If I could sit and talk with one person working in food today, it would be Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats. There are so many inspirational chefs, cooks, authors, and bloggers working today one needs wings to keep on top of all the trends and opinions available, but through it all, Mr. Lopez-Alt speaks directly to me. Recipe suggestions from numerous sources all color my food world, but Serious Eats is my go – to.
- Milwaukie Farmers’ Market
- Cash & Carry
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Penzey’s Spices
- Sheridan Fruit Company
- Fred Meyer of Oak Grove
Milwaukie Farmers’ Market
Yes, I believe in buying locally whenever possible, but I’m not dogmatic about it. Having raised chickens and sold eggs, I have some idea how freakin’ impossible it is to actually make money with small-scale agriculture. But, that being said, if somebody at the market is charging exorbitant prices coupled with outlandish claims, sorry, I’m not buying.
Cash & Carry
I love Cash & Carry. Before you get all “what? They sell ghetto-quality food,” let me ask,” have you eaten at a smaller restaurant or food cart?” If yes then you have consumed stuff bought at Cash & Carry. C & C fills the niche for businesses too small for Sysco and too big for Costco. One of the reasons I enjoy C & C is bumping into food biz people whilst shopping there. Now that we again have a chest freezer I buy nearly all pork and beef from C & C.
Bob’s Red Mill
Yes, I am most fortunate to live 3.3 miles from the world headquarters of Bob’s Red Mill. All of our grains, most of our beans, and all of our flours come from Bob’s. Years ago during a Portland visit, we made the pilgrimage down to the mill. I was perusing the shelves when Annette said, “Hey look, it’s Bob.” Following her gaze, I saw what I assumed to be a life-size cardboard cutout of Bob, looking exactly as he appeared on every package on every shelf. Imagine my surprise when he started talking!
I don’t know if it’s just marketing, but I like their spices, and I really like their stores. I buy large-volume staple spices from Cash & Carry (McCormick Culinary… you see it in restaurant kitchens everywhere), but I get all my specialty, small-volume, stuff (except salt) from Penzey’s. I’m particularly fond of several of their blends, my two current favorites being Northwoods Fire and Tuscan Sunset.
Sheridan Fruit Company
Most reliable source of Bavette Steak. The meat counter at Sheridan is old-school, and I gladly make special trips there once a month or so to stock up plus their sausage selection is staggering. Bavette, bearing the unfortunate official name of “sirloin butt flap meat,” is a magnificent cut and currently my preference behind New York Strip. Cash & Carry has this cut on their website, but no longer carry it in stores. Yes, I’ve called all in the Portland area. Do let me know if you would like to split a box.
The crystal palace of food. Photo-quality vegetables, live tanks with all manner of exotic fish/crustaceans, top-quality, sushi-grade tuna. More bottled sauces than one thought possible. $450 rice cookers. I come here for the seafood, rice, sake, miso, and Red Boat fish sauce.
Fred Meyer (of Oak Grove)
My local supermarket. Recently renovated/upgraded it’s where I shop for dinner almost every day. In winter nearly all our vegetables (except for kale and poblano peppers) come from Fred Meyer.