It’s a good time to be a foodie. Eating places are popping up throughout from consolation meals to artisinal to probably the most experimental (eating at the hours of darkness on mushroom foam, anybody?). When a tremendous and burgeoning meals scene can also be in a metropolis that’s a deal with to discover, then it’s actually a good time to be a culinary traveler. Right here, author Bobbie Hasselbring, and photographer Anne Weaver, take a look at Portland Eating Month 2019 to see what’s new and delectable.
Decisions, decisions, decisions… so many nice decisions. That’s
what you get on this yr’s Portland Eating Month (PDM).
Portland, Oregon has lengthy established itself as a foodie scorching spot and their annual March Eating Month is a terrific approach to expertise new eateries, unique cuisines or eat at long-established favorites that might in any other case pinch the pocketbook. Whereas many cities rejoice a winter pre-fixe, pay-one-price eating week, Portland’s restaurant group correctly celebrates the complete month of March. With Three-courses (starter, entrée, and dessert) for an reasonably priced $33 per individual, meals lovers can splurge on a variety of cuisines, together with French, Brazilian, Northwest, Mexican, Japanese, and extra. However with 144 nice decisions to pick from, how do you determine? That’s precisely the dilemma photographer Anne Weaver and I confronted once we have been invited to pattern the 2019 Portland Eating Month’s choices.
A fantastic place to start out is Journey Portland’s terrific Portland Eating Month web site (www.travelportland.com/dining-month/). In alpha order, there’s a quick description of all 144 eating places together with their contact info and PDM menus. Moreover, you can also make reservations on the location by way of Open Desk.
Sadly, none of us can pattern all PDX’s Eating Month
eateries. A method to decide on is to formulate some standards. My standards
included: a restaurant that’s comparatively new to us (or, new idea/possession);
dishes that sounded fascinating (not the identical previous); and a menu that included dessert
(a proper finish to the meal).
I made a brief record of 10 eating places that intrigued me. We rigorously learn via every menu and took turns eliminating ones till two have been left—Jacqueline, a 2-year-old bistro within the Clinton neighborhood targeted on in-season seafood and uber-fresh native veggies and Headwaters, the brand new seafood-oriented place on the Heathman Lodge run by long-time Portland chef and restaurateur Vitaly Paley. Since we couldn’t determine, we opted for each.
Portland Eating Month 2019 – Jacqueline: Tremendous-fresh Seafood in a Informal Neighborhood Setting
Jacqueline is situated in a big previous Portland type house on the nook of SE Clinton and 21st Avenue within the fashionable Clinton neighborhood. The restaurant’s chef/proprietor Derek Hanson’s (previously of Laurelhurst Market) status for daring flavors and spotlessly recent, in-season seafood, make Jacqueline a well-liked selection. Regardless of a wet Wednesday night time, the restaurant’s full bar, oyster bar and dozen tables have been packed. Regardless of no reservations, the employees discovered a desk for us within the bar space after just some minutes.
We have been there to attempt the PDM menu, however who can resist the $1 oysters out there throughout joyful hour (5-7pm)? We ordered a dozen. They got here superbly shucked and iced on the half shell, with lemon wedges and, in eyedropper bottles, sauces that embrace basic Mignonette, two home made scorching sauces, and two flavored/herbed vinegars. We acquired three native oysters: meaty Cougar Creeks; delicate and delicate Genghis Khans from Denton Creek; and deep-cupped, briny beauties from Netarts Bay. All have been splendidly recent and scrumptious.
We have been off to a fantastic begin…
For PDM, Jacqueline presents a single menu: a inexperienced salad with
Meyer lemon and ricotta salada; clams and mussels in a sausage broth; and, for
dessert, buttermilk panna cotta.
The beneficiant salad arrived in a big bowl. It featured
a number of super-fresh bittery lettuces from native Wild Roots Farm and paper-thin
slices of watermelon radish flippantly dressed with Meyer Lemon French dressing.
Pumpkin seeds added a nutty crunch and loads of ricotta salada shreds lent a tacky
creaminess that superbly balanced all of the acidity.
This primary course tell us that each Chef Hanson and Chef
de Delicacies Joel Lul-Kwan love assertive flavors and textures and are expert at
superbly balancing each.
Our entrees arrived: bowls piled excessive with Hama Hama clams
and mussels, crispy smoked potatoes, and gentle cabbage floating in a vibrant
orange broth made with Andouille sausage and burnt savory. This can be a flavor-forward
and completely balanced dish with loads of contrasting textures. Since our
entrée featured broth, Anne ordered Jacqueline’s baguette ($5) and it was a
nice selection. The baguettes come from T Bakery proper down the road and
Jacqueline serves them sliced and heat with tender butter. The baguette’s crispy
crust and a delicate inside provided simply the appropriate tooth and we used it to sop up
each final drop of that tasty broth.
The uber-fresh and scrumptious seafood was steamed in Rainier
lager and the deeply flavorful and mildy spicy Andouille sausage broth was
completed with crème fraiche, giving it a creaminess. However the stars of this dish
have been the crispy, smoky potatoes. They prepare dinner new potatoes in salty water after which
double smoke them with cherry wooden chips and, lastly, deep-fry them to order
in order that they’re super-crispy. Along with entire potatoes within the dish, the broth
was studded all through with bits of crispy potato. (You possibly can order smoked crispy
potatoes ala cart on their common menu too.]
Dessert was buttermilk panna cotta on a circle of goat’s
milk caramel, topped with first-of-the-season rhubarb compote and accented with
a scattering of home made granola with dehydrated strawberries. The buttermilk
and goat’s milk added additional taste whereas tempering the sweetness of the silky
panna cotta and caramel. The tart rhubarb additional offset the panna cotta’s sweetness
and the granola added a textural aspect that elevated this dessert to greatness.
We left Jacqueline sated and utterly glad. The
service was pleasant and environment friendly. The meals was excellent. With playful twists to
basic dishes and splendidly balanced and daring flavors and textures,
Jacqueline is certainly happening our record of must-visit-again Portland
Portland Eating Month 2019 – Headwaters on the Heathman: A Basic Reinvented
The restaurant on the Heathman Lodge, considered one of Portland’s greatest downtown boutique inns, has an extended historical past of high quality. Its latest incarnation is Headwaters, that includes Northwest seafood and native produce in the identical lovely, light-filled area. Headed since October 2016 by James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur Vitaly Paley, Headwaters is once more making a reputation for itself as a must-go-to restaurant for locals, theater-goers and guests alike and its Portland Eating Month menu is a good way to take a look at the advantageous work of its new Government Chef Michael Campbell.
Headwaters is situated in a spacious setting on the lodge’s
floor flooring with giant home windows dealing with busy Broadway. The tables are properly
spaced and there’s a small oyster bar serving up native bivalves.
The PDX Eating Month menu included a grilled asparagus/frisée salad, rock shrimp and grits, and buttermilk
ricotta cheesecake. The massive and delightful salad arrived on a pool of creamy
tonnato (mayo, EVOO, tuna, anchovy, lemon). The crispy/bittery frisée was topped with a beneficiant portion of completely grilled
asparagus. Browned sliced almonds provided a nutty crunch and pickled dill
onions and tiny capers added a vinegary word. It was all introduced along with
delicate sherry French dressing. This creamy/vinegary salad makes a stunning
various to the ever present Caesar salad and one I’d like to attempt making at
A pile of creamy rock shrimp arrived on a crisp sq. of
grits and pickled greens floating within the thick guajillo chili broth. With
chili-flecked shrimp and a vibrant orange chili broth, this can be a dish with warmth
that lingers on the tongue. Nevertheless, the addition of manchengo cheese and
vinegary pickled vegetable in addition to tiny snips of recent marigold shoots
mood the warmth and make this an exquisite wintery dish that’s warming and
For dessert, gifted pastry chef Megan Denims got here up with a stunning twist on cheesecake. This four-inch-square of deliciousness is made with ricotta and yogurt, which makes it much less candy than conventional cheesecake. She made a crunchy nut crust and topped the cheesecake with home made granola and some nuts and put the dessert on uber-delicious creamy caramel. The end result was a dessert that’s substantial, not overly candy, and splendidly satisfying.
Portland Eating Month 2019 – Actual backside line: For us, this yr’s occasion was one of the profitable we’ve skilled. Each eating places we selected have been excellent, that includes deliciously artistic dishes at affordable costs. And, better of all, we now have two extra wonderful eating places to placed on our Terrific Eating places in Portland listing.
— Story by Bobbie Hasselbring, photographs by Anne Weaver, RFT Contributors