I arrived in this weird Pacific Northwest city back in the early 2000s, settling into a house in Portland’s then-undesirable Northeast neighborhood. I remember being pretty dismayed with the food options in the area, venturing out one night, determined to find a great restaurant nearby. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a dimly lit corner spot on Fremont Avenue, where the menu at Acadia pulled me in, full of seafood and Cajun spices, and I stayed for both dinner and dessert.
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.
I am always in awe of the all-encompassing community feel of Maui. The way the chefs, farmers, producers on the island work in amazing sync, combining their talents to make magic happen, each happily touting the star-worthy skills of the other. Each year, there are a dozen or so events all over the island showcasing this rich food and drink harmony, celebrations of bites and beverages, from where they’re grown to how they’re prepared, and Ka’anapali Fresh is just one more of those exceptional gatherings.
Celebrating its second year, Ka’anapali Fresh, a cozy weekend-long event, highlighted the hotels and restaurants within Ka’anapali Beach Resort on the island’s beautiful northwest coast.
Food and wine festivals can often feel like a Catch-22. On one hand, they’re an awesome way to showcase chefs and restaurants from across the country, drawing higher tourism numbers to a city perhaps lower on the radar. On the other hand, however, tickets for festival events are often unreasonably expensive, asking for hundreds of dollars per person for high-end dinners, and thousands of dollars for an all-access pass, making them feel unrealistic for the average food fan to attend.
I believe this day will be to our generation what the shooting of JFK was to the previous generation. Even twelve years later, when the anniversary is upon us, you still feel the collective sigh. Everyone who remembers that morning. Everyone who still wonders why. Even twelve years later, people still talk about where they were the day the towers came down and the country came to a halt.
I was living in Seattle’s Greenlake community the day the planes hit the World Trade Center. I tuned in to the news as soon as my alarm blared, groggy from the evening’s rest, just minutes before cameras caught the crash of the second plane. I left for work in a daze, along with the usual flow of fellow commuters, a barrage of calls from family and friends pouring in. I was docked pay for being late.
On a random weekday evening, as I was flipping through the channels, I came across a showing of Austin City Limits, a grand performance series on PBS showcasing some of the finest musicians in the country. The episode featured a Seattle ensemble named The Head and the Heart, and with their stunning ACL studio performance, I was instantly a fan. Formed in 2009 thanks to an open-mic night at a local bar, the folky, heartfelt tunes from Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen are touching but not overwrought, detailing the universal struggles between the head and the heart.
Hot on the heels of a very successful – and über-Maui-focused – Ka’anapali Fresh, the folks at the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival swung into town to present Malama Maui this past Sunday – the first off-island, offshoot of the larger Oahu-based event taking place this weekend, September 6-9. Held oceanside at the beautiful Napili Gardens of the Hyatt Regency Maui, with honored guests, chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi in attendance, the evening’s lineup included Iron Chef Japan’s Hiroyuki Sakai, Marcel Vigneron, Rick Tramonto, Hawaii’s Bev Gannon and Sheldon Simeon, and Greg Grohowski, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency.
The magnitude of the show had my stomach in ropes long before Friday officially arrived. As I rolled through Chicago’s suburbs on the L-train pre-dusk headed toward Wrigley Field, the butterflies became a frenzy of activity, the main event nearly within reach. Fellow music fans packed the train’s car, anxiously, and some of them drunkenly, […]
I blame Kevin Sandri for my appreciation of the food cart. My first year in Portland, his cart, Garden State, was selling sandwiches at a waterfront food festival. Not familiar with the cart, I – the unsuspecting, naive victim – grabbed the cod sandwich without much thought or expectation. When I took a bite, I […]
Talk about the birth of an event. Back in 2000, founders Katherine Pugliese and Kelly Odom began brainstorming the details of a gathering that would become the premiere showcase of St. Croix food and wine offerings. “We were pregnant and hormonal,” Pugliese explained with a laugh, reminiscing about the start of the Taste of St. […]
‘Tis July, which can only mean one thing to a bartender – it’s nearly time for Tales of the Cocktail. Though I won’t be making the trek to New Orleans this year for the ‘tender reunion of all reunions, why not take a moment to raise a glass to those who put in long hours […]
It is a travel experience of days gone by. The calming rock of a steady train, the fast-moving scenery whipping by the nearly floor to ceiling windows. My forehead stayed pressed against the window while trees, lakes, mountains sped past as we made our way through the Canadian countryside, taking me back to the time […]
Portland Dining Month began to really blossom my first year in Stumptown. I remember scrolling through that original list of restaurants on my computer screen, only recognizing one or two from long line of participants. Everything was a new experience back then, yet I still frequent many of the restaurants I tried that year. Portland […]