Nom Nom Paleo

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop (8/24/12)

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With limited time in Portland, I knew I had to start working my way through my gastronomic to-do list before the International Food Bloggers Conference began in earnest. 

First thing in the morning, Cheryl and I made a pilgrimage to Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the coffee mecca of the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, my inability to read a map properly made our path to java nirvana more circuitous than anticipated. “SE” and “SW”? Greek to me. Maps confuse me with all their wiggly lines. I’d never flinch at eating scorpions or beef testicles, but I’m the kind of gal who’d finish last in The Amazing Race ’cause I can’t navigate worth a damn.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

Lynne was already waiting for us when we arrived. The smell of coffee at Stumptown was intoxicating — I perked up even before I spied the impressive array of coffee drinks and magazines available to all the hipster caffeine junkies who wander in.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

I ordered an espresso con panna, not realizing that the “panna” — cream — came in the form of canned whipped cream rather than as a splash of heavy cream. My bad. But it was still a fantastic cup of coffee.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

After properly caffeinating ourselves, we strolled around the neighborhood and quickly spotted a long line of people jonesin’ for fried sugary gluten at Voodoo Doughnut.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

I swear: if I’d been here just a couple of years ago, I would’ve totally camped out in line for a chance to munch on a few (dozen) doughnuts. Now? Not so much.

Lynne and Cheryl had to return to the hotel for their book signings, so I picked up my new friend Shaun to accompany me to the Cultured Caveman food cart. This was to be Shaun’s first foray into Paleo eating, and I had a feeling I’d picked the perfect spot.

In fact, I’d been eager to visit Joe and Heather, the owners of Cultured Caveman, for months — ever since I got wind of their Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of their business. Their video was charming and funny, and I was thrilled to participate in their fundraising efforts and spread the word about Portland’s very first Paleo food cart. I couldn’t wait to come to Portland so I could drop by for a meal. 

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

Joe and Heather didn’t disappoint. The dynamic duo behind Cultured Caveman are exactly who I’d imagined them to be: warm, genuine, charismatic, smart, intrepid entrepreneurs. (Besides, they mentioned that a few of their menu items are actually based on my recipes, so how could I not love them? With me, flattery’ll get you everywhere!)

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

Waiting at the food cart to join us for lunch was Kyra Bussanich, the beautiful and talented Paleo-eating, CrossFitting, gluten-free baker from Crave Bake Shop — and winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! How awesome was it that she hand-delivered a box of award-winning gluten-free treats for me to take home? (Honestly, I hope I can resist the urge to eat all the goodies before I return to the Bay Area.)

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

And, of course, when my good buddy Diane Sanfilippo showed up, it was a super-Paleo party in Portland! (I think Oregon marks the fourth or fifth state in which I’ve hung out with Diane. Only forty-five left to go!)

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

I was delighted to meet a number Joe’s and Heather’s fans, too. Clearly, the Cultured Caveman food cart is THE place to be if you’re a Paleo eater.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

And with good reason. The eats are superb.

I sampled as much food as I could cram into my mouth. I started with the crisp, flavorful coconut flour crusted chicken tenders fried in tallow…

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

…the hearty bone broth…

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

…the sweet and savory bacon wrapped dates and almonds…

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

…(which, by the way, make perfect Paleo “croutons” for the colorful kale salad)…

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

…and a side of rainbow fries served with homemade ketchup.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

For dessert, I inhaled a hot chocolate cupcake from Kyra. When I bit into this beauty, I’m pretty sure my eyes rolled into the back of my head.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

Even after two solid hours of food, laughter, and conversation, I didn’t want to leave. 

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

But alas, it was time for me to head back to the conference, so we said our reluctant goodbyes.

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

I really ought to have taken more photos of the remainder of my day. I should’ve taken snapshots at the presentations I attended, or at dinner with my new IFBC buddies. But I was tired, the lighting was dim, and our dinner was at Ned Ludd, where I’d just eaten and snapped a whole bunch of images the night before. So I decided to put the camera away for once, and just soaked it all in.

I did manage to take one more photo, though. To cap off a day of super Paleo power, here’s a shot of me and Chef Gregory Goudret at the Taste of Oregon and Gourmet Fair at IFBC: 

Portland Eats: Stumptown, Cultured Caveman, Crave Bake Shop by Michelle Tam

He’s not just an award-winning chef. Chef Gourdet also happens to be a Paleo-eating, ultra-marathoning CrossFitter.

AND he’s been named Portland’s Hottest Chef of 2012.


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).

Portlandia & Dinner at Ned Ludd (8/23/12)

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I should be elated to jet off to a food mecca like Portland, but the guilt is gnawing at me. The night before my solo trip, my normally stoic little boys went to bed with big tears rolling down their cheeks. Between choked sobs, they turned their puppy-dog eyes to me and demanded that I stay home. Ai-ya.

"Weird. They don’t seem to mind when I leave on business trips," my husband noted.


In the morning, I packed Big-O’s lunch for the last time this week and walked him to school. When the bell rang, I gave him a fierce mama bear hug and glumly trudged back home.

To make myself feel better, I reheated leftover pressure cooker kale and topped it with two fried eggs. Runny yolks and melt-in-your-mouth kale make the world a better place.

After Henry left for work, I tossed some clean laundry into a bag and caught a ride to the airport with my pops.

It’s been a while since I traveled all by my lonesome, and I have to say that getting through TSA lines and onto an airplane is sooooo much easier sans kids. Once I settled into my seat, I napped and ate a sampler pack of TX Bar Organics' new jerky. (Not at the same time, obviously.) I give it a big thumbs-up — it's savory, slightly-fruity, and sliced super-thin. Before I knew it, the plane had touched down.

Portland is just how I pictured it: a funkier, more hipster version of Seattle. As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I met up with Cheryl, my pal and author of one of my favorite cookbooks. We strolled around our hotel and came across…nothing. Sadly, our hotel appears to be located in a culture-free zone; there’s no local flavor or interesting spots to hit — unless you’re a big fan of Quizno’s or Sears. No matter — Cheryl and I had a fine time chitchatting and catching up.

At dinnertime, we ventured to Ned Ludd, an “American Craft Kitchen” owned by the super-smiley, heavily-tatted Jason French. (Seriously: I love that his arms are covered with food-related ink, including an artichoke and a meat grinder.) What’s amazing about Ned Ludd is that Jason turns out remarkable meals equipped with just a two-burner hot plate, a steam table, a small alto-shaam, and a wood-fired oven. That takes some mad skills.

The dinner was hosted by Cheryl and Lynne Curry (author of Pure Beef), and we were joined by a group of gals well-versed in the Portland food scene: Ivy ManningMartha Holmberg, Lisa Hill, and Brittany Wilmes.

Chef Jason sent out a complimentary starter of carpaccio in Lynne’s honor. Her cookbook is a fantastic resource on how to tackle EVERY cut of grass fed beef.

Then, we each picked a dish from the Bits menu that we shared family-style. My two favorites included the spicy charred brassicas with chili conserve and boquerones…

…and the pork “noodles” with bacon, chanterelles, tomatoes, and parmesan. Yes folks, these were silky and soft “noodles” made from pork skin. Amazingly tender and unctuous.

For my main dish, I ordered the whole roasted trout with Walla Walla onions, cucumbers, and salad greens.

Throughout the dinner, Chef Jason came out to chat and even brought over a tin of locally-sourced Jacobsen Salt when one of the ladies requested salt.

Lots of lively conversation and advice. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to get to know these ladies, and to learn from their experiences as food writers and professionals.

Can’t wait for the rest of the weekend!

Last Day in Massachusetts & Neptune Oyster (8/12/12)

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Our last day at Clark Farm started just like the others, with an egg-ceptional breakfast! (Punny, right? RIGHT?!? Actually, I hate puns.)

I already miss my daily meal of farm-fresh eggs, kraut, and sausages.

We begrudgingly crammed our belongings into our luggage while wistfully peeking out the windows at the peaceful tableau outside.

Meanwhile, the kids conspired to hide the Double-Os. Our boys had no qualms about missing our flight home. “I’m going to stay here forever,” Lil-O insisted. And he meant it. Hence the uncooperative face in this farewell photo:

But it was time to go. With heavy hearts, we piled into the car and headed for Boston to spend our final afternoon in the big city. We arrived in the North End at noon…

…and made a beeline over to Neptune Oyster for lunch.

This tiny, unassuming raw bar and seafood restaurant was a welcome oasis in a cluster of kitschy Italian tourist traps. 

I know we should’ve slurped up a bunch of shooters, but instead, we shared a “Tuna Ribbons” salad with raw ahi, potato aioli, olives, capers, boiled egg, and green beans…

…a lobster, mozzarella, and tomato salad…

…and seared striped bass over ratatouille.

Everything was fresh and meticulously prepared. Definitely one of my favorite meals in Massachusetts.

After lunch, we acted like typical bumbling camera-toting tourists (which we are) as we meandered along the Freedom Trail

…and wandered over to Faneuil Hall

…to witness America’s NEXT! MILLION! DOLLAR! ACT! 

Every time the Double-Os spot a street performer, they mercilessly judge the act like mini Howard Sterns on America’s Got Talent. (My heart bursts with pride.) According to my boys, this fellow was entertaining, but he did not have what it takes to fill a Vegas theater with clambering fans. “It was good, but was it a million dollar act?” asked Big-O. He answered his own question with a firm “No.”

In the late afternoon, we finally arrived at Logan Airport where the boys downed some sushi for dinner before we boarded the plane.

And that, my friends, is the end of my interminable presentation of What I Did On Summer Vacation. You can wake up now.

Tomorrow, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming of daily eats — which means it’s back to cold food for me. Have I told you how nice it’s been not to have to take photos of everything that goes in my mouth this week? But for you, I’ll dust off the camera again — at least until I get sick of blogging.

A Day at the Beach & Dinner at Woodman’s of Essex, MA)

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Oh, how I miss being in the country. The beauty of Clark Farm is unparalleled, don’t you think?

Last Sunday started at the crack of dawn, when the roosters started crowing and the boys barreled down the stairs like a herd of buffalo.With AHS ‘12 in the books, Henry and I finally had time to hang out on the farm with the Rodgers family. 

We were expecting Bill, Hayley, and Diane to pop by for brunch later in the morning, but I was too hungry to wait four hours to eat. For my first meal of the day, I fixed myself a rolled omelet with farm-fresh eggs, sauerkraut, sautéed greens, and a slice of cantaloupe. 

(Now that I’m back home, none of the “farm-fresh” pastured eggs I’ve purchased locally come even CLOSE to holding a candle to the pert bright orange yolks and thick albumen of Clark Farm eggs.)

By the time our pals arrived mid-morning, I was ready to eat again. Breakfast Part Two!

Diana baked trays of wild boar bacon…

…fried venison sausage…

…and sizzled some eggs in butter.

She also picked some Japanese eggplant from their garden…

…that were tossed in coconut oil before spending a short stint in a hot oven.


Once our bellies were full, we all trudged outdoors for a guided tour of the grounds and the animals.

Bill got up close and personal with the piggies that foraged in the shrubs.

Farmer Andrew spent his day off teaching a bunch of city slickers how he raises the food we eat.

Before heading back to the farmhouse…

 …we stopped by the mobile hen coop to gather more eggs.

Before long, it was time for Bill, Hayley, and Diane to head home, so we said our goodbyes.

Our plan for the rest of the day was to soak up some rays at Crane Beach. First, we stopped at a local Whole Foods…

…and picked up some meat and vegetables at the deli counter.

And then it was off to the beach to splash in the surf for hours.

The weather was gorgeous and the waves were gentle. At the end of the day, we managed to haul back a haf-dozen pails of seaweed and sea shells for the farm animals. Andrew told us that the hens peck the calcium-packed shells, which makes their egg shells harder. And the seaweed provides a natural source of iodine for the animals. Who’da thunk it?

The farmer’s walks (for realz!) on the beach made me hungry. For dinner, we drove over to Essex to inhale platters of seafood at a local spot called Woodman’s — the birthplace of the fried claim! — that’s been in business for almost a century.

A big plus: With just a few exceptions, all the menu items are gluten free.

Yes, I know that “gluten free” doesn’t mean “Paleo-compliant,” but I never said I was Paleo perfect. Besides, you know the saying: When in Essex, get the “Down River Combo” — a pile of crunchy fried clams, shrimp, scallops, and fish.

The gigantic plate of fried seafood also comes with a side of cole slaw and your choice of fries or onion rings. I opted to sub sweet potato fries for a small upcharge.

Crunchy, moist, and tasting of the sea.

We also shared some steamers…

…and Diana showed us the proper way to devour ‘em.

Butter makes everything taste better, no matter how ugly or phallic.

It was the perfect end to an exhausting, fun-filled day at the beach.

Only one more day of East Coast eats remaining!

AHS ‘12 Day Three & Dinner at Bondir (8/11/12)

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The one awesome thing about being totally behind on my daily posts? I can take a breather from photographing my eats this week. And that means I can eat quick, ugly, hot meals! Huzzah!

Now, let’s climb into the DeLorean and activate the flux capacitor.

Last Saturday in Carlisle, Massachusetts, we all woke up groggy, having stayed up waaay past our bedtimes frolicking at the previous night’s Sustainable Dish Farm Dinner. Nothing that a big mug of java and a plate of sausage and homemade ‘kraut couldn’t fix, though.

We zoomed in from the ‘burbs with our new friend Hilary to catch the tail end of Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson's Paleo Q & A…

…but not before stopping by the reception area to snag a box of truffles and a steaming latte from Bolt Coffee Company.

A few sessions later, we headed over to another building for a catered lunch from B. Good Burger, a local chain offering grass fed burgers. We piled our plates with meat patties, greens, tomatoes, sweet potato fries, pickles, and guacamole.

I pleasantly surprised by the quality of the catered conference eats, but everyone I spoke with at AHS who’s been to a Weston A. Price conference told me that I ain’t seen nothing yet. Is it wrong that I’m attending the 2012 Wise Traditions conference this fall mostly so I can pig out at the promised smorgasbord?

After lunch, we attended the afternoon sessions and tweeted until our thumbs went numb.

Eventually, I took a breather in the vendor area and hung out with some of my favorite Paleo foodies, including Cindy and Dusty, Diane, Bill and Hayley, Sean (the Bacon Pizza guy!) and Suzanne, Laura, Diana, and Charissa.

We wandered back into the lecture hall to soak in Denise Minger's funny and informative presentation about meat. Her slide depicting a baby-eating bunny rabbit will haunt my dreams for years to come.

Once we’d bid our friends adieu…

Diana, Henry, and I hightailed it to Bondir, a cozy Cambridge restaurant that features sustainable modern American cuisine.

After spending the day working on his farm, minding the kids, and herding them all to Kimball Farm for an afternoon of bumper-boat rides, Andrew met us at the restaurant. I’d been eagerly anticipating this meal — it’s a rare treat to be able to indulge in adult eats and conversation.

Each of the items on Bondir’s menu can be ordered either as a small appetizer or a full-sized entrée. Because I’m a piggy, I chose three small dishes and forced Henry to do the same so we could try a bunch of items. 

We shared handmade burrata served with field tomato, melon terrine and sumac granité, purslane, pickled green cucumber, garden cucumber, and confit lemon vinaigrette…

…Scituate lobster bisque filled with butter-poached lobster, potatoes Lyonnais, and chili oil…

…Maine sardine and Manila clam escabechen with kombu, cured olives, fingerling potatoes, and roasted clamato purée…

…and Scituate scallops accompanied by baby squash, fairytale eggplant, and cipollini onions, smoked Mangalitsa pancetta, and burnt eggplant purée.

For our last dish, we all ordered his ‘n hers Vermont Wagyu beef shank accompanied by carrots Salardaises, pea greens, and red wine glaze.

Diana and I split the desserts: lychee sorbet, maple almond ice cream, and juniper sorbet…

…and lemongrass chocolate panna cotta, bitter orange mostarda, Angelica gel, cocoa nibs and pistachio.

Sure, the desserts weren’t exactly Paleo, but it was a sweet end to a busy day.