DENIM AND DIAMONDS
Eric Asimov, in a recent New York Times article about Portland wrote, "This is a golden age of dining and drinking in a city that 15 years ago was about as cutting edge as a tomato in January. Every little neighborhood in this city of funky neighborhoods now seems to be exploding with restaurants, food shops and markets, all benefiting from a critical mass of passion, skill and experience, and all constructed according to the gospel of locally grown ingredients."
Mr. Asimov's words rang true at a recent dinner gala and auction called Denim and Diamonds. This charity event was put on by the Agri-Business Counsel of Oregon, a volunteer organization dedicated to "preserving and enhancing Oregon's agriculture". The ABC (Ag-Business Counsel) invited me to come as a guest chef and design a White House style menu using some of the finest local wines and ingredients Oregon has to offer. Proceeds for this event go directly to a program called "Keeping Agriculture Viable". The dinner turned out to be a fabulous feast with all the right ingredients in place:
Oregon Dungeness Crab
with Sweet Potato Soup
Painted Hills Smoked Beef Tenderloin
with Apple Cider Glaze
Oregon Potato Leek Puree
with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce
with Grilled Oregon Pears and Fall Greens
Peach and Cherry Cobbler
with Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Denim and Diamonds sponsors were given tickets to join me on a exclusive VIP winery tour of three fantastic Oregon vineyards. We started with lunch and a tour at the Willamette Valley Vineyard - the first winery in the world to have cork stoppers certified by the Rainforest Alliance; the FSC certified corks are harvested from responsibly managed forestlands. After lunch we then proceeded to go to the Evergreen Vineyards in McMinville, also home of the Evergreen Aviation Museum and Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose aircraft. We ended our wine tour at Cana’s Feast Winery. The Northwest Palate describes some of Cana's wines as the "Most distinguished of all Italian varietals tested from the Northwest".
Finally - many thanks to Tod Wright and his crew from Jakes Catering for preparing the food for Denim and Diamonds. Check out www.jakesgrill.com. They did a wonderful job for this event.