By Katie Acheff
For this 2nd anniversary of Portland Food Adventures, we kicked things off at Yakuza Lounge. The patio garden made for a great backdrop as they started us out with a few cocktails, including a Beet Margarita.
As we all took our seats and looked over the menu, the Yakuza crew came out to explain a little bit about tonight’s dinner. This included the owner Dayna McErlean (below, left) who mentioned that she was happy enough with Yakuza to eat there herself three or four nights a week.
We also had a few words from manager and ‘sake girl’ Kyle Lovell (below left) and our chef David Gaspar de Alba (below, mid). David assured us a great meal before disappearing into the kitchen. Kyle was a great hostess, and I was impressed that for each course she brought out each wine/sake/cocktail pairing to explain exactly why that pairing was chosen and what flavors to look for with the different dishes.
Without further ado our first courses were brought out. These consisted of a Carpaccio of heirloom tomato, Dungeness crab with mustard, cucumber, avocado and dill, and shaved kale with edamame, shallot and lemon.
The adventurers had a great time trying everything ‘family style’ and enjoying the fine drinks accompanying each dish. This included quite a few sake pairings, as well as white wine and champagne.
Next up was a tuna prosciutto featuring Ahi tuna, Meyer lemon oil and cracker pepper, as well as Columbia River King salmon with red radish, baby cilantro, white soy and citrus.
Third course was a sushi sampler, which included a prawn roll (hood canal spot prawn tempura, avocado, spicy sauce), salmon roll (salmon, daikon, avocado, shiso, scallion and bamboo salt) and a Hamachi roll (seared yellowtail, avocado, carrot, jalapeno aioli, and lime zest). All very good, I especially liked the prawn roll.
The sun began to set as our 4th course approached. I want to thank my tablemates for patiently letting me shoot each dish before digging in, and even helping me with lights as it got dark outside. Quite the team effort! Coming up next we had a Salmon Tataki as well as Seared Albacore.
The adventurers had a great time talking and laughing while enjoying our meals. The lounge atmosphere really came through as the sun went down and the garden lit up.
Our last main course was probably my favorite. We first got a pan seared black Cod with carrot, white miso and maple (many of my table mates expressed it was some of the best they had ever had), seared sea scallop with fresh polenta, grilled okra and mizuna, and a cold smoked duck breast with bing cherry, jalapeno and chervil. We definitely ate up every last piece of this amazing course.
As the night winded down chef David, Kyle and our host Chris Angelus came out to talk a bit about some of the gift certificates we were offered that night. Included were DOC Food & Wine, Sweedeedee, Uno Mas, Torta-Landia and Central. They also did a drawing for a night at the Kuza Cabin, which a lucky Adventurer won.
They also brought out some stunning deserts which I have been talking about nonstop since this night, including a chevre cheesecake (AMAZING) and a sweet miso crème brulee with a champagne cocktail. What a great ending to an already delicious evening!
And with that another Portland Food Adventures was over, but there are certainly some amazing ones coming up! Thanks to everyone for making it a night to remember, and check out future PFA Events: