.) graize mille Jim
  12. Here's a shot of the famous footwear from May's Beard awards (this article helped pay off my trip), and there's a link to the Calzuros site for ordering (I got red and they make a huge difference when I'm on the concrete all day at the Farmers Market). I, too, recently discovered crocs. The best water shoes I've ever worn (much better than tevas..the vents let sand drain right out...I wore them for 3 days of beach bocce) and I just wore my no-vent dress models today. Stylish and orthopedic! Jim
  13. The IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) amended the official classifications of oil since I wrote that article (and thanks for the link, Craig). They've also moved from expressing 'acidity' as a percentage to a mass ratio, more accurate since the 'acidity' level was really just the measurement of a single fatty acid. It all gets pretty technical, but basically any virgin oil has been extracted mechanically (by crushing and 'pressing' which typically doesn't involve an actual process but a continous centrifugal extraction) from fresh olives. The other grades have been rectified or refined, blended with virgin oil to add some flavor, and stripped of the complex compounds that make extra virgin taste so good (and be good for you). Extra virgin is the highest quality grade of the virgin oils, but the flavor profile, level of polyphenols, and other characteristics can vary widely between extra virgins. I only use extra virgin oil, but I've got a garage full of the stuff. My personal choice is avoid the refined oils, and most traditional olive oil producers I've met don't think they're really fit for eating. Pomace oil is particularly vile stuff, but many restaurants use it for salads. Price is a good rule of thumb. It's pretty hard to produce a true extra virgin oil that sells for less than $10/liter. Labels in the US mean little, since the FDA doesn't follow the IOOC guidelines. Much of what is sold as extra virgin, especially at the low end of the market, probably isn't. Jim
  14. I think we need to know a little more about these gnocchi. Just how interactive were they? Jim
  15. yes... Park Kitchen is very, very good, too. But go to clarklewis...you can hit Park Kitchen for lunch. Jim
  16. You could spend one night between Noble Rot and Navarre, both wine-bar-small-plate places within walking distance of each other near 28th and East Burnside. Depeneding on how many of you are here, a few could take a a table at each place and you could gradually swap places. Portland's current hot spot, clarklewis (1001 SE Water, an easy walkacross the river from the festival at Waterfront Park), deserves a visit. The food is Italian-ish, in the sense that the emphasis is on the ingredients (and really good olive oil is key....I'm biased, of course, since they buy most of it from me). A reservation is essential. Park Kitchen would be another good option. Jim
  17. I didn't go throughthe entire first page, so forgive me if this was already posted... I had a very nice dinner at Locanda Vini e Olii in Clinton Hill. My friend Lew, who's lived in Brooklyn forever, hadn't heard about it before but was impressed as well. Jim
  18. Ya-roo, your check is in the mail. When I tried this I either got into a fight or was invited into the restroom. I think we need an eGullet lapel pin. Jim
  19. totally off-topic, but I know trillium will see it here... You have to tell me about Sciacca next time I see you. The olive oil I imported for clarklewis comes from there, and from what little I could learn online, it looks like a great spot. back to regularly scheduled, hunger-inducing memories of Sicilia... Jim
  20. I can't remember what it's called, but I brought back some dried tuna belly (mosciana?) that was delicious. I also cooked some prickly pears, ran them through the mouli, and packed the juice into plastic water bottles. When I got home, I made sorbetto. But salt-packed capers from Pantelleria would also be my number 1 recommendation. They keep forever, taste wonderful, and are relatively cheap in Sicily. Jim
  21. For awhile I was able to get the flowers 2 for a quarter, and we ate them a lot. I don't wash them, either, but dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs and pan fry in olive oil. Jim
  22. I may have to go back for more of those clams. I had some a few weeks ago and they are good. Jim
  23. I may sound like a broken record, but go to clarklewis (503-235-2294, 1001 SE Water). It's a nice walk across the river (only a few hundred yards from the East Bank Esplanade...you can take any of several bridges and get a nice before or after dinner stroll), and the food is really, really good. Jim
  24. We ate the boiled belly with lentils last night. Lots of Homer-esque drooling noises around the table, as it was incredibly good. The pork belly brined for 10 days (about 1/2:quart, salt:water, with sugar, clove, juniper, peppercorn, and bay leaf...but results not at all salty), then simmered 3 hrs with aromatics. Henderson's "quite dour" lentils are anything but...sweat leek, onion, garlic, and carrot, then cook lentils with herbs, finish with good olive oil. The combination had even some slightly squeamish diners (at the fatty belly, that is) cleaning their plates. Jim
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