Old Faithful Restaurant Of The Week: Clyde Common

downloadWhile it may be attached to Ace Hotel, Clyde Common is far from the chicken Caesar salad fare you might see at a hotel restaurant. It’s no secret that their infamous cocktail program is fantastic. But I will admit it’s their tender handmade pastas, ever- changing with seasonal vegetables like nettles and fiddlehead ferns, that keep me coming back.

Drink This: Barrel-Aged Negroni. Small and mighty, this fuschia-hued beverage may look Sex and the City but is bitter, smooth and and anything but sweet.

To Start: Order the Squid Ink Fideos for the table. The base of the dish is small pasta circles, sautéed risotto-style, which is then covered in a jet-black squid ink sauce studded with seafood and sausage. This dish is complex and decadent, yet completely cream-less. I’ve been told that one of the key ingredients to its complexity is a tomato pepper jam.

For Dinner: Any of the house-made pastas (get the bigger size). Recent menu options have been paparadelle with crab and roe and fettuccine with poached egg and pickled ramps. But you can’t really go wrong here.

Tip: If you happen to make it in for happy hour (daily 3-6 pm) grab the burger for a mere $6. It’s one of my favorites in town; always perfectly pink inside and incredibly juicy.

Find regular menu changes at their hours here.

Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival: Recap

find my original article here

Here in Portland, we appreciate the little guy—we have bumper stickers reminding us to

Irving Street Kitchen Chef Sarah Schafer (photo by Drew Martig)

love our farmer, our brewer, our baker. Last Saturday, the Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival highlighted this kind of attention with yet another successful event (its sixth, to be exact).

Co-founders Lisa Donoughe of food public-relations firm Watershed Communications and Catherine Healy of Flint Design Company rounded up 51 wineries and 17 of Portland’s best restaurants to remind us of the greatness that can come from the little guy. The event was held in the stunning Bison Building in inner Northeast Portland, with high ceilings and lots of natural light. The space seemed to be made for such a tasteful, classy event.

So, what qualifies as an indie winery? This kind of winery sells wines that are produced in small batches, so small in fact that many of these wines haven’t seen grocery store shelves nor Portland’s wine lists just yet. Wines made this way feature attention to detail and quality, and all are filled with heart. On Saturday, it was evident that each wine-maker, whether it was the 37 festival alumni or the 14 new guys on the scene, were all just grateful to be sharing their wines with Portland. Here are some of the highlights:

Dion Vineyards served a memorable and refreshing Pinot Gris that took a nice break from some of the heavier reds being poured.

Trinity Vineyards had a 2007 Syrah, which had silky mouthfeel and just enough tannins.

Utopia poured their 2008 Ribbon Ridge Estate Pinot Noir, which was reminiscent of dark berries with a complex body.

White Rose Estates stood out with their especially rich, jammy 2008 Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir.

Although the wineries were certainly the stars of the event, it’s hard to ignore the list of fantastic restaurants present, all headed by the actual owners and executive chefs. Some of the food standouts were:

Irving Street kitchen’s chef Sarah Schafer offered up a well-seasoned meatball made from veal, beef, and pork in a sauce au poivre. A smear of creamy polenta added texture to this heavenly bite.

Metrovino’s chef, Greg Denton, definitely deserved an award for the most unique, flavor-packed bite: He prepared a tender goat confit atop crispy flatbread with spiced goat’s milk yogurt and a strawberry mint salad.

Cheesemonger and owner of Cheese Bar Steve Jones cooked up melty grilled cheese with cheddar and earthy mushrooms.

Biwa’s Gabe Rosen served up refreshing lettuce wraps filled with braised pork bo-ssam and Japanese pickled vegetables that were a nice break from heartier dishes.

Simpatica Dining Hall & Catering’s Jason Owen served a crostini topped with a rich bourbon chicken-liver mousse and a tangy pickled rhubarb.

The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar’s owner and chef Jackie Sappington brought dessert first (and likely many trips following that) with Ovaltine ice cream studded with salted caramel pieces.

Lastly, chocolatier Julian Rose from Moonstruck Chocolate Company brought two kinds of luxurious truffles—one dark chocolate and one light.

Ravioli With Sage and Breadcrumbs

Find my published recipe here

There are few things easier—or more delicious—than a bowl of pasta dressed just right. This particular recipe is a little decadent, perhaps more of a weekend meal than an average school night dinner. It would be simple to tweak this in a healthier direction; just simply sub the breadcrumbs and pasta for whole-wheat versions and skip the butter step.

Either way you choose to make it, this meal is special. There is elegance from the sage, and something extremely satisfying from the breadcrumbs. If you’ve never tried pasta with breadcrumbs, you’re in for a treat—it’s extremely simple, but rewarding, because it is reminiscent of a breaded meat dish.

Substantial and satisfying, this dish is a reward to yourself, or simply double it for those you consider good company.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces stuffed pasta, fresh or frozen (I used cheese ravioli)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter
  • 5 leaves of sage, torn into small pieces

Method:

Bring a small saucepan to a boil. When bubbles first appear, add salt generously. Add pasta, and if frozen bring to a simmer. If you are using fresh pasta, follow instructions on the package.

Simmer pasta for 4–6 minutes, or until cooked through (taste a piece to check).

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet to medium and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add breadcrumbs to the pan. Move the breadcrumbs around in the pan with a spatula for a minute or so, until all the oil is gone and the breadcrumbs are deeper brown color.

Place pasta in a bowl, add butter and mix until melted. Top with the sage leaves and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper and eat immediately. Serves one.

A Nice Tall Glass

Although this summer hasn’t been blazing hot (at least not on the west coast), it’s always nice to have something refreshing to drink. These are non-alcoholic options, but feel free to enjoy these with a splash of gin or vodka.

Watermelon “soda”
Ingredients:
1 cup watermelon, chopped and seeded
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup mineral water, club soda or tonic

Method:
Blend watermelon and a little bit of cold water together for a few minutes until smooth. If you don’t like pulp, strain the mixture.

Next, add the mixture to a tall glass and add mineral water. Garnish with a mint sprig or a lime. If it needs sweetness, add some honey or agave nectar, but it most likely won’t need it. Serves one.

Herb Ice
Ingredients:
1/4 cup of herbs of your choice: mint and basil are a fine combination; cilantro works well also.
Water

Method:
Either chop up herbs or tear them with your fingers and place one or two small pieces in each ice cube compartment. Fill with water like you would with regular ice.

When ice cubes are done, serve with mineral water and a lime if you have one. Serves 2–4 people.

Cucumber Ice
Ingredients:
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
Water

Method:
Make the same way you would with the herb ice.

When finished, serve with herb ice, water (mineral or flat), and a sliced and seeded serrano pepper for some kick.

.find my original drink article here

Harissa Bloody Mary


*recipe published in the Daily Vanguard*

Harissa (a North African spice paste) has been showing up in a lot of my cooking these days.It’s got a nice balance between smoke and spice, and adds a good kick to any traditional tomato dish. You can buy harissa at well-stocked grocery stores (Whole Foods, New Seasons or plenty of ethnic markets), or make your own by soaking dried chiles and then grinding them with spices in a coffee grinder.
Here’s a harissa-laced breakfast beverage-I prefer gin myself, but feel free to use vodka. It’s your thing, do what you wana do.

Harissa Bloody Mary

Ingredients
6 cups of R.W. Knudsen Family Very Veggie juice (or any other low-sodium tomato juice)
3 tablespoons of harissa paste
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
3 grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons of horseradish
4 ounces of gin
The juice from one big lemon or two Meyer lemons
Several shakes of Worchester
1 tablespoon of salt
Celery sticks, green bean or asparagus for garnish
Ice

Method
Add ice to pitcher, filling up about halfway. Fill with gin or vodka. Add tomato juice and stir with large spoon. Stir in harissa, tasting along the way to fit your heat preferences. Add peppers, horseradish, lemon juice, Worchester and salt. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with celery, asparagus or green bean. Serves four.