A cliché come true: The sun's out and our city's gastro-scene is midbloom, from the Portland Farmers Market to creative catering. There's something for everyone happening, so get sniffing.
Attention, trophy wives and hungry homebodies:
Chef Josh Blythe (ripe, 750 mL) and his restaurant-management-savvy wife, Allison, are elbowing their way into kitchens across Portland with FEAST, their elegant take on dinner parties. The couple's catering project (which blends a supper-club aesthetic with upscale, at-home pampering) focuses on small, classy shindigs featuring seasonal menus. They've cooked up a handful of ritzy sit-downs and patio parties since starting the business in March.
The couple crafts each menu to suit the party, sets the table, and plays chef/host while cooking in the customer's kitchen--heck, they'll bring candles and music too, if the vibe calls for it. But most of all, a FEAST soirée (which often costs, per person, about as much as a trip to an upscale restaurant) is about relaxation. And about banishing beanie-weenies and other substandard party fare.
"We have a really small house," Josh says. "We don't throw dinner parties for ourselves. But [for FEAST] I get the chance to do my thing and our customers get to eat and relax in their own home. It's a neat thing to watch."
And just think of the leftovers.
Attention, protein fiends:
Now this is hog heaven. "It's like a big sausage. We stuff a pig with loin, fennel, garlic, coriander and rosemary and roast it for six hours," says Marco Frattaroli, owner of Basta's Trattoria. This native Italian has been hosting his famed family-style Tuscan Pig Roasts at Basta's for a decade, passing five courses' worth of traditional favorites like rich ribollita soup around the table, along with juicy pork and plenty of Chianti. Get in on the oink action at Frattaroli's next roast, on Tuesday, May 18.
Attention, park walkers:
Finally! The city's most beloved grocery store, the Portland Farmers Market, is open for business again. That means straight-from-the-farm produce, spicy Salumeria di Carlo sausages, and a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Clarklewis chef Morgan Brownlow struts his culinary stuff at Chef in the Market, a weekly cooking series, on Saturday, May 8.
The Bite Club loves our momma--we're just too poor to show it this year. Luckily, Tiffany & Co. is serving a free tea service, complete with scones and finger sandwiches, to mothers and daughters on Mother's Day, this Sunday. Window-shop, slurp and celebrate--maybe Mom will take pity on your unemployed ass and buy you somethin' nice.
Got a bit more ka-ching? Dine Around Portland, the reincarnation of the city's 25-for-25 dinner program, is offering special $25 menus at 19 mom-worthy restaurants around town, including Alba Osteria, Fife and Wildwood, this month through May 27. Check the DAP website (www.dinearoundpdx.com) for the tasty details.
www.feastproductions.com , 307-6066. Visit the website or call for details.
Tuscan Pig Roast at Basta's Trattoria, 410 NW 21st Ave., 274-1572. 7 pm Tuesday, May 18. $35.
Portland Farmers Market, South Park Blocks between Montgomery and Harrison streets, www.portlandfarmersmarket.org . 8:30 am-2 pm Saturdays through Nov. 20. Also between Salmon and Main streets, 10 am-2 pm Wednesdays, May 12-Oct. 27.
Mother and daughter tea at Tiffany & Co., 330 SW Yamhill St., 221-5565, noon to 5 pm Sunday, May 9.