Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Weekend Eats

My birthday was Friday. Needless to say, I ate a lot of good food over the weekend.

Friday, Lunch - 'Za at the office

We ordered up 2 large Hot Lips pizzas (one was cheese, for the vegetarians, the other was their tasty housmade pepperoni for the meat eaters). For wines, we had:
  • 1990 Bert Simon Serrig Wurtzberg Riesling Auslese
  • 1992 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon "Eisele Vineyard"
  • 1997 Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico
  • 1998 V. Girardin Pommard "Clos des Lambots"
  • 1998 V. Girardin Gevrey-Chambertin "Les Champeaux" (corked)
  • 1998 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco "Ovello"
  • 1999 McKinlay Pinot Noir "Special Selection"
  • 2001 Anne Gros Vosne-Romanee "Les Barreaux" (corked)
Friday, Dinner - Le Pigeon

New place in town. I'd been hearing good things. Old sous chef at Gotham. Etc etc. Let's just cut to the chase, this was one of the best meals I'd had out in some time. Here's the rundown of what my dining companions and I shared...
  • Mixed green salad with a lovely buttermilk dressing
  • Foie Gras
  • Flat Iron Steak with Marrow Crostini
  • Squab with duck fat potatoes
  • Burger (w/ pickled onions and slaw), also with duck fat potatoes
  • Chocolate sea salt tart with mint pesto
  • Grilled peach with goat cheese ice cream
  • Cornbread "cake" with apricots, bacon, and maple ice cream
Honestly, it was truly amazing. Word is the brunch is killer too (see Sunday, breakfast a little further down the post)

Friday, drinks - Gilt Club

Faithful readers know if my love for the Moscow mule. Gilt Club has it on their menu. We go for drinks after dinner. Mmm.

Saturday, breakfast - Di Prima Dolce

Lucky for me, Di Prima's once-a-month Zeppoli Saturday is the day after my birthday. I go, accompanied by a number of friends. We eat lots of Zeppoli. I'd say, in total, we had to have eaten close to 15 orders (3 zeppoli per order). Coffee, too, of course.

Saturday, dinner - Lemongrass beef

We cook at home in Saturday. We make a few alterations to Guilty Carnivore's recipe for lemongrass beef (minor alterations, like extra garlic). We have Moscow mules, because they seem like they'd be a good match. On the side, M served up a little cucumber salad. All served with jasmine rice. Mmm, this is tasty. We'll be making this again, without a doubt.

Sunday, breakfast - Le Pigeon

We head back to what has become my new favorite restaurant, Le Pigeon. We get breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese, and some heavenly bacon) with salad and potatoes. Although we like dinner better, the brunch totally rocks. Stumptown French press and '05 Perrone Moscato d'Asti. Lovely.

Sunday, dinner - Chicken

Sounds simple, and that was the idea. It's hot out. We invite CC and Porkchop over for dinner. Basic chicken breast grilled over mesquite (Porkchop was grill master for the night). Salt and pepper only, no real marinate. Mango cilantro salsa on the side. Corn on the cob, green leaf lettuce salad with heirloom tomatoes and housemade vinaigrette (by CC). Baguette with homemade butter. A little wine. Nice night out on the back patio, under the stars, with friends. A good and fitting end to my birthday weekend.

Unfortunately, I was too busy enjoying myself to take any photos, so you'll have to let your imagination run wild.

One last thing, if you haven't yet been to Le Pigeon, you should go already. If you have, you should go back. So good!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dinner with CC

I had a lovely dinner last evening at CC's place in NW PDX. It had been way too long since we'd properly dined together (mostly my fault). So, she invited me over, and all I had to bring were dried currants, one whole nutmeg, and some hazelnuts.

We had:

  • A Dr. Loosen Riesling, I think it was Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese (2003 vintage? CC, correct me if I'm wrong).
  • A lovely salad with mixed greens, edible flowers, dried currants, goat cheese, and hazelnuts. Dressed with a moscato vinaigrette.
  • Cappellini with cream, butter, lemon zest, and a little freshly shaved nutmeg.
A simple, lovely dinner. Why don't we do this more often?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Zach Attack

It's Tuesday and nearing the noon hour. Lunch time has arrived, friends. I'm on SE Hawthorne and heading back to the office. Consensus is dogs. We usually hit the Dog House on Burnside, but today, I decide to surprise my co-workers with tasty treats from Zach's Shack.

Only two of us got dogs (the third person at the office brought a salad (?!?) for lunch instead).

Boss lady got a plain dog with extra hot mustard. Pretty good.

I go a bit more esoteric, a red hot (as Zach puts it, a "very spicy pork and beef red hot” sausage with hints of paprika and garlic) with cole slaw. I figure the two will be nice contrasts and foils for one another. It was SO satisfying. If you haven't had a slaw dog before, I highly recommend it. Mmmm.

I've including a photo of the whole dog, untouched, and one that shows off the beautiful stratigraphic layers. How lovely!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Taqueria Villanueva

Queen E, MA, and I were at the office earlier this week. The lunch hour was quickly approaching. We needed some food.

Our usual options (Dockside for salads, Russell St. BBQ for pulled pork) just didn't sound right. MA had seen a taco truck just a little way down Front Ave near those new hideous condos. We agreed that tacos sounded good.

We hoped into the car and headed that direction, but when we got to where MA was SURE the cart had been parked, it wasn't. What to do. We all had our hearts set on tacos, so we agreed to head down to SW 3rd, food cart row. We stopped at the first taco stand we saw, Taqueria Villanueva. Yep, they have a horse on the side of their cart.

Queen E wanted one chicken taco and one beef taco (I got her a machaca beef with some sort of mild green sauce). MA got a pastor burrito. I get a machaca taco a pastor taco. You can see photos of all, except the chicken taco, above and to the left.

The pastor taco, in my mind, was the hit, although the machaca wasn't bad. The burrito was big and hefty, and a good price.

As time goes on, I find that I prefer the light little flavor bomb tacos in their tasty tortilla shells to the big (often too big) and heavy gut bomb burritos. But that's just me. I think I'm on a tacos al pastor quest. Anyone have suggestions around town they'd like to share?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cooking with M

So, I'm behind a little on blog entries. I'm feeling a little motivated by CC's slew of posts on The Devouring Woman, so here is the first of 3 that will hopefully all appear in the next day or two.

This little entry will recount the tale of the first time M and I cooked together. We had talked about what to prepare for days, and finally settled on a favorite of ours, hangar steak. When we finally got over to New Seasons, they, of course, didn't have any. We opted, at the butcher's recommendation, for flat iron. The steak was prepped very simply: a good dose of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. The lovely piece of meat was then seared in a skillet on the stove before being taken out to a hot, mesquite charcoal fueled grill.

Meanwhile, M was inside sauteeing (heirloom star) squash with onions and zucchini (all from the Gardener's garden) while boiling some sweet corn.

The meal came together quite nicely, as you can see in the photos (I've somehow screwed up my focusing technique, need to work on that). The steak was covered in a lovely red wine, shallot pan sauce, the sauteed squash was garnished with a little fresh parsley, and the corn was served with a little home-made butter and sea salt. We also had a couple of nice cheeses, including the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (a cooperative venture of Vermont cheesemakers Cabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farmcheese) that won best in show at the recent American Cheese Society meeting.

For wine, we had a stunning 2000 (although technically n/v) Leon Barral Valiniere. Here's a nice little description of the wine from A&B Vintners...
In the Valiniere we have one of Southern France's greatest reds. It is 80% Mourvedre, from the healthiest vines imaginable, and 20% Syrah and is velvet in a bottle. Mourvedre always needs a bit of time but this is well worth the wait. The 2000, although still a baby, is sublime right now, seamless, i.e. no hard edges, with unbelievable depth of fruit and great length on the palate. Those of you who love Mourvedre should be involved with this wine.
And you all know me, I LOVE Mourvedre...

Fantastic meal, great times in the kitchen, an altogether lovely evening.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I just posted a video on my dinner club's blog (click here to link) that EVERYONE should check out. It's unbelievable. Hurra Torpedo, a musical group from Norway covering Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' Did I mention that 2 of the 3 band members bang on kitchen appliances for sound?