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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On to bigger and better

Where the Food Trail begins..

I just found out this week where I will be doing my internship as I conclude my last class at culinary school.  It already been a wonderful full year of learning from fast pace classes, to working two jobs and volunteering at events through the school.
  My journey with food and cooking started ever sense I was a child.  Both my parents are great cooks and my mom made a point to make dinner every night from scratch, along with every meal we had.  My mom had to learn how to cook when she was little because she had to help take care of the house with her mom being a single, working mom.  She then went to college and minored in Nutrition which I think influenced the way she cooked for us.  My mom didn't have any role models on how to raise kids, cook or keep a house other then watching her very busy working mom.  When my mom and dad got married, they got pregnant soon after and my mom decided to be a stay home mom, home school and cook healthy whole made food.  I didn't have sugar when I was a kid and some how my mom found amazing ways to make everything taste great and I didn't know what I was missing until I went to college and discovered sugar and caffeine. 
My dad grew up in a family where it was socially unacceptable for a man to be in the kitchen, but he wanted to help my mom when he could, so somehow, like most men I meet, he just started to cook and always ends up making amazing dishes. 
My mom thought it was just as important as schoolwork to teach me and my sibling how to cook and have housecleaning duties.  She would make waffles, granola, and whole made bread for breakfast food, that we all learned to make along with her.  Dinner was always an important meal, we all helped cook, set the table and would be ready for my dad to come home so we could all sit down to dinner together.  As you might of read in another blog, this is where I picked up on the "perfect bite."  I thought this was normal, sitting down together, everyone contributing and enjoying a whole made meal together.  My sisters and I would clear the table, grumbling, but end up singing and throwing the left over water on each other and slapping one another with wet towels while doing dishes. 
Another thing that my mom would work into a school project was picking a place to do a paper on the traditions, culture and food and along with this, we would make a meal from that region, city or area.  I always enjoyed this project, because I found it fascinating how people around the world ate different than we did. 
As I got older, one thing that my mom and I could always talk about and share together is food.  We started a tradition of reading or watching food channels of the best places to eat and we plans trips to these cities and try all the best foods and drinks.
I appreciate every day what my mom taught me and how her passion for food passed down to me. I still love that my whole family loves to cook and we have amazing meals together, no matter how simple they are. I believe that through my background, my parents influence, my friends and my travels, I have grown to appreciate and love the many ways that food brings people together and how many ways you can enjoy food.  Food is beautiful and it can make you fall in love, heal you, satisfy you and comfort you.  Love what you make and care enough about what you put into your body.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Entering The Screen Door

Entering the Screen Door

There are always those hole-in-the-wall places in each city that all the locals are religions about frequenting because its good and lets admit it, it's hard to find a place that we can trust and know we won't be disappointed.  When you ask around for a good place to eat, you trust that locals are going to most likely not lead you too far astray or, at lease, it won't be a disappointment. One place that I have heard about and driven by that caught my attention seeing a crowd of people take up the whole corner waiting to get in, is the Screen Door.  I thought, unless it's a chain restaurant, a small restaurant that people will wait an hour to get in for brunch, has to be descent.  I read reviews, and asked around and of course everybody had heard of it and eaten there; some loved it, others weren't as convinced about the hype.

I am leaving this beautiful city of Portland soon to pursue my passion and dreams of being a baker, so naturally, being a "foodie," I had to experience it myself before leaving.  I had a good friend that was willing to wait out the hour in the cold and rain with all the Portland dressed locals waited with us, some with coffee they offer you to sip on in their ceramic cups.  It didn't feel that long before they called our name and offered us a seat in their heated patio that was small but cozy, with patio tables you have to slide your legs around to get in.  Those of you that don't know this place, it is a kinda southern meets Cajun place that specializes in brunch items. 
The kitchen is open with a large room of tables and the small patio to the side.  There are some specials that are seasonal or a trial run.  I chose two items, one sweet and one savory to get a taste of both sides of the menu.  There are different egg options with a choice of potatoes or grits on the side and french toast and waffle options (with fries chicken, if you so wish).  I got the banana foster french toast made with brioche dough and also a sourdough slice with Gruyere cheese, 2 over-easy eggs with ham and a side of grits.  For some reason, being Scotch/Irish we got southern influences in our cooking that always included grits in our brunches, so this was very close to home for me.  I loved it, the french toast was light and fluffy with a slit crunch and a maple-caramel syrup that was very sweet but so scrumptious.  The sourdough was lighter than I would expect from a sourdough but made up in the Gruyere cheese melted over it, toasty with slight sweetness from the thinly sliced ham and the bright yellow egg yolks that oozed over the stack of deliciousness.  Along with Stumptown coffee, this was a very tasty brunch that will leave you stuffed and satisfied.