Westward Whiskey Provides An Airport Tasting Room Experience At PDX

On this episode of On Foodable Feature, our host Layla Harrison speaks with Thomas Mooney, co-owner and CEO of Westward Whiskey based out of Portland, Oregon.

This craft distillery is the largest on the West Coast and aside from having an oversized, in-house tasting room, it has created the first ever airport tasting room in Portland International Airport (PDX).

“Our tasting room at PDX airport has been a really great addition to our business and a fantastic way to connect with people who love whiskey and travel,” says Mooney.

With 20 million people visiting PDX a year, we can see why an airport tasting room makes sense!

Check out the video above to learn about the two spirits being featured—Westward American Single Malt Whiskey and Westward American Single Malt Oregon Stout Cask!

The Role of Bread In An Elevated Dining Experience

Ahh, bread.

As a guest in a fine dining restaurant, either you love it or... you don’t understand it!

Has anyone ever advised to not eat too much bread, because it can ruin your appetite? Or, maybe you had that one friend who would refrain from eating the warm doughy loaf in hopes of maintaining or improve their figure. These mixed attitudes towards bread have left the ancient food with a negative reputation.

To restore that reputation, the rise of the "bread program” movement highlights the significant role of bread in an elevated dining experience.

“It’s incredibly important,” said Chef Marc Forgione, whose restaurant serves an elevated version of the classic potato roll, brushed with clarified butter, sprinkled with black salt and served with a side of caramelized onion butter. “It’s the first bite you have at the restaurant, so it’s the first impression you’re getting of our food and the experience.”

Traditionally, bread has always been part of fine dining (usually, at no extra cost.) But, when a bread program really shines, it’s because it offers something unique or of the best quality.

Bringing the best product forward to each guest takes extra time, effort and money. Some restaurants achieve this by producing fresh, house-made bread daily, while others, leave the job to local artisans who have mastered the craft and only worry about the logistics of getting the quality loaf to the patrons' table.

In some cases, restaurants may do a combination of both depending on their menu offerings.

This is the case for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (MGFD,) the flagship restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef and owner Michael Schwartz.

“We know that somebody else has better resources who does it to perfection. We like to promote those people, because they are doing something special,” says MGFD’s Pastry Chef Maria Garcia, referring to Miami-based artisans from Zak the Baker, La Parisienne Bakery and True Loaf that provide bread for the bread course and some sandwiches on the menu at Michael’s Genuine.

Avocado Toast with spicy crab, cilantro, lime, Zak's Rye #thisismgfd #mgfdbrunch

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Oof that's lunch. #mgfdlunch #pastramisandwich #falafel #mezze @zakthebaker 💗

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A lot of thought and effort goes into ensuring the best quality breads make it to guests’ tables, therefore the bread course at MGFD is offered for an extra charge.

“A lot of restaurants with our style of cooking are doing this nowadays, because in all honesty, it’s so much better to bring something that is actually really special that people can get excited about, and granted, yes, you have to pay, but it is so worth it,” said Chef Garcia, who attributes her love for bread to her family from Spain and her respect for its role in an elevated dining experience to Chef Michael Schwartz and Chef Bradley Heron.

“I think Schwartz and Brad have a really good philosophy and they have managed to teach it to all of us, so we can appreciate the good things,” added Chef Garcia.

Not only is Garcia in charge of confections as Michael Genuine’s pastry chef, but she also oversees the production house-made breads for MGFD and their sister restaurant cafe, Ella. These include: focaccia, pizza dough, pita bread, donuts, buns and bagels.

Her day begins at 6 a.m. at a commissary kitchen, where she spends the first three hours of her day.  An everyday task in the day-to-day prep list, is assuring the dough being fermented in bulk, is done so appropriately.

Soppressata Pizza 🍕🍕 crushed tomato, chile flake, honey, mozzarella #mgfdpizza #mgfdlunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

#eggsandwich with grilled bacon & cheddar on a brioche #mgfdbrunch #michaelsgenuine #miamidesigndistrict #baconandeggs #sundaybrunch

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🍩🍩 cookies & cream donut #sobewff #thisismgfd #brunch #donutlovers 😍

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“The quality of your bread will rely on how well you ferment things and how they behave. So, we bulk ferment so the dough can develop a lot more flavors, so the alcohol doesn’t have that yeasty flavor. We like to give time for it to slow down and give time for the bacteria to grow, so it allows the bread to slowly ferment,” said Chef Garcia, who considers bread-making both an art and a science.

“It’s understanding the elements, their behavior and qualities as well as the artistic beauty of good bread.”

Foodable Labs ranked the following restaurants no. 1 in their respective cities when it came down to sentiment scores towards bread.

  • Portland - Le Pigeon
  • Miami - Michael's Genuine
  • New York - Marc Forgione
  • Denver - Work & Class
  • Chicago - Monteverde
  • Los Angeles - Animal

Watch the video to learn about other restaurants doing in-house bread!

The Votes Are In, America’s Favorite Donut Shop is…

They’re hot, doughy, glazed and sprinkled. Whether you like a brioche or yummy yeast, no one can deny the appeal of a quality donut. But are some donuts better than others? According to Foodable Labs data, there are some clear leaders of the pack; some of which you may have heard of before.

Winner! District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew

According to data from January through July of this year, District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew has a 95.6 consumer sentiment rating out of 100! Previously featured on Foodable’s Fast Casual Nation, this spot is a must-stop.

So what makes this fast casual number one with consumers? Well, first of all, District hand makes their donuts all day in small batches, so they’re always fresh. Donuts from District are categorized as either regular, fancy, or EXTRA fancy. With incredibly imaginative donut flavors like Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Kolache, and Ginger Mint Julep, customers never get bored. And with more than a hundred varieties, District’s donut menu changes daily!

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While the name may lead you to believe you can grab a brewski at the shop, the “brew” in District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew actually refers to coffee. It makes sense considering their claim to fame is coffee’s best friend. But donut fret, District is BYOB.

Stop in for some donuts, but be sure to grab a taste of the incredible sliders and coffee they've got available too.

Voodoo Doughnut

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Coming in at number two is a veteran of the most loved donut ranking. Voodoo Doughnut has long been known for their crazy creations and lengthy lines. It’s important that you notice the spelling here. Voodoo has made it part of their mission to return the lexicon to the spelling of DOUGHNUT.

Started in Portland by Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon, Voodoo combines art, science and a little bit of know-how to serve up their crave-able doughnuts. The Portland-based shop offers fun flavors like Grape Ape, Tangfastic and the legendary (and copyrighted) Maple Bacon Bar as well as an array of tasty vegan doughnuts.

Voodoo was last year’s winner; it will be interesting to see how these top brands duke it out.

Donut Byte Labs

Some appeal of the donut craze has been the massive size of the treats, some can be as big as your head! But at Donut Byte Labs, they’re trying something a little different.

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Ranked at n. 3, Donut Byte Labs has only been open since 2015, but have since grown an impressive following. Customers across America sing its praises on review sites which reflect, clearly, in our sentiment data.

Donut Byte Labs serves only mini-donuts, all fried up by their donut robot, which is housed in their permanently established food truck. Once the donuts come off the line, they are cooled and hand decorated before being gobbled up by eager customers.

From their truck, they churn out mini cake donuts in classic flavors as well as in “advanced” flavors like Burnside Cream, Milk and Honey, and Lemon Drop.

And what were the favorite donuts from all shops across the country?

Who will wear next year’s donut crown? Stay tuned to Foodable for that and more eye-opening (and mouthwatering) data.

 
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Amazon Mobile App Takes on Food Delivery

Amazon Restaurants homepage

Amazon is officially taking on food delivery under the name: Amazon Restaurants. It is available now to over 20 cities in the United States.

The service is still exclusively available online to Prime members, but now also through the Amazon mobile app, Prime Now. 

Navigating the Amazon Mobile App

  • Tap the menu icon 
  • Tap on: "See all programs"
  • Scroll down to: "Amazon Restaurants"
  • Browse restaurant selection after typing in your ZIP code

As Foodable previously reported, Amazon started testing the food delivery services in Seattle back in 2014. Just this year, the logistics company began to deliver food in Las Vegas and District of Columbia.

Below you can find a complete list of cities where Amazon’s delivery services are available:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Brooklyn
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Manhattan
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • Northern Virginia
  • Orlando
  • Oakland
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle and the Eastside
  • Tampa
  • Las Vegas

Northwest Wineries Look to Incorporate Culinary Options into Hospitality Programs

Northwest Wineries Look to Incorporate Culinary Options into Hospitality Programs

By Kaitlin Ohlinger, Foodable Contributor

Oregon’s wine country is booming. With the 2012 vintage came a deluge of press, and in turn, wine tourism is up. In July of this year, USA Today published an article declaring that Oregon had matured into a world-class food and wine destination. Oregon’s little secret was out. So… what comes next?

Hospitality Shift

In no way was Oregon failing at hospitality prior to its moment in the national spotlight; quite to the contrary. The Willamette Valley offers laid back, friendly surroundings complete with hospitality professionals who truly love their area, and it shows. But with increased exposure, a shift inevitably occurs in what visitors are looking for. Those that want a wine vacation in Oregon are seeking the experience. Yes, they love the wine and if we’re lucky, they want to know about soil types and a host of other fascinating facts about Willamette’s microclimates. But the experience they have takes the center stage; not necessarily a negative. Then the question becomes: how does a winery elevate the guest experience?

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