Monday, November 22, 2010

Please Pass The Salt....

Another Neigborhood dinner at local "Allium" stimulated both our taste buds and conversation. We have to thank our fabulous neighbors, Jim and Carol who thoughtfully invited us to join them earlier in the day when they were called from the waiting list.

Chacuterie Plate
Artisan Bread
Tonight we began with a delicious Chacuterie Plate. The mousse-like pate was full of flavor and the cured meats went well with the artisan bread and a smear of mustard even though the bread was a little hard.

Our second course was a stunning Chanterelle Tart, which comprised caramelized onions as well as the duck fat roasted chanterelle's. Sadly, I did have to add a little salt which I never do at a good restaurant and yes, my jeans are a little tighter today! 
Chanterelle Tart
The salad course was refreshing although radicchio is always a little too bitter for my taste and there wasn't anything to balance it as the garlic dressing and mimolette cheese were not at all sweet.

Life was all good again when the fourth course arrived. The Braised Lamb with sweet onions, and currants was INCREDIBLE! The lamb melted in my mouth along with the accompanying brown butter Orzo. It was so good, we had several plates of it. Lost in my indulgent eating, I forgot to take a photograph so you'll just have to imagine it.
Roasted Ling Cod and Manilla Clams in Mint Citrus Butter

Now you'll have to take my husbands words on this fifth dish as I am allergic to shellfish and was unable to partake. He assures me that the Manilla Clams in Mint Citrus Butter were divine. His exact words were "oh, oh my, oh yeah!". He wasn't as excited about the roasted Ling Cod but I would probably have enjoyed it. Instead, I feasted on the just crisp heirloom carrots in wild blackberry honey, sage and sea salt....yum! 

Dessert was Pumpkin Pecan Pie which was a little heavy for my taste as I am not a huge dessert fan but everyone else appeared to enjoy it!

The wine was delicious as always. I started with the King Fish Chardonnay and then move to a red. Here is the aftermath!

As always, you can read more reviews at urbanspoon.

Allium Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Drayton Oregon Wineries

We began our tasting afternoon at Vista Hills, a stunning winery perched at the top of a mountain, at the end of a winding and quite bumpy road. It was a foggy day which added greatly to the atmosphere. 

We were lucky enough to get a table down in the cellar which accommodated our group and allowed us to eat our heavenly selection of cheeses (from Whole Foods) with our flight tasting.

The wines were average, young, without much substance. We did, however, all enjoy the 2009 Pinot Gris of which we purchased a bunch as it reduced the tasting fee.

It seems this is a popular place for wedding receptions as there was many a bride inspecting the facility.

Next, we visited the always wonderful Stoller Winery where the wines were outstanding and the service impeccable, what more could you ask for. It helped to have called ahead, which they really appreciate.

After the scrumptious wines and more cheese, we decided to head to our hotel, but not before a quick attempt at Air Golf!

Back at The Inn at Red Hills, we attempted a nap but failed due to a very exciting Ducks game that kept the group engrossed until dinner time. We assembled fresh and coiffed at the designated time at Farm to Fork where we had some wonderful wines to accompany our incredible meal. (You can see the bit about the food here).

We began with the JRG, a Pamplin family wine, which turned out to be our favorite. A Merlot and Malbec blend which had been french oaked.

We also indulged in Brick House Pinot and Owen Roe Rosa Mystica 2008 Cabernet Franc which delighted us all. Alas we returned to the formidable JRG.

Wine Aftermath - not bad considering all the prior wine tasting!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fine Dining at Farm To Fork

Nestled within The Inn at Redhills, the Farm to Fork restaurant is a fine dining delight.  So warm, quiet and inviting, Farm to Fork promotes an evening of leisurely eating and drinking of delicious food and exquisite wine (read more here) which is why I have to say that this is my favorite restaurant at this time. 

For our visit, Chef Shiloh Ficek had devised a menu which featured quality, seasonal ingredients such as hazelnuts, organic arugula, and hericot verts.

I started with the Wild Boar Terrine with dried cherries and hazelnuts which, was incredible whilst my friends enjoyed the Organic Duck Liver Pate. 
Wild Boar Terrine

I almost never order chicken at a restaurant but for some reason it appealed to me this evening and for my instincts I am eternally glad, for it was sumptuous (my friends agreed). I had the Roasted Breast of Draper Valley Farms Hen with potato puree, hazelnuts, arugula and foraged mushrooms. I was kind of excited that my dinner had been partly foraged for. 

A few friends went for the Cascade Culotte Natural Steak which they enjoyed. It was accompanied by rutabaga mash, mustards greens, cauliflower mushrooms and bordelaise (a sauce made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and demi-glace). 

Cascade Culotte Natural Steak
One friend indulged in the Confit Duck Salad with chicory, wine poached figs, roasted grapes, Rogue blue cheese and alliade (A garlic and nut emulsion sauce made with skinned hazelnuts pounded with garlic and egg yolk, to which a mixed nut and olive or sunflower oil is added as for mayonnaise). It looked much better than it sounded and had I seen it, I may have made this my choice instead.

And dessert goes without saying....

You can read more reviews at Urbanspoon

Farm to Fork on Urbanspoon

Great Balls of FIRE!

Last night, we gathered with friends at Salvador Molly's before they went to the Bollywood Dance night at The Crystal Ballroom. It is the perfect "before partying" food. An eclectic mix of cuisines with some Thai, Hawaiian, Argentinian, Ethiopian and more. They call it a world of flavors and that it was.

Of course you have to try the famous Habanero Cheese Fritters. These balls of fire will clear your sinuses, make your ears ring and burn your intestines as they make their way through. If you are brave, insane or simply competitive, you can eat five and get your photograph installed on the "Wall of Flame"! Good luck. I like a good Vindaloo but these are ridiculous. Hats off to those many who line the famous wall.

Kevin had the Bali Thai Green Jungle Curry which he really enjoyed. I shared the Kalua Mojo Pork (the portions are huge). It was great but I think I would have preferred it served within the corn tortilla with toppings that is also available. The corns chips and guacamole were wonderful as were the jugs of Martguerita's to wash it all down perfectly.

Yum Cha in Portland...

Going for Yum Cha is one of our favorite things to do as a family. The one spot we really like in Portland is Wong's King Seafood Restaurant. Ok, it's not Hong Kong, Sydney or even Vancouver but it's the best we have around here and it's not bad. 

We usually get there around 11am that way we avoid the crowds, (sometimes you can wait an hour or more) and we get the food at its freshest.

Lo Mai Gai
Some  favorites today that all the family enjoyed were: 

Lo Mai Gai - sticky rice and beef wrapped in a Lotus leaf.

Cheong Fun - wide rice noodles wrapped around beef.

Sin Chet Kuen - Bean curd skin rolls wrapped around pork and vegetables.

Egg Tarts
As well as some of the regular items that we like to indulge in:

Har Gau - steamed prawn dumpling

Char Siu Baau - steamed pork buns

Sui Mai - steamed Pork in a wheat wrapper 

And who can resist ending the meal with Egg Tarts....hǎochī 

In all a terrific way to spend a rainy Sunday morning!