Monthly Archives: September 2010

Some of America’s Best Craft Distillers are recreating George Washington’s Peach Brandy

Just a quick update, but I got this from DISCUS and I really wish that I’d be in Virginia for this event. Some of the distillers participating are Brian McKenzie from Finger Lakes Distilling, Lance Winters from St. George, and Scott Bush from Templeton.  Since I didn’t get a chance to sample the rye made at Mt. Vernon earlier, I’m guessing that I’ll probably miss out on tasting this peach brandy too. Perhaps I should look into moving to the D.C. area if this keeps up.

Craft Distillers Recreate George Washington’s Peach Brandy
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. at Historic Mount Vernon Distillery
MOUNT VERNON, V.A. – Craft Distillers from across the United States will recreate the First President’s Peach Brandy at the George Washington Distillery, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 11:00 a.m.
In a demonstration of 18th-Century distilling techniques, these small distillers will create a unique Peach Brandy that will eventually be sold to the public for the benefit of Mount Vernon’s educational programs.

Lincoln Restaurant in Portland offers up classes for the cocktail challenged!

Two of my favorite people in Portland, Chef Jenn Lewis and her exceptionally talented husband David Welch are offering up two cocktail “camps” and a family style meal on October 16th and October 30th. I’ll just say this. David is one of the most talented front of house people here in Portland, and sometimes I think he doesn’t get enough credit for his bar program because he is quite well known for having one of the better wine lists in town. David is one of those people that I always come away a bit smarter about something after I talk to him. Even as a professional bartender (retired, but still professional) I’d happily sit at the bar and learn from David. As for Jenn, well, Lincoln is my favorite restaurant in Portland and Jenn is a Beard nominated chef. This sounds like such a cool evening, I’d kill to be at either of these events, but I’ve got scheduling (ahem, family) conflicts both nights. Here is the full press release. If you attend, I’d love to see some pics and hear some feedback from those of you who go.

lincoln launches bar camp for the “cocktail challenged”
September 21, 2010 – Portland, OR – Lincoln, a North Portland restaurant featuring seasonal, ingredient-driven American fare, will host a series of bar camps starting in October.  Co-owner David Welch will serve as camp counselor, guiding participants through the basics of stocking a home bar, history of the cocktail, how spirits are made, and recipes for some classic drinks.  After the session, campers will be treated to a cozy family-style meal prepared by executive chef and co-owner Jenn Louis, complete with cocktail pairings and a good buzz.
Dates: Saturday, October 16th or Saturday, October 30th
Time: 4:30-5:30 p.m. class, 5:30 p.m. dinner
Cost: $125 (gratuity not included) 
David says his goal is to “take the fear out of making cocktails.  Everyone should know how to make a good drink, yet many people were never taught how.  But it’s actually quite easy.”  David has been Lincoln’s bar manager and maitre d’ since its opening in 2008, creating his own cocktails, resurrecting forgotten drinks, or making his own mixers and liqueurs from seasonal ingredients.  David has over 15 years of cocktail experience from some of the city’s best restaurants such as Wildwood Restaurant and Bar, Carafe, and 3 Doors Down Cafe.
Seating is limited.  Reservations are now being accepted by calling (503) 288‐6200.  Additional Bar Camps on holiday drinks will follow in November.
About Lincoln:
Open in 2008, Lincoln’s cuisine balances old and new, modern and classic, rustic and refined, casual and formal, everyday and special occasion.  The restaurant is located at 3808 North Williams Avenue #127, Portland OR 97227, 503‐288‐6200,,
About Culinary Artistry:
Since opening in 2000, Culinary Artistry has been considered among Portland’s top catering companies. Some of our noteworthy clients include: OPB, Janus Youth Programs, Nike, Ecotrust and many more.

I just picked up the new 3rd edition of Exploring Wine from Wiley Publishing.  As I’m starting my sommelier classes with the International Sommelier Guild next month and focusing on obtaining both Certified Wine Specialist and Certified Wine Educator certifications from the Society for Wine Educators, this book is going to be an invaluable resource.

I’ve already got a pretty good library of wine books, but Exploring Wine is a soup to nuts comprehensive look at wine production methods, wine regions, food pairings, wine list construction and more. I test for the Center for Wine Origins “Location Specialist” for Port and Champagne early next month, and in addition to the materials provided by CWO (written by the amazing Sandy Block ,CMS), I’m adding this book’s sections on Champagne and Port production to my reading list. Its that good and that comprehensive.

I don’t recommend a lot of wine books, but if you are want to learn a lot about wine, are looking for a comprehensive overview of the wine industry or just want to have one good solid wine book on the bookshelf, let me highly recommend Exploring Wine.

Foodportunity Portland

Last night, I attended the first Foodportunity event in Portland at the Heathman Hotel. Billed as a networking party for chefs, food journalists, PR types and anyone else associated with the food industry, the event was very well attended. Food samples were provided by great restaurants like Beaker & Flask (ok, I’m just a bit biased on that one but Benny’s food rocks), Metrovino (tied with Lincoln for my favorite restaurant in Portland), Nostrana, Ten01Gilt Club, Clarklewis and some other spots. Most of the food samples were quite good although there was one restaurant (not one of the ones above) that was clearly in over its head in trying to compete with Portland’s heavy hitters with quality and technique.

Two of my favorite discoveries of the night were Confectionary as well as Runa, an Amazonian tisane that energized me throughout the night. Confectionery put out wonderful samples of macarons and caramels for the crowd to enjoy. My two favorites were the rosemary and sea salt caramels and the Makers Mark macarons that ran out very quickly once word got out how good they were.

As for networking, I did meet a lot of PR people, some who will be great to work with in the future and a ton of bloggers. I’m pretty sure I spotted Roger Porter in the crowd talking to Michael Zusman. I talked briefly with Kim from, and Byron Beck was clearly making the rounds. Paul Paz from Waiters World was in attendance, and if you haven’t met or talked to Paul, you are missing out. As for chefs, a couple were making appearances at the event, and some others were behind their respective tables but I honestly didn’t see any chefs that I knew using the event for networking.  That is to be expected though, most chefs are in the public eye so much that they relish their privacy.

I didn’t stick around for the speed networking session to end the evening. I guess it would remind me too much of speed dating, and, lets be honest, if I want to meet someone, I’m just going to walk right up and stick out my hand and say hi. That said, I do think it probably had some real value to the people who participated. Its definitely a way to make some quick introductions and exchange business cards with a lot of people in a short time.

So the question remains, was Foodportunity a good networking event? I’d say it was. It was fairly priced, had a number of writers, bloggers and PR people as well as some restaurant people in attendance. Would you be able to find a restaurant job through this event? Probably not. Could you find more exposure for brands, writing opportunities or industry information from this event? Definitely. I’m glad Foodportunity came to Portland and I think it meets a real need in the food community here. I’m looking forward to future Foodportunity events in the area and I’m curious to watch this event grow and evolve.

Dan Aykroyd will be appearing with his Crystal Head Vodka 9/27 in Portland

NEW YORK – Actor, musician, writer and now distiller Dan Aykroyd will visit Stateline Liquor at 1109 North Jantzen Drive in Portland, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 27 to autograph bottles of his vodka, Crystal Head Vodka.

Aykroyd, known for his work on Saturday Night Live and in films including Trading Places, Ghostbusters and Driving Miss Daisy, has been involved with producing and distributing wine and spirits for seven years. He recently created Crystal Head Vodka as a result of his fascination with the supernatural. The super-premium vodka is made with water from a deep aquifer in Newfoundland, Canada, blended with selected grains for a creamy and slightly sweet finish, and triple crystal filtered through Herkimer diamonds, which, according to New Age belief systems, embody positive energy and goodwill. Crystal Head Vodka is available wherever fine wine and spirits are sold.

EVENT: Crystal Head Vodka Signing with Dan Aykroyd

DATE: September 27, 2010

TIME: 3:00 – 5:00 pm

LOCATION: Stateline Liquor 1109 North Jantzen Drive
Portland, OR 97217