Organic, wonderful Summer dining in Oregon — Plate & Pitchfork 06 August, 2011

By Chris Angelus, Portland Food Adventures

Saturday evening at Viridian Farms was my third Plate & Pitchfork experience. After the last one about a month ago Blog here I’ve been telling most everyone I know they need to experience at least one. (Betcha can’t eat just one.)

Since we have such a geographically diverse state it’s not too hard to make this claim, but I truly don’t think there’s a more organic and representative Oregon experience to be had. To topline it: geography, Oregon Summers, incredibly fresh food, amazing wine pairings with the winemakers right there. Yes, it’s about what we consume, but what makes it sing is the passionate, food-loving people — the farmers, the chefs, the winemakers, the patrons, and people at Plate and Pitchfork, from Erika Polmar to her fun and genuine volunteers.

First, you get to drive through beautiful farm country to get there, so there’s that. Yes, THAT.

Then, once you get to the farm, you’re standing on some of the most fertile soil anywhere–the soil that grows not only produce that we enjoy every day in our multitudes of incredible restaurants and markets, but that which is shipped elsewhere because ours is so superior. Second, we have not only one amazing chef, but the geometric artistry of two. In this case, Jeremy Eckel from Bar Avignon, which not only holds a special place in my heart because I’ve enjoyed BA solo and on a date or two, but also because it was the first-ever destination on our first Portland Food Adventures dinner. Cathy Whims indicated it was one of her favorite places to eat and drink.  Jeremy was to be cooking this evening with Courtney Sproule.

One of my favorite things about Portland that while I think I am one of the fairly knowledgeable people when it comes to restaurants and chefs, I love it when I find out there’s someone out there that I have never even heard of doing amazing things. It’s one of the reasons I started Portland Food Adventures. To explore, identify and share that information with others. So I Googled Courtney’s din din Supper Club events and was really excited to be able to meet and experience someone who was doing such special dinners. As it turns out, two of my tablemates had been to numerous din din Suppers, and they reported that they loved them. The proof, I suppose is in the return visits. One of them being this evening, where they would get to experience Courtney’s talents in another special environment.

The warm summer Oregon evening begins with a reception by the parking area, which in my opinion featured some of the most delicious food of the evening (menu to follow below) It was served along with Widmer Citra Blonde and two Reislings, from Brooks and Love and Squalor Wines.


Then a tour of Viridian Farms, owned and operated by the youthful Leslie and Manuel Recio, on Grand Island in Dayton. I happened to be with Manuel’s group for the tour.


Erika Polmar, Founder of Plate and Pitchfork, with some of her delightful volunteers, haul precious cargo from the reception to the dinner. This is a labor of love, and it starts with seeds the farmers plant and nurture, then flows through Erika’s passionate soul, and touches many. I consider her an Oregon icon. She brings the best of this unique region together and allows anyone who chooses to experience it in such a special way. When I think of my moving here because I simply saw Oregon and Portland and felt a calling, everything is validated on a night like this.

PROMOTIONAL MESSAGE — FOODIES: Please check out our upcoming Portland Food Adventures dinner at Trent Pierce’s WAFU, and Aaron Barnett’s St. Jack.   CLICK HERE!

The menu for the evening:



Then the dinner. Pictures: 1000 words. 0 calories. On paper, anyway.


Food and wine are such perfect accompaniments to new and old friends.


Ben spent his first anniversary on a farm, serving with panache and smiles.



Courtney and Jeremy address their guests.


The Fiocide Glaciale was simply incredible! Many commented that they’d never had any greens like it before. One of the special surprises of the evening.



The lovely Penelope. Who better to complement sweet peaches?


These people show up and make Erika’s magic work.


Matt of Love & Squalor Wines. His sense of humor complemented his product quite nicely. Everyone enjoyed both.


Sun illuminates.


Still going strong…


And there you have it.





















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  1. Marisa

    Incredible photos, Chris. You really captured the beauty of this wonderful gathering. Makes me sad that I could only make it out for one night instead of both. Cheers!

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