While Gail and I were treated to two nights of amazing music for New Years courtesy of moe. at Portland's State Theatre we were also able to enjoy some of the great restaurants in Portland's wonderful local restaurant scene. Two of the weekends highlights were our New Years Eve dinner at Pai Mei Miyake and our New Years Day lunch at Duckfat.
|carrot/daikon salad &|
cucumber avocado maki
Chef Sharon, who I have mentioned here before and her husband Rob picked out Pai Mei Miyake because the menu looked great and it was close to both the hotel and the venue for the New Years festivities. We had a 5:00 pm reservation which was on the early side, but we had places to be!! When we were seated we were presented with the usual menu's (drink menu, yakitori menu, main menu) as well as their special 3 course price fixe New Years Eve Menu. Sharon, Rob, and myself went with different selections from the tasting menu, while Gail picked her own items off of the regular menu. We also had some incredible drinks including a Maker's Mark & ginger hot toddy for two and a beetle' juice - a blend of vodka, roasted pickled beet, and beet juice! We split an order of their much talked about pork buns as well as veggie gyoza. The gyoza was very tasty but the pork buns with pepper relish and mayo were incredible. The bun was light and fluffy and the pork belly was tender and fell apart at the lightest touch of the fork. The tasting menu featured a starter, a noodle dish, and a dessert. I informed our sever I had a fish and shellfish allergy and she quickly confirmed with the kitchen what dishes would be safe and which could be adjusted for me. I had a tamago maki roll, a ball of duck ramen, and one of their delicious desserts while Gail had the veggie gyoza, a cucumber and avocado maki with roasted almond and spicey mayo, and a carrot and daikon salad with a sesame ginger vinagrette. The tamago maki was light and slightly salty, while the duck ramen was hearty and had a slightly spicy note with the addition of ginger root to the dark duck broth. Gail really loved the salad and felt the addition of spicy mayo elevated the maki to a different level. My dessert of yuzu-glazed ginger bread with candied kumquat's was sweet and acidic, but not too heavy. It was good, but Rob got a warmed pineapple financier with caramelized pineapple and chantilly cream that the table unanimously voted as the top dessert from the tasting menu.
|poutine and frites|
|pork rillettes and coppa|
After a 5 hour New Years bash with moe. and a few hours of celebrating with friends people were hitting their beds closer to day break. By the time Gail and I woke up and got ourselves together and ready for food we decided lunch would be more appropriate. We enjoyed a short stroll through Portland and arrived at Duckfat for a perfect post New Years anti-hangover lunch! Gail and I decided we simply had to devour most of the menu so we ended up with quite hefty sampling of what Duckfat had to offer. I started with a small charcuterie board with pork rillettes and coppa, with a pickled sunflower shoot salad, mustard, apple slices, crostini, and a great pickled vegetable assortment. We each had a creamy milkshake (original for Gail and Salted Caramel for yours truly) with our actual lunch: A small order of poutine, a small order of normal duckfat fries with horseradish mayo & truffle ketchup, a pork belly panini, and a bacon, goat cheese, & tomato panini. Surprisingly, Gail ordered the bacon, goat cheese, & tomato panini after she discovered the amazingness that is perfectly crispy bacon that isn't over done. Needless to say with such rich food on the menu for lunch it was exactly what I needed to guarantee that I was content and ready for the 2 hour drive back to Boston.
Ending and starting the year with memorable meals, fantastic live music, and in the company of great people was more then a could have asked for. 2011 was a very hectic, busy, and exciting year, and I look forward to more excitement and big changes this coming year! Stay tuned to see what we'll be growing, cooking, canning, and baking here at Grown Away in 2012!!
|pickled veggie assortment|