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Portland, Oregon food blog with over seven years worth of recipes, restaurant features and food photos.

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Project Grace Pop-up: Campania Dinner

Project Grace Pop-up: Campania Dinner, Portland

Project Grace
Friday nights at Trinket
2035 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
503-805-1342 for reservations (or OpenTable)

Apparently, the last pop-up at Trinket is 4/18/2014 and the menu region is Sicily. Menu details are on Project Grace’s facebook page.

Late last month we went to Project Grace for dinner. This is a pop-up that happens every Friday night at Trinket — they also do an additional Italian-American-inspired meal Tuesday evenings at Hokusei (SE 42nd and Belmont). Obviously, one of the huge appeals for Trinket (or Project Grace) for us is that it is walkable and we are lazy diners. That said, I would totally drive across town for more of the Cacciatore-esque roasted game hen.

Every Friday is a five course meal (for about $40) that focuses on a different region of Italy. On our night, it was Campania. This meant seafood, chilies, rich tomato sauces, and saffron. The meal is served family style and if you are lucky, you will get to enjoy an 80′s soundtrack with your dinner.

We started with cocktails and freshly grilled bread with a honey-lavender butter. The plates came out well-paced and each time something got laid down on . . . → Read More: Project Grace Pop-up: Campania Dinner

Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa

Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa

In writing an intro for this recipe, I was going to link to all of the other farro recipes I’ve made but then I realized that I’ve only posted about one other — Farrotto with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Saffron. Maybe I’m thinking of spelt? I do enjoy that whole grain a whole lot (see what I did there)?

So. Yeah. Farro. I have a HUGE container of it at home and I’ve decided it’s time to start working my way through that. And a good option for that 2014 project is to use farro instead of pasta on occasion. Of course, farro is nothing like pasta and it will certainly be a different dish, but the results can be just as tasty. Take this roasted broccoli rabe recipe, for instance.

The grains of farro get plump and chewy and mix well with the still slightly-bitter rabe and spicy harissa. A little goat cheese on top adds some creaminess. Delicious! Roasted broccoli rabe gets a little crunchy in parts, almost like kale chips, so you do need to keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven.

And while you can . . . → Read More: Farro with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa

FFwD: Dressy Whole Wheat Pasta-Kale “Risotto”

FFwD: Dressy Whole Wheat Pasta Kale Risotto

Everyone seems to have loved this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe and I was no exception. Although, as someone who kind of feels like they over-indulged a bit during the holidays, I was not super enthusiastic about making a pasta dish filled with cream, cheese, and well…pasta. So, I changed it a bit.

The easiest swap was wheat pasta for the regular (a substitution that I make a lot), the second was skipping the cream – and not just because I was too lazy to go to the store. There’s already marscapone cheese in there, so I thought that, along with the Parmesan would be enough to make it creamy. Not to mention that this pasta dish is cooked kind of like a risotto (hence the name) and the liquid is not drained, so the starchy pasta broth would help it all bind together as well.

I also added some chopped kale and a bit more cheese (hey! because I skipped the cream!) and I think it turned out fairly well. It’s still extremely creamy, cheesy, and satisfying, if a little less French, I guess.

Here’s a link to everyone’s Dressy Pasta Risotto . . . → Read More: FFwD: Dressy Whole Wheat Pasta-Kale “Risotto”

A Lot of Meat, Cheese, Vegetables, and Pasta at Ava Gene’s — Oh, and the Bean Topped Bread

SE Portland's Ava Gene's

Ava Gene’s
3377 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202

So, Ava Gene’s has been open about a year, which means it’s right on schedule for us to have tried it for the first time. Hint: my husband and I are not really timely. The restaurant has even gotten national mentions, like when Bon Appétit magazine named it the “#5 Best New Restaurant in America 2013.” And honestly, when we went, I was all ready to think it was over-hyped, but…damn!

I’m not going to go so far as to say that it’s I think it’s the best restaurant in Portland (because, I’m not really sure what restaurant I think is that), but I will say that we had an amazing meal and that I really enjoyed everything that we tried. It was also very easy to share plates — in fact, it seemed like most tables around us were employing that strategy as well.

The menu is organized into sections: Salumi & Formaggi (cured meat and cheese), Fritti (fried items), Pane (bread – think bruschetta-type plates), Giardini (Salads/vegetables), Primi (the pasta course), and Secondi (the meat course). There are also sides and desserts, . . . → Read More: A Lot of Meat, Cheese, Vegetables, and Pasta at Ava Gene’s — Oh, and the Bean Topped Bread

Dining Out in Seattle: Ethan Stowell’s Tavolàta

Dinner Out: Tavolàta in Seattle

Tavolàta
2323 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

Bon Appétit magazine says, “(Ethan) Stowell serves chic, unadorned Italian food in a narrow modern space whose centerpiece is a huge communal table.”

I say, “Mmmmmm. Pork belly.”

So, it’s actually kind of embarrassing how long it’s taken me to get this post up. I was in Seattle in mid-September. As I’m sure you know, it’s now November. I don’t even have a good excuse for that and besides, this meal was absolutely delicious.

Way back in September, while I was up north for the International Food Bloggers Conference, jwa came up Saturday night to hang out, go out to dinner, and drive home with me the next day. We (or rather I) decided on Tavolàta for our meal which was just a short walk from downtown and sounded like we would both enjoy its focus – pasta, pasta, pasta. And really, I can’t even remember the last time we specifically went out for pasta in Portland (this should corrected soon).

Our choices for the evening consisted of Castelvetrano Olives with Citrus, Mint, Chili; Pork Belly with Manila Clam, Tomato, Salsa Verde; Burrata with Arugula, Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Salad; . . . → Read More: Dining Out in Seattle: Ethan Stowell’s Tavolàta