A Look Back at the 10th Annual Portland Fermentation Festival

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A clever take on “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Annual Portland Fermentation Festival AKA Stinkfest. Sure, it was aromatic in there (Ecotrust’s Billy Frank Jr. Conference Center) but not offensively so (at least to my nose). The event started a little after 6pm with a keynote speech by David Zilber of the Noma Fermentation Lab. Continue reading “A Look Back at the 10th Annual Portland Fermentation Festival”

Love for WokShop Kitchen’s Salad Rolls

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Photo credit: WokShop Kitchen

Soon after I moved to the Sumner neighborhood I was driving along 82nd Avenue and came across WokShop Kitchen near NE Tillamook. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, to be honest, and the Plaid Pantry next door is undeniably sketch, but this place is worth your time if you are a fan of American-style Asian food.

I’ve had Chinese American food here that totally nails the classic flavors of this cuisine. Recently I had a plate of Kung Pow Chicken that tasted exactly how I think American-style Chinese food should taste, complete with those little baby corns. I also love their General Tso’s Chicken, which is generously covered in a healthy amount of tangy, slightly sweet brown sauce with a little heat. But what I love most there are the salad rolls. Continue reading “Love for WokShop Kitchen’s Salad Rolls”

Four Things I Learned This Week (October 11)

Welcome to this edition of Four Things I Learned This Week!

New yums at Muji. Oyatsupan, Beaverton’s celebrated Japanese bakery, announced that they have a presence at Muji in downtown Portland: “Guess what?! We’ve starting selling a small amount of our pastries inside the café of #mujiportland! Come see how cute their store is, and stay tuned for more exciting things coming…”

Little Bird flies away. The popular bistro Little Bird will close; Sunday, October 27 is its final day of service. I’ve had some good food there—including some delicious dumplings during Dumpling Week. It’s a lovely spot and I will miss it.

Captain Obvious is writing for WalletHub. No surprise to us that Portland is a top “foodie-friendly” town. Here are some stats (1=Best; 91=Avg):

    • 6th – Restaurants per Capita
    • 1st – Affordability & Accessibility of Highly Rated Restaurants
    • 10th – Gourmet Specialty-Food Stores per Capita
    • 1st – Craft Breweries & Wineries per Capita
    • 1st – Coffee & Tea Shops per Capita
    • 25th – Number of Grocery Stores per Capita

Progress with Collective Oregon Eateries. The 82nd Ave. Business Association posted a photo on Instagram with this caption: “This development is picking up steam. Nice to see progress on the future food hall and cart pod!” The Farm House Restaurant is gone and the new structure is on its way to completion. Willamette Week reported back in 2017 that CORE food hall “will draw from cuisines across the spectrum. In addition to at least nine indoor mini-restaurants in the an 8,500-square-foot space—a bit similar to the Pine Street Market—the parking lot will house 15 or so outdoor food carts, a covered patio and parking for both bikes and cars.” The location is SE 82nd Ave and SE Lafayette.

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!

Press Some Apples, Support the Beech Street Community Garden

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Have you been by the Beech Street Community Garden? It’s a sweet space on the south side of of The Grotto (another beautiful spot) in the Madison South neighborhood. They are holding a fundraiser for the garden—pressing apples for apple juice—on Sunday, October 13, from 1-4pm with a sliding scale of $5 to $50 per person to participate. Funds will go to improve the garden—purchase supplies, seeds, tools and materials for future seasons. Continue reading “Press Some Apples, Support the Beech Street Community Garden”