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September 15th, 2004 KELLY CLARKE | z-Bite Club
 

Culinary IQ?

     
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ADAM BERGER AND MATT JOHNSON
IMAGE: STEPHEN VOSS
With school season in full swing, Bite Club's childhood bouts of attention-deficit disorder have returned as well. We just can't decide how to better ourselves--this week is brimming with chances to boost our culinary IQ.

Men--you want it all don't you? First there was Spike TV, then the Utilikilt and now Spanish Txokos classes. Tabla co-chefs/owners Adam Berger and Matt Johnson's spacious Northeast 28th Avenue kitchen is going public with its hands-on men-only cooking class. Johnson got the idea from an article about "txokos" clubs: groups of normal dudes who get together at restaurants, houses or bars to cook together, chow down and chill; a testicle-centric tradition that flourishes in the Basque region of Spain.

"I guess it's like how we play poker here," Johnson says. "They cook and drink wine." Johnson and Berger's dinner dates include schooling small groups of Portland gents in both the Italian (fresh pasta) and Spanish (paella) dishes. (Don't worry, ladies: Tabla's women-only classes will start in October). The first men's class met earlier this week, but Johnson says all levels of kitchen-savvy guys are welcome at the next two Monday classes, Sept. 20 and 27. The only snag? "We realized we're competing with Monday Night Football," Johnson says.

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Speaking of Mediterranean edibles, Whole Foods' Salud! Cooking School presents its own Spanish class, with a twist, on Sept. 18. Chef Ivy Manning and Dr. Ken Weizer present "Food Is Medicine," a cooking class and lecture designed to show us American McDonaldites how all those stereotypically smoldering Spaniards stay so muy caliente. The answer? Olive oil, according to Manning. "The Mediterranean diet model is really good for the heart, and it may prevent cancer," she says. "And it's really sexy."

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You know what else Bite Club thinks is sexy? Wine. Lots and lots of wine. This Sunday kicks off Western Culinary Institute's next round of wine certification classes from the International Sommelier Guild, the only organization that can legally license sommeliers. Interested in becoming a grape nerd? You'll need to sign up quickly--today's the registration deadline.

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Holy chorizo scramble! We almost forgot. Stepping Stone Cafe wants you to know that the Northwest Portland brunch spot is now open late. How late? Try 9 pm to 3 am Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. What's more, Chef Lisa Schroeder, the owner of Mother's Bistro, says her downtown brunch haven is also toying with the late night idea. The restaurant would open at midnight and stay open straight through to the following morning's breakfast on Friday and Saturday nights. Viva la breakfast!


Txokos at Tabla, 200 NE 28th Ave., 238-3777. 7 pm Mondays, Sept. 20 and 27. $100 per class.

Food is Medicine Class at Whole Foods Market, 1210 NW Couch St., 525-4343. 1 pm Saturday, Sept. 18. $32.

ISG Wine Classes at Western Culinary Institute, 921 SW Morrison St., 223-2245. Weekly classes start 10 am Sunday, Sept. 19. Call to register.

Stepping Stone Cafe, 2390 NW Quimby St., 222-1132.

 
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