Congratulations to Chef Brendan Mahaney of Belly for his James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef Northwest! This award is one of the biggest honors in the culinary industry. Images above are from my very first meal at Belly, dining al fresco with Retrogrouch in July 2008. That beet-cabbage-parsley salad with a side of crème fraîche is still one of my favorite salads ever.
But an important omission, Mr. Beard & Associates: Chef Gabriel Gil of Rabbit Bistro, who was invited to the Beard House last year. Boo. You know what makes me excited, though? Both Belly and Rabbit are moving to more spacious kitchens downtown, so the best is yet to come. Watch out, Eugene.
Let’s not forget to congratulate fellow nominee Chef Matt Bennett of Albany’s Sybaris, here leading a round of applause for his staff at the Albany Carousel Dinner with Chef Brian Polcyn, and former Eugene bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Clyde Common in PDX for Outstanding Bar Program.
On the local front, see Chef Corey Wisun of Falling Sky Brewing in action, making cod over greens with pesto, on a relatively new and respectably produced segment, KVAL’s Tasty Tuesday. I’m always horrified when I see food coverage on our local stations since it’s clear none of the reporters have ever been to a restaurant. But Tony Gist seems to be clued in and articulate about food. I hope they realize it and treat him well.
Marché’s own sous Chef Crystal Platt has been making local headlines among Those In The Know for her chicken croquettes served à la Buffalo, seasoned with hot sauce, Rogue Oregon Blue cheese, and served with a celery salad. If you haven’t been to the pleasant new bar with the eponymous name, check it out. Marché is serving breakfast now, too.
And speaking of new interpretations of Buffalo wings:
Yum yum, no? Hot Mama’s Wings on 13th. It’s really a cozy little place. Clockwise from the top: hot wings that taste a different than the normal Buffalo, glorious bleu cheese bacon, Thai peanut (a little gloopy for me), and sweet-hot raspberry chipotle. (A p.s. from this perpetually grumpy correspondent to the perpetually grumpy server: a little hospitality makes everyone feel better.)
And last but not least in VIP news, spring is here. Time to start thinking of tilling and starting seeds! I suspect it’s going to be another distracted and travel-heavy summer for me, so no expansion planned, but will manage the usual. If that’s not on your plate, consider a CSA this year. You can meet potential farms and farmers at this Willamette Farm and Food Coalition event:
13th Annual – That’s My Farmer! Event
TUESDAY, MARCH 13th
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
1376 Olive Street (Eugene)
$5-15 donation goes to subsidize CSA shares for low-income families
Hope to see you there!