Chef Steven: Summer Cooking Tips

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Chef Steven Woerdehoff of Produce Row Cafe dishes up some serious food knowledge on summer food to serve at parties!

Q: What side dish would you recommend for a summer party?

A: “I would recommend a watermelon salad. I do this one a lot during the summer when we have guests over to the house. I cut seedless watermelon into 1 inch squares. Toss them with just a few dashes of St. Germaine. Stack them on a platter and top with balsamic redux, salted & roasted pistachios, feta, and baby mint leaves. Super refreshing!”

Q: Should I stay away from anything spicy or can spicy side dishes still work?

A: “Never shy away from spice! I grew up with my Korean Mother so pretty much every side dish was spicy. Maybe too spicy. Spice is good. Especially in summer when there is a good breeze.”

Q: How much of the side dish should I make in relation to my main course?

A: “It depends on the dish and your guests. But as a rule of thumb, I make side dishes 1/2 of the amount of the main course.”

Q: Should you only stick with produce that is in season?

A: “Here’s the thing. Everything is in season somewhere. Name one week out of the year that you cant find strawberries. But, a package of blueberries from hood river in peak season is going to be sooo much better than something from Cali or Mexico in off season. So if possible, stick to seasonal, local, and delicious.”

Q: How do I pick produce to use/cook with in the summer?

A: “Taste it. That’s literally the only way to know if its good or not. A lot of grocery stores let you “taste”/steal a berry or 2. Or they have samples out. Just because its seasonal doesn’t mean that its good. And same with local. There are a lot of good websites out there like Oregonfresh.org, Cuesa.org, foodgeeks.com, etc.. that can tell you what’s good and seasonal in your area.”

Q: How can I tell which produce is best while still in the store?

A: “Again. Taste. I will also stab my thumbnail in certain fruit or veggies. For one to test for ripeness, and for 2 so I can smell and taste it. Yes, its a little messed up. But if you want the best, you gotta taste it!”

Q: How can I make a simple dessert dish that will impress everyone?

A: “I really love simple desserts. Fresh really ripe fruit, Fage Yoghurt, Honey, and sea salt. Nothing could be simpler. And it tastes so good, it seems like it should be bad for you. But its all natural, full of probiotics, and satisfying. My wife’s go-to is Chevre Cheesecake which is also “simple” but very feminine, delicate, and delicious.”

Q: Can I make a dish that incorporates the summer produce?

A: “You can do whatever you want! Good course of action would be to look up those local produce food guides. Pick a vegetable that you like, and go from there. One secret that I like to do is google. Google say “asparagus.” but tag on your favorite chef. I.e. Heston Blumenthal asparagus recipe. It gives you some great ideas. Granted, some of them are way too intricate. i.e. Heston’s recipes. But going through the websites and images, you will find something that everyone will be happy with.”

Q: Should my dessert be in line with the rest of the menu or should it stand out on its own?

A:  “I think a dessert should stand on its own and have its own identity. Granted, I am married to a pastry chef. But I think back to my first dining experience at le pigeon. Everything was really good. But those Fois Profiteroles made the meal. We had a similar meal at the South Store Cafe in Hillsboro. They had an invite only pop up recently. The final course really put the exclamation point on the night. The pastry course was too good. Kudos to Pastry Chef Lori Darnell on that one.”

 

 

4th Annual Posters & Pints for Pups – Sunday, August 12th

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Join us for a celebration of beer, the arts, and all things Portland! Stop by the Produce Row Cafe patio for the 4th Annual Posters & Pints for Pups on Sunday, August 12th from 3-9pm.

Support your local craft beer scene with a brewery created, one-of-a-kind limited edition Pacific Northwest Beer themed art prints only available at this event.

Breweries involved are:
Elysian
pFriem
10 Barrel
Ninkasi
Breakside

Additionally, a portion of proceeds from the night will go to Pixie Project, a local Portland non-profit animal adoption and rescue center.

The side patio will be dog friendly and we encourage guests to bring furry friends! We will have a kiddie pool dog party and patio games for human friends.

As much as people advise not to judge a book by its cover, you can judge these beers by their labels. So swing by grab a pint, snag a unique art print, and support a local Portland non-profit!

Rose All Day – Sunday, August 26th

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Join us on our award-winning patio at Produce Row Café on Sunday, August 26th, 2018 from 2pm to 7pm for a not-to-be-missed event that celebrates our love of rosé, patios and pink! All-Day Rosé is our way to celebrate summer while supporting our charity partner, Make-A-Wish-Foundation!  Dress up in your best pink, put on your summer hats and meet us on the patio!  Choose from more than 15 rosé samples, enjoy appetizers and the live DJ.

30.00 includes welcome cocktail (frosé slushie), keepsake tasting glass, 8 tasting tokens, appetizers and pink gummies. Additional wine, cocktails and frosé slushies available for purchase. A portion of all proceeds from the raffle and party will go to our local chapter Make-A-Wish Foundation

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Slushie Season is Here!

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It’s (unofficially) summer ! The kids are out of school, summer travel plans are made, you are itching for a vacation, and you are ready for some quality time by the pool. But what happens when vacations fall through and the heat rises making the excitement wear thin? You go out and explore, obviously, the beautiful city that we live in. Explore Portland! Walk around 23rd, grab some Snickerdoodle ice cream at Salt & Straw, buy a book or two at Powell’s, and discover parts of Portland you’ve never seen before. And when it gets to be too hot to keep walking around outside and you are looking for a tropical vibe, stop by Produce Row Cafe and enjoy some adult-only slushies! That’s right, your childhood memories of hot summer days are now in an adult form. You’re welcome. Enjoy a refreshing Watermelon Frosé or a yummy Jim Beam Yuzu Sour and take in the summer season with us! Sit out on the patio under some shade or inside with the AC blasting cool air. Our slushies are the perfect start or end to a long day of exploring in the Rose City!

Keep up with all things slushies, happenings, and ProRow on our Facebook or Instagram.

2nd Annual New Drafts on the Block – Thursday, June 14th

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Celebrate the newest, freshest breweries & cideries to hit the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, June 14th at Produce Row Café! Join us on our award-winning patio from 5pm to 10pm with featured brewers like Dirty Pretty, Pono, Grains of Wrath, Rosenstadt and more. Live music from our Supper Set DJs, lawn games, raffle prices and fresh mug and token style tastes from celebrated beer & cider makers make this a not-to-be-missed beer week event! A portion of proceeds from the event will be donated to the Willamette Riverkeeper.

Portland Dining Month

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Enjoy three courses for 33.00 throughout the month of March! Check out our dining month offerings, complete with some of our house favorites below. As always, our lunch & dinner menus are available, as well as brunch every weekend from 10am-2pm! Join us for dining month and make sure to let your friends know about it by using #DinePDX. See you soon!

Starters

~choose one~

Baby Kale Caesar Salad vg
parmesan, croutons, fried capers, caesar dressing

Crispy Brussels Sprouts vg
pickled peppers, fried capers, lemon

Entrées

~choose one~

Pan Seared Steelhead
creamed fennel & brussels sprouts, pear mostarda, herbs

Dry Aged NY Steak*
butter poached fingerlings, celery root purée, romesco, herbs

Wild Mushroom Gnocchi vg
wilted greens, brown butter cream sauce

Dessert

~choose one~

Carrot Cake vg
whipped mascarpone, carrot ‘chip’

Dulce de Leche Tartlet vg
grand marnier honey, sea salt

vg = vegetarian

Bend Beer & Cider BBQ – Saturday, June 10

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Celebrate the great city of Bend with us at Produce Row Café Saturday, June 10th from 4pm to 10pm. Enjoy a specialty BBQ food menu along with some amazing beers, great people, lawn games, and the chance to win some great prizes from the raffle. Sample the best from Bend brewers with 5.5oz tasters & pints, in our mug & token style tasting.

Participating Brewers: 10 Barrel, Silver Moon, Worthy, Sun River Brewing, Crux, Boneyard & Atlas Cider

 

Negroni Week Slushy & Patio Party – Friday, June 9

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Celebrate Negroni Week Campari at Produce Row with some delicious Negroni slushies as we party on our patio! Join us Friday, June 9th from 6-11pm. DJ Roane will be spinning an amazing DJ set, so you can sip & dance the night away for a good cause! $1 of every Negroni slushy sold will be donated directly to the Oregon Food Bank.

Gigantic Brewing Bday Brunch – Sunday, May 7th

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Celebrate the 5 year anniversary of Gigantic Brewing with a birthday brunch on our patio, Sunday, May 7th from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy Gigantic’s Too Much Coffee Man (imp. black saison with cold brew coffee) and Gigantic-n-Juice (IPA with oj, pineapple and tangerine juice beermosa.) Drink up on these special brews, and eat up from Chef Brendan’s newly created brunch menu for Produce Row. Ben Love will be spinning funk/soul records and there will be swag giveaways!

About Gigantic Brewing: At Gigantic we only do two things: make the best damn IPA in Portland, Oregon and produce seasonal, exciting, flavorful beers, most of which will be brewed only once. Our goal is simultaneously to create new interpretations of classic styles and to ignore those same style guidelines completely and brew whatever our creative natures produce. We hold ourselves to a simple principle – Never Give an Inch. We vow to start small and (stubbornly) stay small, focusing our efforts on making exceptional beer, rather than a lot of beer. When you drink Gigantic, know that we didn’t just put our names on the label – our effort, imagination, and dry wit are in every bottle.