For Foodie Friday today, I continue my series highlighting a Portland Drink and a Bite of food that I think not only is best in class within Portland, but is a classic representation of the character of Portland. Of course, that Portland Drink and a Bite Highlight is also delicious, and unique.
When it’s chilly outside, nothing soothes and warms me more than the buttery soft comfort of Kachka and their dumplings. You could select to enjoy the meat one of the Siberian Pelmeni with Beef, Pork, Veal and Onion or the vegetarian version of Tvorog Vareniki with Farmers Cheese and Scallion. Do not miss this, it is a must order and my Portland Bite highlight. I get this every time I visit Kachka.
As for a drink, you should get a little vodka. Flavor Infused Vodka especially. You can order it at the sizes of 30, 60, or 100 grams, so it’s possible to get a taste of that Russian tradition of drinking and eating without going overboard. After all, a 30 gram serving is only an ounce.
The vodkas infused with flavors vary from chamomile vodka, horseradish vodka, earl grey, cocoa nib vodka and a few others which seem to consistently be on the menu. And there’s then additional other flavors that rotate seasonally, varying from strawberry, lemon to charred rosemary, matsutake mushroom and more. My personal favorite is the horseradish vodka, which I will usually get with a flavored sweet infused vodka flavor too and a seasonal one. I’m pretty excited that they are going to starting March 2016 be offering bottles of their horseradish vodka for sale so I can get my vodka fix on at home!
For a cocktail with a flavored vodka, you could also consider their tart and refreshing Baba Yaga, which features their chamomile vodka, liquore strega, and lemon.
If you’d like, you can also get (in addition to the dumplings of course) the much raved about “Herring Under a Fur Coat” cold zakuski. This dish is beautiful, and it seems to be the glamour shot that represents Kachka.
You just remember that you can’t go wrong with any of the zakuski, whether cold or hot. You can’t go wrong.
The reason that I love Kachka, besides the incredible food, and the nice service, is that it’s so very Portland that a restaurant like this can be so successful and loved by foodies. Despite visiting many cities that are considered “Best Food Cities”, it’s only someplace like Portland where food lovers are willing support the unknown just as long as it’s good. Who knew Russian food can be such a hot commodity that it was named 2014 Restaurant of the Year by Willamette Week, and 2015 Rising Star Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian. Co-owners Bonnie Morales and Chris Israel took a risk that I’m not sure would have paid off in most other cities.
The fact that Portland loves food, and that we embrace all kinds of good food even and especially the unfamiliar, makes me proud to be a Portland citizen. I love how Kachka highlights Soviet era food that just a few decades ago, embarrassed the immigrant kids and was hidden. No, Kachka does more than highlights – it really embraces it and successfully makes everyone embrace it too.
Have you been to Kachka? What is your favorite dish or drink if you have?