Oregon Brewers Festival 2014

Oregon Brewers Festival Logo
This Wednesday kicks off the biggest beer festival of them all for Oregon Craft Beer Month, the Oregon Brewers Festival, also nicknamed OBF. Held the last full weekend of every July, this year the festival is kicking off on Wednesday July 23 and goes to Sunday July 27. As always, OBF makes its home on the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, making is just a 1 block away from the Max lines at the SW First and Oak Street Max Station.

Admission to the Oregon Brewers Festival is FREE and is also all ages as long as you are the parent of the minor. To taste the beer you will need to purchase a 2014 souvenir Oregon Brewers Festival 2014 tasting glass for $7, and then from there tasting tokens are $1. It costs four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste.
Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn
Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn

Purchasing the glass or tokens is Cash Only, though they do have ATMS on site. The six food/beverage vendors providing food and alternate drink also are cash only, but some of the vendors selling other items it may be up to their discretion. The message is, bring cash. You can also bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverage if you’d like, though it is subject to bag searching like all bags when you are entering. I always make sure I bring alcohol absorbents like a bread and cheese and charcuterie plate, and a bottle of water.

Taps close at 9 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 7 pm on Sunday. I always try to go as early in the day as possible, as there will be less crowds in terms of finding seating, less lines in getting a beer, and less likelihood that a beer will have run out for the day (they will not tap the next keg until the next day). The best days will be the weekdays or early on the weekends, the worst lines are the weekend evenings.

Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn
Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn

Keep in mind that OBF spans multiple days, so I will sometimes walk in the North or South tent, get some beers in that area, and then leave and come back another day to do the other side, rather than walking back and forth between the two tents. When you get there, sit down and plan your strategy based on where the beers you have picked out and ranked are located. Read through the Beer List online and then when you get the list with trailer numbers upon entering the festival, start marking where everything is.

Here are a few of my picks of beers you might want to consider for your list,  which you can even do on your mobile phone using coaster.me :

  • 10 Barrel Brewing Co Cider Weisse, a Berliner Style Weiss blended with green apple cider
  • Ballast Point Brewing Co Sculpin IPA, a solid IPA and Ballast is from San Diego, if you haven’t had Ballast before (they do bottle this beer year round, but still you may not have seen it before). They describe that their use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.
  • Boneyard Beer Bone-A-Fide, an  American Pale Ale that has high rankings on Beer Advocate and Untappd
  • Caldera Toasted Coconut Chocolate Porter, because it sounds delicious just with the name alone, and I love chocolate candy bar like porters.
  • Cigar City Brewing Mangosteen Florida Weisse, the Berliner Weisse style is always refreshing during the summer, andt his one particular Berliner Weisse has Mangosteen
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Burton Olde English, an Olde English Style Ale that is oak aged blend of an English Style ale and an IPA
  • Dudes Brewing Grandma’s Pecan Brown is Toasted Nutty brown ale deliciousness. I enjoyed it last year and plan to get it again
  • Ecliptic Brewery Perihelion Crimson Saison, a Saison brewed with Rhubarb which may be a one off for OBF as I haven’t seen this Saison offering before
  • Ex Novo Brewing Co Black & Wheat, Ex Novo just opened this month and I haven’t had a chance to try any of their beers, so I’ll be glad to have this sample introduction with a Black Raspberry Wheat beer
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Co Easy Jack, a Session IPA that uses hop varieties from Europe, New Zealand and North America for globetrotting hops all in one beer
  • Gigantic Brewing Co Who Ate All the Pies?, this Strawberry Rhubarb Gose had me at the name including the word pie and the use of Strawberry and Rhubarb in a Gose style which promises a bit of sourness
  • Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Sraffe Drieling, an organic Farmhouse Triple brewed with spices. If you haven’t had this Logsdon beer before, here’s your chance to try it out!
  • Mazama Brewing Rasplendent, a Raspberry and Hibiscus Wit
  • Paradise Creek Huckleberry Pucker is a Berliner Weiss with Huckleberries that one commenter on Untappd mentioned is “Tart n tangy like Pixie Stix”, while others mentioned Nerds. Basically it’s sweet and sour sorta like a candy. Sold.
  • Sixpoint Craft Ales Barrel Aged 3 Beans, a Baltic Porter made with Mast Brothers Chocolate cacao husks and infused with fresh Stumptown Coffee Roasters cold brew, and then aged on oak. Yum right?

Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn
Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn

This year OBF will be hosting 88 different craft breweries from around the country plus another 100 in the Specialty Tent, which makes its return (previously called the Buzz Tent) after a hiatus last year. In the Specialty Tent there will be special European beer friends: 12 breweries (11 from the Netherlands and 1 from Germany!) so this is a special opportunity to try those beers and their unique flavor profiles compared to the 88 American breweries.

Plus, look how fun these brewer friends are that you can meet in the tent as you are tasting their beer! Each brewery will serve up to five of their beers in the Specialty Tent starting at Noon (Wed-Sat) and the brewers will be available for meet the brewer sessions those days as well as you drink their beer. 

Do note that although there is no separate ticket to get into the Specialty Tent, only tasters are served (no full pours), and all beers are double tokens. I’ve highlighted the brewers and few example beers where I was able to see descriptions so you have an idea what you might be able to try!

Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014

  • Bierbrouwerij Emelisse, I’ve had beer from this brewery before that I’ve enjoyed, and they are bringing their Smoked Coffee Porter  as well as Black & Tan blend of Imperial Russian Stout and Double IPA and is barrel aged on an Isley barrel.
  • Brouwerij Rodenburg has brought their internationally acclaimed Bronckhorster Nightporter stout with flavors of coffee, smoked malts and chocolate as well as their Midnightporter American Imperial Porter which is similar to the Nightporter but with more smoke peat and hops. Their Terra Incognita is their 100th Anniversary Brew and they will be barrel aging it to be available in 2015
  • Brouwerij ‘t IJ
    Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014, such as Brouwerij't IJ
  • Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop has me interested in their The Daily Grind coffee porter of which the description says “Using delicate ingredients like Guatemala Antigua coffee, brown malts and Saaz hops, we created this dark coffee-infused beer. It will be the smile you need to break the daily grind.”
    Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014, such as Mark Strooker of Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop
  • Brouwerij Maximus
    Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014, such as Marcel Snater  of Maximus
  • Brouwerij Duits & Lauret
  • Brouwerij de Molen has a variety of beers they have brought, including representatives of the styles of English Barleywine, Russian Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter, Saison, and more!
  • Oedipus Brewing – they have brought some unusually flavored beer, including Lekkerbek Saison with mustard seeds and dill. and Mannenliefde Saison with Lemongrass & Szechuan peppercorns and a Thai Thai Triple with Galanga Root, Orange peel, Coriander Seeds, Lemongrass, Chili pepper. A thai spice dish in a beer?!
    Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014, such as Oedipus @OedipusBrewing took the OBF glass to Noordwijk, the small coastal town where they all met 15 years ago!
  • Het Uiltje has an interestingly named Uiltje Pepperspray Porter
  • Oersoep has an unusual lineup of Saison and Sour Ales, a couple which they described as having hints of bubblegum (their Sergeant Brett Pepper Saison that has spice and bubblegum?) or sour candy (Brettanosaurus Rex Brett Ale), and a Pomme Bruxelles that is a dryhopped blend of an apple-cider and a one year old  barrel-aged sour that is described as sparkling, tart and very fruity
    Dutch brewers are coming to OBF 2014, such as Oersoep
  • Ramses Bier, if you dare, has the Naar de Haaien Smoked IPA that is brewed with seaweed and seawater
  • Brauerei Nothhaf

I’ll be there at the Oregon Brewers Festival 2014 on Wednesday evening, and also I’ll be following when beers tap at the Specialty Beer tent via their twitter @OBFLTDTent. If you are trying those beers from our European friends, also use or check for the hashtag #NLtoPDX.

Are you going to OBF? What beers sounded interesting to you?

Signature

Martinis at Bartini, and a 3 Course Dinner at Urban Fondue

Today I am in Los Angeles to help throw my sister’s wedding shower tomorrow. Later, there will be a bachelorette getaway in Montreal, Canada in September. Unfortunately, there is no shindig here in Portland, because I might have proposed some martinis at Bartini. Still, if you have a special occasion coming up soon, you might consider Bartini and Urban Fondue.

Ideally, you will start next door at Bartini. There, you will peruse their menu of 100 martinis and pick one to kick off your date – be it a romantic date or friend date. If like my friend and I, you come after work, you can practically be stealing these martinis at the happy hour prices (half off) making them in the range of $3-4 but still at full price pours! A huge deal!

Bartini atmosphere

The happy starts at 4pm and goes to 6:30pm Tuesday-Saturday and again 9:30pm-close, but is all night on Sunday and Monday.

There are a large variety of martinis to choose from here, for instance:

  • Cosmopolitans varying from Lavender Cosmo, Pomegranate Cosmo to Plum Cosmo, Sparkling Mandarin Cosmo, and Watermelon Cosmo
  • Lemon Drops, varying from Sweet Tea to Violet Lemon to Tuscan Rosemary and more flavors
  • Fresh and Fruity Martinis, including Very Mango, Bird of Paradise (shown below, a combo with coconut rum, mango puree, and pineapple juice and a bit of cinnamon), Hypnotic Strawberry, Peartini, etc with various fruit possibilities
    Bartini, Birds of Paradise martini with coconut rum, mango puree and pineapple juice topped with a dash of cinnamon
  • Aromatic Martinis such as White Elderflower, Ruby Rose, Sweet Nasturtium and a few others
  • Clean and Serene Martinis such as Bellinitinis with 8 possible flavors shaken and topped with champagne, Blue Eyes (with simple vodka, blue curacao and lemon twist), French Kiss or English Cucumber Martini. Below, you see the French Kiss martini, vodka swirled with a hint of strawberry puree and topped with champagne
    Bartini, French Kiss martini, vodka swirled with a hint of strawberry puree and topped with champagne
  • Herb Martinis, varying from Basil Berry and Lemon Basil to Rosemary Grapefruit and Juniper
  • Spicy Martinis, my favorite being the Diablo with habanero pepper infused vodka, passion fruit puree, cilantro and fresh lemon
  • Bold Martinis, which I question how martini they are as they include ingredients like tequila and bourbon in here.
  • Decadent Martinis, which seem to mean desserts turned into martini form, given the list that includes Bananas Foster, Caramel Apple, Chocolate Kiss, Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie, Oatmeal Cookie, Rainbow Sherbetini, Snickertini etc. The Oatmeal Cookie Martini really is like liquid oatmeal cookie, I can never resist getting one. It’s concocted from butterscotch and Irish creme liqueurs shaken with cinnamon liqueur and cream
    Bartini, Oatmeal Cookie martini with butterscotch and Irish creme liqueurs shaken with cinnamon liqueur and cream

After 1 or 2 martinis, go next door to Urban Fondue where you have made your reservation. Make sure you do make a reservation- you never know if it will be a busy night because of a celebration of an anniversary, birthday, bachelorette party or any girls’ night out.

You can order each fondue a la carte, or you can choose to have a 3 Course Dinner at Urban Fondue that starts with your choice of a cheese, then a broth, and then a dessert fondue. I think the best fondues they offer are the cheese and the chocolate ones, so you can certainly just come here for appetizers or for dessert if you wanted. We ordered the 3 course.
Urban Fondue menu

To start, I recommend the Ruby Port Cheese Fondue with white cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, finished with caramelized sweet onions and port wine.
Urban Fondue menu, Ruby Port Cheese Fondue with white cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, finished with caramelized sweet onions and port wine Urban Fondue menu, Ruby Port Cheese Fondue with white cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, finished with caramelized sweet onions and port wine Urban Fondue menu, Ruby Port Cheese Fondue with white cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, finished with caramelized sweet onions and port wine

They have other options of cheese combos, such as a simple smoked cheddar, brie and gorgonzola topped with hazelnuts, tomato basil with smoked cheddar, or a white cheddar with roasted caraway. All yum right? The cheese fondue only comes with bread, but you can add for additional cost extras such as asparagus (which is what we did), mushrooms, sausage, or fruit (pears, grapes, apples).
Urban Fondue menu, Ruby Port Cheese Fondue with white cheddar, Swiss and Gruyere cheeses, finished with caramelized sweet onions and port wine

For the entrees, it is a broth fondue, and you have the choice of 5 different broths and half a dozen kinds of meat/seafood combination plates that you can dip in the broth for cooking, varying from baby lobster tails or Carlton Pork to New York strip loin or Tiger Prawns, and they also have a vegetarian option with tofu and other vegetables. All the meat options do have a few vegetables and a couple raviolis to balance out all the meat and seafood on your plate.

This is nice in that even though you are sharing the broth, you can customize your selection of what you want to eat. It may not look like much when it first comes to the table, but it does add up as you eat each piece 2 at a time (using your 2 skewers). Make sure you use the skewers for dipping in the fondue, and then when it’s cooked transfer it to your other plate that you eat with a fork so you don’t cross-contaminate!

To the left you see the Chef’s Cut entree with thin sliced Carlton pork and local New York strip loin seasoned with marjoram, extra virgin olive oil and spices, and the one to the right is the East Meets West entree with Carlton pork, local breast of chicken, east coast scallops and Tiger prawns.
Urban Fondue, the broth courses with meats you cook. To the left you see the Chef's Cut entree with thin sliced Carlton pork and local New York strip loin seasoned with marjoram, extra virgin olive oil and spices, and the one to the right is the East Meets West entree with Carlton pork, local breast of chicken, east coast scallops and Tiger prawns. Urban Fondue, the broth courses with meats you cook. To the left you see the Chef's Cut entree with thin sliced Carlton pork and local New York strip loin seasoned with marjoram, extra virgin olive oil and spices, and the one to the right is the East Meets West entree with Carlton pork, local breast of chicken, east coast scallops and Tiger prawns. Urban Fondue, the broth courses with meats you cook. To the left you see the Chef's Cut entree with thin sliced Carlton pork and local New York strip loin seasoned with marjoram, extra virgin olive oil and spices, and the one to the right is the East Meets West entree with Carlton pork, local breast of chicken, east coast scallops and Tiger prawns.

When cooking the meat, you want to keep it in the broth for a certain amount of time, so Urban Fondue provides you these cute little hourglass timers to help you keep track.
Urban Fondue, cooking timers for the broth fondue

To further customize the experience, they bring out all these dipping sauces for you to try with your broth cooked meat/seafood. There are a whole bunch of different ones, complimenting the meat and seafood in different ways:

  1. Lime Chili
  2. Wild Mushroom Demi Glace
  3. Bavarian Balsamic Grain Mustard
  4. Au Poivre Peppercorn (really good with the steak)
  5. Thai Peanut Sauce
  6. Blackberry Ketchup
  7. Basil Pesto
  8. Meyer Lemon Hollandaise
  9. Smoked Tomato Aioli
  10. Lemon-Garlic Butter with Parsley and Caper

Urban Fondue menu, dips for the main course, the meat and broth fondue Urban Fondue menu, dips for the main course, the meat and broth fondue Urban Fondue menu, dips for the main course, the meat and broth fondue

I was pretty full but we still had dessert to go! One of the strengths of Urban Fondue is their dessert fondue options- they have almost a dozen options, varying from simple chocolate with whipped cream or chocolate with hazelnuts to more complex chocolate combinations such as a Rocky Road Fondue with chocolate with marshmallow ganache and peanuts, a Heathbar version with chocolates and chunks of Heath bar, Marionberry Cheesecake Fondue with cream cheese with marionberry and lemon puree and graham crackers, or a Caramel Cognac… yeah. We picked the Tiramisu fondue with creamed chocolate swirled with espresso and topped with lady fingers
Urban Fondue, dessert fondue of Tiramisu fondue with creamed chocolate swirled with espresso and topped with lady fingers Urban Fondue, dessert fondue of Tiramisu fondue with creamed chocolate swirled with espresso and topped with lady fingers

One thing Urban Fondue does is do special occasions right- in addition to the normal accompaniments to the dessert for dipping like banana, cheesecake, cookie dough, and pound cake, they brought out a special birthday lit plate that included pretzels, strawberries, more cheesecake and a bit of caramel sauce!
Urban Fondue birthday surprise

So that summarizes a happy hour at Bartini followed by our 3 course dinner experience at Urban Fondue. Thank you S for taking me out for this wonderful dinner for my birthday. Sometimes they have Groupons so be on the look out for that too!

Have you been to Bartini or to Urban Fondue? What do you think you would want to try?

Bartini on Urbanspoon Urban Fondue on Urbanspoon

Signature

Nodoguro July 2014

Another month, another dinner recap, so here’s me reporting in with the Nodoguro July 2014 menu.

Pretty much Nodoguro PDX is part of my monthly budget now. The menu changes every month, and I don’t know any other place I can get this kind of experience and level of complexity of flavors in any Japanese restaurant in Portland. Every menu, even from week to week or day to day, changes based on the produce availability and freshness of the ingredients, so if I don’t go that month, I will never see that combo again. Damn you Ryan.

Even though this is a pop-up in the Evoo space, Elena does an amazing job transforming the space each time with simplicity and grace and warmth based on that month’s theme. What a supercouple.

A peek at Elena of Nodoguro PDX on the bottom right and some of the colorful lanterns in the Evoo space A peek at Ryan talking to one of the guests at the Nodoguro pop up

Lovely decorations by Elena, and one of the sake curated by Carl for the dinner Lovely decorations by Elena, and a peek at Mark in the upper right

Add in the unique produce from Mark of Phantom Rabbit Farms who is providing so many of their ingredients. Apparently they just sat down with some coffee with a Japanese seed catalog and oh, decided what to grow all year. Psssh. These geniuses. Check out the Phantom Rabbit Farm website for their series of farm dinners – I hope to visit sometime.

Oh, and then there are the additional drinks from Carl Donheiser (he wasn’t at my July dinner and was missed, though it was his menu). It’s no wonder that Michael Russell named Nodoguro one of the best pop up restaurants in Portland that cumulatively add up to the Oregonion’s Restaurant of the Year.

For this dinner, we got to write wishes that we then tied onto a tree Each month, along with a change in theme is a new painting by Elena's dad for Nodoguro!

I don’t know what else to say but to share the photos.

The Menu for Nodoguro July 2014

Cucumber soup with fermented ume, and Nasturtium
Nodoguro July 2014 Cucumber soup with fermented ume, and Nasturtium Nodoguro July 2014 Cucumber soup with fermented ume, and Nasturtium Nodoguro July 2014 Cucumber soup with fermented ume, and Nasturtium

Oregon Albacore, wasabi and mitsuba bud with aged soy and citrus

Nodoguro July 2014 Oregon Albacore, wasabi and mitsuba bud with aged soy and citrus Nodoguro July 2014 Oregon Albacore, wasabi and mitsuba bud with aged soy and citrus

Sesame tofu with Uni, caviar, and water pepper

Nodoguro July 2014 Sesame tofu with Uni, caviar, and water pepper Nodoguro July 2014 Sesame tofu with Uni, caviar, and water pepper

Air dried Mackerel, crushed turnip, yuzu kosho, myoga and shiso

Nodoguro July 2014 Air dried Mackerel, crushed turnip, yuzu kosho, myoga and shiso Nodoguro July 2014 Air dried Mackerel, crushed turnip, yuzu kosho, myoga and shiso

Kakuni pork belly , onsen egg, mizuna and mustard 

Nodoguro July 2014 Kakuni pork belly , onsen egg, mizuna and mustard Nodoguro July 2014 Kakuni pork belly , onsen egg, mizuna and mustard

Orach, pickled burdock, fennel, and cucumber blossom

Nodoguro July 2014 Orach, pickled burdock, fennel, and cucumber blossom Nodoguro July 2014 Orach, pickled burdock, fennel, and cucumber blossom

“Bento”  with Soy cured trout pressed sushi, futomaki, and ikura don 

Nodoguro July 2014 Bento with Soy cured trout pressed sushi, futomaki, and ikura don Nodoguro July 2014 Bento with Soy cured trout pressed sushi, futomaki, and ikura don Nodoguro July 2014 Bento with Soy cured trout pressed sushi, futomaki, and ikura don Nodoguro July 2014 Bento with Soy cured trout pressed sushi, futomaki, and ikura don

Dashimaki Tamago

Nodoguro July 2014 Dashimaki Tamago

Frozen Koji cream with hazlenut and raspberry syrup

Nodoguro July 2014 Frozen Koji cream w/ hazlenut, and raspberry syrup Nodoguro July 2014 Frozen Koji cream w/ hazlenut, and raspberry syrup

“Young momoji” Manju with Roasted Buckwheat tea

Nodoguro July 2014 Young momoji Manju with Roasted Buckwheat tea Nodoguro July 2014 Young momoji Manju with Roasted Buckwheat tea Nodoguro July 2014 Young momoji Manju with Roasted Buckwheat tea

Besides Nodoguro now on my regular pop up circuit, I have Holdfast, Laangbaan, and DaNet on my wishlist to try out.

Have you been to any pop up restaurants in Portland yet? Which ones?

Signature

Mediterranean Exploration Company

Starting today is the beginning of the soft opening of Mediterranean Exploration Company. Located at 333 NW 13th St in the Pearl, they will only be open for walk in dinner service 5:30-10pm, with their actual full opening and taking reservations starting on August 1.

Gorham has struck again as he continues to stake ground in the Portland quadrants. Well, I say quadrants but since there is NW, SW, NE, SE, and N, there only leaves the SE for him to conquer now with this latest opening in NW (Toro Bravo is in NE, Tasty n Sons in N, and Tasty N Alder in SW). Here, Gorham takes inspiration from the Mediterranean, which strongly leans towards Greece and the Middle East.

I attended the MEC launch party during the 4th of the July weekend, which was free and open to the public in order to sample bits of their menu. So here’s me passing on some of that sneak peak information to you…

When you enter, you can definitely recognize the space as having similarities to its siblings with the standing bar not far from the hostess stand and the open kitchen with a few countertop seats.
Mediterranean Exploration Company Mediterranean Exploration Company Mediterranean Exploration Company

Special shoutout to the bar, who were working very hard to keep us thirsty launch party guests hydrated with pretty much anyone ordering a couple drinks. After all, it was also for a good cause, as the launch party food was free and part of the bar proceeds from the entire night will go to
Live Wire Radio, a nonprofit organization and radio variety show on OPB. I went with the special gin punch they were offering.

Mediterranean Exploration Company, launch party special gin punch Mediterranean Exploration Company, launch party special gin punch Mediterranean Exploration Company, launch party special gin punch

Even those who can’t have alcohol can enjoy though- they have delicious options such as this gorgeous Austria soda with black currants (there is also an elderflower one) and a housemade ginger ale soda.
Mediterranean Exploration Company, Austrian Soda with black currants Mediterranean Exploration Company, Austrian Soda with black currants Mediterranean Exploration Company, ginger ale

I also tried two other cocktails from the Bar: The Arak Frappe cocktail with razzouk arak, sugar, crushed ice has a strong licorice flavor but is served with a little carafe of soda water for you to customize the level to your taste.

The other was the refreshing Tai Tai cocktail with pueblo viejo silver tequila, combier orange, pistachio orgeat, lime, mint and crushed ice.
Mediterranean Exploration Company, bar menu Mediterranean Exploration Company, Arak Frappe cocktail with razzouk arak, sugar, crushed ice. Has a strong licorice flavor. Mediterranean Exploration Company, Tai Tai cocktail with pueblo viejo silver tequila, combier orange, pistachio orgeat, lime, mint and crushed ice

And now onto the food menu that I saw previewed- who knows if this will be accurate to when they really open… all of the food is geared towards sharing tapas style.
Mediterranean Exploration Company menu Mediterranean Exploration Company menu

Raw
  • Salmon Carpaccio with arak, dill, capers
  • Palestinian Beef Tartar with tahini, yoghurt, cumin. I enjoyed the Creamy richness here that substitutes for the usual egg in steak tartare
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Palestinian Beef Tartar with tahini, yoghurt, cumin
Mezze
  • Warm Castelvetrano Olives with olive oil and bay leaf
  • “Shalosh”, with roasted eggplant, tomato and olive oil, and pumpkin carrot
  • Beef Bacon Wrapped Date, with beef bacon subbed here for pork because there is no pork at all on the menu
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Beef Bacon Wrapped Dates
  • Sheep’s Milk Feta with olives. This with the perfect warm doughy pita bread is amazing.
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Sheep's Milk Feta with olives Mediterranean Exploration Company, fresh doughy pita bread
  • Steve’s Cheese Board with mahon menorca (raw cow, mallorca), fiore sardo (raw sheep, sardinia) and paski sir (sheep, croatia)
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Steve's Cheese Board with mahon menorca (raw cow, mallorca), fiore sardo (raw sheep, sardinia) and paski sir (sheep, croatia)
  • Saganaki with olive oil, lemon, grilled bread
  • Falafel with s’hug, pickles, tahini
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Falafel with s'hug, pickles, tahini
  • “Usul” hummus with chopped egg
  • Fried calamari with spicy tomato sauce, ouzo
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Fried calamari with spicy tomato sauce, ouzo
  • Tomato fritters with olive oil and sea salt
  • Housemade Lebneh with olive oil and fried cauliflower
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Housemade Lebneh with olive oil and fried cauliflower
  • Fried Anchovies
  • Grilled Octopus salad with roasted sweet peppers
  • “Vered Hagalil” chopped salad
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Vered Hagalil chopped salad
  • Raddichio 2 with cherries, parsley, yogurt dressing,  a new incarnation of the radicchio salad (my favorite Gorham version though is the one at Tasty N Alder)
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Raddichio 2 with cherries, parsley, yogurt dressing
Oven
  • Nuvrei bread plate with olive oil
  • Philo Chard Pie – this is a great option for vegetarians. Look at the carnage of how fast this pie went!
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, carnage aftermath of the Philo Chard Pie
  • Greek Potatoes
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Greek Potatoes
  • “El Baboor” Lamb Kebab Pie
Plancha
  • Moroccan Brick Chicken with arugula salad
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Moroccan Brick Chicken with arugula salad
  • Mackerel with beet olive salsa – this is an outstanding dish, don’t let a single bit of that beet olive salsa be left behind
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Mackerel with beet olive salsa Mediterranean Exploration Company, Mackerel with beet olive salsa
  • MEC Lamb Gyro. Hmm, bacon wrapped appetizer, check. Raddichio salad, check. Burger… nope. is this MEC Lamb Gyro the MEC equivalent Gorham offering of the burger?
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, MEC Lamb Gyro Mediterranean Exploration Company, MEC Lamb Gyro
Piato
  • Mejadara with rice, lentils, fried onion. This is a must have, and vegetarian!
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Mejadara with rice, lentils, fried onion Mediterranean Exploration Company, Mejadara with rice, lentils, fried onion
  • Chreime, a tripolitany jewish fish stew
  • Fried chicken with aleppo pepper and honey
  • Lamb Ragu
Grill
  • Octopus with piquillo pepper and dill. This is a must have.
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Octopus with piquillo pepper and dill Mediterranean Exploration Company, Octopus with piquillo pepper and dill
  • Prawns with red charmula, parsley, preserve lemon
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Prawns with red charmula, parsley, preserve lemon
  • Greek lamb chops with oregono, garlic, lemon
  • Dry aged Rib Eye with baharat, red chili, pine nut butter... sorry I don’t have a photo with the full rib eye, but let me promise you that it is delicious, and here’s a peek of a piece I was able to grab (along with a Greek Potato and cheese sample).
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, Greek Potatoes, a little sample of Steve's Cheese Board, and a piece of the Dry aged Rib Eye with baharat, red chili, pine nut butter
  • Nazareth Kebab with beef and lamb
  • Syrian Kebab with beef and lamb
  • Moroccan Chicken Kebab
Dessert
  • Cardamom Ice Cream Affogato with Turkish Coffee.  I saw this though I wasn’t fast enough for a photo and it looked wonderful.
  • Triple Nut Biscotti with wines
  • Rose Water Panna Cotta with pistachios
  • Date Olive Oil Cake with honey yogurt and orange blossom syrup
    Mediterranean Exploration Company, dessert of Date Olive Oil Cake with honey yogurt. orange blossom syrup

The kitchen staff was dressed in shirts that on the back, proclaimed “Shalum, Y’all!”. Also, with the open kitchen I got to admire them dressing the octopi and the kebabs (actually, I didn’t have a single kebob when I was at the party- they went way too fast and my hands with the camera phone were not quick enough! Well, definitely going to order some when I visit the restaurant during regular service!)
Mediterranean Exploration Company, The kitchen staff in the open kitchen Mediterranean Exploration Company, The kitchen staff was dressed in shirts that on the back, proclaimed Shalum, Y'all! Mediterranean Exploration Company, octopus being dressed Mediterranean Exploration Company, kebobs being dressed

Meanwhile, NY DJ Waffle was excellent at keeping the good music flowing during the launch party. One wall by the bar had these whimsical birds, the same bird as on the kitchen staff T shirts… And I was able to end on a sweet note with this dessert which I believe is provided by Maurice’s Kristen Murray.
Mediterranean Exploration Company, DJ Waffle keeping the good music flowing during the launch party Mediterranean Exploration Company

Shalum, Y’all! I’ll be back with another report from a meal during their soft opening service… I NEED to try the “Eastern-style” fried chicken with Aleppo pepper and honey that I kept eying as they went by… Was there anything on the menu that catches your eye?

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Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado

Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy!
When I was gifted a few avocados from the California Avocado Commission, I knew that I wanted to try one of the recipes I’d seen and pinned a while ago from A House In the Hills: Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado.
Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy!

I added ginger and red pepper flakes for mine for a little more heat and burn, and used the kale that I could find even though she had recommended dino kale. After prepping and mixing it, I then put it in the refrigerator to chill for a couple hours to make for a refreshing lunch on a hot summer day that is also healthy!
Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy!

Make sure you taste your miso avocado sauce several times- the guidelines here may vary based on how salty your miso may be and your preference levels. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 package of buckwheat soba noodles (enough for 4 servings – usually 1/2 a bunch is 1 serving. I used King Soba Organic Sweet Potato and Buckwheat Noodles)
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 small bunch of kale – mine came out to about 4 cups
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons miso – I used shiso miso
  • Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3/4-1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds plus additional to garnish
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the soba noodles according to directions in unsalted boiling water. Be careful that you do not overcook them as when you add the avocado miso dressing later it will be adding a lot of moisture and can make them soggy (unfortunately I made that mistake with this batch, but I’m warning you not to!). After they are ready, drain and rinse with running water at least twice to wash off the extra starch. I might even recommend using chopsticks or a fork to lift and swish the noodles a little bit in the new water to make sure the starch is washed off all the noodles. Then mix with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, distributing well so the noodles will not stick together. Let cool.
  2. While the soba noodles are cooking, cut the kale leaves from the stalk and into either ribbons or small bite size pieces. I then mixed in the kale leaves with the still steaming hot noodles and sesame oil so they did wilt a little. Depending on how much you like kale, you could also consider a quick blanch to soften it further, but the mixing with the hot soba for me was enough.
  3. In a food processor, combine the pitted avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice from the 1/2 lime and 1/2 cup of water. Puree, and then taste and continue to add the water and mixing until to your taste. The consistency should be a silky sauce. I happened to have used 1 cup or so to balance out the saltiness of my miso. bring large pot of salted water to boil, add noodles and follow the package instructions to cook
  4. In a large bowl, mix the soba noodles, kale, and avocado miso dressing until well combined. This is when I also added the ground ginger, red pepper flakes, and tablespoon of sesame seeds and ground pepper to taste.
    Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy! Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy!
  5. When well mixed, chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours if you can, and enjoy cold! When serving, feel free to garnish with another little sprinkle of sesame seeds. You could also add tofu or fish or other protein of your choice on top!

Recipe for Soba Noodles with Kale, Miso, and Avocado, vegetarian and gluten free and healthy and easy!

This goes well with a crisp white wine and sitting outside on a summer day.

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