Mark Bittman at the James Beard Public Market Fundraiser in Portland January 22, 2015

January 23rd, 2015

Mr. Mark Bittman and me at the James Beard Public Market fundraiser dinner at Leftbank Annex.

I’m a very lucky lady. I got to be Mark Bittman’s date when he was in town for the James Beard Public Market fundraiser dinner at Leftbank Annex last night. Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant put together an incredible Pacific Northwest bounty meal comprised of recipes inspired by Mr. B’s latest book How to Cook Everything Fast which Higgins joked in his intro. to the event was probably “the longest book on fast cooking.” It’s a whopping 4+ pounds after all. (My favorite dishes that I’ve cooked from the book so far: miso glazed catfish with mushrooms, caramelized cod and Vietnamese-style fish sauce brussels. Mmmmm!)

The James Beard Public Market has been in the works now for nearly 15 years and it looks like we’ll finally have a market sooner than later. There have been all sorts of recent developments including the securing of the space at the west end of the Morrison bridge from the county for development, the partnership with the Norwegian design firm Snohetta to design it, the partnership with Bon Appetit Management Company to develop the teaching and demo. kitchens and on and on. In other words, things are moving right along now and gaining momentum. There are so many great local food folks involved including board secretary Janie Hibler, outreach and operations director Ann Forsthoefel, board members Lisa Sedlar and Greg Higgins and many, many more.

The dinner met the night’s fundraising goals and the highlight was Mr. Bittman’s inspiring speech which I uploaded here if you weren’t able to attend. The sound is pretty crappy but if you crank it up you can get most of it. There were a lot of bodies in the room and a lot of wine glasses if you know what I mean.

I’m really looking forward to one fine day when we have a large urban, indoor/outdoor year-round public market. I grew up in Cincinnati with Findlay Market and I really get how important these hubs can be to local culture. I want it! I want it now! Patience. It will soon be. Help make the James Beard Public Market dream a reality. Let’s do this thing.

Leftbank Annex all pretty for the event. Three Leg Torso playing on the stage just out of view of the photo to the right.

Mark and Bon Appetit Management Co. CEO and co-founder Fedele Bauccio before the dinner.

Super tasty menu from Greg Higgins.

EVERYONE left with a copy of Mark's How to Cook Everything Fast.

Mark giving his inspiring speech. Link to the audio is above.

Greg Higgins' yummy dessert.

Mark and James Beard Public Market executive director Ron Paul at the end of the night.

The happiest and luckiest person I know at the end of the night. Yep.

Learn more about the James Beard Public Market at

Hillsdale Paella Party 2012

September 10th, 2012

Chef Greg Higgins cooking up paella for 300 people at last year's Hillsdale Paella Party.

Last year I wrote about the Hillsdale Paella Party here and I’m doing it again because there’s a 5 foot paella pan involved (!) and all sorts of other tasty food and drink and I really like the community behind this Hillsdale Main Street, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing Hillsdale, second annual event.

I’m going to pull all of the most important info. from the press release below. If you’re interested in attending I suggest getting a ticket sooner than later (purchase tickets here) because last year’s event sold out. From the press release…

This Saturday you’re invited to eat, drink and be merry for a great cause with the largest paella offering in the Northwest — cooked up by James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Higgins. Desserts will be by Portland’s Baker & Spice Bakery, with executive baker Julie Richardson who just released her new book Vintage Cakes. Latin music will be by Ojos Feos. This year more 300 Portlanders will attend to support this annual fundraiser.

On September 15th, guests will escape to Spain in an outdoor summer setting here in Southwest Portland, enjoying Spanish wines, live music, gourmet tapas and desserts, along with traditional paella. “When added to the outstanding tapas, still raved about after last year, and the decadent desserts created and donated by Hillsdale’s own Baker & Spice Bakery, this year’s event will be one-of-a-kind.”, says Hillsdale Main Street Executive Director Megan Braunsten.

While attendees dance to Afro-Cuban and South American style music, enjoy wine and tapas and, they will also be entertained by the making of the paella. The paella dinner, a tradition in Valencia, Spain, is a means of bringing the community neighbors together to connect, share in the meal and have fun. The paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish including saffron, shrimp, chicken, sausage and vegetables, cooked in a large round pan (a paella) outdoors for large groups of people.

Sponsors include Wyse Kadish, Willamette Week, Baker & Spice Bakery and Food Front. Hillsdale Main Street, one of the three Portland Main Street programs, is a program of the Hillsdale Community Foundation, a 501c3 whose mission is to make Hillsdale a better place to live, learn, work and shop by fostering community building and by raising and distributing resources. A portion of the proceeds will also go to benefit the Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program. Neighborhood House now serves approximately 14,000 low-income children, families and seniors around the city each year through programs that educate children and parents, feed and house hungry and homeless families, and assist seniors so that they can continue to live independently.

Hillsdale Paella Party
Saturday, September 15th, 2012
In the Hillsdale Business District in the big tent next to Bank of America at
6309 SW Capitol Hwy., Portland, Oregon 97239
$100 per person (Proceeds benefit Hillsdale Main Street and Neighborhood House Emergency Food Box Program)
Purchase tickets
Contact Tamairah Boleyn for more information:
tam at korkagewine dot com

Taste of the Nation Portland 2012

May 14th, 2012

Oven & Shaker fixing up and serving tasty little meatball puccia at the 2012 Portland Taste of the Nation.

This year’s 25th anniversary Portland Taste of the Nation at Jeld-Wen Field was incredible and rather than type up all of the reasons why I’m going to lay it all out in photos for you. If you were there you might see yourself in some of the photos below because I snapped a lot and managed to only drop my camera once. It’s ok. This was the first year Taste was held at Jeld-Wen Field and I think it’s a fantastic venue. You’ll see from the photos. If you weren’t able to make it please consider attending next year. It costs a pretty penny but 100% of proceeds go toward hunger relief in Oregon. Without further ado…

One of the most decadent treats of the night was Gruner's foie gras torchon on toasted brioche topped with riesling pickled rhubarb. One of my favorites of the night and they went fast.

Another favorite only available to VIP ticket holders (spend more on your ticket for several additional tastes and early entry) was Bamboo Sushi's amberjack topped with red jalapeno, cilantro, black flying fish roe and miso vinaigrette.

My friend Craig joined me this year and this is what his tray looked like 10 minutes in. So many tasty treats. And we got to sample a lot of nice wine, beer and spirits as well.

Chop's table was very popular and they had one of the most diverse spreads of any of the partipants. Tried all kinds of delicious salames, proscuittos and pates and had a difficult time leaving that table and moving along...

This was probably about 30 minutes into general admission. Packed but not uncomfortable because of all the natural light and air flow above. Everyone was in great spirits sampling all the food and drink and knowing that all money spent goes to a great cause.

For $25 you could try your luck at restaurant roulette. All sorts of local food and drink gift certificates to be won...

I won these! Anya Spence of Miss Zumstein is a good friend of a friend and looking forward to using both GCs.

Departure was serving up one of my other favorites of the night -- spicy steamed honey chicken bao.

They deserve a close-up -- Departure's spicy chicken bao.

I always look forward to what Andina cooks up for Taste of the Nation. This year they did lomo saltado empanadas and potato, avocado, smoked tomato causitas. Both were delicious as always.

My boyfriend's friend Brewer Dylan Goldsmith of Captured by Porches poured my friend Craig an alt beer right before Mayor Sam Adams gave a speech declaring May 8th officially No Child Hungry Day and at the end thanked Dylan for the tasty IPA he was drinking.

Happy to donate some copies of my book to the silent raffle. My book came with gift certificates to Chop, Nong's Khao Man Gai and Missionary Chocolates. Not too shabby.

Closing shot -- love this one of Irving Street Kitchen's station cooking up potato latkes with gravlax and apple butter. Can't beat cooking in sunglasses...

Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation!

Winner of Taste of the Nation Portland 2012 Tickets!

April 30th, 2012

Congratulations lucky number 6 commenter! Email me so we can set aside two tickets for you at will call!

You know who you are lucky #6 commenter! You’ve won yourself two tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation next Tuesday, May 9th at Jeld-Wen Field. Drop me a line @ info at lizcrain dot com with your full name and contact info. and I’ll pass that along to the organizers who are donating the tickets. Your two general admission tickets will be available the night of the event at will call. (Don’t worry if it takes me a few days to respond — I’m out of town for work and will be back mid-week.)

Thanks everyone for all of your tasty comments! I hope that some of these businesses come to fruition. If you build it they will come!

For those of you who didn’t win tickets there are still tickets available for this year’s 25th anniversary Taste of the Nation. It’s one of the best food events in town and I highly recommend it. In addition to it being delicious and super fun 100% of proceeds go toward ending local child hunger. Gotta feel good about that.

Thanks everyone!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Jeld-Wen Field
1844 SW Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97205
Tickets $85 and up (order by phone 877.26TASTE, online or at any New Seasons Market)

Taste of the Nation Portland 2012 — Ticket Giveaway!

April 23rd, 2012

Biwa kicked ass at last year's 2011 Portland Taste of the Nation as usual with their braised pork lettuce wraps with pickled veggies.

Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation on Tuesday, May 8th at Jeld-Wen Field is just two weeks and a day away and it’s the 25th anniversary of this fantastic event. In the interest of shouting it out loud and clear and getting as many people to come out for it and support it as possible I’m giving away a pair of tickets here on my blog.

I love this event because 100% of ticket sales go toward working to end child hunger via Oregon Food Bank, Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Food Recovery Program and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Read about last year’s Taste of the Nation here.

This year’s TOTN will showcase food and drink from 50 restaurants, 25 wineries and 5 breweries — these folks. The list is growing daily.

So it’s a VERY worthwhile cause that I highly recommend buying tickets for. You can also try your luck for a pair of general admission tickets here on my blog. I’ve got a number in mind and I’ve written it down and taken a photo of it as proof. That numbered person to comment takes the cake. You get me your name and contact info. and there will be a pair of tickets waiting for you at this year’s Taste of the Nation will call the night of May 8th. Please help me to spread the word about this ticket giveaway and Taste of the Nation on Twitter, Facebook etc. I’m foodloverPDX on Twitter.

So what to comment about? Let me know what sort of food/drink business you’d love to see launch in Portland. It could be a food or drink product, a market, a non-profit, coffeeshop, brewery. It could be something that already exists and you’d like to see replicated in another neighborhood or it could be a business you’ve just always wished existed here that you’ve never seen. Leave a comment and let me know — just because I’m curious.

I’ll announce the lucky winner early next week!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Jeld-Wen Field
1844 SW Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97205
Tickets $85 and up (order by phone 877.26TASTE, online or at any New Seasons Market)