It’s been great fun following the growing careers of Chicago chef Stephanie Izard and NYC’s Sarah Simmons.
Izard, a Midwest native, has not only created a perpetually packed collection of goat-themed ventures, including Girl & The Goat and the Little Goat Diner, she’s become a regular on both the award lists and the food & wine event circuit, making appearances in Aspen, Pebble Beach, Portland.
Simmons first gained recognition after winning a Food & Wine recipe competition and has worked her way into the fold of Manhattan’s highly competitive culinary scene with the lauded City Grit. Bringing in chefs from around the country, with many of the dinners themed, the suppers unsurprisingly often sell out.
Both chefs are Daily Blender favorites – and both were in town recently as part of the 2013 Feast Portland lineup. That Saturday night, Simmons and Portland chef Trent Pierce took over Pierce’s Block & Tackle (formerly Wafu) in Portland’s southeast to deliver a seafood-Southern smash-up. On Sunday night, Izard joined Cathy Whims in the kitchen of Nostrana, where Izard’s signature goat made an appearance alongside Whims’ rustic Italian dishes.
Sarah Simmons & Trent Pierce
It was my first time to Block & Tackle since the switch from Wafu had been made, and it was nice to find the space much the same, only with additional seafaring accouterment. Favorites on the evening’s dinner menu included a smoked scallop, with aquavit, radish, and apple from Pierce as well as the kimchi-braised White Clover Farm brisket with Simmons’s flair of heirloom rice grits and wilted bok choy. Dessert was a marvelously light bourbon chocolate mousse, with toasted marshmallow and chocolate crumble.
Stephanie Izard & Cathy Whims
You never have to ask me twice whether I want to attend a dinner at one of Whims’ restaurants. I like the simple, classic dishes she delivers without flaw, and the ambience within the walls of Nostrana only lends itself further to the comforting vibe of the menu. With Izard in the kitchen alongside Whims, the evening began with a curried petrale sole in saor, a traditional pickling and frying technique, followed by a reverse ravioli of tomato conserva and Briar Rose goat milk ricotta, a roasted goat neck, and a unique corn panna cotta with zucchini and lemony eggplant.
*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender