Imperial Session New England Beer Pairing Dinner

This quarterly dinner series by Imperial Session duo Advanced Cicerone Ryan Spencer (Bailey’s Taproom) with dishes from Chef Spencer Watari (Clyde Common) pairs beers and food. Unlike many beer and food dinners, this pop up concept does not beholden itself to any particular breweries or restaurant so they can select any beer or dish to make an interesting pairing without worrying about representing or promoting any business. The last dinner focus was on beers from New England.
Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner, Ryan pouring beerse for one of the courses Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner

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Portland Pop Up Restaurant List 2017

Updated June 16, 2017

It’s difficult to track pop-ups: they often change up when they are open and where they might appear. Depending on the season, they may close down for a while – and if you don’t pay attention to their social media you could miss when they come back from their sabbatical, while others move on to other ventures. All have limited capacity so if you don’t jump on reservations quickly you are out of luck until the next event.

That means following lots of things on social media or being on several mailing list to become informed immediately when an announcement for a meal event is made with the when, where, etc.  Despite the work, pop up restaurants are often your chance to try great cuisine and meet amazing chefs, as the lineage of pop ups alumni that have now settled into homes like Holdfast Dining, Nodoguro, Langbaan, Coquine, and Nomad PDX are proof.

Eater PDX has published my list of Best Portland Pop Ups and Supper Clubs and you can see it here: the only ones listed below are ones not on that published list or I have my own link so you can read my experience with it on a blog post as I removed those for the Eater article. [Read more…]

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Twisted Filipino December Dinner

It finally happened – Carlo Lamagna (of Clyde Common) held an all Filipino dinner under the pop up Twisted Filipino December 1 and 2 located this time at Holdfast at Fausse Piste. Hopefully this is just the first installment that I experienced, and we’ll see it popping up again and again in 2017 (I overheard he’s hoping to do the next one in January…) Make sure you follow him on his social media (Instagram, Twitter) to be in the know of his next pop up – this one was sold under Brown Paper Tickets for $80. Here’s a look at the 9 courses of this Twisted Filipino December Dinner.

Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna, popping up here at Holdfast at Fausse Piste Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna, popping up here at Holdfast at Fausse Piste

At the beginning of the evening, Chef Carlo explained how in many ways he was repeating a circle of life – his first Twisted Filipino pop up was also a 2 day dinner event that sold out, was dedicated in honor of his father, but in 2013 in Chicago, when his first son was just a couple months old. This evening, with his second boy also just a few months present, he once again was back solo putting himself on a plate, giving us 9 courses of elevated Filipino food that were nods to his heritage, his history and experience as a chef, and where he wants to go forward.

Also included in this dinner was a welcome sparkling cava drink (Suriol Brut Nature 2012 Cava) and 5 additional glasses from the Spanish region ranging from Basque Cider (Sidra Trabanco Cosecha Propia 2014 Asturius) to electric rosé (Fronton d’Oro Rosado 2014 Canary Island) to bright LA Rodriguez Vina de Martin Os Pasas 2013 white wine (this was my favorite pairing of the evening with the Alimasag and Arroz Caldo), an all purpose red that would go with any meat that was fantastic with the Dinuguan (Gujmaro Tinto Ribeira Sacra 2015), and a sherry (Bodegas Grant La Garrocha Amontillado Sherry Jerez) to pair with the dessert courses. All the drinks were paired by Jeff Vejr of Holdfast.

Course 1: Lumpia Sariwa

This Lumpia Sariwa is Carlo’s fresh take on the usually deep fried lil meat rolls (which you can get at Clyde Comomon) with hearts of palm, watermelon radish, soy bean sprouts, mustard greens, spiced peanuts (with cayenne and sugar) and a slightly open crispy crepe vehicle brought together with a sweet garlicky sauce. I found this a bit too salty for my taste and still prefer the deep fried version which I can eat oh, like 3-6 of.
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna, popping up here at Holdfast at Fausse Piste Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna, popping up here at Holdfast at Fausse Piste

Course 2: Pinais na Kabute

Pinais na Kabute, a nod to the traditional cooking in a banana leaf with this pocket filled with various mushrooms, bone marrow, and mushroom tar
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 2: Pinais na Kabute, a nod to the traditional cooking in a banana leaf with this pocket filled with various mushrooms, bone marrow, and mushroom tar

Course 3: Tapsilog

Tapsilog, a variation of a traditional Filipino breakfast usually with air dried beef, garlic rice and fried egg, updated here as a dish of marinated and then shredded and dried beef tapa, garlic rice crisp, soft boiled egg, and a pickled corn chow chow as a nod to Carlo’s time with Paul Virant
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 3: Tapsilog, a variation of a traditional Filipino breakfast usually with air dried beef, garlic rice and fried egg, updated here as a dish of marinated and then shredded and dried beef tapa, garlic rice crisp, soft boiled egg, and a pickled corn chow chow as a nod to Carlo's time with Paul Virant Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 3: Tapsilog, a variation of a traditional Filipino breakfast usually with air dried beef, garlic rice and fried egg, updated here as a dish of marinated and then shredded and dried beef tapa, garlic rice crisp, soft boiled egg, and a pickled corn chow chow as a nod to Carlo's time with Paul Virant

Course 4: Ginataang Suso

Wild burgundy snails from his The Snail Guy friend Doug, young coconut, saluyot, serrano and coconut broth with ginger and garlic
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 4: Ginataang Suso, with wild burgundy snails from his The Snail Guy friend Doug, young coconut, saluyot, serrano and coconut broth with ginger and garlic

Course 5: Alimasag

Alimasag, aka how my mom cooks noted Carlo, as he told us a tale of when he was young how they would sear crab with garlic and the roe would get all mixed in and he would pick out every piece even though it meant his food getting cold to make sure he got in on all the deliciousness. Here he makes it easy for us without having to pick out the roe in this dish of dungeness crab, crab roe (with ginger, garlic, a bit of fish sauce, and touch of African hot pepper), housemade alkaline noodles, fingerlime, and chicharron. One of my favorite dishes of the night.
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 5: Alimasag, aka how my mom cooks noted Carlo, a dish of dungeness crab, crab roe, housemade alkaline noodles, fingerlime, and chicharron

Course 6: Arroz Caldo

For me this was one of the most homey dishes and recognizable as more traditional. It also didn’t hurt as Carlo told us his association with this dish of his dad making this all day and having this dish while opening presents at 3 AM. Arroz Caldo with quail, rice porridge, and scallions. Although his twist was to use quail rather than chicken, he got that bird flavor well infused into the porridge.
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 6: Arroz Caldo with quail, rice porridge, and scallions

Course 7: Dinuguan

A dish also called “Chocolate Meat” of braised pork collar glazed with dinuguan sauce, pork blood adobo, crispy pig ear, and steamed rice cakes of puto (which we laughed as admittedly this last word is a bad word in Spanish but hey a light delicious adorable lil cake in this case) to wipe up every lil bit of sauce. Another of my absolute favorites of the night. This is probably the most attractive that dinuguan can hope to ever be, impressive Carlo.
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 7: Dinuguan of braised pork collar glazed with dinuguan sauce, pork blood adobo, crispy pig ear, and steamed rice cakes of puto Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 7: Dinuguan of braised pork collar glazed with dinuguan sauce, pork blood adobo, crispy pig ear, and steamed rice cakes of puto Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 7: Dinuguan of braised pork collar glazed with dinuguan sauce, pork blood adobo, crispy pig ear, and steamed rice cakes of puto Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 7: Dinuguan of braised pork collar glazed with dinuguan sauce, pork blood adobo, crispy pig ear, and steamed rice cakes of puto

Course 8: Ensaladang Prutas

Now into the dessert courses. Here’s a play on a traditional Chinese almond dessert here with fizzy lychee, grape, mineola, Thai basil, and almond jello
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 8: Ensaladang Prutas, a play on a traditional Chinese almond dessert here with fizzy lychee, grape, mineola, Thai basil, and almond jello Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 8: Ensaladang Prutas, a play on a traditional Chinese almond dessert here with fizzy lychee, grape, mineola, Thai basil, and almond jello

Course 9: Mamon

Best dessert! Fluffy light chiffon cake with fresh parmesan and marshmallow fluff combining together for his parmesan fluff, pandan ice cream, and white chocolate florentine.
Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 9: Fluffy light chiffon cake with fresh parmesan and marshmellow fluff combining together for his parmesan fluff, pandan ice cream,a nd white chocolate florentine. Twisted Filipino December Dinner by Carlo Lamagna Course 9: Fluffy light chiffon cake with fresh parmesan and marshmellow fluff combining together for his parmesan fluff, pandan ice cream,a nd white chocolate florentine.

What do you think of these Filipino dishes? Have you had experience with Filipino cuisine before, do you recognize anything from here? What dish most interests you?

 

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Bagel Farm in Portland

There’s a new bagel option in Portland – at least sometimes. It’s a Bagel Brunch pop-up by Sean Coyne called Bagel Farm that offers bagels to dine in at a pop up locations on Saturdays (Elder Hall) or Sundays (right now Renata). The bagels are organic, use Pacific Northwest flour, and have a great crispness to the outside but doughy inside that is a perfect combo.
Bagel Farm pop up in Portland menu when popping up at Renata Bagel Farm pop up in Portland menu when popping up at Renata Salmon Deluxe bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, salmon, horseradish cream cheese, salted cucumbers, capers, onions. Vegan Lox bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, walnut spread, carrot lox, capers, red onions, salted cucumbers. This was my favorite especially on the sesame bagel

I happened to stop by the Renata pop-up at the beginning of the month when they first appeared at the wonderful space that is Renata. The next pop up is this weekend and next weekend, August 20, 21, 27, and 28.

The bagel choices include

  • Plain
  • Poppy
  • Sesame (this is my personal favorite)
  • Salt
    Salt Bagel from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland
  • Everything (my #2)
    Everything Bagel from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland

Meanwhile, the schmears are particularly fun, including besides having your bagel plain, or with butter, the spreads of

  • Plain cream cheese
  • Leek, scallion chive cream cheese
  • Horseradish cream cheese
  • Country ham cream cheese (here on an Everything bagel)
    Everything bagel with country ham cream cheese from Bagel Farm, a pop up offering bagel brunch in Portland
  • Hummus (vegan)
  • Walnut spread (vegan)

You can also additionally add cucumbers, capers, onions, or a tomato to enhance your sandwich. Or, they also offer open faced bagel sandwiches, which they called “Bagels Composed”, that include

  • Salmon Deluxe: choice of bagel, horseradish cream cheese, salted cucumbers, capers, onions. I was a big fan of the horseradish cream cheese.
    Salmon Deluxe bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, salmon, horseradish cream cheese, salted cucumbers, capers, onions. Salmon Deluxe bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, salmon, horseradish cream cheese, salted cucumbers, capers, onions.
  • Hammy Time: choice of bagel, country ham cream cheese, fennel slaw, radish
  • Hummus Among Us: choice of bagel, hummus, salted cucumber, radish, paprika, olive oil, lemon
  • Vegan “Lox”: choice of bagel, walnut spread, carrot “lox”, capers, red onions, salted cucumbers. This was my favorite especially on the sesame bagel.
    Vegan Lox bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, walnut spread, carrot lox, capers, red onions, salted cucumbers. This was my favorite especially on the sesame bagel Vegan Lox bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, walnut spread, carrot lox, capers, red onions, salted cucumbers. This was my favorite especially on the sesame bagel
  • Israeli Salad: choice of bagel topped with Israeli salad of tomatoes and cucumbers

Because I was at Renata, I was happy to treat myself to a well earned after the gym cocktail – and I wanted to make sure I got my fruit into my brunch too. This cocktail is called the Buon Giorno Princepessa with white peach – blueberry mint sorbetto and prosecco. It takes a little care and love to create, but it’s worth the wait – I could have drank these all morning.
 

What’s your favorite type of bagel, and what do you top with your bagel in terms of schmear?

Vegan Lox bagel composed bagel sandwich from Bagel Farm pop up in Portland that comes with choice of bagel, walnut spread, carrot lox, capers, red onions, salted cucumbers. This was my favorite especially on the sesame bagel

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Meadowlark PDX Seollal Korean New Year Dinner

I’ve had the pop up Supper Club Meadowlark on my to do list for quite a while, and finally got to experience my first dinner with them earlier this week on February 9, 2016 with the Meadowlark PDX Seollal Korean New Year Dinner. They popped up at Din Din, located at 920 NE Glisan. Just getting to the location you may have some doubts if you’re in the right place along the dark roads and warehouses, but the bright lights of the Din Din sign confirm that you’re not lost and isn’t parking so conveniently easy?
Meadowlark PDX Seollal Korean New Year Dinner, popping up at Din Din on February 9 2016 Meadowlark PDX Seollal Korean New Year Dinner, popping up at Din Din on February 9 2016

After my experience at supper club, I kept kicking myself that I waited so long. Chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park focus on being very local and hand crafted, with everything made from scratch. Even though the dinner I attended included almost 40 people, it felt as intimate as a dinner party.
Meadowlark PDX hostd almost 40 people at the Seollal Korean New Year Dinner on February 9, but it still felt like a dinner party

At the cozy location of Din Din, the open kitchen is brightly lit and teases you with direct line of sight and smell to the preparations and finishing touches as they bustle in aprons.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park preparing dinner meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park preparing dinner

Upon checking in and hanging up your coat at the wall long coat hooks, guests were welcomed at the adorable bar nook with a cocktail of rye whiskey with Korean Cinnamon and Date Tea, as well as a little take out box filled with Popcorn with nori and chili powder.
Bar at Din Din is an adorable nook meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / snack of popcorn with nori and chili powder while being seated along with a cocktail of whiskey with korean cinnamon date tea meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / snack of popcorn with nori and chili powder while being seated along with a cocktail of whiskey with korean cinnamon date tea meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / snack of popcorn with nori and chili powder while being seated along with a cocktail of whiskey with korean cinnamon date tea

The tables are decorated simply with a few vases of willow so that there is little in the way to chatting and making new friends with those around your seat. A menu at each setting also looks simple and straightforward, but belies the complexity of flavor and how fulfilling this dinner will be for all. Although there is regular water available for instance, at first the offering was a chilled barley water that has only a faint grain taste and is a nod to the ubiquitous roasted barley tea popular in Korean culture.
Menu for Meadowlark PDX Seollal Korean New Year Dinner, February 9 2016 meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / chilled barley water

Bottles of Kooksoondang Draft Makgeolli (a rice wine) and Heater Allen Pils appeared shortly after the cocktails and popcorn snacks were cleared in anticipation of starting dinner. They remained on the table to share for each table of 6.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / beverage options of Kooksoondang Draft Makgeolli or Heater Allen Pils meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / beverage option of Heater Allen Pils

I tried to take the hint to try several glasses of the Makgeolli since it seemed like they were encouraging the pairing when 2 more bottles of it showed up to share by the time the main course arrived.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / beverage option of Kooksoondang Draft Makgeolli

To get our attention before describing each course we are about to receive, the ladies behind Meadowlark ring a big bell.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park ring the dinner bell to start Supper Club

The first course was Tteok Mandu Guk, with pork belly and shrimp dumplings, rice cakes, kimchi consommé. This was served last year at their Seollal dinner as well. Emily explained how Seollal is one of the two biggest holidays in Korea, and eating dumplings is traditional although they make no claim that all the preparation and dishes is necessarily traditional since they used local seasonal ingredients and added personal touches.

The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park took turns ladling in the Kimchi Consommé – the gentle focus I saw in both of them underscored the care they put into each dish and giving individual attention to the details.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park preparing dinner - the tteok mandu guk dish is waiting for the pork belly and shrimp dumplings and kimchi consomme meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park preparing dinner - the tteok mandu guk dish is waiting for the pork belly and shrimp dumplings and kimchi consomme

The dish is exquisite- the chewiness of the rice cakes, the slight kick to the broth, the rich chubbiness to the dumplings, and the beauty of those floating carrot flowers…
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / tteok mandu guk dish with pork belly and shrimp dumplings, rice cakes, kimchi consommé meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / tteok mandu guk dish with pork belly and shrimp dumplings, rice cakes, kimchi consommé

Each dumpling is hand formed, and the skin, the filling, broth is all from scratch like from a Korean grandma.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / tteok mandu guk dish with pork belly and shrimp dumplings, rice cakes, kimchi consommé meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / tteok mandu guk dish with pork belly and shrimp dumplings, rice cakes, kimchi consommé

The tease of seeing them put together the banchan, or side dishes, and seeing Jen take the Bo Ssäm roasted and smoked pork out of the oven and start plating in that bright open kitchen…
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Sides dishes (banchan) and sauces for the bo ssam course: Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration. Meanwhile Jen Datka plates the Bo Ssäm roasted and smoked pork meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Sides dishes (banchan) and sauces for the bo ssam course: Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration

while Emily supported a pescatarian option by frying up some fish!
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Emily Park frying up some fish to support a pescatarian option for a few guests meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Sides dishes (ban chan) and sauces for the bo ssam course: Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes

Here’s a detail look at all the banchan and sauces:
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Sides dishes (ban chan) and sauces for the bo ssam course: Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration; Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes
I love banchan – all the little dishes all over the table as small bites of accompaniments to go with the main!

  • Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy
  • Braised Burdock Root
    meadowlark no. 15, Side dish (banchan) Braised Burdock Root
  • Kimchi with radish and napa cabbage
    meadowlark no. 15, Side dish (banchan) Kimchi with radish and napa cabbage
  • Apple and Watermelon Radishes
    meadowlark no. 15, Side dish (banchan) Apple and Watermelon Radish
  • Pickled Shitake Mushrooms
    meadowlark no. 15, Side dish (banchan) Pickled Shitake Mushrooms
  • Ginger Scallion sauce
    meadowlark no. 15 one of the two sauces for the bo ssam course: Ginger Scallion sauce
  • Ssamjang sauce with gochujang that is a Marshall’s Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration
    meadowlark no. 15 one of the two sauces for the bo ssam course: Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration

Bo Ssäm is pork belly that is traditionally boiled, but Jen and Emily not only upgraded us with the best pork shoulder in town from Tails & Trotters, but also chose to slow roast and then smoke it. Rather than slicing it, the ladies served it shredded to show off its tenderness and perhaps as a nod towards American pulled pork.

Add Hapa Rice and Lettuce and time to eat!
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Sides dishes (ban chan) and sauces for the bo ssam course: Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration; Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Bo ssam and the sauces and banchan of Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration; Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes

My plate with a little bit of everything from every plate… man I really want this plate again. You can see such a mix of sweet and salty and savory and spicy and acidic/sour
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / bo ssam plate with slow roasted and smoked organic sustainable pork shoulder from Tails & Trotters; Banchan and sauces including Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration; Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / bo ssam plate with slow roasted and smoked organic sustainable pork shoulder from Tails & Trotters; Banchan and sauces including Sauteed Spinach Mizuna with sesame and soy; Braised Burdock Root; Ginger Scallion sauce; Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration; Kimchee with radish and napa cabbage; Apple and Watermelon Radish; Pickled Shitakes

You can eat it with rice, but wrapping it in lettuce adds that extra refreshing crunch to the slow roasted and smoked organic sustainable pork shoulder and pretend healthiness to the fattiness and richness, here accompanied by Ssamjang sauce for spicy funky kick. I also admit I may have just smeared a bunch of Ssamjang sauce on rice and been every happy with that combo.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / you can eat it with rice, but wrapping it in lettuce adds that extra refreshing crunch to the slow roasted and smoked organic sustainable pork shoulder from Tails & Trotters; here accompanied by Ssamjang sauce with gochujang from Marshall's Haute Sauce and Kim Jong Grillin collaboration

Dessert was a satisfying lightness of ice cream sandwiches – a duo of Ginger Cookies with Yuzu for tartness or Brown Butter Cookie with Black Sesame that offered more toasty notes.
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Dessert of Ice Cream Sandwiches of ginger cookie with yuzu or brown butter cookie with black sesame meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / Dessert of Ice Cream Sandwiches of ginger cookie with yuzu or brown butter cookie with black sesame

I did at first miss a little bit that they didn’t have my favorite banchan, which is the Mung Bean Sprouts. I can dump a whole little plate of that on my own plate and ask for more several times at a Korean meal. But, since the sauteed until just wilted mizuna provided the same flavor profile of garlic and sesame, I didn’t miss it much and plan to do this with my spinach in the future.

F tells me that he always can tell when I find something spectacularly delicious. I stop talking for a while to turn internally because I want to focus on just savoring each bite, and my eyes may not even be focused. I take smaller bites to stretch the experience. I might take little samples of elements of a dish, or before, with, and after a sip of beverage, and then compose a perfect bite with a little bit of everything. I may even shake my arms with excitement.

I did all of these at Meadowlark. I can’t wait to visit another Supper Club Dinner again and enjoy the care and thoughtfulness in composing each dish that Jen and Emily do. Most chefs have an appreciation for Northwest ingredients, and Jen and Emily particularly are adept at keeping it simple but also doing just enough to coax the best of each ingredient in a way that as an eater, you have that same appreciation while also recognizing the expertise of labor and vision brought by the chefs to transform ingredients into a dish and an experience.

Oh no, me and my camera have been caught by Jen and Emily! It’s true, I’m one of those people…
meadowlark no. 15, Seollal Korean Lunar New Year Theme / The ladies of Meadowlark PDX chefs Jen Datka and Emily Park preparing dinner

I was also really struck by the warmth and how it really feels like they enjoy nourishing everyone – chefs often vibrate with excitement for ingredients, the enthusiasm of inspiration and ideas behind a dish, the control and mindfulness of perfect execution, the focus of tracking details and being organized. Some chefs are boisterous with the bravado of creativity, some are quietly deliberate, some are organized and meticulous, others are flexible and a bit chaotic. Jen and Emily stood out to me for how they emanate the feeling of welcome, generosity, hospitality, and especially grace.

Meadowlark changes up their theme every month, so make sure you follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and sign up for their mailing list to be in the know before a dinner sells out. When you purchase your Brown Paper ticket (this meal felt like a steal at $40 – their prices generally are in the $40-$60 range historically so far), everything is included – food, beverage, and gratuity.

Have you had Bo Ssäm before? What’s your favorite banchan? Do you have a favorite Korean restaurant in Portland, what is it?

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