Musings by Leah Jorgensen

Archive for March, 2011

“North Meets South” Preview Spirits Dinner

March 23

Northwest Palate Magazine hosted a spirits focused dinner at Aquariva on Tuesday night to kick off the first annual North Meets South Food & Drink Jubilee, taking place at the Benson Hotel this weekend, Friday, March 25 – Sunday, March 27.

Northwest Palate Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Cole Danehower launched the dinner with a wonderful introduction about the celebrated food and wine appreciation of the region, and how the culmination of food, wine, beer and spirits are all important contributors to Oregon’s gastronomic culture.

While most dinners in Portland are shared with the region’s top beers and wines, this dinner featured exciting local and imported spirits mixed in cocktails that paired exceptionally well with five inventive courses prepared by Aquariva Executive Chef Andy Arndt and his team.

SuperFly Vodka Champagne Cocktail with Rosemary


Passed Appetizer:
Scallop Stuffed Date, Thyme Cracker
SuperFly Vodka with Champagne, Rosemary

First Course:
Crab and Cucumber Stuffed Pillow, Lemon Basil Emulsion
El Zacatecano Mezcal, Cilantro, Agave, Lime

Crab and Cucumber Pillow, Lemon Basil Emulsion

Second Course:
Smoked Pork Belly, Caramelized Yams, Black Pepper
House Spirits White Dog Rhubarb Old Fashioned

House Spirits White Dog Rhubarb Old Fashioned

Third Course:
Coffee Smoked Short Rib, Onion Rings, Tomato
Cofia Liquor, Mexican Espressotini

Frozen Chocolate, Brown Butter, Candied Zest
Novo Fogo Cachaca Kiwi Caipirinha

There were a few stand-out highlights of the evening, including the SuperFly Vodka Champagne cocktail with Rosemary, a perfect spring sipper; the Crab and Cucumber Pillow – an exquisite presentation with thin cucumber slices artfully wrapping the crab like a woven basket; the House Spirits White Dog Rhubarb Old Fashioned topped with a blood orange; and, the best pairing of the night – the Coffee Smoked Short Rib, Onion Rings, Tomato with the creamy Cofia Liquor Mexican Espressotini, which reminded me of an upscale version of the American classic – burger, fries and milkshake.

This dinner certainly whet the appetite for what’s ahead in this weekend’s North Meets South Food & Drink Jubilee.  Tickets are still available.  Also, visit North Meets South on Facebook and Twitter.

ArborBrook Social Media ReTweet @ Metrovino

Monday, March 14

Members of the media Tweet and Facebook on
smartphones and i-Pads

What a perfect way to start the week – meeting up with a handful of influential food and wine writers and videographers to taste, Tweet and then upload inventive food and wine pairings featuring the wines of ArborBrook Vineyards and haute cuisine of Metrovino.

Once seated, the media guests pulled out their smartphones and i-Pads and set up on Tweet decks @metrovino and @Abcowgirl to begin the live dialog in real time.

Metrovino owner Todd Steele and ArborBrook Vineyards proprietor Dave Hansen sat down with the group and participated in the engaging and intimate fête de Facebook a.k.a. food and wine ReTweet.

Executive Chef Gregory Denton surprised and delighted guests with delectible tastes that paired beautifully with select ArborBrook Vineyards wines.

House-smoked trout and cucumber salad with
ArborBrook Vineyards 2009 Guadalupe Vineyard Pinot Gris

Chef Denton presented the following menu:

An amuse-bouche cream soup with chip then….

avocado, blood orange and shiso

green apple, maple-braised pork belly, celery and shallot vinaigrette
ArborBrook Vineyards 2009 Guadalupe Vineyard Pinot Gris

with oyster mushroom “stroganoff”
ArborBrook Vineyards 2009 “Heritage Cuvee” Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

spinach, butternut squash and alby’s gold potato, lentil and leek vinaigrette
ArborBrook Vineyards 2009 “Estate 777 Block” Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

local honey, poached bosc pear and truffled pistachios
ArborBrook Vineyards 2007 “Sydney” Klipsun Vineyard Semillon

Briar Rose Creamery Chevre with ArborBrook
Vineyards 2007 “Sydney” Semillon

As stand-alones, the wines and food are of exceptional quality.  Chef Denton explained his philosophy on working with local farms whenever possible and serving up what’s in season.  And, ArborBrook Vineyards proprietor shared about his vineyard and the other “grand cru” classe vineyards he sources his fruit from to make his highly acclaimed small lot wines.  Together, Denton’s rich, savory dishes fully brought out the expression of ArborBrooks’s wines, carefully balancing the fruit character, acids, richness and texture.

ArborBrook Vineyards wines are currently served at Metrovino.

Metrovino owner Todd Steele (seated), Chef de Cuisine
Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, Executive Chef Gregory Denton
and ArborBrooks Vineyards Proprietor Dave Hansen