We’ve lived in Portland about two and a half years. Though we’ve had some challenges and adjustments that needed to be made, we’ve managed to come across some great eateries, breweries and bars that I wanted to share with you. This is by far not a complete list but some gems we really love and want to highlight here in Portland.

Breweries. Tasting Rooms and Bars

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Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and Tasting Room

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and Tasting Room

This may be a slight show of favoritism because I’m the Chef but I have to say, the beers at HOTD are world class. My favorites are Adam, an American strong ale and Blue Dot, a classic mildly hopped IPA. The brewery also boasts a robust aging program where you can try beers dating back almost 20 years. The brewery also uses a concrete ‘egg fermenter’ that imparts flavor through the minerals in the concrete and various barrel aging programs. The food is solid, sustainable and well executed. We are going to be updating the menu in the future so stay tuned!

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Lompoc Brewing

Lompoc Brewing

I was fortunate enough to land the kitchen manager’s position at their Oaks Bottom Public House in Sellwood. I was there almost a year and their beers and food are solid. They’ve won various awards for the ales including a silver for their Proletariat Red at the GABF. All menu items are made from scratch and each location, you can find different menu items to enjoy. Stop by Side Bar in Northeast Portland to sample barrel aged beers they have to offer.

 

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The Commons Brewery

The Commons Brewery

We’ve been to The Commons a couple of times. They have a solid beer program. Various styles and all well crafted. The brewery also has a tasting room that is in a restored warehouse in SE Portland that also has a robust charcuterie menu from locally sourced product. It’s a must try.

 

Baerlic Brewing

Baerlic Brewing

Baerlic is an Old English meaning ‘of barley.’ We aren’t really concerned about the etymology of the word but more about how good their beers are. There isn’t anything extremely chancy or high ABV with their beers but they are very consistent, solid and delicious. The service is very friendly and they have a great beer trivia game you can play while enjoying one of their seasonal ales. I really liked their Guze they offered the last time we were there. No real food to speak of but nuts and other small bar snacks.

 

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Gigantic Brewing

Gigantic Brewing

This is just a couple of miles from our house. Nestled in a SE industrial park area near Holgate, this brewery boasts of different an interesting styles of beers. The last time we were in, I tried a gin barrel ale that was terrific. They have bottles to go and the tasting room is comfortable if not small so get their early. The service can be a bit chilly but if you can get past that, your experience will be well worth it.

 

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Green Dragon Bistro and Pub

Green Dragon

This establishment boasts almost 50 beers on tap. Mostly a local list but we’ve seen offerings from California and Washington. They also offer about a half dozen of their own hand crafted beers on tap as well. You walk by what looks like a green barracks and directly next door is a huge warehouse filled with beer patrons and the last time we were in the place was packed. They have a full food menu which is well rounded and the service is friendly and fast. There are live big screen tv’s that list their current selection of beers and info about the beers. Right around the corner from Green Dragon is Cascade Brewing which specializes in Sour beers. Definitely a must try. cascade

 

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Apex Bar

Apex Bar

One of my favorite tasting rooms in Portland. They have a huge list that offers a wide varieties of styles of beers whether it’s a triple IPA or a chili beer.  A massive live feed TV shows a rotating and current list of beers available. It is cash only and expect to have your choice ready when you arrive. It can get busy and bartenders there will pass you up if you are not Johnny on the spot with your order. They have four pinball machines, an ATM but no food. There is a decent taqueria next door and huge patio. For the more daring, they have a to go bottle shop in the back but be prepared to shell out some hard earned cash. Some of the aged offerings are quite pricey.

 

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NWIPA

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This is my favorite local watering hole in Portland. Only four blocks from my house. They have a small tap list. Only six taps but the list is varied, always great and rotates very often. You can sit there, order a beer and a half an hour later, the tap changes. They have a small but delicious food menu that boats oysters, a monthly sous vide burger and other small plates. They also have a modest but decent to go bottle shop. The service is always friendly and accommodating.

 

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Belmont Station

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By far one of the most comprehensive bottle shops in Portland. Boasting now over 1300 beers to go, they are one of the most important bottle shops in the area. They also have a small tasting room adjacent to the bottle shop that offers over 20 beers of various styles on tap. Different styles as well as various pour amounts so you can sample different beers without committing to a full pint. They also have a spacious outside patio area and a food truck behind the shop for anyone wanting a sandwich to go with their beers.

 

 

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Saraveza

Saraveza

This bottle shop and restaurant’s name is word play on Sarah Pederson and Cerveza ala ‘Saraveza.’ The place is adorable with vintage beer coolers and a 50’s vibe interior. Their menu is British influenced with various pasties or meat plates with over 250 bottles to go and a 9 tap rotation with very interesting styles of beer. The service is top notch and friendly. We had the smoked trout plate the last time we were in and it was delicious. Highly recommended.

 

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Southeast Wine Collective

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This is our favorite wine bar. Located on one of the most robust food corridors in Portland, Division St, this small but bustling winery has not only a great wine list but one of the best wine bar menus we’ve ever had. Insane charcuterie board, a die for deviled egg trio and the sandwiches look amazing as well. They have a massive by the glass, flight and tasting wine menu. The tasting room is tiny so arrive early. The service is very knowledgeable and friendly. A must try.

 

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Roadside Attraction

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Though they do not have an actual website, I linked their facebook page to this blog post. We stumbled upon this amazing joint after sampling beers at Green Dragon. It is a glorious reclaimed nightmare straight out of junkyard heaven. Deceiving from the outside, the inside is what you’d expect Tim Burton’s house would resemble. Carefully designed scrap yard of shit that would make a junkyard dog proud to protect. Inside is adorned with crushed velvet, booths and free pool. They have a full food menu and some great local beers on tap. The crowd is varied from hipsters to old british drunks. They have an outside fire pit and there is plenty of space to chill. A new favorite of ours.

 

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Basement Pub

Basement Pub

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Their website appears to still be in development. I added their facebook page as well. This is around the corner from Roadside Attraction. Literally a basement, it is a cavernous and quaint pub that offers some of the coldest brews in town. Local craft beer, a modest food menu and a cute kitchen with a 50’s style stove. They also provide patio seating and the service was very friendly when we visited last.

 

Restaurants 

 

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The Tin Shed

The Tin Shed

Ok, I admit, I’m listing this first because my lovely wife Jude manages the place but it is still an important eatery in Portland. They’ve been around almost 15 years and have been an important part of a bustling NE Alberta restaurant scene for almost two decades. Yeah, it appears to be an actual shed with a corrugated metal exterior but the inside is cozy with a spacious patio with a wood fired stove to keep patrons warm on the weekend. The Tin Shed is probably one of the busiest breakfast spots in Portland with hour long waits to enjoy their comfort-food style breakfasts. They also have a full dinner menu, four rotating beer taps and a extensive infused liquor program. The service is always uber friendly and they also are dog friendly. They are participants in a local rescue adoption program with pictures and profiles of dogs in need of homes. They do not take reservations so do not go there ‘hangry.’ You could be waiting for a while.

 

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Gold Dust Meridian

Gold Dust Meridian

This is one our favorite happy hour place by far. Happy hour starts promptly at 2 p.m. and goes all the way to 8 p.m. The menu is varied with a lot of different choices. We highly recommend the mac-n-cheese, any salad offerings they have and the clams are excellent. They also have a flatbread that is delicious. The drink menu is also great and they have a number of rotating beer taps. Service has been hit and miss and can be chilly at times but it hasn’t discouraged us from enjoying well prepared happy hour food and drinks.

 

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Cibo Italian Restaurant

Cibo Italian Restaurant

This is our new favorite restaurant. We’ve been probably four times in the last three months. We aren’t necessarily Italian foodies but their menu offers a great variety of items the we not only love but need  sometimes. Things like fresh greens which in our business, can be looked over easily. They have an excellent if not one of the best happy hour menus in the city. Boasting over twenty years being open, their menu is polished and executed very well. We love their broccoli rabe, wilted spinach and mussels on happy hour menu. We also tried the escargot and they have a $7.00 margarita pizza that is amazing. They also offer $6.00 cocktails that are amazing. The service is top notch and always friendly and the interior is beautiful. A must try for people who like well crafted Italian fare.

 

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The American Local

The American Local

Though we’ve only been here once, we have to say it was probably the best dining experience we’ve had in Portland. Located on ‘foodie row’ on Division st. this amazing eatery does Asian-Gastropub fusion fare that will knock your socks off. They do spins on typical American fare and add an Asian flare to it and the results are stunning. We tried the smoked salmon toast. It was amazing. We also tried a bowl of beans and greens which had Asian spices laced through the dish. There a many small plates that we suggest trying and the wine list was approachable and affordable. If you can stand sitting outside with folks walking by as you eat, that is an option and most inside seating is family style. It’s an excellent restaurant.

 

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Bar Avignon

Bar Avignon

This is one amazing Bistro. Farm to table cuisine with a rotating menu. We suggest trying the oysters, and cheese plate. They also offer a charcuterie plate, shellfish and amazing salads. They have a wonderful wine list and the service is professional and polished. Reservations are suggested. The place is tiny and it gets packed quickly.

 

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Sushi Mazi

Sushi Mazi

We’ve tried a number of sushi restaurants in Portland and none of them have come close to what we’ve experienced at this Division St. eatery. The happy hour menu is excellent and their rolls are not only delicious but are very well constructed and beautiful. A big gripe of ours when eating rolls that can run you up to $13.00 per roll is that many times, they are just sloppily and carelessly created with some innocuous sauce splattered over it. Sushi Mazi’s chefs take the time to create very pretty food and the flavors are thought out and the product is consistent. They have an affordable wine list but do prepare if you are hungry to shell out $100.00 for a full meal with wine but it’s worth it.

 

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Tabor Tavern

Tabor Tavern

This was one of the first places tried when moving to Portland. It was by accident actually. We were just driving by and Jude insisted we stop in. It has been on our favorite list for two and a half years. The happy hour menu is great with a charcuterie board, happy hour burger and a to die for chicken sandwich. They have a generous tap list and the service is friendly and courteous. It’s located on an odd strip of Burnside and you can drive by it without even noticing it but once you try their pub grub, you will be an instant fan.

 

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Eastburn

Eastburn

We’ve been to this mid city gastropub a number of times. Every time the food, beer and service has been solid. They have an excellent happy hour menu, a great beer list with even more tap offerings in their annex basement bar and the food is well prepared. We suggest the mac-n-cheese. Locally sourced craft beers are on tap and happy hour offers $3.00 selected brews. Beware of the big screen sporting events though. It can get loud and if you aren’t into local sports, check your local listings.

 

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Boke Bowl

Boke Bowl

This is a really decent ramen joint on Water st. in the industrial section of SE Portland. They offer a number of different ramen bowls including rice bowls and they are famous for their steamed buns. We suggest the fried chicken steamed buns which are delicious. It is counter service only and add-on’s to your ramen or rice bowls with buns can run you up to almost $50.00 for two people without booze. Our only gripe was the music choices which tends to be exclusively geared towards screeching punk rock. The crowd was varied when we were there and thought the music should be too but the food has always been consistent. Just watch your wallet.

 

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Tasty n Sons

Tasty n Sons

We’ve tried a number of breakfast places in Portland but this was the best breakfast meal we’ve ever had here and I’m not just posting this because our friend Paige works there. We just decided to give it a try on a morning while in NE Portland. The food was stunning. We had their breakfast board, potatoes bravas and Kabocha squash enchiladas and I swear our taste buds were having tiny little orgasms. I shit you not. The service was very friendly and professional and the place is beautiful. It is located along the Williams food corridor but be aware, parking can be brutal during peak hours.

 

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Higgins Restaurant

Higgins Restaurant

I’m not even sure why we tried this place. We were simply driving around downtown and Jude said “hey, let’s go there for lunch.” I agreed and the experience was excellent. They were between service so they had a modest bar menu to choose from. The food was superb. Farm to table fare which was very fresh and tasty. Smoke salmon plate, a charcuterie board (yes, we like our meat plates!) and an extensive beer menu. They had Pliny the Elder on tap which was a huge win for us! We also tried some Belgians by the bottle. The service was professional and excellent. They place was quiet and comfortable. Be prepared to drive around the block a few times to find parking it being located in busy downtown Portland.

 

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Fifty Licks

Fifty Licks

Located on Clinton St. in SE Portland this tiny ice cream shop features off the beaten path craft ice cream that is to die for. The last time we were in I tried the ghost pepper ice cream which had tremendous but balanced heat. It was awesome and Jude had a salted caramel ice cream which we loved. They sell pints to go and the place is tiny but has outside seating as well. A must try.

 

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Reverend’s BBQ

Reverend’s BBQ

This is an excellent BBQ restaurant located in the SE Sellwood Neighborhood. The place is beautiful and the BBQ is very very good. I had the boneless fried chicken thighs and a pork rib and Jude has the brisket with a pork rib with mac-n-cheese and baked beans. We also had their Moscow Mule which blew us away. The service is extremely friendly and everything was top notch. BBQ plates range around $17.00 with one side but the price is worth it.

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Bertie Lou’s

Bertie Lou’s

This SE Sellwood hole in the wall is a must try for a great home cooked breakfast. Only about 8 tables and two outside benches, the place is always packed and the food is solid. Nothing fancy, just straight forward breakfast fare. Funky interior and even funkier wait staff. Be patient because it can be a hot minute before your food arrives but it’s worth it.

 

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Saint Pizza Lounge and Gladstone Pizza

Gladstone Pizza

By far one of the best pizza places in Portland. I shit you not. It reminds us of what East Coast pizza is and the flavors and toppings are top notch. We always get the Front of House pizza with arugula and sausage. Do not pass up the large chef salad with cured meats and pickles. They have maybe the best Margaritas I’ve ever had and there are about six rotating taps. The service is amazing and the music is too. Funky, fun and relaxing. You can’t pass this one up.

 

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Porque No?

Porque No?

Set in what appeared to be a burned out garage, this always packed all day long taqueria cranks out some really great local and sustainable mexican food with a farm to table twist. Taco Tuesday $1.50 tacos are a don’t miss. We get the porque no platter with one choice of meat that comes with beans, rice and salsa. For $10.00, it’s a huge plate of food. Their hot sauces are excellent and $7.00 margaritas and it’s a win win for your taste buds. Lines can form quickly but mid afternoon is best when the place is half empty.

 

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The Liquor Store

The Liquor Store

Part bar, part restaurant, part club, we visited during happy hour to avoid the club part of the business. Happy hour menu is varied with flatbreads which are excellent, amazing salads and a so-so mac-n-cheese. The ‘house punch’ was excellent for just $5.00. You order at the bar and the friendly staff drops the food off at your table. The interior is gorgeous and it’s nestled in the flourishing Belmont St. food corridor. We highly recommend. P.S. They have the best pretzel in Portland.

 

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Helen Bernhard Bakery

Helen Bernhard Bakery

What can I say but just the best fucking bakery in all of Portland. No need to elaborate. Just go and find out for yourself. Everything the make is pure gold.

 

Well, that’s my list which will be updated as we try more great places. I’m sure I’ve missed a couple but when they come to mind, I’ll be sure to add them to this great list of must try places. Thanks!

 

-Kevin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to great farms and ranchers over the last few years. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have an outlet to utilize these great products they provide and create dishes that I’m proud of. I’ve always wanted to open my own restaurant. Even created a business plan and had a modest savings for this venture. Learning about the in’s and out’s of creating a small business has its challenges. Mainly capital to keep the venture afloat. We are still in hopes that this dream of ours will come to fruition. We’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and would eventually like to be our own bosses. Hopefully this will happen but in the meantime I wanted to share some of the dishes I’ve created over the last three or so years. -Chef Kevin

Dungeness crab salad over grilled pineapple, organic cherry tomatoes, sprouts and avocado purée

Roasted cauliflower, sunchoke and frisee salad

Chocolate chip bread pudding in cast iron skillet with house made salted caramel and vanilla bean ice cream

Sesame crusted ahi tuna over wasabi mashed potatoes and topped with a fresh mango salsa. Not fancy but it was very delicious

House-made bacon bourbon ice cream

Beer braised pork shank over cannellini beans and mirepoix with natural jus

Local greens with grapes, organic cherry tomatoes and candied walnuts

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Mac-n-cheese with lardon and a pilsner cheese béchamel

Blackened ling cod, white cheddar grits, tomatillo sauce and a fried plantain

Armenian and lemon cucumber salad, cherry tomatoes, wild rocket, feta cheese and a mint vinaigrette

Cider brined, slow roasted Carlton Farms pork belly, carrot puree, jicama salad and Inca red drop peppers

Pan seared snapper, over yukon gold mashed, romesco and pesto sauces with sprouts

A Way of Life farms heirloom tomato bruschetta, micro sprouts, goat cheese, balsamic reduction

Liberty Farms duck confit, peach compote, frisee

char sui pork ribs, wasabi mash

char sui pork ribs, wasabi mash, broccoli rabe

Mediterranean spiced pan seared salmon, orzo arugula salad, tatziki

Mediterranean spiced pan seared salmon, orzo arugula salad, tatziki

Slow braised pork shank, lentils, greens, demi glace

Pan seared true cod, curry, cauliflower, local cherry tomatoes, cilantro

Pan seared halibut, parmesan polenta, herb oil

Cider brined pork chop, cheddar-scallion potato cake, caramelized brussels sprouts, bacon and an ale-mustard sauce

Just some light reading

Urban Crow

October 23, 2014

Urban Crow is a new project I am working on that is a brainchild of my wife and I. It’s goal is to provide a craft beer and wine destination that also serves farm to table small plates in a casual setting with off premise sales. There is not enough representation of pairing beer with food in Portland and we are hoping to change that. Supporting local farmers and artisans is very important to us and has been for many years. We are looking for investors. That will help make our dream come true.

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We’ve been here for about fifteen years collectively. Trying to remember the places we’ve lived and the positions I’ve held in the almost nines back in the Bay Area is mind-boggling. I’ve had a history of staying in kitchens for years. And I’ve learned that I’ve stayed in kitchens years longer than I should have. I could say I liked the job security. I could say I enjoyed the people I worked for. I could also say I was afraid of change. What I will say is that its probably a combination of all three. I also made bold moves while living here. I took huge pay cuts to work as a line cook because I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn how California cooks. I wanted to hone skills that were not being used by working for corporate restaurants.

I also learned how to stand up for myself. To value myself. To realize I was a good cook who could also be a leader and mentor to younger cooks. I could have easily taken the easy route and stayed with RUI but they simply do not produce chefs. The produce managers of food, managers of people and managers of money. I wanted to cook. I wanted to learn.  I wanted to cook good food and try to find an identity for myself. A niche. Something that I could relate to as well as my customers related to. Sensible good food.

B Restaurant in Oakland afforded me that ability. It paid horribly but I had menu input, I created specials and finally got the feeling of what it was like to be creative and use local and sustainable products. True California cuisine. It wasn’t enough though. I wanted to a balance between being creative and still lead a kitchen. I loved  mentoring cooks. Not only teaching them how to cook but how to make money from the product they produced and appreciate how to turn food into money. I was good at it. I still am. Left Bank Brasserie gave me the opportunity to lead a kitchen as a Sous Chef while learning a new cuisine. French Bistro cuisine was very fun to create. I made dishes I never thought I’d have the opportunity to create. I got to cook for wonderful chefs like jacque pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso.

I still wanted more. I made a very bold decision and moved to Portland but this time without my Wife Jude. I thought getting a job there, being with close family would convince her that moving would be the best choice. I had no realization that the job market was so challenging there. I also had serious self-esteem issues that I didn’t understand until I moved back to San Francisco. I did a lot of reading while in Portland. I also did a lot of cooking too. I wasn’t a Sous Chef anymore. I was a Chef and wanted my own kitchen. It was time. I had not choice. It was almost like a vocation and I ran with it. I applied at a number of places but received a call from the owners of The Monk’s Kettle. A new built from scratch Gastropub in The Mission District. A very ambitious undertaking in a supposedly cursed location. I created a menu from my head, scratching ideas down on a legal pad. No test kitchen, no history. Just what I liked to eat and what I thought went great with beer. I enjoyed three great years there. They are about to celebrate their sixth anniversary and I feel that my contributions during my three years there are a big reason while they are still open and thriving. I think about my time there a lot.

I also thought about my Dad a lot during that time. He was struggling with his health and it was taking its toll on him. I decided that my focus should be on caring for him and my family and took a break from the kitchen. My wife was absolutely wonderful and patient during these hard times. It was very hard dealing with his illness and subsequent death and I felt lost after his passing. Tragic events like this can make you question your talents, courage and determination to move forward and if I didn’t get back in the kitchen soon, I never would. Judy passed along an ad for a new restaurant opening in Berkeley just two months after my fathers funeral. I applied. I needed to cook again and I did. I was determined to cook my food again and migrated my menu that was highly regarded at The Monk’s Kettle and implemented it at Freehouse. I had very high hopes for this new venture. My vision of Freehouse business model did not go the same direction as the restaurant did and I felt compelled to part ways fifteen months later. There are certain things I will not sacrifice as chef and I felt if I stayed, I would be sacrificing those core values so I left. Judy’s job was also not evolving the way she wanted to after eight years at First Crush so we decided we wanted a change.

My Uncle and his partner bought a house in Portland Oregon. I truly feel this time my luck will be much better because of what I have learned while being back in the bay area. I feel that I truly am a chef. I can create, cost out and execute very pretty food that people can relate to and enjoy without feeling like it is something over their heads or unapproachable. I also learned how to not only pair beer with food but to cook with it. I also learned how to home-brew which is not only rewarding but inexpensive. We love the Bay Area. We have hundreds of photos of us camping, drinking, eating and enjoying family and friends.

There are things we are going to miss very much. Campsite #6 at Wright’s Beach, Samuel P. Taylor campsite, Jenner California. Going to Santa Cruz and having a great burger and craft beer at BURGER. Visiting our chiropractor Dr. Lei who has done wonders in keeping me in the kitchen. Trips to Berkeley Marina just to do nothing. Loving driving across the Richmond Bridge. Why? Because it’s beautiful. My butchery classes at 4505 Meats. Having dinner with Bruno and Ben.  Happy hour at Cesar. Going for late night burritos at La Pinata. Taking drives to Tiburon and people watching. Driving down highway 1 to Half Moon Bay. Seeing the clouds envelop the Golden Gate Bridge while driving over it. Saying we live in the most beautiful place on earth driving over the Bay Bridge. Hell, just sitting in our fairy garden area of our yard and watching our cats frolic and just doing nothing but talking. Life can be simple but it’s short. Live it to the fullest and enjoy where you are. We will miss it dearly but are also excited to experience new things. Which we will. I can’t wait to share this with you.

-Kevin.

I hate to steal cheesy movie lines from the 80’s but as soon as I signed up for 4505 Meats whole steer class, farmer Vincent came to mind from one of my favorite slasher films Motel Hell. Another gem is “It takes all kinds of critters to make farmer Vincent’s fritters!” Well, we are butchering a whole steer and not humans during this class but man that was a good movie!

I’ve already participated in two other classes at 4505 Meats. The sausage making class and whole hog class. Both fun, both different in approach and both very informative. This class is the mother of all butchery classes. Eight hours breaking down an entire local grass-fed steer in to primal and sub primal cuts as well as sinew, bones and ground beef. We leave with about a hundred pounds of various cuts of beef. So far I’ve made Cincinnati Chili which was delicious and this weekend I am making a shoulder roast. The product is premium.

The class started at 7 a.m. After a myriad of liquid stimulants to get the fog cleared, we immediately started in on this beast. Kent Schoberle was again there to guide us through the class. His patience helps tremendously with us because even though I have broken down a steer before, many decades have passed since taking this class in culinary school and everything seemed very fresh and new.

We worked with many of the same tools that we used in the whole hog class but this time the hack saw was much busier than last class. The steer was partially broken down in about 130 lb. segments so we could actually work with it. Having to handle a 600 plus lb. animal would have probably not worked very well with the class. These sections were huge but manageable. It was very interesting seeing the final product after breaking down the primal cuts in to sub primal cuts like steaks, roast and ground beef. Even cutting mistakes were quickly remedied and nothing got wasted. All in all, it was a profound experience that I hope can add depth to how I approach proteins in my kitchen and the appreciation of this craft was definitely felt after the class. I am including pictures with descriptions below to give you an idea of what was involved in the class. Enjoy!!

Bringing the beast out of the walk-in.

Bringing the beast out of the walk-in.

Huge quarter steer!

Huge quarter steer!

More views

More views

Ready to butcher!

Ready to butcher!

Kent starting the process. He wouldn't do too much since he wanted us completely hands on!

Kent starting the process. He wouldn’t do too much since he wanted us completely hands on!

Another view of the front portion of the steer

Another view of the front portion of the steer

Taking on this monster was very intimidating

Taking on this monster was very intimidating

Separating the shoulder and arm sections.

Separating the shoulder and arm sections.

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This shit was hard!!! I"m such a wimp...

This shit was hard!!! I”m such a wimp…

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Kristen getting busy!

Kristen getting busy!

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Kent guiding us through the process.

Kent guiding us through the process.

Rib portions breaking down.

Rib portions breaking down.

Let the games begin!!!

Let the games begin!!!

Sebastian getting busy!

Sebastian getting busy!

Insert inappropriate joke here.

Insert inappropriate joke here.

Nice rack baby!

Nice rack baby!

"Hoff" confidently breaking down his portion.

“Hoff” confidently breaking down his portion.

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Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Kent working the band saw.

Kent working the band saw.

Oh the carnage!!!

Oh the carnage!!!

Us getting down.

Us getting down.

More breaking down with Kevin.

More breaking down with Kevin.

Parts of meat everywhere!!!

Parts of meat everywhere!!!

Tied roasts.

Tied roasts.

Cuts are starting to take shape.

Cuts are starting to take shape.

Separating into bins.

Separating into bins.

More inappropriate meat jokes.

More inappropriate meat jokes.

MEAT!!!

MEAT!!!

Braised beef lunch. Yum!!!!

Braised beef lunch. Yum!!!!

More and more meat!!

More and more meat!!

This is my take home. Keep your hands off!!!!

This is my take home. Keep your hands off!!!!

Well, half a hog actually, but the class was very informative and really fun. We were presented with a beautiful local hog from a Tomales Bay pig farm. I think I will call her Fanny. Don’t ask me why I chose to name a hog that had been sawed in half but hell, why not? Anyway, 4505 Meats had already processed the other half of the hog for their butcher shop so three of us got to break down the other half. About 115 lbs total weight. These are pretty large and robust animals. The hog had been aging for about 7 days. Most butchers desire up to 14 days for aging because important enzymes help make the meat tender after processing at the slaughter house.

Kent Schoberle once again guided us through the class. We ended walking with about 20 lbs of product each which included, roasts, chops, skin, fat, pork belly and bones. All individually wrapped and ready to take home. The class was about 3 hours long and well worth the investment.  Here are pictures with descriptions of what went on. Enjoy!!

This is the product we broke down during our 3 hour class.

This is the product we broke down during our 3 hour class.

On the chopping block!

On the chopping block!

A closer look.

A closer look.

Kent describing the process.

Kent describing the process.

Starting the breakdown.

Starting the breakdown.

Hack sawing the carcass into sections

Hack sawing the carcass into sections

Band sawing pork chops into shape.

Band sawing pork chops into shape.

Taking the belly off the ribs.

Taking the belly off the ribs.

More breakdown!

More breakdown!

Breaking down the leg/ham

Breaking down the leg/ham

Creating roasts to take home.

Creating roasts to take home.

More meat portioning.

More meat portioning.

Final wrapped product! OINK!

Final wrapped product! OINK!

It’s been a while since I’ve worked on this blog and it’s time to kick start it again damn it! Here we go!

I am a proponent of on-going education regardless of how old you are. Gaining knowledge by learning new things keeps you young and in my field it is also important to your longevity as a chef. I briefly went to culinary school in the 80’s but paying for an education on minimum wage which was $3.35 working in restaurants couldn’t sustain my own on going education so I decided that a hands on degree was more ideal for my situation and learned as my career progressed. 4505 Meats offers different classes for different applications. Their approach to animal husbandry is vital to sustainability not only to the meat industry but also to the restaurant industry. They believe in local product that is free of chemicals and antibiotics. They offer a premium product that is not only good but good for you!  I just finished the sausage making class and now have whole hog butchery and whole steer butcher classes coming up.

The sausage making class was very fun and very educational. This will allow me to make sausages in my restaurants kitchen where before I had to rely on my meat purveyors to supply the product. Fun and cost-effective at the same time. We made three different types of sausages. A classic Marguez sausage, a chicken, Dogfish Head Festina Peche and apricot sausage and a pork and pecorino sausage. They were all delicious. Working with the other students was also enjoyable. We were all equals regardless of our backgrounds and everyone was very nice and fun!

I am posting various pictures of the class with descriptions of what were involved. Enjoy!!

http://4505meats.com

Chicken thighs sent through a huge grinder. It took less than 20 seconds to grind 12 lbs of chiciken!

Chicken thighs sent through a huge grinder. It took less than 20 seconds to grind 12 lbs of chiciken!

Adding all the ingredients to the ground chicken.

Adding all the ingredients to the ground chicken.

All ingredients ready for mixing!

All ingredients ready for mixing!

Korbin working his magic.

Korbin working his magic.

Pre-mixing instructions.

Pre-mixing instructions.

Greg mixing the Marguez batch.

Greg mixing the Marguez batch.

Ready for mixing.

Ready for mixing.

Kent is testing the mix to see if it's ready to stuff.

Kent is testing the mix to see if it’s ready to stuff.

Testing the Marguez before stuffing.

Testing the Marguez before stuffing.

This is a table mounted crank stuffer. Recommended because electric stuffers do not allow to slow down or back up if gravity takes hold and pushes too much product out at once.

This is a table mounted crank stuffer. Recommended because electric stuffers do not allow to slow down or back up if gravity takes hold and pushes too much product out at once.

F. Dick are a German knife and kitchen hardware manufacturer. Insert inappropriate joke here--->

F. Dick are a German knife and kitchen hardware manufacturer. Insert inappropriate joke here—>

Another angle.

Another angle.

Prepping the table. Water is your friend. If not, the casings will stick like glue and tear.

Prepping the table. Water is your friend. If not, the casings will stick like glue and tear.

This is a pork casing going on the "horn" that feeds the product into the casing.

This is a pork casing going on the “horn” that feeds the product into the casing.

Filling the bin with product. No air is permitted because it causes bubbles in the casing.

Filling the bin with product. No air is permitted because it causes bubbles in the casing.

Different grinder sizes and blade.

Different grinder sizes and blade.

Stuffing a small amount of meat to enable us to tie a knot in the casing.

Stuffing a small amount of meat to enable us to tie a knot in the casing.

Pork sausage stuffing.

Pork sausage stuffing.

The beginning of pork stuffing.

The beginning of pork stuffing.

Forming coils to increase table space.

Forming coils to increase table space.

Finished lamb Marguez sausage.

Finished lamb Marguez sausage.

Finished product. Pork and pecorino sausage.

Finished product. Pork and pecorino sausage.

Wrapping product.

Wrapping product.

We rock!!

We rock!!

4505's famous hot dogs!!

4505’s famous hot dogs!!

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Eat Your Beer!

October 2, 2012

The East Bay Express recently featured an article that highlights chef’s who cook with beer. This was something new to me in 2007 when I started at The Monk’s Kettle. The learning curve was steep since I like to drink beer but wasn’t entrenched in the whole culture of beer, beer pairing and the brewing of beer. I’m now a home brewer and really appreciate the whole process of learning and loving beer. Enjoy the article.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/eat-your-beer/Content?oid=3346872

2011 in review

December 31, 2011

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.