niblets: something cool edition

I hope you’ve been enduring the heat better than I have.  It’s been a little rough in the brace, immobile, stuck inside.  But I have had the gift of friendship as my constant companion, and can’t believe how wonderful friends have been in keeping me company, bringing me meals and other foodie delights, and sharing their time with me.  It means more than I can say.

But enough about that.  We’ve entered the Magic Time of the Oregon summer, and there’s so much to do, taste, and learn.  Here are some highlights.

  • Listen to my Food for Thought on KLCC co-hosts Boris and Ryan this weekend.  They’re live-broadcasting from the Oregon Country Fair on Sunday, July 15!  More information and live streaming at klcc.org.  Good luck, guys, and if you see a vegan mob coming with pitchforks, run, run, run like men on Paleo diets.
  • The Bite of Eugene festival, one of my favorite events of the year, will be held on Friday, July 20, from 3-10 p.m. I’m tremendously sorry I had to pull out as emcee for the Iron Chef Competition, but it will be fun for all who can attend.  This year’s contestants are chefs from Falling Sky (ETA: not Red Agave, as previously reported), Wild Duck Café, Lewis and Clark Catering, and Koho Bistro.  Guest judges to include Boris Wiedenfeld and Heidi Tunnell.  Many, many more local businesses will be featured with their low-priced “bites” to sample, including Café 440, Cornbread Cafe, Davis Restaurant, Delacata, Excelsior, Falling Sky, Rabbit Bistro & Bar, and Wild Duck Café, Coconut Bliss, Divine Cupcake, and co-sponsor Lochmead Dairy.  There’s a $5 suggested donation, with proceeds going to support the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition. Volunteers are needed, by the way.  Contact info@lanefood.org if you’re interested in helping out with bike parking or kids area.
  • Marché’s annual Rosé party will be on July 20, 7 p.m.  $35.  I almost don’t want to invite you, since it will guarantee less space for my wheelchair.  ADA, dammit!  But yeah, come.  A gazillion rosés to sample and delicious snacky food pairings.
  • Carts and A Cold One, a food cart tasting competition event sponsored by Ninkasi and Slow Food Eugene, will happen on Sunday, July 29, 2012, 5:00-8:00pm, Ninkasi Brewing Company, 272 Van Buren Street.  Tickets are $15 in advance through Brown Paper Tickets; $18 at the door.  Individual tastes are $4.  If you’d like to volunteer for this event (esp. if you have an OLCC permit), contact Erin at ewalkens@yahoo.com.
  • The Ms. Whiteaker Pageant is at 8 pm on Friday, August 3, 2012, at Sam Bonds Garage, where you can pick up applications.  BoozeWeek International reports that they will be awarding a $500 cash prize to fund this year’s Ms. Whiteaker in implementing her Community Action Plan. To be eligible you must be 21 years or older and either live, work or own property in the Whiteaker neighborhood.
  • July 18 is the first of a series of classes on fermenting foods from the Fun with Fermentation Festival’s very own Christina Sasser.  It’s a “Basics of Fermentation” class, and it will be from 7-9 p.m.:
Please join us for the “Art of Activation: Making Fermented, Live, & Cultured Foods” mini-workshops. All classes will be held at the Stellaria Building in Eugene one Wednesday night per month from 7-9 p.m., July-December.  Cost is $20-$30 sliding scale per person, per class. Pre-pay for the entire series and get one class free. Pre-registration is required, please call (541)357-7505 for details and to register.
Please see www.activationfoods.com/classes-workshops/ for more information.
  • NEW RESTAURANT ALERT:  Pho The Good Times opened quietly last week in Crescent Village, in the spot vacated by Ratatouille Bistro.  The pho seems authentic, or authentic enough, anyway, as the special bowl includes tripe and tendon.  I’ve really grown quite fond of beef tendon.  I wonder if I’ll feel the same way now that I’ve had knee surgery.
  • In other resto news, we say goodbye and good luck to two well-known faces around town, both associated with Osteria Sfizio.  Former Executive Chefs Alex Bourgidu and Chef Rocky Maselli have both made moves this month.  Chef Rocky has returned his heart to San Francisco, where he’ll be working on a new project with a well-known restaurant in the Bay Area.  I’m not a little jealous, seeing pictures of his training in Italy currently underway.  Chef Alex reportedly has all kinds of good stuff up his sleeve, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about his projects.  I hear Sfizio is about to undergo a facelift or some other plastic surgery, in the wake of all this.  Stay tuned.
  • And in yet more industry news, the word on the street is that Rabbit Bistro & Bar is hopping toward the finish line with their new place.  Late August?  I hope so.
  • Not sure where my husband found the out of season brussels sprouts for our grilled marinated cole crop extravaganza (above) but perfectly balanced sweet, acidic Sungold cherry tomatoes (also above) are being served at all markets in town, including the Wintergreen Farm market on Wednesdays at the church right on the corner of 18th and Polk.  It’s a delightful, special little place, without crowds or parking hassle.
  • If you live on the other side of town, check out the new Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, open now through October on the corner of 19th and Agate, Sundays 10-2:30.  The market features the terrific produce and products of Sweetwater Farm, Open Oak Farm, and Lonesome Whistle, among others.  These farms offer some of the region’s best fermented foods, beans, and grains, so if that’s your bag, drop by and say thanks!
  • CANE BERRY SEASON.  That’s news enough, but I urge u-pickers to check out River Bend Farm just south of Eugene.  They have a glut of loganberries right now, the venerable raspberry/blackberry cross that’s been cultivated in the Willamette Valley for well over a hundred years.  More acidic and muskier and fuzzier than my other fave raspberry/blackberry cross, tayberries, the logan is well worth your while for pies and jams, or go all Buffalo on them and make a loganberry soda.  River Bend is coming into their tayberry season this week, too, and has marionberries and boysenberries on the way.  They’re one of the only farms who does caneberry u-pick, so head on out there!
  • And speaking of u-pick, run, don’t walk, out to Detering Orchard for all the cherries you can grab.  It’s a beautiful season, and this family has recently suffered the loss of their dear patriarch, beloved farmer Roger Detering, so please support them.
  • AND another one of my favorite long-time local farms, Hentze Farm, will be celebrating Cherry Days this weekend, hopefully with you!
This coming Saturday, July 14 will be the 4th Annual Hentze Farm Cherry Festival. This year’s festivities will include pony rides for the kids, extension service demos and samples, animal viewing, our famous BBQ (chicken, burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, cherry cobbler, homemade black cherry ice cream and a variety of drinks) and u-pick berry and cherry picking. The store will be open with berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, walnuts and a variety of garden vegetables. Cherry pitting will be available. Live music will begin about 11:30 and will feature Mark Schneider and Don Latarski, both will known musicians in the Eugene area. Come and enjoy good food, GREAT MUSIC, and a fun, old fashioned day on the farm.
What else did I forget?  Drop me a line in the comments.  Have a lovely weekend.

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