Some Thoughts on Roux

Last weekend I attended two events—a panel and a meal—at Roux, a new festival focusing on “food and beverage experience led by the women redefining it.” Overall I had a good time, but the introvert in me was definitely challenged by the networking and socializing that accompanied both events; but it stretched me in a good way. Shoutout to Rachel, Kat, Courtney, and Yuki for being so friendly.

The first event I attended was the Future of Food Practices panel at Bar West on Saturday. First, it’s a really nice space—dining room with table seating up front with a gorgeous wooden bar with comfy leather seat topped stools and a sizeable event space in the back. We were offered a few snacks (egg salad sandos were my favorite) and adorable little cans of branded cold brew coffee.

The panel’s speakers had a lot of good things to say but the discussion with Caitlin Hata about limiting food waste and local agriculture with Portland’s own Side Yard Farm’s Stacey Givens had the most impact for me. Loved hearing about dehydrating juiced celery pulp for celery salt, the joys of lovage, and all the things you can do with easily-bolting cilantro. It has helped me look at food waste differently and in more creative ways. Plus, I loved hearing about the origin of the Side Yard Farm’s name!

Originally I had planned to attend the Basics of World Cuisines workshop on Sunday but they didn’t have enough registrants, so the organizers graciously offered me the opportunity to attend the Brunch Culture meal at Yonder (whose Kickstarter I funded). It felt a little awkward going there alone but my tablemates were kind and friendly and I really enjoyed their company. The meal was produced by Yonder’s Maya Lovelace and Ashleigh Shanti, Chef de Cuisine of Benne on Eagle in Asheville, NC.

Highlights for me from the meal were the chicory salad with coffee-roasted carrots, pickled apples, black walnut brown butter vinaigrette; baked Tuxpeno grits with buttermilk collar britches + hot sauce vinaigrette; and spiced brown sugar pecan sticky buns with buttermilk glaze. Normally I’m not big on chicories (too bitter) but this prep was delicious; that butter vinaigrette was spectacular. Best part of the grits were the greens, and the sticky buns were comforting and warm and almost melted in your mouth. The low points for me were the hominy cakes and the catfish; hominy cakes were too dense and low on flavor and the catfish was a bit tough for my taste, but the coating was quite good. You can see pictures I took of the meal on Instagram.

Also on Sunday I headed over to the Ace Hotel for the popup market, but I definitely had the wrong idea about how the popup market was structured. I thought it would be staffed by the makers but it was a little stand by reception at the hotel. There were a lot of great items there but I was hoping for something a bit more interactive. I ended up spending the time I had set aside shopping over at nearby Powell’s, picking up the final book in the Binti triology by Nnedi Okorafor.

Thanks to the organizers for all their hard work producing a high-quality weekend of events. I look forward to attending next year’s Roux!

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Bridgetown Bites is written by Meg Cotner, a food loving freelance writer, editor and published author in Portland, OR.

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