Last night might have been one of the most incredible meals I’ve eaten in awhile. Good food often graces my taste buds and stomach, but how long I talk and/or think about it says a lot.
We ended up at Irving St. Kitchen with a couple of good friends, a place I’ve secretly wanted to go since it opened, but equally wanted to avoid. Clearly the avoiding won out. I’m not immune to the hype that tends to surround new restaurants in Portland. I just have a pretty strong will. I let everyone else go and figure things out. I like to read the reviews from other people before throwing my money at a potentially disappointing meal. I don’t mind being one of the last ones to the party if it’s ends up blowing my mind like Irving St. did.
I attempted to take crappy cell phone photos ala Instagram, but the lighting just wasn’t cooperating. You’ll just have to take my word on it. I started with a tart and spicy cocktail made with gin, apple cider, and some hot pepper jelly. There was a whole lot going on in my mouth with every sip. Let it be known that this menu is ridiculously hard for someone like me to choose from. I would gladly eat everything on the menu. It makes choosing a nightmare. For the first course, I went with the pan seared squid, grape tomatoes, herb salad, harissa vinaigrette, and fried hazelnuts. It came out in a little cast iron pan, which only upped how much I loved it. The squid ended up tender, not overcooked at all. That’s what scares me about squid. It’s so easy to turn into a rubber tire. Not here, though. I sopped up a lot of that tomato sauce with Ken’s Artisan Bread. I honestly could have stopped there. It was a hearty first course. Go big or go home, though. I chose the truffle stuffed guinea hen breast for the main course. The menu online isn’t entirely accurate anymore [hooray for locally sourced ingredients], since the hen came with some sautéed broccoli rabe and [I think] roasted carrots drenched in a delicious guinea hen au jus. The amount of food was borderline ridiculous. The guinea hen might be some of the richest meat I’ve had to date. There was almost too much on there. I gladly ate it all, of course. For dessert, we shared the beignets with espresso-Sambuca fontainebleu, chocolate ganache, and chicory streusel and each a shot of Sambuca. It was the perfect end to the evening. Had I had anymore room, I really wanted to try their butterscotch pudding. Next time. Next time.
Since I don’t have any plans of recreating any truffle stuffed guinea hen any time soon, I’ll leave you with this super easy crockpot white bean chicken chili. It’s rich in its own right. It’s a super thick chili, perfect for sticking to your ribs on a cold day. It’d be great for a crowd or as an overnight crockpot meal that I took to work for a few days of lunches. Andrew polished off the rest. It’s a short ingredient list today, so make sure you focus on quality.
Inspiration: Pink Parsley
- 4 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1-2 jalapeños, sliced or diced depending if someone will be picking them out
- 8oz pepperjack cheese, cubed
- 2 big boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Add the white beans, tomatoes with the juice, jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese to the crock pot. Stir well to incorporate. Make two wells in the mixture and nestle the chicken breasts in for a comfy eight hours on low heat.
Shred the chicken after eight hours, stirring into the mixture. Serve warm.