Seated at the confluence of the Columbia River and the fertile Hood River Valley, the town of Hood River is perfectly positioned to allow visitors to pick and choose from exhilarating activities and delicious food. These two offerings are highlighted each year with the Hood River Harvest Fest (Oct. 19-21). The weekend-long, old-fashioned fall celebration has been happening for 30 years and offers many ways to get a taste of Oregon, no matter which flavor is your favorite. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Food, wine, beer’ Category
There’s no telling when the first person set eyes on the Willamette Falls, but Native American legend says a god put the great, gushing waterway there so come wintertime, the indigenous people would have plenty of fish to eat. The first time you set eyes on the horseshoe-shaped cascade — the second largest waterfall in the U.S., behind Niagara — it’s certain to be a memorable experience, especially if it’s at the Willamette Falls Festival (Oct. 12-14) in historic Oregon City.
The first city west of the Rockies to be incorporated, Oregon City has used the Willamette River as its engine for more than 150 years, deriving industry and electricity from the perpetually flowing falls. This three-day festival celebrates the reopening of the historic arch bridge that connects Oregon City with West Linn — a gracefully swooping structure that frames scenic views of the waterfall, while providing commuters with practical means to cross the river. On this weekend, however, people will rule the roadway, meaning pedestrians are free to bike, jog, walk and even picnic on the bridge — when the parade or fun run aren’t crossing from one bank to another, of course.
Live music, a Saturday market, an interactive sculpture project and an art walk contribute to the festivities. Meanwhile, educational activities like a Native American fishing demonstration, heritage walking tour, open houses and geocache sites make it a fun learning experience suitable for all ages. But remember, it’s not every day — or every year, for that matter — that you get to explore a newly re-opened bridge, without restriction. So be sure to shoot down to the falls, because, like a great legend, this once-in-a-long-while opportunity is something you won’t soon forget.
Portland loves food. And even in this perpetually dining-obsessed city, this month is something special.
The countdown is on to Portland’s first international food festival, Feast Portland, Sept. 20-23. The fest is made up of many different events (tastings, dinners, lectures, classes) — several of which are already sold out. But, whether you’re feeling peckish (Homemade Crackers and Chèvre), indulgent (High Comfort), or just want to try it all (Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting) — now’s the time to satisfy your craving and buy your tickets.
That last event, the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, is shaping up to be the must-see (and taste) of the festival. In addition to samples from dozens of Oregon wineries, breweries and culinary artisans (think Salt & Straw, Xocolatl de David, Hot Lips Soda), this two-day affair in downtown’s Pioneer Courthouse Square will also feature cooking demonstrations from celebrated chefs like Chris Cosentino (Incanto – SF), April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig – NYC) and Amanda Freitag (Food Network, Cooking Channel).
The culinary community is so excited about Feast that they’re actually celebrating it all month long — the Appetizing Oregon promotion, available at 35 Portland restaurants through Sept. 30 — offers diners $10 small plates featuring Oregon ingredients. The options range from Oregon Albacore Tataki at Biwa to the Feast Rioja Board with Chorizo Rioja, Manchego, Star Gazer Farm Peppers, housemade Oregon stone fruit preserves, and local crusty bread at Olympic Provisions.
There’s never been a better time to explore the culinary offerings of Portland and the state. Dig in!
If creativity is Portland’s currency, then the coming weeks are an embarrassment of riches, with back-to-back-to-back festivals that celebrate the many expressions of Portland’s creative culture: indie music (MusicFestNW, Sept. 5-9), contemporary art (Time-Based Art Festival, Sept. 6-16) and food and drink (Feast Portland, Sept. 20-23) — not to mention art & technology (XOXO, Sept. 13-16) and all manner of DIY (Mini Maker Faire, Sept. 15-16).
The latest addition to that esteemed lineup — and, in true Portland style, flying slightly below the radar — is Design Week Portland (Oct. 9-13), a preview of which is included here. Be warned: The language careens from earthy to ethereal, rough-hewn to reflective. You know, kind of like the city itself.
The legend of the Trojan horse gave us the epic warning, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” If you wanted to heed that advice today, would you even know who’s Greek? Of course, Kalamata-born Yanni thanks the muses for his talent, but what about Jennifer Aniston? By the beard of Zeus, her real last name is Anastasakis! You might also be surprised to learn that Portland is a hub for Hellenic culture. Immigrants from Greece first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800s, and the annual Greek Festival (Oct. 5-7) has been a rollicking neighborhood get-together for the last 60 years.
In1952, the congregation of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church came up with the event as an unorthodox way to pay the mortgage. The festival of authentic food and culture takes over the block adjacent to the church from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. With more than 15,000 people in attendance, it’s one big, fat, Greek festival, to be sure.
There’s a craft bazaar, music, dancing and church tours, but the Greek food offerings steal the show. In addition to savory lamb, souvlaki and spanakopita, you’ll find karithopita (spiced walnut honey cake), tsoureki (braided sweet bread) and melomakarona (orange-flavored cookies, spiced with cinnamon). You might want to reconsider that “Greeks with gifts” advice — we bet you’ll accept these treats with open arms.
Over the last few years, as the level of creativity cooked up by local chefs has garnered increasing national attention, Portland’s inventive food scene has come to a boil. Celebrating Oregon’s bountiful ingredients, as well as the masterminds who work with them, Feast Portland (Sept. 20-23) not only highlights local foodie talent, but infuses the city with some of the coolest kitchen personas from around the country. Presented by Bon Appétit, this buffet of James Beard Award-winning talent will pack Stumptown full of dinners, demos, classes and tastings.
Main events at the belt-busting festival include Thursday’s Sandwich Invitational (a delectable beer-paired contest featuring entries from Bunk Sandwiches, Podnah’s Pit BBQ and Kenny & Zuke’s, among others) in downtown’s Director Park; Friday’s Feast Portland Night Market (a Southeast-Asian-style celebration of street food with contributors from Portland, Austin, NYC and London) at the Ecotrust Building; and the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting (with demonstrations by Naomi Pomeroy from Beast, Paul Qui of Austin’s Uchiko, and many others) in Pioneer Courthouse Square Friday and Saturday.
Packages with passes to the entire Feast, as well as individual event tickets, are available for purchase online now. Space is limited, and while Feast may never have too many cooks in its kitchen, there’s only so much room for discerning diners.
Beers and bikes — in Portland’s alphabet, these two Bs could battle ferociously for the right to be Stumptown’s second letter. But what if they joined forces and pedaled together? Brewcycle — that’s what.
Seating up to 15 riders, this human-powered party vehicle tours Beervana’s various micro-breweries, helping bikers work up a thirst, and drinkers work up a sweat. The rides all begin and end in Northwest Portland, and can take either a leisurely two-hour tour, parking just a few times, or a faster, more arduous pedal with more frequent stops. Popping into Lucky Labrador Beer Hall, Rogue, Bridgeport Brewing Company, Caps & Corks (a bottle shop and bar) and Deschutes Brewery, the tours offer a schooling in local suds along with a bit of physical education, to boot.
What better way to check both beer and bikes off your Portland to-do list?
Long before food cart fever spread all over town, Portland already had a reputation of being daring when it comes to dining. Now, with curbside innovation rolling into almost every spare parking lot, the head spins at the edible options available. With well over 400 mobile eateries within city limits, you’ll a need a guide to undertake a culinary adventure this vast — luckily, Portland has two such tours.
Brett Burmeister has been chronicling the city’s street eats since 2008, and offers daily lunchtime tours by appointment through Food Carts Portland. Covering the history of the carts, the economic and political conditions that helped them thrive, and, of course, some tasty samples, the tour is full of stories and local flavor.
Meanwhile, Portland Walking Tours’ Flavor Street boasts the inside scoop on everything from savory pies to pork sandwiches, with resident experts sharing their secrets Wednesday through Saturday at 1 p.m. Walk-ups are welcome for the two-hour tour that strolls about a mile, but group size is limited, so advance tickets are recommended. Both tours begin downtown, an ideal starting point for visitors looking to get a taste of some of the most exciting, innovative eats on Portland’s streets.
I sampled these these super-sized bivalves at Jetty Fishery, whose other (and less credulity-stretching) offerings include live Dungeness crab, and boat rentals for adventures on Nehalem Bay.
In Portland’s old days — a less civilized time when the city teemed with pirates, smugglers and outlaws — careless revelers who consumed too many libations might have been “shanghaied,” or kidnapped, and whisked away to work on the sea.
Today, there’s a safer way to get your passport punched while enjoying some fine cocktails: a trip through Portland’s Distillery Row. The epicenter of the emerging craft distillery movement, this former warehouse district is home to a slew of independent, small-batch spirit makers who have put Portland on the map of liquor connoisseurs, and great bottles on the shelf of bartenders worldwide.
From House Spirits, which concocts the botanical-infused Aviation Gin, to New Deal Distillery, whose Hot Monkey Vodka is flavored with five chili peppers, Portland’s potables are known for inventive ingredients, consistent blends and fine detail.
The 2012 Distillery Row Passport is an excellent way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of Portland’s amazing bottles. Not only do passport holders benefit from no-fee tastings and tours, they also save on everything from food to entertainment at more than 50 participating businesses throughout the area. And, with the addition of Bushwhacker, Portland’s first urban cidery, and Alchemy Wine Productions, a new in-city vintner, the world of Portland’s small-batch scene just keeps getting larger.