Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taste of the Nation Portland- Read this to win tickets!

Taste of the Nation is almost upon us people! The premier event to fight hunger happens on the 27th of this month at Luxe Autohaus, 410 NE 17th Ave here in Portland. There are three tiers of tickets available, the Luxe entrance ($200) which gets you in the door at 5pm, the VIP ($125) which allows entrance at 5:30pm and general admission ($75) which will let you in with everyone else at 6:30pm. Having been several times before, may I strongly recommend either the Luxe or VIP tickets, the hour extra makes all the difference in being able to sample the food, wine and cocktails that you really want before the lines start to get heavy.

As you know, this blog focuses primarily on spirits and cocktails, with the occasional food subject thrown in as well. This year, I've got 2 general admission tickets for some lucky readers of this blog. Please, be in the Portland Oregon vicinity if you'd like to be considered for these tickets. I've arranged for the winners tickets to be left at the door for them, so you can just show up on the 27th and enjoy the festivities. Now, on to the contest (and make sure not to miss the contest for a great package of pastas from Garofalo pasta on the Pasta Memories post too). Since Taste of the Nation exhibits the best of Portland's food, wine and cocktails, I thought it would be fun to see who has had the worst food, wine or cocktail experience in Portland. Now, in the interest of being polite, please don't name the names of the guilty, just simply post a comment to this thread with your worst food, wine or cocktail experience here in Portland. On Thursday the 23rd, I'll review all of your horror stories and choose one of you as the lucky winner of 2 general admission tickets to Taste of the Nation. Easy enough right? Well, good luck!

A few things that should be highlights of this years Taste of the Nation. First off, Mix Magazine and Lucy Brennan are hosting an hourly Mixology Station hosted by several bartenders who will be available to teach you drinks with several premium spirits. Right now, this is what the lineup is looking like;

Jason Boyok from Mint/820 - Herradura tequila
Leslie Bucher from North 45 - Jack Daniels
Kristin Strother from Saucebox - Aviation gin
Sean Skvarka from Departure - Finlandia vodka

In addition, the following wineries will be pouring at the event;

Adelsheim Vineyard
Amity Vineyards
Apolloni Vineyards
Argyle Winery
Belle Pente Vineyard
Boedecker Cellars
Cara Bella Winery
Carlo & Julian Winery
Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Elemental Cellars
Elk Cove Vineyards
Evesham Wood
Foris Vineyards Winery
La Bete Wines
Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards
Left Coast Cellars
Oak Knoll Winery
Redhawk Winery
Torii Mor Winery
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Witness Tree Vineyard
Youngberg Hill Vineyards
Young's Columbia Distributing will also be pouring wines.

Beers being poured will be provided by;

Captured By Porches Brewery
Double Mountain
Full Sail Brewing
Sierra Nevada

And Caffe Umbria will be handling nonacoholic libations this year.

As for restaurants, the following establishments will be serving up some of their signature creations this year;

Al Forno Ferruzza
Sicilian-style Pizza including New Haven White Clam and Margarita; Stromboli; Scarpetta  - local seasonal heirloom vegetables seasoned and prepared in the traditional Sicilian style

Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill

Causitas Moradas y Solteritos - Traditional Peruvian preparation of fresh lime flavored potatoes with savory fillings: purple potatoes with shredded chicken and ajà amarillo; yellow potatoes with garden fresh vegetables

Mole Guerrerense - Autentica’s homemade Mole sauce with 8 kinds of peppers and nuts, served with white rice

Baker & Spice
Vanilla and Chocolate Shortbread; Rhubarb Danish

Bay 13
Dungeness Crab on Endive


Bread & Ink Café
Belgian Sugar Waffles with Bacon, Brie and Basil

Caprial’s Bistro
Pecan Blondies Layered with Chocolate Mousse and Topped with Sugar Honeycomb

Celilo Restaurant and Bar
House Charcuterie, Smoked Fish and Vegetable Terrine on Lavash Crackers

Charlie’s Produce

Grilled Monterey Bay Calamari Salad with Poached Kingfisher Potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Wild Greens and Piment d’Espelette Oil

The Country Cat
Pulled Smoked Duck Legs on Mushroom Crackers with Mascarpone Cream Fava Beans

Cupcake Jones
Downtown Cupcake Brown - Miniature devil’s food cupcakes topped with fudge frosting

Davis Street Tavern
Seared Muscovy Duck Breast with Apricot Chutney on Brioche

East India Company
Crispy Baby Vegetable Samosas with Mango Ginger Chutney

Eleni’s Estiatorio / Philoxenia
Lahano Salata - Thinly sliced cabbage, shaved fennel and toasted almonds; tossed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and smoked paprika

Salmon Tartare with Absinthe and Crème Fraiche Hazelnut Macaroons

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Sausage with Baby Field Greens

Garden State
Frittelle Siciliano - an assortment of Sicilian street fritters

Higgins Pig and Pickles

La Calaca Comelona

Lauro Kitchen
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Hazelnut Tangerine Vinaigrette

New Seasons Market
Linda Brand Crab and Bay Shrimp Salad on Endive; Local Artisan Cheeses

Noble Rot
House-made Charcuterie and Dessert Wine

Cannellini Beans with Olive Oil Poached Albacore Tuna

Nuestra Cocina
Chicharron con Salsa Verde - fried pork rinds with a jalapeno salsa; and Tostadas de Salpicon  chilled beef salad on a tostada with radishes, cucumber, cilantro, lime and chile

Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Pazzo Ristorante
Fig Bellinis; Cold-Smoked Marlin-Wrapped Asparagus

Por Que No

Ristorante Fratelli
Chocolate Blini with House-made Wild Boar Bacon, served with Citrus Marmalade or Huckleberry Mousse

Boudin Blanc Corn Dogs with Spicy Creole Mustard Sauce

Ruby Jewel
An Assortment of Miniature Ice Cream Sandwiches

Russell Street BBQ
Barbecue Babyback Pork Ribs from Carlton Farms; Frito™ Pie Shooters

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Filet Mignon - The most tender cut of Prime beef, cut generously and broiled expertly to a melt in your mouth tenderness

Saint Cupcake
Hundreds of Really Cute Cupcakes

Mussels Rellenos with Chorizo - Baked stuffed mussels with fennel, parsley, chorizo and toasted bread crumbs

Escabeche with Bay Scallops or Prawns; Miniature Lemon Tarts

Tastebud Farm

Spring Vegetable Pakoras, Grilled Naan Bread and Seasonal Chutneys

Chilled Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Crème Fraiche

There are also going to be some food carts featured as well. A cool, very Portland thing. Off the top of my head, the Asparagus Soup at Wildwood, the Chicharron from Nuestra Cocina and the Calamari salad from Clarklewis are high on my list of spots to hit first.

Remember, 100% of the price of your ticket goes to fight hunger. This is a great event and an even better benefit. And I haven't even mentioned the charity auction which usually features out of this world items. I'll be there on the 27th, I hope to see those of you local to Portland there too.


Adrienne Aldredge said...

One time I went to 50 Plates and the bartender made me drink a Hennessy Separator against my will.

Shoshanna said...

Starving at the end of an epic bike ride, I went to this hippie cafe (mistake) and got an organic veggie burrito, and there were aphids crawling all over the brocolli.

Sarah said...

One hung-over morning in my early twenties I went out with friends for a late breakfast at a greasy tavern in downtown Portland. I wasn’t expecting much, and honestly the meal wasn’t bad, however it is one that has stuck in my mind for 20 years. I ordered eggs with hash browns, when the plate arrived, it had chopped-up french fries filling in for the hash browns…I don’t think I said a word, just put on some ketchup and watched the critters skittering across the wall and ate my breakfast.

Thanks for taking the time to blog, I enjoy the reading!

Angie said...

What defines a bad dining/bar experience in Portland? I mean, aren't those aphids in your food cool? Being seated at that weird spot at Clyde Common where you have to watch everyone go in and out of the restroom (and mentally time them)? What about finding a HUGE horse fly (dead) in your breakfast at an eatery on Mississippi? Like all things Portland, what would be a bad experience elsewhere is just a novelty here.

Mrrranda said...

I've had some ssssllllliiiiiimmmeeeeee bento *and* slimy fish 'n' chips (the batter sort of... sloughed off the fish chunks when touched, and had the consistency of pudding "skin"... oh, it was SWELL). Still, my best-worst dining experience here has a lot to do with my own reaction; immediately after biting into a cart-burrito, hot chicken juice shot not only into my mouth and over my upper lip, but over the back of my hand. Being a clever little thing, I started vigorously shaking my scalded hand *while still holding the burrito.* It was very... festive.

Sarah said...

The suspense!...have you chosen a winner yet? I remembered this yesterday...several years ago I cut a ravioli in half and found a big juicy black fly in it...I would have sent the plate back, however it was the last ravioli on my plate!

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No fooling: after an accident two summers ago, I was briefly in a wheelchair. My boyfriend and I ventured out of the house for one of our first restaurant meals in ages and went to a place in the neighborhood where they proceeded to a) serve me, after I had ordered a Hendricks martini, one with VODKA and no vermouth, b) serve me a steak frites with a piece of plastic in the frites, and c) have restroom doors that my wheelchair couldn't fit through, despite the waitress repeatedly claiming that it could and SLAMMING me into the doorframe trying to get me through.

Yeah. It was that bad.

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