Dana Cowin, Mark Bittman and Liz Crain Walk into a Bar errrr Powell’s

October 31st, 2014

Me and the very charming Mr. Bittman after the Powell's event.

I’ve been very lucky lately. So lucky, in fact, that I recently got to be “in conversation” with two of my food heroes at my favorite bookseller — Mark Bittman AND Dana Cowin at Powell’s Books. Dream come true. They both have new cookbooks out and we talked all about their books and then some in front of very happy audiences — Dana’s Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen and Mark’s How to Cook Everything Fast. I’ve cooked from them both already and love them so much. Get ’em!

I may or may not have called Mark Bittman a prostitute (tune in to the audio recording below at 12 minutes 30 seconds) and I may or may not have called Dana Cowin a lush (ditto at 7 minutes). We drank rye from lucky flasks that my friend Loly made at both events and laughed a lot. Intimate, engaging, inspiring and a wee bit revealing — as all great book events should be.

For those who couldn’t make one or both I uploaded the audio so you can get an earful. The Mark Bittman conversation can be played here and the Dana Cowin conversation here. And here are some local media bits for both events: Oregonian Cowin, KATU Cowin, Oregonian Bittman, KATU Bittman.

Below is a show and tell of photos from both October Powell’s events starting with Mark Bittman’s followed by Dana Cowin’s. Dream a little dream. There aren’t any photos from the meals I got to have with Mark or Dana while they were in town but we managed to go to Tasty n Sons, Olympic Provisions and Du Kuh Bee. Not too shabby.

Picking up my advanced copy of Bittman's book from the Wonkaland of books -- Powell's.

Almost as importantly picking up the lucky flask for the event that I filled with Bulleit Rye.

Bittman's and my view. Cute crowd.

Mark signing my books after he'd signed everyone's in the loooooong line after our conversation -- including my filthy aka well-loved copy of How to Cook Everything.

A sight for sore eyes.

Gifted flour sack towels can be turned into skirts!

Getting cozy with my advance copy of Dana Cowin's Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen before the Powell's event.

Day of the event lucky hot dog flask shed pick-up! This one is now MINE. Thank you Loly!

Dana and I telling Lena to lay off our lucky flask. Bulleit Rye. Again.

We obviously got our flask back.

After Dana talked with folks and signed allllll the audience copies Renee from Powell's asked her to sign a bunch of store copies. Finger cramps!

Yet another sight for sore eyes.

Thank you so very much Mark, Dana & Powell’s! I am the luckiest.

Purchase How to Cook Everything Fast
Purchase Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen

Portland Fermentation Festival 2014 Redux

October 20th, 2014

The dapper foodists -- ferment fest co-organizers George Winborn, Liz Crain and David Barber.

Thank you to everyone who came out last week and made this year’s FIFTH annual Portland Fermentation Festival at Ecotrust such a stinky great time. It’s unanimous amongst David, George and I (festival co-organizers/founders) that this year was the most fun for us and I hope for you.

Every year has been fantastic but the three of us got to enjoy ourselves a lot more this year. I got to sample everything! In years past I always find myself running around too much to sample the ferments. I made a pact to try everything this year and I did and it was deeeeeelicious. Thanks in no small part to all of the festival’s awesome volunteers, participants and attendees. We’ve hit our stride. I guess five years has taught us a thing or two about throwing a big fermenty Portland party.

We put the Portland Fermentation Festival together every year with a shoestring budget + heaps of volunteered hours and as always we’re so grateful that Ecotrust puts up with us year after year. Thank you again Ecotrust! We love you.

We had some great coverage this year including this spot on KGW News PDX Tonight with Drew Carney, as well as the KBOO Food Show with Chris Seigel, this Portland Monthly story by Kelly Clarke, Portland Tribune story by Jennifer Anderson, Portland Mercury coverage, Willamette Week and moooooore. I guess Portland is ok with us. Happy.

If you’d like to keep up with local fermenty goings-on please check out our website, Facebook and Twitter.

Below are a whole bunch of photos from Stinkfest! If you have some great ones too please post them to the Facebook page or Twitter them with the hashtag #pdxfermentfest.

Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you all again next year we hope! Stay stinky!

We kicked off the night with a fermentation experts panel with left to right: moderator George Winborn, Josh Grgas of Commons Brewery, David Barber of Picklopolis and Bingo Sandwiches, Nat West of Reverend Nat's Hard Cidery and Eric Finley of Chop Butchery & Charcuterie.

The panel sold out weeks before and folks asked a lot of great questions. Most importantly we all learned that size does really matter especially in regard to fermenting cucumbers for sour pickles 😉

And then the madness of the first tasting ensued.

Perennial festival favorite -- Matt Choi of Choi's Kimchi.

OlyKraut brought all kinds of awesomeness including super tasty krauts and sour pickles and...

Their addictive spicy pickle brine.

Thank you Sash! She recommends using it in Bloody Marys and I am definitely going to.

Sweet Honey Farm's Lil and Jme serving up yummy krauts.

Cute shot of Lil right before the doors opened.

Out on the mezzanine the lovely Claudia Lucero did a fresh cheese demo with recipes from her hot off the presses rad book One-Hour Cheeses. Love her.

And on the other side of the mezzanine another perennial festival fave Heidi Nestler (heidinestler.com) and her husband Daisuke did a natto demo.

KGW News' Drew Carney came and shot the beginning of the fest for PDX Tonight. "Bow ties and beards right there. Surrounded."

Snapped this one during set up of my friends Teresa and Rich of Pitch Dark Chocolate. Kind of wild how many folks don't know that chocolate is fermented.

My boots photobombed their chocolate. So yummy.

Jon Westdahl getting cozy with one of his crocks.

The awesome salame spread from Chop Butchery & Charcuterie.

Connie and Brian Shaw of Oregon Brineworks with all kinds of super tasty ferments including fermented hot sauce and ketchup, beet kvass, ginger gold kvass and more. Love these guys.

My friends Jess Bull and Jemma Stromwick at ticketing in the lobby. Couldn't do it without all of our amazing volunteers. Thank you!

It was a beautiful night and on the rooftop we had food and drink from Bingo Sandwiches, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider and Commons Brewery and...

Music from DJ Pickle Barrel! The first time I got up to the roof he was playing Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put a Spell on You. So good.

Ecotrust/Edible Portland superstar and part of the fest dream team Lola Milholland having a tasty Bingo Sandwich with Patrick Barber. We took some swigs from my flask and talked about soy sauce. Geeky goodness.

Cute Colin Franger of Blue Bus Cultured Foods before the flood of people.

Nat West of Reverend Nat's Hard Cidery's favorite ferment of the night -- the Blue Bus Kraut-chi. Pretty stinking tasty.

Definitely the craziest ferment of the night -- Nat's LAMB hard cider.

Nat checking on it at the cidery a week before the festival. Scarier than The Shining.

David Barber's friend Patrick Barber setting up Picklopolis samples. David was probably putting on his NASA socks when this photo was taken.

Love festival moments like this -- Gabe Rosen chef-owner of Biwa, Alem Gebrehiwot owner of Queen of Sheba and Eric Finley of Chop Butchery & Charcuterie shooting the shit and drinking hard cider on the mezzanine.

Biwa's Gabe and Ed demo'ing miso. They brought three of theirs and made a miso soup. Biwa is one of my very favorite Portland restaurants and they always come to the festival.

Careen Stoli's beautiful handmade crocks.

Brad's Bread -- soooo many awesome sourdoughs.

Including...

Cute depot -- Tim Root's daughter Lil and Adelaide and David Barber's tiny lil Junior. Kids 12 and under get in for free.

Tim Root's incredible poster. We are so lucky to have him as our festival poster artist. Yes!

The cuteness doesn't stop -- David and Junior.

Tasty jun and all kinds of yummy kombuchas -- coffee kombucha?! -- from Symple Foods.

Festival fave and veteran Tress Yelig of Salt, Fire & Time. I had seconds of her rose kombucha 😉

Portland Kraut Cooperative filling up samples.

Regular Portland Bread. They got a little newsy love on KGW.

One of their many tasty treats.

Awesome crowd.

Allison Kirley and Cathy right before the panel. Their kombucha was great.

George, me and David before we did our news spot. I love these two so much -- brothers from another mother.

Always my favorite closing shot -- George with his jet pack vacuum cleaner. All cleaned up and ready for cocktails!

Thank you everyone for making this year’s fest one of the very best. We love you!