Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Portland, Oregon and Sloe Gin Fizz

Hello friends! I am just back from a trip to Portland, OR for a conference for independent entrepreneurs called Pioneer Nation. The schedule of speakers and sessions was top notch and had me itching to get back in touch with all of you so could I tell you all about it … and more importantly about all the food I stuffed in my face while in this amazing food town. Are you with me?

First off, I loved this folded paper, life size station wagon and camper hanging in the terminal at PDX.

Next up, the establishing shot … oops. Should that have been first? Anyway, let's get on with the FOOD!

Within one hour of touch down, I was scarfing down a magnificent down and dirty sandwich at Bunk Downtown, just blocks from our hotel. I had the Oregon Albacore Tuna Melt. I never thought I would enjoy mustard with my tuna but here it is brilliant as paired with olive oil, balsamic, pickles and cheddar. I have to keep my energy up, right?!

That night, we hit the requisite food truck parked handily outside the conference venue. Thrive was a healthy balance to my belly bomb lunch, though, of course, being Portland, both were uber-focused on the finest local ingredients. Here I had the Japanese bowl packed with brown rice, veggies and seaweed and topped with tamari-sesame sauce and local steelhead. So good!

What you see here are the last remnants of an incredible buttery croissant filled with ham and gruyere at Pearl Bakery. Here is where my dining documentation starts to fall apart.

My traveling pal, Jessica Broome and I, were too busy talking shop and getting sh*t done to stop for snaps of the food. Okay, only partly true — sometimes I just forget.

So I'll just do a quick recap. On our second night we had dinner at Bamboo Sushi: Hands down the best sushi I've ever had anywhere — all sustainably sourced. Wow! We followed that up with Salt & Straw ice cream. Ridiculous!!! Such super intense flavors and combinations of tastes. At some point over the weekend we had deviled eggs topped with sopressata baked until slightly crisp at EVOE inside the incredible Pastaworks store.  Oh yea, and we followed that with a charcuterie platter and a bottle of wine. Don't judge!

Pok Pok. I've been reading about this place featuring Thai street food for years. Since they do not take reservations, Jessica and I were well-prepared to wait hours to get in. We lined up, put our names in and started to wander the neighborhood. 

We walked by Ava Gene, another highly recommended place ranked as the fifth best new restaurant in the country by Bon Appetit recently, and for kicks poked our heads in to see if we could get a reservation for the following night. (Our concierge had kinda laughed when we asked him the same.) Lucky stars! They had a table then and there due to a cancellation. Boom! Pok Pok would have to wait. 

We were seated at a table directly behind Andy Ricker, owner of Pok Pok, and proceeded to have a meal so packed with flavors I would never think to combine and yet simple and clean. I just kept saying, "This is why you eat out." Another round!

We returned the next night to sample Pok Pok's not-to-be missed chicken wings, papaya salad, wing beans and cocktails with drinking vinegars like no other. Do you see what I'm saying? Every meal was a winner. Winner, winner, chicken wing, wing beans, dinner.

I tried to walk off some of this gluttony by touring the beautiful and lush Japanese Gardens and surrounding gardens. The camellias, one of my personal favorites, were in their height of bloom and I could not soak in enough of the greenery.

Since many of you first came here for recipes, I hope you enjoyed this little tour and recap. I also want to tell you all about it what has been happening since I scaled back my postings here in such dramatic fashion. If there are any of you still out there, thank you! Bear with me as I get my bearings again … I will work on a longer post with many updates and my latest thoughts on being an artist and entrepreneur and how the two fit together.