Friday, June 9, 2017

New Article on Why Haven’t American Truffles Taken Root Yet?

Originally published on
Written by Mattie John Bamman
At a private party in Eugene, Oregon earlier this year, the night’s climax arrived in the form of takeout pizzas and dozens of knobby white and black fungi, the main two colors in which truffles are catalogued. “Make it rain,” said the host, and the pizzas disappeared beneath the thick fur of freshly microplaned native Oregon truffles.
“I truly love Oregon’s truffles,” said one chef. “Think gasoline and pine needles.” Truffles contain an astonishing number of aromas, and the diesel-fuel aroma of Oregon white truffles has been identified by scientists; some even describe it as smelling like toluene, the water-insoluble liquid that makes glue a recreational inhalant. The heady aroma of musk, honey, and something beyond language filled the room.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Just One Month Away: The Northwest Travel Writers Conference, Travel & Words

The 2017 Travel & Words conference takes place April 23 through 25, in Salem, Oregon, and there's still time for travel writers to register. I've been on the planning team since 2012, and there's no doubt this year will raise the bar. Here are three reasons why:

1. We're holding our first-ever kick-off reception loaded with local food and drink. Come hungry, and don't miss this new opportunity to connect with fellow travel writers and editors.
2. We have our biggest keynote speaker to date, Sunset Magazine editor-in-chief Irene Edwards.
3. We're offering a mix of both beginner- and advanced-level workshops, and for the first time, advanced writers will get the opportunity to "speed date" with local tourism reps for potential story leads, press trips, and more.

See all the panel discussions, presentations, and workshops here.

I hope you're gearing up to join us, and feel free to write in with any questions, etc. The conference has been a meeting place for travel writers, editors, and Northwest tourism people since 2009.

What: The Northwest's premier conference for travel writers - BOOK IT
When: 6 p.m., April 23 to 5 p.m., April 25, 2017
Where: Salem Convention Center, 200 Commercial St SE, Salem, OR
Lodging: The Grand Hotel Salem (limited number of room discounts still available by calling toll-free 877-540-7800 or 503-540-7800)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2017 Portland Events Wall Calendar Is Now In Stores

Researching and editing the Portland Events Wall Calendar was my first job in Portland, back in 2010, and I'm excited to say the 2017 edition is now available. We're in our sixth year, and I think it's the best year, yet. We added new events, found 2017 dates to help you plan, and feature another year of beautiful photos of Portland and the surrounding area. Find a copy at local stores, like New Seasons, Powell's, and Food Front Grocery, or buy it online at Powell's or Amazon.

I tried to fit in all of the Portland events that involve eating and drinking — of course — including Feast Portland and The Bite of Oregon, and we found some really cool new things to do, too. Here are some standouts:

  • the Code Orange Egg Drop (Seriously: A helicopter drops 20,000 plastic Easter eggs in Brentwood City Park. Around 2000 kids partake, and it's free).
  • TEDx Portland (After doing my own TEDx talk, I knew this was an inspiring event)
  • the Great American Eclipse (I recommend finding a viewing spot asap. My colleagues at the tourism boards say every hotel in the path of the eclipse has pretty much been booked)
  • Bike Scout Scavenger Hunt (It's just as cool as it sounds)
Again this year, the dates for the 2017 events are written right on the calendar for planning purposes:

And the calendar features photos of events and fun things to do around Portland all year long:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Edible Portland: Three New Articles Currently on Newsstands

Hungry to explore and support more of Portland's food artisan community, I spent much of this summer at farmers markets and food incubator events, meeting Portland's hardworking food artisans and eating their delicious, local, and sustainable creations. The result is three new articles in the relaunch issue of Edible Portland. Formerly owned by Ecotrust, Edible Portland continues under Free Range Media and now comes out six times a year (read the full story of the acquisition here).

The first three local artisans I could not not write about are Choi's Kimchi, Ancient Heritage Dairy, and The Bitter Housewife. Here are some excerpts and imagines from the stories I wrote. The full articles include recipes, too. Buy a subscription here or find Edible Portland in these fine stores:

Pickling Portland
Choi's Kimchi brings a fermented Korean staple to Portland

Originally published in Edible Portland

"Founded in 2011, Choi's Kimchi Company makes its kimchis using a generations-old family recipe by Chong Choi and her son Matt. "The earliest memory my mom always shares," says Matt," is the gimjang winter kimchi harvest in Korea. It's a really busy time, and she'd be running around helping and my grandmother would always have her taste the kimchi she was making and say, 'What does it need? Salt? More ginger?'"

Immigrating to the United States when she was 25, Chong quickly earned a reputation in her community for making great kimchi, whether for friends or family or church events..."

Who Needs Cows?
Portland's only urban creamery churns out award-winning cheese — with nary a cow in sight.

Originally published in Edible Portland

"Walking down the sidewalk in inner Southeast Portland, you may glance through a window and suddenly find yourself face to face with men and women in hair nets, white aprons, and rubber boots wielding hundreds of pounds of freshly made cheese. Without a cow in sight, Ancient Heritage Dairy opened Portland's only urban creamery in spring 2015, but if you speak with the Obringer family that owns the creamery, they'll say they're just carrying on tradition..."

Bite Into Bitters:
Relax! Ease into these classic drink recipes.

Originally published in Edible Portland

"Are you perhaps healthily obsessed with craft cocktails? Do you wish you could whip them up without finding and buying all manner of esoteric ingredient and liqueur? Genevieve Brazelton had the same thoughts exactly, so in 2012 she and her husband founded The Bitter Housewife, a line of cocktail bitters specifically designed to give depth to classic drink recipes, one dash at a time.

Bitters are still classified as a form of medicine in Oregon, which makes sense, if craft cocktails are the cure for what ails you. In its new, expanded Northeast workshop, The Bitter Housewife makes bitters by infusing high-proof spirits with Genevieve's signature flavor profiles. Her Aromatic Bitters, for instance, features bourbon infused with 17 botanicals. The result is a local take on Angostura bitters, the ubiquitous bitters used in drinks like old fashioneds and Vieux Carres..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I'm a Featured 'Oregon Maverick' in the The Gorge Business News

It's weird being on the other side of the pen. After meeting at last year's Northwest Travel Writers Conference, business news writer Lori Kimbel gave me the honor of being featured in The Gorge Business News as an "Oregon Maverick." The article came out in July (one day after my birthday in fact), and it's really a thoughtful and fun piece. It's weird being on the other side of the pen, and it's also flattering. Thank you, Lori!

Check it out--------->

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Article: Eating the View, Northwest Travel & Life Magazine

There are many ways to connect with nature. You can go hiking, or rent a room with a view. You can also eat it. At the three restaurants below, dining becomes an adventure among the fields, mountains and coastline.

The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA 
"For dessert tonight, we're serving three courses of blossoms," said Blaine Wetzel, executive chef of The Willows Inn. Wetzel hails from Olympia and has become one of the Pacific Northwest's most celebrated chefs. Based on easily accessible Lummi Island, The Willows Inn is true destination dining: Every dish shares something about the small island, whether its oysters and venison, or berries, leaves or, even, branches. In fact, the morning after a recent meal, I took a hike and spotted several familiar ingredients...

Subscribe to Northwest Travel Magazine for $16.95 for one year----------->

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Guide: An Eater's Guide to Portland, Eater Portland

After a lot of delicious work, we published An Eater's Guide to Portland on Eater Portland. Check it out to see the entire city's food scene introduced in one handy guide. Here are some of the highlights:

Welcome to the Land of Craftsman Cuisine

Straight up, Portland has something most other cities do not: the natural bounty of the Willamette Valley, mostly unblemished by development and pollution. This gives Portland chefs a huge arsenal of ingredients to play with—whether the cuisine of choice is regional Indian food or modernist Spanish tapas...

Continue reading the complete guide----------->

Where to Start on Eater Portland's Top Maps

As you know, Eater publishes and updates a rather massive database of maps—each focusing on one of the city's signature foods or dining trends, from tacos to bento boxes. For those who want to get to Portland's culinary heart through its ribcage, we've compiled the crème de la crème, the top one or two listings, from each of these maps here....

Portland Food 'Hoods to Know

SOUTHEAST DIVISION/CLINTON: Pok Pok kicked it all off in a shack in 2005, and now nearly every restaurateur in the city has jockeyed for a spot on SE Division Street (so much so that the growth has spilled out a couple block south on SE Clinton Street, too). Here, between the reckless construction, you'll find many crucial restaurants...

Portland Glossary of Terms

Amphora-Aged Cocktails: Clyde Common's Jeffrey Morgenthaler is credited with inventing the barrel-aged cocktail, a fully mixed batch of cocktails aged in a wooden barrel to gain flavor—as a winemaker might age wine. Today, Ava Gene's bar manager Douglas Derrick takes this further: He's teamed up with a local winery and amphora producer to make amphora-aged negroni, only available at the restaurant.

Northwest Bounty: This is the annoying term that everyone seems to use to describe what makes food in Portland different. What makes it annoying is that it's true: Bigger and better ingredients come from the Pacific Northwest. Taste it, and you will understand.

Reservations to Make in Advance

LANGBAAN: You've almost certainly never had Thai food like this before. Langbaan serves historic regional Thai dishes—some from ancient royalty's cookbooks—and is perhaps the hardest Portland restaurant to get into. It's a hidden restaurant inside of PaaDee and books out months in advance. Make your reservation now to taste an incredibly well designed prix fixe menu.

Follow the News

Continue to the full guide----->

New Article on Why Haven’t American Truffles Taken Root Yet?

Originally published on Written by Mattie John Bamman At a private party in Eugene, Oregon earlier this year, the night’s c...