Thankful for Pinot Noir
Against a background of autumn hues and misty mountains, the last of those precious little Pinot Noir berries have been picked off the vines in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Looks like the 2015 harvest will yield richly fruited wines and you can be sure that Urban Farmer will be among the first to showcase the vintage. With a world class wine growing region a mere 45 minutes away from our front door, we couldn’t help ourselves; we had to curate a Wine List boasting over 50 Oregon Pinot Noirs. Forgive us by getting a little geeky and even categorizing these gems by the 5 AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in our beloved Valley.
Next time you sit down for Chef’s Matt’s NY Tasting, don’t be so quick to order that Cabernet. Let one of our Certified Specialists of Wine guide you towards an Oregon Pinot Noir. We think you may be pleasantly surprised by how ideal a counterpoint the elegance and verve of an Oregon Pinot Noir is to a perfectly prepared steak.
We’re proud to announce that our Chef de Cuisine, Chris Starkus, will be representing us in Tokyo later this fall. He joins one time competitor and frequent collaborator, The Side Yard Farm’s Stacey Givens, and local artisans on a trip to showcase Portland’s DIY mentality. They’ll be cooking at a new farmer’s market and exploring the bourgeoning urban farm scene. Chef Starkus will bring his culinary expertise along with the gardening and beekeeping skills he’s developed on our roof and in his own homestead. We can’t wait for him to share his travels!
Urban Farmer is getting in on the fun in a couple of ways at this year’s Feast, the Pacific Northwest’s largest food festival. We’ll be featured at their newest marquee event, Smoked! Where open fire and smoke are used in creative ways. Chefs Matt and Chris are keeping tight-lipped as to what they’re making but knowing them it’s sure to be equally whacky and tasty! Chef Matt has also teamed up with Whole Foods to make an “Urbanh Mi” for the Sandwich Invitational. Although he won’t be competing, the sandwich will be available in all Portland Whole Foods for the weeks surrounding Feast. We can’t wait to taste it
Chef Chris Brings Back Dinner Under The Antlers
Chef Chris Starkus is revitalizing his “Under the Antlers” dinner series by bringing in Top Chef talent from our upstairs neighbors, Departure. Chef Gregory is teaming up with Starkus on a “Gone Fishin” menu that utilizes albacore that the duo will go forty miles out on the Pacific and catch themselves. And that’s not all! While they’re on the coast they will forage for a majority of the herbs and vegetables that they can’t harvest from our rooftop garden. Obviously they have some great ideas but the final menu will be dependent on what they’re able to catch, grow and forage. We can’t wait to see (and taste!) what they come up with!
Our rooftop garden is expanding! We doubled our number of beehives earlier in the year and now Chef Chris Starkus has ten new garden boxes to work with! Located on the west side of the Nines, the new Urban Farmer rooftop garden is visible from Departure’s West Deck. Chef now has the ability to grow much of the greens and herbs, as well is a few surprises, only a few floors away. Follow his gardening adventures on Twitter and Facebook!
Help us #86AIDS with (RED)
For the month of June we are partnering with Mario Batali and (RED) to help #86AIDS. During the month we will be offering special cocktails whose proceeds will go towards the United Nations global fund that fights against AIDS. By choosing where to eat lunch or have a cocktail you can help end the suffering caused by AIDS. For more information on participating restaurants or to donate to the UN Fund directly, click here.
We recently collaborated with an amazingly talented local club of 3D printing enthusiasts to begin an art project that is whimsically educational. The 3D Printing Meetup Group came together to design a full scale cow and have it printed on 14 different printers in the community. Kids as young as 11 participated in the project that took over 700 hours to complete. In the end, the 99 pieces were brought back to the restaurant to be assembled and the full cow, dubbed “Veronin”, was unveiled. Look for another collaboration with a local startup to bring visual effects and interactivity to the piece, which will be on display in the street level window of the hotel very soon.
Newly appointed Executive Sous Chef of The Nines Hotel, Chris Starkus, is not one to rest on his laurels. After starting our rooftop garden and beekeeping operation last year, he is ready this year to expand its output and effect on the hotel. We’re doubling the number of hives and, with a year of study under his belt, Chef Chris is ready for the title of fulltime beekeeper. (As if he doesn’t already do enough!) We’re also expanding the garden under his direction and should be able to incorporate more delicate herbs and vegetables into the dishes here at Urban Farmer. The new bee colony and expanded garden boxes will be unveiled on April, 22nd, Earth Day so stay tuned for more!
Spring Menu Changes
Chefs Matt and Chris are ready to share a few of their latest menu changes with the world! They’ve worked hard to maintain our commitment to sustainable practices by continuing to work closely Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch and sourcing fun springtime vegetables from local farms. One of our favorite new menu items is the wild Pacific salmon. The chefs delicately place the seared fish on a bed of broccolini, charred grape, olive and salsify puree
We proudly feature some of Oregon and Washington’s best farmers and ranchers on our menu because of the quality of their product. Sometimes this means working with a farm seasonally, to get the region’s best tomatoes, for example, while other times it means working on breeding and feeding methods of cattle, as Chef Matt has done with Scott Laney of Eat Oregon First. One of our most fun relationships has been working with Bob La De Route and his 100% Wagyu. Bob raises only eight animals at a time to ensure each one is nurtured properly. He processes and sells only four every year! That means once a year we get a whole cow in to butcher and work our magic. This Valentine’s Day we’ll offer a special ribeye for two and you’ll see some choice cuts offered on our special’s card for the next couple of weeks! If you want a one-of-a-kind experience come in soon!
Daily Menu Additions & Butcher’s Cuts
Guests of Urban Farmer can never complain about a boring menu! Not only does our menu change seasonally to feature fresh, local products but we also feature daily menu additions and butcher’s cuts. The menu additions and butcher’s cuts allow the kitchen to utilize the whole animal to result in less waste. It also allows for our chefs to showcase their creativity on a daily basis! If you stopped in over during the Christmas week, you may have seen a PB&J Duck on the menu additions card; which was inspired by the classic childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! This seared duck features fermented chestnut pesto (the “peanut butter”), drunken cherry gastrique (the “jelly”), finished with a sage crumble (the “bread”), and garnished with micro greens. Be sure to check the daily card each time you stop in for lunch or dinner to see what creative dishes our chefs have developed!
It’s been an amazing year here at Urban Farmer! With our new location in Cleveland we’ve seen a lot of our staff grow their careers and not just take on new roles but excel at them. We couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve built! Next year looks to be just as exciting, not that we’re quite ready to share any of that news yet… But 2014 isn’t quite over and we’ve still got a wonderful Christmas feast to share with you and your loved ones. Chef Matt has prepared a menu of classics and new favorites. We hope to see you before the New Year!
The Flying Stag
Although we’ve been barrel-aging cocktails for some time now, our bartenders have really started to understand the nuances of the craft this year. They’ve developed partnerships with many local distillers to create delightful twists on classic cocktails that mellow and ripen with the right amount of aging. One such collaboration is with the gin experts over at House Spirits. They provided us with a barrel and some of their award winning Aviation Gin, which Tyler combined with Hennessy and Cocchi Americano. It was in the barrel for twenty-one days before we tapped it. The result is an earthy, slightly sweet but entirely quaffable beverage that only improves as it breathes. We’ll definitely be making this one again!
Being a hotel restaurant we have the advantage of opening for three meal periods every day of the year. Through rain, sleet and snow we follow the intrepid postman in our perseverance, providing hospitality to everyone walking in our front doors. Because we’re available everyday we look forward to the holiday season knowing that it’s an opportunity to go above and beyond the usual expectations of a restaurant. From decorating to inventing playful new dishes that riff on family favorites, our entire staff takes pride in hosting families that are looking for a less stressful dining experience as well as weary travelers who aren’t able to be with their loved ones on a special day. If you find yourself in need of a little warmth, hospitality, or just a glass of wine and home cooked meal, we’re here for you. Happy holidays
Urban Farmer, Portland’s Steakhouse, Portland, OR
What a blessing to have been able to host not only the public stars of Feast, the chefs and media darlings that spent a week of hedonistic pleasure in our city, but the quiet multitudes that worked behind the scenes making sure everything stayed organized and everyone was fed. Chef Matt demonstrated our casual approach to “High Comfort,” the theme for a marquee event hosted in the Nines Hotel, with flat iron pastrami dipped in melted asiago cheese and served on a stick; and the entire culinary team executed a flawless media brunch that left many bloggers questioning their ability to partake in the lunch event. (Don’t worry, they all managed to make enough room.) It was a pleasure to host visionary chefs and show them what we’re working on here as well as have a chance to sit down and listen to their vision of the future. Forging lasting relationships is why we do what we do and we’re happy for such a wonderful opportunity.
Chefs and fellow cyclists recently partook in the Chris King Gourmet Century, a 100km ride that began in industrial Portland and wound its way through the rolling hills just west of the city. The ride featured stops with snacks and drinks for all of the riders and culminated at Chris King’s headquarters for a full on dinner. Not only did chefs Matt, Carrie, Chris and Ben create some of the best snacks of the ride, all of them completed the 100km AND cooked dinner for 500 afterwards! There may have been some sore muscles and a couple tumbles but our culinary team definitely slept well that night!
Last month, Chef de Cuisine Chris Starkus hosted the first meal in his dinner Under the Antlers series. Chef Starkus conceptualized this dinner series after we got a wooden tabletop made to fit over the pool table that sits in the middle of our library. This transforms the upscale casual lounge space into a private dining affair that offers a unique experience. In his first dinner, Chris partnered with local seafood purveyor Flying Fish Co. to highlight sustainably caught fish. He put uncommon delicacies on the menu such as escargot caviar and monkey-faced eel – both of which were highly regarded. Look forward to a new dinner Under the Antlers at least once a month for the foreseeable future!
Embracing the world’s fervor surrounding this year’s cup, barkeep Tyler has prepared a play on the famous Brazilian cocktail, the caipirinha. The Brazilian features Leblon cachaça, falernum and lime bitters and was put into one of our barrels on the opening day of the World Cup. We’ll be tasting as the cup progresses but if all goes to plan we’ll be tapping the barrel on the day of the final. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the world’s greatest sporting event and hope to share our appreciation with you!
Imbibe and Campari are celebrating one of the world’s great cocktails by organizing a week of negroni inspired specials and promotions. Not only does this mean tasty cocktails all week long but a portion of all negronis sold will donated to a charity of the bar or restaurant’s choice! As this event was partially inspired by local barkeep Douglas Derrick of Nostrana, our head barman, Tyler, has been working on a special negroni that we’ll feature exclusively from June 2nd through the 8th! We’ll be donating a dollar from every drink to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation. Make sure to stop in for a negroni come June!
NEW DESSERT MENU COMING SOON!
Pastry Chef Carrie Merrill has been hard at work revamping our dessert menu by tweaking old favorites and designing many new dishes. Her focus has been on shareable desserts – moving away from larger portions of one heavy dish (though we’ll still have some of those!) and adding smaller, cheaper bites that you can get a few of and share with your dinner guests. This approach allows her and her team to be more creative as well as refined with their work. As everyone who works with us here can attest, she’s doing a fantastic job! We’ve all had the pleasure to taste her creations and give what feedback we can between bites of rare ice creams and unheard of cookies. Some of us may never want the menu finalized…
A few favorites that you may seen soon are a candy cap mushroom creme caramel (it tastes like maple syrup!), whoopie pies with whipped cream and homemade kisses and a rotating selections of ice creams with appropriate pairings (think rocky road ice cream with fudge brownie sticks and candied almonds). We hope to have all of these delights available soon otherwise we’re going to have to buy a new, larger, wardrobe