The Bite had a full plate this month. Besides stuffing our face with the best yellow corn we've ever nibbled at the Hillsdale Farmers Market and taste-testing every new cafe we could wave a pen at, we also crashed some swanky, end-of-summer shindigs. Our verdict:
Plate and Pitchfork
Sunday, Aug. 17
Lone Elder Farm, 8653 S Lone Elder Road, Canby, (503) 295-4225.
Dinner started early as a group of us tromped through fields of Ray and Betsy DeMartini's 50-acre farm. We grabbed handfuls of Romano beans and munched on lemon cucumbers, eating an appetizer's serving of Lone Elder's 35 fruits and vegetables on the way to dinner. But we were still up for a stylishly rustic meal prepared by Tabla chefs Adam Berger and Matt Johnson. With spiders skittering across the white linen and a crimson sun setting over the vegetable rows, each bite of our info-fortified meal (well paired with wines from J. Christopher and ADEA) was enough to make you swear off WinCo forever.
Favorites: Perfectly seared Ahi tuna with just-plucked potatoes and beans with crème fraîche. Tender braised pork shanks and polenta served family style.
Not-so-favorite: Grilled, marinated rhubarb with toasted hazelnut oil cake--a bit too dense and complex to be enjoyable.
Made friends with...a gent who claimed he long ago "strangled a chicken" in a WW editor's family barn.
FYI: Aside from canning rhubarb, all produce from Lone Elder goes straight to local farmers markets within two days of being picked.
Event analysis: A fresh and savvy look at how and what we eat--with crickets and candlelight to boot.
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BridgePort Brewing Company's Brewmaster Dinner
Friday, Aug. 22
Oba, 555 NW 12th Ave., 228-6161.
In Oba's private Havana Room (across the hall from its public meat market) big men and slightly smaller women gathered to drink some beers--BridgePort beers. Branching out from the TV-and-chips routine, the local brewery called on Oba's executive chef, Scott Neuman, to help pair its beers with some nuevo latino grub. With pints in hand, BridgePort's genial brewmaster Karl Ockert led us through the malty basics of his craft while the rest of us, well, just got drunk.
Favorites: Halibut ceviche with grilled pineapple and peaches--a tart starter with a swig of Blue Heron Ale. Old Knucklehead (a barley wine-style ale) ice cream--a sweet, sticky kiss goodnight.
Not-so-favorite: The breading for the tortilla-crusted oysters tasted like something that had washed up on the beach, and bitterly clashed with its beer partner, a citrusy IPA.
Made friends with...a food vendor who sells Ball Park Franks.
FYI: Dark, rich porter beer was once simply the equivalent of "kitchen sink" red table wine--a mixture of everything English pubs had left over on tap.
Event analysis: An affable bear hug of a liquid dinner.
Intrigued? The final P&P dinner, with Park Kitchen chef Scott Dolich and Fife chef Marco Shaw, is slated for Sept. 13 at Baggenstos Farm in Sherwood.
Baggenstos Farm, 15801 SW Roy Rogers Road, Sherwood, 295-4225, www.plateandpitchfork.com. 6 pm Saturday, Sept. 13. $70. Advance reservations required.