West Coast Book Events Voyage: Part 5
Portland and IACP
The day before the conference we hiked up to just about every water fall in the Columbia River Gorge.
I could live here. It is grander and more savage than the east coast. Not more beautiful but more dramatic. I'm glad we had the chance to explore the countryside as once the conference started we wanted to stay in town.
My long-time friend Nathan Fong, aka Mr. Vancover Food, always arranges a special dinner for his friends at IACP and this year it was at Nostrana, an Italian restaurant that was nominated for a Beard Award, which was amazingly good. We also joined Nathan at Paley's two night later and that was one of the best meals we had in the entire trip from the exquisite salumi to the beef marrow bones. I was delighted to discover that chef/owner Vitaly Paley will be participating in Tom Douglas's summer camp this July as I also will be one of the presenting 'chefs.' Portland is known for being a great food town. Did you know that James Beard was born in and grew up in Portland?
The pinot noir of the region's Willamette Valley is one of my favorite of all wines. The 2008 vintage is heralded as the best in Oregon's wine-making history.
The IACP was a schmorgesbord of old and new friends. My favorite seminar was given by Madhur Jaffrey and Judith Jones in which they told stories about James Beard and I couldn't resist adding one of my own.
My favorite part of the IACP is always the Information Expo where new equipment and food and wine products are on display. Shirley Corriher was making biscuits with Tenda-Bake flour and they were the absolute best ever. By the end of the expo she had biscuit flour powder on her nose.
Gary Fallows was exhibiting here for the first time, presenting not only his ubiquitous beater blade but also his brand new zestnest--a perfect device for grating and containing citrus zest which we will all want to have.
I was stunned by the purity and intensity of Tourangelle oils from California, especially the sesame seed, pistachio, and coconut and will be putting them to good use in the months to come (stay tuned)!
I also got to meet two people whom I have communicated with only by e-mail. One is the very talented fellow blogger and Heavenly Cake Baker known by her blog name as Evil Cake Lady and who turned out to be the delightful Jennifer Steele!
I've also started knitting with the phenomenal hand died and hand spun yarn from Tanglewood Fiber Creations which I purchased in NY. It turns out that Trish Anderson spins these yarns from her farm near Portland so we finally met in person at the famed Portland bookstore Powells where Trish bought two of my new books which I autographed and I ordered enough of her 'Columbia Gorgeous' yarn to make a sweater.
Knitting with this cashmere/silk blend is as comforting as kneading the silkiest bread dough. It is the colors of the Columbia Gorge so when I wear it I will be reminded of the magnificent landscape of this amazing region.