FARM-TO-TABLE EATING

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The trip from San Fran to Portland was far less than simple. It was quite a last minute decision to head to Portland… but so many of you requested it, that I had to go north! Flights were busy and the only way I could do that was via a 45 min stopover in Seattle, which turned into nearly 2 hours due to maintenance issues on the plane.

Nonetheless, when I finally got to Portland, the sun was shining and I wanted to take Pat up on his recommendation for dinner. (Pat was the guy who sat next to be on the plane from Seattle to Portland… he obviously spotted the tourist on board who was avidly taking photos and snapchats out of the window of the plane as we flew over Mount St Helen’s crater on a clear day!) So I wondered along to Park Kitchen

The restaurant was beautifully understated from the outside and, therefore, I presumed I’d get a quick half decent meal before trundling back to bed. Turned out I was there for 2.5 hours, sat at the bar, chatting with the waiting staff about the restaurant, the dishes, the farm-to-table concept that they so admirably support and food in Portland in general.

I didn’t have a decent camera with me and lighting was poor, so I feel these pics don’t do the food anywhere near justice… it was all seriously yummy!

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To accompany a local craft beer I was presented a little gift from the kitchen in the form of roasted DeNoble farm carrot pieces in a carrot vinaigrette with chervil. Just a few mouthfuls, but I don’t ever remember any so carroty taste so good.

Next, I carefully ate my way through a beet salad. I say carefully because it was a work of art… I didn’t want to ruin it. Raw sliced beetroot of varying colours, chunks of roasted beetroot, slithers of smoked sablefish, celery julienne, crispy croutons of pumpernickel bread, dressed watercress and a sour cream based dressing. All perfectly balanced and full of colour and texture.

I’d planned to stop with this second small plate of Smoked lamb sausage. Made in-house and served with locally grown rocket leaves, pickled rhubarb and sweet cipollini onions it was a flavour explosion. The sausage was juicy, tender, smoky and a little spiced and married so well with the sweet and sour fruit.

Following more conversation I was convinced that I had to try the Handkerchief pasta dish with braised pork shoulder and grilled ricotta. The green pasta sheets were delicate, the micro strips of pork were (if I’m allowed to use the word?) unctuous and with more cipollini onions was spot on. The dish was finished with fine shavings of ricotta cheese that had been grilled and very slightly charred on the edges. I’d never seen this before, but most definitely want to see it again.

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After a brief chat with the kitchen team to thank them personally, I left understanding the reason Park Kitchen has celebrated 12 successful years… it’s not just the hugely evident skills and passion in the kitchen but they pride themselves on seasonal, local food and all the staff knew the menu inside and out. Not just what it was, but how, why and where from. All the back stories brought the food to life!

Have you ever considered where your food comes from… or better still, been able to grow any of your own?

  • LE

    Theirs a farm to table restaurant a few towns over from my school. I went to this place for the first time about 2 years ago. Being a food service major, I didn’t know what to expect. After eating at the restaurant, its now one of my favorite places to go. The food is so good and you can see the chefs put time and effort into their presentations of their plates. They also change their menu daily and every time I go, I can try something new. I wish I can see more of these kinds of restaurants pop up in this country in the near future.

  • Sunny Yoo

    Best farm-to-table food I’ve ever had was the Blue Hill in NYC. If you wind up there, please do give it a try! It’s higher end but everything is so well done. If you need in-flight entertainment, give chef Dan Barber’s book or his episode on the series Chef’s Table (on Netflix) or his TED talk a try. It’s inspired me to think more carefully about my choices when grocery shopping and to have my own garden this year :) I swear I’m not his PR person, I’m just a huge fan of his philosophy behind sustainable agriculture and food.
    + I love this experiment (?) you’re doing with #LostAndHungry! Y’all must be so tired but thanks to you we are able to enjoy different foods through the screen (and get hungry at crazy hours of the night). If you ever stop by Nashville, TN, try Monell’s for some Southern comfort food and family-style eating, and Hattie B’s for some Nashville hot chicken!

  • jcnash

    If you love farm-to-table, you have to try Spire restaurant in La Porte, Indiana. Its an easy drive from Chicago & I’d even be willing to go along. You are going to be stopping in Chicago, right? You know, 3rd largest city in the US? Origin of the deep dish pizza?

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