There is no place more beautifully descriptive of its food than Oregon. We stopped by the Oregon in Chicago event (sponsored by Truitt Bros.) at the National Restaurant Association show, and found chef after chef using glowing terms while talking about the food.
They were all about seasonal, fresh ingredients, locally sourced. They appeared relieved that we are moving into an abundant supply of summer fruits and vegetables. They talked with passion; seasonal and fresh were more than a trend to them.
Yes, in Oregon, at least, this appears to be a lifestyle.
And, it’s a lifestyle that creates some pretty amazing food. My friends and family were getting text messages that made them drool. Our Twitter feed was crowded with photos and descriptions.
Like the Sweet Briar Farms Porchetta, from Wildwood’s Executive Chef, Dustin Clark. It was stuffed with fennel, served with Rhubarb Mostarda and Pea Vine Puree. The puree hits with a burst of flavor at just the right moment.
Or, how about the Cold Smoked Pacific Salmon Crostini with Mascarpone and Grated Radishes? There was an herb flavor that eluded me . . . and that would keep me coming back for more.
Executive Chef Michael Thieme, of Sweet Waters on the River, did a Braised Elk with Oregon Black Truffle Glaze, Coastal Huckleberry Coulis, and Roasted Spring Roots Infused with White Oregon Trufle Butter.
See what I mean about the descriptions? It was followed by Lavender Sugared Strawberries with Crisp Vanilla Bean Triangles and Black Truffle Cream. Just writing about it brings back the flavor.
Chris DiMinno, Executive Chef at Clyde Common, told us about his Beef Carpaccio Crostini with Truffle Oil, Grana Padano, and Young Greens, plus the talk of the night—Pig Feet Terrine with Stone Ground Mustard Lemon Vinaigrette Herb Salad.
The Truitt Bros. Executive Chef, Robert Schafer, worked his magic as well, offering the best lamb chops I’ve ever eaten (he told me, “It’s better when you eat it with your fingers!”). The Oregon Cranberry Marinated Lamb Chops topped with Oregon Cranberry Apple Chutney were really over the top.
The menu also included other beautifully described items, like Oregon Bay Shrimp & Columbia River Valley Pear Ceviche served with Fried Plantains.
Then, there was Southwestern Hummus topped with Fire Roasted Corn. Chili topped with Roasted Corn CrÃ¨me Fraiche, served with a Scottish Oatmeal Black Bean Scone. Columbia River Valley Cherries Jubilee Crema Parfait. All topped off with Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Cookies.
Makes you drool, too, doesn’t it?
Oregon, take me away.