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Musings by Leah Jorgensen

Vertical 1.0

Miles and Jack are back…

If you haven’t heard they’re back, then you need to get up to speed.

First, there was Sideways the novel, which, in 2004, was turned into a critically acclaimed box office hit starring Paul Giamatti as the self-loathing, failed writer, Miles, who had a deep affection for Pinot Noir, and, ironically, an abhorrence for Merlot (ironic, in that the wine he covets in the film is a Cheval-Blanc, which is a Bordeaux blend of – you’ve guessed it – Merlot).

In Sideways, Miles takes his best friend, Jack, portrayed in the film by Thomas Haden Church, on a two-man “bachelor party” road trip through California’s wine country in search of great Pinot Noir (well, at least for Miles), debauchery (especially for Jack), and a little golf and good food along the way.  All kinds of crazy happens.

The gruesome twosome are back in Rex Pickett’s much-anticipated follow-up novel, Vertical, taking Miles and Jack on another road trip adventure, this time with Miles’s mother on board, as well as her Filipina caretaker.  The novel opens at the World of Pinot Noir event in California’s Central Coast, and follows the foursome, as they visit one wine region after another, between the Central Coast and the Willamette Valley, culminating at the celebrated International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville, Oregon.

“In Vertical – as I did in Sideways – as Miles, I wrote my heart on my sleeve and hung it all out for the world to see,” said Pickett.  “I think it’s deeper than the first book, though just as funny.  It is based on my life experience which has been anything but predictable.  Readers may experience that same unpredictability in Vertical.”

The burning question that’s undoubtedly on the minds of those in the Oregon wine industry is if Vertical will do for Willamette Valley wine country what Sideways did for California Pinot Noir country.  Certainly, all Pinot Noir producers benefitted from the success of the movie.  

Following Sideways‘ U.S. release in October 2004, according to various news outlets (including the Monterey County Herald), Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States.   A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets.  Sales of Merlot dropped after the film’s release, possibly due to Miles’ disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film.  However, sales of Merlot in the United States remain more than double those of Pinot noir, the country’s second most popular wine.

As for how the success of the film related to Santa Barbara County, the backdrop of the novel and film, there was a Sideways wine map covering Miles and Jack’s tour.  The movie obviously boosted tourism in that wine region.

I just started reading my copy of Vertical.  In addition to being a freelance writer, a blogger, and a wine industry marketing-communications consultant, I am also a winemaking student, which means my reading time has been limited to Chemistry and Wine Clarification and Stabilization text books.  I plan to read the novel in segments and blog about it as I go along.  I’m not about to do a traditional review of the book.  I’m not that kind of writer.  I’ll try to come up with some clever way to relate the story – certainly with some Willamette Valley Pinot Noir in my glass.

Stay tuned!

View video interview with author Rex Pickett.

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Stuffed Eggplant: A Winter Wonderful with Some Seasonal Wisdom

Any great recipe comes down to the quality of the ingredients – the fresher, the better.   I am always recreating my favorite dishes as gluten-free interpretations.  It doesn’t work as well to just substitute gluten-free options when cooking up a dish or following a recipe.  I go back to the flavors and textures – what’s going to work best.  And, knowing a little bit about flavors and textures, I substitute with choice ingredients. 

This evening, I was in the mood for some Italian comfort food.  It has been a stressful week.  I indulged a little too much on New Year’s Eve, which took a few days to fully recover.   By Monday, I was busily engaged in some major consulting projects.   Tuesday, I began the winter term for the enology (winemaking) degree I’m working on.  In fact, today, Thursday, was my longest day of class, a piggy back ride of chemistry – the lecture followed by the lab.  By the time I got home, I felt like I was going to hit the floor.  I am still adjusting to the post wine cellar work – the kind that has me sitting down all day, mostly in lectures or in front of a computer.  Just writing that sentence jolted an electrical urge to stretch.

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but, I do try to maintain a healthy, happy, balanced life – year-round.  January isn’t so much about forcing myself to fix what might have gone wrong the previous year; rather, it’s the turning away from winter.  While it’s still bitter-cold out, and the days are still inching into a new season of extended light, there’s this palpable feeling of renewal in the air that is more hopeful than regimen-oriented.  People need to stop trying to make January about resolving shit.

Personally, I try to approach January with meditative reflection (about being present) and with unbridled joy.  I become exuberant and child-like, in some ways.  If it snowed here in Portland, you bet your bottom dollar I’d be playfully tossing a snowball in your direction.  Watch out!  Life’s too short.  So you might as well be in the moment, be happy, and be well.  It’s pretty simple.

This week, I have been eating super healthy, flavorful foods.  I’m cutting back on the alcohol intake, post New Year’s Eve, and will return to enjoying wine and spirits in moderation.  And, I’m getting in some really challenging and invigorating yoga sessions.  I’m not changing anything, really, just maintaining.

Back to the eggplant.  This is what I cooked up for supper.  It’s gluten-free and offers a fine balance of nutrition and hedonism.  All of the ingredients I used were fresh and organic.

  • 1 eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage and tarragon
  • couple pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup crushed flaxseed/multi-grain (gluten-free) snack chips (I like La Rosa’s)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant, chop, and reserve.  Season shells with salt and pepper, and coat with some olive oil; set aside.
    2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Saute ground pork (breaking it up) and garlic until pork is evenly brown. Stir in the reserved chopped eggplant. Season with herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Mix in the flax or multi-grain snack chips, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. If mixture is dry, stir in more olive oil. Stuff mixture into eggplant shells, and sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
    3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.

    I served this with a small side of gluten-free brown rice pasta and tomato sauce, and topped the stuffed eggplant with a thin layer of tomato sauce.

    Want to pair a vino with this?   Since there’s savory pork, rich eggplant, and tomato sauce in this meal, consider a hearty Southern Italian red wine.  My mother’s family is from Caserta (Campania), and, I think the wines from that region would be dead-on matches.   For example, a red Taurasi would be nice; it’s grown outside of Napoli and made up of mostly Aglianico grapes.  Or, a wine from Puglia would also make for a luscious match – try a Primitivo.  For suggested brands, visit Snooth.com.

    Buon appetito!

    The Write Way

    I picked up this whimsical version of the writers’ classic handbook “The Elements of Style” by Strunk & White.  This version includes the artwork of Maira Kalman.  I acquired my first copy of The Elements as a college freshman and had used it as a tool for perfecting my prose.  Every writer needs a copy of the old, new or illustration edition.

    Incidentally, I had misplaced my original copy a few years ago.   I had forgotten all about it until I was browsing through a book shop and came across Kalman’s reproduction.  I would say it was serendipitous, as far as the timing is concerned, because I have just commenced a new writing project.  A second novel.  Not that the first one ever got out.  It’s on the back burner.  This one is different.  It will be my breakthrough work.

    Writing has been a love-hate relationship for me.  Tumultuous.  Like most writers, I am my own worst critic.  I go through monstrous editing phases which derail the stream of consciousness process that defines how I shape a story.  I write my prose in notebooks.  By hand.  Then, I go back and type a transcription.  That’s when the lunatic editor, my Doctor Jeckyl alter-ego, takes over.  It prevents me from finishing a work.  I am working to tame that down.  

    The process of writing prose is an intimate, consuming experience.  I marvel at the different ways writers work.  Some writers are incredibly superstitious about the mood, noise control, time of day and other external conditions, and, if something is off, they cannot produce.  Other writers are rigid with formal regimens bordering OCD.  And, there are some writers who are so fluid that they don’t call to action when they are meant to write, the writing calls them to action – if the voice is there, if they feel the words coming to them, then they will abandon sleep, their families, their day jobs – everything – to obey the call to write.

    I think of myself as a hybrid of sorts.  But, my process always includes a notebook and a Sharpie fine point pen.  And, hopefully a blend of luck and persistence.

    There is no right or wrong way to write.  But, with a little luck and persistence, the muse may arrive and give you what you’ve been longing for – the end to writer’s block and the beginning of a great story. 

    That’s where I’m at.   And, while I’m at it, I’m referring to “The Illustrated Elements of Style” for inspiration and perfection.  Without my Doctor Jeckyl alter ego.

    A Few of My Favorite Things

    I love the holidays.  Whether in a time of recession, economic recovery or unapologetic decadence, I love to find ways to indulge.  But, I can be a very self-indulgent person.  In any case, I grew up in a house with an Italian-American mom who’d pull out all the stops creating, at once, magic and holiday refinery every year – from the elaborate decorations that included three to four Christmas trees in our house, to the elegantly placed ceramic manger scene on the mantle, shrouded in fresh, balsam fir scented garlands, and, of course, the glowing lights everywhere that, when I’d stare too much, which was too often, made my eyes water and blur.  Okay, maybe it was the Eggnog.  Nope, I don’t drink that stuff.  I’ll continue to blame the twinkling, glowy lights…

    The food at home consisted of our seasonal favorites that blended our Italian-Austrian heritage and Roman Catholic custom.  Sorry, Dad.  Your Viking customs were pretty much defeated by Roman conquering.  No lefse, princess tortes, pickled herring or Glögg.  And, so, my memories warm my senses with the familiar flavors of mom’s anise-kissed pizzelles, spiced lebkuchen and pfeffernusse.  Then there’s the Tuscan roasts, the Sauerbraten and, best of all, the Southern-Italian tradition of seafood seven ways for La Viglia di Natale–the Christmas Vigil- also known as ‘The Feast of the Seven Fishes’.  You’d think my mom would throw my dad a bone and include a pickled herring in the mix of fishes.  Not a chance.  I can smell my mother’s kitchen as I write, looking forward to traversing the air miles cross country to get home for the holidays.

    It should also be recorded that we drink well in the Jorgensen house.  We celebrate with German salmon and caper brunches with well-topped flutes of German bubbly.  We drink excellent Oregon Pinot Noir.  And, after sitting for hours around the dinner table, dad will then disappear and re-emerge from his bar in the basement with Champagne cognac, brandies and other spirits.  A family that drinks together stays together.  Or, something like that.  All kidding aside, we do partake in moderation and enjoy the range of flavors that special wines and spirits offer.

    But, I digress.  While I’m still here in Portland, in full delight with glowing lights, holiday trim and delicious tastes to be had, there are some things that I covet and must indulge in to savor the enchanting flavors of the season.  Here are a few of my favorite things…

    HOLIDAY INSPIRED COCKTAILS

    Staying in?

    The Holiday Lennert
    An update to my favorite summer cocktail.

    4 cl   Clear Creek Williams Pear Brandy
    2 cl   Lime Juice
    (fill to top) Prosecco (or Blanquette de Limoux, or Crement)
    Serve in a Champagne Flute

    Sexy Santa’s Bog Nog
    Okay, there’s no real “nog” to this, but it sounds good.

    2.5 cl (shot)   Disaronno Amaretto
    (fill to top)   Vincent Family Cranberry Juice
    Lime garnish
    Serve in a highball glass

    Note:  Pour 1 measure of Disaronno into a highball glass half filled with ice cubes. Top up with chilled cranberry juice. Squeeze a wedge of lime in to the drink and leave in as garnish.  For a richer, fuller flavor increase to 2 measures of Disaronno.

    Passing on the alcohol?  Instead of a glass of full-bodied red wine, substitute with a glass of Vincent Family Cranberries Cranberry-Blueberry juice.  It’s rich, full body is unexpected!  It’s naturally sweetened and just wonderful.

    Going out? 

    Clyde Common Eggnog
    Before last year, you couldn’t get me to drink Eggnog, even if someone’s life depended on it (see my note in the opening paragraph).  Well, I met a friend for  holiday imbibing at Clyde Common last December and was told I had to try this classic drink.  None too excited, I reluctantly ordered one.  Conceived by well-known Portland mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the Clyde Common Eggnog is rich, spicy, frothy deliciousness.  Who knew?  It’s now a Portland holiday season tradition for me and, well, everyone else who likes to drink in Portland.  Try to grab a seat by the bar if you can.  Cat’s out of the bag, especially since the cocktail was featured with the recipe in Playboy Imbiber’s Dan Dunn column.

    Thistle’s Brooklyn
    There are lots of reasons to visit downtown McMinnville.  It’s in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.  Great shops.  And, great food.  Thistle is a culinary destination.   I could wax poetics about the menu.  But, I’m going straight to the back of the restaurant.  To the bar.  Music from ambient sounds to the uber cool likes of The Cure and The Flaming Lips.  Yup.  Quaint and in-part hipster-esque, this bar is serving up some ridiculously good cocktails.  Strong.  Well-made.  Get the Brooklyn.   Get’s me in the holiday spirit.  Rye whiskey, dry vermouth.  Plus, they scored BIG points with me because instead of a nasty maraschino cherry, there was a lovely amarena cherry at the bottom of my pretty glass.


    Me, holding up the amarena cherry in my Brooklyn cocktail.

    Again, passing on the alcohol?  Then go by Cacao and order some of their elixir of comfort and joy – drinking chocolate!  Go get some now!  It’ll get you in a cozy mood.  Soon, you’ll be walking down the streets of downtown PDX, or in the Pearl, whistling “Sleigh Ride”.  You won’t even notice that it’s freezing and raining.

    HOLIDAY INSPIRED FOOD & WINE PAIRING

    Feeling decadent.  Om.  So, why should I bother running through the typical courses?  I’m gonna cut to the chase, to the mantra of eternal tasting bliss.  The best holiday thrill is none other than this ridonkulous dessert pairing.  I learned about this when I managed the Best Cellars wine shop in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC,  nearly a decade ago.   When I tried this pairing, I realized that if I died, all would be well.  I had reached nirvana.  It really doesn’t get much better than this.  And, to be honest, nothing else really matters after you taste this.  Really.  You’re so blissed out that there is no fear, no stress, just pure light and joy.  So, what better way to lose your fear of dying? 

    I recommend eating and drinking this now, if not sooner:

    Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Rabitos Royale Bombon de Higo.  That’s fig bonbons.  I have to admit, I’m slightly miffed that the best friggin’ pairing of the season doesn’t belong to the Italian people.  Spain, baby.  Spain. 

    Sono spiacente, mia cara mammina.

    You can find a listing of Pedro Ximenez producers here on Snooth.

    HOLIDAY INSPIRED FOOD
    I was going to include a recipe for Rum Raisin Ice Cream with Pizzelle Cookie.  But, I’m tired and no longer in the mood to list any more favorite things for the season.  I’ve been sitting in traffic all day.  The stores were slammed today with impatient, vexed people holiday shopping.  Loads of screaming kids.  Then, I got home and realized I was out of Disoronno, so, no flippin’ Sexy Santa Bog Nog tonight.  Oh well.  Deep breath.  It’s the holidays, after all!

    And, in the brisk and carousel-like moments of hustle and bustle that go with the season, I try to keep a sense of humor as best as I can, and, mostly, reflect on all of the blessings that make the season bright.  It’s love, love, love.  And, I wish that, along with peace and joy to all.

    Cheers and Happy Holidays!

    Room For Another Auburn Songstress?


    Me – all red locks, but no piano

    Some of the most powerful voices in songwriting today come from beautifully complex heads that happened to be topped with locks of red.  Yes, there’s Bonnie Raitt and some of the more well-known red heads of country music.  But, I’m talking about a different mix of edgier, current songwriting.

    There’s the “original” alternative rock red-headed songstress – Tori Amos – who is indisputably one of the greatest songwriters of all time.  No one has ever or since made a piano quite so sexy.  Her songs unabashedly kick ass.  Sample:  Cornflake Girl.

    Neko Case has occupied the soulful space with her raspy voice and rock-blues-folk songs.  She’s simply a bad ass with a sweetness like a Manhattan cocktail – Bourbon with Sweet Vermouth.  Sample:  Furnace Room Lullaby.

    There’s the ever-so-enchanting Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy, whose lyrics and voice are irresistibly haunting.  Her album, One Cell in the Sea, helped me unleash some much needed tears during a particularly difficult time in my life.  Sample:  Almost Lover.

    One of the great voices taking the music waves by storm is Florence & The Machine.  Unbelievable amber waves of rockin beats that make you, at once, want to clap your hands and run for your life.  Sample:  Dog Days Are Over.

    And, another emerging chantreuse is La Roux, who redefines the 80’s pop movement of bubbly sounds intertwined with heart-felt anthems that could rock out any John Hughes soundtrack.  Sample:  Bulletproof.

    Now, I have been busy working in the cellar at an Oregon winery doing an extended internship that is kicking into gear with harvest.  There’s a natural affinity for winemaking and music.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been inspired.  I’ve put my writing to work by transforming words into lyrics.  I have always loved coming up with melodies in my head, and, I was a student of creative writing, namely poetry.  I’m just surprised it’s taken me so long to put both skills together. 

    I have written about a dozen songs without having my instrument of choice to guide me – the piano.  My beloved piano is a Grotrian-Steinweg grand with all of its original ivory keys, built c. 1917, after the Steinweg family had already left Germany for America to establish Steinweg & Sons in New York. 

    This piano was one of the first gifts my father had bought for my mother, which he purchased in Germany when he was stationed there in the Army.  For nearly 40 years it has been lovingly played by both my mother and me.  It remains in my parents’ livingroom waiting to be awakened.  I suppose it’s waiting for me to settle down into a more permanent address so that it, too, may have more permanent relevance. 

    I miss that piano and take such great pleasure in our reunions over the holidays – which usually starts off with me banging out some traditional Christmas carols, but then wistfully wanders into classical wintersongs and other pieces that continue to move me – like Claire de Lune and the First Gymnopedie by Eric Satie; Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven; Pachelbel’s Canon in D; a few of Bach’s Inventions; a Toccatina or Sonatina by Kabalevsky; No. 1 from “Adeventures of Ivan” by Khachaturian – and then anything else that instructs me to play allegro con spirito.

    In the meantime, I’m writing songs as if I were at my piano, scaling the keyboard in my mind to find the right notes, hearing the music play out in my head.  It’s been a kind of therapy for me, as I’ve worked my way through some tough times, not to mention the joys and awes of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    I hope to record these songs soon.   Though, with harvest about to begin, it’s going to have to wait a little while longer.  While I have some raw recordings already made of just my voice, it’s way too personal for me to post them at this early stage.  I’m slowly growing into my comfort zone with my singing.  It’s weird enough hearing my voice on voicemail recordings, let alone on cuts of tracks of me singing without music accompaniment. 

    Titles include:
    1.  Banyan Tree
    2.  Dancing On My Own
    3.  Don’t Abandon Me
    4.  I Know
    5.  Iceland
    6.  Just Me
    7.  My Oregon
    8.  Ode to Odin Francis
    9.  Shallow Love
    10.  Snowfields of Virginia
    11.  The Summer Country
    12.  Untie

    Irving Street Kitchen Begins at the Bar

    Click on the logo to visit Irving Street Kitchen

    I think a lot of great meals begin at the bar.  When dining in Portland, especially, the culinary experience really starts with the cocktail.  The bartenders and mixologists in this town work with the best ingredients – the same way the chefs operate in the kitchen.  Plus, how that cocktail is presented is the ultimate preview for your dining journey.

    At Irving Street Kitchen, I sat at the bar and waited for my friend to arrive.  So, I ordered a cocktail.  It was hot out and I wanted something refreshing.  My eyes darted towards the Carolina Julep c.1890.  I went to a woman’s college in Virginia and our cocktail, more or less, was the mint julep.  We’d go to Foxfield Races (steeplechase) held annually each spring in Charlottesville and pay more attention to the Bourbon cocktails than all the pretty horses flying by.  My point is that the mint julep is a civilized summer cocktail for ladies and gentlemen.

    Let’s get one thing straight.  This Carolina Julep is listed with a circa date.  I understood immediately that the bartender who put this on the bar menu knew what he or she was doing.  It was prepared with Elijah Craig 12 year Bourbon, mint, sugar, splash of sweet tea at Irving street kitchen.  It was perfect.  And, I got a good glimpse into the quality of ingredients that would come to pass.

    My friend arrived and we ordered.  I explained to the bartender, Alison (I think that’s her name!) that I was gluten free.  She ended up taking care of me for the rest of the  night.  The service was impeccable.

    I got the Heirloom Tomato and Raw Zucchini Salad with Black Pepper Vinaigrette and a side order of the Smoked Tasso Jambalaya.

    The salad was bright and fresh with tangy tomatoes and delicate zucchini.  The basil was more like a pesto puree and added some depth to the light flavors.

    The jambalaya had a hint of heat but was really rich and fragrant with a pleasant, earthy, forest floor flavor.  It reminded me of a Rhone red wine with dusty notes of earth and cocoa powder. 


    Alison (and I will owe her big time if I got her name wrong!) brought out a glass of King’s Ridge Riesling to sample with the two courses.  It was fragrant and off-dry, with good upfront acidity and flavors of white peaches and lychee.  It went well with the salad, and, to an extent it paired fairly well with the jambalaya (as Riesling dances well with spicy fare), only, because of the smoked richness, a Rhone would have been a super yummy accompaniment. 

    All in all, this place nods to the American southeast and takes you on a journey there and beyond.  I look forward to returning and turning another corner on the Irving Street menu to discover another pleasant cocktail – which will certainly lead to another enjoyable meal.

    Irving Street Kitchen
    703 Northwest 13th Avenue
    Portland, OR‎ – 503.343.9440
    ‎http://irvingstreetkitchen.com

    In Love with Grüner

    österreichische Küche – Austrian Cuisine.  That you want to date.

    click on logo to visit website

    I was long over-due for this romantic introduction.  We didn’t meet online.  Actually, a friend introduced us.   And, I had heard a lot of positive things.  I put on a cute outfit and eagerly drove to meet my hot date.  Yes, I would date Grüner.  I would flippin’ marry Grüner.  However, this Grüner isn’t on the market.  But, it’s a love fest for anyone who wants to stop by.   

    Grüner is cozy Alpine cuisine.   Imagined by Portland darling chef Christopher Israel, Grüner was inspired by a lifetime of wanderlust and epicurean curiosity, drawing on the affinity between the geographies of the Pacific Northwest and the alpine regions of northern Europe.

    I still want to date it.

    Okay, I am about an eighth Austrian.  Perhaps a little more.  My great grandfather was from South Burgenland, and it’s been told that he was a cooper of wine barrels and also built beautiful, ornate carriages.   I am very proud of that fraction of my heritage.  I love Austrian wine and have enjoyed both Austrian and German food growing up on the east coast.  Lots of spätzle (which means “little sparrow” – how cute!), weiswurst, bratwurst, sauerkraut, pork chops, schnitzel and so on.

    Now that I am gluten-free, it’s a bit of a challenge to navigate my way through a Germanic menu.  Or, so I thought.

    At  Grüner, there is indeed something for everyone.  And, it’s wonderful.

    Interestingly enough, I didn’t even step inside the restaurant.  So, I do need to return for a second date.  Meantime, my friend and I grabbed a picnic table outside for a charming late alfresco dining experience.

    I started off with a refreshing glass of Zweigelt rosé.   Zweigelt is a red wine grape variety developed in 1922, at the Federal Institute for Viticulture and Pomology at Klosterneuburg, Austria, by Fritz Zweigelt.  It was a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent.  It is now the most widely-grown red grape variety in Austria.

    My friend and I ordered a few snacks to begin:  roasted pumpkin seeds and an order of beet-pickled hard boiled eggs.
    Yummy beet-pickled hard-boiled eggs

    I then ordered a glass of the Zweigelt Nittnaus, Neusiedlersee, AT 2007.  Again, when in Rome (or Austria).  I was in the mood for red because it was a cool night out.  I was equally interested in having a glass of the Grüner Veltliner, Forstreiter, Kogl, Kremstal, AT 2008. 

    I then selected the house made sausages – bratwurst and saucisson – with sauerkraut, yukon gold potatoes and sweet mustard.


    Of course, they got it right.  This is comfort food at its best.  Rich flavors, quality meat, tangy kraut.   Precision as you would expect from a German or Austrian.  I only wish my parents were visiting sooner.  They used to live in Germany and truly love this Alpine cuisine.   Grüner is the kind of eatery you want to show off to well-travelled and well-fed kin.

    Grüner
    527 SW 12th Avenue
    Portland, Oregon
    503.241.7163
    www.grunerpdx.com