Hop worship & throwing the best beer-day party ever!

This is how I roll when it's my birthday...

This is how I roll when it’s my birthday…

If you read Wednesday’s post, you’ll know I’m in the middle of series about throwing the best damned B-day party ever — where the B stands for beer, glorious beer! In this post I’m getting down and dirty with the specifics on how I went about this extravaganza.

I spent the month prior to the party relentlessly planning it. Some things I figured out with relative ease, like the beer-infused party favors and the beer shaped cake (thank you Pastrygirl for making my beer-filled dream come true!).

Hell, even finding super fun beer-shaped candles was a surprisingly easy feat (at least for my friend DB who scored them at a local cake decorating place).

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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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Tales from the Garden: Can you dig it?

Sunchokes from my garden

Sunchokes from my garden

My single sunchoke plant from last year turned into 30 this year. The plants grew like crazy, each one boasting tons of pretty flowers:

Sunchoke blossoms

Sunchoke blossoms

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Plum Tuckered Out

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

Anyone who’s been around me for the last few weeks knows I’ve been a bit stressed out. Work has been crazy, the summer has been busy and my husband has been cooking for a lot of special events. The last one was to benefit the Portland Fruit Tree Project and between the three of us (my friend DB helped us out) we put out a damn good meal.

One thing I didn’t mention in the first post was that the theme of the dinner was plums. After all, since the meal is for a fruit-based charity it only makes sense to cook with fruit!

Thankfully plums led us to many good things. We made plum preserves to mix with goat cheese and stuff into cheese puffs. There was a tart and tangy plum mostarda to go with a “foiehogbit” terrine (thanks Sean, I’m totally ripping off that name!) and a rich and beefy plum sauce to accompany our steak dish.

However, the abundance of plums also led to me making a whole lot of plum upside down cake. As in two hotel pans worth, or enough to feed a small army.

The baking process was a bit intense and was probably part of the reason I was so crazed that day. When you’re trying to multiply a recipe by 12 and you haven’t had time to take more than a sip of coffee, you might feel like your brain is about to explode.

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Gratuitous Food Pic: Tea-Smoked Quail in an Atrium

Quail, favas and asparagus, pea tendrils and flowers on a bed of dehydrated olive “dirt.”

The Gilt Club, 2012

This dish arrived covered so when the lid was removed, the smoke slowly filtered out of the “atrium” tableside. It was a beautiful thing!

The Beer Chronicles: Hyve Honey Ale

A sweet success or a stinging mistake?

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned how much I love beer. I love beer so so very much.

Sometimes I think I missed my calling. Maybe I should have been a brew master instead of working in the food industry. Luckily, I have plenty of open evenings in my life to freelance as an unprofessional, unpaid beer taster — which is probably way more fun anyhow.

And happily, I live in a town known for its numerous micro-breweries and year-round beer festivals, both of which help me indulge my fondness on a regular basis. There are also quite a few upscale beer markets to frequent when I’m looking for something a little more unusual, like a fancy Belgium style beer or maybe a sour ale. I tend to shop mainly at the Belmont Station, because it’s the most accessible to my house, but there are plenty of other fun beer shops in Portland to explore as well.

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