by Angus An | Portland’s emergence as a food city was on my radar a few years ago so I drove down for the weekend with the sole purpose of checking out the city’s restaurants. I quickly realized that a couple of days wasn’t nearly enough to experience all that Portland had to offer, so when I was approached to be a part of Chef’s Week PDX, I jumped at the opportunity.
Organized by Portland chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Chef’s Week PDX was created to bring West Coast chefs together to cook and explore all that this beautiful part of the world has to offer.
Day 1 | After arriving in Portland, I dropped my mise-en-place in a fridge to find that the good people at Chef’s Week PDX had already stocked it with Oregon goodies like Stumptown Coffee, Jacobsen sea salt, wines from Kings Ridge, King Estate, and Underwood, plus a beer from Ninkasi Brewing.
After settling in, I hopped into a cab and headed to the first Chef’s Week dinner location, hotspot Ava Gene’s, to meet chef Joshua McFadden. Joshua and I were tasked with creating a course for Thursday’s dinner. We decided to make Koh Soi, a simple Northern-style chicken curry noodle dish from Thailand with minced cured meats for umami, anchovies, and fresh linguini instead of egg wonton noodles.
Joshua then convinced me to sit at the kitchen by the wood-fired grill while he cooked for me. Dinner started with a charcuterie platter and olives, Ava Gene’s “3 board” (3 unique salads served on one board), squid ink linguini with Dungeness crab, ricotta cavatelli with lamb neck ragu, ravioli tricolore with nut crumbs and brown butter, grilled lamb chops, and finally, peanut gelato.
Day 2 | Day two started with a butchery demo. Chef Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer brought in two cows (1800lbs total weight) for us to break down: one was a 100% pure-blood Wagyu from Pacific Rogue and the other was from Laney Family Farm. In the process, I managed to get the tenderloin I needed for a tartare dish, which I had planned for Sunday.
After a quick tour of Urban Farmer and their dry aging program, I found my way through a snowstorm to Ava Gene’s for that night’s Hearth and Turf Dinner, a collaborative effort between six chefs: Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s), Jason French (Ned Ludd), Matt Christianson (Urban Farmer), Chris Starkus (Urban Farmer), Gregory Gourdet (Departure) and myself. Chef McFadden’s and my dish, the Koh Soi chicken, combined Ava Gene’s Italian-inspired menu (with pasta) and my Thai influence (seen in the use of curry and spice). The end result was fantastic and a good showcase of both of our philosophies.
After dinner we celebrated at Roman Candle Café, where we found out that due to a snowstorm our trip to the Oregon Coast the next day was cancelled.
Day 3 | My fellow Vancouver chef-compatriot, Joël Watanabe of Bao Bei, had arrived the night before. We met up with the other chefs for Plan B: a group lunch at Produce Row. After lunch, Joël needed to prep for his dinner (entitled Present Culture at Paley’s Place) with chef Patrick McKee (Paley’s Place, Portland), Rachel Yang (Revel, Joule, Seattle), Jose Chesa (Ataula, Portland), Jeff McCarthy (TenTop, Portland).
Later that day, chef Jason French kindly offered to pick me up to have dinner at his restaurant, Ned Ludd, an American Craft Kitchen with nothing but a wood-fired oven for cooking. I naturally took him up on the offer.
The food was true, honest craft food, which I really enjoyed. The décor was also amazing; every piece was chosen by the chef himself while browsing antique fairs. After a cozy and comforting meal, we moved on to another dinner at St. Jack. It was here that I met chef Aaron Barnett, a Canadian who had spent time in the kitchen at Vancouver’s Lumiére. Like many other chefs here, he fell in love with the energy and culture of Portland and decided to set up shop.
Day 4 | Today we toured Nicky USA, a specialty butcher/purveyor and experienced firsthand the passion the local suppliers share with the chefs. One of the products that owner Geoff Latham is most proud of is rabbit, which Joël and I both wish we could use more often in Vancouver (sourced locally).
After the tour, we headed to Woodblock Chocolates and met with Charley Wheelock, the owner and chocolate maker. He explained the process of bean fermenting, purchasing, on-site roasting, shelling (in home-made machinery—with racing stripes!), grinding and then tasting of cocoa from different regions. He is working on a 100% bar, and he let us taste the trial batch, as well as some of his chocolate beer. That night chef Vitaly Paley invited us for a fabulous dinner at his other restaurant, Imperial, at the Hotel Lucia. I lost count of how many fantastic dishes we had.
Day 5 | The final day of Chef’s Week PDX was a 20-course dinner cooked by all of the participating chefs. It was certainly interesting to see all the different styles and flavours come together into one dinner…
Chips and Dip
Pinxto of Octopus, Smoked Potato Foam, Blackened Garlic
Ajo Blanco, Potxa Beans, Salsify, Razor Clam Jus, Sturgeon Caviar, Yuzu Mousse
Bigeye Tuna Crudo, Oregon Black Truffle, Young Coconut, Ginger, Frog Eyes Wasabi,
Arancini, Squid Ink, Nduja
Northern Thai Style Beef Tartare, Egg Yolk Puree, Pork Crackling
Shan Tofu, Charred Carrots, Preserved Bean &Almond Sauce, Dashi, Mustard Leaf
Sea Scallop, Celery Root-Saffron Panna Cotta, Citrus Salad, Phytoplankton
Dungeness Crab & Leek Tempura, Oyster Sauce, Steelhead Roe
Dungenous Chili Crab, Black Garlic, Meyer Lemon
Roasted Cod, Hazelnut-Coriander Emulsion, Cucumber, Shitake, Bergamot, Dill
Erik Van Kley
Clams, Sweet Clam Gnocci, Clam Butter, Smoked Mackerel, Egg Yolk, Pea Greens
Sturgeon, Prosciutto, Carrot, Almond, Cedar
Rabbit, Lobster, Squid Ink, Green Apple
Greg & Gabi Denton
Fried Oxtail Terrine, Spicy Shrimp Head Aioli, Pickled Shiitake, Cara Cara Orange, Cipollini
Braised Kurabuta Pork Belly, Parnip-Potato Puree, Crispy Pig Ear Salad
Brian McCracken and Dana Tough
Slow Cooked Beef Culotte, Sunchoke, Celery, Grapefruit, Black Truffle
Oregon Water Buffalo Ribeye, Cedar Smoked Ricotta, Toasted Spice & Citrus Demi
Milk Chocolate Baguette Bark, Caramelized Honey Mousse, Warm Egg Yolk, Cranberries
Woodblock Chocolate Cremeux, Yuzu Gelee, Chocolate Soil
After the event everyone was summoned to the member’s-only Multnomah Whiskey Library to wrap up the night. During the after-party, food writer Krista Simmons asked me to sum up the event in one word. My reply: “Pride”. Chef’s Week PDX is a collection of West Coast chefs showing pride in their region and their respective cities, especially Portland. It really was a fantastic week, and I can’t wait for next year!
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | On July 8th 2013, Chef Angus An invites you to join him for a one night re-creation of the successful James Beard dinner recently staged in New York. A limited number of guests will enjoy this 11-course custom menu accompanied by select wine pairings by sommelier Kurtis Kolt.
The James Beard Foundation extends coveted invitations to chefs that demonstrate a wealth of culinary expertise, innovation and talent. In April 2013, Chef An was selected by the foundation for his world class Thai cuisine, which he prepares at Vancouver’s Maenam and New York’s Kittichai, placing him among an exclusive group of the world’s top chefs.
“Cooking at the James Beard Foundation was an incredible honour,” says Chef An. “I’m thrilled to cook this menu in Maenam’s kitchen and share it with fellow Vancouverites.” The menu stays true to Chef An’s masterful technique and features authentic Thai dishes using pristine local ingredients. Guests can expect to taste everything from Crispy Egg Net Roll of Lobsters to Braised Pork Cheeks with a spiced palm sugar braise, steamed buns and truffle powder. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
by Kurtis Kolt | Just sending a quick note to share that Maenam’s Chef Angus An and I are in New York City and in the home stretch of prepping for his dinner at James Beard House this evening. As a little refresher, Angus has been the consulting chef in New York at Kittichai in the Thompson Hotel for the last little while, so he’s officially wearing two hats tonight as he presents contemporary Thai dishes out of both New York and Vancouver. As the lucky guy who consults on the wine list at Maenam, I got to come along for the ride; designing tonight’s wine program and overseeing wine service!
Angus was invited to cook at James Beard House many months ago, and much of the coordination has come out of Vancouver. I got to dive into a whole new realm of liquor laws to adhere to, and track down various wines from suppliers I have no experience with. The good folks from the Okanagan’s Tantalus Winery did us a solid by doing a good ol’ fashioned border run of their kick-ass 2010 Riesling a few weeks back. I’m quite excited and proud to represent BC wine country tonight, with a little Mission Hill in the mix as well!
Angus and his team – many of whom are from Vancouver – are hustlin’ away doing prep as I type this, and they’re pretty stoked. I will indeed rock out a full report for you on our New York adventures later in the week, loaded with pictures and good cheer. In the meantime, I will be Tweeting and Instagramming (both @KurtisKolt) tonight using the hashtag #AAJBwKK.
Do follow along as we represent!
by Andrew Morrison | Chef/restaurateur Angus An of Kitsilano’s multiple award-winning Maenam restaurant is opening a new counter-service eatery called Longtail Kitchen in New Westminster’s popular River Market. An, you might recall, trained at New York’s French Culinary Institute and worked in such famed kitchens as Jo-Jo, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Nahm before opening Maenam in 2009. He’s one of Vancouver’s top culinary stars. His new joint is named after Thailand’s ubiquitous, iconic, and often turbo-charged “longtail” water taxis) — a cool name that fits that address’ Fraser River waterfront location and Thai theme.
The lease was just signed this week, but it’s been in the works for many months. And it’s no wonder. Between shuttling to and from New York City where An consults at the famed Kittichai restaurant, overseeing the perennially busy Maenam, and raising a young family, An is a busy guy. You’d think opening another establishment would seem a daunting, overly complicated prospect, but he shrugs the notion off. “I wouldn’t have done this if it didn’t feel right for me,” he says. “It’s a fine balance, but I can do it comfortably.”
The 25 seat, 880 sqft Longtail will focus on sea-centric Thai street food. “Quick and easy Thai fisherman comfort food”, is how An likens it, adding that there “will be noodle dishes, fish stews and fish curries, with price points ranging from $8 to $12.” Sadly, there will be no liquor license to start off with, but the application is under way. They’ll also be trying for a sectioned-off patio (which would work beautifully with garage door frontage), but if you’ve ever been to the River Market, you already know how easy it is to take your meal outside and sit just about anywhere (the gull population mercifully appears to be about 1/50th that of Granville Island market).
Longtail is being designed as a multi-functional space. By day it will concentrate on regular service with a retail component (selling An’s signature curry sauces, spices, cookbooks, etc.) and then at night it will host cooking classes, private functions and special chef-collaborative suppers. “I’m a longtime fan of Angus’ cooking,” says Mark Shieh, the River Market’s Director. “He and I have talked a lot about the future of restaurants. One of our goals at the Market is to reconnect with food in a meaningful and playful way. Angus’ imagining of a restaurant as a multifunctional seaside kitchen is a great fit with our Food 360 approach.”
Longtail Kitchen is another big “get” for River Market (already home to Wild Rice, Re-Up, Wally’s Burger, La Grotto del Formaggio, among other food fetishist faves). Opening day is scheduled for early May, 2013.
The GOODS from The Dirty Apron
Vancouver, BC | On June 20th, The Dirty Apron Cooking School is excited to welcome guest instructor Chef Angus An into the kitchen for the ultimate Thai cooking class. Chef An, Executive Chef and owner of Maenam, Vancouver’s leading authentic Thai restaurant, will share his culinary talents with 22 lucky students. If you love Southeast Asian cuisine, don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of Vancouver’s best. Chef An will guide students through three savoury dishes filled to the brim with fresh flavours and local seasonal ingredients. To start, students will prepare Hot and Sour Soup of Clams and Holy Basil. Next, Chef An will show students how to make Grilled Ocean Wise Prawn Salad with Chilli Jam, followed by Aromatic Curry of Roasted Chicken and Confit Potatoes. This delicious feast will be rounded off with Sticky Rice and Mango prepared specially by Chef An. Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | The playoffs are here and Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant wants to help you cheer on the Canucks at home with free game day Thai chicken wings. Takeout orders of $30 or more on Canuck game days will include a complimentary order of Chef Angus An’s signature Thai chicken wings seasoned with chilli salt and accompanied with authentic nahm jim dipping sauce. To score your free Thai chicken wings, all you have to do is follow Maenam on Twitter @maenam, or “like” Maenam on Facebook. For each Canuck’s game, a special code word will be released on Maenam’s Twitter and Facebook pages at noon. Simply use this code when you order takeout of $30 or more and the wings will be on the house. Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | It may be down to the 11th hour but it’s not too late. Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant has a few reservations remaining for their Valentine’s Day Four-Course Chef’s Menu priced at $55 per person. Lovebirds looking to spice things up this V-day can choose from options of plah yang nahm jim, slow cooked ahi toro served with coriander and nahm jim sauce, and tom sap, a north eastern hot and sour soup of sloping hills pork, thai basil, tomatoes. Perfect for sharing, main course tastes include: yam nahm, crispy rice and fermented sausage salad curried rice puffs, fermented thai sausage, ginger julienne, coriander; pla tort samun plai, crispy lingcod, served with palm sugar caramel sauce with 8 different fried spices; and two types of curries – geng gati hoi, southern style mussel curry, rich in coconut and turmeric, spicy and aromatic, finished with kaffir lime leaves and zest, or geng gola neua, grilled sirloin curry, southern style curry rich and aromatic, served with pickled ginger. Those feeling a little sweet and salty can choose from a dark chocolate pot de crème, sea salt, tamarind tuilem tamarind semifreddo; or passion fruit rice doughnuts, passionfruit jelly, passion fruit ice cream. Looking to stay in with your sweetheart? Call for take-out. For full menu details, click here. Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Venture to Thailand this New Year’s Eve with a four-course menu of Maenam favourites for $55 per person. Chef Angus An will be offering NYE revellers specialty Thai dishes influenced by the best of Southeast Asia. Guests can expect traditional flavours covering the gamut of hot, sour, salty and sweet, with the option of celebratory savvy pairings and pours of grower champagne from sommelier Brooke Delves. Get the menu and details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | Join chef Angus An and sommelier Brooke Delves on Tuesday, September 27th for a multi-vintage showcase of Schloss Reinhartshausen rieslings and pinot noirs paired with five courses of fresh Thai flavours. Set in Maenam’s intimate dining room, guests are encouraged to reserve tickets early for this single seating event. Dinner begins at 6:30pm and tickets are $75.00/person excluding taxes and gratuity. Details and menu after the jump… Read more
The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit.
The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. From our calendar to yours… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | On Monday, June 20th Maenam’s Angus An will be indulging spot prawn fanatics with a spot prawn season wrap up dinner served with cocktail pairings by local barman Ben DeChamplain. For one night only, the revered Thai hotspot will feature a custom menu of five spot prawn dishes in two courses, served family style, alongside thoughtfully crafted flights of ingredient-focused cocktails. Seating for the 6pm event is limited. Tickets are priced at $75/person. To reserve a table, click here or phone 604-730-5579. Menu and further details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | On Tuesday, May 17th chef Angus An will welcome Cedar Creek winemaker Darryl Brooker and winery President Gordon Fitzpatrick into his Kitsilano hotspot for a preview of Cedar Creek’s much anticipated 2010 aromatics alongside a custom multi-course menu from the Maenam kitchen.
Guests can expect dishes like crispy fish cake salad with sour green mango, cashews, lemongrass, and lime leaf served alongside the youthful fruit forward 2010 Ehrenfelser, a wine yielded from some of the Okanagan’s oldest vines. Cedar Creek will also be previewing their first rose, a vibrant pinot noir based wine with great acidity alongside Maenam’s coconut braised salted beef rib marinated in light soy and served in broth and aromatics. For a full list of wines and dishes to be served please click here.
Set in Maenam’s stylish dining room, guests will have the opportunity of choosing between two seatings at either 6pm or 9pm. Seating is limited and priced at $60/person. To reserve a table, please click here or phone (604) 730-5579. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Maenam
Vancouver, BC | It’s playoff time at Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant, where chef Angus An is offering Canuck takeout dishes for fans hooked on hockey. Cheer the team into the next round with shared, family-style selections from Maenam’s full lunch and dinner takeout menus.
FIRST PERIOD: Get started with tom kaa gai, a creamy hot and sour soup of chicken thighs braised in coconut cream, or pass around tort man gung, wild prawn cakes made with sustainable baja prawns and served with cucumber relish.
SECOND PERIOD: Prepare for the sweet sound of a victorious buzzer with a variety of small plates, including naam, a fried house-fermented thai sausage dressed with garlic, chiles, and Maenam’s house-made sweet chili sauce. Soak up the goods with a side of roti.
THIRD PERIOD: Things heat up in your third and final course with the aromatic and smoky pad phed si krong neaua, beef short ribs braised in coconut cream then stir fried with pad prik king curry paste. For those glued to the screen, there’s always Maenam’s reliable and legendary pad thai (add your own chilies for extra spice). Read more