Portland Craft Beer Festival

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, and I will be highlighting every week an event or beer in honor of celebrating and promoting Oregon Craft Beer.

Especially if you live in Portland, there are so many breweries right here just in the city. In fact, the upcoming Portland Craft Beer Festival this weekend July 3 – 5 is focused exactly on that – celebrating just the beers made in the Portland city limits.

Portland Craft Beer Festival poster for 2015, design by Dotzero with illustration by Wilder Schmaltz

I’ve summarized everything up into 10 points you need to know about the Portland Craft Beer Festival (PCBF).

  1. The 5 Ws:
    • What: A beer festival showcasing beers only from within the city limits of Portland. Even though Portland does host many beer festivals, this is the first one focusing only on Portland breweries.
    • When:
      • Friday, July 3, 2015 – 4pm to 10pm
      • Saturday, July 4, 2015 – 12pm to 10pm
      • Sunday, July 5, 2015 – 12pm to 7pm
    • Who: Guests must be 21+ to drink alcoholic beverages. On Friday and Saturday admission is 21+ only, but Sunday is Family Day and open to all ages.
    • Where: The Fields Neighborhood Park in the Pearl District, at 1099 NW Overton St, Portland, OR 97209
    • Why: CaskAide, Inc. and its partner charities are the non-profit beneficiaries of the PCBF. This year, the charities that CaskAide is honored to partner with are The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing FoundationThe James Beard Public Market and the Oregon Brew Crew
  2. Support Local! The beer list is great – with almost 100 beers being poured from Portland breweries. Even as a beer geek myself there are beers from breweries new or small I have never visited or only heard of,  but PCBF has gathered them conveniently all in one location. Besides the beer being within the city limits, so are the wine and ciders alternatives if you don’t want to partake in beer. PCBF will be offering wine from Coopers Hall and fizzy wines from Hi Wheel, and cider from Cider Riot! and Reverand Nat’s.
    Cider Riot! cider
  3. Portland Made Cheese! PCBF is showcasing two cheesemakers who make their cheese within the city limits, Ancient Heritage Dairy and Portland Creamery
    Portland Creamery sells theirs in pretty small packages Ancient Heritage Dairy, cheese
    Cheeses from Portland Creamery; Cheese from Ancient Heritage Diary
  4. It’s a great value for a beer festival. $20 for a keepsake mug and 10 beer tickets. 1 ticket will yield one 4 oz pour and 4 tickets will buy a full pour. Advance ticket purchasers will receive 15 beer tickets and the mug for $20. which is a BIG DEAL! Additional tickets will be available for purchase at $1.00 apiece. Tickets will be available for advance purchase through Brown Paper Tickets.. It will be cash only at the PCBF festival. Your admission is good all weekend.
  5. PCBF cares about you stretching: they are holding free yoga classes for adults and for children 1 hour before the festival opens (aka the free yoga classes are at 11 AM) on Sunday
  6. There will be plenty of food to go with the drinks. PCBF is making sure we support several local food carts that will be on site, and also the offerings are diverse to satisfy whatever you feel like eating. They include Bunk Sandwiches with their always tasty sandwiches, The Dump Truck with their dumplings, Floyd’s Coffee Shop, Farm to Fire wood fired pizza, and Urban German Grill with their German sausages and pretzels. Additionally on Sunday there will be ice cream thanks to Ruby Jewel.
    Bunk Sandwiches' winter vegetarian sandwich: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Chutney, Gruyere & Horseradish sandwich. Example sausage from Urban German Grill Potato Curry dumpling on the left which had a burst of pork and ginger with scallions, Mr Ma dumpling on the right which essentially has a Malaysian yellow curry with potato inside the dumpling wrapper Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich
    Example vegetarian sandwich from Bunk one season that was Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Chutney, Gruyere & Horseradish sandwich; A sausage from Urban German Grill; Sample I had on a food cart tour from Dump Truck with a Potato Curry dumpling and a Mr Ma dumpling; Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich
  7. On Family Day Sunday, there will be a Children’s Craft Market with craft booths by kids. Support the kids! There will be free vision testing by The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and also face painting as well on Sunday Family Day.
  8. The Portland Beer Hall of Fame will be unveiled on Saturday, July 4 at 3 PM. The inaugural inductees will be announced by the Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison (also known as Beer O’Clock Radio host) and ballots will be available to vote on next year’s inductees.
  9. Thanks to BTU Brasserie there will be beer slushies to keep you cool

    Beer slushies brought to you by #BTUBrasserie will keep you cool at #PortlandCraftBeerFestival next weekend! #portlandbeer

    A photo posted by Portland Craft Beer Festival (@pdxcraftbeerfest) on

  10. It is very easy to not have to drive to PCBF. And there’s a reward for taking your bike to the fest.
    • The Portland Streetcar runs from Downtown, Northwest, & the Inner Eastside and stops a block from The Fields Park.
    • PCBF will be partnering with Lyft for safe rides to and from the festival (use PCBF code to get a free ride up to $20 for signin gup).
    • PCBF will also have a bike valet (bring your own lock) courtesy of Spinlister, The Global Bike Share. Present your valet parking stub inside the festival for a free 4 oz. pour.
    • Pedi-cabs will also be on hand – a scenic trip along the waterfront park for anyone looking to go back and forth from the Waterfront Blues Festival.
    • And for those with designated drivers, there is a parking lot at Station Place Garage Lot 120 at 720 NW Lovejoy Court, at the west end of the Broadway Bridge.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be at PCBF on Friday, so check my Untappd profile at pechluck to see my thoughts on some of the beer, and my Instagram @pechluck or Twitter @pechluck for any pictures!

What do you think of the ideas of the Portland Craft Beer Festival –  do you find it so very Portland like I do? What are your holiday weekend plans?

Signature

Portland Penny Diner Happy Hour

I’ve been a fan of the breakfast/lunch at Portland Penny Diner for a while – see my post here – but they were only open 7 – 3 PM on weekdays. Curses! But now recently the PPD has extended their hours now to be open 4 – 11 PM midnight on Fri Sat), including a happy hour from 4 – 6 PM every day (Mon – Sat – they are closed Sunday). Yay! So here’s a look at the Portland Penny Diner Happy Hour and their evening menu.

The photos are from several visits, varying from a complimentary Open House event I attended where I was able to sample bites from the food and drink, as well as follow-up visits on my own dime.
Portland Penny Diner Portland Penny Diner is now open evening hours from 4-11 M-Th to midnight Fri Sat Portland Penny Diner is now open evening hours from 4-11 M-Th to midnight Fri Sat Portland Penny Diner is now open evening hours from 4-11 M-Th to midnight Fri Sat Portland Penny Diner is now open evening hours from 4-11 M-Th to midnight Fri Sat

With eight cocktails on tap, as well as two wine and four beer taps, Portland Penny Diner can satiate your thirst quickly. Barman Tony Gurdian has crafted a great list of balanced cocktails that he makes in small batches so they are always fresh and balanced (and are only $5 at happy hour!).
Portland Penny Diner sample of a draft cocktail by Barman Tony Gurdian Portland Penny Diner sample of a draft cocktail by Barman Tony Gurdian Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample cocktail on draft with Barman Tony Gurdian himself pouring the drafts Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample cocktail on draft with Barman Tony Gurdian himself pouring the drafts

There is also always a new daily punch just $5 all day every day until it’s out. One visit the punch was pisco, maraschino, darjeeling tea, lemon, oleo and prosecco.  The one I tried below was composed with Dickel White Whiskey, rum, Cointreau, lemon, oleo and Montucky lager.
Portland Penny Diner offers a Punch of the Day that's $5 until it runs out. Portland Penny Diner offers a Punch of the Day that's $5 until it runs out.

Don’t worry – those plastic cups are just free sample tastes at an Open House. Here they are compared to the actual size of the drinks I paid for later!
Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample cocktail on draft Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample cocktail on draft Portland Penny Diner cocktail on draft actual size Portland Penny Diner cocktail on draft actual size Portland Penny Diner cocktail on draft actual size Portland Penny Diner cocktail on draft actual size
I was most interested in a new section of the menu called Short Orders, which include are a shot with a paired item (another drink or food snack).

  • Whiskey & Beer Back
  • Tequila & Verdita. The idea of this was first created when Top Chef alums Chef Doug Adams and Chef Katsuji Tanabe collaborated at a dinner, and their bro love continues on with this Short Order menu item.
    Portland Penny Diner Short Order item of Tequila & Verdita. This was first created when Top Chef alums Chef Doug Adams and Chef Katsuji Tanabe collaborated at a dinner
  • Pisco & Grilled Pineapple with Espelette, Pisco is a bit like brancy and comes from South America, thus the pairing here. Espelette is the slightly spicy pepper you see on top of the grilled pineapple,
    Portland Penny Diner drinks - a Short Order (Pisco & Grilled Pineapple with Espelette)
  • Cachaca and Pickled Strawberry. Cachaca is akin to a Brazilian rum.
    Portland Penny Diner Short Order item of Cachaca and Pickled Strawberry

My food and drink adventure rule is always if I see something on the menu that I’ve never seen before or don’t usually see – that’s where the delicious adventure lies.

Portland Penny Diner Evening Food Menu is a collaboration between Vitaly Paley and Doug Adams includes a few soups and salads, including this tomato soup with crouton and basil (pictured is a sample that was passed at an Open House, not an actual full order).
Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample of the tomato soup with croutons and basil Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample of the tomato soup with croutons and basil

Then there are Fry Bread Tacos, varying from filled with house smoked pastrami, or soy braised pork belly, or my personal favorite the Hangtown Fry Taco with fried oysters, eggs, bacon and spicy mayo.
Portland Penny Diner tasting a sample food item, the House Smoked Pastrami Taco with russian dressing, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut
Sample of the House Smoked Pastrami Taco with russian dressing, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut and the full order of Hangtown Fry Taco with fried oysters, eggs, bacon and spicy mayo

For something a bit more familiar, there are single or double burgers with secret sauce and for vegetarians, a super flavorful Falafel Burger. The double burger (called the Deluxe Burger) is only $8 at happy hour (the regular PPD burger is $7 and not a HH special) so splurge on a double patty between 4-6. If you’d like, the burgers come on their own so order waffle fries, sweet potato fries… or Disco Fries (with gravy, pastrami, swiss, cheddar).
Portland Penny Diner's evening menu, super flavorful Falafel Burger feta, red onion, tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, iceberg, harissaPortland Penny Diner's evening menu, on happy hour get this Deluxe Burger with two patties, bacon, secret sauce, white onions, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, bread and butter pickles
Above you see sample of the and also the Falafel Burger with feta, red onion, tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, iceberg, harissa and the full Deluxe Burger with two patties, bacon, secret sauce, white onions, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, bread and butter pickles

More substantial PPD Plates include Buttermilk Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, Blackened Trout, or a Penny Pincher special that changes. I’ve seen the Penny Pincher vary from a Pork Taco Salad to Breakfast Chicken Hash, or check the chalkboard.

Who knows, you may run into either or both of these celebrity chefs (you see chef Douggie making his chicken back there? Another time chef Vitaly Paley was just sitting outside having a beer!). For photos of some of the chicken or trout plates, visit my blogger friend Marlynn at Urban Bliss Life and see her post on Portland Penny Diner!
Portland Penny Diner is a collaboration with chef/owner Vitaly Paley and executive chef Doug Adams (who you see on the right, making his fried chicken)
Portland Penny Diner Fried Chicken, from Executive Chef Doug Adams (this is a sample, not the actual plate you get from ordering) Portland Penny Diner Fried Chicken, from Executive Chef Doug Adams (this is a sample, not the actual plate you get from ordering)
Above Portland Penny Diner Fried Chicken, from Executive Chef Doug Adams (this is a sample, not the actual plate you get from ordering as that comes with mashed potatoes and gravy)

If you get a chance to try Portland Penny Diner, definitely get a fry taco, and maybe share the fried chicken, and try a draft cocktail or a short order!
Portland Penny Diner Evening Menu includes a few soups and salads, Fry Bread Tacos (varying from filled with house smoked pastrami and soy braised pork belly to fried oysters with eggs and bacon) to burgers with secret sauce and for vegetarians, a super flavorful Falafel Burger. More substantial PPD Plates include buttermilk fried chicken, blackened trout, or a Penny Pincher special. Portland Penny Diner Deluxe Burger with two patties, bacon, secret sauce, white onions, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, bread and butter pickles Portland Penny Diner drinks - cocktail on draft and a Short Order (Pisco & Grilled Pineapple with Espelette)

 

Have you ever had fry bread, or a fry bread taco? What do you think of the offerings of Portland Penny Diner, have you checked out the evening hours yet?

Click to add a blog post for Portland Penny Diner on Zomato

Disclosure: Although many of the sample drinks and dishes you have seen were from an “open house” they had their first week or so of their evening hours that was open to media and the public, I returned other times and paid for full cocktails and these Short Orders as my own drink adventure.

Signature

SALT FIRE WATER with Jacobsen Salt Co and Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan

Ben Jacobsen has a big heart that wants to share deliciousness with anyone he can. First, he created the incredible finishing salts that are the products Jacobsen Salt Co  and which elevate food all over the world. He brought artisan salt to the attention of the US chefs and American consumers. For that, we already owe him a great debt. Once you taste the hand harvested pure flake sea salt from the Oregon Coast, and all the possible flavors infused in salt, you can never look back.
The incredible finishing salts that are the products of Ben Jacobsen and Jacobsen Salt Co and which elevate food all over the world. The incredible finishing salts that are the products of Ben Jacobsen and Jacobsen Salt Co and which elevate food all over the world. The incredible finishing salts that are the products of Ben Jacobsen and Jacobsen Salt Co and which elevate food all over the world. The incredible finishing salts that are the products of Ben Jacobsen and Jacobsen Salt Co and which elevate food all over the world.

It’s like that point in your childhood that you step up from American cheese to real cheese. Suddenly, this whole world you can’t believe you were missing out on has been opened up to you, full of so much possibility. Thank goodness he had the patience and fortitude to work through the messy experimental two years to figure out how to harvest salt (the first since Lewis and Clark to harvest it in the Northwest in the 1800s!) and sampling up and down the coast to find the best sea area (Netarts Bay).

Now probably the most famous artisan salt producer in the United States, Ben didn’t stop there. With the old original salt trailer, he dreamed of salvaging it to create a communal table that people would gather warmly like a family to celebrate good food, good drink, and community. Partnering with Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen (who believed in his salts to bring it from a Northwest secret to a national offering) and with Ingredient Sponsor New Seasons Market (they were the first to turn his hobby into a business by ordering his salt), thus was born the Jacobsen Salt Co.’s SALT FIRE WATER series. The original pallet is indeed part of the table we gather at (it’s the lighter brown wood in the middle below).
The dining table inside Jacobsen Salt Co. headquarters for the Salt Fire Water dinner series. The middle light brown portion is the original old original salt trailer he used when he first started. Ben Jacobsen dreamed of salvaging it to create a communal table that people would gather warmly like a family and enjoy incredible food - thus the Salt Fire Water dinner series The dining table inside Jacobsen Salt Co. headquarters for the Salt Fire Water dinner series. The middle light brown portion is the original old original salt trailer he used when he first started. Ben Jacobsen dreamed of salvaging it to create a communal table that people would gather warmly like a family and enjoy incredible food - thus the Salt Fire Water dinner series

I attended the third dinner of the 2015 series, which once again paired a Visiting Chef from another city with a local Portland Chef. The first dinner in April featured Chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns of Bar Tartine  San Francisco + local Chefs Greg and Gabi Denton of Ox to work together to create a shared experience while still maintaining their distinctive food perspectives – similar to what this third dinner was.  Then the second one in May was a PDX locals collaboration with Chef Jaret Foster of Foster’s Craft Cooking and Chef Kristen Murray of MÅURICE. They joined forces to create a Calcotada Dinner – a Catalonian celebration of the Calcot, a very special variety of onion that is fire-roasted, dipped in romesco sauce and eaten with one’s hands. You can see more incredible photos of this dinner experience at fellow blogger Aubrie at Portland Oregon Food Photographer , and Meredith blogging at Martha Chartreuse.

My dinner brought together Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen of New York and Japan  (his first time in Portland! Come back again please!) and the man behind the hard to get into (reservations are out at November) worst kept “secret” restaurant in Portland, Earl Nissom of Lang Baan.
The table setting for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented Williams Sonoma and New Seasons The table setting for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

Wines were poured from Brooks Winery throughout the evening.
Wines provided by Brooks Winery for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Wines provided by Brooks Winery for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Wines provided by Brooks Winery for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

And now, the recap of the Salt Fire Water dinner with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan:
The menu for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Wines provided by Brooks Winery for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

First course

We started with a First course of passed hors d’oeuvres while all the guests trickled in and mingled together.
The mingling of guests while enjoying a glass of Brooks Winery white during the First course of passed hors d'oeuvres at the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan The mingling of guests while enjoying a glass of Brooks Winery white during the First course of passed hors d'oeuvres at the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan The mingling of guests while enjoying a glass of Brooks Winery white during the First course of passed hors d'oeuvres at the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan The mingling of guests while enjoying a glass of Brooks Winery white during the First course of passed hors d'oeuvres at the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan

Those Bites included this Braised Beef Tongue with Dashi + Beef Broth and Scallion by Ivan Ramen. This is a house specialty that he serves at the Ivan Ramen location dinner menu at 25 Clinton in New York, and for this event he served it in shot glasses. It’s probably a lot more convenient to eat in a bowl then as an appetizer like this as I tried to shake the beef from the bottom.
Braised Beef Tongue with Dashi + Beef Broth and Scallion by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Braised Beef Tongue with Dashi + Beef Broth and Scallion by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

The Daikon XO with Dried Shrimp and Scallop Chili Oil by Ivan Ramen is also available as a starter at the Ivan Ramen location for both lunch and dinner – you should definitely keep that in mind if you visit NY because I probably could have enjoyed a dozen spoons of these.
Daikon XO with Dried Shrimp and Scallop Chili Oil by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Daikon XO with Dried Shrimp and Scallop Chili Oil by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

Lang Baan’s Earl Nissom’s spoon was Sweet Sticky Rice with Sun-dried Mud Fish, Fried Shallot, Kaffir Lime. This is a prefect representation of Thai food with it’s balance of bold flavors of salty, sweet, savory, sour, a little funky… all together in one bite.
Sweet Sticky Rice with Sun-dried Mud Fish, Fried Shallot, Kaffir Lime by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Sweet Sticky Rice with Sun-dried Mud Fish, Fried Shallot, Kaffir Lime by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

Next from Lang Baan was Salt-baked Red Tilapia with Rice Noodles, Little Gem Lettuces and Dill.
Salt-baked Red Tilapia with Rice Noodles, Little Gem Lettuces and Dill by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Salt-baked Red Tilapia with Rice Noodles, Little Gem Lettuces and Dill by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

My favorite of the three offerings from Lang Baan though were these spicy Northern Thai Lamb Tartare with Avocado and Belgian Endive, though maybe my bias towards spicy food and particularly Northern Thai food is influencing me with this choice.
Northern Thai Lamb Tartare with Avocado and Belgian Endive by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Northern Thai Lamb Tartare with Avocado and Belgian Endive by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons

Second course

Matthew Domingo, our Master of Dinner I’ll call him, gently herded us to the tables for the next four courses. You can see Ben Jacobsen and Ivan Orkin surveying the guests by that entrance to the William Sonoma Open Kitchen, perhaps talking about future plans for another get together of deliciousness…?
The mingling of guests while enjoying a glass of Brooks Winery white during the First course of passed hors d'oeuvres at the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan - you can see Ben Jacobsen and Ivan Orkin surveying the guests enjoying the First Course right there by the entrance to the William Sonoma Open kitchen.

As we were seated, Brooks Winery’s Runaway Red was poured.
Wines provided by Brooks Winery (here Runaway Red) for the Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, presented by Williams Sonoma and New Seasons Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, moving on to the seated courses as Brooks Winery Runaway Red is poured Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan, moving on to the seated courses as Brooks Winery Runaway Red is poured

The Second course was by Ivan Ramen, and was a dish of incredible Mushrooms Casino with King Oyster Mushrooms, Baby Clams, Bacon, and Crispy Panko. I even liked the fact that we were eating these with the chopsticks as it forced us to really taste the components slowly rather than just shoveling it all in with a spoon like a food drug. Thankfully I or you can get the fix on again at Ivan Ramen’s dinner menu in NY.

Third course

For the Third course, Lang Baan was passed the baton and served a dish of Bee Local Smoked Honey Duck Curry with Cherry Tomato, Potatoes, Onion, Basil, Shallot and Coconut Rice. The Duck was sooo tender and smoky, the curry was a mix of peanut and spiciness that leaned on the side of a massamun mashed up but with deeper savoryness and heat like a red curry that could be calmed by the sweetness of the coconut rice.
Third course of Bee Local Smoked Honey Duck Curry with Cherry Tomato, Potatoes, Onion, Basil, Shallot and Coconut Rice by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan Third course of Bee Local Smoked Honey Duck Curry with Cherry Tomato, Potatoes, Onion, Basil, Shallot and Coconut Rice by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan Third course of Bee Local Smoked Honey Duck Curry with Cherry Tomato, Potatoes, Onion, Basil, Shallot and Coconut Rice by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan

Fourth course

The baton is back to Ivan Ramen, who presented a cold ramen (available at both Ivan Ramen and Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in New York) in the form of Cold Lemon Shio Dashi Ramen with roasted tomato, Jacobsen Sea Salt, Toasted Rye Noodle, Dungeness Crab, and Scallion Oil.
Fourth course of Cold Lemon Shio Dashi Ramen with roasted tomato, Jacobsen Sea Salt, Toasted Rye Noodle, Dungeness Crab, and Scallion Oil by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan Fourth course of Cold Lemon Shio Dashi Ramen with roasted tomato, Jacobsen Sea Salt, Toasted Rye Noodle, Dungeness Crab, and Scallion Oil by Ivan Ramen for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan

Fifth course

I know many of us were wondering about the dessert listed, as it seemed like a really bizarre combination. Well, trust in Lang Baan and Earl Nissom to show us that Coconut Ice Cream with Corn Salad, Jacobsen Vanilla Salt, Purple Rice, Strawberry, Peanut, and Jackfruit is a perfect combination of textures and a worthy dessert for such a memorable meal.
Fifth course of Coconut Ice Cream with Corn Salad, Jacbosen Vanilla Salt, Purple Rice, Strawberry, Peanut, and Jackfruit by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan Fifth course of Coconut Ice Cream with Corn Salad, Jacbosen Vanilla Salt, Purple Rice, Strawberry, Peanut, and Jackfruit by Lang Baan for Jacobsen Salt Co Salt Fire Water dinner #3 with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan

For more photos, check out the Williams Sonoma blog entry for #SaltFireWater Dinner with Ivan Ramen + Lang Baan or search the hashtag #SaltFireWater on Instagram!

To sign up for future SALT FIRE WATER Feasts – click to the Jacobsen Salt Co Eventbrite Ticket site. The next one is a bargain I think on July 12 – “Eclade de Moules” – a French tradition of roasting fresh mussels with pine boughs and then eating then with one’s hands that will take place just outside the Jacobsen Salt Co. Headquarters at 602 SE Salmon St.

The $55 includes a wine happy hour, the feasting with the roasted fresh mussels, and then going inside for a communal buffet featuring Foster’s Craft Cooking as well as live music, a photo booth, and Oregon craft beer & wine.  There will be two seatings, and tickets to the experience are limited to 100 people.

Menu details include

  • Fire-roasted mussels with good olive oil, Jacobsen sea salt and Ken’s Artisan Bread
  • Summer’s Ratatouille Gratin
  • Pissaladiere
  • Northwest Nicoise Salad
  • Cherry Clafouti

If the Calcotado dinner looked amazeballs to you, here’s you second chance for a similar experience!

What do you think of the dishes by Ivan and Earl – what do you think would have been your favorite?

Signature

Sake Fest 2015 on Thursday June 25

This Thursday June 25, Sake Fest returns for its fifth year. This year, it is taking place at the The Governor Ballroom at The Sentinel Hotel  (formerly The Governor Hotel). I’m pretty excited because besides having sake with sushi (I often ahem prescribe myself warm sake when it’s cold out in the winter, or if my throat hurts) or at sake pairings with my Nodoguro dinners, I don’t have sake very often because I don’t know much about sake besides regular temperature or hot, clear or cloudy. I want to change that.

Attending Sake Fest gives you a chance to learn and sample all sorts of sake. It also includes trying food as you learn how to pair the traditional Japanese drink with a wide variety of food, including cheese, desserts, chocolate and a wide range of fusion, Asian and continental cuisines. It includes ALL saké sampling stations – even rare & premium saké varieties. Altogether there are more than 130+ sakes to sample.

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

Featured food participants at Sake Fest include 19 different tables of food pairings including

  • ramen restaurant Noraneko,
  • cheese served like sushi bar Chizu,
  • Asian food offerings like from Saucebox, Yama Sushi & Izakaya, Biwa, Yakuza, Smallwares, Hokusei Sushi, Behind the Museum Cafe and more,
  • other types of food varying from Hawaiian cuisine of Bamboo Grove to classic American like Davis Street Tavern or The American Local,
  • chocolates from Batch chocolate or Xocolatl de David,
  • salt from The Meadow,
  • Asian sweets from Yume Confections and more!

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

You can buy Sake Fest Admission tickets now at Eventbrite, which come in two tiers, based on whether you want Early Admission: 5:30 to 9:00 PM (provides an extra hour of no crowds or lines, only 100 tickets available, available in advance online only) at $75, or for $55 Regular Admission: 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Both tickets are for guests Adults 21 and Older Only and include all food and drink at Sake Fest and includes a free Saké souvenir tasting glass provided by SakéOne.

Also available are tickets for a special Sake Food pairing dinner on Wednesday night at the ticket site, if you are so inclined.

For a hint of what Sake Fest is like, here’s a video from their first year:

Do you know anything about sake, like a certain kind of sake you like? When do you have sake?

I’ll be at Sake Fest Thursday so if you see me feel free to say hi!

Signature

Renata – First Look

You may have seen that yesterday that the Oregonian, besides publishing a huge list of Portland’s 101 Best Restaurants, also named the 3 top restaurant awards for 2015. They dubbed Xico Cuisine of the Year, and Kachka the 2015 Rising Star Restaurant. And then, in a ballsy and perhaps purposely controversial move (and therefore generating lots of buzz and chatter and readership, which probably is half the point of the article anyway rather than just providing information), named 2015 Restaurant of the Year as Renata, who has only been officially open since the beginning of June (soft opening for a couple weeks before that).
Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors

I myself have still been deliberately waiting to write on what I think of Renata. I had eagerly been anticipating the opening of Renata back when it was still pop-up Project Grace, and so far had an opportunity to visit Renata a few times already. But, I was waiting to see what Renata would really be like when the rubber meets the road… and now with this announcement their test of execution of kitchen and service has been quickly accelerated. You will want to make reservations – they accept OpenTable Renata if you are trying to go now given the new buzz.

The dining space at Renata is airy and open. There are some tables of 2, and then these “Y” tables that can accommodate in different configurations larger parties or partially communal eating. It reminds me of restaurants I’ve seen in LA, where there is a bit of see and be seen to the dining scene .

Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these

On one visit I would take turns gazing lovingly on the food, paying attention to my dining companion, and glancing over to see what Andy Ricker at one table and Jeffrey Morgenthaler at a different table were eating and drinking while also being charmed watching the children of owners Nick and Sandra Arnerich eat at a counter with Sandra’s mother – 3 generations enjoying Renata. My visit on May 27 was also the same day Stephanie Yao Long took all those photos you saw accompanying the article announcing Renata as 2015 Restaurant of the Year so I got to watch that as well – I assumed it was for their “First Look” article (yes, I’m totally in a few of those photos).

And, Renata has a fabulous patio, if you are prepared for dealing with no shade on a cloudless day. Since this photo they have added one large patio umbrella in the middle so you still get lots of sun.
A look at Renata from their small parking lot, facing their patio Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these

I appreciate how the bar faces windows, and most of all, not only do they have purse hooks under the counter but also outlets to charge your phone if you have your power cord handy! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, thank you.
Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord. Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord. Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord.

The back away from the patio has mirrors, making the interior seem more spacious, and the whole restaurant fills with light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows/door. The wall between the patio and the restaurant are door panels that Renata can choose to open to let the breeze in, if they wish to, so the entire patio and restaurant can become one flowing space.
Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors

The patio is going to make this such an attractive al fresco lunch and dinner spot this summer and however long the weather cooperates until the rain comes.
Renata patio Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon; Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments; Renata cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture

I don’t want to really review them until they have been open a bit longer, but thought I’d share the food photos at least to entice you… and to maybe explain why Michael Russell named them Restaurant of the Year, even though there is barely any write up out there on them yet.

The menu is divided into small plates which are in a box to the right side of the daily printed menu, with a section for Stuzzi or Bites, Tavola or Boards, and Antipasti. Next, in the main eating ring are half a dozen Primi Pasta dishes, a handful of Hearth/Grill dishes and Forni/Oven pizza dishes from their brick oven, and a couple Contorni/Sides.
Menu on May 27 2015 for Renata Menu on May 27 2015 for Renata

There is also a bar menu that doesn’t even capture the creativity tempered by incredible balance that is coming out. For instance, here is the cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger. I loved taking sips of the sweet and sour beverage and then little bites of the spicy ginger.
Renata cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger Renata cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger

Here is the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt. I was not expecting and loved the touch of the melon ball with a mint skewered in it.
Renata cocktail of the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt Renata cocktail of the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt

On the slightly stronger sipping side but just as delightful as the Sicilian Advantage is this Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda. You can use the spoon to take a little taste of the sorbet before it melts and becomes a contribution to the drink profile.
Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda

Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank’s 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg
Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank's 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank's 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg

Or go classic and citrus with this cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture
Renata cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture

From the Stuzzi or Bites section, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo which has turned into other crudite/vegetable options based on what they desire to serve.
From Stuzzi section at Renata, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo From Stuzzi section at Renata, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo

The Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili was a perfect mix of crispy and soft and disappeared quickly. Don’t be scared off by the trotters in the name, you might be able to trick your dining companion (I was sorely tempted) if you do not explain what trotters really are.
From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili

For something lighter if the day is hot, consider the Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon or whatever crostini they are serving.
Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon

My bread recommendation would be though from the Tavola or Boards section, where you should order the Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote. Make sure you ask if they have the porcini butter, because that alone makes this worth the price.
From the Tavola section at Renata, Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote From the Tavola section at Renata, Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote

Also from this section is the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments, which is pretty substantial and that melt in your mouth meat needs to be shared.
Renata Menu selection of the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments is pretty substantial Renata Menu selection of the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments is pretty substantial

From the Antipasti section, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde. This dish updates based on what is fresh, so on another visit the Smoked King Salmon was accompanied by beets, horseradish, blackberries and pistachios instead, and another visit showed raspberries instead of blackberries.
From the Antipasti section of the Renata menu, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde From the Antipasti section of the Renata menu, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde

From the Primi section, the pasta types change often, though there is usually a cavatelli, tagliatelli, toasted flour paccheri, squid ink chitarra, and agnolotti. On one visit, I had this Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels. On another visit, the Carrot Top Cavatelli now had lamb sugo, AHD why, and morels.
From the Primi section, the Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels From the Primi section, the Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels

The Isabelli Scarpinocc is a signature dish here, here with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts is perfect. You will want to carefully consider and appreciate each perfect pasta parcel of deliciousness – don’t rush through the dish. It’s not going to be a family style Italian heaping dish – the serving is exactly that of a primi, to be enjoyed but not fill you completely so that you can’t get to the mains.
Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata

No photograph, but the Squid Ink Chitarra is another recommended pasta dish, a little scary looking with its dark inky bowl of shadows, but bursting with layers of flavors (the version I tried included salumi cotto, clams, and English peas). If you see an unusual pasta combo, take the plunge (for instance, below the Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts). Matthew Sigler is making magic with all the pastas, no matter what they are. YOU MUST ORDER A PASTA! MUST!
Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts

From the Forno section, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic was tasty, but I can’t say it currently ranking among the top 10 in Portland – only time will tell what they can do.
From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic

I’ve only had one grill/mains. At almost $30, they were pretty pricey and getting the smaller dishes and pastas seemed like a better value – the exception I made was for the Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree. I had read they had purchased a whole cow, so I was anticipating when it would finish aging and be ready for a dish. That meat was melt in your mouth.
From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree and side of sauteed turnips and greens with chili and lemon From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree and side of sauteed turnips and greens with chili and lemon From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip pureeFrom the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto

Also not photographed or ordered were the Ancient Heritage Dairy cheese plate – I’ve had AHD cheeses for many years from the Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Sat, and am so excited to see them being able to create more in the same building housing Renata. You can peek into the windows to see the production facility that rivals the viewing station at the Seattle Pike Place Market Beecher’s Cheese storefront – I hope that the other storefront I see still in progress will house easy access to some of the AHD cheese as well as Alma Chocolate in that last retail space.
Production area for cheeses of Ancient Heritage Dairy Production area for cheeses of Ancient Heritage Dairy

The private dining room for Renata lets you look at some of that delicious cheese on one side of the wall!
The private dining room for Renata lets you look at some of that delicious cheese in progress by Ancient Heritage on one side of the wall!

Dessert, particularly the gelatos, are a surprise of flavors. For instance, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam with lovage and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I’ve seen include Malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread. Don’t be afraid of anything at Renata, it may blow your mind

Dessert from Renata PDX of Gelato, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I've seen include malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread Dessert from Renata PDX of Gelato, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I've seen include malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread

Dessert of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle was light and easily sharable.
Dessert from Renata PDX of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle Dessert from Renata PDX of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle

And then, here are these adorable mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata
Mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata Mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata   Salted chocolate chip cookies with whey that came with the check at Renata Salted chocolate chip cookies with whey that came with the check at Renata

All what you saw above was not during any visit where Renata was at capacity, so my meals were leisurely. The service as among the best I have seen in most restaurants, where each staff member feels responsible to make your experience the best it can be. There’s no asking for something and the staff member says they’ll go get your server. If they see a dish is empty, or your water glass only half full, they will take the initiative to clear your table, to get a pitcher to refill your glass, to ask make eye contact to see if you need anything but otherwise continue their watchful stroll looking where to help.

In Portland, it’s not often I see this attentiveness but yet unobtrusiveness. At the same time, I was never there on a Fri or Sat night when the restaurant was bustling – part of the reason why this is not yet a review. But, I can see what the Oregonian saw – the incredible potential where all Renata needs to do is continue to be at this level – to earn Restaurant of the Year. Ever since my first visit I’ve mentioned Renata to anyone looking for a recommendation – the starters and pastas and cocktails I’ve experienced thus far have me crushing on Renata pretty hard.

What items seemed interesting to you from the Renata menu? What do you think of a restaurant not yet 1 month old being named 2015 Restaurant of the Year?

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