Diary Of A Foodie

When Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie was first announced, I checked the local OPB listings, and since they didn’t show it, completely forgot about the series. Months later, my Tivo was smart enough to figure out I might enjoy the show, and started recording it for me.

Warm temperatures are not a friend to most of us with MS, so for the last few days, I’ve plopped on the couch, and started going through the Diary series.

I’ve watched lobster being fried in homemade lard – be still my heart (pun intended). I watched absinthe being made. An excellent piece on the bar at one of my favorite restaurants, Cyrus in Healdsburg California, showing the great lengths the bartender goes to for the perfect cocktail. Sweetbreads. In one show Ruth Reichel made faux fois gras, which she swears tastes just like the real thing. For my taste, this is one of the best cooking/food shows I’ve ever seen.

It airs Tuesdays on OPB, 10:00a.m. and 4:00p.m. Highly recommended. Set your Tivo. What? No Tivo? If you have ITunes, you can download all the episodes free. What? No Ipod? You are reaching the end of my patience… but you don’t have to have an Ipod to watch them on your pc.

Aequitas Capital Management has invested $1.175 Million in N.W. Hayden Enterprises. Funny, years ago that would have sounded like a ton of money, but these days it’s not even a nice house in the west hills. Anyway, from the press release: “NW Hayden Enterprises will use the infusion of capital for the opening of new restaurants throughout the state, including in Portland the opening of Mark Lindsay’s Rock n’ Roll Café in July 2007, and the re-opening of the legendary Brasserie Montmartre in December 2007. NW Hayden Enterprises is also spicing up the former Harrison’s space in the Fox Tower with a concept based on Latin, South and Central American tastes. The new restaurant will feature big flavors and traditional regional favorites at very affordable prices.”

That is a lot to do with little money.

Pinocchio Bar & Restaurant is opening their doors on Tuesday May 15th at 5pm for dinner. Brunch will start on Sunday May 20th and lunch will begin on Monday May 21st. In the email I got from them, they mentioned my um, dislike of their artwork, and swear if I come down in person, I’ll like it better. I’ll try to get the menu posted in the next 24 hours.

Toro Bravo has been having a few issues with the OLC, and has pushed their “Soft Opening” to Friday May 18th through May 31st, with the “Grand Opening” scheduled for Friday June 1st.


Terroir is planning on opening their doors on June 6th. This is the one on MLK, with Chef Stu Stein at the helm. Doesn’t ring a bell? Maybe this will help. He’s the one that was plagiarizing in articles he wrote for a newspaper down in Ashland. Got caught, and skulked out of town, to end up here. They are at 3500 NE MLK, Portland. (503) 288-3715. The menu that’s been posted so far is notable for being cheap low priced. If you want to read more on the alleged plagiarism by Mr. Stein, you can do a search on here or portlandfood.org and you’ll find lots of discussion and examples. Anyway, How can they be so cheap and supposedly have such high quality food and a big fancy building? That’s what I want to know.

Lots of people have been asking about Rocket, the new venture by Leather Storrs, of Noble Rot fame. Ya’ll know I’ve been, ’cause I’ve posted the menu. As a matter of fact, I’ve been three times, and will be back once more before I post my quick hit. The reason? Um, I just want to have my ducks in line on this one. Nice space, nice view, one of the best patios in town, great service. Not nearly as crowded as you might expect, so give it a try – very L.A. To find the stairs/elevator, (it’s on the 4th floor of the lipstick red building), don’t go into the restaurant downstairs, instead walk on past it until you see the unmarked entrance just to the right. As far as I know, it’s the only place in Portland where you’ll find sous vide cooking (double click on the words if you don’t know what this means).

Look for it at the end of this week.

Ton’s of response on my homemade tonic odyssey. Couple of things. One, I should have mentioned more prominently that this is the tonic water being used in the Park Kitchen house Gin and Tonic, originally developed by bartender Kevin Ludwig, who has now moved on. Sometimes I forget that everyone doesn’t happen to know these things.

I’ve now made the tonic at least five times – whenever friends taste it, I end up giving them the bottle and have to make it again. Each time I look for shortcuts, many which have been mentioned here. Most obviously is a centrifuge, which to my mind might work, but hey, food dude can’t afford these types of things.Even more importantly, I have doubts as to whether the stickiness of the simple syrup would allow it to work properly.

Someone else mentioned the Buchner funnel, which I’d never heard of, but a bit of research shows are very reasonably priced, so next time I get a few donations from people on this site, I’ll pick one up and give it a try.

There are some other methods, which I have tried with some degree of success.

1. With a bit of testing, it became obvious that the simple syrup mixed with quinine bark is what really slows the filtering. I made concentrate of the herbal ingredients, filtered it separately, and then added it to the simple syrup. This worked well, and I was able to cut the entire process to a couple of hours, but I found the tonic didn’t stay in suspension as well as it should. One has to keep stirring the drink, which waters it down. It also left a bit of an edge to the drink, that didn’t mellow over time. Being a purist, this was unacceptable, but in a pinch…

2. Kevin suggested that I make the tonic according to his recipe, and let it settle out for five days or so before filtering. Most of the sediment settles out into a gluey mass at the bottom of the jar. If you pour it off carefully and then do the filtering, it is much easier. The tonic also mellows a bit during the process. I think this is the best solution so far, though the filtering is still a bit of a pain.

3. In my humble opinion, this tonic sucks with vodka. Save it for a good gin. The NY Times did a huge gin tasting a few weeks ago called “No, Really, It Was Tough: 4 People, 80 Martinis“. Plymouth English Gin won, but I think it would be a bit too smooth here. I’d go with the #2 or #3 winners:

The Junipero, made in small quantities by the distilling branch of the Anchor brewery in San Francisco, came on strong with the traditional gin flavors of juniper and citrus, hitting all the right notes, though a little self-consciously.

The No. 3 gin, Cadenhead’s Old Raj from Scotland, at 110 proof, or 55 percent alcohol, was by far the most powerful gin we tasted: Tanqueray and Tanqueray No. 10 at 94.6 proof were the next highest. But while Old Raj packed a punch, its muscularity came across as bright and in control.

Two standbys of the American cocktail cabinet fared well as martinis. Seagram’s Extra Dry came in at No. 4. We found it surprisingly complex in the glass, with fruit, herbal and gingery spice notes, yet it didn’t stray far from the gin ideal, while Gordon’s London Dry adhered to the straight and narrow, with a slight emphasis of spicy cardamom and nutmeg aromas.

If you try to make the tonic, I’d love to hear how it goes.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    The last (and only) time I was at Yakuza, they were preparing meat sous vide as well. It was my first time trying sous vide meat, and to be honest, I didn’t like it. Maybe Rocket’s is better?

  2. says

    Can’t say whether it’s a good match for your tonic, but I give Plymouth (which we’ve been drinking since the article came out) a big thumbs up. I drink it just with club soda — not even lime — and it’s clear and crisp, the herbs/juniper running through with (for me) just the right impact.

  3. Jill-O says

    I like Diary of a Foodie too. I had no idea it was shown on Tuesdays, though…I record it (or my DVR does, anyway) on Fridays at 12:30. It’s a subscription recording, so I have no idea why it doesn’t record it on Tuesdays – thanks for mentioning it, I’ll have to check things out with the ti-faux.

  4. tastyvittles says

    Noble Rot also does sous vide cooking. Also I think it’s appropriate to wait on your ‘quick hit’ on Rocket. I feel like they’ve barely been open and that too early a review is not always the best way, and in fact can hinder what is often a period of just getting settled in. I like to wait at least one month before first trying a brand spanking new place.

  5. Hunter says

    Lord I hope Hayden keeps that cigar room in the old Harrison’s space. There is no place downtown to smoke a cigar right now.

  6. grapedog says

    Ah yes, sous vide cooking. Also known as gently cooking food in a cryovac package at exactly the right temperature. The technique is supposed to keep all the character, texture and moisture of the food intact vs. sharing it with the cooking liquid. I’ve also read that if not done properly, nasty bacteria might have a field day in such a cooking vessel.

    Michael Ruhlman’s “The Reach of a Chef” goes into detail on sous vide and how it’s used by Thomas Keller and others in their super high-end cooking. I’m curious to try it myself in Portland one day to see if it’s just hype or really something new.

    Regarding cigars, I consider myself a non-smoker, but I picked up a nasty cigar habit 20 years ago. There’s something about a cigar and nice single-malt scotch for a relaxing evening. I enjoyed Harrison’s cigar room once before they closed. Bring it back, please!

  7. Hunter says

    For what it’s worth, yes. It’s only open at night and I refuse to smoke a cigar in an area where others are eating or drinking. Harrison had a great closed off room with really great ventilation and purifiers. There was also a great room in Cascade Cigars which is now closed.

  8. hossboss says

    Has anyone been able to find full episodes of Foodie? The podcast is only short, 3-6 minute clips… :(

    On another note, thanks for the consideration, Hunter. Not that I eat at El Gaucho, but I agree cigar smoke food don’t mix. I still don’t understand how Bourdain can chain smoke and not destroy his palate.

  9. charles mcenerney says

    thanks for the great review of “foodies!” tivo comes to the rescue…

    just to clarify, the series of video podcasts that are available via itunes are a separate series of segments that were produced for promotion of the series, but if you subscribe to the feed, the very first video podcast is a 12-minute preview of the series, made up of several segments from the on-air series.


  10. Nino says

    Hey Everybody,

    Looking for some ideas on cigar places around Portland? I did an article for PDX Magazine on this topic several months ago. You can download it here as a PDF. Enjoy!

  11. Nino says

    Hi Everybody,

    If you’re looking for some ideas on cigar places around town, I did an article for PDX Magazine on that topic earlier this year. You can read it here as a PDF. Enjoy!

  12. mountainfoodie says

    hossboss – I’ve hit a dead end on podcasts and was wondering the same thing.

    hmmmm homemade lard….

  13. reflexblue says

    re: Terroir
    I expect small plates to be under $10. I’m probably more excited about the rabbit cakes than I should be.

    I love the name, Terroir.

    re: plagiarism
    that description of Juniper Farms is exactly as I’ve described to many people.

  14. rodney says

    Calvin Trillin describes a foodie as “someone who eats something on a bed of something else”


  15. Chambolle says

    You can always count on Trillin for the goods.

    re: the cigar thing – trust me on a few things. At the Kennedy School, the cigar place is called the Cypress Room, which is beyond and to the left of the main restaurant. The Horse Brass (bless them) and the Moon and Sixpence are good pubs with good beer selections (among other things) that should be on that list. Gaucho is cool, but sometimes I don’t feel entirely comfortable listening to the conversations of wealthy dudes who spend a little too much time in China. Kelly’s Olympian has extremely high ceilings and a staff who is so bogged down with ennui that you could light yourself on fire and they would simply say, “Hey man, do you need an ashtray?” Jake’s on 10th (the Governor Hotel) allows smoking in their bar even though the dining room is on the other side of the partition. (I’m afraid this alone will be cause for several comments.) And on Alberta, the Know and the Nest allow it for the same reasons as Kelly’s (but more in the “we are godless” sort of sense). If I’ve omitted anybody, sorry. It’s not like I’m a staff writer for the weeklies or anything. This is where I smoke if I’m not on my own back patio, stargazing.

  16. pastry gladiator says

    Terroir, Rocket. . .oh, Portland, what “foodie” restaurant name is next?
    Hmmm. Pinot’s Noir, The Green Zebra Cafe, Comice Bar and Grill, or perhaps Heirloom? My personal favorite. . .Fiddlehead’s.

  17. adam says

    I can’t find Diary of a Foodie anywhere in my channel listings for OPB at any of the times listed. Any ideas?

  18. Jill-O says

    Oh, I didn’t realize it was on OPB Create (currently Comcast channel # 310) too.

    Last Friday’s show on OPB (at 12:30) featured molecular gastronomy and included some face time with Achatz and Cantu in Chicago.

  19. Camper English says

    Tonic water: It’s interesting that when you added the sugar afterwards your tonic settled out. Mine did not. But you did it only slightly differently than I. I made the tonic and filtered it using the original recipe. (It still took a while to filter.) Then I reheated and added only sugar to it to turn it into syrup. It sounds like you did herb/fruit concentrate plus sugar syrup. Questions: Did you reheat the two parts together? And when you say settled out in the drink, do you mean the bark settled to the bottom, or that the drink didn’t stay mixed together with gin/soda?

    I suppose its a moot question since you’ve found a better solution, but just curious. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Food Dude says

    Camper, I’ve made it exactly as stated in the recipe, which worked the best, but was a huge pain. I’ve also made it in two parts. As I recall, I also made a simple syrup that wasn’t as strong, and then added more later,

    As far as settled out, I mean the drink didn’t stay mixed together. I’ll be making another batch soon. If I figure out anything better, I’ll drop you a note.

  21. Charles in PDX says

    I’m delighted that my google search for “making tonic water” led me to a fellow Portland-er! I’ve been wanting to get away from the high fructose corn syrup in regular tonic water–which is even in Hansen’s brand “Natural” Tonic Water! Did you ever post the whole process/recipe? All I’ve found in this short, cursory browse has been your follow-up post with shortcuts.

    If you haven’t tired of replying to comments on this topic, please send the full-blown, full-fledged, whole kit-and-kaboodle description of quantities, ingredients, and steps for this adventure. Thanks in hopeful anticipation.

  22. Brigitte says

    came upon this site by searching on how to make my own butter… the web is like this, one thing leads to another… lol
    anyway… I am a chemist, and one thing I can tell you… if it settles when you let it stand, it can be centrifuged. I have no clue where you would happen on a centrifuge but if you do and it isn’t your own, then for Pete’s sake be careful not to spill the sticky stuff inside… grins

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