Jump to content

Jim Dixon

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Jim Dixon

  1. disclosure #1: clarklewis buys olive oil, and I mean a lot of olive oil, from me... ...and of course I think that's one of the reasons the food is so good. This review in the Portland Tribune hit the streets Friday, only 4 days after the doors opened to the public, but I don't think the restaurant really needs much time to get things together, at least in the kitchen. What the Trib left out is that chef Morgan Brownlow worked with Paul Bertolli at Oliveto in Oakland (links to various reviews here) and brings Bertolli's love of pork, beans, oily fish like sardines and mackeral, perfect produce, and, of course, good olive oil to Portland. We stopped by tonight and the place was packed. I had one of the best things I've eaten in awhile, a salad of tiny, tiny raw artichokes, shaved paper thin and dressed with olive oil (Olio Novo...more info on my site below, natch) and lemon, then topped with curls of Parmigiano Reggiano. Incredible. And I had the same dessert served at the olive oil tasting we did before the restaurant opened. It's a traditional Italian cake made with olive oil, very simple, and flavored with in santo. Dried fruits macerated in the same vin santo are served over the top, along with a nice dollop of whipped cream. Everything on the menu is available in small, large (like individual entree size), and family size, and the prices are mostly under $10. I was talking to the kitchen crew while a family size serving of lamb shoulder braised with tomatoes was plated, and I was doing one of those Homer drool things...mmmmm, lamb... disclosure #2: one of our kids works at clarklewis. While it was busy tonight, you should be able to get reservations during the week. And they're open for lunch, too. 1001 SE Water, 503-235-2294 Jim
  2. ..and Portland Cutlery, also downtown (the 2 are within about 2 blocks of each other), are the only places I'd take knives for sharpening. I'm going to Hood River this weekend, so maybe I'll look at the Edgepro. I use a Japanese water stone, and it does a great job. Jim
  3. Just for the record, I like Tabla, too. But I eat more at Navarre, and not just because I've known John for several years or he's an occassional customer of mine. I think it's a great value. There were five of us at the meal I mentioned above, we ate a lot, and the tab was $23 each including tip and wine. I had a special, boar stew, that was killer, as were razor clams (only briefly in season) with brown butter. I don't have the capacity to eat (in terms of volume) that I had when I was younger, so I also like the small plate approach. I can try several things without taking home leftovers (not that I have a problem with that), and I don't feel compelled to eat more than I really want to because something tastes so good. I've been very happy with almost everything I've eaten at Navarre, but the whole thing is so subjective I never assume that anybody else will have the same experience I do. When I write a review, I try to describe the food and how I react to it, and I try to avoid sweeping statements (altho' I'm sure you'll find quite a few if you read back over my stuff). It comes down the old 'different strokes' aphorism. When people complain to me about a negative review, I usually tell them that if they like the place, keep eating there. Jim
  4. Sam...there's no such thing as an "unhealthy amount" of good extra virgin olive oil. Carolyn...couldn't you cook the beans in the oven instead of on top of the stove? That's how I cook mine, altho' I use a garage sale ceramic bean pot (and why are they always brown?). I get the same low and slow advantage and nothing seems to melt (except the crushed whole garlic). Jim
  5. We ate at Navarre a few nights ago, and everything on the menu is now available in a family size plate with 2-3 servings. John says he ate at his own place and realized he wanted more of some things and that the tables were getting crowded with plates. I chained up the truck and drove Judith to work (Portland is paralyzed, as usual, by a winter storm, this one with particularly long-lasting freezing rain), and I drove by Navarre. There's sign in the window that they're open, so if you're getting cabin fever and have chains on your vehicle, you can eat something different. Jim
  6. Thanks Rodney...I'll have to check it out. Have you ever walked north of the restaurant and seen the Bart Simpson on the sidewalk? I think Groening, who went to Lincoln, did it when they put in the light rail. Jim
  7. Axis, Welcome to eGullet. I heard about you last year from somebody and kept meaning to follow up. Glad to hear things are working. Tell us a little more about how you plan the meals, what you cook, costs, etc... Thanks Jim
  8. Around here it's 'chile today, hot tamale.' Jim
  9. My Cahn salt and pepper green beans NE 39th north of Sandy Jim (sorry, but I'm stuck in this format...it does make for a quick post)
  10. I'm sure this is upthread somewhere, but to save endless scrolling I'll offer my annual link to our family's secular latkes. Included are recipes for Tex-Mex and celeriac-scallion latkes, as well an ode to ketchup. We had a late Thanksgiving dinner, and on day 5 of leftovers I made some turkey latkes for breakfast, served with gravy and leftover stuffing. Okay, but I still prefer ketchup. And of course, I always fry mine in olive oil. Jim
  11. Jim Dixon


    It might be a stretch to call this a recipe, and I make the paste a bit differently every time, but here's my basic approach: Cut up 3-4 quince, removing the core. You can peel them if you want, but the food mill step removes the cooked peel (and the seeds, too, for that matter). I'm only speculating, but I think the peel adds some pectin. Simmer the fruit in a cup or so of white wine (or a dry rose) mixed with a tablespoon or so of honey. You can use a dessert win like moscato or Sauternes, but the white wine and honey gives a similar flavor and is cheaper ( I got this from the author of a New Way to Cook...can't remember her name...who was on A Splendid Table one night). Add the juice and zest of a lemon, too. When the quince are soft and pink, cool and put through a food mill (small screen). Taste, add a pinch of good salt, and adjust sweetness if necessary. It doesn't need to be too sweet. Lightly oil a piece of foil (I use olive oil, natch) and line a baking pan big enough to hold the cooked fruit in a layer about a half inch thick. Dry slowly in a very low oven, in the sun (cover with screen to keep the flies off), or in a food dryer (or a convection oven with drying feature, which seems to be the fan and the heat from the lightbulb). When the top is pretty dry and it seems like you can move the whole piece as a unit, flip it over and dry a little longer. Cut up, wrap, and store forever(I keep mine in the refrigerator, but don't know if it's necessary). I make a fig paste the same way. I've put nuts in it, and I've got some marcona almonds that I may add to the next batch of quince paste. I've still got a few pounds of fruit in the garage (which smells great). Nigella's mostarda di venezia is basically the same thing: quince cooked in white wine with lemon, sweetened with sugar (and more, so it's sweeter), and spiked with dry mustard. She also adds candied fruit, which I didn't. And you don't dry it into paste, but cook it to jam-like consistency. It's very good with cheese. Jim
  12. Boot Camp is killng me.... It's been 25 months since we were in Italy, and we're dying to get back. Maybe in the spring. Jim
  13. I'm cheap, so I buy card stock at Arvey paper and have Kinko's print my cards 10-up from a pdf. I get about 1000 for less than $25. I hand out a lot of cards at the Farmers Market, so I put both email and website on them. I'm not trained as a designer, but I've worked with many. From them I learned about using type as a design element, and I prefer to remain logo-less. Jim edit for this ps: My wife told me to add the product list on this version, and, as usual, she was right. People don't have to remember that I'm the olive oil guy....and I should add that I stopped making a separate 'freelance writer' card several years ago so I only had to carry one business card around. This doesn't add much to the question of what to put on your card, but it gave me an excuse to convert my Pagemaker file to a jpeg and upload it to imagegullet.
  14. Jim Dixon


    I've been making quince paste (membrillo) from my first crop. I like to cook the fruit with a little white wine and honey (or use a dessert wine), lemon juice, and zest. Then it's through the mouli and into a pan lined with an olive oiled piece of foil (makes it easier to flip the sheet of paste as it dries). I've dried the paste in the oven (old gas with pilot light) and in the driveway (during rare warm and sunny fall days), but my little delongi convection oven has a drying feature that works really well. Nigella's How to Eat has a recipe for a quince mostarda that's basically the jam with dry mustard to give it bite. It's very good with cheese, but you can't process it like jam because the heat neutralizes the mustard's bite. Jim
  15. That sounds like the Mallory, which I've recommended before since it's cheaper than most of the other downtown hotels. I'd ask about a suite if you want a bigger room. There are also food and hotel recommendations on this thread about Portland. I've also written about Genoa's outdated dining room, but Portlanders generally care less about ambience if they're getting really good food (and I think dress-up fleece under goretex has actually replaced the cable knit as stumptown formal wear). The restaurant in the Avalon is called Rivers, and it's getting good reviews since Rollie Weisen took over as exec chef. He's got food cred of his own, but is best known as Jacque Pepin's son-in-law (I think Claudine is now working the dining room as well). I still think Higgins is one of the best spots for sampling the local cuisine and culture of sustainability (disclosure: I sell them olive oil). I'd also recommend one night on 28th (like extramsg's Laurelhurst event) sampling the small plate trio of Tabla, Navarre (customer), and Noble Rot (ditto). There are too many good spots to make the choice easy. You'll just have to come back. Jim
  16. Grab your umbrella and get down to the Park Blocks for the last market of the year. Last week there were fewer vendors but still a decent selection of fall produce. I found some nice Newtown apples, small Bartlett pears for only 35 cents/pound, lots of mushrooms, and plenty of winter squash. If you haven't had tried the Greener Pastures chickens, you really should pick one up. Better than even the free-range birds at Whole Foods and New Seasons, and the livers are incredible. I'm going to have to shift into winter shopping mode...no more Saturday mornings wandering around under the elms, yakking with the other hard-core food folks I see every week. I get more disappointed with Wild Oats every time I shop there, so I'll drive up to New Seasons instead of walking to my old neighborhood Nature's. I'll have to make the run to Big City Produce more often, too. It's owned by a friend, but also has great deals and a nice selection of stuff. Where do the rest of you market shoppers get your produce fix between now and April? Jim ps: I'll be there, too, with olive oil and salt. Say hello if you come by.
  17. I ordered back when Rachel posted the phone number (page 2?) and got my bags last week. So far I've stuck with simple grilled cheese, and I think that's where the bags really shine. My first was some Oregon gouda-style cows' milk cheese with leftover roasted mushrooms on Grand Central como. Next Crater Lake blue, an incredible blue made with Roquefort culture, alone on the same bread. Both delicious, and faster than pan-grilling. I find it's helpful to use soft butter so it doesn't come off when you butter the second side. Sliding even a simple cheese sandwich into the bag is tricky, and I can imagine more so if it's Dagwoodian. I love cheese, and will be very happy if grilled cheese is all I ever do with my bags. But I did pick some a chunk of Ken's brioche to make grilled chocolate. Jim
  18. Jim Dixon


    In the Dixon household, where many aspects of the traditional Thanksgiving meal are hotly debated, gravy remains sacrosanct (altho' mom never did baste with dark beer, a NJ Italian addition to the process and one that results in really good gravy). We thicken our gravy with a paste made by mixing flour into cold water. That goes into the roasting pan, along with stock made from the neck or other parts, maybe some canned stock, water, a touch of milk, creme fraiche if I've got it (the dairy, added in small amounts, seems to help keep the gravy from separating, and it adds a nice mouthfeel), and a few splashes of Kitchen Bouquet. Gravy ties the meal, or our version of it anyway, together, and there's nothing worse than running out a few days into leftovers, so I make at least a couple of quarts. My late Aunt Margaret never used anything but a spoon to stir the gravy, but a stick blender helps if you get any errant lumps. JIm
  19. I don't see why not, altho' you'd risk the wrath of native plant lovers if you introduced what turns out to be an invasive weed. I've read that substituting bronze fennel, a common ornamental, works...maybe not as much flavor, but some. Jim
  20. You can find wild fennel all the way up to Seattle (there's a vacant lot on the east side of Queen Ann covered with it), and probably even farther north. It seems to like disturbed areas, and full sun of course. I dug one out of the gravel under the east end of the Marquam Bridge (I-5) near OMSI in Portland and planted it next to my garage. When a landscaper friend from SF was visiting and helping in tha yard I had to persuade her not to tear it out. I just trimmed back the dried stalks, and there's new growth coming in, so it looks like I'll have fresh fronds for awhile yet. Jim
  21. Jim Dixon


    Fresh deer liver is about the best thing I ever tasted, and the heart is pretty good, too. Jim
  22. Instead of s'mores, try grilled chocolate sandwiches (they were in the Times mag awhile back). I made some using stone age sandwich grilling technology (eg, skillet, stove, spatula) and they were great, so I'm waiting with bated breath for the bags to arrive. Buttered white bread (brioche even better) and good dark chocolate. Jim
  23. balex, thanks for putting a name on that panino.... Jim
  24. I ordered a couple of sets by phone as per Rachel's suggestion, so i'm getting six bags for the price of 4...a little something for the boys' xmas stockings. I had apparently called during some kind of tv promo, and I also got free coffee. Jim
  25. I think I had this in Palermo's vucciria market, but without the ricotta and caciocavallo. The vendor stood next to a large propane cylinder topped with a burner and what looked like an inverted hubcap (the Sicilian wok?). He slid a few very thin slices of some kind of meat (parlo un po, ma non siciliano) into a pool of hot fat, then scooped it onto a hard roll. A half lemon was squeezed over the meat, and I sucked it down. If my wife wasn't already wandering off toward a rack of leather goods, I would've eaten a few more. Jim
  • Create New...