The Endless Road Trip: Porklandia

Portland, Oregon may seem like the type of hippie-dippie place that knows its silken tofus from its seitan (and it is). But as I recently discovered, these hipsters also know their swine, from head to tail. Oregon is a serious pork-producing state, and Portland chefs get crazy/creative with pig parts of every variety. I ate my way through Porklandia so that you don’t have to.

At Tasty n Sons, nearly every dish, from salads to kimchi to chicken, comes with an egg on top (as god intended). It climaxes with this perfectly golden-brown, intensely crispy fried pork cutlet, served over spinach, with a soft fried egg for a crown.

The Woodsman Tavern is the first place I have ever been served a ham plate and then told the proper order in which to eat the hams, as if this was a fancy wine tasting—from most delicate to heartiest. Each one was prosciutto-thin, but with the full salty taste of a good ol’ Virginia-style baked ham.

Don’t forget the ears! At Whiskey Soda Lounge, a casual spot from acclaimed Pok Pok chef Andy Ricker, they’re stewed in 5-spice and deep-fried until crisp, served with a black vinegar dipping sauce. They’re crusty on the edges and chewy in the middle, with the texture of…well, ear.

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Corn Dogs Gone Gourmet

State fair season may still be several months away, but at ES we think about corn dogs 24/7/365. Now, here’s a corn dog even ya’ll uppity foodies won’t be ashamed to embrace.

Chef Kyle Rourke of Red Star Tavern in Portland has been giving corn dogs all kinds of gourmet upgrades, serving rabbit corn dogs with carrot-habanero dip, lobster corn dogs with mango relish, and venison corn dog with fig preserve. We asked him to share a recipe for one from his menu that’s just slightly more acceptable for home cooks.

Chicken Kielbasa Corn Dogs

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Spreadable Booze: Prosecco Preserves

Here at Endless Simmer headquarters, we’re considering whether or not to rename our blog 100,000 ways to turn booze into food. From popsicles and cakes to jell-o shots and chicken, there’s nothing better than edible alcohol, right?

Now we’ve even got the pros in on it. Chef John Eisenhart of Pazzo Ristorante in Portland, Oregon likes to take leftover wine and turn it into delicious, boozy jam, and he was kind enough to share his recipe for prosecco preserves with ES. Warning: this ain’t your average jelly recipe; it’s more for aspiring Top Chef-testants, so have your CO2 canister at the ready.

Prosecco Preserves

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Omnivore’s Accessory Dilemma

Do you eat animals? Do you feel bad about eating animals? Do you even think about it? Would it make you feel better to eat happy animals? Caged animals? Wild animals? No animals?

But more importantly, would you wear a gold-plated cast of a chicken’s wishbone?

Manifesto, Necklace $35, Portland, OR

Screeching, Squirming and Screaming: Crabbing and Fishing in Oregon, Part II

Last week I started photo-journaling my first fishing experience. I left off in the waiting period, which is pretty much what this type of non-casting fishing is all about.

While drifting around in one set of coordinates without any luck, our fisherman Dave got on his cell phone. Yes, I said cell phone. Here we are, on the Columbia River, caressing through the misty Oregon air and Dave chats it up with another fisherman, finding salmon in another set of coordinates.

We brought in our reels and Dave (above) drove us to a new area. (PS-You can totally hire Dave to help you find fish.) Forty-five seconds later Greg, our event organizer, started screaming. A salmon hooked onto Nick’s line. Greg screamed for everyone to reel in their lines, for fear Nick’s catch would tangle other lines. Within another 45 seconds, a 12-inch salmon wriggled in the hands of Nick and Dave. Cameras snapped and the salmon soon returned to the water, for it wasn’t a native fish and it wasn’t the right time of year and salmon politics are awfully complicated.

The excitement hung in the air for another few minutes as we eagerly awaited another catch in our new sexy coordinates.

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Screeching, Squirming and Screaming: Crabbing and Fishing in Oregon, Part I

I screeched and squirmed and well, fine, flat out screamed really, really loudly. Like reeeeal fucking loud. But it was okay. It was just the six of us on the Columbia River, with only a few seals popping up through the chilly water.

And maybe some cranes. Pelicans? Well, I’m not sure. This fishing excursion marked my first time in Oregon and I didn’t properly prepare for bird sightings. Or really, for fishing and crabbing in general. For it was my first time at this too. The only other time I’ve played with a fishing reel was on my friends’ balcony, for they lower the keys down from their 6th floor apartment to incoming guests. It’s pretty fun, but Tim doesn’t let me near the reel all that often. I’m not gentle on the line.

The six of us drove from Portland to Astoria (check out this gorgeous, sea lion and Goonie-filled town on FB), drank lovely beer at Fort George Brewery + Public House and went to bed early.

I just had to: here’s one glamour shot of Astoria.

Don’t let the lighting fool you. I snapped this when we returned from fishing, around noon, but the picture is here to move the plot along. Imagine this is all misty.

Kind of like this, actually. We’re just taking off and I’m sitting right behind these crates of bait. It’s cold out and my rain jacket doubled as a blanket.

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How Rogue Ales Temporarily Cured Me of Swearing

“Can I try the Hazelnut Brown Nectar?” I asked the hairy, inked man behind the bar at Rogue Ales Public House in Porland.

At least that’s what I thought I said. Maybe I threw him some accidental attitude after ramming through a citrusy lemongrass beer at Bridgeport Brewing Company just before.  Fine, I also lapped up an amber brew.

Rogue casts an intimidating presence in DC booze stores. I most often spy the 22-oz. bottles; those bottles bully drinkers to down much beer in one sitting, so I was pretty pumped to be able to try a few pints at one of its many Oregon pubs. I specifically asked the bartender for beers that I can’t find across the country.

Right before the man behind the bar turned to pour me a sample of the hazelnut brew, he sent me a quick stare. “I think they call it Nutella where you live.”

“Fuck you,” I shouted back. “We’re not fucking Europe.”

He smiled back, in what I like to think was an appreciation for my East Coast paradigm. Along with the hazelnut taste, he poured me a Double Chocolate Stout.

With the confidence of an assertion, not a suggestion, he told me to order a “Snickers” – the combination of the  Double Chocolate Stout and the Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

The end result was a creamy, thick beer, offering hints of bitter coffee, smooth nuts and a chance to stop cursing and sip an excellent drink.

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