March 2, 2012 by Dina Avila
The rain was coming down in sheets. It was cold and blustery and the threat of snow was looming, but no one really seemed to notice. We were blissfully cozy in the warm arms of The Gilt Club’s red leather booths. Welcome to another amazing Portland Food Adventures. A Moscow Mule made with house made ginger beer in our hands delivered with a history of the cocktail, by owner Jamie Dunn, we were in a constant state of anticipation of what alchemy was happening in the kitchen at the hands Chefs Chris Carriker of The Gilt Club and Rick Gencarelli of Lardo.
We had no idea what amazing delicacies our palates were in for.
The first time I met Chris was last June in The Gilt Club’s kitchen. I had the honor of photographing him for Eater while he swiftly broke down and entire pig’s head and then promptly served me pig face tacos. I was smitten. Adam was with me that day and we’ve been talking about those tacos ever since. In fact, I’m pretty sure when ever we happen to bump into Chris at an event, those tacos likely come up. So when Chris Angelus, the master mind behind Portland Food Adventuresmentioned the line up for a Leap Year PFA that included the great Rick Gencarelli of Lardo, Adam and I were chomping at the bit. Oh boy, these guys are masters at what they do.
It went down like this: Seven plates, three courses on each. Chris and Rick took a protein and reinvented it three times, essentially making 21 courses for about 32 people. Yep. And when I say reinvent, I mean they meticulously crafted each course on each plate uniquely and exquisitely. Mind blowing.
Oh and what a night! The founders of the Portland Foodie Meetup Group were in attendance plus many new faces making the night electric and exciting. Folks were mingling, making pictures, socializing and laughing. It was a blast! The Gilt Club generously shared pour after pour of two beautiful wines from Cayalla Vineyards, we snacked on fried pig’s ears (that appeared as if from nowhere) and didn’t notice the soaking wet windows and awnings billowing in the wintry wind.
If you’re new to Portland Food Adventures, the fun doesn’t stop here. Included with your purchase is a stack of gift certificates for haunts around town that our gracious chefs like to eat and imbibe in. And if you were at this event the other night, you know you’re in for a treat! Gilt Club, Lardo, The Bent Brick, Euro Trash, Sushi Mazi, The Lion’s Eye and The Cheese Bar gift certificates printed by Chris Angelus in convenient little wallet sized adventure cards. So cool!
Scallops escabeche with pickled vegetables, creme fraiche avocado purée
Roasted scallops, Silvie’s valley sous vide shortribs, shallots and red wine sauce
Fried rabbit legs with cipolinni onion agrodolche
Bacon wrapped rabbit loins with compressed butter leaf lettuce, lemon-pecorino dressing and boqerones anchovies
Confit lamb belly with berlotti beans, face bacon, and Noble bourbon aged maple syrup
Braised lamb tongue with frisee, fried shallots, fried egg dressing
Squid ink chitarra with braised octopus, and calabrian pepper buerre monte
Nettle cavatelli with nettle pesto, braised bacon, lemon zest, and pecorino
Sous vide ribeye with beets, bone marrow ‘tater tots’, and bordelaise
Grilled Bresaola spiced beef, chickpea fritter, and salsa verde
Chris holding court
Chris Angelus gets the kid’s plate