Here is my recap of the 2014 Portland Monthly’s Country Brunch & Bloody Mary Smackdown. This was my second time attending the event- I also attended the 2013 event and did a blog recap so visit there for more. This event took place at Castaway Portland and is sponsored by Portland Monthly Magazine, and one of the things that was really great was there was never really a line of a handful of people to get food or drink and there was plenty of seating so everyone was able to sit to enjoy their tastes!
This year, six chefs prepared bites of their favorite brunch fare while six contenders vied for “Best Dressed Bloody Mary” (either or both Judge’s and People’s Choice) in the third-annual Portland Monthly Bloody Mary Smackdown!
100% of net proceeds of this event benefit Zenger Farm‘s new Urban Grange. Urban Grange is an 8,960-square-foot facility that will support the Zenger Farm ongoing efforts to connect Portland communities to fresh-grown food by being a space for Zenger youth field trips, summer camps, healthy eating workshops, and farmer training programs, opportunities for emerging businesses in the commercial kitchen, etc.
Brunch Bite Bonanza by:
- Chef Jose Chesa from Ataula boldy presented a cold tapas breakfast dish of Mojama-cured Albacore Tuna sandwich on coca bread with dill mustard mayo, mango, and arugula which was a nice refreshing dish with all the other richness and spiciness of the other samples that brunch for me.
- Chef Matt Christianson from Urban Farmer who provided Bohemian, a stroopwaffle with bacon jam and eggs and bourbon maple
- Chef Johanna Ware from Smallwares brought one of my favorite Asian breakfast dishes, Breakfast congee with Chinese Sausage, egg, scallion, granola and maple ponzu. I could have had a whole bowl of this.
- Chefs Karen Pride & Brittney Galloway from Harlow presented Mercy Blues, a bed of spinach topped with garlic herb polenta, stewed black beans and corn, slow-roasted tomatoes, smoky tempeh, chipotle cashew hollandaise and scallions. I thought it had a lot of flavor and unlike all the other brunch bites, is vegan and vegetarian.
- Chef Rick Gencarelli from Lardo of course brought the fat with a Pork Belly Egg Benedict with a buttery buttermilk biscuit, big hunk of pork belly, fried quail egg, and Frank’s hollandaise. I had to admire the Lardo team as they efficiently were putting out those plates, including frying those little pork bellies and quail eggs.
- Chefs Michael Madigan & Jeff McCarthy from TenTop did a unique take with their Miso Soy Ginger Bagel with bulgogi beef, kimchee schmear, and cured egg yolk. You can see Chef Michael below adding the egg in the little bagel hole.
Bloody Mary Smackdown presented by Grey Goose:
- Irving Street Kitchen (2012 People’s & Judges’ Choice Champion, 2013 People’s Choice Champ)’s Irving Street Bloody Mary by Pete Koptiuch was as spicy as ever, combining “all of the ingredients you’ve come to hold so dear in those early morning recoveries and mixed them with a few we thought you deserved”
- Le Bistro Montage (2013 Judges’ Choice Champion) Steve Dodge brought their Bloody Mary Lou Retton, a cajun bloody mary with beef bouillon and Spam garnish
- Broder man Chad Hinman brought a Broder Danish Mary that included a blend of citrus, spice, horseradish layered with curry, cumin, fresh dill, toated fennel, cumin seed, dill seed, celery seed, and fresh cut dill and more left under Danish secret.
- Radar Lily Tollefsen and Jonathan Berube brought a Voddie Mary that had tomato, roasted garlic, peppercorn, tapatio, lemon, lime, vodka secrets with Rainier-Celery Soda shot to follow.
- Doug Fir ended up winning both People and Judge’s Choice for 2014 with their spicy, smoky, sweet and tart flavors, including candied bacon garnish and apparently Guinness and brown sugar as some of their ingredients of their concoction Joshua Merrion calls The Antidote
- Imperial‘s Brandon Wise was on hand mixing a Smoked Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary with sponsor Grey Goose vodka, smoked heirloom tomatoes, barrel-aged fresno pepper hot sauce, Imperial spice blend, fresh horseradish, sherry vinegar, fish sauce, and house pickled giardiniera.
In addition to brunch, a pushcart would come by offering bottomless Manmosas (beer +orange juice) by Miller Highlife and Crispin Cider. Also, New Seasons Market had several booths with fresh organic juices and local hot sauce condiments as well as an extra bite of Oregon Bounty Quiche with Ruby Hill Farm eggs, Olympic Provisions ham, spring onions from Gathering Together Farm, and Portland Creamery herbed goat cheese.. Boyd’s Coffee Company, which I did not partake of since I was already full of way too much liquid, was also present keeping everyone caffeinated with their fresh brew.
And oh yeah, there was just the The Bloody Mary Garnish Bar courtesy of Whole Foods that included sweet beet pickled egg, saffron soaked mozzarella, Olympic Provisions salami ribbon, Unbound Pickling Asparagus, and Spicy Green Bean. Have to appreciate both New Seasons and Whole Foods highlighting local artisan vendors and farmers!
Keep an eye out for when I give you the warning next year that the tickets are on sale- it has been selling out every year, it’s a really great event for a wonderful cause. Please check out the Zenger Farm website to learn more about how you can help.
Many of the bloody mary drinks are available at the originating restaurant bars (including the winning Antidote at Doug Fir) , and I believe the TenTen bagel sandwich is appearing at Bowery Bagels this coming weekend and us available Friday Saturday Sunday! It’s listed as the MSG (Miso Soy and Ginger) bagel sandwich with bulgogi beef with kimchee schmear.
Which of these descriptions of brunch bites or bloody mary concoction intrigued you? Do you feel an urge to go to brunch this Sunday?