Feast Portland, Day 2: Imperial, Tastings and A Party at Lardo

Day 2 of Feast began for me at 8am, an hour I don’t typically engage with unless it involves getting on a plane. However, this is Feast after all so an 8am presence must involve something incredibly delicious.

And delicious it was…

I started off my Friday morning at the Feast Portland Media Breakfast, which took place at Imperial at the Hotel Lucia. The buffet selection was a delicious spread full of Imperial’s signature brunch items (think fry bread, corn cakes and fantastic pastries) as well as Bloody Mary’s and Irish Coffees (which I resisted considering it was…err…8am).

***
Apres Imperial, I had intended to chill out with a cup of Stumptown and blog at the Urbanspoon Media Lounge, however this thing called ‘needing a nap’ got in the way, so I rushed home for a two hour power snooze before heading back downtown for the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting at Pioneer Square.

The gist of the Alaska Airlines sponsored Tasting (which spanned over both Friday and Saturday) was that a tent was set up featuring Oregonian vendors and artisans providing samples of their fare. The majority of vendors were regional wineries and craft breweries, but there were also local bakeries, restaurants and local artisans such as Jacobsen’s Sea Salt, Bee Local, and Masala Pop (think tamarind masala popcorn snacks and the like). There was also a KitchenAid stage where celebrity chefs showcased cooking demos, a Whole Foods booth where you can get free printed tote bags, and a Bon Appetit Magazine tent that featured the famous Olympic Provisions Meat Spread.

After gorging myself on samples of breads, wine, cheese, and chocolates (rough life, I know); I headed home for yet another nap. I know, Feast is exhausting.

I ended up going out to a light dinner with Anne at Interurban since I didn’t get tickets to the Night Market, which was the main event du jour (or du soir rather) for Feast.

Afterwards however, we headed down to Lardo West at the Indigo for a Chefstable Feast after party…and boy was it fun. I do admit though I regret having skipped the party right before, a soiree at Irving Street Kitchen that included a FULL ON CAVIAR BAR. Oh well…at least we made it to this one.

When reaching there, Anne and I met up with Adam, one of our friends who runs his own professional knife shop (talk about the perfect kind of afterparties to network at). As three of Chefstable’s restaurants, Racion, Grassa and Lardo are all interconnected at the bottom floor of the Indigo, all were opened up to accommodate the massive amount of people who showed up to this party. There were chefs, famous food writers, judges, other industry workers, bartenders, event sponsors, media/blogger peeps and everyone else lucky enough to be ‘in the know’ about such a fantastic party.

Plus, as can be expected from such a party, the food and booze is something to write home about. We’re talking Aviation Gin and Juice kegs in one room, 40s of Olde English mixed with OJ, sangria jello shots and champagne otter pops. Oh yeah, and the game of Flip Cup that took up half of Grassa…so in other words we were at a very high class frat party.

At around 1am or so, I headed home- there was yet another full day of Feasting left and I needed nothing more than a good night’s rest and a couple of bottles of Acqua Panna. If you think day 2 of Feast looks awesome, wait until I show you what Day 3 was like!

For more information on the Friday Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting (and the vendors who were present), check out this link:

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Thirteen Things

I was dangerously close to starting this year off on a questionable foot.

Luckily, I have four inch Kate Spade pumps and subzero temperatures to thank for vetoing an otherwise certain trek to Taco Bell.

Naturally, an evening abundant with Clicquot-instigated fizz and bliss results in a drastic drop in blood sugar and depending on your geographic location it will sometimes not be possible to access a late night brie and pear crepe, lamb merguez hot dog, or my personal favourite, the C-Burger.

Instead, you may find that one of your friends has garnered a generous stack of Free Chalupa cards from recent Blazers victories and naturally you also find that there is indeed a Taco Bell within walkable distance.

Again, had it been even a mere ten degrees warmer and had I thought to tote more walkable footwear, then I would have been in severe danger of starting off 2013 with a chalupa…whatever that even is. I’m not dissing Taco Bell, i swear, it’s just I believe that should I choose to go that route it should be sometime later in the year on a much less climactic 2am occurrence.

Anyhow, the anticlimactic ending of this ‘story’ is that my first “meal” of 2013 consisted of five of us huddled around a kitchen counter dipping gluten free bagels in various tubs of cream cheese (fat free, goat herb, and some other ambiguous one that looked cranberry-infused). It could have been far worse. 

***

Between that unconventional late-night bagel & cream cheese feast and this very moment there have been thirteen very noteworthy dishes split and sampled between myself and my various dining partners (namely my mother, Yurop, Merica, Kyle, Anne, Brook, and Erica):

Simpatica Dining Hall: Chicken Confit Hash with sweet potato, parsnip, cabbage, carrot, onion, whole grain mustard, and yukon potato served with two over easy eggs
Simpatica Dining Hall: Chicken Confit Hash with sweet potato, parsnip, cabbage, carrot, onion, whole grain mustard, and yukon potato served with two over easy eggs
Simpatica Dining Hall: Cheeseburger with Laurelhurst Market bacon, zucchini pickles, lettuce, white cheddar, and brioche bun
Simpatica Dining Hall: Cheeseburger with Laurelhurst Market bacon, zucchini pickles, lettuce, white cheddar, and brioche bun
Simpatica Dining Hall: Frittata with crimini & shiitake mushrooms, leeks, tarragon, salsa verde, & fromage blanc
Simpatica Dining Hall: Frittata with crimini & shiitake mushrooms, leeks, tarragon, salsa verde, & fromage blanc
Imperial: Cod with pork belly over a bed of lentils
Imperial: Cod with pork belly over a bed of lentils
Imperial: Steak over chanterelles with garlic butter
Imperial: Steak over chanterelles with garlic butter
Irving Street Kitchen: "Feast" burger with sauteed arugula
Irving Street Kitchen: “Feast” burger with sauteed arugula
Irving Street Kitchen: Fried Chicken and Waffle with poached egg and buttermilk syrup
Irving Street Kitchen: Fried Chicken and Waffle with poached egg and buttermilk syrup
Laurelhurst Market: Steak & Sauteed Escarole -- Piedmontese Bavette, Ancho Chili Romesco, Jacobsen's Oregon Salt
Laurelhurst Market: Steak & Sauteed Escarole — Piedmontese Bavette, Ancho Chili Romesco, Jacobsen’s Oregon Salt
Laurelhurst Market: Fried cauliflower with rosemary and pear butter
Laurelhurst Market: Fried cauliflower with rosemary and pear butter
Laurelhurst Market: Afton Field Farm Chicken "Under a Brick" -- Brussels Sprouts, Apples, Roasted Shallots, Polenta Cake, Smoked Balsamic
Laurelhurst Market: Afton Field Farm Chicken “Under a Brick” — Brussels Sprouts, Apples, Roasted Shallots, Polenta Cake, Smoked Balsamic
Laurelhurst Market: Mac and Cheese with Tim's Potato Chip crust
Laurelhurst Market: Mac and Cheese with Tim’s Potato Chip crust
Ken's Artisan Pizza:  Arrabiata pizza with tomato sauce, hot calabrian chilies, mozzarella, basil
Ken’s Artisan Pizza: Arrabiata pizza with tomato sauce, hot calabrian chilies, mozzarella, basil

***

A good start to the year on that note; and a theme I intend to continue. In the spirit of for once keeping a semi-consistent theme to a post, I have made a list below of thirteen Portland establishments on my hit list; if you know me or are not sketchy then feel free to let me know if you would like to join me at any of the following:

  1. Aviary
  2. Ox
  3. Luce
  4. Roe
  5. Ava Gene’s
  6. Le Pigeon
  7. Lincoln
  8. DOC
  9. Evoe
  10. Raven & Rose
  11. Boxer Sushi
  12. St. Jack’s
  13. Uno Mas

What was your first meal this year?

Five Brunches Later…

Today Sunday Funday did not happen. Instead, I saved around $45-60, slept on three occasions, hit up the grocery store to stock up on socks, Listerine strips, and condiments (I can’t believe I just purchased socks at a grocery store…), read the ENTIRE Best Restaurants issue of Portland Monthly back to back, and paid off my entire credit card balance for all the damage that bloody peace of plastic incurred from my social-heavy lifestyle over the course of the past month.

***

I woke up in NE Portland at the abode of three of my good friends next to a San Pellegrino-less San Pellegrino bottle and my various tidbits of prior night bling neatly arranged on the adjacent coffee table. It had been night two of Halloween festivities and I had so wisely decided to be lazy and pull a “Kim Kardashian Goes to Yoga” outfit…in other words the sort of things I wear the 50% of the time when I fall asleep in something other than a sequined dress. At some point I couldn’t locate a coffeemaker so I stealthily snuck out of the house and drove back to my humble abode to brew an 8-cup pot, send a mass text to Sunday Funday participants hinting at the notion that this weather was really not conducive to gentrified location hopping, and then proceeded to go back to bed. Excuse any grammatical errors of the prior photograph. 

***

Erica and Anne are my Sunday Funday crew…sometimes additional participants join and sometimes Anne has yoga teacher training or bootcamp so it just ends up being Erica and I. Typically the day commences with gentrified brunch, ends at The Hilt and contains anywhere from two to five locations in between entailing anything from some sort of non-clothing shopping, a distillery tasting, fancy forms of caffeination,  hot yoga, craft cocktails or microbrews and of course foie gras in one format or another.

Now, enough with the words and let’s look at our beacons of Sunday morning glory from the past several weeks:

Ned Ludd, NE MLK Blvd

Brunch Menu
Bloody Mary & Orange Mimosa

Being the Bloody Mary enthusiast that she is, Erica claims that  Ned Ludd has the best Bloody Mary in all of Portland…and believe me, she has tried A LOT of Bloody Marys

Erica: Seasonal Vegetable Hash with poached hen’s egg and smoked trout
Me: Trout filet with charred leeks and cucumber/carrot salad
Absolutely exquisite.

This hidden gem on NE MLK is most certainly a new favourite between the light and innovative brunch fare and homely ambiance. The only complaint: They were sold out of way too many dishes by the time we got there…but then again it was probably our fault for postponing brunch until 1:30 PM

Ned Ludd on Urbanspoon

Tin Shed Garden Cafe, NE Alberta

Erica: Veggie Pesto Scramble with cream cheese and a buttermilk biscuit
Anne: Something with tons of gravy, bacon, eggs, sausage, and biscuits…
Me: Sweet Chix (Chicken Apple sausage scramble with brie and apple)

We wanted biscuits…and the line at Pine State was too long; this was nevertheless a deliciously hearty choice.

Tin Shed Garden Cafe on Urbanspoon

OttoSE Hawthorne

Beignets with caramel and berry preserves

Be wary; these warm puffs of irresistibility will put you to sleep…I took a three hour nap after this brunch.

Anne: Omelette with fresh vegetables and manchego
Me: Spicy Lamb Burger with Olive Pastiche

Otto is a darling little spot right up on Hawthorne near Castagna; there was no wait whatsoever and the food was fresh albeit a tad generic. The beignets were by far the star of the show; my lamb burger could have had more accroutements and I was not a fan of the bun: innards ratio (way too much bread…and not the freshest in my not-so-humble opinion)

Otto on Urbanspoon

MetrovinoNW 11th

Grapefruit mimosa and Espresso-infused Ramazzotti on the rocks
Anne: Pork belly confit hash with sherry cream and wine-poached egg
Me: Baked eggs with arugula, leek, spinach, pimenton-dusted feta, grilled bread

Metrovino recently launched it’s brunch service and such as was the case with Otto, there was barely anyone there when we came in at around noon on a Sunday. Anne’s dish was anticlimactic, mine was hearty but nothing to write home about; however that’s in no way to dis Metrovino. Their bar list is impressive whether it’s the libations or vast selection of wine flights- and for the record they do have a killer cheeseburger and an incredible happy hour both in terms of value and quality.

Metrovino on Urbanspoon

ImperialSW Broadway (At the Hotel Lucia)

Semolina Corn Cake: poached eggs and house smoked bacon, maple syrup
and Imperial barrel-aged hot sauce
Imperial French Toast: seasonal fruit, thickened cream, maple syrup
Coddled Eggs: spicy tomato sauce, warm goat cheese, fry-bread
Imperial Pastrami Hash with Poached Eggs
Fry-Bread: house chorizo and soft scrambled egg, spicy tomato
and avocado salad
Chocolate Ice Box Cake: hazelnut ice cream, candied hazelnuts, toasted meringue
Double Milk Flan: roasted peaches, peach sorbet, brown butter crisps
Sticky Toffee Gingerbread: caramel pudding, candied pecans, baked pears

Famed Portland Chef, Vitaly Paley’s newest endeavour is an absolute winner in every way possible. Imperial is located in the former Typhoon space at The Hotel Lucia on SW Broadway, finally bringing high quality modern American cuisine to downtown Portland. The restaurant is spacious and everything on the menu is a delectable choice. So far, I have only been here for drinks and brunch and while the brunch is delightful and accented with a tinge of Native American influence; I am more a fan of the drinks and salads. Per the recommendation of one of our bartender friends, Erica and I came in one night for some of the impeccable craft cocktails (they also make their own vermouth on site) and perhaps the best gentrified salad we have ever had (think kale with shredded raw vegetables, sunflower seed brittle, and a light goat cheese dressing). And the best part: the cocktails are relatively affordable for their calibre (think $7-$9)

For Brunch, all three desserts were on the house and the clear favourite was the creamy velvety flan. We have also heard through word of mouth that the burger and duck meatballs are to die for…which is why we are planning on going back tomorrow night.

Imperial on Urbanspoon