Sake Fest 2017 is coming!

The 7th annual Sake Fest 2017 is coming Wednesday June 21st – and this year boasts a larger venue at the Oregon Convention Center. Held from 5:30 – 9 PM for the early admission ticket holders ($75) or 6:30 – 9 PM for regular admission ($55), the event boasts the ability to sample from among over 140 varieties of saké, plum wine and beer as well as bites to try your hand at pairing food and sake.
Sake tasting glasses to use during Sake Fest 2016 and to take home after Sake and pairings to make yourself from various food vendors and sake distributor booths at Sake Fest 2016

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Portland Beer Week 2017 Highlights

Portland Beer Week this year starts on Thursday, and runs from June 8 – June 18th 2017, 11 days of beer events happening all over Portland. This is not an exhaustive list of events – visit the Portland Beer Week website for all the events – but I wanted to highlight what I think are some unique events and my own personal take on Portland Beer Week 2017 Highlights.

This is just one of many events celebrating libations in June: I shared highlights for Negroni Week June 5-11 yesterday, and then for tomorrow I have a post about  Sake PDX Festival, which is coming up on June 21. And there’s Oregon Cider Week (June 15-25), PDX Margarita Festival (June 17) and then the beer festivals of Portland International Beer Festival (June 23-25) and Kriekfest (June 24)! All these events are just running into each other back to back this month!

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Negroni Week in PDX

Once summer hits Portland, it’s seemingly non stop activities and festivals. Here’s a round up of events happening in June that I personally wish to highlight – it is not the full list of goings on, that’s for sure! You will read highlights for Negroni Week June 5-11 today, and then for tomorrow I have a post with highlights of Portland Beer Week happening June 8-18. Then you’ll see on Wednesday I’ll share photos from last year’s Sake PDX Festival, which is coming up on June 21. And there’s Oregon Cider Week (June 15-25), PDX Margarita Festival (June 17) , and then the beer festivals of Portland International Beer Festival (June 23-25) and Kriekfest (June 24)! All these events are just running into each other back to back this month! But for now, let’s look at Negroni Week in PDX. [Read more…]

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Oregon Berry Festival 2015 and BlackBerry Grilled Cheese

Next weekend on Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18 is the 5th annual Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival 2015. This FREE festival at the Ecotrust building  in the Pearl District showcases everything berry, from

  • Fresh berry vendors booths with their farm fresh berries and berry products
  • A Healthy Berry Pavilion education booth with information to introduce you to berries you may not be aware of or ways to incorporate berries into your diet and explain all the various health benefits of berries. And there’s also a culinary historian to give a brief history of Oregon berries.
  • Berry themed food booths
  • Cooking demonstrations featuring berries
  • An Oregon’s Best Blackberry pie contest and demo by Pacific Pie Company
  • Berry themed crafts at a children’s booth, appearances by blueberry mascot Ima Blueberry with coloring sheets and face painting, as well as family friendly live musical entertainment
  • There’s a chance to win a bike by filling out a Oregon Berry Festival passport by following clues and gathering stamps from vendors
  • On Saturday evening a separate Gala Berry Dinner at OMSI will be held to show how you can use berries for every course, from cocktail hour to savory to sweet dishes (tickets are $105 all inclusive, available at Brown Paper Tickets)

Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival Lifewise Oregon Berry Festival

I’ll be attending the Berry Festival on Saturday at part of a Berry Festival media tour with the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission (ORBC), including visiting a working berry farm. I’ll be reporting back with what I learn and a NEW recipe. For now though…

What: Oregon Berry Festival 2015
When:

  • Friday, July 17, from 12:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Saturday, July 18, from 11:00am to 5:00pm

Where: Ecotrust Event Space at NW 10th and Johnson, Portland, Oregon
Who: Everybody… and it’s FREE!

Recipe for a Berry Grilled Cheese

Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto
Usually my berry consumption is raw: right out of the pint, in beverage form via smoothie or juice (or fruit beer!!), sometimes it’s folded into a salad or ice cream or sorbet. I rarely have it cooked, and when I have cooked berries it’s generally because it is part if a dish while I’m dining out. Also, I am a cook that prefers the forgiveness of savory foods, not a baker. What can I say, I guess I’m not a sweet girl who follows precise technical instructions.

In celebration of the upcoming festival though, I decided to seek out a recipe featuring berry and that cooks with it but isn’t a traditional dessert – and when I saw this Fontina + Blackberry Basil Smash Sandwich from the blog how sweet it is (with her upcoming cookbook Seriously Delish coming out soon), I was sold.
Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto

I’m not going to provide the whole recipe here: you should definitely click on over to check out her gorgeous photos and the recipe instructions yourself. But, at a high level you only need a handful of ingredients!
For your Blackbery Basil grilled cheese, you will use Oregon Blackberries, about 4 ounces (about 14 berries) per sandwich Blackberry and Basil, a great combination of flavors

The slight changes I made is that I probably used a lot more basil than she did for my sandwich (I used about 4 ounces of blackberries, which was about 14 berries FYI and almost 7 basil leaves for each individual sandwich) because I love basil. Do not wear a white shirt when making this blackberry basil smash part/get your apron out.
Make sure you carefully smash your blackberries as it does squirt a bit. Don't wear a white shirt For the Blackberry Grilled Cheese, I used about 14 blackberries and chopped 7-8 leaves of basil for each sandwich

I suggest brushing on the olive oil or melted butter on both sides of the bread before adding your spoonfuls of blackberry basil smash as that makes more logistical sense than her order. I also had a little leftover pesto from the Cashew Cheese on Cucumber recipe I shared earlier this week, so smeared that on also. I was generous with my cheese, probably about 3 ounces per sandwich, which I grated to melt better and spread over every centimeter of my bread.
Franz Mt Hood Multigrain and Flax bread makes for great sandwiches, especially grilled cheese! I used a little pesto inside my Blackberry Basil Grilled cheese Grilling my Blackberry Basil Smash grilled cheese sandwich, adding the grated fontina to the bread and pesto

Since you grill this low and slow to get melty and brown, it shouldn’t heat up your kitchen too much. Maybe you are calling me a cheat because it isn’t so much cooking the berries as slightly warming them up, and the only prep is smashing them essentially into jam… but I don’t care.

Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto

This recipe is ALL win.

Warning: this sandwich needs 2 napkins or a paper towel. I would not fault you for serving this open faced because it really is pretty too!
Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto Blackberry Grilled Cheese with blackberries, basil, fontina, a touch of pesto

For additional variant, you could swap out the fontina for a brie if you can’t find fontina, and feel free to add grilled chicken as a protein to your sandwich.

If you are looking for more berry good recipes, feel free to check out the website Oregon Berries, which not only provides information on various Oregon berries, but has a portion dedicated to berry recipes from food bloggers at Bloggers ♥ Oregon Berries as well as a Recipe Search based on the berry that may intrigue you!

I also have a few more past berry recipes I’ve shared: you can see that strawberries are my favorite berry, and that I could put together a whole dinner with just berries for every course if I wanted to! I wonder what the James Beard Award winning Chef Jim Dodge of the Gala Berry Dinner 2015 for the Oregon Berry Festival will do?!

Have you heard of the Oregon Berry Festival? What is your favorite berry, and how do you like to enjoy it, do you have a favorite recipe with berries and what is it?

Disclosure: I will be attending a media tour of the Oregon Berry Festival, but 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. And, this recipe is really delicious, as are all the strawberry recipes I previously shared on the blog. Support Oregon Berries to support local producers and it’s healthy and yummy!

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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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