An IPNC Interlude — please pause for wine

Grand Dames Dinner IPNC 2014

Iberico de Bellota pork cheeks, served with polenta, thyme and blackberries. Chef Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita. IPNC 2014. Grand Dames Dinner.

If it’s seemed a little quiet over here recently, there’s good reason. I spent Friday night at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon for the International Pinot Noir Conference. Yes, I stayed on campus — in the dorms even — with three co-workers.

It always seems like one night shouldn’t be so exhausting, but somehow, every year, IPNC knocks me out of commission for a while.

Maybe it’s due to eating super rich food all day (foie gras, Iberico pork, veal sausage and more foie gras) or because we drink wine from 3pm till 3am 8am. (Yes, we partied like true college freshmen this year. I saw the sun rise and everything.)

Here are a few pictures from this year’s Grand Dames Dinner, which is set in the middle of the Linfield College campus. Four chefs (all women this year which I thought was awesome) put out an amazing dinner for around 500 people. There’s a reason this is one of my favorite events to “work.”

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Methven Winery and the case of the stolen pinot noir

Methven Family Wines Vineyard

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to help represent my company at an open house for Painted Hills Natural Beef. While Painted Hills beef is from Fossil, OR, the company had paired up with Methven Family Wines in Dayton for the event — which meant a trip out to wine country!

Oregon wine country, as you have seen before, is a beautiful place and knowing that a fabulous — and free! — dinner was waiting made the gorgeous drive from Portland all the better. I won’t mention that gorgeous drive included an hour of terrible traffic — let’s just focus on the pretty (and delicious) stuff!

This was what greeted us when we arrived...

This was what greeted us when we arrived…

I never say no to pinot!

I never say no to pinot!

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Business trips are better when your business is meat!

Beef Tartare, Rain Shadow Meats Squared (Pioneer Sq)

Beef Tartare, Rain Shadow Meats Squared (Pioneer Sq)

I posted a teaser last week about my business trip to Seattle in which I promised more pictures would be coming. I have finally gotten my act together so here’s how I spent my 5 days “working” in the Emerald City! (As a side note — working in the meat industry really has its perks — we ate constantly.)

On the drive to Seattle from Portland, we stopped in Olympia to get dinner at the Water Street Cafe. The food was pretty fabulous and the pasta special was super good. I’m going to ignore the sprinkling of dried parsley on the rim.

Stinging Nettle Raviolis with Fiddlehead Ferns

The next day, my friend and co-worker Breezy and I embarked on day-long trip around Seattle doing sales calls.

We started in Ballard:

Watching our lunch cook

Watching our lunch cook at Stoneburner

Roasted cauliflower with agro dolce sauce, and an incredible pizza with sausage, olives and mozzarella.

Roasted cauliflower with agro dolce and an incredible pizza with sausage, olives and mozzarella. Oh yeah, and a bottle of rosé.

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Meaty pictures to make up for a brief absence…

To make up for having spent some time away from WordPress (reading and writing), I am going to woo you with some fabulous food porn from my recent business trip to Seattle. Luckily for me, my business is meat and so my five days up north involved a lot foie gras, salami, wine and a bit of tequila…followed by more wine. It was quite the trip…

I’ll get a bit more in-depth later, but here are some tasty teasers for you:

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Feasting in the Forest

Nothing like a delicious meal in the most beautiful of settings!

View from Skamania Lodge

View from Skamania Lodge

Back in June my husband was asked to partake in a dinner series at Skamania Lodge, a luxurious hotel in the Columbia Gorge about an hour outside of Portland. When we heard that a room was included for the evening, he we accepted immediately. I am not in the habit of turning down a complimentary night away from home!

The event, called Feast in the Forest, brought two chefs out from Portland each month, from June to September, to do a sit-down, multi-coursed dinner. After the four dinners had taken place, a final dinner was planned where each guest chef would return to the lodge to cook a dish for the Grand Feast.

My husband’s first dinner was in July and he prepared this dish as his contribution:

Wild Boar Trio: homemade sausage, braised belly and rack

Wild boar sausage, braised boar belly and rack, with whipped cornbread and pickled cherries.

It was a wonderful meal and the view only got better as the night progressed:

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Feasting in Portland: Another epic food weekend

Fried baloney sandwich, by Chef Sean Brock. Rocked my world.

Fried baloney sandwich, by Chef Sean Brock. Rocked my world.

So for the second in year in a row, Portland has hosted Feast, an extravagant food festival that lasts for four days and bring in chefs of international fame. Last year I attended a few events (primarily the Night Market and the Oregon Bounty), this year I attended a few new ones, including the rather exclusive High Comfort dinner.

Here’s a peek into my time at Feast…

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