Sunday, May 21, 2017

For Great Food go to Portland

Aviary Kitchen is the Star with the Food
Portland per capita has more great chefs and more James Beard Best Chef and Restaurants semifinalist than any city in the US.  When you come to Portland you see a city under siege from young and old creatives.  I feel a little naked because I have no tattoos or piercings.  But every time I come to Portland I found another great restaurant.  This time it was the Aviary owned by Sarah Pliner a New York trained chef who had worked for Alain Ducasse and Marcus Samuelson.  Aviary is located in Northeast Portland ion the Alberta Arts District.  This is another area in Portland that is taking advantage of the growth of the arts and a migration of young smart entrepreneurs.
Aviary is just off the street with a nice little patio to take advantage of great weather in the spring and summer.  Tonight I went with my colleague Koushik who loves great food we made a decision to enjoy a few shared small plates so we could sample Aviary's great looking tastes.

Sweet Potato
Beans with Green Curry
We started with Roasted Sweet Potato it was served with maple Pasilla glaze and toasted pumpkin seeds with a side of watercress greens with apple and Fava Beans.  This is a nice little combo because the sweet potato and the maple syrup provides for a sweet bite the Pasilla Chile gives a subtle contrast of some heat.  The side salad cleanses the palette for the next bite which was Tempura Green Beans with Green Curry and Sesame Salt. The beans are lightly battered and served with a little crisp.  The Green Curry spicy bite is subtle and the Sesame Salt brings provides that toasted nut taste which brings out the freshness of the bean.
Our next bite was Red Curry Braised Goat.  I love Goat, I do not find it gamey and typically there is enough fat in it to make it very tender and flavorful.  Red Curry is one of my specialties that I love to make because it uses Red Chiles and brings up the heat level.  The meal was served with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Kabocha Squash, Goat Cheese Gnocchi and Kaffir Lime.  Kaffir Lime is used with many Curry Dishes to bring in that lime taste. I use the leaves to cook curry they have an amazing lime flavor mostly from the oil.  Take a bite of Red Curry Goat and cool down the palate with the Cherry Tomato.  Really a fun tasty dish.
The last plate was Crispy Pig Ear which my guest would not try but I was
Crispy Pig Ear YUM
anxious.  Last time I ate a Pig Part was Denver when I ate a deep fried Pig Tail.  I can walk you through the bite. The Pig Ear was crispy at the tip and tender toward the middle.  At the base of the dish you have a layer of Coconut Rice, Chinese Sausage and Avocado.  So was it a Pig Ear Stew or was it a Pig Ear Nacho either way it was delicious.  The Chinese Sausage was very much like Chorizo and the Avocado helped balance the heat.  Overall a great dish which I hope to see again.
Great Dessert
With this great meal we had some of the very tasty Aviary Cocktails.  I like a drink with a little heat and they have a great one The Chilango, spicy and refreshing.  Also Sarah is very proud of her desserts and her Pastry Chef, Koushik had the homemade Pistachio Ice Cream with Brittle and Chocolate.
Overall this was another great Portland meal made by a great chef who enjoys different ingredients and creativity.