Last weekend at Feast Portland, one of the country’s coolest culinary festivals, enthusiastic epicures got the opportunity to mingle with some of their favorite chefs and bartenders. And as we chatted with them at a few sold-out outdoor events, it got us thinking about what makes this time of year the best—the crisp, cool air, the turning of the leaves and, most important, it’s finally time to tuck into heartier food and drink.
So here, some of our favorite chefs and bartenders share what they’re most looking forward to getting into as the temperatures drop.
Aaron Franklin (Pitmaster/owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX): “When it finally gets cold in Texas, I love to drink the Buried Hatchet from Southern Star Brewery in Conroe, Texas. It’s an imperial stout. I’ll drink it, while cooking a huge pot of gumbo. It’s dark, earthy and like pot roast in a can.”
Alvin Cailan (Chef of Eggslut in Los Angeles, CA): “I love roasted squash. I’ll do butternut or delicata mixed with shrimp paste and a little bit of pork belly. It’s something my parents made every year when it was Christmastime. It’s supernostalgic, and it’s the way I cook. I cook purely based on the experiences you have as a child, like the first time you ever had a burger or egg sandwich.”
More awesome butternut squash recipes this way
Carlo Lamagna (Chef of Clyde Common in Portland, OR): “This is something I picked up in Germany: Gluehwein, which is a spiced wine. It doesn’t take much: cinnamon, star anise, clove, nutmeg (a lot of warming spices) and a bit of sugar. The best part is that you can get away with using cheap wine. When it’s cold out, get a blanket and sit on your patio with some. It’s great.”
Learn to make your own spiced wine here.
Cathy Whims (Chef of Nostrana, Oven & Shaker and Hamlet in Portland, OR): “I start craving shell beans, both fresh and dried. In soups, hearty minestrones and their relatives speak fall to me. Vegetables of late summer (tomatoes, zucchini, green beans) and early fall (Swiss chard, cavolo nero, squashes) combine so well with hearty beans.”
Chris Cosentino (Chef of Boccalone and Cockscomb in San Francisco, CA): With the colder months coming up, I start to crave so many different foods, but the one thing that stands out to me is the arrival of game birds. I can't get enough of the rich, depth of flavors of squab, wild duck and goose. I like to add in Gravestein apples, chestnuts and some bitter chicories to balance out their richness, and to me that's just the perfect taste of fall.”
Chris Shepherd (Chef of Underbelly in Houston, TX): “When it starts to cool down in Houston—this is usually later than the rest of the country—nothing says fall like football on TV and a bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo on the stove. It’s a perfect fall/winter day off: the Houston Texans on TV (an away game—if they were home, I’d be at the stadium) and bowls and bowls of gumbo.”
Duff Goldman (Pastry Chef of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, MD, and Los Angeles, CA): “I’m a soup freak. In the fall, that’s when you start getting into really good soups. I make a really good Maryland cream of crab. It has butternut squash and Maryland crab and is like a big, big bisque. I’m writing a soup book now, so the recipe will be in there.”
Elias Cairo (Salumist of Olympia Provisions): “This time is my favorite time of year to make Choucroute Garnie. It’s a braised Alsacian dish with fermented sauerkraut, potatoes, caraway and juniper. I love it so much, because you put a bunch of sausages on it, eat it with mustard and drink lots of Riesling.”
Jeffrey Morgenthaler (Bar manager of Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko in Portland, OR): “I mean, my number one favorite thing ever is Eggnog. Hands down.” Here’s a recipe to the popular Eggnog Morgenthaler makes every year at Clyde Common.
Jenn Louis (Chef of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, OR): “This season I'm so excited to use the warm flavors of Middle Eastern spice blends. I'll make them in house, using fresh and deep spices like ras al hanout, dukkah, hawaij and shawarma. Right now, we're using these blends in dishes like carrot hummus, green beans with Mirabelle plums and with our short rib tartare. But I can't wait to start working them in with fall produce like squash and brussels sprouts."
Jim Meehan (Bartender and educator in Portland, OR): “A predecessor of the classic Espresso Martini and more pedestrian uppers like Red Bull and vodka, the Irish Coffee is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to warm your way through a cold day.”
Katy Millard (Chef of Coquine in Portland, OR): “I love Cardamaro with a splash of soda and a twist of lemon. It's a perfect drink for late summer through the autumn. Made with artichokes and blessed thistle, this Italian vermouth unfolds on the palate in the same way that an artichoke does: first sweet, then pleasantly bitter, then slightly sweet again. The flavors are golden, round and a little cola-like. It's a perfect way to begin a meal and a nice vermouth to have on hand for mixing in other cocktails.”
Naomi Pomeroy (Chef of Beast in Portland, OR): “When the season changes I look forward to the tortilla soup at La Taq, pitmaster Rodney Muirhead's causal Tex-Mex bar. It's spicy and rich, and has a really round, toasted chile flavor. Enjoying it with a margarita is a great balance. It's nice to enjoy a summery drink in the winter, especially here where it rains a lot.”
Vitaly Paley (Chef of Paley’s Place, Imperial and Portland Penny Diner in Portland, OR): There’s a salad I’m really happy with. It’s our version of a Thai-style salad normally made with green papaya, but we’re doing it with pears, which provide sweetness and crunchiness. Papaya carries the flavor, but pears actually contribute to the flavor. It’s making its way to my menu eventually, I promise.”