Discover…or Rediscover St. Johns

Discover…or Rediscover St. Johns
(Tacos, Polaroid Pics, Sunshine and Cans of Wine in the Park)

If you are a new member of the Portland community, or just visiting for a bit and hoping to explore a neighborhood off the beaten path, please allow us to introduce you, or re-introduce you, to that little neighborhood tucked deep in the northwestern corner of Portland…St. Johns.

There are some amazing things going on in St. Johns which we will get to in good time, but let’s start with the one true and proud landmark of the neighborhood…the St. Johns Bridge. In a city of 12 bridges, it can be a little hard to stand out, but let’s face it, the St Johns Bridge takes the blue ribbon every time. It’s gorgeous, greenish and you can safely walk the whole distance.

Here’s a quick history lesson:

The bridge was built within 21 months and one million dollars under budget. At the time of its completion, the bridge had the highest clearance in the nation, the longest prefabricated steel cable rope strands, the tallest steel frame piers of reinforced concrete, the first application of aviation clearance lights to the towers, and the longest suspension span west of Detroit.

The construction of the bridge began a month before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and provided many county residents with employment during the Great Depression. Because of its proximity to the Swan Island Municipal Airport, some government officials wanted the bridge painted yellow with black stripes. County officials waited until St. Patrick’s Day, 1931, to announce that it would be painted green.

Sláinte!

St Johns Bridge

So, you’ve made it to St. Johns. You’ve paid respects to the coolest bridge in Portland. What now? What to do this far north? Well, let us show you what a Portland native might get up to when spending a sunny late summer afternoon in St. Johns.

FIRST STOP: 
Blue Moon Camera

Blue Moon Camera

St. Johns is not a digital neighborhood…it’s purely analog. So, get with the program and tuck that iPhone away in your bag. Dig deep in your closet and find that old Polaroid or 35mm camera. Dust it off and swing by the St. Johns institution, Blue Moon Camera and Machine, for some film and free advice about making the most of your time in their neighborhood. The friendly, incredibly knowledgeable (and always well-dressed) staff will set you straight.

Blue Moon Camera

SECOND STOP:
Taqueria Santa Cruz

Okay. You have the camera situation worked out. (You know if you don’t take a picture, it didn’t happen.) Now let’s get some grub to take down to the park. Probably the best-kept secret in St. John’s, and just 2 blocks from Blue Moon, is Santa Cruz Taqueria and Panadería. I’ll be honest, at first glance it looks like a dodgy little restaurant space in the back of a Mexican bakery. But they serve the ‘hands down, no questions asked, the best, best Mexican food in all of Portland. We recommend a few tacos, that way you can try a selection of their meats. (We highly recommend at least one chorizo taco. Best in the city!)

St Johns Portland

THIRD STOP:
Cathedral Park

Once you’ve acquired all necessary provisions, head down the hill to Cathedral Park­—which is directly underneath the east side of the bridge—and bask in all the overwhelming glory that is the St Johns Bridge. This is the perfect time to pull out some cans of Underwood Pinot Gris and Rosé Bubbles, unwrap those tacos and soak up the sun.

Cathedral Park Portland

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Cathedral Park Portland

After lunch, you can make use of that film and take a few Polaroids for posterity!

Underwood Wine Polaroids

Cathedral Park Polaroids

Underwood Wine

St Johns Bridge Polaroid

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Polaroids by Silke Schuh

Camera Love @bluemooncamera

4 Cocktails with Portland Syrups

At Union Wine Co. we love to create wine cocktails. We recently worked with our friends at Portland Syrups to create a spin on four classic cocktails using their syrups and our wine. Thanks to the fine folks at Wilder Bar for letting us use their space to create and photograph these cocktails.

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktail
Jack Hibiscus
– 0.75 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy
– 0.5 oz lemon juice
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans Radler and give it a vigorous shake. Add the Radler into the chilled concoction then strain and pour into a Nick & Nora. Name doesn’t start with an N? No worries, you’re sure to enjoy this floral sipper.

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktails

Marionberry Julep
– 1.5 oz Marionberry Whiskey
– 2 fresh mint leaves
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans wine and give it a vigorous shake. This will activate the oils and wonderful flavor of the mint. Pour into a stemless wine glass filled with ice. Top with the Pinot Gris and a garnish of mint and enjoy.

 

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktails
Rose French 75
– 0.5 oz lemon juice
In a shaker with ice, combine all ingredients, sans wine and give it a vigorous shake. Pour into a champagne flute and top with the Rose Bubbles. Point your pinky down, sip, and enjoy.

 

Underwood Wine Portland Syrups Cocktail
Root Beer Kalimotxo
– 2 oz soda water
Combine soda water and Root Beer syrup in a Collins glass. Fill with ice, then add in the Pinot Noir. Give it a gentle stir, find a shady spot, pretend you’re in Europe and enjoy.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

The Montavilla ‘Hood:  
From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper
Featuring Chef Ben Bettinger

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

As Portland expands and more local businesses emerge, we think it’s as important as ever to support the local community.

Recently, we reached out to chef extraordinaire and Montavilla resident Ben Bettinger to show us what he loves about his neighborhood. Ben is part owner of “Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group”, which includes  Laurelhurst Market, La Luna Cafe, Ate-oh-Ate, Reverends BBQ, and Bigs Chicken. He is officially the Executive Chef at Laurelhurst Market as well.

Having recently moved to the East side of Mt. Tabor, Ben often hits up the Montavilla Farmers Market (Sunday 10-2) for all the local produce he needs to create a beautiful dinner for his wife Autumn and son Reed… as well as friends that might stop by. We tasked him with creating a fresh and delicious summer meal that would pair well with our Underwood Rose Bubbles… and oh boy, what a feast he whipped up!

But first, off to the market…

Underwood Rosé Bubbles
From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Montavilla Market is one of the smaller local weekend markets but offers many options. For stone fruit alone, Fulton Farms has beautiful peaches and nectarines as does Baird Farms. They also offer lots of activities for the kids, including face painting, which Reed took full advantage of.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Many other vendors, such as Denison Farms & Crooked Furrow Farm offer beautiful peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, onion, herbs, and many other fresh produce options.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Okay,  shopping is done, so let’s get to creating some beautiful dishes.  I personally lucked out, and since Ben and his wife had friends in town, my wife and I were invited over for a truly outstanding Sunday Dinner with the Bettingers. I will let Ben tell you in his own words what was on the menu and how you can make it for yourselves next weekend!

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

White Nectarine, Roasted Onion, and Tomato Relish
(Makes 3 cups)

2 White Nectarine, cut small dice
1/2 Sweet Onion, roasted in a cast iron pan with 1 T olive oil until nice and charred on the cut side
1  Jalapeno, cut in half lengthwise and then into half-moons, remove seeds if you are sensitive to spice
1 small Tomato, Cut into a small dice
1 T Chopped Parsley
1 tsp Chopped Tarragon
6 basil leave, chiffonade
3 T Rice wine vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine all, adjust with honey if the nectarines are not as sweet as you may like.

This relish will be used on the grilled albacore tuna…

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Spice Grilled Oregon Albacore Tuna

I chose Albacore tuna because it pairs so well with Rosé and I seasoned the albacore tuna with a spice mix that I refer to as my all-purpose spice mix.

AP Spice mix:
equal parts of the following – I grind all these together in a coffee grinder
Cumin Seed
Yellow Mustard Seed
Corriander
Black Pepper
Fennel Seed

Generously coat the fish with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with the Spice mix.

Tuna does best on a hot grill.  I love these albacore loins because they are so easy to grill whole and slice for a quick backyard BBQ. Top them generously with the Nectarine, Onion and Tomato Relish.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Heirloom Tomatoes and Grilled Summer Vegetables, Basil and Aged Balsamic

This is a quick and easy dish that can be put together with any summer vegetables that you may get at the farmers market.  Tomato season is here so that was a no brainer. For this dish, I sliced the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices, keeping them raw.   I also chose to use Eggplant, Summer Squash, and Onion. These vegetables were coated with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper,  grilled,  arranged over the sliced tomatoes and then drizzled with olive oil, aged balsamic and torn basil leaves.

In this dish, I tried to take the major flavors of a ratatouille and deconstruct it to better enjoy large chunks of the vegetables,  as well as mixing fresh with grilled.

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

(Author’s Note: My wife and I had just harvested a whole garden box full of fingerling potatoes,  so we added them to the local bounty.)

Rizzeamer Farms Garden Potatoes with Sautéed Summer Chanterelles, Garlic, and Oregano

I cooked the potatoes in salted water until just tender(easily pierced with a fork), cut the down the middle, then sautéed them in a cast iron pan with olive, salt, and pepper. Add chanterelles to the pan and a touch more olive oil and gently stir them together, re-season,  add chopped garlic, oregano and parsley and a hearty squeeze of lemon.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Ben created the menu to pair perfectly with  Underwood Rose Bubbles, the best choice for a late-summer dinner.

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Grilled Sweet Corn, Seed & Chile Flake Butter, Cilantro Salt

Grilling Corn can be done in many ways.   I chose to grill them whole in the husk, then peel back that husk once they fully cooked, this gives the flavor of being grilled without drying out the corn too much. 
You can’t have corn without butter so I placed a stick of soft butter in a small mason jar and seasoned it with 1 T sesame seeds, 1 T poppy seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I reserved a few tablespoons of butter and poured it over the soft butter and seeds right before eating.

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

From Farmers Market to Amazing Summer Supper

Bon Appétit!

Underwood Rosé Bubbles

Photography and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Mad kitchen skillz by Ben Bettinger. @benbettinger

Your Neighborhood Restaurant Group:
@laurelhurstmarket
@bigschicken
@lalunacafe
@reverendsbbq
@ateohatepdx

Montavilla Farmers Market: @montavillamarket

Link Up with Freeland Spirits

Underwood Strawberry Cooler Freeland GinEarlier this summer we were on the search for the perfect spirit to complement our Underwood Strawberry Cooler. We thought the bright and floral notes of a gin might be the best pairing. After tasting a few, we landed on Freeland Spirits’ Gin.

Freeland Spirits not only has amazing tasting gin, but they are an incredible women-owned craft distillery located in NW Portland. One of the few distilleries owned and operated by women. They have been open just over a year but their beautiful tasting room, original packaging, and warm personalities have already made a positive impact in the distillery community in Portland. 

Freeland Spirits

Freeland Spirits Gin Underwood Strawberry Cooler Cocktail

We worked with their team to create a cocktail that was just released on their menu and will be featured at the Distillery Row Beach Bash this Sunday (8/18). Grab some Strawberry Cooler and Freeland Spirits Gin to create this cocktail at home or stop by Freeland Spirits on NW Vaughn in Portland to find it on their menu.

Link Up 

Underwood Strawberry Cooler
2oz Freeland Spirits Gin
1oz Lime
1oz Simple Syrup
2oz Coconut Milk 

In a shaker tin add Freeland Gin, lime, coconut milk, and simple syrup shake and strain into a glass of their choice and ice and top with Underwood Strawberry Cooler!
Cheers! 

Underwood Strawberry Cooler

Garden Bounty Pt 3. What do I do with all this zucchini?

What do I do with all this zucchini?
If you have ever grown zucchini in your own garden or had a neighbor or co-worker who has grown it, you know all too well that right about this time even the smallest zucchini plants start producing like gangbusters and they suddenly become everyone’s favorite gift. And no matter how much you love this particular Italian veggie, there are only so many things to be done with it before it begins to pile up on your counter.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
So in our continuing series, we have dug deep for a lesser-known, but absolutely delicious recipe to make great use of those few extra zucchini… (even those really giant ones that nobody really knows  what to do with.)
For this post, we are going to teach you a pretty basic zucchini fritter recipe and a delicious creamy Green Goddess dressing to serve along with it.
Let’s start with the dressing,  as it will last several days in the refrigerator. Hopefully, you still have a good cache of fresh herbs in the garden, although you may need to pick up a few at the store.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
Green Goddess Dressing
(recipe makes about 1 pint)
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C fresh dill fronds
1/2 C fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 C fresh italian parsley leaves
3/4 C mayonnaise
1/2 C sour cream
2 oz cider vinegar
1/2 C buttermilk
salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Place in a tupperware container.  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight and then adjust for seasoning.  Extra dressing is great on grilled meats and fish, as well as most vegetables.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
Zucchini Fritters

(recipe makes about 4-6 fritters)

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 LBS zucchini (about 3 medium zucchini)  grated
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 all purpose flour
3 TBS finely chopped fresh chives
1 TBS cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
Canola Oil for frying
STEP ONE
Grate the zucchini, place in the sink in a colander and toss with the tsp of salt.  Let sit for 20 minutes and then wring shredded zucchini dry in a kitchen towel, cloth napkin or cheesecloth.  This step is very important.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
STEP TWO
Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently add in the egg, flour, cornstarch, chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
STEP THREE
Heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil to about 375 degrees in a large pan. Very very careful place 1/4 C scoops of the batter into the oil and gently flatten. Cook until brown on each side without burning, about 3-4 minutes per side.
What do I do with all this zucchini?
STEP FOUR
Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Place on a platter, spoon a generous amount of Green Goddess over the top. Serve immediately.
Bon Appétit!
Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)