Portland Food Adventures: Discovering the culinary side of Portland Oregon

Gruner Restaurant with Portland Food Adventures

Gruner Restaurant with Portland Food Adventures

I arrived in Vancouver, Washington for a visit and was introduced to an amazing way to dine in Portland, Oregon, just across the Columbia River. Whether you go alone, in a group,  or as a couple, Portland Food Adventures will provide you with opportunities to meet some of Portland’s top chefs, sample their cuisine and enjoy an evening of culinary delights and great company.

My friend Wendy Bumgardner who writes a column on Portland Sustainable Foods is quite a fan of Portland Food Adventures. Since I trust her judgment, I immediately said “yes,” when invited for a six course Alpine meal with wine pairings at Grüner in downtown Portland. Grüner means “greener” in German so I anticipated dining on some locally grown produce complimenting the creativity of Chef Chris Israel.

I learned that Israel steers away from traditional “German” cuisine, the type I so enjoyed in German Gasthäuser. I didn’t spend much time perusing the menu because it was all chosen for us. But somehow I knew not to expect Wiener Schnitzel and Pommes Frites. After all, this was to be an evening of fine dining… creative Alpine fine dining.Gruner Restaurant with Portland Food Adventures

Chris Angelus, originator of Portland Food Adventures, leaves no detail overlooked. I was surprised to find the evening’s menu at my place with my name on it. For a visitor, this made a nice souvenir of Portland.

When you sign up for a Portland Food Adventure, you will be treated to a carefully chosen multi-course private dinner at the Portland chef’s restaurant. The courses, often served family-style, will allow you to explore the particular chef’s cuisine in a way that you can’t often do in the public restaurant setting. You’ll be joined by other foodies, most  of them local, who are great fun to meet and talk with over wine and dinner. You’ll also have unprecedented access to the chef so will learn much more than if you had just stopped by their restaurant for a meal.

Our dining adventure at Grüner began in their bar next door, KASK, where Chris introduced us to Chef Israel and gave us details of the evening. He also handed out Portland dining coupons (this is part of the package you receive). Then, via “secret” passage-way, we headed for the lovely contemporary decor of Grüner. Both venues were closed for the evening and our group was treated to unparalleled service.

Gruner Restaurant with Portland Food AdventuresThe courses on the menu, accompanied by appropriate wine selections, came fairly quickly. I ate things I never would have ordered if presented with a full menu. Not only do I rarely have more than three courses, I certainly would shy away from such offerings as “beet-pickled deviled eggs” and “charcuterie.” But I was proven ever so wrong in my usual choices. The deviled eggs were exquisite and the cold meat plate stretched my opinions, swaying them far to the positive.

The courses continued to be placed at our table, salad, mixed grill and the absolute best of the evening… Buckwheat Spätzle. I think it was the addition of the amazing chanterelle mushrooms which gave this dish an edge. I’d go back to Grüner just to experience the Spätzle again.

Our evening was over all too soon. As we savored the berliners, warm marion berry jam filled sugared donuts, I knew that I would return to experience yet another Portland Food Adventure. I like having choices made for me, especially when they are great choices. Paying ahead for dinner, wine and tip, made dining stress-free. Most Portland Food Adventures are in the $125 range. (remember, that’s six courses, six wines, tip and money-saving dining coupons)Gruner Restaurant with Portland Food Adventures

We walked out into the Portland rain, talking about the excellent food and the decor at Grüner. It was a wonderful way to spend time with friends and a wonderful way to experience the culinary side of Portland.

More Information
Portland Food Adventures

Grüner
Address: 527 SW 12th Ave., Portland OR 97205  Map
Phone: (503) 241-7163
WebsiteGrunerpdx.com

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