VoteSom Cocktail Election

Starting yesterday and until Monday November 14, there’s another way you can make your vote count – and thankfully it’s not so heavy as the future of this country and your local government that will be decided. Instead, this is a more fun election: a VoteSom Cocktail Election, aka Pok Pok’s #VoteSom Election Week Cocktail Competition.
Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegar comes in a variety of flavors that includes ones that are available all year round and special edition ones

Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegar is doing an election-inspired cocktail competition event called #VoteSom happening at bars all around Portland. All of the participating bars were offered three seasonal flavors of Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar to choose from:

  • Cranberry
  • Szechuan Peppercorn
  • Honey

Pok Pok Som Honey Drinking Vinegar
The participating bar then used that flavor and their creativity to create a cocktail candidate which will be on their menu for the next two weeks. During that time, anyone can go out and try the cocktails, then visit Pokpoksom.com/vote-som to VOTE for the cocktail they think is the best! The winning drink recipe will be featured on the Pok Pok Som website so you can recreate it at home to impress your friends or enjoy as many as you want without judgement!

Below are the participating bars and their cocktail ‘candidates’ launching on menus for the 2016 VoteSom Cocktail Election. I’m going to be possibly doing a little cocktail tour next week to check out what are the positions of each of these candidates.

  • American Local – “Oh! Pear” – Pear gastrique, orgeat, Pok Pok Som Honey drinking vinegar, El Dorado 3 year Rum, Angostura Bitters (3003 SE Division St)
  • NePo 42 – “Bigly” with muddled cucumber, lime, cilantro, simple syrup, mezcal, averna, soda, and the Pok Pok Som Szechuan Peppercorn drinking vinegar with a sugar cayenne pepper rim (5403 NE 42nd Ave)
    VoteSom Cocktail Election entrant from NePo 42 of Bigly with muddled cucumber, lime, cilantro, simple syrup, mezcal, averna, soda, and the Pok Pok Som Szechuan Peppercorn drinking vinegar with a sugar cayenne pepper rim
  • Southpark Seafood – “Lil’ Som Som” – Whiskey, Applejack Brandy, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, and a dash of House Made Cinnamon Bitters (901 SW Salmon St)
    Southpark Seafood VoteSom Cocktail Election Candidate of Lil' Som Som, a cocktail with Whiskey, Applejack Brandy, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, and a dash of House Made Cinnamon Bitters
  • Spud Monkey’s – “The Monkey Smash” – Muddled Lemons, Vanilla 360, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, Splash Sour, Sugar Rim (17312 NE Halsey St)
  • StormBreaker Brewing – “This Cocktail is Rigged” – Espolon Reposado tequila, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, lime juice, StormBreaker Brewing ‘When I Froot’ blood orange-conditioned blonde ale (832 N Beech St)
    StormBreaker Brewing This Cocktail is Rigged with Espolon Reposado tequila, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, lime juice, StormBreaker Brewing 'When I Froot' blood orange-conditioned blonde ale for Som Som #VoteSom campaign
  • Swift & Union – “Bad Sombre” – Hendricks Gin, Pok Pok Som Honey drinking vinegar, Angostura bitters, Lemon and simple syrup, this cocktail will also be their featured happy hour cocktail for $5 M-F 4 PM – 6 PM! (8103 N Denver Ave)
    Pom Pom Som #VoteSom campaign, this nominee by Swift and Union is the Bad Sombre with Hendricks Gin, Pok Pok Som Honey drinking vinegar, Angostura bitters, Lemon and simple syrup Pom Pom Som #VoteSom campaign, this nominee by Swift and Union is the Bad Sombre with Hendricks Gin, Pok Pok Som Honey drinking vinegar, Angostura bitters, Lemon and simple syrup
  • Tabor Tavern – “Pick Poket” –  Prairie Cucumber vodka, Orchard apricot liquor, Pok Pok Som Szechuan Peppercorn drinking vinegar, club soda (5325 E Burnside St)
    VoteSom Cocktail Election entrant from Tabor Tavern of Pick Pocket with Prairie Cucumber vodka, Orchard apricot liquor, Pok Pok Som Szechuan Peppercorn drinking vinegar, club soda
  • The Liquor Store {not a real liquor store} – “Not just Som Toddy” – Hot toddy with bourbon, lemon, raw organic honey, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, and a splash of orange juice.(3341 SE Belmont St)
    Are you researching the candidates of the Pok Pok Som #VoteSom Cocktail Election? Here's one from The Liquor Store their nominee is Not just Som Toddy Hot toddy with bourbon, lemon, raw organic honey, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, and a splash of orange juice Are you researching the candidates of the Pok Pok Som #VoteSom Cocktail Election? Here's one from The Liquor Store their nominee is Not just Som Toddy Hot toddy with bourbon, lemon, raw organic honey, Pok Pok Som Cranberry drinking vinegar, and a splash of orange juice

I’m a fan of Pok Pok Som multiple flavors because the sour acidity that the drinking vinegar offers in a cocktail or even just with club soda is really refreshing. If you have not heard of Pok Pok Som before, they originated from Pok Pok and are a variety of sweet and tart fruit and vinegar based concentrate available in different flavors.

I’m really intrigued by the one from South Park Seafood (and I also love whiskey), and the one with beer from Stormbreaker Brewing. South Park Seafood, by the way, was the winner of the last cocktail competition with Pok Pok Som during the past summer with their Brandy Ginger Som Sour.

Which of these sounds intriguing to you or are you tempted to go try?

 

Signature

Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016

Here’s a look at the Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 brunch bites and bloody mary contenders for the Bloody Mary Smackdown. I have previously recapped the Portland Monthly Country Brunch when I attended last year in 2015, the year before in 2014, and then in 2013. If you haven’t heard of this event before, it’s an annual event, now in it’s fifth year, that benefits Zenger Farm.

Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Last year's winner of the Bloody Mary Smackdown Raven and Rose returns with the Full Bloody Irish that includes a Bloody Mary topped with Oregon made (Agrarian Ales) Irish Stout AND bites of a Irish Breakfast for garnish and wins the 2016 Judge's Choice and People's Choice

This year was the first one where the event setup did not have tables and chairs, which left people trying to find room to stand at the hightop cocktail tables or a few stone counters that were placed on top of garbage cans (so you throw your garbage into the center of it where the hole is). Of you were very lucky you might sit really low at a handful of round ottomans with a few end tables. It was that or awkwardly balancing their food and drink standing. The comfortable seating for everyone at previous events was specifically one of the pros for me, and now that advantage is gone. I was lucky in that since I had a VIP ticket that let me an hour before regular tickets, I was the first to grab a chair and part of a small low end table in a corner by the entrance, farthest away from all food and which I shared with a family that included 3 generations. The event is  family friendly since you can buy tickets for food only, and those under 3 years old are free, but it’s hard to agree it’s comfortable for a family with next to no seating.
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Spring Kale Salad from Milk Glass Mrkt with Farm Kale Mix, French Lentils, Garlic Dates Pickled Red Onions, and Savory Granola Tossed in a Creamy Sunflower Dressing plus Grain & Gristle's Bloody Mary Smackdown contender of Beet'n to a Bloody Pulp with Pureed Beets, Tomato Juice, OJ, Old Bay, Portland Ketchup Company Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Horseradish Pepper, Bacon Rim and Pickles Spear

The lines for some of the food participants snaked through an entire section of the outdoor area – I’m not sure why they thought to put 5 of the 6 food participants all in one place as they tried to cook and plate dishes while the beverage booths and high tables but otherwise empty space  took up the largest area, inside Castaway. Without seats, people tended to go as soon as they were done eating and drinking, so no more feel to relax and listen to the live music (this year by June Bugs) or a little dancing in front of the stage like in previous years. The June Bugs were fun, performing some folk rock interpretations of some modern pop songs now and then.
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016, live music provided by the June Bugs

The main positive is as always that the bloody marys were carefully crafted and were done quickly with a lot if prep work done before. There was never a line of more than a half dozen people in the way to get a Bloody Mary. And, the photo booth station this year by BedMart and Phototainment did inspire some hilarious poses
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Photo Booth sponsored by BedMart

The six restaurants and food carts offering brunch bites include

  • Screen Door offered my favorite of the brunch bites, Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 – Brunch Bite by Screen Door of Shrimp & Grits, wild caught gulf shrimp sauteed with country ham, garlic, tomato, and white wine over parmesan spoon bread
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Brunch Bite by Screen Door of Shrimp & Grits, wild caught gulf shrimp sauteed with country ham, garlic, tomato, and white wine over parmesan spoon bread Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Brunch Bite by Screen Door of Shrimp & Grits, wild caught gulf shrimp sauteed with country ham, garlic, tomato, and white wine over parmesan spoon bread Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Brunch Bite by Screen Door of Shrimp & Grits, wild caught gulf shrimp sauteed with country ham, garlic, tomato, and white wine over parmesan spoon bread Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Brunch Bite by Screen Door of Shrimp & Grits, wild caught gulf shrimp sauteed with country ham, garlic, tomato, and white wine over parmesan spoon bread
  • Broder always does a nice tablescape presentation whenever they are at these food events, which I appreciate. They brought warm fresh aebelskivers with lingonberry which you can watch them making right behind the table. Definitely my second favorite of the brunch bites.
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - tablescape by Broder for the aebelskivers with lingonberry Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Broder of a warm fresh aebelskivers with lingonberry Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Broder of a warm fresh aebelskivers with lingonberry Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Broder of a warm fresh aebelskivers with lingonberry Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Broder of a warm fresh aebelskivers with lingonberry
  • The Dump Truck had the longest line of all the food vendors where you had a choice of 2 dumplings from the menu of Mr Ma’s Special (a pork with green onion and ginger), Bacon Cheeseburger, Down2Earth (vegetarian with portabella and rice noodles with ginger), Potato Curry (vegetarian malaysian style with yellow curry), or the Dump Truck Breakfast with egg, jack cheese, seasoned sausage, red pepper and chive which is what I got to go with the breakfast theme, and since I’ve already tried the others at their usual truck location by SW 12th and Alder.
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by The Dump Truck where you had a choice of 2 dumplings from the menu of Mr Ma's Special (a pork with green onion and ginger), Bacon Cheeseburger, Down2Earth (vegetarian with portabella and rice noodles with ginger), Potato Curry (vegetarian malaysian style with yellow curry), or the Dump Truck Breakfast with egg, jack cheese, seasoned sausage, red pepper and chive Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by The Dump Truck where you had a choice of 2 dumplings from the menu of Mr Ma's Special (a pork with green onion and ginger), Bacon Cheeseburger, Down2Earth (vegetarian with portabella and rice noodles with ginger), Potato Curry (vegetarian malaysian style with yellow curry), or the Dump Truck Breakfast with egg, jack cheese, seasoned sausage, red pepper and chive Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by The Dump Truck 2 dumplings of Dump Truck Breakfast with egg, jack cheese, seasoned sausage, red pepper and chive
  • Pip’s Original Doughnuts offered a sample of two of their mini doughnuts, a Raw Honey and Sea Salt doughnut and a Meyer Lemon and Pear Butter doughnut, a sample of either their Smoky Robinson Chai or Heart of Gold Chai
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Pip's Doughnuts of their Raw Honey and Sea Salt doughnut and a Meyer Lemon and Pear Butter doughnut, with a sample of either their Smoky Robinson Chai or Heart of Gold Chai Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Pip's Doughnuts of their Raw Honey and Sea Salt doughnut and a Meyer Lemon and Pear Butter doughnut, with a sample of either their Smoky Robinson Chai or Heart of Gold Chai Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Pip's Doughnuts of their Raw Honey and Sea Salt doughnut and a Meyer Lemon and Pear Butter doughnut, with a sample of either their Smoky Robinson Chai or Heart of Gold Chai Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - brunch bite by Pip's Doughnuts of their Raw Honey and Sea Salt doughnut and a Meyer Lemon and Pear Butter doughnut, with a sample of either their Smoky Robinson Chai or Heart of Gold Chai
  • Milk Glass Mrkt offered a nice break from the mostly sweet brunch bites with the Spring Kale Salad from Milk Glass Mrkt with Farm Kale Mix, French Lentils, Garlic Dates Pickled Red Onions, and Savory Granola Tossed in a Creamy Sunflower Dressing that was vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Spring Kale Salad from Milk Glass Mrkt with Farm Kale Mix, French Lentils, Garlic Dates Pickled Red Onions, and Savory Granola Tossed in a Creamy Sunflower Dressing is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Spring Kale Salad from Milk Glass Mrkt with Farm Kale Mix, French Lentils, Garlic Dates Pickled Red Onions, and Savory Granola Tossed in a Creamy Sunflower Dressing is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free
  • Batter PDX Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Brunch Bite of Maple Bacon Pancakes (although this is clearly a waffle…) from Batter Griddle & Drinkery
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Brunch Bite of Maple Bacon Pancakes (hey that's what the sign said even though it's clearly a waffle) from Batter Griddle & Drinkery Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Brunch Bite of Maple Bacon Pancakes from Batter Griddle & Drinkery (hey that's what the sign said even though it's clearly a waffle)

Meanwhile, the seven competitors for the Bloody Mary Smackdown (the vodka is from Crater Lake Spirits) include

  • Raven & Rose (2015’s Judges’ Choice Winner) returns with the Full Bloody Irish that includes a Bloody Mary topped with Oregon made (Agrarian Ales) Irish Stout AND bites of a Irish Breakfast for garnish
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Last year's winner of the Bloody Mary Smackdown Raven and Rose returns with the Full Bloody Irish that includes a Bloody Mary topped with Oregon made (Agrarian Ales) Irish Stout AND bites of a Irish Breakfast for garnish Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Last year's winner of the Bloody Mary Smackdown Raven and Rose returns with the Full Bloody Irish that includes a Bloody Mary topped with Oregon made (Agrarian Ales) Irish Stout AND bites of a Irish Breakfast for garnish
    Once again they won Judge’s Choice, and they were the People’s Choice winner too for 2016.Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Last year's winner of the Bloody Mary Smackdown Raven and Rose returns with the Full Bloody Irish that includes a Bloody Mary topped with Oregon made (Agrarian Ales) Irish Stout AND bites of a Irish Breakfast for garnish
  • Pizza Jerk just a stack of pizzas ready to be warmed in the oven and then serve as garnish for their Pizza Mary that has a slice of pizza chilling in a sauced up bloody mary that took cues from pizza tomato sauce.
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - just a stack of pizzas ready to be warmed in the oven and then serve as garnish for Pizza Jerk's Pizza Mary that has a slice of pizza chilling in a sauced up bloody mary Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - pizzas warmed in the oven and then serve as garnish for Pizza Jerk's Pizza Mary that has a slice of pizza chilling in a sauced up bloody mary Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - pizzas warmed in the oven and then serve as garnish for Pizza Jerk's Pizza Mary that has a slice of pizza chilling in a sauced up bloody mary Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - pizzas warmed in the oven and then serve as garnish for Pizza Jerk's Pizza Mary that has a slice of pizza chilling in a sauced up bloody mary
  • Grain & Gristle Bloody Mary Smackdown entry of the Beet’n to a Bloody Pulp with Pureed Beets, Tomato Juice, OJ, Old Bay, Portland Ketchup Company Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Horseradish Pepper, Bacon Rim and Pickles Spear
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Grain & Gristle's Bloody Mary Smackdown entry of the Beet'n to a Bloody Pulp with Pureed Beets, Tomato Juice, OJ, Old Bay, Portland Ketchup Company Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Horseradish Pepper, Bacon Rim and Pickles Spear Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Grain & Gristle's Bloody Mary Smackdown entry of the Beet'n to a Bloody Pulp with Pureed Beets, Tomato Juice, OJ, Old Bay, Portland Ketchup Company Vegan Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco Horseradish Pepper, Bacon Rim and Pickles Spear
  • Besaw’s Maria en Verde, with under ripened green tomatoes used to make a green bloody mary garnished with a smoked oyster
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Bloody Mary Smackdown contender Besaw's with Maria en Verde, with under ripened green tomatoes used to make a green bloody mary garnished with a smoked oyster Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Bloody Mary Smackdown contender Besaw's with Maria en Verde, with under ripened green tomatoes used to make a green bloody mary garnished with a smoked oyster Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Bloody Mary Smackdown contender Besaw's with Maria en Verde, with under ripened green tomatoes used to make a green bloody mary garnished with a smoked oyster
  • Boke Bowl presented the Boke Bloody Mary that feature stheir Hot Boke Sauce, Fish Sauce, Housemade Pickles, and Boke’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken (available spicy or extra spicy). I’ve been to Boke Bowl brunch before, and the one at the actual restaurant is pretty impressive in terms of garnish
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Boke Bowl presented the Boke Bloody Mary that feature stheir Hot Boke Sauce, Fish Sauce, Housemade Pickles, and Boke's Buttermilk Fried Chicken (available spicy or extra spicy)
  • My Father’s Place Blood Sucker, a housemade bloody mary mix infused with cilantro and garlic and with lots of aleppo pepper for smokiness in the garnish
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Blood Sucker, a housemade bloody mary mix infused with cilantro and garlic and with lots of aleppo pepper for smokiness in the garnish from Bloody Mary Smackdown contender My Father's Place Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Blood Sucker, a housemade bloody mary mix infused with cilantro and garlic and with lots of aleppo pepper for smokiness in the garnish from Bloody Mary Smackdown contender My Father's Place Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Blood Sucker, a housemade bloody mary mix infused with cilantro and garlic and with lots of aleppo pepper for smokiness in the garnish from Bloody Mary Smackdown contender My Father's Place
  • Woodsman Tavern wins for most impressive display with their many many bottles of Bottle Conditioned Bloody Mary with Potato Vodka, Amontillado Shery, Tomato Juice, and Woodsman Secret Bloody Mix with a pepperoni stick
    Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - The Woodsman Tavern brought a Bottle Conditioned Bloody Mary with Potato Vodka, Amontillado Shery, Tomato Juice, and Woodsman Secret Bloody Mix with a pepperoni stick Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - The Woodsman Tavern brought a Bottle Conditioned Bloody Mary with Potato Vodka, Amontillado Shery, Tomato Juice, and Woodsman Secret Bloody Mix with a pepperoni stick Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - The Woodsman Tavern brought a Bottle Conditioned Bloody Mary with Potato Vodka, Amontillado Shery, Tomato Juice, and Woodsman Secret Bloody Mix with a pepperoni stick

For dessert, or to relieve your palate from the spicy bloody marys, Crispin Cider offered Honey Crisp Floats with Crispin Cider’s Honey Crisp Cider and ice cream
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Honey Crisp Floats with Crispin Cider's Honey Crisp Cider and ice cream Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Honey Crisp Floats with Crispin Cider's Honey Crisp Cider and ice cream Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Honey Crisp Floats with Crispin Cider's Honey Crisp Cider and ice cream

To sober up, Coava Coffee was present with David Mancia coffee sourced from Honduras
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Coava Coffee Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Coava Coffee Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Coava Coffee brought David Mancia single sourced from Honduras

Additionally, a booth from New Seasons Market sponsor offered Mimosa Gummies, made of orange juice, cava, and grassfed beef gelatin and non alcoholic beverage options of Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters + Owls Brew Pink and Black Tea Minxer + La Croix Sparkling Water + Lime, and also an option of Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic + Hot Lips Ginger Soda
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Mimosa Gummies presented by New Seasons, made of orange juice, cava, and grassfed beef gelatin Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters + Owls Brew Pink and Black Tea Minxer + La Croix Sparkling Water + Lime, presented by New Seasons Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic + Hot Lips Ginger Soda, presented by New Seasons

Sunshine Dairy also offered two extra beverages, chocolate martinis using Sunshine Dairy and Moon struck Chocolate collaboration full milk Drinking Chocolate.
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sunshine Dairy booth offering two chocolate beverages, this one is the Moonstruck Chocolate Martini with chilled drinking chocolate Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sunshine Dairy booth offering two chocolate beverages, this one is the Moonstruck Chocolate Martini with chilled drinking chocolate Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sunshine Dairy booth offering two chocolate beverages, this one is the Moonstruck Chocolate Martini with chilled drinking chocolate Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sunshine Dairy booth offering two chocolate beverages, this one is the Moonstruck Chocolate Martini with chilled drinking chocolate and hazelnut espresso

Most importantly, Sunshine Dairy brought Sandy, Sunshine Dairy’s newest fuzzy friend at only six weeks old and 90 pounds from an organic dairy farm.
Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sandy, Sunshine Dairy's newest fuzzy friend Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sandy, Sunshine Dairy's newest fuzzy friend Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sandy, Sunshine Dairy's newest fuzzy friend Portland Monthly Country Brunch 2016 - Sandy, Sunshine Dairy's newest fuzzy friend

If some of these bloody marys got you excited and thirsty, there is a new event this year, the Kachka Bloody Mary Bloc Party, that is happening this Sunday May 1, 2016 from 11 AM – 3 PM that also includes brunch bites and housemade bloody marys from

The cost is $30 ticket (buy your tickets here) and is good for a shot of Kachka Horseradish Vodka when you first check in to get your passport in your souvenir shot class. Then the passport is good for one mini bloody mary and one brunch bite at each of the five location with a closing rally at Bit House Saloon from 2 – 3 PM for your vote (votes must be in by 2:30 PM) to hear the winner of the “Best Bloody Mary on Grand.” The first 75 people to purchase a ticket, like myself, also get a Kachka Trucker Hat. I can’t wait to model mine during the event.

I’ll be there!

Do you enjoy bloody marys, and if so what is your favorite bloody mary joint in Portland? If bloody mary is not your brunch beverage of choice, what is?

Signature

Portland Craft Beer Festival

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, and I will be highlighting every week an event or beer in honor of celebrating and promoting Oregon Craft Beer.

Especially if you live in Portland, there are so many breweries right here just in the city. In fact, the upcoming Portland Craft Beer Festival this weekend July 3 – 5 is focused exactly on that – celebrating just the beers made in the Portland city limits.

Portland Craft Beer Festival poster for 2015, design by Dotzero with illustration by Wilder Schmaltz

I’ve summarized everything up into 10 points you need to know about the Portland Craft Beer Festival (PCBF).

  1. The 5 Ws:
    • What: A beer festival showcasing beers only from within the city limits of Portland. Even though Portland does host many beer festivals, this is the first one focusing only on Portland breweries.
    • When:
      • Friday, July 3, 2015 – 4pm to 10pm
      • Saturday, July 4, 2015 – 12pm to 10pm
      • Sunday, July 5, 2015 – 12pm to 7pm
    • Who: Guests must be 21+ to drink alcoholic beverages. On Friday and Saturday admission is 21+ only, but Sunday is Family Day and open to all ages.
    • Where: The Fields Neighborhood Park in the Pearl District, at 1099 NW Overton St, Portland, OR 97209
    • Why: CaskAide, Inc. and its partner charities are the non-profit beneficiaries of the PCBF. This year, the charities that CaskAide is honored to partner with are The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing FoundationThe James Beard Public Market and the Oregon Brew Crew
  2. Support Local! The beer list is great – with almost 100 beers being poured from Portland breweries. Even as a beer geek myself there are beers from breweries new or small I have never visited or only heard of,  but PCBF has gathered them conveniently all in one location. Besides the beer being within the city limits, so are the wine and ciders alternatives if you don’t want to partake in beer. PCBF will be offering wine from Coopers Hall and fizzy wines from Hi Wheel, and cider from Cider Riot! and Reverand Nat’s.
    Cider Riot! cider
  3. Portland Made Cheese! PCBF is showcasing two cheesemakers who make their cheese within the city limits, Ancient Heritage Dairy and Portland Creamery
    Portland Creamery sells theirs in pretty small packages Ancient Heritage Dairy, cheese
    Cheeses from Portland Creamery; Cheese from Ancient Heritage Diary
  4. It’s a great value for a beer festival. $20 for a keepsake mug and 10 beer tickets. 1 ticket will yield one 4 oz pour and 4 tickets will buy a full pour. Advance ticket purchasers will receive 15 beer tickets and the mug for $20. which is a BIG DEAL! Additional tickets will be available for purchase at $1.00 apiece. Tickets will be available for advance purchase through Brown Paper Tickets.. It will be cash only at the PCBF festival. Your admission is good all weekend.
  5. PCBF cares about you stretching: they are holding free yoga classes for adults and for children 1 hour before the festival opens (aka the free yoga classes are at 11 AM) on Sunday
  6. There will be plenty of food to go with the drinks. PCBF is making sure we support several local food carts that will be on site, and also the offerings are diverse to satisfy whatever you feel like eating. They include Bunk Sandwiches with their always tasty sandwiches, The Dump Truck with their dumplings, Floyd’s Coffee Shop, Farm to Fire wood fired pizza, and Urban German Grill with their German sausages and pretzels. Additionally on Sunday there will be ice cream thanks to Ruby Jewel.
    Bunk Sandwiches' winter vegetarian sandwich: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Chutney, Gruyere & Horseradish sandwich. Example sausage from Urban German Grill Potato Curry dumpling on the left which had a burst of pork and ginger with scallions, Mr Ma dumpling on the right which essentially has a Malaysian yellow curry with potato inside the dumpling wrapper Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich
    Example vegetarian sandwich from Bunk one season that was Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Chutney, Gruyere & Horseradish sandwich; A sausage from Urban German Grill; Sample I had on a food cart tour from Dump Truck with a Potato Curry dumpling and a Mr Ma dumpling; Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich
  7. On Family Day Sunday, there will be a Children’s Craft Market with craft booths by kids. Support the kids! There will be free vision testing by The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and also face painting as well on Sunday Family Day.
  8. The Portland Beer Hall of Fame will be unveiled on Saturday, July 4 at 3 PM. The inaugural inductees will be announced by the Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison (also known as Beer O’Clock Radio host) and ballots will be available to vote on next year’s inductees.
  9. Thanks to BTU Brasserie there will be beer slushies to keep you cool

    Beer slushies brought to you by #BTUBrasserie will keep you cool at #PortlandCraftBeerFestival next weekend! #portlandbeer

    A photo posted by Portland Craft Beer Festival (@pdxcraftbeerfest) on

  10. It is very easy to not have to drive to PCBF. And there’s a reward for taking your bike to the fest.
    • The Portland Streetcar runs from Downtown, Northwest, & the Inner Eastside and stops a block from The Fields Park.
    • PCBF will be partnering with Lyft for safe rides to and from the festival (use PCBF code to get a free ride up to $20 for signin gup).
    • PCBF will also have a bike valet (bring your own lock) courtesy of Spinlister, The Global Bike Share. Present your valet parking stub inside the festival for a free 4 oz. pour.
    • Pedi-cabs will also be on hand – a scenic trip along the waterfront park for anyone looking to go back and forth from the Waterfront Blues Festival.
    • And for those with designated drivers, there is a parking lot at Station Place Garage Lot 120 at 720 NW Lovejoy Court, at the west end of the Broadway Bridge.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be at PCBF on Friday, so check my Untappd profile at pechluck to see my thoughts on some of the beer, and my Instagram @pechluck or Twitter @pechluck for any pictures!

What do you think of the ideas of the Portland Craft Beer Festival –  do you find it so very Portland like I do? What are your holiday weekend plans?

Signature

Sake Fest 2015 on Thursday June 25

This Thursday June 25, Sake Fest returns for its fifth year. This year, it is taking place at the The Governor Ballroom at The Sentinel Hotel  (formerly The Governor Hotel). I’m pretty excited because besides having sake with sushi (I often ahem prescribe myself warm sake when it’s cold out in the winter, or if my throat hurts) or at sake pairings with my Nodoguro dinners, I don’t have sake very often because I don’t know much about sake besides regular temperature or hot, clear or cloudy. I want to change that.

Attending Sake Fest gives you a chance to learn and sample all sorts of sake. It also includes trying food as you learn how to pair the traditional Japanese drink with a wide variety of food, including cheese, desserts, chocolate and a wide range of fusion, Asian and continental cuisines. It includes ALL saké sampling stations – even rare & premium saké varieties. Altogether there are more than 130+ sakes to sample.

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

Featured food participants at Sake Fest include 19 different tables of food pairings including

  • ramen restaurant Noraneko,
  • cheese served like sushi bar Chizu,
  • Asian food offerings like from Saucebox, Yama Sushi & Izakaya, Biwa, Yakuza, Smallwares, Hokusei Sushi, Behind the Museum Cafe and more,
  • other types of food varying from Hawaiian cuisine of Bamboo Grove to classic American like Davis Street Tavern or The American Local,
  • chocolates from Batch chocolate or Xocolatl de David,
  • salt from The Meadow,
  • Asian sweets from Yume Confections and more!

Sampling Sake at the annual Sake Fest in Portland
Photo Credit Hung Q Phan

You can buy Sake Fest Admission tickets now at Eventbrite, which come in two tiers, based on whether you want Early Admission: 5:30 to 9:00 PM (provides an extra hour of no crowds or lines, only 100 tickets available, available in advance online only) at $75, or for $55 Regular Admission: 6:30 to 9:00 PM. Both tickets are for guests Adults 21 and Older Only and include all food and drink at Sake Fest and includes a free Saké souvenir tasting glass provided by SakéOne.

Also available are tickets for a special Sake Food pairing dinner on Wednesday night at the ticket site, if you are so inclined.

For a hint of what Sake Fest is like, here’s a video from their first year:

Do you know anything about sake, like a certain kind of sake you like? When do you have sake?

I’ll be at Sake Fest Thursday so if you see me feel free to say hi!

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Renata – First Look

You may have seen that yesterday that the Oregonian, besides publishing a huge list of Portland’s 101 Best Restaurants, also named the 3 top restaurant awards for 2015. They dubbed Xico Cuisine of the Year, and Kachka the 2015 Rising Star Restaurant. And then, in a ballsy and perhaps purposely controversial move (and therefore generating lots of buzz and chatter and readership, which probably is half the point of the article anyway rather than just providing information), named 2015 Restaurant of the Year as Renata, who has only been officially open since the beginning of June (soft opening for a couple weeks before that).
Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors

I myself have still been deliberately waiting to write on what I think of Renata. I had eagerly been anticipating the opening of Renata back when it was still pop-up Project Grace, and so far had an opportunity to visit Renata a few times already. But, I was waiting to see what Renata would really be like when the rubber meets the road… and now with this announcement their test of execution of kitchen and service has been quickly accelerated. You will want to make reservations – they accept OpenTable Renata if you are trying to go now given the new buzz.

The dining space at Renata is airy and open. There are some tables of 2, and then these “Y” tables that can accommodate in different configurations larger parties or partially communal eating. It reminds me of restaurants I’ve seen in LA, where there is a bit of see and be seen to the dining scene .

Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these

On one visit I would take turns gazing lovingly on the food, paying attention to my dining companion, and glancing over to see what Andy Ricker at one table and Jeffrey Morgenthaler at a different table were eating and drinking while also being charmed watching the children of owners Nick and Sandra Arnerich eat at a counter with Sandra’s mother – 3 generations enjoying Renata. My visit on May 27 was also the same day Stephanie Yao Long took all those photos you saw accompanying the article announcing Renata as 2015 Restaurant of the Year so I got to watch that as well – I assumed it was for their “First Look” article (yes, I’m totally in a few of those photos).

And, Renata has a fabulous patio, if you are prepared for dealing with no shade on a cloudless day. Since this photo they have added one large patio umbrella in the middle so you still get lots of sun.
A look at Renata from their small parking lot, facing their patio Lots of open feel to the space inside Renata. There are some tables of 2 or 4, and then these

I appreciate how the bar faces windows, and most of all, not only do they have purse hooks under the counter but also outlets to charge your phone if you have your power cord handy! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, thank you.
Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord. Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord. Appreciate how the bar faces outside at Renata, and there are purse hooks AND outlets for charging your phone if you have your power cord.

The back away from the patio has mirrors, making the interior seem more spacious, and the whole restaurant fills with light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows/door. The wall between the patio and the restaurant are door panels that Renata can choose to open to let the breeze in, if they wish to, so the entire patio and restaurant can become one flowing space.
Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors Renata patio to restaurant interior, bridged by the wide open sliding window/doors

The patio is going to make this such an attractive al fresco lunch and dinner spot this summer and however long the weather cooperates until the rain comes. They canceled plans for now to host lunch service given how busy they are after the press
Renata patio Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon; Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments; Renata cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture

I don’t want to really review them until they have been open a bit longer, but thought I’d share the food photos at least to entice you… and to maybe explain why Michael Russell named them Restaurant of the Year, even though there is barely any write up out there on them yet.

The menu is divided into small plates which are in a box to the right side of the daily printed menu, with a section for Stuzzi or Bites, Tavola or Boards, and Antipasti. Next, in the main eating ring are half a dozen Primi Pasta dishes, a handful of Hearth/Grill dishes and Forni/Oven pizza dishes from their brick oven, and a couple Contorni/Sides.
Menu on May 27 2015 for Renata Menu on May 27 2015 for Renata

There is also a bar menu that doesn’t even capture the creativity tempered by incredible balance that is coming out. For instance, here is the cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger. I loved taking sips of the sweet and sour beverage and then little bites of the spicy ginger.
Renata cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger Renata cocktail Fortune Teller, with amaro ciociaro, lemon, marionberry, cacao, and ginger

Here is the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt. I was not expecting and loved the touch of the melon ball with a mint skewered in it.
Renata cocktail of the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt Renata cocktail of the Sicilian Advantage, with cynar, honeydew mint basil soda, and little sprinkle of sea salt

On the slightly stronger sipping side but just as delightful as the Sicilian Advantage is this Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda. You can use the spoon to take a little taste of the sorbet before it melts and becomes a contribution to the drink profile.
Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda Renata cocktail of Trevi Fountain with aperol ice cream, volstead vodka, luxardo maraschino and chinotto soda

Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank’s 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg
Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank's 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg Renata cocktail version of a flip called The Prince with bank's 5 island rum, hazelnut orgeat, lemon, egg, aromatic bitters and nutmeg

Or go classic and citrus with this cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture
Renata cocktail of Nights in Cabiria with ransom old tom gin, strega, apricot, lime, calabrian chili tincture

From the Stuzzi or Bites section, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo which has turned into other crudite/vegetable options based on what they desire to serve.
From Stuzzi section at Renata, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo From Stuzzi section at Renata, the Radish Crudite with whipped lardo

The Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili was a perfect mix of crispy and soft and disappeared quickly. Don’t be scared off by the trotters in the name, you might be able to trick your dining companion (I was sorely tempted) if you do not explain what trotters really are.
From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili From the Bites section of the Renata menu was this perfect Crispy Trotters with Salmoriglio and Calabrian chili

For something lighter if the day is hot, consider the Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon or whatever crostini they are serving.
Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon Renata Bite of Crostini with sheep milk ricotta, bottarga, and lemon

My bread recommendation would be though from the Tavola or Boards section, where you should order the Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote. Make sure you ask if they have the porcini butter, because that alone makes this worth the price.
From the Tavola section at Renata, Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote From the Tavola section at Renata, Pane basket that includes foccacia, pugliese, and tomato panettone with 3 accompaniments that included porcini whipped butter, honey, and an olive compote

Also from this section is the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments, which is pretty substantial and that melt in your mouth meat needs to be shared.
Renata Menu selection of the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments is pretty substantial Renata Menu selection of the Board of Salumi with prosciutto cotto, pork terrina, coppa di testa and accompaniments is pretty substantial

From the Antipasti section, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde. This dish updates based on what is fresh, so on another visit the Smoked King Salmon was accompanied by beets, horseradish, blackberries and pistachios instead, and another visit showed raspberries instead of blackberries.
From the Antipasti section of the Renata menu, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde From the Antipasti section of the Renata menu, Smoked King Salmon with spring vegetables, rye crumble and salsa verde

From the Primi section, the pasta types change often, though there is usually a cavatelli, tagliatelli, toasted flour paccheri, squid ink chitarra, and agnolotti. On one visit, I had this Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels. On another visit, the Carrot Top Cavatelli now had lamb sugo, AHD why, and morels.
From the Primi section, the Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels From the Primi section, the Carrot Top Cavatelli with lamb sugo and morels

The Isabelli Scarpinocc is a signature dish here, here with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts is perfect. You will want to carefully consider and appreciate each perfect pasta parcel of deliciousness – don’t rush through the dish. It’s not going to be a family style Italian heaping dish – the serving is exactly that of a primi, to be enjoyed but not fill you completely so that you can’t get to the mains.
Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata Isabelli Scarpinocc with porcini mushrooms and pine nuts at Renata

No photograph, but the Squid Ink Chitarra is another recommended pasta dish, a little scary looking with its dark inky bowl of shadows, but bursting with layers of flavors (the version I tried included salumi cotto, clams, and English peas). If you see an unusual pasta combo, take the plunge (for instance, below the Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts). Matthew Sigler is making magic with all the pastas, no matter what they are. YOU MUST ORDER A PASTA! MUST!
Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts Porcini Mushroom Tajarin from Renata with brown butter, duck giblets and pine nuts

From the Forno section, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic was tasty, but I can’t say it currently ranking among the top 10 in Portland – only time will tell what they can do.
From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic From the Forno section at Renata, Cavalo Nero pizza with sausage, pecorino and green garlic

I’ve only had one grill/mains. At almost $30, they were pretty pricey and getting the smaller dishes and pastas seemed like a better value – the exception I made was for the Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree. I had read they had purchased a whole cow, so I was anticipating when it would finish aging and be ready for a dish. That meat was melt in your mouth.
From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree and side of sauteed turnips and greens with chili and lemon From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip puree and side of sauteed turnips and greens with chili and lemon From the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto, and turnip pureeFrom the Renata Grill, Beef Tagliata with radish, nasturtium pesto

Also not photographed or ordered were the Ancient Heritage Dairy cheese plate – I’ve had AHD cheeses for many years from the Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Sat, and am so excited to see them being able to create more in the same building housing Renata. You can peek into the windows to see the production facility that rivals the viewing station at the Seattle Pike Place Market Beecher’s Cheese storefront – I hope that the other storefront I see still in progress will house easy access to some of the AHD cheese as well as Alma Chocolate in that last retail space.
Production area for cheeses of Ancient Heritage Dairy Production area for cheeses of Ancient Heritage Dairy

The private dining room for Renata lets you look at some of that delicious cheese on one side of the wall!
The private dining room for Renata lets you look at some of that delicious cheese in progress by Ancient Heritage on one side of the wall!

Dessert, particularly the gelatos, are a surprise of flavors. For instance, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam with lovage and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I’ve seen include Malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread. Don’t be afraid of anything at Renata, it may blow your mind

Dessert from Renata PDX of Gelato, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I've seen include malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread Dessert from Renata PDX of Gelato, here a scoop of Sourdough cherry jam and one scoop of AHD Whey Sorbetto. Other options I've seen include malted chocolate, Anisse hyssop, and Mint cocoa nib shortbread

Dessert of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle was light and easily sharable.
Dessert from Renata PDX of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle Dessert from Renata PDX of Olive Oil Cake with Lambrusco zabaglione, strawberries and almond brittle

And then, here are these adorable mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata
Mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata Mini cookies that came with the check for a sweet goodbye from Renata   Salted chocolate chip cookies with whey that came with the check at Renata Salted chocolate chip cookies with whey that came with the check at Renata

All what you saw above was not during any visit where Renata was at capacity, so my meals were leisurely. The service as among the best I have seen in most restaurants, where each staff member feels responsible to make your experience the best it can be. There’s no asking for something and the staff member says they’ll go get your server. If they see a dish is empty, or your water glass only half full, they will take the initiative to clear your table, to get a pitcher to refill your glass, to ask make eye contact to see if you need anything but otherwise continue their watchful stroll looking where to help.

In Portland, it’s not often I see this attentiveness but yet unobtrusiveness. At the same time, I was never there on a Fri or Sat night when the restaurant was bustling – part of the reason why this is not yet a review. But, I can see what the Oregonian saw – the incredible potential where all Renata needs to do is continue to be at this level – to earn Restaurant of the Year. Ever since my first visit I’ve mentioned Renata to anyone looking for a recommendation – the starters and pastas and cocktails I’ve experienced thus far have me crushing on Renata pretty hard.

What items seemed interesting to you from the Renata menu? What do you think of a restaurant not yet 1 month old being named 2015 Restaurant of the Year? If you want to go, make sure you  make reservations!

Renata Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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