Tia Vanich, Gregory Gourdet, Jordan Felix, Tamer Riad, Patrick McKee, Jennifer Quist and Juan Martinez at Multnomah Whisky Library
CULINARY DREAMS:Chef’s Week PDX kicked off its inaugural year with a four-day dinner series featuring some of Portland’s best chefs paired with other exciting chefs from around the West Coast...in the middle of Portland's WINTER BLAST 2014.
And yes, the weather was a bitch. But it didn't stop this incredible showcase of West Coast talent from doing what they do well: cooking up a storm and serving it to a very special group of diners who paid to be part of this incredible experience.
Based on community, collaboration and camaraderie Chef’s Week PDX dinners showcased the chefs’ creative spirit by partnering them with other West Coast chefs. Featuring one course from every participant, each dinner showcased the best produce, meats, wine, craft beer, spirits and local artisans Oregon has to offer.
Chef’s Week PDX’s final dinner was held high in the sky at Departure (helmed by the one and only Gregory Gourdet, one of the co-creators of Chef's Week). All participating Chef’s Week PDX chefs, including the additions of Erik Van Kley of Little Bird Bistro, Greg and Gabrielle Denton of Ox, Jorel Pierce of Denver’s Euclid Hall, and Carrie Merrill of Urban Farmer, whipped their own course for the 21-course dinner. Yes, 21 courses.
I caught up with them late in the night at the final night's after-party at Multnomah Whisky Library. The place was packed with chefs and other cool foodies who delighted in saying how "stuffed' they were after dining on such incredible meals.
Tanya Selvaratnam, Thomas Lauderdale, Storm Large, Juan Martinez, Thomas, Sarah Dougher, Thomas, and dinner at Jake's
TANYA'S TIME: When I posted a photo of Storm Large and Courtenay Hameister sipping on cocktails late Sunday night at Jake's Famous, Peter Gunn posted on Twitter: "A very classy evening out, for so many reasons."
And Mr. Gunn was right. Despite the blizzard, the bad roads and the threats of more freezing ice from the sky, Thomas Lauderdale was determined that the book reading (and after-reading dinner) for his best friend from college (and former fiancée) Tanya Selvaratnam would happen. And Thomas makes things happen.
Originally scheduled for Powell’s Books, the reading from Tanya just-released and much-talked-about book "The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism and the Reality of the Biological Clock" became much more intimate when it moved to Thomas's loft after the reading was cancelled at Powell's. And that was a good thing, because there was a lot to talk about and the setting was perfect for that.
Don't let the heady and heavy title scare you: this is a really good book, and it was interesting to hear Tanya's—a filmmaker, actress, producer, and now author— candid assessment of the pros and cons of delayed motherhood. Part memoir, part manifesto, Tanya describes her emotional journey through multiple miscarriages after the age of 37. Her doctor told her she still "had time," but Selvaratnam found little reliable and often conflicting information about a mature woman's biological ability (or inability) to conceive. Through in-depth reporting and her own experience, The Big Lie confronts the questions that will enable women to make smarter choices about their reproductive futures and to strike a more realistic balance between science, society and personal goals. Like I said, it's good.
Following the reading we all trudged through the snow to Jake's Famous where a celebratory dinner was held in Tanya's honor hosted by the one and only Thomas.
It was at Jake's, over seafood and martinis, where the warm and thought-provoking conversation continued late into the cold night.
Jared Pierce, Andrew Shayde, Lance Mayhew, Alexis Campbell Starr, Brian Carroll at Thirst and Kat, Casey and Devin at Thirst Bartender Competition
QUEER-FRIENDLY QUENCHERS: Portland’s, and perhaps the United States, first-ever LGBTQ-focused wine, beer, spirits and beverage event, called THIRST FEST, kicked off on Friday night and continued on Saturday on the second floor of Southwest Portland's historic Tiffany Center.
And yes, it was snowy. Very snowy. But it still attracted a very spirited crowd who trudged through snow, sleet and stopped MAX trains to sample some of the newest alcoholic beverages hitting the glass. The two-day event featured beverage sampling, cocktail competitions, and a chance for members of the LGBTQ community to influence the latest trends in mixology, all the while supporting the work of Cascade AIDS Project.
Congrats to all the vendors, including the very cool Five Wives, Bendistillery, Ventura Lemoncello, Dogwood Distilling, Guild wine Makers and others for making it possible for all of us to try a sample of the really good stuff.
Trudi Morrison, Susan Hoffman, Wendy Warren (photo by Phototainment), Thom Brown and Wendy, Lauren Gold, Ivan Gold, Rabbi Emmanuel Rose, dancing dudes,Hyde and Susan Hoffman
TERRIFIC TRIO: A trio of wonderful women—Trudi Morrison, Wendy Warren, and Susan Hoffman—wouldn't let a few snowflakes get in the way of them whooping it up with their nearest and dearest at their long-planned "Celebration of Friends," which on Friday night, also became known as the Snowcalypse Soirée.
These three have known each other forever (since the 8th grade at Catlin Gabel), and in celebration of their tight-knit bond and incredibly special friendship, they asked a bunch of their friends, both new and old, to gather with them at the Castaway at the edge of the Pearl District for dancing, great drinks, great food, and great music from Soul Vaccination and DJ Pumpkin! And guess what? Despite the weather, everybody came.I don't think any storm could have stopped the party-goers from this truly AWESOME party. And bestowing their love on this truly awesome trio of friends.
Sara Stimac leads a spin class at Firebrand Sports prior to the big game
GO HAWKS! Firebrand Sports hosts a pretty cool slate of themed rides on their really cool bikes. On Sunday, before the big game, it was all about FOOTBALL for the big Super Bowl Ride. Here's a few pics from the ride and the after-party that included healthy chips and salsa..and mimosas...and bloody marys. Oh yeah.