New Plans aka The New Gala

As anyone that has ever started their own business knows, plans always change. Always. Sometimes for the better and unfortunately, other times for the worse. This is thankfully a time that nearly every change in my plan is an improvement.

As I announced last week, Tressa and I have found a new space. We will be located in Northwest Portland as of May 1st, in a converted house with two kitchens. It is perfect for us, with tons of space for both of our businesses to grow as well as encourage the collaboration we both value so much. We have space for holding intimate dinners and a huge backyard for bigger events. We have wrangled, pruned, rototilled and will soon plant a garden to surround the solid wood picnic tables we built. The wood of the tables and raised beds is a perfect match for the glowing hazelnut shells we laid down. I am going to dig an Imu, a Hawaiian-style roasting pit, for use in events and dinners all year. It will, of course need a Northwestern addition, rain shelter. In our four garden beds, we'll be able to grow much of the food we cook with. We've also got a roof that is accessible and perfectly pitched toward the sun, an ideal place for lying drying mats for herbs, tomatoes and sprouting seeds.

My partnership and on a personal level, friendship with Tressa has been instrumental in my growth. We are both on similar paths with the philosophies that drive our practices in the food world. The move to a new space together solidifies that connection. Salt, Fire & Time and The Ethical Butcher will be under one roof, bringing good, honest, local food to the table and building momentum for change. Forget the labels, it is time for the proof in the proverbial pudding. A sticker only says so much-meet a real farmer, taste ripe strawberries and wild salmon in June, not December and cook at home once in a while. It is all pretty normal stuff when you get down to it. Would someone have eaten this 100 years ago? A "no" is dubious, but not not the end I tried to leave absolutes behind with my vegetarianism. Life is just to bleeping good to waste it killing your body with bad food, but it isn't worth it to hold yourself back from the pleasures of life. The changes don't have to be extravagant or expensive, and the elitism around "sustainable" food does more harm than good. Tressa and I look to be open sources of information and delicious and healthy food that makes no concessions on flavor, ingredients or sourcing.

I am so overjoyed with where this year has taken me. The Ethical Butcher blog has turned into my business, one that will hopefully soon be more than off the ground. I hope to change the discourse into one that is more relaxed, personal and approachable. The dinners have been a great tool for talking with folks about these ideas. The exchanges are always wonderful and I notice on many occasions diners trading cards and numbers after dinner. Farmers and writers sit next to artists and schoolteachers. The conversation is lively and the food and wine keep it going. The new space has potential to be even more dynamic, so I look forward this summer! The dinners have also been a fun way to introduce many of my bacon flavors before they were available for purchase. It has been 4 months of many unexpected hurdles, but I am finally in a space where it is possible!!

As I said in a previous post, The Ethical Butcher Bacon Gospel has a new face for BCN/PDX!

BCN/PDX Fridays is the best way to enjoy the wealth of variety in bacon flavors! It will be a new twist on the bacon-of-the-month club, using only local, heritage meats in a choice of monthly flavors. Folks can sign up for a year, six months or buy on BCN/PDX Lazy Fridays, when extra slabs will be sold on the spot. Doing the project like this helps me buy the best heritage breed meat, as I can buy from the smaller farms that can't sell a few pounds of meat at a time. One pig gives enough belly for 12-15 slabs of my bacon. Having a predictable base of customers to use that amount ensures that waste will not drive my prices higher than I want to. While BCN/PDX Lazy Fridays will be a way to buy without commitment, market prices will reflect the true cost of this product. The savings for members of BCN/PDX Fridays over what I need to charge for retail is considerable. At the $10 per pound for the year membership, specialty cured heritage breed pork, handmade locally is available at for the same or less than the commercially made bacon at natural food stores. The added bonus is that many of the farms I use are too small to sell to stores or restaurants. This is a product that isn't available in any meat department, regardless of price.

Check out the new site at http://theethicalbutcher.com/ for more details!

Now it is time to celebrate both the move and launch of BCN/PDX Fridays! It has been a long time coming and The Ethical Butcher is showing thanks for all the support with a big bacon party!

BCN/PDX Fridays Launch Party will be Friday April 30th. All sorts of tasty vittels and 3 flavors of bacon will be available for tasting. Chat it up with other bacon fans and be the first to join BCN/PDX Fridays! The flavors for the first BCN/PDX will be announced and those who sign up that night will get a very special added bonus!

No reservations needed this time around.
$10 at the door, guests invited to provide their own beverages.

BCN/PDX Fridays Launch Party
April 30th 7pm
609 SE Ankeny St. Unit A

See you there!

And check this out! What an honor! Thanks Grist!!


TADA! and Travels

So the big news is....I'm moving!

No, I am not leaving Portland. Tressa and I are moving to a new space! A space that has the potential to fulfill all of the goals we have set for our respective businesses. I am so grateful for the space I have been using for my dinners, but was having problems getting the kitchen certified for retail sales of meat. This new space is much better suited to meet the strict guidelines of both the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture and the USDA, so I will FINALLY be able to sell my bacon!!

The space is at 1902 NW 24th in Portland, OR. It is a beautiful, big house that has been converted with 2 kitchens, a wine cellar, dining area, backyard complete with raised beds and more. There's space for dinners and classes, which we'll start having several times a week, and lots of room for us to mold and change the space as our businesses grow. Absolute perfection! We'll be putting lots of work into the space in the next few weeks and I can't wait to announce the first event. This summer promises to be more than busy!

I have received emails from folks who are looking for me at the Portland Farmer's Market without success. Though it was my original goal, I decided back in January not to apply for the market. It just didn't feel like the best fit for me right now. There were many reasons for that choice that I won't get into in this forum, but I wanted to wait until I had a plan B before making that announcement. Now that such a plan has been found, I am happy to say that my bacon will be available for sale in mid-May!

Inspired by a customer's recent request for a great birthday present for her husband, I will be selling my bacon through a sort of bacon subscription, BCN/PDX will become more of a "bacon-of-the-month club", if you will. There will be two cycles going, with bacon available on the first and third Fridays of the month. Folks will be able to buy in for the year, 6 months and one month, with obvious savings the longer the commitment. There will be a choice of 2 monthly flavors reflecting what is available seasonally and custom requests will always be taken. Lamb bacon will also be available in season only, which is Spring and Fall. Many of Oregon's wonderful small farms will be represented. Much of the meat I use comes from farms too small to sell to restaurants or stores, so it will truly be a unique experience every time. More information will available in the coming weeks as I settle into the new space and hammer out details. Your wait for specialty cured bacon is almost over!

I am also proud to reveal the dates for my yet-to-be-named tour. Here's the basic itinerary for my travels this year. More details will be forthcoming and there's still room for a few more cities. I'd specifically like to include DC or Durham, NC in October and Atlanta,GA, New Orleans, LA or Memphis,TN in August. All of my projects will be making an appearance, so there's a chance to see it all! If you think there's a place for The Ethical Butcher to add, please send an email!

Reservation info and menus will be available just before each private, ticketed event.

June 11th at Magruder Ranch in Mendocino Valley, CA

Heritage Breed Supper Club - a 6-course dinner featuring Lovers Lane Farm Honey and Magruder Ranch pastured vitellino and wild boar/heritage cross

June 18th at Avedano's Holly Park Market in San Francisco, CA

Fish is Fish for Dinner - a sustainable seafood dinner and lecture

June 24th at Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco, CA

Reading at Spot of T

August 28th at Farmer's Fair in Cincinnati, OH

Sept 23rd – Oct 4th at Wheelbarrow Farm in Sunderland,ON

exact dates TBA-

2 days of pork butchery workshops at Wheelbarrow Farm

2 dinners in Toronto, ON and 1 dinner at Wheelbarrow Farm using heritage pork from butchery workshops.

Oct 8th & 9th at Le Pick Up Depanneur in Montreal, QC

Heritage Breed Supper Club and Bacon a Montreal - 2 dinners featuring heritage pork from TBD farm in Quebec.

October 21st & 22nd at Collect Pond in Brooklyn, NY

Heritage Breed Supper Club and Bacon for Brooklyn - 2 dinners using heritage breed meats from Upstate NY farms.

There are still 2 spaces available for the Icelandic Lamb Butchery!! Reservation info in previous post. This is a very special chance to take the sweetest, most delicious lamb home! Dolce Farms lamb isn't available anywhere else until Fall.


Kids and Lamb Butchery

Haha! Had you thinking of children brandishing boning knives, right? Well, sorry to disappoint, but I am talking about goat!

Next Friday, Tressa and I will be doing a menu featuring Cabrito (young goat) from SuDan Farm, just south of us in Canby. I am ecstatic to share this menu with you! As I am always pushing for more responsible consumption of meat, reducing our dependence on beef as the main red meat is central to that goal. We have to branch out from the American trifecta of Chicken-Beef-Pork. I talk a lot about going back to heritage breeds of those species for many reasons, but trying other meats is helpful too. The more our market demand is spread across local rabbit, venison, goat, ostrich, alligator and other sources for meat, the less we have to depend on the industrial varieties to provide our meat. Who decided that those were the three to go with anyway?

We are a very large country with many ecosystems to provide different sources for food. Here in Oregon, alligator may not be the most local choice; but if you live in Louisiana for instance, it is a much better choice than say, shipping wild salmon from Washington or Alaska. These are the seemingly small decisions that will make huge differences. Though the industrial food system has made it so that we can eat the same foods all around the country at any time of the year, this is not a win-win situation. Going back to regional and local sourcing is what needs to happen. The popularity of farmer's markets shows that people are starting to understand that when it comes to produce. Unfortunately, we are far from the folks making the same choices when it comes to their meat and fish. You want grass-fed beef in Vegas or oysters in Kansas?
Better wonder where it is coming from, but I digress...

This goat dinner may the first taste many will have of this meat, which is strange considering goat is the most commonly eaten red meat in the world. Nutritionally goat surpasses all other meat sources, it has a high protein to fat ratio, due to the goat's natural weight distribution. While most mammals store fat between and inside muscular tissues, nearly all of the fat on a goat is stored in a layer on top of its muscles. Translation: when you remove the skin from a goat, you remove almost all of the fat, resulting in a super lean meat, more tender and lighter in texture than lamb but very similar. Goat is a traditional meat in France, Spain, Latin America, West Indies, Africa and elsewhere. We're just a little late on the jump. It is time to give the goat its dues and rightful place on our menus and kitchen tables.

This whole animal dinner will be a bit more special for me. Not only will I be heading straight to SuDan Farms to pick it up, but I'll be present for the slaughter. Now, I know this isn't something that would get most people very excited, but if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know this is one of those moments I've been waiting for. I am very interested to share my thoughts afterwards in a later post.

Our menu will be themed around West Indian flavors, which makes me long for my Crown Heights days back in Brooklyn. I'll be doing a jerk goat, there will be lots of Rum and beautiful spices throughout this menu. The recent return of the rains has gotten us into a summer-or-bust sort of mood. We are ignoring the clouds and grilling up sunny flavors. The menu is posted below, please, put your reservations behind you, bring an open mind and adventurous friend and join us for CABRITO!!!

Bacon & Papaya over Coconut Braised Greens ---
'Mt.Gay' rum, fresh and crystallized ginger, allspice, clove

Jerk Cabrito with Rice, Housemade Cucumber Pickles, Roti

Fifty Licks Rum and Nutmeg Ice Cream with Chocolate-Honey Cookies

West Indian Cabrito Dinner
$28/person, 2 for $50. Guests invited to provide personal beverages. Reservation info below.
April 9th, 7pm
609 SE Ankeny St, Unit A

I am also very happy to announce another, and last, chance at Icelandic Lamb butchery!
I have reserved Dolce Farm and Orchards' last lamb of the season. This will be a strictly butchery event, very, very limited in size. With a small group of folks, I'll be demonstrating technique for breaking down a whole lamb. Participants will be able to take their portion of the lamb home, but not before choosing from a number of marinade recipes. This is a rare breed of lamb you will not find in stores, by many accounts the best tasting lamb around! I'll be helping folks french, bone and tie their cuts (if you don't know what those things mean now, you will after the class!). Again this group will be extremely small, as in 5 people. Reserve right away if you are interested!

Icelandic Lamb Butchery
$120/person, includes meat to take home and ingredients for marinades. Reserve below.
April 23rd, 6pm
609 SE Ankeny St, Unit A

For reservations for either the West Indian Goat Dinner or Icelandic Lamb Butchery, please click on the link below and enter: theethicalbutcher@gmail.com


On April 19th I'll be helping out with a dinner to benefit FRESH, a new movie screening
April 25th-29th at Hollywood Theater. Many local farms will be represented by their delectable products, prepared by myself and Tressa. The two courses I'll be adding are using meat from Deck Family Farms and Dolce Farm and Orchards and lavender from Lilla Farms.

'Iberian' Bacon over Finocchio con Latte al Forno and Cippolline in Agrodolce
port, fig and anise lamb bacon over milk-braised fennel and balsamic roasted cippolline onions

Lavender Petit Sele with Bitter Greens
lavender salt pork over dandelion, arugula and baby bok choy

609 SE Ankeny St, Unit A
$45/person, includes dinner and voucher to screening.

Last but not least. I can't help but tease. There will be a very, very big announcement coming in a few weeks. Bacon dreams are coming true and all the planning and hoop-jumping is finally coming to fruition! That's all for now....I am the worst bean spiller!