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Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong’s Khao Man Gai

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My final day-and-a-half in Portland centered on three memorable meals: our Paleo Pop-Up Brunch with my co-host (and Bravolebrity cheftestant with the biggest knife), Chef Gregory Gourdet; a gluten-free Asian-inspired pescatarian dinner at Departure; and a down-home meal of chicken and rice at one of my favorite casual joints in the world, Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready to hop in a time machine and travel back to last Saturday?

The cafeteria-style Paleo Pop-Up Brunch at Departure was the highlight of our trip to Portland. Despite being arranged only a week prior to my arrival (really: GG texted me just a week before our trip, and suggested that we host a brunch together), I knew that GG would deliver the goods. Part of the reason my money is on #TeamGG to win Top Chef Boston is because he can totally throw down when it comes to developing and executing a fantastic Paleo menu for a crowd—from scratch, and in no time at all. And he never seems to stress out; I’ve never seen him without a charmingly shy smile on his face.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Me? I was the total slacker in the equation—all I did was show up with a whole bunch of Mini Michelle action figures and an empty belly.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We arrived a few minutes before the brunch began, just as the spread of food was being loaded onto the tables. 

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The Double-Os were all too happy to be the official taste-testers at the front of the line.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The epic brunch menu included a choice of a Bloody Mary or mimosa from the bar…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and a lip-smacking green smoothie (with cocoa nib and goji berry)…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

… eggs baked in avocados topped with bacon vinaigrette…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…collard greens, caramelized onion, and squash quiches (with almond flour crusts!)…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…grilled hanger steak with radish kimchee…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…Thai chicken sausages seasoned with fish sauce…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…blueberry-banana pancakes with ginger, macadamia maple syrup…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and carrot, ginger, and zucchini muffins.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As if that wasn’t enough, there was also sweet potato and roasted chili hash, smoked salmon, copious amounts of bacon, and pickled shrimp. 

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Bananas, right?

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Paleo in Portland: Teote, Ox, Kyra’s Bake Shop, Cultured Caveman

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It’s true: Portland’s become my favorite city outside of San Francisco. That’s why Henry’s birthday gift to me was a getaway to Stumptown to eat and relax with the family. I’ve been to Portland several times before (and eaten my way through the city), but always for scheduled events and appearances. I never felt like I had enough time to soak in the city’s friendly, funky vibe. This trip would be different. My only agenda—other than co-hosting a Paleo Pop-Up brunch at Departure with our pal Chef Gregory Gourdet—was to chillax in PDX with my favorite people on the planet. 

Portland in Pictures by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In just three and a half days’ time, we packed in a ton of dining, shopping, and exploring—and we caught up with some good friends, too. Want to see why Portland has my heart?

As soon as we landed in Portland on Thursday, we followed Terry Crews’s exuberant navigational instructions to Teote Restaurant for an early lunch. Our friend Kyra Bussanich (the award-winning gluten-free cupcake queen and cookbook author!) had texted me her recommendation of this Latin American street food restaurant, so I knew it’d be a home run.

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Famished, the four of us shared a La Cena Grilled Carne—a family-style platter featuring an assortment of grilled meats, cabbage salad, teote salad, fried plantains, bico, and buttered arepas (corn cakes). (Oh, and queso fresco, black beans, and rice, too. Everything was gluten-free, but not strictly Paleo. Vacation, remember?)

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After filling our bellies and checking in to our hotel, we strolled over to Powell’s Books, where each of us got lost in our favorite color-coded zones. While I perused the endless aisles of cookbooks, Henry helped Lil-O search for word puzzle books, and Big-O read up on stop-motion animation.

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Of course, I had to run upstairs and check the Paleo cookbook section. Not surprisingly (for Powell’s), it’s insanely comprehensive. Name just about any Paleo book on the market, and you’ll find it here:

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

(By the way, I was armed with a Sharpie, so if you’re looking for a signed copy of our cookbook, there should be a few left at Powell’s!)

At dinnertime, we met up with GG to share an Argentine meal at Ox Restaurant. We started with a small cup of tomato bisque (a gift from Chef Greg Denton)…

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and followed it up with a chilled seafood sampler (Oregon Bay Shrimp Ceviche, Dungeness Crab Cocktail, Octopus Poke, Scallop Salad “Dynamite,” and Salmon Gravlax Tartare)…

Paleo in Portland: Part 1 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…before diving into platters of local meat, fish, and vegetables that were prepared in their signature wood-fired grill. Henry and I spent all of dinner grilling GG about his experiences on this season’s Top Chef (which premiered tonight!), but all he did was laugh at our questions. I’ll crack him yet.

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Capitola & Santa Cruz Signings!

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We just got home from Portland, where yesterday’s sold-out pop-up brunch at Departure was a smash, thanks to (Top) Chef Gregory Gourdet and his incredible crew. Next weekend: Capitola and Santa Cruz, California!

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Tell your friends: Arsy Vartanian of Rubies & Radishes and I will be hanging out with you at the Whole Foods Markets in Capitola and Santa Cruz this Saturday, October 18!

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You know that Whole Foods Northern California is all about Paleo these days, right? At each store, Arsy and I will be spending quality time with you: we’ll do a Q&A, scribble anything you want in your cookbooks, and serve up tasty Paleo nibbles. I’ll even bring some Nom Nom Paleo swag(!) to give away to a few lucky attendees! But In order to make sure we have enough samples for everyone, pretty-please-with-bacon-on-top RSVP to the Capitola event here and the Santa Cruz event here.

This is my last planned appearance for a good long while, so I hope to see you there!


Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).

Weeknight Roast Chicken

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Weeknight Roast Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who says chicken-roasting is strictly a weekend affair? Survey says…NOBODY—especially with this simple and satisfying Weeknight Roast Chicken recipe. It comes straight out of the newest cookbook from the food nerds at America’s Test Kitchen, The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book: The Game-Changing Guide that Teaches You How to Cook Meat and Poultry with 425 Bulletproof Recipes.

Weeknight Roast Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This carnivore-pleasing tome isn’t the first ATK book in my collection. Over the years, I’ve amassed over 30 of their books. (I’ve lost count, actually.) I don’t like to think of myself as a hoarder; I just can’t resist the lure of guaranteed-awesome recipes that have been tested dozens of times. The crew at ATK’s done all the tweaking and testing so that you and I can follow their recipes knowing that even dummies like us can’t screw things up too badly.

Weeknight Roast Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

ATK’s dishes are always solid, but its recipe for Weeknight Roast Chicken is a real game-changer. No fancy ingredients or techniques are needed; just grab a whole chicken, salt, pepper, some fat, a piece of string, and a meat thermometer, and PRESTO-CHANGE-O!—in less than 5 minutes, the chicken’ll be ready for the oven. Best of all, The Meat Book reveals the secret to moist chicken: Turn off the oven midway through the cooking time.

Weeknight Roast Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’ve tried it. It works. It’s genius.

Ingredients for the Chicken (serves 4):

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3½- to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 tablespoon melted ghee (or fat of choice)

For the Optional Tarragon-Lemon Pan Sauce:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or bone broth
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or cold ghee)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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Forky Friday: 10/3/14

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Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Loyal Nomsters: your weekly dose of Friday forkiness is here! Today, I’m announcing a fast-approaching appearance in Portlandia, previewing our long-awaited iPad app update, crushing on Paleo on TV, and offering other tempting goodies! Let’s hop to it, shall we?

See You In Portland!

Want to join me and Chef Gregory Gourdet at Departure Restaurant + Lounge for our special Nom Nom Paleo Pop-Up Brunch next Saturday, October 11th? Yeah, I know this is super-short notice, but GG and I just came up with this plan last night, and finalized the details in the past few hours! 

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I can’t tell you how much I love GG—he’s humble, crazy-talented, and generous both in spirit and time. The guy works around-the-clock, and still manages to hang with us and the kids every time we pop into town. I was not at all surprised that he’s going to be on the upcoming season of Top Chef Boston. Our entire family is 100% pushing for #TeamGG for the win.

I swear: we’re probably going to make T-shirts and host viewing parties.

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Earlier this year, GG hosted a one-of-a-kind Paleo dinner at Departure to celebrate the launch of my cookbook. It was over-the-top incredible—check out the video and photos below if you don’t believe me—and I know this brunch will be no different.

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

So here’s the deal: If you’re in PDX on Saturday, October 11th (JUST ONE WEEK AWAY!) and want to meet up with us to chow on award-winning Paleo-friendly fare prepared by Top Chef Boston’s butt-kickingest contestant at one of the swankiest rooftop restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, you better RSVP! (We won’t be selling our book at the event, but please feel free to bring your copy if you want it signed by me, Henry, and the kids!)

The Nom Nom Paleo Pop-Up Brunch is happening from 10 am to noon, and the menu ($50 a head) will include:

  • Carrot,Ginger, Zucchini Muffin
  • Smoked Salmon, Citrus, Japanese Chili
  • Egg Baked in Avocado, Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Sweet Potato & Roasted Chili Hash
  • Collard Greens, Caramelized Onion & Squash Quiche
  • Grilled Hanger Steak, Radish Kimchee
  • Fish Sauce Chicken Sausage Patties
  • Blueberry-Banana Pancakes, Ginger, Macadamia, Maple Syrup
  • Green Smoothie, Cocoa Nib and Gogi Berry
  • A Mimosa or drink from the Bloody Mary bar

Plus, everyone who attends gets a free limited edition Mini Michelle vinyl action figure, complete with teeny-tiny cooking accessories!

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

What are you waiting for? Call (503) 802-5370 and reserve a seat! (Note: to secure your spot, please make sure you’re making your reservation by phone and not online.) Seats are limited, and believe me: you don’t want to miss this!

Android Users: Avert Your Eyes

Psst…Nom Nom Paleo iPad app users! When Apple rolled out iOS 8 a week ago, our Webby award-winning app kind of crapped out. It didn’t play nicely with iOS 8, and crashed every time the “Home” or ”Back” buttons were pressed.

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not good.

But now, I’m thrilled (mostly relieved, actually) to announce that our developers have fixed all the glitches and bugs, and a new iOS 8-friendly update is now available in the App Store! Download or update the app by visiting the App Store. And if you enjoy it, please rate and review it—your feedback makes a tremendous impact! 

Also, keep your eyes peeled for a super groovy design update later this year. Here’s a sneak peek at the new layout:

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 10/3/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We’re in love with the new user interface and can’t wait to release it to you guys in a few months—along with new recipes and functionality!

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