Food Lover's Guide to Portland by Liz Crain

Food Lover's Guide to PortlandWhen I moved to Portland in the mid-1990s, Portland was pretty much a backwater town. Property values were low, the farmers market had just barely gotten off the ground and there was not much in the way of good coffee to speak of. Contrast that sad state of affairs with today...now Portland is so trendy the New York Times can't stop talking about us. (Sorry, Seattle). So what happened? A lot of things, including the fact that many, many people from New York and the East Coast moved to Portland for its low property values and quality of life. But I digress. Things have changed considerably in 15+ years, and one of the many things that is putting Portland, Oregon on the map these days is its food scene. From restaurants like Castagna, Le Pigeon (don't pronounce it as if it's French) and Beast, to microbrewed beer to coffee, Portland is now known nationally and internationally as an epicenter of all things good food.

So along comes someone to put the various pieces together for all of us in on place, and - voila! - we have Food Lover's Guide to Portland. In this book, Liz Crain has compiled an astoundingly comprehensive guide to Portland food. And it's not just about restaurants, though they are certainly a core part of what she covers in this book. There's a 'cheese' category, a 'seafood' category, a 'tea' category and literally dozens of other things that I found myself totally engrossed in learning all about. Crain has unearthed numerous gems in the nooks and crannies of Portland and the surrounding area, cool things that I've never heard of and I thought I knew Portland. Like Lulu's Chocolates and Fiji Emporium.

So among its many virtues, what's great about this book is this: if you're new to Portland or curious about the scene, this is a fantastic resource. If you've lived here forever or are a Portland native, this book is for you too -  because you're gonna find out about things you've never heard of. The bottom line is that this book reflects the comprehensive knowledge and curiosity of its author, a Portland food writer who dabbles in such diverse pursuits as fermentation, canning and cooking on sailboats. Let Liz Crain take you along on her Portland food adventure! (You can also follow Liz on her blog here).

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Food Lover's Guide to Portland Sasquatch Press 256 pages, $17.95, paperback

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Liz Crain is selling autographed copies directly from her website: click here for details. Makes a great gift!

The Guide to West Coast Cheese by Sasha Davies

The Guide to West Coast CheeseIn the rapidly expanding genre known as 'cheese books', you've got a lot of choices these days, and the numbers are growing. Clearly cheese is something more and more people are interested in learning about and reading about. But with so many choices, where to start? I'm recommending that you start here, with The Guide to West Coast Cheese by Sasha Davies. Just released by Timber Press, this book is a comprehensive, in-depth guide to the regional cheeses we've all grown to love.

Davies is a veteran of the caves at Murray's and Artisanal in New York as well as the mastermind, along with husband Michael Claypool, of Cheese By Hand, a grand cheese road trip across the US visiting and interviewing cheesemakers along the way, in their native habitats. They turned the interviews into podcasts (available on the Cheese by Hand website or on iTunes) which are invaluable snapshots of the artisan cheesemaking industry in the US.

That's all a long way of saying that the author knows her stuff. So here's the nuts and bolts of the book: organized alphabetically, Davies walks readers through each individual cheese made on the West Coast, starting at Acapella made by Soyoung Scanlan at Andante Dairy in Northern California all the way to Yaquina Bay Pavé made by Pat Morford of Rivers Edge Chévre in Oregon. Each entry describes a bit about the evolution of the particular cheese, explains the flavor profile in depth as well as providing other helpful information like potential wine pairings and similar cheeses for further exploration. Davies' depth of experience and sharply honed palate bring these cheeses to life. If cheese is your candy, then this book is the key to the candy store.

Great guidebooks are fabulous companions; they explain the unexplained and put all of your unanswered questions to rest. If your questions tend to revolve around issues like rind development or goat's milk gouda, or perhaps the ins and outs of West Coast cheddars - or  if you just love great artisan-made cheese and want to learn more about it - then this, my friends, is the book for you.

*Note: Sasha is a friend and colleague in the cheese world so feel free to take my objectivity for what you feel it's worth. Either way, I think this is a great book.

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The Guide to West Coast Cheese: More than 300 Cheeses Handcrafted in California, Oregon, and Washington by Sasha Davies Timber Press 224 pages  $18.95  paperback

Interview: Gianaclis Caldwell, Author of The Farmstead Creamery Advisor

Gianaclis CaldwellGianaclis Caldwell's recent book, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, is a guide to starting and maintaining a cheesemaking business. It's the missing manual that every aspiring cheesemaker has been looking for....a guide that literally walks you through the process of starting from square one. But it's not only a how-to guide: one of the things I like most about this book is that she's up front about the many challenges inherent in the startup process. Her "10 questions for Aspiring Cheesemakers" gives you some idea of her humorous but very realistic take on the artisan cheesemaking business. Because a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right?! Gianaclis took some time out of her busy schedule at Pholia Farm in Southern Oregon to answer a few questions about her book and about the business of making cheese.

You've got plenty going on between taking care of your goats and making cheese. What made you want to write a book about it?

Well, I think one of the traits that makes for a successful farmer of any type is a certain amount of masochism...and I mean that in the most wholesome sense! But seriously, you have to be drawn to a high level of pressure, both mental and physical, to go into this type of work. And for me there is also a desire to have a new project, a new area to explore, and a new frontier to pursue. It was so difficult for us to find resources that would help us design and build our dairy and creamery and then after it was done we were constantly answering questions from others who were interested  in doing the same thing. I had always wanted to write, and the idea of writing something  practical that would help others was very appealing. Since it also ties into our business, it was easier to rationalize the time (and get support from the rest of the family!) than it would have been had I wanted to write something else - like fiction.
So many people are interested in making cheese for profit these days. Why do you think this is the case? What's the attraction?
I think a combination of factors (or maybe planets!) have aligned at this time in our culinary history that make cheesemaking so appealing. First the desire to reconnect with food - its production, its cultural history and its quality - and the renewed interest in self sufficiency have drawn people back to the animals, the land, and cottage industry.  It is truly wonderful to be a part of this revolution!
What resources were available to help you out when you were starting out? Did you have to learn by doing or were there places to go/look for help?
There were not many resources - at least consolidated ones that didn't involve some other cheesemaker taking time out of their busy lives to give us advice. Luckily a few did allow us to visit and learn. But we still made a lot of mistakes and have had to learn the hard way - hopefully that is mostly over!

Now that Pholia Farm is an established creamery, what are your biggest challenges going forward?

One of the challenges that I would not have foreseen is holding up physically to the job.  It is demanding and for some reason, every year we keep getting a bit less capable in that regard! Plus you start realizing that you can't push yourself to the physical limit as often and recover as quickly. So I guess the plan would be to have some help eventually, but being people who would rather do it all ourselves, that will be a personal/mental challenge to overcome.

Do you think the local/artisan cheese movement has peaked (either locally or nationally) or is the growth sustainable long term?

It sure doesn't seem to be anywhere close to peaking. What seems to be happening, in addition to the constant inflow of new cheesemakers, is the continued improvement of quality in the cheeses produced by existing and new cheesemakers.  I think the pressure from new cheesemakers is helping to inspire this. What SHOULD happen, is a absorption of the movement into our culture - so instead of it being seen as a movement or trend- I think that artisanal cheesemaking will become a cultural mainstay - wouldn't that be nice?

If there was one message you could give to aspiring cheesemakers wanting to start a farm-based cheese business, what would it be?

The one thing I would like them to be able to do is to see beyond the romantic, idealistic vision and understand the reality a bit better before committing their future (and their funds) to the choice.

(note: See my review of The Farmstead Creamery Advisor here.)

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The Farmstead Creamery Advisor 504 by Gianaclis Caldwell Chelsea Green $29.95  256 pages  paperback

Interview: Roger Bass of Madison Market in Seattle

photo of Roger Bass courtesy Madison Market

 

Madison Market is one of Seattle's great food stores. Located at the crest of Capitol Hill, its shiny and well-stocked store represents a dramatic evolution from the co-op's humble beginnings on 12th and Denny (where I was once a member!). I don't recall Central Co-op having a great cheese selection back in the 1980s, but that's all changed. Today at Madison Market you'll find one of the best selections of local cheese in Seattle. Cheesemonger Roger Bass is the mastermind behind all of those lovely, carefully cared for dairy gems and in honor of Madison Market's upcoming Cascadia Cheese Festival (see below) I took some time to chat with Roger about how and why he does what he does.

Cascadia Cheese Festival July 24th 11am-3pm Madison Market, 16th and Madison in Seattle Free!

On July 24th from 11-4pm, Roger and the crew will welcome cheesemakers from Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheese, Larkhaven Farm, Kurtwood Farms and others as well as sample cheeses from around the region. I will be there as well signing copies of my book, Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest. Come sample, meet cheesemakers and immerse yourself in local cheese! And it's all free!

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Roger, you're originally from Wisconsin...how did growing up in the Cheese Heartland of the US influence your later career choice?

I grew up in Wisconsin at a time when you were more likely to find Velveeta or government cheddar in one's refrigerator. My dad would often take us ice fishing with a big thermos filled with a soup made from Velveeta, chicken stock and cauliflower. I remember loving it as a kid; I'm not sure how I'd react to such a concoction now. Oddly enough, my first experience selling cheese was for our yearly Boy Scout fund raiser.  There were three choices; Brick, Colby or Cheddar. Colby was my favorite and best seller.

Tell us how you became a cheesemonger. You started at DeLaurenti's in Seattle, is that right?

I stumbled upon cheese when I worked at DeLaurenti's 9 years ago and I haven't looked back. I loved working at DeLaurenti's, the selection of cheese they have is amazing. Being a fledgling foodie it was a big challenge to learn all of the cheeses they carried. Learning their names, pronunciation, milk type, flavor profiles and what they would pair with was challenging. Connie Rizzo, the cheese buyer, was a wealth of information and I bugged her constantly. I filled my head with as much stuff that would fit; working at DeLaurenti's was like a cheese university.

I've been at Central Co-op's Madison Market for 6 years. Here at the Co-op I got a crash course in clean, sustainable and local foods. It's pretty cool to work for a place that lets me follow my passions. For instance when I came up with the idea for the Cascadia Cheese Festival, the Co-op got behind me to make it a reality.

With so many great local cheeses out there, how do you choose which to feature and sell? What are some of your current favorites?

Right now one of my favorites is Dinah's Cheese from Kurtwood Farms; Kurt drops off his cheese every Wednesday and it's always in perfect shape. I have a huge crush on Pat Morford from Rivers Edge Chevre, her cheeses like Sunset Bay, Astraea and Cape Foulweather are great examples of how a talented she is. Not only do they taste amazing they are also gorgeous to look at. I just got Kelli Estrella's Brewleggio the other day and it made my knees weak. At room temperature it almost melted in my mouth. We are really lucky to live in the Northwest, the cheese being made here is some of the best examples of American artisan cheeses.

What sorts of cheeses do people like to buy at Central Co-op? Do you find that their consumption tends towards certain styles or types of cheeses?

We are a grocery store so most of the time people stop in to get the basics. I try to have the best quality Parmagiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere, Swiss and Feta at the lowest prices on Capitol Hill.  More and more our customers are asking for local cheeses. I have fans of anything made from raw milk or from goat or sheep milk. There are the customers that are only looking for something new. Of course there are others that have their favorites that they pick up every week. It's a mixed bag really.

Our customers shop at Central Co-op because they believe in supporting local and sustainable agriculture. I try not to disappoint them by carrying as many NW cheeses as I can find.

What are the hardest and most fun parts of being a cheesemonger? I love to sell cheese. By far the best part of my job is getting someone excited about buying cheese. Buying cheese can be intimidating so I love to sample and tell the story.  Also, it feels really good when a customer will pull me aside to thank me for helping them with a selection of cheese I had help pick out. I also love turning vegans to non-vegans, I only have two vegan co-workers left to convert.

The hardest part of my job is selling soy "cheese," although I refuse it put it in the specialty cheese case. I still get customers asking about what soy "cheese" melts the best.

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese, Eric Lemayhere's a cheese book that's also great summer reading material... There's lots of cheese books out there these days. You know which ones I mean - the exhaustive guides to this, that and the cheeses of the world. Like me, you may even have a few on your shelf. But when do we read these books? Don't get me wrong, I love these books for what they are (especially the one I wrote, of course). But I'm excited to see the 'cheese' genre expanding in new ways... and toward that end, we now have the adventurous new Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay.

At its essence, the book chronicles LeMay and girlfriend/sidekick "Chuck" and their growing fascination with cheese, an obsession that leads the pair to try out a local cheese shop Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass.. From there they are taken in, and their world expands: soon enough they're gallivanting to Twig Farm in Vermont, later traveling to the Comte caves in France and then climbing Mont d'Or (of course, after having eaten Vacherin Mont d'Or).

On the surface, Eric and Chuck are thrilled by cheese, plain and simple. What's riveting about this book is that they take that enthusiasm to the next level by fully living the fantasy - traveling to the source of the cheese itself, be it Vermont or France or Italy to try - no, experience - cheese in its natural element. You've had Roquefort cheese, but have you had it in Roquefort? And what does it mean to do that?

LeMay chronicles this whole romp with expertly crafted observations and self deprecating humor. Geeks will appreciate his detours into such issues as the meaning of 'cheesy' (as in campy), or how you can compare the experience of eating cheese to reading a novel by Danielle Steele. And while he insists that he and Chuck are just cheese 'enthusiasts' its clear that by the end of the book, they have transported themselves by sheer force of will into experts. Follow along and you'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll learn a lot about cheese.

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Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay Simon and Schuster $22  256 pages  hardcover

Find more on the Immortal Milk website here.

First Look: Calf & Kid in Seattle

Sheri LaVigne, Calf & Kid SeattleThis past weekend I had a chance to visit Seattle's newest cheese shop, Calf & Kid. It's located in the shiny new Melrose Market space on Capitol Hill, around the corner from Bauhaus Coffee on Pine St. Sheri LaVigne, proprietress and self described 'cheese vixen' has been open for business for just three weeks. While the road to opening a shop was not without its challenges (chronicled on her blog here), the realization of all of that hard work has been sweet. (See my prior interview with Sheri here). She's got a great selection of international and domestic cheeses that are certain to please a wide range of palates from cheese novices to experts - and the customers are already streaming in. Her collection also includes a depth chart of Northwest locals like Black Sheep Creamery, Tumalo Farms, Golden Glen Creamery and an especially impressive range of cheeses from tiny Gothberg Farms in Bow, WA. In addition to cheese, she's carrying marcona almonds, mustards, chocolates, bread from Macrina Bakery and other associated, equally tempting goodies.

Melrose Market is still in the construction phase, but look for more shops opening in the next few months. This space is exciting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it's an open market space where shoppers can browse and mingle amongst all of the vendor offerings (think a smaller scale Ferry Plaza in San Francisco). In addition to Calf & Kid, there's a few other shops already open, including Rain Shadow Meats and Marigold & Mint (a flower shop that's associated with an organic farm outside Seattle). Others coming soon: a wine bar, a sandwich spot and the newest incarnation of Sitka & Spruce, Matt Dillon's iconic restaurant, which will evolve here into a much bigger and splashier space than its previous spot on Eastlake.

Calf & Kid Seattle

 

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Calf & Kid 1531 Melrose Ave. Seattle, WA  98122

Hours:

Tues - Sat  11am-7pm Sunday 12-6

The Farmstead Creamery Advisor by Gianaclis Caldwell

The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, Gianaclis CaldwellEvery once in awhile a book comes along that is so timely, so needed, so... right... that you just have to pause in wonder and appreciation. This is one of those books.

With the rapid growth of the artisan cheesemaking industry and the availability of really, really good local cheese, many are ready to take the step of making their own cheese. And while some people are content to play with making cheese in their kitchen or with their kids, or both, others are taking the cheesemaking idea a step farther - they want to make cheese their livelihood.

I get a lot of questions from enthusiastic folks who are looking to do this. Until now, there was not much I could tell them about how to get started except - talk to a lot of other cheesemakers, go to cheese conferences and educational events and so on. And while that stuff is still true, now we have a roadmap. The Farmstead Creamery Advisor is a comprehensive guide to starting a farm-based cheesemaking business. Hallelujah!

Author Gianaclis Caldwell has been making cheese for years. She started Pholia Farm in Southern Oregon with husband Vern and daughter Amelia several years ago; now they're known nationally for their great cheeses, crafted from the milk of their herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats. I mention this background to emphasize that she knows what she's talking about; the Caldwells built their cheesemaking plant from the ground up and are very familiar with the ins and outs (not to mention the ups and downs) of the entire process.

Caldwell does not shy away from both the joys or the hardships of making cheese; her honesty about the entire process is engaging and refreshing. She covers everything - and I do mean everything - from the business end (financing and business plans) to permitting to equipment, sanitation and floor plans. The book is loaded with stories and anecdotes from cheesemakers across the country so in effect, it's like having a conversation with all of them. You'll learn about the million things you hadn't thought of about the process as well as glean ideas for doing it your own way.

If you are thinking of starting a cheesemaking business - even if you are just fantasizing about it -  you need this book. And while the book may serve as a catalyst to success or a much needed reality check, either way, I think this book will have served its purpose.

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The Farmstead Creamery Advisor: The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business by Gianaclis Caldwell Chelsea Green $29.95  256 pages  paperback

Six Questions for Sheri LaVigne of The Calf & Kid in Seattle

Calf&Kid+logo+final_small

After months and months of hard work and planning, Sheri LaVigne will be opening Seattle's newest cheese shop, The Calf and Kid, on April 23rd - that's just 10 days from now!  [update - now open!] She was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her frantically busy day to chat about her plans for the shop...read on.

So how did you get the idea to start a cheese shop -  and find the guts to actually go through with the idea?

My husband and I moved to Seattle from Brooklyn in 2005 and we really missed our neighborhood cheese shop, Bedford Cheese.  We attended the Seattle Cheese Festival in 2006 and I was astounded by all the amazing cheeses being produced in the Pacific Northwest.  I went home thinking - awesome, now we just have to find our cheese shop! - and I was pretty shocked to find that there weren't any stand alone cheese shops in the Capitol Hill area. It was later, over wine and about $100 worth of amazing cheese back in our old 'hood in Brooklyn that it really hit home how much I missed that quality of life element in our new city, Seattle, and I thought since no one else seems to be opening a cheese shop, why don't I make it happen?

I spent over a year mulling it over, researching small businesses and talking with cheesemongers around the country.  Once I made that decision the whole project started to take on a life of its own; it was clear that I had hit on something Seattle desperately needed and wanted. My investors are a true testament to this; I put out a call for funding once I finally got the big "no" from the SBA, and within two weeks I had 3 amazing people willing and ready to help me make my dream come true.

Besides cheese, what else do you plan to carry in the shop?

I'll be carrying fresh bread from Macrina Bakery and an assortment of typical cheese accompaniments like olives, gourmet crackers, jams, chocolate, etc.  I will also be selling some of my favorite books about cheese and Culture Magazine. Right next to me will be Homegrown Sandwiches (their second shop).  They will have a rotating sandwich featuring cheese from Calf & Kid.  On the other side of me will be a wine bar so I don't need to sell alcohol....It's wonderful to have these neighbors in the Marketplace because I can really concentrate on the cheese.

Given that Seattle is such a food town, why do you think there are so few cheese shops? We know people like cheese, so what's the deal?

I think it's a combination of a few things.  First off, a lot of people simply don't know what they're missing because dedicated cheese shops aren't prevalent in the city.  We know they love the cheese counters at shops like Metropolitan Market and DeLaurenti's, and those places have paved the way for me to present an experience that is similar to what they already know and love, but also so much more than what they are used to. Secondly, I think it's easy for people to be intimidated by cheese, but it's also very easy to alleviate that by offering a fun, easy-going atmosphere.  And nothing cuts the ice better than a delicious sample of good cheese!

Can you talk about your approach to selling cheese?

My approach is based entirely on my experience as a customer in my favorite cheese shops: I like shops that are friendly, casual, and very educational and I plan to give my customers that same experience.  I'm one of those kooky people who actually loves customer service - I get so jazzed when I talk about cheese, and that energy is very contagious.  Nothing makes me happier than watching someone's face light up when they taste an amazing cheese, and people love to hear the background information of where and how cheeses are made.  I want every person to walk away with cheese they are excited about and a great story to tell.

The Melrose development seems like a great location. What other shops/restaurants are going in around you?

The Melrose Market is really a group of amazing group of people.  Matt Dillon is moving Sitka & Spruce from Eastlake into a large restaurant space, and I could not be more excited about working with him.  Matt is also working with some other folks to open a raw oyster bar and wine bar, both of which will happen sometime in the summer. Marigold & Mint is currently open selling organic flowers and some fresh veggies as the season progresses.  Across from my space is Rain Shadow Meats, offering all local, sustainably raised fresh meat, and a selection of charcuterie.  The owner, Russ Flint, has built his own aging room right in the space with windows where you can look in to see the salamis and etc.  I am so happy to have him in the space.  And then there is Homegrown Sandwiches, as I mentioned earlier. We often joke that the only thing we need is a bakery and we're all set.

What are your three favorite cheeses of the moment + why?

Of course this changes pretty regularly, but right now I am in LOVE with Rivers Edge Chevre's Humbug Mountain, it is so sloppy and gooey and makes me shudder a little when I eat it. I am also loving L'ulivo, a sheep's milk cheese from Italy.  It's wrapped in olive leaves and is oddly shaped like a giant wad of gum, but it is delightfully creamy and aromatic.  And I can't get enough of Gothberg Farms fresh chevre - it's simple, light, sweet, and reminds me very much of the fresh chevre I grew up eating.

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Calf and Kid
1531 Melrose Ave.
Suite C2
Seattle, WA  98122

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge by Gordon Edgar

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, Gordon EdgarFor many, the world of cheese seems an idealized place where happy dairy animals roam in perpetually verdant pastures and cheese is made, sold and eaten in lovely sunny settings that evoke European villages of yore. Or perhaps those ARE European villages of yore. And the belief seems to be that if you can find a way to get 'in' with that world, well, then you're set for life.

Fact is, for the most part the cheese industry is a subculture much like any other. Egos clash, businesses fall over one another to compete in the marketplace, cheesemongers sift their way through the good and bad cheeses of the world and customers berate workers with their infinite misguided notions. This, my friends, is the real world Gordon Edgar lets you in on in his book Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. And I think the cheese industry is the better for his unretouched accounting....because ultimately utopia is more a state of mind than reality.

Edgar is not shy about relating how he got into cheese retail - on a bluff - but a cheesemonger's job description, a combination of serious technical knowledge along with people skills seems to suit him well. His self described punk/anarchist background lends a frank, unapologetic tone to this book, which is precisely its appeal - he's all about bringing cheese to the people. Edgar's forthrightness knocks Cheese (with a capital 'C') off of its pastoral pedestal and shows that it's actually something more complex, mysterious and messy - and thus MUCH more compelling than you may have ever thought.

Cheesemonger is part memoir, part day in the life, and part cheese primer. For geeks, there's plenty of in-depth discussions about cheese and dairy issues like raw milk and rGBH....but for the adventure-inclined, Edgar's also got juicy stories about maggoty brie, slimy distributors and customers using him as a facilitator of romance (among other things). I think the best part of this book, for me, is that Gordon Edgar clearly loves what he's doing and, in turn, loves to talk about it. That's the recipe for a riveting 'life on the wedge.'

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge by Gordon Edgar Chelsea Green Publishing; 256 pages $17.95 paperback

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upcoming local signing events:

Gordon Edgar will be signing books at the Oregon Cheese Festival in Central Point, OR on March 20th and appearing at Reading Frenzy in Portland on Sunday March 21st at 7pm (free beer!). Also look for him at the Seattle Cheese Festival May 15-16th.

First Look: Cheese Bar

Cheese Bar Portland ORSteve Jones' latest venture, Cheese Bar, is open for business! After closing his well loved NW Portland shop, Steve's Cheese, just a few weeks ago, Steve is back at it in new and improved fashion. Cheese Bar is located at SE 61st and Belmont (map here) and still has all of the great cheese and food goodies you've come to expect from Steve.....now with the added plus of a cafe, including a selection of small plates such as sandwiches, soups and salads, charcuterie from Olympic Provisions and, perhaps most importantly, wine and beer (liquor license secured as of yesterday). The space is friendly and inviting and looks like it will be a great spot to enjoy small bites, cheese plates and beer in an unassuming, relaxing environment.

Cheese Bar Portland OR

update: Here's a review on new Portland blog Beer + Cheese -More on the concept behind Cheese Bar from The Oregonian here -review by Portland food blogger extramsg here

Cheese Bar 6031 SE Belmont Portland, Oregon 503-222-6014 open 10am - 11pm