Saturday, February 09, 2008

Building anticipation, one plate at a time....

You know how you always see those offers to go see some sneak preview for some lame Hollywood movie, where you have to wait in line with a bunch of other losers to see some crappy flick because if it was really good they wouldn't have to give their product away. Best avoided, right?

On the other hand, there are some sneak previews that are SO worth attending. Case in point was last week, when my pal Kevin Sandri, he of all things cart-ish and delicious at his Garden State food shack here in PDX (on SE 13th and Lexington across from the wine shack) teamed up with his wife, the lovely Shannon, and his produce/chicken purveyors Mike and Jill Paine of the über-cool Gaining Ground Farm, home of all things fresh and organic (here's a link to a great video about the farm). The purpose of the night's epicurean endeavors was a trial run of their soon-to-be rolling family style suppers that will take place at various locations around our fair city (don't worry, I'll keep you informed). w and I were most fortunate to be on the guest list, and along with twelve other eager eaters we settled in for what turned out to be an example of community building at its best. Which is the point of what Kevin, Shannon, Mike, & Jill are trying to accomplish. Just good, organic, super fresh ingredients, prepared and presented, along with copious quantities of wine and conversation. What better way to get to know new people, exchange ideas, laugh, and most importantly eat great food prepared and served by people who just get it. Here was the menu for this night's launch party:


* Homemade crackers with goat cheese and homemade jams

* Leek puree with beet chips

* Potato and kale galette

* Winter greens with bacon thyme vinaigrette and poached egg
* Braised Gaining Ground Chicken with Satsuma & rutabaga
* Cheesecake with lavender sea salt shortbread and Jill’s late summer honey
* Lemon and rosemary tea

Virtually everything came from Jill and Mike's farm, and I don't know if I've ever experienced food that presented itself in such a fresh, immediate fashion. It was really an awesome experience. Very cool to be able to hang in the kitchen with our cooks, talk about the food, their ideas, feeling the passion for what was happening at that moment. And of course the food was absolutely nails. Everyone was swooning, and sitting around one long table in Shannon and Kevin's cozy living room (with one of the only indoor rock walls you'll ever see!) with food and bottles of wine being passed around....crazy fun! It was the perfect setting, and if this coming attraction preview was any indication, I'll be salivating until the premier!

Here's a few pics of the night.....

Mike and Kevin, looking cool & collected before the onslaught.

Winter greens salad and the braised Gaining Grounds chicken entrée....huge yums!

Shannon and Kevin working it.

Jill looking for relief from the tragedy that is an empty glass, and the rest of the table expressing our gratitude with glasses full!

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