Monday, 26 October 2009

Portland Reigns!

Photo by Susan Seubert
"This Oregon city gets almost everything right: It's friendly, sustainable, accessible, maybe even a model for America's future."

National Geographic Traveler sites Portland as the innovative, forward-thinking city to beat, and we agree! Here is a link to their article.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How Do You Like Them Apples?

The fall season has officially begun, the leaves are just beginning to turn color. There is a crisp feeling in the air, the tummy begins to crave seasonal treats - the question begs to be asked, "how do you like them apples?"

The Columbia River Gorge's Hood River Valley in Oregon, is a bounty of scenic fruit orchards and farmlands to enjoy. Out of them are produced heirloom and classic apples and pears. Apple varieites such as Spitzenburg, Rome Beauty, Newtown Pippin, Winter Banana, and Ortley can trace their heritage back 100 years or more.

Photo by Shoothead on Flickr

Many of these fantastic apples must be tasted at the farm, for they are not produced in large enough quantities to ship elsewhere. Try a U-Pick stand such as Alice's Orchard in Hood River, which is apart of the "Fruit-Loop" mapped out area of fruit stands throughout Hood River.
Or, the Draper Girl's Country Farm, which also produces non-pasteurized Apple Cider, as well as a selection of U-Pick produce. Don't forget many of the local Farmer's Markets offer stands stocked with many of the seasonal, varietal heirloom apples, such as the Portland Farmer's Market locations.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Last night I attended a potluck, and listened to a talk given by chef Kelly Myers of Nostrana, an Italian restaurant here in Portland, Oregon.

Kelly talked to us about her use of fresh local foods as a food professional, and covered topics such as sourcing fresh ingredients from farmer's markets, seasonal purchasing, and risk taking when trying new and unusual ingredients - such as specialty potatoes, chantrelle mushrooms, and chrysanthemum greens.

Photo by janetleejohnson on Flickr.

When we began making Lilly's Hummus, we originally introduced it to the customers of the Portland Farmer's Market - a wonderful and relaxed venue to both meet Portlanders, and gain valuable immediate feedback for your market fare! It was remarkable to note through the Spring, to Summer, to Fall seasons which vegetables were available for purchase, and I ended up inventing quite a few vegetarian dishes (and fruit desserts) based on what was available from month to month.

Photo by tillwe on Flickr.
Whether I purchase Red Chard from a local farmer's market, or from Food Front, or New Season's Market, it has continued to be a favorite of ours - a carry over from our market days. I like to sautee it in olive oil, splash a little balsamic vinegar over it, quickly steaming the greens. Then I season them with crushed pepper, pepper flakes, sea-salt, and a little bit of minced garlic. Doesn't get any better than that!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Portland Food and Neighborhoods

Photo by Jeff Jones on Flickr.

Whether you want to know more about the city you live in, or are just considering moving to Portland, Oregon, there is a lot of information on the web available to you. Here are a few online resources;

Neighborhood Notes is a great resource, full of Portland news and events, categorized by Portland's 95 individual neighborhoods!

Portland Food & Drink contains restaurant reviews, some restaurant menus and press releases, and areas for feedback from Portlanders, making this site a place to peruse invaluable real-life restaurant experiences!

Bike Portland is a daily news source covering the Portland, Oregon bike scene! Bicycles are a favorite form of transportation for many Portlanders, so this site can be very helpful.

Our PDX - The ramblings of wacky Portlanders!

NW Kids - Resource guide to Portland's family-friendly events and activities.

Willamette Week - Portland's weekly news, arts, and culture paper.

Just Out - Portland's GLBT news source.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Portland, Oregon - Frugal Town, USA!

Photo by Vintage Roadside on Flickr

A travel piece in the NY Times recently came out, titled Frugal Portland.

".... Portland is overflowing with great, affordable restaurants. In dozens of meals, I don’t think I was ever truly disappointed with a single bite, nor did I ever leave hungry, nor did my friends and I ever spend more than $25 a person. In fact, if I had any regrets, it was that I felt duty-bound not to repeat a restaurant visit no matter how much I liked a place and wanted to return."

Yes, Portland is a frugal town - and we're people that expect a lot of bang for our culinary buck. Having grown up in (Portland) Oregon, the first state to enact the bottle bill, and having had a curbside neighborhood recycling since the early 1980's, you get a sense of the value of raw materials, renewable/reusable and otherwise. Heck, we even recycle house paint!

When first formulating the flavors, and determining the size of the container of hummus, it never occurred to us to pack it in less than a 12 ounce recyclable container, anything less and we would have received complaints from our Portland customers. After it reached the first hand full of grocery stores we were surprised to learn that most of the hummus being offered today is packed in a small, 8 ounce container.

But along with size, quality must be equally important. Hand-roasting fresh vegetables such as red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and smoked tomatoes, does take longer, but we are of the belief that crafting food is a gratifyingly creative experience, and we're in pretty good company along this way of thinking here.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Whats New?

What's new at Lilly's Natural Foods? I mean, besides this blog? Well for starters, two new flavors of hummus.

A Kalamata Olive Hummus; the flavor of this wonderful olive is balanced carefully with my favorite herb - Rosemary. Because our single most popular hummus is our original (plain) hummus, we added a Plain Plus of sorts to the hummus family - a Roasted Garlic!

Both of these two new flavors promise to be as delicious and savory as our other four hummus flavors, Roasted Red Bell, Roasted Jalapeno, Smoked Tomato & Basil, and lastly our Original Plain Hummus (rich with lemon and garlic).