2018 Classic Wines Auction and More Wine Events

The 2018 Classic Wines Auction is taking place next week on Saturday, March 3 at the Oregon Convention Center, and this is the 34th time this annual charity wine auction will be held since its inception in 1982. It’s not too late to get tickets to the Classic Wines Auction, but did you know there are multiple other events that Classic Wines Auction also offers you can also support? You too, can be making an impact by joining in with the 2018 Classic Wines Auction and more wine events this year to have delicious wine with food and be doing good.

All Classic Wines Auctions events support five non-profit partners in Oregon and Washington that help children and families. The non-profit partners include the Metropolitan Family Service, New Avenues for Youth, Friends of the Children – Portland, YWCA Clark County and Unity Center for Behavioral Health. This is important work done by these non-profits, and the proceeds of the Classic Wines Auctions is a huge supporter of these efforts, bringing over the years more then $43 million in funds, and have benefited nearly one million individuals in the community.

Wine Events by Classic Wines Auction

The namesake Classic Wines Auction is the kind of gala that you see in the TV shows and movies. It starts off with a Tasting Reception while guests peruse more than 280 silent and super silent auction packages that include wine, but also unique experience packages like travel, weekend getaways, pro sports experiences, celebrity meet-and-greets, and more. The reception and silent auction is then followed with a multi coursed dinner (with wine pairings of course) and live auction, and then an after-party!
2017 Classic Wines Auction on Saturday, March 4, 2017 - The Oregon Convention Center; Presented by KUNI Automotive. All rights reserved, image courtesy of Classic Wines Auction
2017 Classic Wines Auction on Saturday, March 4, 2017 – The Oregon Convention Center; Presented by KUNI Automotive. All rights reserved, image courtesy of Classic Wines Auction

You can also bid on some of the silent auction items online without needing to purchase a seat to the 2018 Classic Wines Auction gala itself – bidding is already open.

Besides the 2018 Classic Wines Auction though, there are also multiple other events you can choose from this year. For instance, the Walla Walla Wine tasting event is taking place next Monday on February 26 at Left Back Annex. The Walla Walla Wine event offers forty Washington Wines all conveniently gathered for you in one place, and the $50 price covers unlimited wine samplings and light hors d’oeuvres.  The Classic Wines Auction also organizes another tasting event called Corks and Forks, which will take place at June 6  at Castaway Portland  (tickets go on sale in March).
2017 2017 Corks + Forks Urban Tasting Event held on June 8, 2017 at CASTAWAY Portland. All rights reserved, image courtesy of Classic Wines Auction
2017 Corks + Forks Urban Tasting Event held on June 8, 2017 at CASTAWAY Portland. All rights reserved, image courtesy of Classic Wines Auction

Finally, there are the Winemaker Dinners pairing winemakers and chefs at a fully seated experience. These are a series of multiple dinners at various restaurants and wineries that occur twice a year, a spring series leading up to the 2018 Classic Wines Auction next week, and then additional dinners in the fall. For the spring dinners, these are taking place now February 20-22, 27, 28 and March 1, 2018.

I am attending one of the 2018 Classic Wines Auction Winemaker Dinners and will be sharing my experience with you afterwards. But it’s not too late to still get seats to a few of the other ones that are not sold out (as of this post anyway a few seats were left).

The other Spring Classic Wines Auction Winemaker Dinners with tickets available

  • Tuesday, February 27 – Dame with Vincent Wine Company
  • Tuesday, February 27 – Tournant with Brooks Wine
  • Wednesday, February 28 – Verdigris with Illahe Vineyards
  • Thursday, March 1 – Crown Paella with Timothy Malone Wines
  • Thursday, March 1 – Chef Carlo Lamagna at Feastly with Golden Cluster Wines and Minimus Wines

Check back at the Winemaker Dinners page later  and sign up for their newsletter too, as there will be more dinners hosted in the fall. All of these wine dinners offer seat prices at $75-$150 all inclusive pricing for the dinner. Proceeds from the Spring Winemaker Dinner series will fund programs and services offered by the five nonprofit partners and will benefit more than 35,000 individuals just this year.

Besides the official Classic Wines Auction website, you can sign up for their newsletter or follow on social media on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at handle @ClassicWinesAux or hashtag #WineWorkingWonders.


Kodachome at Portland Center Stage

Last week was the world premiere of Kodachrome at Portland Center Stage. The production runs until March 18, 2018 at the downstairs intimate Ellyn Bye Studio. Kodachrome was developed from a submission to the 2015 JAW (Just Add Water): A Playwrights Festival,  an annual festival supporting new plays and helping to incubate new works. What was then a script named Colchester now has grown up, renamed Kodachrome, and is in full production a few years later.
Kodachrome at Portland Center Stage: poster for Kodachrome, Art by Mikey Mann

The story takes place in a small town called Colchester, and is narrated by Suzanne, the town photographer. We follow her through the interconnected stories of a dozen people in the town, with the townspeople played by the 6 fellow cast members doing double  or sometimes triple duty (well, all except for Suzanne). Kodachrome is a play that definitely has many parallels to Our Town with its snippets of longing, look at love in various stages, and appreciations for small moments that are universally recognizable to us all. I think the play does better then Our Town in that there are excellent use of certain props though – especially the super effective use of flowers and petals, and over-sized symbols of love like a ring or perfume bottle.

The backdrop of the basic stage scenery are multiple screens showing photos, and is the nod to Kodachrome, the special Kodak film. I definitely liked the idea where at some points we would see and hear Suzanne snap a photo of a particular detail of what was happening on stage, and we would see it appear on one of those screens, captured to remember the moment. It seemed to promise two art shows at once – performance art with the play and art gallery.

Kodachrome at Portland Center Stage, L-R: Lena Kaminsky as The Photographer, John D. Haggerty as The Perfume Maker and Tina Chilip as The Waitress. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv courtesy of Portland Center Stage at The Armor
L-R: Lena Kaminsky as The Photographer, John D. Haggerty as The Perfume Maker and Tina Chilip as The Waitress in Kodachrome at Portland Center Stage at The Armory. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv courtesy of Portland Center Stage

This action photography took place a few times, but I was expecting to happen throughout as a consistent theme, rather then mostly towards the beginning and at a couple fun interactions with the audience. Other times, the screens would switch to almost stock photos that helped establish the environment of the scene, from Perfume Lab to Diner or Hardware Store etc. But the photos didn’t noticeably connect to the interactions happening on stage with a new photo added to the repetitive stock mix representing the moment. So I was a little disappointed that wasn’t carried throughout, given the name of the play.

When it came to the various interactions of the character pairs falling in or through or out of love, you can totally believe the same actor or actress is embodying a different a character in the tow. This is true even as they interact with essentially the same castmate in multiple circular love triangles but as another character.

For particular standouts, Ryan Tresser draws a clear line between The Gravedigger and The Young Man and is able to demonstrate the humorous physical moments but also the poignant hurt of each of the men distinctly. Sharonlee McLean also wonderfully draws the perfect picture of the different kinds of yearnings, and how those yearnings change through the course of the play, in both her portrayals of her placid, still waters run deep Mystery Novelist, and in contrast with her passionate Florist. Even when she’s saying nothing at all, you know which character she is.

My favorite part was that love can be awkward – and Kodachrome doesn’t shy away from how crazy but adorable those moments can be. Love can be painful, and cause exquisite suffering, and as Kodachome shows us, also tenderness, boldness, dwelling in the past, plans for the future, laugh out loud moments, questioning of what is the best way to live life and what kind of love is enough to be happy, and how it connects everyone.

As always, there are a couple additional events available related to Kodachrome at Portland Center Stage if you want to have a more active experience then just watching in the audience. Check the Upcoming Events Calendar for full listing of all events.

  • Tuesday, February 20 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Happy Hour with Blue Sky Gallery viewing photographs with some complimentary snacks and drinks. FREE
  • Sunday, February 25 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Happy Hour with Portland Darkroom FREE
  • Saturday, March 10 1 – 3 p.m. Film and Darkroom Printing Workshop is not free, but it’s $25 and each workshop attendee will have the chance to take a portrait, have a portrait taken of them, learn how darkroom enlarging works, and create their very own “The Armory” branded gelatin silver postcard to take home

Kodachrome runs for 90 minutes with no admission, and is performed Evenings: Tuesday – Sunday at 7:30 p.m Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m., Thursdays at noon, but check their schedule for exact times.

You may also want to book tickets for a new exciting play coming up called The Magic Play running March 3 – April 1 that promises a hybrid of a play and a magic show, literally with the cast including an actor who is also a magician and illusion designer!




Can Font Happy Hour

Can Font opened to a huge buzz last year, bringing Spanish cuisine, specifically Catalan cuisine, to the Pearl District in Portland. This week they are launching a happy hour menu, so I wanted to highlight their offerings. You will be able to enjoy Can Font Happy Hour Tuesday-Thursday 5 – 6 PM and 9 – 10 PM and new, they will be open on Mondays and serving All Day Happy Hour (Mondays only, and it’s only the happy hour menu available) from 5 – 10 PM.

Can Font Happy Hour includes various Montaditos, a tapas of bread mounted with various ingredients. This is the Montadito de Llom with grilled Catalan bread, tomatoes, Iberico cured loin Can Font Happy Hour - Patatas Bravas with potatoes, brava sauce, garlic chips, and optional add on of Filet Mignon

Can Font has quite the pedigree – there is also an original Can Font in Barcelona that is Michelin recognized that Chef Josep Vidal opened there. Then, Chef Josep moved to Portland, and partnering up with investor and fellow co-owner Vladimir Zaharchook-Williams, now here in Portland we have our own oasis of Catalan cuisine at Can Font. What makes Can Font different from other Spanish restaurants in Portland is that they are really dedicated to bringing in many of their ingredients and products used from Spain, including a lot of their seafood and wines.

Can Font Happy Hour menu is now available in the bar area. The most popular cocktail is the Spanish Manhattan with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Atxa vermouth, Licor 43, and orange bitters Can Font Happy Hour menu is now available in the bar area. width=

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Bar Casa Vale Brunch

I’ve shared previously how I enjoy the tapas and the drinks at Bar Casa Vale, but this weekend they are launching a new weekend brunch. From now on they will be serving up, in addition to their all day happy hour on Sunday, brunch from 10 AM – 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. I recently attended a media preview that let us share a taste of some of the offerings, so here’s my report back on some of the items. As usual, the menu is subject to change – I think they do tweak the dinner options pretty often by swapping out what is on flatbread or toast and such, so go open-minded. Based on my meal here, I am sorta thinking this is now the best hungover brunch spot in Portland.
Bar Casa Vale Brunch is served on weekends, Sat and Sun 10-3 Bar Casa Vale Brunch cocktail of Tea Cobbler with Brandy, hibiscus, and citrus Bar Casa Vale Brunch Chocolate Toast with pistachio and olive oil Bar Casa Vale Brunch Grilled Sardine Toast with potxta beans, calcot, and 'nduja
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Circa 33 Brunch

Circa 33 on SE Belmont is probably most  known for in the evening as a neighborhood Prohibition-themed cocktail bar. But, did you know they also offer an al fresco dining alley area, and on weekends by the restrooms when the red light is on, host a speakeasy type bar? And don’t overlook the additional hidden gem of its weekend brunch, served 10 AM – 2 PM, featuring a curated list of dishes which include several vegetarian and vegan friendly options and of course, cocktails. Today I share my brunch visit, and here’s a look at the secret speakeasy – which will be put to good use on a Prohibition Party in a couple weeks!
Circa 33 interior during the day. Circa 33 is a Prohibition-themed cocktail bar and on Fri Sat boasts a hidden speakeasy - look for the light to be on - and you can enter past a bookcase door with a special code Circa 33 brunch, Bloody Mary c.1921 with vodka, summer-spiced bloody blend, creole-salt rim and choice of bacon/veggie/combo garnish

The name Circa 33 is a nod to the neighborhood street block they are on (SE 33rd block on Belmont) as well as the year prohibition was repealed, 1933. Their cocktails are a mix of drinks from the late 1800s and early 1900s as well as more current inventions that follow the framework of spirit, sugar, citrus, and bitters. You’ll see a dozen options of specialty cocktails. If you are not into cocktails, not to worry – they have almost a dozen wines by the glass and smaller selection of beer, and non-alcoholic beverages like a ginger limeade. Below, you’ll see the Circa 33 cocktail, The Huntress which is c.1937 with Effen vodka, bubbles, black currant, citrus, Becherovka herbal liqueur
Circa 33 is a Prohibition-themed cocktail bar. This Circa 33 cocktail, The Huntress is c.1937 with Effen vodka, bubbles, black currant, citrus, Becherovka herbal liqueur
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