This week chef/owner Andy Rickner takes us behind the kitchen door at Pok Pok, a street stand that ended up being named The Oregonian's 2007 Restaurant of the Year. We'll hear the story of how one guy from Portland ended up making food the native Thais rave about.
It's Tex-Czech kolache for Jane and Michael Stern at Village Bakery in the little town of West, Texas. Joshua Wesson has smooth wines for rough times, then R. B. Quinn, co-author of Cheater BBQ, gives us a good reason to haul the Crock-Pot from the back of the cupboard. Carla Seidl tells of being a lunch guest in Azerbaijan, and artist Noah Kirby fills us in on the "Meat Meet Metal: Art Cooker III" exhibition at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis.
In the Texas hill country north of Austin and Waco is the little town of West. Settled years ago by Eastern Europeans, their influence lingers today in some of the regional food specialties you'll find here. One is kolache, the doughy, sweet, Czech breakfast treat that resembles a Danish but is more elegant. The ones baked at the Village Bakery are yeasty and ultra fresh-tasting, with extra goodies like poppy seed, prune and fruit fillings. The bakery's secret method (not preservatives) guarantees they'll stay fresh for several days. Not to be missed, though, is the sausage and jalapeño-filled one. This is Texas, after all.
Village Bakery 113 East Oak Street West, Texas 254-826-5151
Let's face it. These are difficult times and folks are tightening their belts and looking for ways to save. We knew our wine wizard, Joshua Wesson, would have ideas for good sips for little money up his sleeve.
Feudo Monaci Primitivo 2006: A medium-bodied, fruity red from Italy's Puglia region. Put a slight chill on with 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator then sip with food or without. About $10.
Quinta de Pancas Parrotes 2006: A fun-to-drink red from Portugal to enjoy with food for the near and long term. And it works with fish as well as meat. Josh says buy it by the case. About $9.
Columbia Crest Two Vines Sauvignon Blanc 2007: From one of Washington state's big producers that deliver extra value and deliciousness. About $8.
Gran Sarao Brut NV and Grand Sarao Rosé NV: Sparkling Cavas from Spain, these are high value, high impact fun sips. About $10.
"Meat Meet Metal: Art Cooker III" Exhibition
The "Meat Meet Metal: Art Cooker III exhibition is currently on display at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. Sponsored by Southern Steel, the exhibit features sculptural cookers made by artists from across the United States.
From the "High Temperature Tanning Booth" that gives a chicken a crispy brown skin to "The Whistling Pig" that makes music while it roasts a whole pig, the zanily creative cookers in this exhibit are great fun. An exhibition cookbook is available at the Museum Store.