As I’ve mentioned on here a few times in the past, I work (and occasionally attend as a guest) Plate & Pitchfork dinners throughout the summer. I love these events. It is such a fun experience getting to know the chefs and farmers behind your meal and enjoying a gorgeous summer evening with great food, wine and new friends.
The last dinner I worked a few weekends ago was definitely one of my favorites. It was an absolutely gorgeous setting, incredible food and wine, and really great people. It was the “culinary power couple” evening with the Crown Paella team Scott and Emily Ketterman, Bow & Arrow winemakers Dana and Scott Frank and Viridian Farms owners Leslie and Manuel Recio, all working with their respective spouses. All three couples are fun and engaging to listen to. It was so great hearing their stories of how they have blended their joint creativity and talents to create amazing culinary products.
The dinner was held at Viridian Farms, located in between Salem and McMinnville in the small town of Dayton, Oregon. The space is beautiful and the produce excellent. Owners Leslie and Manuel grow primarily Basque region vegetables, like their Padrón peppers, which are unique Spanish peppers and typically hard to find the in U.S.
When grown with good quality seeds and harvested at the right time, almost none are spicy but smokey and earthy. When tempura-fried and tossed in sea salt like Crown Paella whipped up as an appetizer for the P&P dinner, they are insanely delicious. Guests stood eagerly next to the fryer, waiting for their next plate-full of peppers.
Our guest chef for the evening was Scott Ketterman of Crown Paella, a catering business that, not surprisingly, specializes in the Spanish dish, Paella. Scott leverages his extensive background cooking and traveling through Spain to prepare the dish in the traditional methods. The Arroz Bomba rice is slowly cooked in a rich broth and distinctly flavored with Saffron, sourced from Spain. On this particular Plate & Pitchfork night, Scott created a large fire pit for the giant Paella dish. You get to see the rice cooking, smell the aroma, and just before service, witness a wonderfully fun, impressive presentation of the Paella.
The beautiful and delicious Paella was complemented by the wines selected by Dana and Scott. I am a huge fan of Bow & Arrow wines. My first glass of their wine was when my girlfriends and I purchased a bottle of their “Rhinestones” Pinot Noir/Gamay blend for a birthday dinner a few months ago. I totally love their labels and corks. Just that simple touch adds a lot, I think. Of course, yes the taste is important – and their wines hit the mark in that regard – but I think the artistic elements are important as well. Bow & Arrow definitely has got that part down.
One of the wines they served that night was their Melon wine, which uses a white grape, Melon de Bourgogne. Typically grown in France, rather than the U.S., this grape is nearly unknown in the U.S. Somewhat similar to Pinot Blanc, it is crisp, bright and fruit-forward. Definitely a perfect wine for a warm summer night.
That wonderful evening wrapped up another fantastic season of Plate & Pitchfork dinners for me. I’m already looking forward to what dinners are in store next summer!
Where to Find Bow & Arrow Wines:
- The awesome SE Wine Collective (located at 2425 SE 35th Place & Division)
- Variety of retailers and restaurants
Where to Find Viridian Farms Produce:
- Portland Farmers Market at PSU
- Various specialty grocery stores including City Market, Pastaworks, and Whole Foods (Fremont, Hollywood and Laurelhurst)
- Nearly all the great local restaurants like Toro Bravo, Little T American Baker, Ava Gene’s, and tons more
Where to Find Crown Paella:
- Let them cater your next party! Find out more on their website. Trust me, with Scott and Emily cooking for you, all of your guests will have a blast and no one will go home hungry.