Category Archives: Foodie Reviews

oven-fried chicken + book review

Oven-Fried Chicken + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

I recently realized that I haven’t had fried chicken – like, real Southern style fried chicken – since my pre-vegetarianism days. That’s almost 20 years! I can still hear the symphonic marriage of crackling oil in hot cast iron, songs of long-legged crickets, and rolling thunder on so many muggy summer nights. My mom carefully dropping each flour dusted breast, thigh, and drumstick into bubbling gold magma. Mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet corn.

The closest I’ve had since then was a crazy good (and super naughty) fried chicken lollipop with sriracha mayo at Smallwares in Portland during an anniversary dinner with my sweetie last year. I came REALLY close to breaking this sad streak the other night at Grit in the Whitaker. My heart started to sing when I saw it on the menu, especially since I know they use good quality local meat. No luck. Fried chicken sells like hotcakes and they were sold out by the time I got there.

So, my desire grows…

 

Poulet: More Than 50 Remarkable Meals That Exalt the Honest Chicken

 

I picked up a beautiful cookbook the other day called Poulet by Cree LeFavour. The bird is a staple protein for me most weeks and this book offers over 50 different recipes for bone-in, skin-on chicken, calling on traditional cuisines from around the world.

I opened the book to this recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken and just had to try it! Crispy, crunchy skin and tender, juicy meat full of flavor, this recipe makes a wonderful and easy alternative to the classic fried luxury. I reduced the cayenne just a smidge here since I found the original recipe to be a bit too spicy. Otherwise, this is a winner…especially with a side of Horseradish Green Bean Potato Salad!

 

oven-fried chicken  

adapted from Poulet

Ingredients:

1/4 cup organic whole milk
1/4 cup organic olive oil
juice of 2 organic lemons
1 tsp fine sea salt, plus 1 Tbsp
2 organic bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp organic onion powder
1/4 tsp organic paprika powder
1/2 tsp organic fresh cracked black pepper
flaky cyprus salt for finishing

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together the milk, olive oil, lemon juice and the 1 tsp sea salt.  Add the chicken to the bowl and turn to coat on both sides.  Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. If refrigerating, return the chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes or so to take the chill off before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Stir together the flour, 1 Tbsp sea salt, and spices in another large bowl.  Season with the black pepper.  Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade and dredge in the seasoned flour to coat on both sides.  Give each piece a little shake to remove any excess flour.  Lay the pieces on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased baking sheet, skin-side up.

Bake the chicken for 30-40 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, or until the crust is a deep, golden brown.  Either insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part or cut into a piece with a paring knife.  The thermometer should register 175° F.  If using a knife, look for clear, not red or pink, juices running from the spot where you pierced the meat and opaque, barely pink flesh at the bone.  If the chicken isn’t done, bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer and check it again.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven, sprinkle with a little flaky salt, and let rest for 5 minutes.  Arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates.  

 

Horseradish Green Bean Potato Salad + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

horseradish green bean

potato salad 

adapted from Poulet

Ingredients:

1 lb organic red skinned potatoes
1 lb organic green beans
2 shallots, chopped and sautéed in olive oil until caramelized
1/4 cup organic olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (make your own)
4 tsp grated fresh or prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup fresh chopped chives + chive flowers
organic fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop and gently boil the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. In another pot, gently boil the green beans for about 5 minutes or until just tender, strain, and chill in an ice water bath. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool.  Strain the green beans.

Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, horseradish, chives, pepper, caramelized shallots, and salt in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans and toss to coat with the sauce. Garnish with chive flowers.

 

Oven-Fried Chicken + Poulet Book Review by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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travel eats: florida food

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

After six years living 3,000 miles away from my hometown, I craved the delicate crust of Cuban toast inlaid with palm fronds, soaked and salty with melted butter. Deviled crabs daintily crisped with tender blue crab meat, spiced and smothered in hot pepper sauce. Creamy boiled peanuts bathed in brine.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

I like to tell people that I’m from the Tropical South. Tampa offers a special cuisine all its own born of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrant influences on Appalachian granny meals, Native American traditions, and African-American soul food.

Grits, fried pork chops, sweet tea, black beans and yellow rice.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Ybor City is the epicenter of this cultural mingling. In the 1800’s, these cobblestone streets connected a Cuban community dotted with cigar factories and cafes. The world-famous Cuban Sandwiches and spicy Deviled Crabs came into being here, feeding the hungry labor force of the day. This is still what you want to eat.

For a quintessential Ybor experience, don’t forget to check out Florida’s oldest eatery – the gorgeously tiled, 110 year old Columbia Restaurant in the heart of the city. Flamenco dancing, sangria, and an entire city block of dining rooms. You also won’t want to miss out on the cigar cafes like King Corona, where you can sip a strong sweetened cup of Cuban coffee while chewing on a locally rolled cigar…indoors.

If you want to head off the beaten path for some old school traditional Tampa eats, try The Cuban Sandwich Shop in my little pocket of Tampa called Forest Hills. It’s very close to both Ybor and the up-and-coming foodie scene happening in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. More on that later…

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Ask any Tampanian with a love for Vietnamese cuisine (or with nostalgic vegetarian leanings) where to eat and Trang will be the answer. Besides the charming decor that was obviously inspired by an old folks home cafeteria from the 80’s, my favorite thing about this place is the herb garden out back. A very rare treat in Florida, the family grows beautifully lush mint, basil, green onions, lettuces, and more behind their strip mall restaurant. Also, the food is dope. They offer a Traditional Vietnamese Menu and a Vegetarian Menu with various vegetarian proteins. Awesome. I always order the Vegan Curry Stew, Autumn Rolls, and the Happy Pancake.

Another place that has a hold on my heart is Tomo Sushi. When I was a kid, my best lady friend Summer forced me to go out for sushi. Like, eww. Imagining slimy raw tongues of fish slumped over chewy balls of rice, it took some convincing to get me through the door. As we found a seat, koto music strummed across the room and ladies in kimonos brought us tea. Summer ordered age-dashi tofu and a spider roll. She told me I would love it and I did. Life = Changed. While the restaurant is quite different all these years later, the food was still fresh and well executed when I visited.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Back to the Seminole Heights foodie revolution… go to Mauricio Faedo’s Bakery for that amazing Cuban bread pictured at the top of the post. Seriously. You can watch Cuban grandpas artfully form mountains of loaves by hand, gently decorating each with a moist palm frond. There’s also the Front Porch, Ella’s Folk Art Cafe, and the Independent – but y’all need to eat at The Refinery. It was maybe the best meal I’ve ever had in Tampa.

Mirroring the local farm-to-table movement we’re privileged to enjoy all over the Pacific Northwest, this spot obviously puts love and care into every plate.  I guess that’s why the James Beard Foundation took notice and nominated them for awards in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Check it out…

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Burger: garlic potato salad, house bacon, smoked eggplant puree, pickled kohlrabi, Yukon Gold fries.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Roasted chicken with turnip-rapini cheddar casserole, brown butter-sage veloute, herb salad, pickled watermelon radish, lemon vinaigrette.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Lamb shoulder chop with black eyed peas, collards, fennel confit, ginger-sherry glaze, grainy mustard-tarragon butter.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

If you have time for a day trip or longer, go to the Gulf of Mexico – it’s only 30 minutes away!

We took a trip out to Clearwater, where I spent so many hot days of my youth swimming out to the shell covered sandbars, wading through flocks of stingrays, and chasing sandpipers. This oceanside city offered me a peek at adult independence and eating at the beach shacks made me feel grown.

Wild dolphins raced our car as we flew down that familiar highway. I suddenly dreamed of the thick and creamy, salty-sweet She-Crab soup at Frenchy’s. These days, I would only really recommend the Original or Saltwater Cafe, since the Rockaway location has become a bit of a tourist circus – but, if your goal is to enjoy the citrus blood beauty of a Florida sunset with a drink in hand (and food is an afterthought), Rockaway is just dandy.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Now, if you want to know which restaurant back home has haunted my every memory with inextinguishable desire and longing, this is it…

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

I discovered this South Indian restaurant during college when I was a strict vegetarian. It was extraordinary. I’ve taken all of my friends and family there, and eaten at many other Indian places from New York City to San Francisco and nothing compares. Call me crazy…until you try it for yourself.

There is no decor. No fancy service. No meat. No neighborhood ambiance.

Sounds awful, right?

Wrong.

It is glorious.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

We started with one of their Indo-Chinese specialties: Gobi Manchurian Dry – cauliflower marinated and sautéed with fresh ginger, garlic, chilies, and green onions. Drool.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Next, of course, was a giant, fluffy, crisp, and steaming hot balloon of batura bread ready to sop up some curry. It was about the size of a beach ball.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

And then my favorite chana masala in this whole crazy world, served with fresh cilantro and a lemon wedge.

 

Florida Restaurant Guide + Foodie History

 

Finally, I had to have one of their perfectly sour fermented dosa crepes stuffed with curried potato, onion, and lentils. It was about 3 feet in length.

Damn, friends.

I wonder if they overnight to Oregon?

 

Places to eat and drink in Florida

Specifically in Tampa, Clearwater, St Pete, and Orlando – but be aware that some of this might be pure nostalgia, others the only decent option around, and the rest are solidly great. Let me know where to go next time!

 

Food & Drink

The Refinery

Trang VietCuisine

Columbia Restaurant

Bern’s and SideBern’s

La Teresita

Grassroot

Woodland’s South Indian Restaurant

Mauricio Faedo’s Bakery

Tomo Sushi

The Cuban Sandwich Shop

Frenchy’s

Evos

 New World Brewery

Cask and Ale

 

Tea/Coffee

Sacred Grounds Coffee House

Kaleisia Tea Lounge

Infusion Tea

Dandelion Communitea Cafe

 

Cigar Bars

King Corona

Cuban Crafters

Fusion Cigar Lounge

 

 

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farmers market haul #3

Farmers Market Haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Fall roots are being dug and admired as the cooler weather teeters between warm enough and freezing. Parsnips roasted in the oven or puréed into soup has become an annual infatuation for me. Their smooth, sweet, aromatic starchiness is like some kind of love affair between a carrot and a potato, but somehow even more delicious. I picked out my first rutabaga to cook up and have been researching some fun preparations for it. How do you like them? Any tips? It’s really exciting to see locally grown fresh ginger and turmeric roots though! I’ll be making another batch of Fire Cider with them, and maybe some carrot ginger soup too.

 

What’s in the basket?

Sourdough Loaf

Fingerling Sweet Potatoes

Leeks

Organic Ground Beef from Deck Family Farms

Turmeric Root

Ginger Root

Parsnips

Shallots

Dakota Black Heirloom Popcorn

Mixed Apple Basket

Rutabaga

Beets

Pimiento Peppers

 

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farmers market haul #2

farmers market haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

Home again after a trip to the Eugene Saturday Farmers Market. My basket is heavy with lots of goodies that I didn’t plan to buy, but just couldn’t resist. (Sure, I’ll take a whole chicken!) With all the berry foraging adventures I’ve had in the mountains this year, it’s been a while since I could go downtown to ogle the cultivated jewels of summer – definitely one of my favorite rituals. I think a feast to celebrate Labor Day and the end of Steven’s teaching season is in order: oven chicken with rosemary roasted grapes, caramelized onion quinoa with peach-basil chutney, and a grated carrot slaw. Mmmm…

 

What’s in the basket:

Cornish Game Hen

Smoked Honey Bacon

Black Grapes

Peaches

Sun Gold Tomatoes

Raspberries

Jalapeños

Carrots

Basil

Walla Walla Onions

Horton’s Mesclun Greens

 

farmers market haul by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

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taking a ‘bite of eugene’

grilled figs

 

I’m back from the Bite of Eugene with photos and tasting notes to share!

Bite is an annual foodie fest that brings local restaurants and eaters together for a day of small plates, live demonstrations, and unique edible wares. This was my third year attending the Bite, and each time it’s fun to see who’s cooking as the event evolves. There were about 20 food vendors serving bites this time around, which seemed a bit on the light side for a festival like this, but it has so much potential and I really hope to see it grow in the future with more restaurants, food carts, and small-time manufacturers participating. That said, I had some pretty awesome food…

My favorite bite of the day came from Party Downtown. Their grilled fig with crème fraîche and mint was gorgeous in its simplicity. The caramelized sweetness from grilling the fig paired with the creamy sourness of the crème fraîche and the bright aromatic mint created a delicious harmony. The fig was so tender and juicy that it almost had the sensation of melting in my mouth.

I also tried their chicken rillette with housemade wheat thins. Mark made the rillette by simmering shredded chicken in lots and lots of truffle butter, resulting in a crazy moist dish that was like a fancy chicken salad. They served a blueberry pie too, which was a real stunner…

 

partymenu grilledfig2 chickenrilletblueberrypie

It was really hot out there and I was parched! A thirst quenching treat that I look forward to sipping each Bite is the “frosty frothy iced teas” from J-Tea International. Josh travels to small family tea farms in Taiwan and China in search of special, high quality oolongs, puer, black, and green teas for his beautiful tea house in Eugene.

A few years ago, he started doing a shaken iced tea preparation that helps the tea flavor blossom by introducing air bubbles to the infusion. He also adds a touch of simple syrup or fruit for a subtle sweetness. I loved the Charcoal Dawn, which had lightly smoky notes and a rich creaminess.

 

jtea2

 

Next up was a bite from the food cart Delacata. Their southern fried menu always catches my appetite. Being from the South, I couldn’t resist the Dungeness Crab Hushpuppy. My nugget had a crispy crunch on the outside, a piping hot and delicate crumb, with some nice succulent lumps of  crab in the middle. The spicy remoulade was terrific, if not a little overpowering for the fragile sweetness of the crab meat. Very tasty overall! I also heard a rumor that Delacata is opening a brewery downtown sometime soon with a menu featuring their signature southern cuisine. Exciting!

 

delacata hushpup

 

This year the Bite offered some great seminars and cooking demos including one about cooking duck. Iron Chef Oregon Jeff Strom of Koho Bistro taught the audience how to butcher a duck and then demonstrated the art of confit. I left feeling quite inspired to try it out, since duck confit makes my taste buds grow wings and fly to flavor paradise.

 

bite13classes biteduck

 

Two of my favorite confectionary shops were there too slinging some special sweets. Red Wagon Creamery makes super dense, rich ice cream with the highest butterfat content possible and fresh seasonal ingredients. (You might find a pint of Blackcap Raspberry Cheesecake in my fridge right now.) Stuart told me that he and Emily hope to have homemade drumsticks and ice cream sandwiches available in the shop by this winter! Droooool.

The other sweet yum yums that I love were being offered by Off the Waffle. I have been smitten with their Liège waffles for years now. Made from a yeast-based dough sparkling with imported Belgian pearled sugar, the entire pastry caramelizes to create an almost sticky, but crisp shell with perfectly fluffy goodness inside.

 

redwagonsign

offthewaff

 

Before I left, I picked up a jar of this exquisite rose petal jam from PremRose Edibles. Linda offers several varieties including a chocolate chipotle rose sauce that was really incredible, but I splurged for the fresh rose jam made from her own organic homegrown flowers. It’s fantastically dreamy stuff and I can’t wait to play with it in recipes!

 

rosejam

Another year at Bite has come and gone! If you didn’t make it out this year, mark your calendar for next summer to experience some truly unique flavors of the Eugene food scene.

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farmers market haul #1

MarketHaul

Just made my way back home from the farmers market with a basket overflowing. I’m cooking up brunch for two in the morning and think garlic scape hash browns with a carrot top yogurt sauce, lamb bacon, cherry cheddar biscuits, and a fried egg sounds about perfect. Maybe a spicy Bloody Maria with extra dilly beans too. Can’t wait to finally get my baby plants set in the garden tomorrow with a little buzz on and a belly full of happiness.

 

What’s in the basket:

blackcap raspberries (Rubus leucodermis)

cherries

2 bunches of carrots with tops

baby kales

mesclun greens

lamb bacon

onions

purple skinned potatoes

pink skinned potato

yukon gold potatoes

garlic scapes

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