Recommendations at Bar Casa Vale

Have you heard of Bar Casa Vale? They opened last year, and Willamette Weekly declared them Bar of the Year 2017. I’ve mostly been for drinks, particularly their goblets of gin and tonics although they have lots of other amazing cocktails, but recently I also got a chance to try more of their menu and wanted to share my recommendations with you.

Bar Casa Vale Bar Casa Vale Clam Conserva with Lardo Toast, Fried olives with sobrasada and piri piri mayo

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Signature

Barlow PDX October Cocktails

I’ve been a big fan of Barlow Artisanal Cocktail bar since they opened 2 years ago – the vintage atmosphere is glamorous, and the cocktails there are a combination of tasty and also a show! I wanted to highlight their October cocktails that I tried last week which are a sly nod to Halloween.
Barlow PDX special Halloween inspired cocktails during my visit October 2016

I always like sitting at the bar as I have always found the best service at the bar and am willing to sacrifice the more cushy seats by the windows that are also perfect for huddling among friends or coworkers for chatting over your drinks or with your date before a show or day downtown. Barlow is literally across the street from Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and a block away from Regal Cinemas Fox Tower. They are also a great place for drinks downtown being only a few blocks from many hotels or after a day visiting museums like the the Oregon Historical Society or Portland Art Museum.

The exterior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal BarThe interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar The interior of Barlow Artisanal Bar 

Besides, by sitting at the bar you can watch them make all the cocktails using liquid nitrogen to cool the glass… a show all night long of mixology magic.

Here’s a look at what I sampled that had a nice nod to the spooky time coming up. Above, you saw the Fraise Corpse Reviver cocktail with Strawberry Sour laced with absinthe with choice of Ransom Dry Gin (fashioned after Holland styles but produced locally here in Oregon) or Bols Genever Gin (Holland). I loved that all the drinks offered an option of two spirits – so even if you like a particular drink, you could try it two different ways if you like. This particular cocktail is dangerously delicious and easy to drink –  I didn’t find it sour as so much half strawberry and half anise flavor with herbaceous backbone.

My favorite was the White Zombie cocktail with coconut cream and tropical tonic and overproof rum of either Cruzan Estate Light Rum or El Dorado 3 year. This is obviously fruity and creamy and what I really liked was the mouthfeel texture which is something you don’t always get in cocktails. This drink would be perfectly in place on the beach or pool side too.
Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of White Zombie cocktail with coconut cream and tropical tonic and overproof rum of either Cruzan Estate Light Rum or El Dorado 3 year.

Ghost World cocktail with apple and mint and Japanese whiskey choice of either Suntory Toki or Nikka Coffey Grain was one that is surprisingly light despite the whisky base because Japanese whiskeys are more mild and smooth than American and Europe Whiskey and has threads of slight fruit and floral notes that are subtle. Japanese whiskys are gaining popularity and trending –  learn more at this great Thrillist article on Japanese whisky brands.
Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Ghost World with apple and mint and Japanese whiskey choice of either Suntory Toki or Nikka Coffey Grain Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Ghost World with apple and mint and Japanese whiskey choice of either Suntory Toki or Nikka Coffey Grain Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Ghost World with apple and mint and Japanese whiskey choice of either Suntory Toki or Nikka Coffey Grain

Tempest Tea, an uprooted colonial punch with brandy, peach, and islay smoke with either George Dickel Rye or James E Pepper rye – check out the layers in the glass. The smokiness here is a mellow compliment to the punch that I could also imagine in a glass handled punch glass.
Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Tempest Tea, an uprooted colonial punch with brandy, peach, and islay smoke with either George Dickel Rye or James E Pepper rye Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Tempest Tea, an uprooted colonial punch with brandy, peach, and islay smoke with either George Dickel Rye or James E Pepper rye Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Tempest Tea, an uprooted colonial punch with brandy, peach, and islay smoke with either George Dickel Rye or James E Pepper rye

Ernest, Old Pal cocktail is a Beachcomber’s Negroni riff with secretly blended spiced grapefruit (I think it includes cinnamon…?) with Hamilton Overproof Dark Rum or Lemon Hart 151 is not a Halloween inspiration, but instead a nod to Donn Beach (Ernest) the founding father of Tiki.
Barlow PDX cocktail for October 2016 of Ernest, Old Pal a Beachcomber's Negroni with secretly blended spiced grapefruit with Hamilton Overproof Dark Rum or Lemon Hart 151 is a nod to Donn Beach (Ernest) the founding father of Tiki.

I ran out of steam/ahem sobriety so can’t speak for the Candy Warhol cocktail with Brazilian fruit and rhubarb and choice of Gordon’s or Ketel One vodka but here’s a shot from their Instagram

Since I last wrote about them two years ago, they have scaled back their food menu which is also now simplified to primarily snacks, with the main hearty bites (which you might need if you have more than a couple drinks) of grilled cheese, Croque Madame, or a double burger, or go with rich cheesiness with their Poutine or with their Mac and Cheese. The food is intended as something to nibble on or keep you sober rather than be a dinner meal. And their frites go with everything! They have an early and late happy hour – Mon and Sat 3 – 6 PM and 10 PM – midnight.

Which of these cocktails sounds up your alley? Have you been to or heard of Barlow before?

Signature

Han Oak Brunch

There’s a dispiriting amount of authentic Asian food in Portland – many Asian restaurants and food carts serve an Americanized version based on what they think will sell based on mass expectations.  Whenever I hear of a possible sprout of authentic Asian food experience growing, I am usually quick to try to water it and hope it can flourish – and I am hoping with all my might for Han Oak, which recently poked it’s head out into Portland’s restaurant garden this past 6 or 7 months. Han Oak deserves and needs your support. I think it’s the best brunch in Portland right now – and I think it’s uniqueness would be hard to find in most other cities.
Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything

Han Oak is reservation only, where they only open a couple days a week for dinner service and then on Sunday offer brunch service. When you make your reservation online you pre-pay, although you can add on additional beverages or some a la carte dishes at dinner if you’d like. Dinner has been a Bo Ssäm format, but let me put a little focus on their Sunday brunch for this post. They are located at 511 NE 24th, between Pie Spot and 24th and Meatballs. Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space with a welcoming backyard escape and a bright open room with wooden 8-top tables with bench seating and some counter seating at their open kitchen bartop.
Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space Keep stepping through the doorway into this backyard, and the entrance to the Han Oak restaurant space is then to your right Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space faces a quaint backyard patio area

Here’s the gloriousness of a Han Oak brunch: you don’t need to make any choices. You are going to get a little bit of everything so it’s all balanced and you get to try many things without feeling overwhelmed which generally is about 2-3 tapas sized portions (but just for you! No need to share) along with multiple banchan, or small accompanying side dishes, plus rice.
Here's the gloriousness of a Han Oak brunch: you don't need to make any choices. You are going to get a little bit of everything so it's all balanced and you get to try many things without feeling overwhelmed which generally is about 2-3 tapas sized portions (but just for you! No need to share) along with multiple banchan, or small accompanying side dishes, plus rice

For this brunch for instance, my so cool little brunch tray boasted

  • Kimchi, soy pickled vegetables, sauteed and wilted greens
    Han Oak brunch, banchan like kimchee and Sauteed and wilted greens Han Oak brunch, banchan
  • Blood cake with soft boiled egg
    Han Oak brunch, Blood cake with soft boiled egg
  • Seared albacore tuna with daikon, fingerling potatoes, romanesco cauliflower
    Han Oak brunch, Seared albacore tuna with daikon, fingerling potatoes, romanesco cauliflower
  • Savory waffle with braised pork belly, kimchi, and bean sprouts with a little dipping sauce
    Han Oak brunch, Savory waffle with braised pork belly, kimchi, and bean sprouts
  • A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori
    Han Oak, A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori Han Oak, A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori
  • Korean multigrain rice, also called japgokbap
    Korean multigrain rice, also called japgokbap

The above also come with your choice of iced barley tea (the traditional Korean “water” that you should just get), or Water Avenue coffee, or cold brew. You have additionally drink options of cocktails, beer and cider, wine, soju, as well as non alcoholic beverages. For you, my readers, I sacrificed my liver to try all four of the cocktails, curated by the gifted Michelle Ruocco that included

  • The Asian Flush with gin, plum and tamari syrup, lemon, and peychauds bitter is a fun way to start brunch like a prettier cousin of usual brunch mimosa
    The Asian Flush with gin, plum and tamari syrup, lemon, and peychauds bitter is a fun way to start brunch like a prettier cousin of usual brunch mimosa at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The Sick Day with brandy, toasted rice dandelion tea, lemon, and honey brings out a slight roasty nuttiness which I really enjoyed (and go ahead and eat up the toasted rice at the end of the drink) with the waffle and the rice
    The Sick Day with brandy, toasted rice dandelion tea, lemon, and honey brings out a slight roasty nuttiness which I really enjoyed (and go ahead and eat up the toasted rice at the end of the drink) at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The Jeju with sake, nori liqueur, and pepper you can have either cold or warm – I had the warm version and it had a salty seaweedy funkiness which I loved with the dumpling soup and the tuna. This was my favorite, though it’s non-traditional flavor may not be for everyone
    The Jeju with sake, nori liqueur, and pepper you can have either cold or warm - I had the warm version and it had a salty seaweedy funkiness at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The K-Pop was how I finished my cocktail drinking at brunch, a cocktail light and refreshing so would be great as a starter as well, with soju, gin, apple, ginger, and cucumber. I wish there was a bit more ginger in this, but I really like the spiciness of ginger too so maybe that’s just me.
    The K-Pop with soju, gin, apple, ginger, and cucumber at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco

At $32 for the Korean brunch tray + bowls (with the four cocktails or other alcoholic drinks being extra) that is prix fixe and includes service, this is an insane bargain that is incredibly unique. The atmosphere feels traditional with recognizable Korean stalwarts like the kimchee and the iced barley tea and the rice or the dumpling soup, but also includes modern Northwest playful takes like the blood cake and savory waffle.

The seating feels modern and airy, but almost like dining with family and friends with the intimate atmosphere of a 5 large tables with benches, and a backyard where multiple guests’ children kicked around a beachball together. This is not an experience that you will usually find anywhere, even in larger cities with established larger Korean populations. We’re so fortunate to have this opportunity in Portland.

So what are you waiting for? Make your reservation for brunch now! Brunch is only offered on Sundays, 11 AM – 2 PM. They are also open for dinner (reservation only – make them on the website) on Friday and Saturdays 6 – 9 PM only.
Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything

And aren’t those cocktails Michele created incredibly lovely? Which one would you order?

Han Oak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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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