Food and chance meetings... aahhh, life is grand! I've had some wonderful experiences lately, and a common thread in each was good food and good people. Le Pigeon was an incredible experience, a bit pricey but amazing- foie gras profiteroles with foie gras ice cream and the rest- amazing!
My father came out from Maine for ten days, and we ate and drank our way across the Willamette Valley- notables were Elk Burgers from my next door neighbors Fall hunting endeavors. The elk was succulent, blended with a bit of ground pork to give it a neccesary level of moisture. A night at my friend Adria's house, was spent with good local wine, her four boys and of course my buddy Nike, Adria's 3 year old Golden Retriever. I brought over a braised elk roast(again from my friend Kevin's elk) that I braised with rosemary, juniper red wine, and a bit of barbecue sauce. This was accompanied with simple sides, and her next door neighbors home made tamales. Good friends, food and drink- the holy trinity of a wonderful evening.
On Friday evening, Adria and I met up with other friends at a great place in Carlton, OR called 'The Horseradish'. It is a nice little Wine and Cheese shop that has local music on the weekends. We danced to the music of two guitarists(the lead guitarist actually teaches Adria's son), had wonderful tapas plates of Italian meats, wonderful cheeses, marinated cipolline onions, sweet vinegary peppers, artichoke hearts, and of course the prerequisite local wines- Anthony Dell Syrah and a great Pinot from White Horse Vineyards. Another amazing fun time with that holy trinity I mentioned earlier!
Last night- I had a date! At least, I think it was a date. I believe it had all the neccesary attributes of a date- Amazing conversations, wonderful company, great food and drink, mutual attraction, a designated time and place to meet- I ask all that read to be the judge(D.? would you say it was a date or a meeting? I never know). Anyway, enough silliness. We met at the Delta Cafe. A wonderful corner seat offered an oppurtunity to be close enough so that we could talk at a normal conversational level, and appreciate each other's company. The Delta Cafe offers up southern and New Orleans fare at a very good price, and as I found out a high quality level as well. We started with a couple of adult bevies- my companion for the evening had a bloody mary that made me reconsider my general dislike for the drink- it was what a Bloody Mary should be- large and full of good veggies- pepperoncini, green beans, oversized celery stalk, and probably a few other things that I missed. I had a drink of Cucumber vodka with sour and cranberry- so very refreshing! Our orders came in a very timely fashion- a Southern sampler plate was three sides- the choices were Collard greens with pork, broccoli and cheese casserole and Mac n' cheese. I ordered pan seared red snapper with aioli, Mac n' Cheese and Red beans and rice. All were wonderful- the greens were tender and flavorful, with nice chunks of pork, the mac and cheese was probably some of the best restaurant Mac I've ever had- not dayglo orange and artificial, this was the real deal. the broccoli casserole was 'Momma-made' if you will, topped with corn flakes which gave for an interesting chewiness that was not unappealing. The red beans and rice were wonderful as was the fish. But in all of what I have written, and if you have gotten this far I commend your patience and fortitude, there is one underlying note in all I've written, and it is this- good food is made great when you have wonderful people to eat it with. I feel that I have achieved this at every turn in the last few weeks. And to those that were present for these festivities and read this and have comments, I welcome them. For those that were not a part of these good times, I suggest you start looking at booking a ticket to the great Northwest! Cheers!