Accanto UrbanHour: Chef Crushes and Panna Cotta Angles

Last night I spent a frustrating fifty-five minutes in traffic en route to Accanto, an Italian eatery on SE Belmont that has been a staple on my “Go-To” list for quite some time. I was heading to the Urbanspoon sponsored, Urban Hour, an event I had received an invite for the week prior and had no idea to expect but was under the impression that there would perhaps be a little wine, an hors d’oeuvre or two and other Portland “foodies.” Little did I know that this was actually going to be a full-fledged four course supper & libations fest celebrating Portland’s fantastic food culture (and those of us who take pride in documenting it).

On the invite, I was allowed to bring a +1 and if you read this blog enough, you should know by now that my #1 +1 is always Anne Lindsley, my DTE/DTD (the E is for eat and the D is for drink in case you’re wondering) partner for life (and for these sorts of events in general).

Upon arriving at Accanto, I was greeted by Laura, a representative for Urbanspoon visiting from Seattle here to host Urbanspoon’s first Portland event centered around bringing together the city’s top food bloggers and reviewers. I was seated at the end of the table next to the lovely three ladies behind Talk. Eat. Drink. Portland., Pechluck of Pechluck’s Food Adventures and Gretchen Miner, who is the new sponsorship coordinator for the much anticipated, Feast Portland event this coming September.

Accanto's Portland Dining Month Menu (which goes for $29); also our menu for the night

Accanto’s Portland Dining Month Menu (which goes for $29); also our menu for the night

Cocktail Menu; too many tempting options

Cocktail Menu; too many tempting options

The Lion's Tail: Bulleit Bourbon, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, lime, & simple

The Lion’s Tail: Bulleit Bourbon, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, lime, & simple

Gretchen and I both ordered the same initial cocktail; bonding over our love for anything with bourbon. This was indeed a delicious first choice; a classic craft cocktail highlighting the taste of bourbon without tasting too pungent and still refreshing thanks to the cool temperature and lime addition.

While sipping on our cocktails, Laura introduced us to Carrie Welch, the co-founder of Food & Dining PR Firm, Little Green Pickle and Feast Portland who talked to us a little bit about the nationally acclaimed event coming up in the autumn and about our roles as bloggers in the Portland Dining Community. She was also wearing a fantastic scorpion print cardigan and it was wonderful to finally put a voice to the face behind hundreds of tantalising Instagram photos.

First Course: Marinated olives & spiced almonds

First Course: Marinated olives & spiced almonds

At this point we were all brought out the first course, little cups of some healthy fats to balance our blood sugar while conversing and awaiting the upcoming courses.

I have to say, I was absolutely stoked to finally be putting so many faces to the blogs I read on a regular basis and to dish and converse with others also passionate about Portland’s bustling food scene. At one point in fact, Gretchen and I shared ‘chef’ starstruck stories (with mine being the first time I met Gregory Gourdet of Departure at Portland Fashion Week and hers regarding being Eli Cairo of Olympic Provisions‘ assistant at a ‘Pate-Off’). Then of course the conversation naturally morphed into discussing our chef and bartender crushes (*cough* Gabriel Rucker and 75% of PDX Craft Cocktail Bartenders), our favourite places for cheeseburgers, spaetzle, and just about everything else you can imagine.

Tweeting at the Table #urbanspoonurbanhour

Tweeting at the Table #urbanspoonurbanhour

Our group; tweeting and instagramming and all around social-media humblebragging about being invited to such a cool event. Something else pretty awesome? The gorgeous lady at the end of the table actually used to work at my condo complex and remembered me from the numerous packages I  used to have to pick up–turns out she’s a food blogger as well!

Guadalajara: Espolon blanco tequila, St. Germain, lime, honey, rock salt

Guadalajara: Espolon blanco tequila, St. Germain, lime, honey, rock salt

This was my second craft cocktail of the night; normally I’m not one to go for tequila beverages when my outfit is lacking sequins and the sun is still out on a Tuesday…but Pechluck recommended it and it was a refreshing accompaniment to the courses to come.

Option 1 for the Second Course: Cold potato leek soup

Option 1 for the Second Course: Cold potato leek soup

Option 2 for the Second Course (my choice): Arugula salad with radish, snap peas, basil & ricotta salata

Option 2 for the Second Course (my choice): Arugula salad with radish, snap peas, basil & ricotta salata

I very much enjoyed this salad; it was light and summery- a little barren on the ricotta (Gretchen’s serving definitely had a heftier hand than mine) but it was a perfect starter salad complimented with the shaved raw veggies.

Option 1 for Third Course (my choice): Potato gnocchi with lamb bolognese, mint, pecorino

Option 1 for Third Course (my choice): Potato gnocchi with lamb bolognese, mint, pecorino

This was fantastic. I have been on a bit of a pasta kick these past couple of weeks between Grassa, Ava Genes, and now Accanto and these little gnocchis were hearty and plump and made a splendid main dish along with lamb bolognese and generous helping of pecorino (in this case, Gretchen had a much lighter serving of fromage…guess it evens out).

Option 2 for Third Course: Cappelini, samphire, garlic, chili, and fennel seed

Option 2 for Third Course: Cappelini, samphire, garlic, chili, and fennel seed

I did not actually sample this dish, but it sounded like everyone who had it loved it- the samphire is apparently a sort of grass and one of my fellow diners described it as tasting similar to spinach. I may have chosen this had the other option been meat-less…but you all should know by now my carnivorous ways.

Urbanspooners

Urbanspooners

Fourth Course: Rose Panna Cotta with strawberries and lambrusco

Fourth Course: Rose Panna Cotta with strawberries and lambrusco

My Panna Cotta was the model for the paps

My Panna Cotta was the model for the paps

Panna Cottas all around

Panna Cottas all around

An ideal summer dessert, this was;  light and not too sweet yet satiating to a post-savoury meal sweet tooth. Fantastic job, Accanto on both the splendid food and service! I will most certainly be back in the near future.

Also a big thank you to Urbanspoon for hosting such a wonderful event and I think it goes without saying that all of us food-writers most definitely look forward to the next few months and all the exciting events and opportunities we have coming up!

Accanto on Urbanspoon

And a few links for you all to check out…

1) Feast Portland

2) Talk. Eat. Drink. Portland.

3) Pechluck’s Food Adventures

4) Portland Dining Month

(Sorry if I missed anyone else’s blog!) Feel free to link up in the comments.

xx Sara

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