Monday, May 17, 2010

Cochon 555

Good, good, good, good, good, REAL GOOD!

Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW! What a way to spend a Sunday evening. I have been to a ton of foodie events in Portland and around the United States, but the Cochon 555 event held at the Governor Hotel far exceeded my expectations......and with tickets at $125-175 a pop the bar was set pretty damn high. The food quality at these kind of events can be spotty, but in this case this group of decorated chefs (and crews) upped the ante. felt like the set of Iron Chef, too bad I don't look like Alton Brown. The crowd was also packed with industry people and nobody wanted to not put their best food forward. In a single word: "Outstanding"!

The venue was the Historic Governor Hotel and the celebrity chef list included:

JASON BARWIKOWSKI – Olympic Provisions
CATHY WHIMS – Nostrana
Butcher: RYAN FARR - 4505 Meats

Special Guest Chefs:
GREG DENTON - Metrovino
DAVID ANDERSON - Genoa Restaurant

Hog Butchering Demonstration.............Check!

Great wine........Check!

Ass Kicking Food........Check!

The food as one might imagine pretty much too advantage of the theme ingredient (Pig) from snout to tail. Charcuterie, blood sausage, pate as well as a host of Asian and Mexican influenced stews.

Olympic Provisions "Meat" sign

To be honest as much as I love bbq and whole hog roasts, the single item that stood out for me was the Posole, Cilantro Puree & Cabbage Cotija. It may have been the reason that when the final tally was done by the judges and the eating public the winning chef was Jason Barwikowski. When his name was announced his sous chef's rushed the stage and hoisted him like he was Tom Brady and had just tossed the winning Super Bowl pass! It is great to see that Portland has so much talent and passion when it comes to pushing the locavore you gotta love kitchen geeks getting star treatment!

I had a friend who just got back from three weeks in Italy and she spent time in and around Rome. Her thoughts were that Portland has a much stronger food scene than what she encountered in Rome.

The highlights for me were the offerings form Jason Barwikowski at Olympic Provisions and Andy Ricker of Pok-Pok (and their respective and sizable crews)..

In the wine category, when you have both Domaine Drouhin and Domaine Serene show up for a tasting event like this the competition usually feels like they brought a knife to a gunfight. Actually, while DDO and DS were great, I was impressed by the offerings from Elk Cove (the dry Reisling was fantastic). Soter was right in there and made an impression with their Mineral Springs Ranch (MSR) Pinot………..but, for my money

Ben & Mimi Casteel-Cute enough to be the King and Queen of this Pig Prom

Bethel Heights Winery brought some serious thunder and having the second generaton winemaker & vinticulturist (Cousins Ben & Mimi Casteel) sharing the love with four single vineyard Pinot Noir offerings was a special treat. This is a 30 + year old winery in the Central Willamette Valley. I love these family owned and operated wineries (note to self, get on the mailing list).

Nostrana Menu


What is not to love about Naomi Pomeroy's Beast Restaurant?

The Posole, Cilantro Puree & Cabbage Cotija was the best dish I have eaten all year (scouts honor)

Whole Hog.......are you freakin kidding me?

Okay, the event is over, the wine has flowed and we have all had pig from snout to tail and what do they then wheel in on a rolling table? Answer: A whole roasted hog that Adam Sappington of Country Cat carved and served BBQ style. I got some pulled pork and some potato chip crisp skin.....I told the server "I love you".......and I meant it.


Mimi said...

Norm, it was great to meet you at Cochon! Ben and I had a good time talking to you. Hope to see you at Bethel Heights soon!


Norm said...

Mimi-Thanks for stopping by my blog. I had a great time at the Cochon 555 event.

許馨慧 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................