Once again, it's been over a month since my last post. My apologies. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that this coming month will be much better, but in exchange for the irregularity of postings, I have lists. Curated lists for such exotic locales as Portland, OR. Headlsburg/Sebastapol Wine Country and Anderson Valley, CA.
I also have an amazing recipe for Black Cod.
So consider this my apology post. And I'll keep the lists coming to make up for my silence here.
First off, Portland.
Let's cover beer and wine, shall we? P-town has booth, in abundance.
If you're in Portland, I highly recommend the following in the beer category:
Hair of the Dog Brewery and Tasting Room - Our favorite of the trip. What a great place. Like hanging out in a very hip and modern garage. The beer was serious, meant to be sipped and drunk slowly, and while I didn't get to try the food, it smelled like it would be more than worth the trip back. I'd make this the first stop, next time around. They seem to be known for their dark beers, one of which is brewed with cherries in old whiskey barrels. We don't have breweries like this in CA. I'll have to come back.
Hopworks Urban Brewery - your basic neighborhood brewery and lunch spot...only with much higher quality beer.
Deschutes - numerous Portlandites might disagree with me on this one, but I like this place. A bit commercial, yes, but they make some of my favorite beers (Green Lakes, anyone?) and the location (heart of the Pearl district) is a good place to people watch.
Portland is a food town. We made our way to some great spots and I could go on and on, but my favorite of the bunch was a food cart: Pyro Pizza. Parked in a parking lot full of other carts; Poutine, Crepes, Waffles and more. The pizza was wood fired and delicious, and cost-wise, a bargain as well. I had the margherita, and the boy had some white sauce with truffle oil concoction. Stellar.
For cocktails, I like Rontoms. Especially since I discovered their excellent patio in the back. It's got a mid-century modern vibe. Always a winner with me.
For wine, out in the Willamette Valley, the following 3 are places I can't wait to get back to (and yes, it's all about the Pinots):
Brick House Vineyards
Bethel Heights Vineyard
From Portland, on down to Healdsburg, CA. and surrounding areas. Here are my top 8 wineries in that area:
1. Preston Vineyards & Winery (I'm a sucker for the Barbera, the Madame Preston and the jug wine (only on Sundays))
2. Porter Creek Vineyards ( the old vine Zin is a standout)
3. Unti (all amazing)
4. Radio Coteau (some of the best CA pinots I've ever had)
5. Scherrer (I'm currently head over heels for their rose)
6. Taft Street Winery (started in Berkeley of all places)
7. Wind Gap Winery (it's all about the syrah)
8. Inman (great pinot)
I've mentioned several of these before. You can't go wrong with this list. I feel pretty good about sending you on your merry way with these.
So now you're set to take a trip. Be it a weekend road trip, or a mark your list for a west coast visit kind of trip.
Next post, I promise to cover the Anderson Valley in CA.
Onto the Black Cod.
I take no credit for this one, this is all Mark Bittman. One of his all-time favorite Minimalist recipes: Black Cod with Miso. Black Cod is an incredibly rich and buttery fish. The miso brings it to an unexpected and deceptively elegant place. The lucky person you serve it to would never guess how little actual work is involved. Just let the fish, the miso and the broiler do all the heavy lifting. The only hard part is choosing the wine to go with. I chose the Scherrer Rose.
Black Cod Broiled with Miso
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup miso, preferably dark (I used red miso, which comes as a paste. I found it at Whole Foods.)
1/2 cup mirin, sake or white wine (I used 1/2 mirin and 1/2 white wine)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds black cod fillets (skin may be on or off).
Heat broiler; set rack 3 to 4 inches from heat source. Combine first three ingredients in a small saucepan and, over low heat, bring almost to a boil, stirring occasionally just until blended; mixture will be fairly thin. Turn off heat.
Put fillets in an ovenproof baking dish or skillet, preferably nonstick, and spoon half the sauce on top. Broil until sauce bubbles and begins to brown, then spoon remaining amount over fish. Continue to broil, adjusting heat or rack position if sauce or fish is browning too quickly, until fish is just cooked through. Serve immediately.