I used to write a blog called Tasting & Complaining, which focused on random diatribes about Food. Before that I was some sort of food critic/cuisine comedian for my College Newspaper, under the Psuedonym ‘The Gastronaut.’ I still put up an occasional post about food in China.
This page displays all the posts I’ve put up about food, cooking and restaurants I’ve created, including migrated posts from the aforementioned previous blogs. Links may be broken, thoughts are often juvenile, because, well, I was one when I wrote some of this stuff.
Craft-brewing and Micro-brewing is a new thing in China and positively an international import; but it is catching on fast. My friend Mike Jordan is leading this charge at Boxing Cat Brewery. He makes great stuff, check out this short interview with Mike on the BBC. Another PDX export making it in Asia!
I hit the new Fortune Cookie restaurant last night for a quick dinner with colleagues.
First off, I know it sounds pretty crazy to think that American Chinese food had any place in, y’know, China, but after years of eating through the different regional and local cuisines of China, learning from Fuschia, Fiona and Carolyn, and more than a few Chinese history books, I can totally appreciate American Chinese Food as a cultural concept. The devil is in the details, of course, and I worried a bit that we’d see Nuclear Orange Panda Express syle Orange chicken in kitschy digs with some puns on the menu.
well there is Orange Chicken, the place is a bit kitschy, and there are some puns / jokes on the menu, but all in all, I think Fortune Cookie is a place to admire. The place strikes balance between acknowledging every american’s childhood memories of American Chinese restaurants and channeling the actual American Chinese culture and experience, where generations of families developed a new style of Chinese Cuisine that stands on its own and should command its own respect. We met the co-owners while we were there; we got the impression that this is generally their mission, which is awesome.
The space has some elements of the old Chinese diner chic, but the place looks good. They have Mai Tais, and the Mai Tai was really good. We had Beef & Broccoli, Orange Chicken & Their Ribs. All of it was really, really good. Especially those ribs. I will be back for those. The Orange chicken was definitely not the Nuclear Orange variety, did not look deadly, and was really good. The orange flavor didn’t quite come through, but hey — it’s their soft opening.
Highly recommended, and someone tell me how the Dragon Bowl cocktail (enough for 5!) goes down.
Last year was certainly one of the most interesting of my life:
- I got MARRIED (sorry internet, no public photos)
- Techyizu had an amazing year of events (register for Spring Barcamp 2012 here)
- After 2 years of service to the environmental NGO JUCCCE (peep their new website!), I’ve left to freelance and look for new challenges.
- I received a really bad-ass bike as a stag-party gift from my dear friends. How awesome? this awesome.
- I studied some Chinese, spent time with amazing people from all around the world, visited Hong Kong, Vietnam, Chengdu, Beijing, Tucson, Portland and San Francisco.
The year of the dragon has begun, and we’ve taken these pseudo-vacation days as opportunities to do some house cleaning, fun cooking and goal setting. We’re really excited for this year! Goals for this year include
- Serious Gym and exercise time whenever possible
- Pass the HSK5
- Positive career moves!
- Blog more!
- Travel more and blog about it!
- Eat a proper breakfast every morning. We got started immediately:
Best of luck in your Dragon year, and thanks for reading! More articles about life in China, the Energy/Sustainability scene, and random detritus coming soon!
I’ve been a heavy user of RSS since the beginning of feed readers, starting with netvibes, then on to bloglines, and for the past many years, Google Reader. In the right sidebar I have a closely curated list of my favorite websites, but those are by no means the totality of my blogroll. I’ve decided to share my blogroll, topic by topic, so people know which content I try to shove in my mind-grapes on a regular basis.
next up: Foodblogs!!!
Other than Metafilter I think this bundle may be the oldest. I started my public writing career in food writing with my college newspaper, and I started posting those columns online so my brother & non-college friends could read them. I once also fancied myself fated for a chaotic life in food service, so I tried to take it as seriously as any career. At one point this bundle was 100 blogs, but iv’e pared it down to sites that are reliably interesting to me, which may mean others think it a bit scattered. Also note these are worldwide/location non-specific foodblogs. more »
A good dish is simply a clearly defined scope, and a well executed project plan. Everything makes more sense as a food metaphor.
Nothing works right if you don’t plan ahead.
Like the twisted Anthony Bourdain Tell-all, but without humor or depth, a netizen claiming to be a hotel chef in Shanghai has aired his grievances and the internal secrets of his business. I discovered (via China Smack) the excellent blog Veggie Discourse, who translated the diatribe, which appeared initially on a popular Shanghai BBS, Mop. I highly recommend you read the whole post, which includes amazing pictures. If you are so inclined, the original post in Chinese is here. From living conditions to ‘Old Oil’, it is fascinating commentary. Click through to see my favorite quotes.
Not too many years ago two adorable people decided to open a tiny cafe in North Portland. I’ve eaten there many times and befriended them at least a little bit–they’re some of the few people who comment on this here blog from time to time–and I was saddened to hear a few weeks ago that their adorable cafe had sprung a leak. A serious leak. A “are we really sure we want to do this for a living” leak.
Tastes like pepsi mixed with brominated vegetable oil. How do I recognize the oil? It’s the filmy, saccherine oil slick that coats your mouth just like Mt. Dew does.
Huzzah! The only obstacle left is whether the Great Firewall and my internet connection are going to let me watch the mighty mighty PTFC.
Hi Mr. Witkowicz
I’m sure you get tons of email regarding the status of USL Live for next season, but I just relocated from Portland to Shanghai China, and I’m now very interested in USL Live for the 2009 season. Missing an occasional away game didn’t used to bother me, but now I can’t go to the home games!
What is the current status of USL Live for next year? Will you be up and running for the 2009 season? My Timbers games depend on you!
He got back to me!
Hi Mark –
Greetings from halfway across the world! Just to give you a little background… USL Live was operated by PlayOn! – a division of Turner Broadcasting. The division opened in 2007, however, Turner Broadcasting made the decision during this past season to close their PlayOn! division effective at the end of the 2008 campaign. PlayOn! was created as sort of a testing grounds for their technology and we were brought on board for this purpose. Basically, it left us in open water trying to find a replacement service, which we are in the final stages of doing. I cannot confirm all preseason matches will be covered due to the turnaround time but regular season games are on.
We’ll most likely keep the same domain name as we’ve built a brand with USL Live. I’ll let you know what we come up with. Any questions let me know.
United Soccer Leagues
Howdy Folks! Things will be changing a bit around here, because I hightailed it out of PDX for the new challenge that is Shanghai, China. I’ll be here for a while with girlie, and I’ll be blogging as best I can, you can buhleeee’ dat.
I’ve already seen some amazing feats of architecture, had a cabbie fall asleep at the wheel, eaten my first dumplings and joined up with the Shanghai twitterverse. We’re in temporary housing and it’s much colder than I anticipated (the housing AND the weather). Our bastard international movers packed all our guidebooks and phrasebooks when we weren’t looking, so our first weekend has been dedicated to replacing them, which is a bit like trying to cook one-handed (I have some experience with that).
For a little plumbing, all posts regarding Portland will be added to the Stumptown category, and the new Shanghai category will hold all the new stuff I write about here, until I rename it for a cheeky nickname, as that would be needless but funny.
In closing, Shanghai people, Howdy! There’s a new gunslinger in town, hat and bolo tie at the ready. I will eat my way through this city with vigor and aplomb. I eagerly accept recommendations. I will root for your football team and learn Mandarin as fast as I can.
Bill Simmons is a douchey yet extraordinarily popular writer for ESPN.com‘s Page 2, and has a short column in ESPN the Magazine. Mick Foley killed himself night in and night out in the ring for 20 years as Cactus Jack and many other characters, and was one of the focuses of a Pro Wrestling documentary, Beyond the Mat.
They both weighed in on Mickey Rourke’s new movie The Wrestler: Simmons loves it, and writes too much. Mick Foley, who apparently has written several novels and a children’s book, weighed in on Slate.
This is clearly a movie to see, but the surprise to me is that Foley is so much better spoken than Simmons. Further proof that the jump from unknown blogger to famous blogger is easier than professional wrestler to novelist. Both articles made me want to see the movie, for sure, but Foley’s calm and insightful article is a better evaluation, and a better read.
The booze cruise continues around our Distillers Alley in Central South East industrial Portland. First Artisan Spirits threw a shindig, then New Deal threw a hell of a party, now House Spirits is hosting many local and regional boozeries for the House Spirits Hoiday Booze Bazaar. Details from Portland food and drink:
3rd Annual Holiday Booze Bazaar
Saturday, December 13th, 2008, 1pm-5pm
2025 SE 7th ave. Portland, OR
Free to the public, 21 and over
Hosted by House Spirits Distillery
Makers of Aviation Gin, Medoyeff Vodka & Krogstad Aquavit
Sub Rosa Spirits (makers of the great Tarragon Vodka and Saffron Vodka)
Ransom Spirits (outstandingly crafted local grappas and port)
Absinthe Marteau (locally-made super yummy Green Fairy)
Imbibe Magazine (Portland published go-to for all things drinkable)
Joyas de Panama Cigars (importer of delicious, organic and sustainable Panamanian cigars)
Xocolatl de Davíd (2 words: BACON CARAMELS!)
Fraga Farm Goat Cheese (wonderful artisan cheese from Sweet Home, ORE.)
Oregon Cheese Guild (they’re over a dozen Oregon cheesemakers strong!)
This event marks the long awaited release of the APOTHECARY line, to be sold exclusively in our on-premise store. The APOTHECARY line will consist of small batch, limited quantity liquors and liqueurs that come in handy 375ml bottles. We have a few items to be released, one being OREGON OUZO, that we’ll be tasting at the event. The Booze Bazaar will also herald the opening of the store on Saturdays from 12/13/08 forward, hours TBA.
The address is: 2025 SE 7th ave.
I’ll be heading over to look for Christmas gifts and a lil somethin’ somethin’ to keep me warm in this frigid weather. See you there! If you’re going to be there hit me up on twitter or look for the snappily dressed hipster. I’ll be standing on the other side of the room from him.
3808 N Williams No. 127
Portland Oregon, 97227 503.288.6200 Tuesday Saturday, 5:30 – Close
Barney Gumble: 40 dollars!? This better be the best damn beer ever.. [drinks beer] You got lucky.
I could leave it here, my opinion of Lincoln, a newish restaurant on N Williams. The food is straight forward–almost to a fault–and excellently prepared from fantastic ingredients. But damn, that seemed expensive.
There is another option for Portland’s roosters on the run: about 40 minutes from downtown, just off the Mount Hood Highway in the town of Boring, sits Geren’s Farm Supply. The feed store has long operated a small, low-ceilinged shed called the Critter Korner, where farmers bring unwanted livestock. Geren’s then sells the animals. In recent years, however, city people have turned Geren’s into a kind of relocation center for banished roosters, according to Roz Rushing, the daughter of Geren’s owners. “I’ve had grown men in tears because they raised them as babies and they live in the city and can’t have a rooster,” Rushing says from behind the feed-store counter, where a dry-erase board keeps a running tally of Critter Korner’s population, and an orange cat named Mr. Dunn naps amid the day’s paperwork. “Then there’s some people, they’ve been spurred by their roosters, and they can’t wait to get rid of ’em. They say, ‘Take it away now. I never want to see it again.’”
I identify with these poor Chickens of the wrong gender. I also am far too loud for the neighbors and if my Girlfriend had her way, I’d be left at a Feed Supply Store waiting for a lonely trucker to take pity on me.
I don’t understand why people who don’t cook 364 days a year suddenly think they can cook a large meal that involves roasting a whole animal. –Matt from Biwa
The man has a good point. I was in a fun position this year; I participated in another family’s traditions, in which the day’s schedule, alcohol list, recipes and soundtrack were (nearly) completely determined more than a decade ago.
So what’s a decent chef or excellent amateur cook to do? Stay the fuck out of the way? Try to be helpful? Well, my friends, I figured it out:
Tasting&Complaining’s Rules for Attending (Other peoples’) Thanksgiving Traditions (RATT):
- Offer to do all the prep work, to their specifications.
Reason: They get to start drinking early and admire your knife skills. You get to stay busy, thus not suspiciously silent. Also, you don’t start drinking early.
- Watch them cook per their traditions, stay out of the way, ask questions and compliment their recipes.
Reason: Practice with me:
“Wow, I didn’t think a recipe so simple would be so delicious!”
“French’s Onions make everything better.”
“Ok Uncle Trent, I’ll man the Fire Extinguisher while you fry that Turkey.”
“This pie is fantastic! did you make it? (only useful if you can see the Sarah Lee box from your seat)”
- Offer to prepare the Brussels Sprouts.
- Offer to clear the table.
Channing Frye is a Center/Power Forward for the Portland Trailblazers. He’s also a blogger. Scratch that, he’s really the only real NBA blogger: unlike Agent Zero, who literally phones in his blog posts, Frye is typing all on his own, and cracking jokes that probably scare his management. Take his most recent post, a review of Role Models, which quickly degenerates into a discussion of LARPing:
[LARPing] does truly exist and I have a video you have to check out. In fact, I’m thinking of making my own LARPing Guild during the off-season to stay in shape and keep my bo staff skills sharp. … And in honor of the LARPers, I give you this video. May you LARP forever and may the battlefields be filled with duct tape and just-pretend soldiers.
I’d like to also point out that both Arenas and Frye played at my childhood alma mater, the University of Arizona, a once mighty Basketball program before the unfortunate mental demise of its cherished coach.
For those of you who might be watching the MLS Cup Final this sunday, be sure to catch the pregame show. Alexi Lalas, the Ginger haired nutter who embodies the American Soccer Ethos of failing upwards, will shotgun a can of redbull on national television.
He’s taking his training very seriously.
Mame Shiba apparently translattes literally to Bean Puppies, and is a nickname for smaller japanese dog varieties. Apparently the term has been borrowed for some creeptastical anime:
Rogue’s lawyer requested a retraction of the initial report at BrewPublic, but the information they refute is in conflict with information I heard directly from two current Green Dragon Employees. I don’t need the Attorney General of Rogue Nation crawling up my ass about it, but suffice to say that if the Rogue organization is correct in their specific refutations of the initial report, they’re sure as hell not telling the employees what’s going on.
Nothing is completely final, as minority owner Lolo Bruns wasn’t in on the deal with Rogue and may have an opportunity to make a counter-offer.
sad news for all.
I’m an idiot. I apologize. the Open house is for New Deal distillery.
November 15th, 2008: Distillers’ Row Open House
Join New Deal Distillery and Oregon Bounty to discover the innerworkings of Portland’s first vodka distillery and learn more about craft-distilling in Oregon. We’ll have distillery tours, treats from Meat Cheese Bread and Saint Cupcake, and, of course, spirits sampling.
The Open House is this Saturday from 1 to 5 PM at their distillery. Catering is from their (and my) friend John from Meat Cheese Bread (covered previously here). I’m planning on attending, and will follow up with pictures taken by someone else, as is my way. It should be a good time.
House Spirits 2025 SE 7th Ave Portland, OR 97214 503.235.3174 firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems that this is the season for distillery open houses — we checked out the Artisan Spirits open house two weekends ago — and I, for one am looking forward to the House Spirits party as well. The House Spirits guys may not have started the boutique distillery movement here in Portland — that honor must belong to Clear Creek Distillery— but they were the first of the new generation of distillers to roll up their sleeves and make some seriously tasty booze that has spread all around the northwest. They make the Medoyeff Vodka, as well as the Krogstad Aquavit. I’m a huge fan of the Aviation Gin especially, they unveiled their new absinthe last weekend, and have whisk(e)y aging.
Portland likes its lefty politics, beer, and parties. Therefore, this Election Night will cause some heavy drinking, though I think I speak for most every sane person on the planet when I say it better be in celebration, not bitter disappointment and sadness.
All of the events I could find, in no particular order, after the jump:
In line with continuing occasional series here at T&C, like Booze Crews and the now retired Sunday Supper Club, I’m introducing a new series, Cocktail Coquetry, in which I share new cocktail recipes developed by me or in my presence. Cocktails are relatively new to me, but local mixology-obsessed places like Teardrop Lounge, Clyde Common and the pending Beaker and Flask, all these new artisan distilleries and friends now sharing their sizable bitters collections have found me in the presence of good cocktail makings, beyond my usual liquor + ice.
The first cocktail to be posted here is so named for the attractive backdrop in the photos. Invented at a weekend brunch, the Vintage Slip is a delicious addition to the battery of brunch drinks, and, dare I say, slightly less ghetto than a Brass Monkey.
The Vintage Slip undresses for you after he jump.
Blitz Ladd is the new Eastside outpost of everyone’s favorite sub-species of Pearl Rat, the aging fratboy. I’ve never been to the Pearl location (at 110 NW 10th Avenue, (503) 222-2229 but I’m sure that it’s not quite the place that I’d spend much time.
Blitz Ladd’s sign first went up nearly a year ago (originally Biltz East) with paper on the windows about 5 months after that. I’m not quite sure when they opened, but I spotted it, lights on and TVs a flickering on Columbus Day. I stopped in on Thursday to watch an MLS game and keep my eyes on what I thought would be the Red Sox demise in the ALCS. The Space is huge, easily 5,000+ square feet, with numerous pool tables, shuffle board and more TVs than necessary, including a very large projection set up in the back. The booths and tables are made from oriented strand-board protected with heavy layers of sealant, which gives the place a quasi-unfinished look from afar, but the effect up close is unique and saves the otherwise bland space from utter visual mediocrity.
They have a bunch of beers on tap, with the standard sports bar fare, but a wide range of microbrews from around the PNW and california. Nothing groundbreaking, but respectable. They also have those ridiculous aluminum ‘bottles’ of Budweiser. They have a full bar, but no menu of ridiculous drinks that I saw. The happy hour (4-6:30) deals are acceptable: $3 well drinks, draft beer and wine. I’m not sure what ‘wine’ means there, but I don’t plan on figuring it out.
The menu is straight up standard Sports Bar fare, with several burger options, plentiful fried food, a few salads and ‘flat bread’ pizzas. The place was relatively empty during my time there, so I didn’t witness any pizzas coming out of the kitchen to give any enlightenment to what ‘flat bread’ means in this case.
I’m not sure how Blitz Ladd will fare. It is rather average, but nearly all sports bars are. Blitz has more class and 10000% more windows than the nearby Jolly Roger, and is non-smoking, which gets it out in front of Claudia’s further east. For me, however, I doubt I’ll be back until I have competing sporting events to watch.
I met the Artisan Spirits Public Relations team at the Great American Distillers Festival in august, when Liz and Dan were in town doing their best to train for their Snake Whiskey future in the Far East. They stuck out for me for two reasons: first, their PR people were both quite cute and very well prepared, in contrast with the kilted volunteers around the room and the bearded distillers who were not quite easy on the eyes, and secondly, the Artisan Spirits vodkas were by far the most esoteric offerings at the festival. Vodka made from wine? Vodka made from mead made from raspberry honey? Ridiculous!
304 SE 28th Ave
Portland, Oregon 97209
Ken Forkish likes dough, and Ken’s Artisan Pizza makes a lot of dough in every sense of the phrase. I checked it out on a Thursday night in January, again weeks later for my last two handed meal before the unpleasantness. I returned after a long absence on a recent Saturday for a nice late night meal.
Ken’s is in a newish building on 28th and SE Pine that they share with Masu East (soon to be re-invented as Bamboo Sushi). The space is pleasant: white walls, blonde wood counters and tables constructed from timber salvaged from a Jantzen Beach roller coaster, and a wood fired oven that truly dominates the room. The wait can be intense at peak hours, but the bar turns over relatively quickly for a tandem eating crew.
I have this shiny new site here, and the Blogtown @ the Mercury has decided I’m on their blogroll, so excuse me a moment if I attempt to figure out who keeps coming to this site.
I know a bit about people (from statcounter), for instance:
- Most of my hits come from Oregon and SW Washington, but I have a small following in areas of Europe.
- The two most common search terms that bring random people here are varieties of “how to cut cocaine” (from my review of Kinta) and “Dick Cakes” (from this random craigslist re-post). This makes me strangely proud.
Anyway, here’s the deal. If you’re a regular reader, leave a comment, and answer me these questions three
- Where you’re from & the name of your blog/website (feel free to link to it)
- The best dish you’ve ever ordered, and where it came from
- Your favorite 80s rock-star hairdo (with evidence!)
Feel free to tell me how much I suck, or share any other thoughts you might have.
there you have it. DE-LURK!
I’m borrowing a picture montage from the Mail News on Sunday (UK) and bringing it here, because my mother always loved Herons, and after many canoe trips and lake trips and trips involving herons that I did or (often) didn’t want to attend, I’ve learned why. My mom is secretly the world’s best interrogator, and that she was teaching us a lesson. Herons are Nature’s CIA interrogators. Witness a Grey Heron catching a rabbit by the ear, drowning it and swallowing it whole.
3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland Oregon 97214
(connected to PastaWorks)
Hawthorne certainly has changed since I first moved to Portland. ‘Twas once the highest concentration of hippies in portland — there were four head shops and you could see each of the others from the front door of any — until housing prices started going up and Hawthorne got all yuppified and shit.
I was recently standing in front of Pastaworks/Evoe, and I detected not one iota of patchouli in the air. Refreshing!
I swear to god I’m not a fan of the most awkwardly named team in the MLS, Real Salt Lake. They do have a pretty hot looking new stadium:
are those Terraces I see? Now I’m jealous, even though edge of suburbia stadia are no fun for footie.
What’s most entertaining for me is what their media department is up to. RSL media peeps are embracing viral marketing with vigor (see Party in the Back, from the Kyle and Javi show). Now witness the greatness that is two Scots in the ‘lil london shop’ in suburban Salt Lake City, spreading disinformation about England’s Canada like veteran secret agents.
“Haggis is a wee furry creature that scurries about the houses in Scotland. It’s got two long legs and two short legs, so it’s very hard to catch.”
Meat Cheese Bread
1406 SE Stark St
503 234 1700
open 7am -7pm
Meat Cheese Bread is nestled between some edgy shop and the Thai Thai branch that hasn’t had a customer since 1989, just east of the Vegan Mall. I recall seeing the paper on the windows and some vague rumor about the spot months ago, but they opened quietly about two weeks ago. They have Stumpy’s coffee, Wifi, and one of those menus that is not unlike the Little Red Bike Cafe: you want to order everything at once, right now.
I had the breakfast burrito. It’s not gargantuan, it’s more suitable for functional eating, like something I might make myself if I weren’t a lazy ass, not the size of a small child burritos you get at breakfast places or taco trucks. The Green Chile Salsa was acidic and a little spicy, the eggs were soft and the hashbrowns crunchy. As a bonus, the tortilla resembled a real tortilla, not a sun-dried tomato and pest-oh my god the tortilla gods will strike me down tortilla. I could (and might) eat one of these several times a week. Totally fair portion and price.
I will type up the menu for the internets, because this place would dearly appreciate your
The Mad Cow Diner
621 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 9721
“Dogs and Burger”
burgers served on kaiser roll with Aioli Caramelized Onion Pickle and choice of Potato Salad or Macaroni Salad
OLD FASHIONED FRANKFURTER – Simply Grilled 2
THE 313 CONEY DOG – House Made Chili Sauce Onions 3
THE LONG HORN – Foot Long 313 Chili Onions 5
HAMBURGER – 4
TILLAMOOK BURGER – 5
SWISS & MUSHROOM BURGER – 6
DAILY VEGETARIAN BURGER – 6″
I’m not going to type out beverages. They’re all bottles, but there is beer.