A weekly roundup of my favorite things from the week in the categories of wine, food, travel, and occasionally lifestyle. Since we took last Friday off, this covers the last two weeks of July.
Favorite Moment — Cooking for Counter Culture!
I’m still pinching myself that we even got invited to cook at such an event. Counter Culture is a pre-IPNC event with the theme of celebrating urban street food, attended by more than 300 wine and food lovers, and catered by some of the best and coolest restaurants in the city. This year some of those names included DOC, Laurelhurst Market, Olympia Provisions, The Country Cat, Pok Pok, and many more. And then there was us – Ember and Vine. OMG!
I think we held our own with the Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders with Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce. We also added a bonus dish – Chorizo Verde Pork Sausages with Smoked Tomatillo Salsa. That was sleeper recipe for us I think. So good!
Being able to cook for such a crowd was both intimidating and exhilarating. Counter Culture is such a cool event. Casual, fun, delicious, and bonus, there are fire dancers (not pictured. you’ll just have to attend next year to see the entertainment).
I hope we are worthy to cook again at Counter Culture in the future. If not I’ll just have to hold on tight to the memory like a middle school girl in the early 90’s going to her first New Kids on the Block concert.
My mom has made a few guest appearances here on the blog. For any of you new to my mama, all you need to know is this — she’s a great cook and she hates most wines. This is the woman who puts Sprite into champagne to make it tolerable for her to drink (seriously, how am I related to this woman? PS, I love you, Mom!). At first I just thought her taste preferences leaned towards sweet. But then I tried giving her sweet Riesling. No go. Other sweet wines. Nope.
Then Moscato. She loved it.
Every time she visits I switch it up a bit and try to get her to try something new. Still, the only thing she really enjoys is Moscato. So… Moscato it is. The woman knows what she likes.
On her recent visit here she fell in love with the following Moscato. She even drank it with these ribs from earlier this week. No joke. Here I am preaching about pairing the ribs with a rich and fruity Syrah and this woman is sipping happily on her sweet and effervescent Moscato with the ribs. The saying, “Drink what you like,” has not been lost on my mama. And since my mom was our hero these last couple weeks, helping out with the kids so we could travel, work, and cook, she deserves a shout-out.
My mama’s wine of the week – Moscato
2014 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti DOCG ~ $16
Clean and sweet nose with juicy apricot and peaches, fruit cocktail, and some pretty floral aromas. The dessert-style wine comes in a 375 ml bottle and is lightly sparkling. It’s pretty sweet, but not sticky. Would be good with fruit or fruit based desserts. It’s so low in alcohol (5%) that you could even drink it for breakfast with morning fruit pastries. Or, you could just be like my mom and pair it with ribs.
Most interesting wine of the week
2012 Marotti Campi ‘Orgiolo’ Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC Superiore (Marche, Italy)
The hubs and I got to go on a rare date night (thanks, Mom!), and checked out DOC for the first time. If you haven’t been, the place is pretty cool. Super quaint (only around 10 tables), and they do a tasting menu that changes weekly with optional wine pairings. They paired this wine with a pasta dish that had a white cream sauce, peas, and tuna. Such a cool pairing. The dish itself was rather salty, but the wine stood up awesomely. It’s super floral for a red wine, along with lots of grapefruit and citrus aromas and a light and refreshing body. I’m on a mission to find the wine again to see if I still like it, or if it was just the intrigue of the floral and citrus matched up with the contrasting flavors of the dish. This wine was a part of the tasting menu (and not on their wine list), but a quick online search shows it for around $15-ish (retail).
The Country Cat Breakfast
On Mom’s last day visiting I took her out to breakfast to thank her for helping out with the Weasley twins. I chose The Country Cat because I was impressed with what I tasted at Counter Culture (they were also there cooking up some amazing food), and had never been to their restaurant. Holy Eggs Benedict, Batman, this was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in quite some time!
I do hope my iPhone Instagram photo of said breakfast suffices, but I was unprepared for how much I was going to enjoy this breakfast. Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. And I’m not talking about cold smoked salmon, or cured salmon. This is legit tender wood fired smoked salmon — one that rivals this very salmon. It was layered between sweet caramelized onions, sautéed spinach, topped with a mild and lemony hollandaise, all sitting atop of a flaky and flavorful sweet cream biscuit. On top of it all they had some of the friendliest service I’ve seen in Portland in quite some time (that’s saying a lot). My hat’s off to The Country Cat folks. I can’t wait to go back.
King Estate Winery Sunset
In my IPNC photo preview I mentioned getting to travel to a few Oregon wine regions as a part of a media tour. We stopped at King Estate Winery for a unique tasting of aged Pinot Gris (I’ll be telling you all about it next week), and dinner at their restaurant. We happened to also witness an incredible sunset over their gorgeous property.
More on King Estate and their wines coming soon.
Now it’s time to rest up for the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. It’s tomorrow (and I’m so not ready!). What’s on your agenda for the weekend?