I’ve written about the pop-up Meadowlark PDX before, when I had the warm and delicious experience with them for their Seollal Korean New Year Dinner last year in February and then their Springtime Sicilian Cocktail Party also last year. Since the events in our political stage in the United States last fall, Meadowlark has since shifted some of their goals. Headed by Chefs Jen Datka (OCI, Nostrana intern) and Emily Park (Lovely 50-50, Our Table Cooperative), they still do wonderful meals usually with a theme. In addition now, this year they plan to donate profits from each of their benefit events to a different social justice organization. This one I attended was a Breaking Bread with Meadowlark PDX and Nostrana lunch with a focus on Iranian Cuisine.
First Photo: L-R Chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park of Meadowlark PDX, Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana,
and to the right standing Breaking Bread coordinator Libby Clow. Second Photo: Breaking Bread coordinator Libby Clow welcomed guests with some kombucha from Farm Spirit after checking their names
In this case, Meadowlark PDX volunteered along with Cathy Whims of Nostrana as chefs for this Breaking Bread lunch event, and the luncheon was organized by Libby Clow, Breaking Bread coordinator. Breaking Bread is a community centered supper club that occurs quarterly and is aimed at connecting members of our local community who may not ordinarily interact over a nourishing meal. It is a completely volunteer and donation based event so the entire $50 tickets went directly to the cause, which in this case is Cascade AIDs Project (CAP). CAP’s mission is to support and empower all people with or affected by HIV, reduce stigma, and provide the LGBTQ+ community with compassionate healthcare.
Before the lunch started, various representatives of CAP spoke about Prism Health, the soon to be opened new primary care clinic in a few weeks, how they take pride in their sensitivity of handling lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer patients, and how CAP has grown from talks with tears and laughter in a living room more than 30 years ago to the incredible organization it is today.
Here are some photos of the incredible Iranian food we were able to enjoy that nourished us physically as we were also nourishing each other’s spirits during this Breaking Bread with Meadowlark PDX and Nostrana lunch.
panir & zytoon parvardeh
whipped feta and olive-pomegranate-walnut spread, served with housemade lavash crackers
bean soup with Nostrana pasta, caramelized onions, yogurt & herbs and house made Persian flatbread with Oregon Olive Mill olive oil
spring herb and nettle frittata, served with a shaved carrot and radish salad and a little yogurt
whole roast trout stuffed with herbs, walnuts and pomegranate, accompanied by saffron rice
with pistachio brittle & rhubarb coulis and rose petals
What really made this event stand out for me is that I got to share the table (two courses are plated, three are family style) with others who are involved with CAP and hear their stories. Although I arrived for the food and to support the cause, it was a different experience then other pop ups to hear candidly about how my fellow diners are making their way through their life story, including struggles they face currently, adversity or changes they have conquered, and how much hope and philosophy of doing good to the world. I didn’t talk much because I was so fascinated with listening and struggling to want to listen both left and right of me to the different conversations, and there were a few moments I was (and still am thinking back on it) of how impressed I am at how much they give back to people and service they epitomize.
I hope that you will look into supporting CAP, and also follow Breaking Bread PDX and Meadowlark PDX for ways you can join in their events.
Thank you to the chefs, and also to Nostrana who volunteered their space and equipment for the event. Other supporters include Farm Spirit donated housemade beverages, Fresh & Wild and New Seasons Market – Seven Corners and Oregon Olive Mill and TwoXSea that provided ingredients, Slow Food Portland assisted with additional costs and offered event day volunteer support while Alan Weiner Photography also donated skills in documenting the event.