Archive for the ‘Other’ Category
Rivers Edge Chevre Wins “Best American Cheese” for the second time in 2013 in international competition
Rivers Edge Chevre’s Up in Smoke was chosen as the “Best American Cheese” at the 25th annual Guild of Fine Foods World Cheese Awards on Wednesday, November 27th 2013. The competition was held at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, England. This win follows on the heels of Rivers Edge Chevre’s Humbug Mountain winning Best USA Cheese in July at the 116th annual International Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England.
Up in Smoke is a hand formed 4 oz. round of fresh chevre that is smoked over maple and alder and then wrapped in smoked Big Leaf Maple leaves that have been misted with bourbon. Patricia Morford received word of her cheeses fate via an email from fellow Oregon Cheese Guild member and one of the over 250 judges of the World Cheese Awards, David Gremmels, (co-owner of Rogue Creamery).
“Congratulations Pat on winning a Supreme Super Gold tonight at the World Cheese Awards and being Crowned Best American Cheese! I chose, presented and championed your cheese tonight on the supreme judges panel. It showed and tasted brilliantly against 60 competing cheeses and the panel of 15 judges totally agreed by giving it a Supreme Super Gold and crowning it Best American Cheese.”
Before making it to the final round of judging it had received a Super Gold in the class it had originally been entered in (Class 5007- Goat’s milk cheese smoked). The final panel of 15 judges represented 13 different countries. Up in Smoke competed against smoked goat cheeses from all around the world in its original class and then against all the cow, sheep and goat cheeses entered from the United States before being awarded “Best American Cheese”.
Up in Smoke was not the only Rivers Edge Chevre cheese to win an award, Siltcoos, a small ash coated, soft ripened wheel of chevre that is decorated with a fern was awarded a Gold in its class (Class 5514- Any cheese that has been awarded Supreme Champion (or its equivalent) in a national or international cheese awards in any country). Siltcoos was entered in this class because it had won Best in Show at the 2012 American Dairy Goat Association’s cheese competition.
Rivers Edge Chevre is a farmstead goat cheese producer located in Logsden, Oregon. Their cheese is sold across the United States and can be purchased 7 days a week on the farm at their self-serve cheese refrigerator located on the front porch of the dairy at 6315 Logsden Rd., Logsden, Oregon 97357.
up in smoke cheese
Like most people, I have my share of Thanksgiving memories, encompassing the whole range of emotions – joyful, painful, embarrassing, curious, mildly amusing.
The years that I have spent the holiday “alone” have usually fallen into the “interesting” category; one year I went to Waffle House in the middle of the night for my ‘feast, and ended up reflecting on the holiday and America in general. It was a couple months after Hurricane Katrina, and the folks gathered at the WH were grateful to have a hot meal of any kind.
My first Thanksgiving living in China was both interesting and fun; a local restaurant in Guangzhou (Canton) served up their take on the American spread to a group of ex-pats. It was great fun.
My favorite Thanksgiving ever was one my daughter prepared, she was about ten, and she had planned an entire day of non-stop feasting, with the only assistance from the big people coming in the form of a couple of runs to the grocery store. She prepared perhaps thirty different items, from breakfast, thru lunch, snacks, and the traditional feast. She had written down the entire food list on a scrap of paper that ended up stained with food and beverages at the end of day, that piece of paper is one of my most treasured possessions.
A year after Katrina, money was tight, and my squeeze du jour and I went to a fancy grocery store, and bought tasty morsels in small increments – a buck worth of this, $3 of that, and had a fabulous ‘tapas’ style dinner with all sorts of delicacies.
Two years ago, a friend hosted a huge potluck, and it seems everyone was very accomplished in the kitchen, and it was a wonderful night, with great people, close friends, and tasty foods. Evolving it into the weirdness category, a bunch of us left dinner and went to a local dive tavern, and grazed thru the bar’s Thanksgiving dinner. That was a good one.
There was one in Hong Kong, I spent the day cooking, my girlfriend was at work, and came home about 11 PM. I had assumed we would celebrate the day, and wasn’t aware it was never a significant thing for her. Oh well.
Last year, 2012, totally forgettable, a bunch of people, none of whom wanted to be around the others, some ersatz relatives, people dropping by for dinner even though they had already had two or three elsewhere. It was the last Thanksgiving I would have in the city and house that I had lived in for the longest single stint I had spent in one place in my adult life. Exile came weeks later.
This year, a return to normalcy, beyond normalcy, in a posh tropical seaside resort, surrounded by people I love and who love me, unconditionally, always have, and always will. The food will be a splendiferous feast of lobster, shrimp, tropical fruits, a pig roast on the beach, accompanied by an unending supply of umbrella drinks.
I am blessed. This is heaven. A destination I deserve after seven years in hell.
Amble up the North Shore of Lake Superior, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous scenery as well as a choice of hot spots for haute. The Clearwater Grille strives to serve ultra tasty food in a casual atmosphere; it’s located in the building locals know as the former “Lakeview Castle.” Boasting a large area for private events, and catering services, private dining rooms can accommodate between 12-500.
The Clearwater is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and for brunch on the weekend, featuring a Bloody Mary bar on Sundays.
Kawika and the Minnesota Posse stopped by and had one of the items that the house boats about, Yankee Pot Roast, a beef roast stewed with carrots, onion, and celery in a rich beef gravy, with a side of smash and choice of soup or salad. To a man, all enjoyed the dish.
A neighboring table went with one of the daily specials, a “Cowboy Burger”, which looked tasty as well. While not described on the menu, it looked to be the ‘standard cowboy’ configuration, including bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, and crispy onion strings.
Clearwater Grille Review
I tweeted something about El Gaucho this morning, and they retweeted it, of course. It got me to thinking about why I like El Gaucho. Why go to a regional steakhouse in cities (like Seattle and Portland) that are chock-a-block full of the national chains like Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s, and local old-timey favorites like Ringside in Portland?
The answer, for me, is rather simple: El Gaucho approaches steak with value propositions on every level – quality, preparation, ambiance and service that is unequaled on every level.
They have combined the best of “old-world panache’ with modern service.
I’m particularly fond of El Gaucho for their offering of two very traditional menu offerings that are seldom found anymore, table side preparations of steak tartare and chateaubriand.
Restaurants seem to shy away from steak tartare these days, probably because it’s raw beef and some perceived potential for liability (rubbish). The traditional dish has always been prepared at tableside with egg, capers, onion and seasonings to taste. They mix it, offer you a taste, and you can correct to your own palate. That’s service. Served with toast points.
(I previously did a mini-post about this dish a couple years ago).
Chateaubriand, the elongated beef tenderloin from which filet mignon steaks are cut, is one of the ultra-premium cuts of beef available today, and is the perfect selection for two or more diners. It was first served to Napoleon, and is traditionally accompanied by a rich Bernaise sauce, silky, buttery with a touch of tarragon.
The atmosphere at El Gaucho is dark, but warm and inviting, perfect for a romantic interlude or discreet business event. Classic cocktails are artfully mixed by the competent drink masters tending bar.
My only regret about El Gaucho is that they haven’t expanded beyond the Pacific Northwest. One can always dream. Dinner menu.
(This photo from El Gaucho’s Instagram site).
El Gaucho Steakhouse Review
When I was younger, I used to make my restaurant selection by noting whether or not five words emblazoned their front door: “Most major credit cards accepted.” These days my criteria tends more to noting their longevity in business, and I am especially happy to sample most restaurants that have been around fifty years or more. If their cuisine is focused on some old world cultural favorites, all the better. Like Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis, Huber’s in Portland, and more recently the White Eagle in Niles, IL, today’s outing to the Czech Plaza, in Berwyn, IL met all of the criteria.
“Serving the best Bohemian” food for nearly fifty years, I doubt the family owned restaurant has changed their menu or decor must over that period. Simple, traditional dishes, value priced, is what rules the day, and I couldn’t find anything on the menu that wasn’t a price replica of any plate I’ve previously had in the Czech Republic region of Europe.
The restaurant offers a multi-course meal at a very low price, making it an outstanding value. I went with the “Farmer’s Market Plate”, which is a four meat sampler: sausage, meatloaf, smoked butt, and roasted pork. It’s not like I had a chance to polish them all off while at the table, as the lead-up dishes were ample and filling. After you are seated, your are presented with a basket of mild rye and gobs of butter. Your choice of beverages can come from a full bar, including legendary Czech beers like Budvar, the original “Budweiser”.
If you’ve ordered a meal, after the bread basket comes soup (I had the goulash, a rich beef and potato-based spicy puree), followed by your entree, which is accompanied by at least two sides, like sauerkraut, sweet and sour cabbage, boiled or mashed potatoes, or light as a feather dumplings, and a huge bowl of brown gravy. Not had enough? An included choice of desserts includes regional specialties, like kolaches or streudel, both of which were excellent.
The meats on my plate were lightly seasoned, heavily smoked. The meatloaf was dense and flavorful, as was the sausage, happily clad in its natural casing. The smoked butt was melt in your mouth tender. I loved the dumplings, a recipe not often authentically recreated in the US, in my experience.
Service was great, with a wait staff imported from Europe.
I love “discovering” places like this. You should, too. As the “Americanization” of international cuisine continues to evolve where entire generations think Olive Garden is Italian, and P.F. Chang’s is Chinese, well, places like Czech Plaza remind us of our grandma’s Sunday feasts.
The restaurant has a party room that can seat up to 100, and has a banquet menu with prices that are hard to beat.
“Czech out” their menu in our menu section.
Preliminary visit in advance of Todd Eckart show this Friday nite. The Rendezvous has a new chef, new menu, and might be the perfect night out for out-of-towners hitting Spirit Mountain, or visiting Duluth for the Beargrease Sled Dog race.
Sampled the Vous Dous wings, (their hottest!), excellent, with house-made blue cheese dipping sauce. Lots of sports on TV, breakfast, lunch, and dinner served from menu. They even whip up some sausage gravy SOS!
The Rendezvous is located in Scanlon, MN (Cloquet), 15 minutes west of Spirit on I-35.
Rendezvous Bar Review
A popular street food in Vietnam, Pho (which can be pronounced a number of ways, don’t let anybody tell you different!) is a soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped noodles, herbs, and a variety of meat choices, primarily beef, chicken, or shellfish. The geographical origin and timing of its origin is subject to debate.
When i was growing up in Duluth, if you wanted “Asian” food, you had a choice of one or two places where the most exotic item on the menu was egg foo yung.
No longer. For the past dozen years, Taste of Saigon has been dazzling locals and tourists alike from its location in the lakeside Canal Park area.
Taste of Saigon serves a variety of Asian-influenced dishes, utilizing the freshest ingredients available, and is voted the best Asian restaurant in the area, year after year.
The pho is great, and a good value. Menu is online.
Taste of Saigon Review
Food so fresh you’ll want to slap it.
Revisit old Highway 61, and you might not feel like Bob Dylan, but you’ll be in for a culinary treat or two along this scenic road which runs from Duluth, MN to Canada.
Just past French River, you’ll notice the New Scenic Cafe, a plain and simple looking building that hides cuisine that is anything but.
Taking locavore to the extreme, the owners are cranking out “new American” with aplomb. Marsha from Milwaukee (the cool town in Wisconsin, not the icky one in Oregon) and her beau took a jaunt up the shore recently, and sent along these great pics from New Scenic.
Here’s an earlier review of the burger from New Scenic.
Menus for the New Scenic are online, but change with the seasons and off the menu specials are often offered, as well. If you hit the New Scenic and don’t get enough to eat? Doubtful. Head up the road a bit to Russ Kendall’s Smoke House, for the best smoked fish you will ever experience, anywhere.
New Scenic Cafe Reviews
I read a lot of reviews. Not before I write mine, but after the fact, to see what kind of experience other diners had at the same place. There’s an awful lot of whiners out there, that I think, nitpick about the smallest things, but most complaints I read are about service. Some of them are undoubtedly accurate, but most, I feel, reflect the attitude of the diner, more than the wait staff.
Sometimes, the food is goofed up, cooked wrong, or not sent out in the right order. Trust me, the server is just as unhappy about it as you are, because s/he has to deal with that, it’s going to affect their tip, and it’s not their fault.
So you know what I’ve decided recently? YOU have control over your service, to a certain extent. Engage your waitperson, exhibit standard manners and politeness, and it will come back to you in spades.
Don’t understand? Well, a nice night out can/should be a reciprocal arrangement; you’re going out to distract yourself from the problems at work, home, to have a nice pleasant, relaxing meal. Your server is there to make sure you have that pleasant evening, and is being paid to do that, but they also have the same stresses away from work that you do, and sometimes try as they might, they bring those pressures into work with them – it’s human nature.
So smile, engage, help them have a pleasant experience waiting on you, and you’ll both end up with a nice evening.
Started in 1952 in a small town on the border of Oregon and Idaho by local entrepreneurs the Grigg Brothers, Ore-Ida has become one of the largest processors of potatoes in the world. Inventors of the tater tots. Sold to Heinz in 1965.
They currently make about 50 different types and sizes of frozen potatos, and I picked up the “Country Style French Fries”, which are touted to be lightly seasoned with skins.
I rarely by frozen (or any kind) of fries anymore, but was in the mood to try these. I do love the tots, always my first choice on menus that offer a choice of ’taters.
These were OK, whatever the ‘seasoning’ is, I couldn’t taste it. One of the ingredients on the bag is “potato flour’, and I have no idea what the purpose of that is. Besides potatos and oils, the other ingredients are salt, flavorings and color.
There was a story in the last couple days that McDonalds is dumping Heinz Ketchup after a 40 year marriage. That must be a chunk of revenue. Maybe they can start packing ketchup packs with the Ore-Ida fries? It’s funny that as long as they have owned it, there has been no (that I am aware of ) cross promotion between Heinz and Ore-Ida. Why not a special “French Fry Ketchup”. Certainly a better idea than when Heinz put out ketchups in funky colors!
Remember this commercial for Heinz Ketchup, behind the talented Carly Simon tune? The point was it was so thick, it took forever to come out of the bottle. Apparently something has changed, as it runs out like water now. It’s a shame that’s changed.
Ore-Ida Country Style French Fries Review