Every year for the past four years, Portland Monthly has thrown a wonderful event in the spring called Country Brunch. It features samples of brunch fare from a handful of restaurants, and also a Bloody Mary Smackdown where participants vie for the title of Best Bloody Mary from either the Judge’s Choice Award or People’s Choice Award. 100 percent of net proceeds will benefit Zenger Farm.
This year, the location of the event was Castaway, just as it was last year. This gave attendees the benefit of an indoor area where we could grab our bloody mary samples and dine indoors while listening to country music (this year provided by Hank Sinatra and the Atomic Cowboys), and also an outdoor garden/sculpture area that had additional seats and booths including lounge chairs and couches by Spade and Archer, as well as the photo booth. Emcee Poison Waters was back as emcee to have her cheery voice keep us reminded of the activities available.
Here’s the recap of Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2015 bites and bloody marys!
Bloody Mary Smackdown
Raven and Rose
Full Bloody Irish Mary by Dave Shenaut of Raven and Rose. Blending the spiciness of chile pepper-vodka and a touch of nitro stout and topped with a skewer that contains an Irish breakfast including potato and black and white pudding. This was the Judge’s Choice winner for 2015.
This Levant Bloody Mary by Abel Beazley is a harissa based Bloody served with za’atar spiced salt rim, and topped with house pickled vegetable and a pickled quail egg
The Original OG Soup, Sandwich and a Pickle Bloody Mary from Kyle Anderson. Comfort food in a glass, this Bloody Mary features a housemade ‘tomato soup’ and a mini grilled cheese with pimento cheese
The Spicy Bell Pepper Bloody Mary by Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer has a hint of smoke and spice from the roasted peppers
The Antidote, a combination of spicy, smokey, sweet and tart flavors was Joshua Merrion’s entry to defend the Bloody Mary title (Doug Fir was the 2014 People’s and Judges’ Choice Winner). Doug Fir won the People’s Choice for 2015.
The Sandia Sunrise from Jeff Seymour of Interurban includes two types of hot sauce including hatch green chile and a splash of Tecate
Levant Chef Scott Snyder offered Za’atar biscuits with merguez gravy, a housemade spicy lamb gravy on a flaky southern style biscuit
A healthy vegan option by Chef Tori Rubi of The Sudra with Tofu scramble with kale, red onion, and house made green curry paste served over appam (rice and coconut crepe) topped with charred and spiced pasilla and Anaheim peppers, as well as a little dish of Black Rice Porridge with coconut cream and almond oat crumble and fresh apple
Fried Egg I’m in Love
From Chef Jace Krause of famed food cart Fried Egg I’m in Love a breakfast sandwich called Yolko Ono featuring house pork sausage with pesto served on toasted sourdough with an over medium fried egg and a sprinkle of parmesan
From Chef Mark Doxtader and Jason Barwikiwski, Tastebud brought their signature Wood Fired Montreal style Bagels. They came in mini size, and were either topped with fish or brisket
Breakfast Canape with grilled potato, tomato marmalade, egg relish, and smoked lamb bacon was assembled on the spot by Chef Mirna Attar and team of Ya Hala
Daily in the Pearl
Dessert by Daily in the Pearl owner Andrea Sherman was a Candied Ginger Shortcake with tarragon scented whipped cream
At only $30 for both the six samples of bloody marys and the six brunch bites, I think this event is not only for a great cause, but a great value. The music is always wonderful, and during the entire event there is a cart offering glasses of Crispin Cider or Manmosas (beer + orange juice) made with Miller High Life, and Stumptown Coffee (including in spiked form!). It’s also a family friendly fundraiser, as you can choose to only buy the brunch bites ($20) and kids 5 and under are free. As extra bonuses this year, an impromptu pizza party started with many pizza boxes delivered by Sizzle Pie, and Crispin cider built a tower of sparkling cider. Everyone left satiated like a full meal.
Also, last year the Belmont Goats visited… this year, it was a docile miniature horse, <3 Squeakers <3 is so sweet!
Zenger Farm is opening their Urban Grange in June this year, a new facility that will help this urban farm double its capacity and services, including summer camps, youth field trips, healthy eating workshops, and farmer trainings, and the new food business incubator program.
Which of the bloody marys or brunch bites sounded most interesting to you? If you are interested in any of the bloody marys, they are available at current and previous Bloody Mary Smackdown contenders, as well as other establishments below, until May 11! This includes:
- The Country Cat
- Doug Fir
- Hawthorne Lobster House
- Irving Street Kitchen
- The Original
- Raven and Rose
- Swank & Swine
- Urban Farmer
See the Portland Monthly recap of the brunch here
I also mentioned that the Judge’s Choice winner was the bloody mary by David “Neon” Shenault from Raven and Rose. Well, on Sunday, May 24th, at 3PM Raven and Rose is having a cocktail class focused on brunch cocktails. The description reads
Some of the most delicious cocktails in existence are brunch classics – think Bloody Marys, Ramos gin fizzes, Mimosas, Irish coffees, Singapore Slings…. the list goes on and on. Our resident bartenders extraodinaire, “Neon” Dave Shenaut & Estanislado “The Silver Fox” Orona, will share history, recipes, and methods of a few of their favorites as well as modern twists on the classics.
Email dshenaut at ravenandrosepdx.com or call Raven and Rose to reserve a place in the class at 503-222-ROSE (7673). The class price is $50 per person and if it is similar to the cocktail class I took previously at Raven and Rose, includes not only cocktail recipes and you tasting all the cocktails but also snacks. You must be 21+.