Cocotte Contest

October 29th, 2012

Comment here for the chance to win two $25 gift certificates to Portland's Cocotte!

Have you checked out this year’s Willamette Week Restaurant Guide that came out last week? I look forward to it every year. Partly, because I always get to review restaurants for it but also because it’s a great compass for Portland dining and always makes me hungry to try more places.

This year I wrote three reviews for the guide — Ocean City, Bamboo Sushi and Cocotte. I’d never been to Cocotte and loved it and think you might too. Here’s a bit of what I wrote:

“For all of the complaints that Portland doesn’t do seafood right beyond a few sushi spots, let’s have a drum roll for Cocotte. This pretty little corner bistro on Northeast 30th Avenue’s restaurant row (neighbored by Beast, Yakuza, Autentica and DOC) is all about small plates and entrees from le mer. The smoked salmon salad over a fallen potato soufflé with tarragon aioli is topped with farm-fresh greens, moist and not too smoky salmon, and slivers of radish in a lemony shallot vinaigrette. It’s perfect…”

Read the full review

Cocotte’s co-chef/owner, Kat LeSueur, sent me two $25 gift certificates for a blog contest so I’ve chosen a lucky number and that numbered commenter gets both gift certificates. This is what I’d like you to comment about here — what’s one of your favorite dishes to prepare solo at home when the days get shorter? When the weather gets cold a lot of times we tend to want to make big pots of stews and soups and braises — enough to feed a small army. What’s a smaller dish — just for you — that you love cook in the fall and winter?

Cocotte
2930 NE Killingsworth Street
Portland, Oregon 97211
503.227.2669
www.cocottepdx.com

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
6-9pm
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
503.679.8699

The Parish: Q&A with Tobias Hogan and Ethan Powell

March 5th, 2012

Ethan Powell and Tobias Hogan are at it again -- their new Cajun/Creole restaurant The Parish is set to open this summer in The Pearl.

If you haven’t heard already these two fine looking fellows — co-owners of EaT Oyster Bar on North Williams — are set to open another Cajun/Creole restaurant in the Pearl this summer called The Parish in the space that used to house In Good Taste. According to a recent press release:

“The menu at The Parish blends urban New Orleans cuisine with the country-style Cajun cooking. Focusing on locally sourced ingredients, the menu will reach beyond seafood and oysters to local wild game birds, rabbit, and even a whole pig. The co-owners have strong ties to the oyster farmers in Oregon, CA and Washington and will continue to offer fresh raw oysters year-round with a shucking bar and a new retail oyster program. A section of the menu will include classic southern dishes that won’t change such as BBQ shrimp, Seafood gumbo, Shrimp Étouffée, and an assortment of po’boy sandwiches.”

Here’s what Tobias had to say to me recently about The Parish, which is set to open this summer…

Why the Pearl?

We like it because of it’s central location for the Metro area. We’ll have close proximity to the central business district providing access to business luncheons as well as after work meet-ups. We’re also excited about the opportunity to expose our concept to people who live on the west side of the city and the suburbs to the west who don’t generally head to the east side of the city.

So you’ll be selling oysters wholesale and retail?

We will have an oyster wholesale center to service downtown restaurant customers as well as a retail oyster basin up front to sell directly to the public.

What are a couple menu items that you’re really excited about?

Our Duck Confit Gumbo (served with a crispy Confit Leg on top) is really good, we’re also going to be doing some great hot apps and oysters off the grill that will be visible up front by the oyster bar.

Can you give me some details about the space?

It will have a large visible oyster bar with other fresh seafood available. There will be some nice booth seating and a nice big bar where we’ll have local wines on tap by the glass, several local beers on tap and serving some great cocktails from the pre-prohibition influence that Portland has become famous for. To reference this tradition we’re referring to the bar as Bar Vieux Carre or “The Old Quarter” or a common name for the French Quarter in NOLA. It’s also a Tennessee Williams play set in NOLA.

Will there be live music at The Parish?

We’re planning on having a classic Jazz Brunch on Saturday and Sundays maybe music will happen other nights, but we don’t have plans for that quite yet.

Number one thing that you’re looking forward to with the new restaurant?

Getting open and presenting the space to our city as a showcase Creole restaurant and oyster bar. We’ve been strong proponents of oysters for many years with EaT and before. We’re very excited to update the concept of an oyster bar using our Farm connections to showcase the best oysters from the NW and beyond.

The Parish (and Vieux Carre Bar) opening summer 2012
231 NW 11th Street, Portland, Oregon

Taste of the Nation 2011

May 9th, 2011

Celilo Restaurant's (in Hood River) morel and fromage blanc topped crackers were super tasty.

Taste of the Nation truly gets bigger and better every year. We had a fantastic time eating and drinking all sorts of amazing things from Portland area chefs and food/drink folks at this year’s Taste of the Nation at Luxe Autohaus. (Always made much better by the fact that 100% of the proceeds go toward local child hunger relief.) If you don’t know about the event you can read more about it here and here. We paced ourselves a lot better this year so that by the end (and we stayed until the very end — as in tables being folded) we felt full but not roll-out-the-door full.

It’s hard to pick favorites but I think it’s good to give credit where credit is due. SO here are my top five favorite things that I ate at this year’s Taste of the Nation (not to mention all the delicious wine, beer and bubbly) followed by photos…

Top five bites at this year’s Taste of the Nation in no particular order…
La Calaca Comelona’s rainbow chard wrapped masa with pork in a red sauce
Biwa’s braised pork and house pickled vegetable lettuce wraps
Bamboo Sushi’s Oregon albacore carpaccio
Fifty Lick’s coconut lemon saffron sorbet
Davis Street Tavern’s cold carrot fennel soup with sorrel salsa verde

Screen Door's mini chocolate and peanut butter pies were really good. Especially when eaten right after their...

Smoked meatloaf and whipped potato bites topped with crispy shallots. Yeah, pretty genius side-by-side.

Biwa kicked ass as usual with their braised pork lettuce wraps with pickled veggies.

Fratelli was set up right next to Biwa with some yummy rockfish crudo that got topped with yuzu foam seconds after I took this photo.

No, he did not get stuck in the ice cream cooler. 50 Licks' coconut lemon saffron sorbet is incredible.

Andina had a lovely spread of marinated fish in a aji colorado al batan sauce, fava bean salad and okra rellena stuffed with braised oxtail. Top that why don't you.

We hung out with friends until the lights-out end. Another fantastic Taste of the Nation with 100 percent of proceeds going to local child hunger relief organizations. Cheers Portland!

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
5-9pm
LUXE Autohaus
410 NE 17th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Stay tuned for next year’s Taste of the Nation
www.portlandtaste.org

Homemade Dim Sum

January 6th, 2011

Christmas shrimp serrano ginger shao mai.

We had a home on the range, quiet Christmas this year. It was just my boyfriend and I so we decided to cook up two of our favorite things — seafood and dim sum. For supplies we went to Uwajimaya in Beaverton. We filled the cart with shao mai ingredients, two Dungeness crabs (live when we chose them but killed and eviscerated before handed over the counter), a couple pounds of prawns, nice sake, Kirin Ichiban, and more.

On Christmas Eve for dinner we started with Dungeness in drawn butter mixed with a generous squeeze of lime. One of my favorite things in the world to eat. Then we set to making our traditional shao mai, skins and all, from the cookbook below. The next day we used the same techniques but changed the filling to mostly shrimp with lots of serrano, ginger and shitakes. Awesome.

I’ve had Mai Leung’s book for years and finally got around to using it. I love potstickers and have pretty much used the same Florence Lin recipe, and variations of it of course, for years. I’ve finally taken a bite out of this book now and I’m looking forward to trying other recipes. I love Leung’s stories peppered throughout. The illustrations are pretty great too. Here’s what we made. Happy New Year!

This is what we filled the shrimp/serrano/ginger shao mai with...

Our instructor...

Nice illustrations...

We also made these classic shao mai -- skins and all.

And steamed them up.

Uwajimaya
10500 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.
Beaverton, Oregon
503.643.4512
www.uwajimaya.com