What happens when a New Orleans chef finds pirate wine & Szechuan food side-by-side? Joyful mischief ensues...

May 10th, 2014, 12pm

It was 13.3°C with few clouds. The breeze was light.

We are all searching for our tribe whenever circumstances propel this one & only life we each & every unique one of us carry, like a hobo knapsack of our dreams & achievements & all the tastes we each have learned to love, toward new shores or unfamiliar lands. Finding one’s tribe, where we can unpack the motley collection of our soulful hobo belongings & share, is one of the most basic yet enduring quests we face upon moving into a new community.

This week has revealed that I am back to my usual shenanigans of revealing the secrets of terroir & culture to my tribe, whispering of supper club feasts & esoteric tales of derring-do with my peeps, meeting my fellow pirates for Truth & Pleasure upon these shores of 7 Bridges in PDX. It feels great to be up to my shaman feats of telling the tribe these secrets, to be nourished by what the tribe already knows, to lay this mossy blanket of Dreamings beneath the same skies that circle our Tortuga planet to focus, to learn to see secrets of the soils of Oregon like I knew my bayous of Louisiana, so that spirits may soar one plate at a time towards making a difference.

I shared this Bone-Jolly bottle of expressive, rare Gamay Rosé in fellowship with this emerging tribe of my pirates gathered at Storyteller Wines in SW Portland last night, in honor of plots to honor ancient queens & forgotten feminists for the possibility of planting new vineyards of something that has never been grown before in Oregon wine country.

After the Storyteller wine tasting, I was hungry in need of nourishing flavors before winding my way back across the byways & bridges nestled across this city. Merely a hop, skip, and not even a jump away from the vino led me to Szechuan Chef for the fortifying heat of chile oil soaked “dry” dumplings & the classic dish of Szechuan Cumin Lamb so spicy & fragrant & earthy that my heart is redolent with regrets for every bland Lamb Gyro I’ve ever eaten. Some poets fixate upon the image of a rose for love, but for me I sing praises of Cumin Lamb, of the ReBirth of my life as a pirate in the spice bazaar of culinary adventures. It sure feels good to know when the corner has been turned.

I left a little bit of wine & a little bit of lamb for my leftovers today, to fuel further writings. Leftovers should be this welcome everyday….

Stephanie, Shu, Kristen, Adrian and 2 others said thanks.

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Chris DeBarr

Chef who believes in eating the world to save it. Wine & language & sharp knives are the tools of my métier. At heart, I'm a warm & fuzzy Dadaist.

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