My friend Chris Angelus runs Portland Food Adventures, where he coordinates monthly dinners at Portland's best (and often, newest) restaurants. For a fixed price you are treated to a gourmet multi-course meal along with beverage pairings. Gratuity is included as are gift certificates to some of the hosting chef's favorite restaurants around town. Overall, it's an excellent value and an opportunity to interact with like-minded Portlanders while enjoying some amazing food and drinks!
|Greg & I each received this set of three gift cards at the end of our meal.|
I jumped at the chance to attend July's dinner at Coquine, mainly because the date coincided with the week of our move and because it was only a 10 minute walk from our new apartment. Located at SE Belmont and 69th, the new restaurant occupies the corner spot in a small strip of businesses near the top of Mount Tabor. It is a unique neighborhood location and super convenient for transit riders as both the east & west-bound #15 buses stop on that block.
As we waited for the 25 attendees to arrive, we were served a cocktail called Dans Les Champs, which consisted of dry gin, green chartreuse, orange liqueur, lemon and sparkling wine. Already a fan of gin-based drinks, I loved it and found it quite refreshing. This was paired with a passed hors d'oeuvre of fried gnocchi, which was amazingly light, like a fried pillow of air, but quite flavorful.
Once we all took our seats and acquainted ourselves with our table mates, Chris introduced the proprietors of the restaurant, Chef Katy Millard and her husband and business partner, Ksandek Podbielski, a front of house mastermind and beverage aficionado. They explained their seasonal menu and hands-off approach to service, meaning they don't believe in interrupting the flow of the meal and conversation to explain each wine pairing or food preparation technique. As it turned out this was a welcome respite from the occasional lecture you might receive at some restaurants and it allowed us to savor each sip and bite during our two-hour meal without intrusion. We did, however, ask plenty of questions, which Ksandek was happy to answer while pouring our next glass of wine.
Now for more of those photos I promised...
|Crispy duck wings; snap peas with honey mustard glaze and black sesame|
|Chilled almond and garlic soup|
|Carrots, roasted and raw|
|Every wine pairing was spot on|
|Almond milk-cardamom sorbet|
|Candies and sweets|
|Chris congratulates Ksandek and Katy at the conclusion of Coquine's PFA Grand Opening Dinner|
I realize as I post this that I managed to miss one photo (of the oil cured Oregon Albacore). It was paired with one of my favorite wines of the evening, the Elbling Trocken.
As you can infer just by looking at these photos, every dish was delicious! I believe my favorite was the chilled almond and garlic soup, but it's really hard to pick one thing. I would eat them all again in a heartbeat, and thankfully will have that opportunity at this fantastic little restaurant in my neighborhood.