Portland’s Urban Farm Store

August 1st, 2011

Spring chick at Urban Farm Store.

Sometimes stories get cut and sometimes just portions of stories go RIP. A major national story about Portland food that I worked on last year left out Southeast Belmont Street’s Urban Farm Store so I thought I’d finally post something about this sweet little open-since-2009 shop owned by husband-and-wife-duo Hannah and Robert Litt.

Urban Farm Store has a lot going for it. On my last visit I purchase a bale of straw, pantry moth traps and compostable dog waste bags. Yes, it’s a diverse shop where you’ll find everything from animal feed and beekeeping supplies to edible plants for the garden and DIY food and brewing supplies. (And if you don’t have a copy of my book they carry it. Wink, wink.) Anyway, maybe you’ve been and maybe you haven’t — either way here are some photos that sum up this urban homestead shop…

All sorts of bulk feed, fertilizers and mulch to choose from at Urban Farm Store...

This is the largest supply of Urban Cheesecraft kits I've seen in town...

A lot of gardening and DIY books in the front.

Get some tasty local honey!

Urban Farm Store owners Hannah and Robert Litt with their shop kitties.


Urban Farm Store
2100 SE Belmont St.
Portland, Oregon 97214
www.urbanfarmstore.com
503.234.7733

The Accidental Affineur: Humboldt Fog Cheese

September 20th, 2010

Good enough to eat.

Most people leave cheese aging to the cheesemakers but not our friend Lorna’s dad Dave. He was given a free 16 ounce wheel Humboldt Fog cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata (it was overly salted and they wouldn’t sell it) and after returning home, a few miles away, he promptly put it in his kegarator. He also promptly forgot about it. For a year and a half.

The cheese stayed in its original wrapper in his kegarator for 18 months before he laid eyes and hands on it again. Accidental affineur Dave wasn’t so into the now hard-as-a-rock goat cheese but his daughter Lorna and her husband Steve were.

If you haven’t tried Humboldt Fog get your hands on some. It’s soft ripened goat cheese with a ribbon of ash through the center that’s sold when it’s soft with fresh chevre in the center and ooey, gooey closer to the surface.

After a year-and-a-half the Humboldt Fog became hard, dry and more salty. Think of an older manchego but with goat milk. Steve and Lorna ate it grated it over food and thinly sliced on its own for a couple weeks before heading up from Arcata to visit us.

Since stopping through Portland and setting off for their year-and-a-half Land Rover journey around North, Central and South America Steve and Lorna left the home-aged cheese with us. Lucky us. Truly.

I don’t know how brave you are about food and I don’t know how strict you are with expiration dates but we’re pretty happy that Dave forgot about the cheese. Many great foods are the result of kitchen mishaps and although I won’t go so far as to say this is better than Humboldt Fog as intended I will say it’s pretty dang delicious.

The other night we grated it over spicy lamb and bulgar red sauce spaghetti and last weekend we grated it over eggs. This week I’m thinking more omelettes with grated cheese and chives. In other words, we’re digging it.

Two years in the making...

Cypress Grove Chevre
www.cypressgrovechevre.com
707.825.1100
1330 Q Street
Arcata, California

A Week Away…

June 24th, 2010


Food Lover’s Guide to Portland Book Launch Party Invite

A week from today on Thursday, July 1st, from 6-9pm at Fortune Tattoo I hope that you’ll join me in celebrating the launch of my book Food Lover’s Guide to Portland! It’s been a long time coming and I’m more than ready to celebrate with friends and fellow Portlanders. It’s First Thursday after all so if you’re hitting up the galleries head across the river for a bit and celebrate PDX food and drink.

((ATTENTION: My boyfriend, Tyler Adams, no longer co-owns Fortune Tattoo. Visit his North Portland shop — Grizzly Tattoo — which opened June, 2011! For more info. visit www.grizzlytattoo.com, 503.265.8146. Grrrrrrrizzly!))

If you scroll down on the invite above you’ll see some of the fine food and drink folks donating incredible stuff for the party. These are some of my favorite Portland people and I’m so happy that they’re helping me out in this way.

I’m also grateful to my boyfriend Tyler Adams and his business partner Ms. Mikki for hosting the party at their open-since-April-1st tattoo shop — Fortune Tattoo. THANK YOU guys! Toward the end of the night I’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky book buyer that involves needles and ink. I wonder what it is…

Food Lover’s Guide to Portland — Book Launch Party
Fortune Tattoo, 1716 East Burnside St., Portland, OR
Thursday, July 1st — 6-9pm
Food. Drink. Music. Books.

The Cheese Bar Spectacular — Monday, June 21st 6-9pm!

June 17th, 2010

Why I wake up in the morning...

I don’t think that the fact that I LOVE cheese is a secret to anyone who reads this blog. The thought of a cheese-less existence sends shivers down my back. It would be a bleak, cold, tasteless world were there no cheese in it.

Next Monday night Portland’s cheese haven, Cheese Bar, is hosting a rare, wonderful cheese event. From 6-9pm at Steve Jones’ Cheese Bar you can try 101 of Steve’s favorite cheeses. I did not mistype. That is 101. No, not 10.

Steve has partnered up with Adam Berger of Ten 01 to host this awesome event. Along with 101 of Steve’s favorite cheeses you can saddle up with wine selections from Ten 01′s sommelier Jeff Groh, cocktails by Kelley Swenson, and local beers on tap.

Tickets are $39 in advance or $49 at the door and include all the cheese you can taste, two drink tickets for draft beer or wine by the glass, and a $5 voucher for Cheese Bar. There be six wines at $5/glass and local draft beer at $3/glass.

Get your ticket while you still can because they’re going fast at www.brownpapertickets.com. If you want a more exclusive experience, 50 VIP tickets at $59 a pop are available. That gets you a 5-6pm more intimate tasting with sparkling wine and champagne.

If you want to read more about Cheese Bar check this out.

Eat cheese!

Cheese Bar
6031 SE Belmont St.
503.222.6014
www.cheese-bar.com
Tuesday-Sunday 11am-11pm

Say Cheese: Last Day for Steve’s Cheese Feb. 21st, Sneak Peak at Cheese Bar to Open Mid-March

February 8th, 2010
One door closes and another opens -- Steve Jones will still have his hand in cheese at Cheese Bar on SE Belmont St. and 60th Ave.

One door closes and another opens -- Steve Jones will still have his hand in cheese at Cheese Bar on SE Belmont St. and 60th Ave.

Only the good die young…

but only the great rise again like the phoenix.

Sorry for the cliche overload but it’s hard not to wax poetic when discussing Steve Jones’ still-open-but-not-for-long Steve’s Cheese on NW Thurman and his newest venture Cheese Bar due to open mid-March at 60th and SE Belmont.

I spoke with Steve late last week and here’s the scoop…

How would you describe Cheese Bar?

Cheese Bar is a cross between an old world delicatessen and a tabac.

What’s a tabac?

In France and Italy both there are these things called tabacs and they’re on almost every corner. It’s where old men come in in the morning and buy their tobacco — although we obviously won’t be selling tobacco — and then they’ll stand and have a glass of espresso and maybe a croissant. And then in the evening they’ll come back and have a glass of grappa and piece of cheese or something.

I’ve always really liked the social aspect of them. People coming in and out — and quite often they’re in and out in twenty minutes. It’s really the only fast option you have in Europe — everything else takes forever. So it’s kind of cool you can get a little bite or boost and keep on moving. That’s kind of been my intention with this. If people want to linger they can but Cheese Bar is more for when you’re on your way home and you stop and have a glass of beer and a piece of cheese, or a glass of wine and a small bite.

Other differences between Steve’s Cheese and Cheese Bar?

I keep telling everyone [Cheese Bar is] everything you’ve got now [Steve's Cheese] and more. We’ll still carry everything including all the meat and cheese but you’ll also be able to have a beer while your shopping. That’s, you know, my dream moment. To get a beer and then shop for cheese. I mean, hell yeah, that’s perfect.

I think if we’ve got a really long line I’m just going to grab a pitcher of beer and just pour everyone a little glass and say, “Here, have a beer.” I used to shop at an old meat shop in St. Louis and no matter what time of day you’d walk in they’d ask — “Want a bavarian beer?” It’s 9:30 in the morning and they’d be offering you a beer…”

Same killer cheese selection at Steve Jones' Cheese Bar plus beer and then some

Same killer cheese selection at Cheese Bar plus beer and then some

Other things I learned about Cheese Bar:

The small menu will be stocked with sandwiches, soups, salads (such as garbanzo, tuna, and red pepper) snacks (sardines on toast), and hot plates ranging from $2-$10.

Cheese Bar will have the same rocking cheese selection (available in-house or to-go) as Steve’s Cheese as well as all the other retail food and drink products such as vinegars, pastas, pickles and more.

There will be in-house beer, wine, and beer and wine cocktails. Curious about the latter — we shall see.

And the look and feel? Lots of reclaimed wood and reused materials, four tables, two small bars (one standing bar, the other with stools), and a warm color scheme with lots of reds and browns.

I know where I’ll be come mid-March.

Cheese Bar
opens mid-March
503.222.6014
6031 SE Belmont St.
10am-11pm Tue.-Sun.