Notes from Portland: Take Three
September 26, 2014
A little image from Portland Feast, the fabulous three-day festival where the eating never stops. This was around midnight, and although I couldn't capture it, those pigheads stretched out in a long, strange line. Different chefs did different things – all delicious. Best dish at this particular afterparty? The tripe and pork tacos served up by Brad Farmerie of New York's Saxon and Parole; the scent of those tacos wafted through the air, drawing everyone inexorably over.
Other favorite dishes? At the Sandwich event, Paul Kahan (Publican, Chicago) reimagined the gyro, filling it with eggplant, yogurt and fenugreek to memorable effect. Rick Gencarelli, of Lardo, made incredibly delicious pork and peach sliders – very smoky – with a tiny bit of cheese and a little frisk of arugula. I intended to take a single bite and ended up devouring the entire messily delicious thing. And at the huge High Comfort event I was stunned by Vitaly Paley's sweet and spicy fried chicken, which he served with a watermelon salad.
This was breakfast one morning at Sweedeedee, which struck me as a fine place to begin a Portland day. Laid back – with rules. You can't sit down until your entire party has arrived. You get your own coffee. You bus your own dishes. And you get to weigh in on the music (real vinyl, played with a needle). On this morning? The Kinks. Loved that Andama bread. But what I loved even more was this amazing muffin, bursting wtih blackberries.
You can NOT leave Portland without stopping at Salt and Straw. Kim and Tyler Malek (they're cousins) are reinventing ice cream. Tyler, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, works with local farmers, dairies and chocolate makers to whip up astonishingly delicious concoctions.
My favorite flavors? That pear, blue cheese number was amazing; like an afterdinner dish, frozen for all time. Loved the apricot and hops, with its serious tang. And the freckled chocolate…. it's for grownups, not people addicted to candy bars. Kim says that after tasting their way through the offerings, half their customers end up with Sea Salt and Caramel. My favorite too.
The Portland Farmer's Market is a wonderful place. Pimientos de Padron everywhere. This gorgeous okra.
A blue pumpkin
And this incredible Galeux d'Eysines, which looks more like sculpture than something you can eat. (It apparently keeps well and has sweet, dry flesh that makes excellent pumpkin pie.) If I'd had any room in my suitcase, I would have brought this beauty home.
Instead, I brought this powerful Basque pepper powder- which sits in my kitchen, reminding me of all the reasons to return to Portland.
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