22 September, 2010

Takin to learnin

Alright. It's been way to long since I've posted anything (I wrote this prior to posting honeymoon photos). So...I need a project of some sort. Food related, but of course, always a good excuse to take photos.

I'm going to just brainstorm a little.

Something that has been on my mind is to master a dumpling creation of some sort. I don't know of any place in Portland that I can easily get amazing, heavenly dumpling. They are soo good. I'm always reminded when thinking about Asian food - it's all about the texture and quality of the basic structure. Dumplings are not all about what's inside - they are about the texture of the experience. That's thought #1.

Soups would be a good and appropriate thing to work through. I could do a soup lineup, documenting their creation. French Onion would def. make the cut along with some roasted vegetable bisque of some sort.

I would love to do some sort of butchering! Despite how great it would be, I don't have enough experience to legitimize mangling a well slaughtered animal, it's too expensive, I kinda need a guide for that. One day, breaking down a pig, one day. I could break down chickens and make chicken stock!

Bread would be great...aside from the fact that Margi is allergic to gluten.

Another great project is beer! A slight investment that might initially be prohibitive at this time, although documenting some brews would be great. Hazelnut brown anyone?

I didn't realize I had this many ideas of the top of my head when I took to writing a few words.

Anyone have any votes / thoughts?


Honeymoon pt.4

So much Chicken Katsu! Ohhh, so good!
Our last photo in Maui......oh wait...we didn't make the flight so this is almost our last photo in Maui!
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Honeymoon pt.3

Lunch at Haliimaile General Store

We got some great passion fruit at a street fruit stand!
Climbing trees!
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Honeymoon pt.2

Sunrise at Haleakala
She looks good huh? Yea.

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03 April, 2010

An art lost in the generations.

There's something intriguing about a pipe right? Maybe a step back in time. Somewhat of a lost art, a lost ritual of life. I think cigarette companies have done to tobacco what Mr. M#donald has done to the hamburger.

There are a number of factors that go into a good pipe smoking experience. Packing the tobacco is essential - otherwise you have too fast or too slow of a burn, both resulting in not so nice a smoke. Lighting and smoking is another subtle method. A pipe needs patience, to draw slowly, over time. Drawing in only often enough to keep the tobacco lit and smoking well.

It's a shame there aren't more places you can still puff a pipe legally in Portland. Now that smoking is outlawed inside, there are only a few places left with a permit. Most of these shops are exactly for smoking, so, one can feel the need to purchase something, maybe a cigar, every time they want to smoke. There aren't too many months in the Willamette Valley that cater to a nice time being outdoors smoking a pipe with out slowly turning in to the wet cold. Thankfully, there are some good tobacco shops in town where you can smoke and chat with a tobacconist, of which there are few legit ones left.

I would say Portland is one of the better places for a pipe smoker, at least on the West Coast. That is something to be thankful for.

Here's to a lost art, pipe smoking.

25 February, 2010

Oh the beautiful little....seed?

It's really not a bean...it's a seed. Coffee is a fruit seed. Nevertheless, if these seeds are done right, they carry quite an intriguingly, obsessive following. I'm one of those obsessives.

The picture above is of my ceramic single cup drip and my Stumptown mug. All the oils blooming on top are a response to hot water, making it very clear that the coffee is fresh.

Coffee is quite the complex agriculture product. Coffee cherries are grown at high elevations, picked, de-pulped, dried, shipped, roasted, ground, and carefully brewed in a number of different ways. The complex journey of this seed into your cup rivals the complexity of flavor one can experience within the cup itself. With double the flavor compounds of red wine, coffee is one of the most complex drinks we consume as far as taste buds are concerned.

**Although, too often we drink coffee that simple tastes of carbonized oil infused by the actual roaster, not the flavor qualities naturally present within the bean. Burnt toast all tastes the same ;). **

There's a wonderful balance between science & art, technique & sense, so present with coffee. It's incredibly sensual and kinesthetic, all your senses engaged. A long day preparing espresso leaves my hands ingrained with pleasant oils that are exposed as these roasted seeds are crushed, oils from remote regions of Africa, Indonesia, and Central America.

It becomes a tangible as well as emotional pleasure and appreciation. We should think twice before we easily disregard the importance and complexity of that which we eat and drink daily, of those subtleties we risk missing in the food and drink that bless us from the ground; from God. I sometimes become frustrated with how insignificant we have made food and how significant we bless technology or material possessions. Is it at all ironic that we watch football on systems of entertainment costing thousands of dollars while eating hot dogs that cost us a dollar a pack?

As I've returned to Portland there's been a slight anxiousness within me to begin making great coffee for people again. I've been working a bit at a cafe that a friend owns and just today finished a second interview with Stumptown Coffee Roasters, here in SE Portland. I should hear whether I get a position with Stumptown within a few days. I'm hoping it works out - Stumptown is a great company, committed to people and great coffee.

-Jonathan William


Ever since watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation episode on Mexico, I've been secretly obsessed with tacos. One particular taco stand that they visited pleasantly sits in my memory. Wet tacos. Ever kind of meat simply pulled from a simmering kettle of fat and flavor. Tongue, eyes, tripe, whatever. Cut it up and place the tender goods in a warm hand made pressed tortilla -wonderful.

The meat of the poor, the food of history intrigues me. Traditions of eating and utilizing all parts of the animal were born of necessity. Anyone can cook amazing ingredients to taste well, few can cook the neglected parts and pieces of the poor. That's why a slow cooked, flavor infused tongue taco sounds so amazing.

With these pictures in my head, I bought some incredible cheap pork and decided to try a bubbly pot of something for myself. Seared pork, simmered with onions, spices, and some dried Mexican peppers. Hours later, my tacos were really quite good. A recipe I would like to build on.

I took some more of this pork and slow cooked it with some potatoes, red cabbage, onion, and more spices. It came out pretty well.

There's something about a taco cook out that seems appropriate for tradition. I plan to make some taco recipe a staple in my life....as I find the right concoction of meat and fresh tortilla goodness.


26 January, 2010

Gray Sky

Today is a bit of a slow day, even if only for me. There is something about the weather that affects us, right? Returning home from traveling on lands of endless sunshine, the gray skies, they seem to slow people down. Cars still drive fast, the Blackberry hasn't lost it's use; yes I know. I've seen what seems like the weather on peoples faces. The empty streets and quiet restaurants tell me that people slow with the season.

I love the rain. It's peaceful. It gently gets in your face. It surrounds you. Our rain is most often gentle, the soft words of season. It justifies simplicity. It enables and encourages the reading of a book, a cup of coffee, and a warm cafe. If we listen, we are forced to engage ourselves.

This earth is overwhelmed with silence; we make noise so we won't hear it. We stay so busy that we cannot embrace it. The silence leads us inward. I think most people are uncomfortable here.


The sun will come. The season does not die. We will be encouraged once more with people in the streets, fruits of the harvest, and sunshine to lengthen our days. But why we love one and hate the other, I do not know. The seasons are good and needed. The seasons might even connect us with something deeper, something that cannot be realized directly.

We wish it were direct, but it is not.

24 January, 2010


A break from my blog has seemed appropriate.

Life has changed significantly for me. I'm back in Portland, Oregon. My daily experience is no longer a sweet medley of a hot wok, fish sauce, soft rice, and steamed buns full of surprises. I'm back in the domain of fresh hopped beer, beautiful espresso, sleeve tattoos, and an enchantingly wet cityscape.

What was the Far East Concatenation is now - The Concatenation.

A flurry of ideas, questions, experiences, and expressions - this is a space for that flurry. A space for dialog with life.