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hoopla_pdx's Profile

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Portland Wine

Your question might have been a bit broad to get responses. Every good restaurant serves local wines, so you won't have much trouble there. Higgins has an especially good list, and has maintained its place as one of the best in the NW for years. The other great restaurants are scattered around now, with quite a few in SE on either side of Hawthorne (street/district).

As far as in the wine country, there are quite a few options these days, especially in McMinville. I ate at the Ponzi Bistro in Dundee recently and it was very good. If you can get there, and you like mushrooms, I'd definitely try to do a meal at the Joel Palmer House.

Apr 03, 2012
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Alternatives to Tillamook Cheddar?

The only cheddar at TJ's that claims to be pasture raised/grass fed is from New Zealand. We tried it and the kids didn't like the taste. Of course, that is the problem with pasture fed dairy; you might not like the tastes that come from what they are eating.

Nov 09, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Alternatives to Tillamook Cheddar?

I'd be fine with 2x the price, it is 3-4x that is the problem (and the norm). Tillamook didn't raise prices when they switched to industrial production, and Bandon used to be competitive, back when it was independent and from Bandon (it is now Wisconsin). So, it seems like decent prices with mostly pasture fed cows should be possible, if a bit less profitable.

Nov 09, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Bangers

I'm not really sure what is "banger-ish" about the bangers at Ottos. They are course-ground, which is one key to a banger, and they have no breadcrumbs, which is another. They are pretty good, but nothing like any English banger that I every had.

When we lived on the West Side, we used to get some pretty good ones from Lamb's Thriftway. I can't remember the brand.

Nov 09, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Alternatives to Tillamook Cheddar?

Over the last 10 years, Tillamook Creamery has proved itself to be a very evil food processor. They bought out and shut down the Bandon cheesemakers, shipping production to Wisconsin (while still labeling it "Oregon Coast Cheese"). They tried to stop the city of Bandon from using it's name for non-cheese marketing. From a health perspective, the worst thing has been moving much of their actual milk production to Boardman, where they use confined non-pasture fed cows; there is no lush, rain and cloud nourished grass there.

None of this mattered before our kids got to a certain age; we didn't eat all that much cheddar, and didn't mind paying a premium for artisan stuff when we did. However, now we're going through quite a bit of medium-cheddar, and both cost and flavor have driven us back to Tillamook.

Does anyone know of any alternatives that are relatively affordable and made form pasture raised, grass fed milk cows?

Nov 02, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Portland Snacks & Drinks

All of those mentioned above fit your criteria. The bar at Higgins has more of a pub feel, but has excellent food and a great wine list.

Even Saucebox, which is right near some of the downtown hotels, and used to be a nightclub, isn't all that 'club-ish'.

If you are staying at one of the Riverfront hotels, you might check out Thirst. I haven't been there, but people say good things.

Feb 25, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland

Sharpen Up

Growing numbers of people have Japanese knives which have harder (but also more brittle) steel. These should never be honed on most knife steels; you will get chips out of your edge rather than realignment. Ceramic honing rods are cheap and so much better; it really doesn't make sense to use a steel any more.

Idahone rods are generally considered the best, but I've seen people say that the Edge Pro ones are the same.

I'm cheap, so I've got the Tennessee Big Stick (fits in the steel hole in my block) and the Big John Super Stick from eknifeworks.com. They work exceptionally well.

When I want my knives sharpened, I take them to Zenblades.com (you can also mail them in).

Feb 25, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Features

Boston Baked Beans

This pretty much goes against everything Steve Sando says in the "You're doing it all wrong" video: http://www.chow.com/stories/12028

Feb 25, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Recipes

Portland Knife Sharpening

Probably the best person in town is Woody from Zen Blades (http://www.zenblades.com). He only charges $5 and you can get knives done while you eat lunch at the Oregon Culinary Institute. He does the sharpening for quite a few restaurants and stores around town.

If you've got some really high end custom or Japanese knives, Murray Carter in Vernonia claims to offer the world's best sharpening service. I think it is $40, though, so it doesn't make sense for most knives, and I doubt it is any better than Zen Blades.

Jan 03, 2010
hoopla_pdx in Metro Portland