Portland foodies love to boast about being the vanguard: like being the first to love Potato Champion before carts were cool, or the first to recognize Le Pigeon's greatness, or the first to stand in line at Toro Bravo... and eventually get a seat three years later. Getting you in early with rising-star chefs: The Open Kitchen
Just launched by a couple guys looking to connect local artisans to the people o' Portland, Kitchen's a twice-monthly dinner series featuring collaborations between emerging culinary talents, delivering nights of creative grub 'n wine where they highly encourage conversation with chefs and wine & cocktail guys, so long as you don't ask young Brian Flanagan about what went down with Gina Gershon. Sourcing talent from the food scene's unexamined corners, Kitchen's tossed previously underground awesomeness like a dinner featuring braised lamb followed by blackberry cobbler and lavender ice cream, a beak-to-tail poultry event that rocked a chicken liver mousse omelet, and a half-pig dinner netting five courses including a hog-noggin one organizer says was "done in a way you couldn't tell it was head," which is always true when there's chewing involved. Kitchen's beginning March's meals with a Carnivale-inspired feast kicked off with a caipirinha from Novo Fogo, followed by yucca sticks with red pepper/Brazil nut pesto, pineapple Manchego spears, and a "national dish" of meat 'n black bean stew w/ collards and orange slices -- hell, it's amazing they found even one...Pepsi discontinued that stuff in 2005
To keep you refreshed while shoveling oh-my-gosh-gnosh, Kitchen invites a pairing-happy winemaker to almost every meal, meaning you can purchase bottles at markup-free prices direct from vintners like the up & coming winery Three Degrees, also the number of deodorant sticks required to keep you smelling fresh on that Toro Bravo line.