Holdfast Dining New Year’s Dinner

I’ve been to several Holdfast Dining events and been a fan since 2014, and realized I’ve never shared the experience on the blog before! My most recent dinner was #609 for Holdfast Dining. This particular dinner was a special luxury ingredient themed dinners especially for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For $175 I enjoyed an incredibly filling 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings. So here’s a recap of my Holdfast Dining New Year’s Dinner.
Holdfast Dining New Year's Dinner 2018, 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings Holdfast Dining New Year's Dinner 2018, 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings
Holdfast Dining is reservations only via their website, doing one 7 PM dinner seating each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Normally their dinner is a 10 course prix fixe chefs tasting menu with 5 wine pairings for $105. On Monday they hold Deadshot, a more casual a la carte version of their food that does not require reservations.

If you are attending on a reservations dinner, you check in with the wine director when you enter past the curtained entrance and are greeted with a glass of bubbly. He will then direct you to your seat based on the size of your party – at a countertop bar or at a table. I was seated at the bar which I always enjoy watching the plating and chatting with others.
Holdfast Dining New Year's Dinner 2018, 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings

Before each course, after watching them plate it in the open kitchen, Chefs Will Preisch and Joel Stocks talk about the dish in terms of inspiration or what they did to create the dish.
Chefs Joel Stocks of Holdfast Dining during Holdfast Dining New Year's Dinner 2018, 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings Chefs Will Preisch of Holdfast Dining during Holdfast Dining New Year's Dinner 2018, 10 course dinner with 6 wine pairings
Chefs Joel Stocks and Will Preisch of Holdfast Dining

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Feast Dinner Recap of State of the Art

This is my Feast Dinner recap of the only dinner (and my first Feast Portland dinner) I attended for Feast 2014. Like all of the Feast events, the net proceeds of the dinner went towards ending childhood hunger in Oregon through Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Share Our Strength.

This dinner, officially named State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, was part of the KitchenCru series. It was held al fresco under a white tent with twinkling lights in the parking lot of the KitchenCru Culinary Prep space on Northwest Broadway and Flanders. The description promised “Local boy Justin Woodward (Castagna, Portland) will be joined by Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, San Francisco), Homaro Cantu (Moto, Chicago), Matt Accarrino (SPQR, San Francisco) and pastry chef Matt Tinder (The Restaurant at Meadowood, Napa Valley) in this culinary super jam.”
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards

There were essentially 5 courses, with each of the various chefs contributing at different points. All 5 chefs kicked us off with the appetizer portion, followed by Dominique Crenn with first course, Matthrew Accarrino and Homaru Canto with second course, Justin Woodward bringing up third and Matthew Tinder bringing it home with the sweet course. Meanwhile, each of these 5 courses was paired with both a Willamette Valley Vineyards wine and a Adelsheim Vineyards wine, so that’s 10 wine pours.

Here are the two winemakers from Adelsheim and Willamette Valley, and our Bon Apetit acting host. I’m sorry the photos are when you were talking so your mouths are open, but maybe if you guys wouldn’t move so much when talking… 😛 Pro tip: if you are speaking at an event, pause a few times because you know someone is taking a photo of you and don’t move and make your best looking face! Or maybe one day I will win a really nice camera instead of my smartphone or little point and shoot.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, winemaker from Adelsheim Vineyards Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, winemaker from Willamette Valley Vineyards

First

The pairing for this course included Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 Gruner Veltliner and Adelsheim Vineyards 2013 Pinot Blanc. I loved how the crisp acidity, particularly of the Gruner Veltliner, helped brighten and refresh between each snack.

  • Ceviche, Justin Woodward
    I was happy to see all the food lovers around me did the same as I and drank the liquid afterward.
    Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ceviche, Justin Woodward
  • Aged Cheddar Budino di Pane, Pear Mustard, Quail, Celery, Matthew Accarino
    This was my favorite of the appetizers, but I’m a cheese addict.
    Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Aged Cheddar Budino di Pane, Pear Mustard, Quail, Celery, Matthew Accarino
  • Beet Chip with Beef Tartare, Justin Woodward
    A classic offering of one of the snacks at Castagna
    Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Beet Chip with Beef Tartare, Justin Woodward Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Beet Chip with Beef Tartare, Justin Woodward
  • Buttermilk Custard with Truffle served in an Egg, Homaru Cantu
    How can you not be wowed how beautiful this was!
    Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Buttermilk Custard with Truffle served in an Egg, Homaru Cantu Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Buttermilk Custard with Truffle served in an Egg, Homaru Cantu Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Buttermilk Custard with Truffle served in an Egg, Homaru Cantu Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Buttermilk Custard with Truffle served in an Egg, Homaru Cantu
  • Sea Urchin and Licorice by Dominique Crenn
    Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Sea Urchin and Licorice by Dominique Crenn Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Sea Urchin and Licorice by Dominique Crenn

Second

The pairing for this course included Willamette Valley Vineyards Elton Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 and Adelsheim Vineyards Caitlin’s Reserve 2012 Chardonnay. I don’t usually think to pick up and drink a Chardonnay, and these two wines reminded me I am being stupid to not drink it more often. I often turn to red wines, but I am so missing out by doing so. Lesson learned- I am going to definitely be seeking out these two Chardonnays in the future.

“BBQ” Parsnip, by Dominique Crenn

This was probably the only dish I didn’t really enjoy, though all of us having to pick it up (because there is no way to cut it) and getting white powder on your fingers and face all together and having to gnaw at this because it was extremely tough and chewy is a definite ice breaker from the more haute presentations in the appetizer course. I appreciate the risk taking.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards 'BBQ' Parsnip by Dominique Crenn Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards 'BBQ' Parsnip by Dominique Crenn

Oyster, Coconut and Wheatgrass, by Dominique Crenn
Why is it blue? She only mysteriously said “why is the sky blue”. The left is from my phone and right from my camera, but let me tell you, it was bluuuee… This is one of the things I love about modernist cuisine. I love hole in the wall joints and street food and comfort food and bar food also, but the heightened art of making art with your food and making all the other senses part of the experience is something I really think is fun. Of course it’s not your everyday food, but I enjoy the challenge of exploring food in a new way like this once in a while. Also, humor in food is fun- and this dish is definitely representing that creative whimsy!
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Oyster Coconut and Wheatgrass by Dominique Crenn Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Oyster Coconut and Wheatgrass by Dominique Crenn

Third

The pairings were Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate 2012 Pinot Noir and the Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve 2011 Pinot Noir.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Chef Matthew Accarrino

Pork Shank Terrine, Ear, Persimmon and Wild Rice, by Matthew Accarrino

I’m so glad that all of us food lovers were not embarassed at this pricey dinner to all be picking up and gnawing at that bone all together at our table. There was some real bonding in that moment.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pork Shank Terrine, Ear, Persimmon and Wild Rice by Matthew Accarrino Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Pork Shank Terrine, Ear, Persimmon and Wild Rice by Matthew Accarrino

Corn Pudding, Beef Tongue and Cheek, Burgandy Truffle, by Matthew Accarrino
Sooooo loved this dish. I loved the color it presented, as opposed to what would soon be a parade of earth toned plates.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Corn Pudding, Beef Tongue and Cheek, Burgandy Truffle, by Matthew Accarrino Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Corn Pudding, Beef Tongue and Cheek, Burgandy Truffle, by Matthew Accarrino


I have visited both Moto and Otom in Chicago before, so I had witnessed before some of the exquisite plating from Homaro Cantu’s kitchen. As you recall, he had brought us that custard and truffle in an egg, and here he continues his earthy nature look with these two courses. Although you can see Homaro Cantu was in the house, he sent charming Richie Farina to talk to us. Richie is the Executive Chef at Moto and briefly appeared on a few episodes of Top Chef

Fallen Log, by Homaro Cantu

Even though I know it’s not really a log, doesn’t it perfectly look like what you would expect to see while hiking? I can totally see a character from Beatrix Potter scurrying by.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Fallen Log by Homaro Cantu Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Fallen Log by Homaro Cantu

Sus Scrofa, by Homaro Cantu

From what I remember, this has wild boar, dried mole, puffed rice and blueberry skin. It was really fun texturally to eat!
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Sus Scrofa with wild boar, dried mole, puffed rice and blueberry skin, by Homaro Cantu Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Sus Scrofa with wild boar, dried mole, puffed rice and blueberry skin, by Homaro Cantu

Fourth

The pairings here were Willamette Valley Vineyards Bernau Block 2012 Pinot Noir and Adelsheim Vintage 32 2009 Pinot Noir.

Rye Bread and butter, by Matthew Tinder
I was caught by someone’s Instagram inside as this was being prepared on a little WC run…

How is this the only photo of me that evening, I always forget to take photos of myself.

But, I did not forget the bread and butter! I told myself I wasn’t going to waste precious stomach room with much bread and usually all I need are some generous smears of butter, but damn if I didn’t eat that whole slice and would have had a second.
"Feast Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards Rye Bread and butter, by Matthew Tinder

Duck Boudin Blanc with Matsutakes, by Justin Woodward
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Chef Justin Woodward Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Chef Justin Woodward

Doesn’t the plating of this dish remind you a little of those dancing mushrooms in Fantasia by Disney?
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Duck Boudin Blanc with Matsutakes, by Justin Woodward Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Duck Boudin Blanc with Matsutakes, by Justin Woodward

Fifth

The sweet wines here included Willamette Valley Vineyards Sweet Hannah 20, which pretty much everyone at my table really enjoyed, and the Adelsheim Deglace 2012 which was much sweeter and might have paired better with perhaps a different dessert.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards chef Matthew Tinder

Haogen Melon, Padron Pepper, Vanilla Bean, by Matthew Tinder

This was my favorite of the two desserts, just gorgeous.
Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Haogen Melon, Padron Pepper, Vanilla Bean, by Matthew Tinder Feast 2014 Dinner, State of the Art with Adelsheim Vineyards and Willamette Valley Vineyards, Haogen Melon, Padron Pepper, Vanilla Bean, by Matthew Tinder

Huckleberry Panettone, by Matthew Tinder

In retrospect I should have had this dish with some coffee. But I knew I was heading to an after party next so…

So that was dinner!

Overall, what were my impressions of the dinner? I still think the best value for your money and experience are the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting (which yields 5 hours of buffet snacking) or the laid back fun of the Sandwich Invitational. I admit I have not yet attended the Night Market, which is always one of the first to sell out (I was torn but this dinner was the same evening as the Night Market, and I ultimately picked the dinner experience). So I can’t speak to that, though it always seems people have a really good time at that event. And as you’ll soon see, I adored the Brunch Village, which hopefully Feast will bring back as one of the Main Events next year.

Between High Comfort or one of the Dinner Series, I would recommend the Dinner Series. Most of the dinners and the High Comfort event are priced similarly. However, unlike at High Comfort where you are dressed up and standing in line for sampling of high class food, at the dinner you can enjoy a seated dinner that is served to you.

As you can see from the number of plates I had, I probably had just as many samples of different foods as someone attending High Comfort with their 19 chefs since I had 15 tastes at my dinner. The big trade-off is the variety of chefs you can get to experience, but 5 is already I think a diverse number of perspectives. The other thing you know you will get with a dinner is a more crafted experience in terms of the progression of your meal, versus various random samples you might get at a sampling event.

It was a long dinner though- from 7pm-11pm! Of my recap, what dish peaked your interest? What do you think of modernist cuisine?

For another perspective, Michael Russell of the Oregonian highlighted his pick of the Eight Beguiling dishes here.

This is my third recap of my adventures at Feast: my first was for the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting on Friday and Saturday and my second was for the Sandwich Invitational. My next recap will be for the Tillamook Brunch Village!

Disclosure: I was granted a Blogger Pass for Feast Portland 2014 for blog post and social media coverage but I am not otherwise being compensated. For this event, I purchased my own ticket to the event! I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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EaT: An Oyster Bar… Baked Oysters!

I have only once visited at EaT: An Oyster Bar on N Williams (once they open their location in the Pearl I’ll have easier access for more visits)- I wanted a little snack before a HipCooks class. I don’t have oysters often, but mainly that is because although I really enjoy them, they usually are not a good value for your money in terms of amount of food you get. Ironically, I think historically because oysters used to be more plentiful and are a relatively less effort type of animal to get since they are basically just gathered from sea beds, oysters used to be much more affordable and normally eaten by anyone living by the sea. But demand and disease has changed that now. Every time I have them I feel like I’m treating myself, be they raw, fried, or baked.

I know there are people who say they don’t like oysters, but I would definitely recommend you try them more than once because I basically think you are wrong. Perhaps you want to start with the cooked kind first instead of raw, and I like both- just like fish. I often compare it to a bit like sashimi and sushi- at first you may think you are repulsed by the idea of eating raw oysters for instance (obviously not the case with fried or baked), but that really isn’t much different then eating raw fish. They have a mild taste of the ocean (but not too much- not if they are fresh). Per the Seafood Watch list which rates various seafood in terms of ocean-friendly food, oysters (depending on type) are rated pretty high. Even if you don’t like sashimi, you may still like sushi be it perhaps certain kinds of rolls or ingredients or sauces… and also, even if you don’t like raw oysters, you will probably like them cooked.

On the day I visited EaT I tried them baked, though I definitely want to go back and try them raw. They had what seemed like would be an interesting flight of oyster shooters with the variance between them being chili-infused vodka vs chili-infused rum vs chili-infused bourbon. They also had one with beer.

Baked is a nice in-between texture step from the more wet silky but firm with juice texture of having them raw and the chewiness of the fried (not counting the crispness of the batter of course) in terms of texture. With baked, I still can enjoy slurping them from the shell and getting a touch of brine, but I keep them in my mouth for more chews to enjoy the flavor then when they are raw and slippery. Baked oysters tend to also be more rich and savory, while raw ones are zesty in the overall flavors in your mouthful- similar to how a pasta can be highlighted either by a cream sauce or a tomato based or light olive oil based sauce. They are all great, depending on what you want to taste at that moment.

EaT: An Oyster Bar, Baked Oysters

The three preparations of baked oysters I got were two regular and one seasonal special. In the front is the special, which is 2 oysters with arugula and manchego cheese. I don’t think arugula was a good choice as it was a bit too bitter, maybe a more peppery mixed green would have been better. This was my least favorite of the three.

Behind to the right is the Rockefeller with spinach and watercress puree but with a touch of Absinthe before topping with Parmesan.

My favorite are the oysters to the left, the Bienville with mushroom bechamal with sharp cheddar. It had the freshness of the oyster with a bit of salty brine balanced with the richness of the mushroom but a bit of edge from the cheddar- really wonderful, one of the best baked oyster flavor profiles I can remember.

I also had a Hurricane, which really knocked me for a bit- equals a good Hurricane. Theirs is rum mixed with their own house fruit juices topped with pomegranate vodka. It was a perfect way to kill a little time – milking my Hurricane, trying not to eat my oysters too fast as I watched the evening commute on N Williams, a long busy parade of so many cars and bicycles. They have other Cajun offerings, but if you come here, you must have oysters anyway. I mean, it’s right in their name, how could you not?

I’m glad I didn’t give up when the first time I had oysters I just chewed and chewed and spit it out in the end- don’t let one bad experience taint you because oysters are awesome. Just to show another kind of cooked oysters, here is a photo of my favorite food memory of fried oyster, from Firefly at Dupont Circle in Washington DC- they came with a chipotle tarter sauce but I couldn’t dip them because these were perfect on their own- better or equal to fried chicken, definitely better then calamari.

Fried Oysters, Dupont Circle, Washington DC, Firefly Restaurant

I still remember this years later and how happy I was, even though my teeth were aching from wearing braces at the time and having them tightened that I was forced to take little itty bitty bird bites even of my crisp fries. But this meal made that a wonderful lunch and memory. I haven’t yet found a better fried oyster yet, but I’ll keep looking.

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