The photo above is how it looked before the demo. Not sure why but we are doing it again, for the second time, with out third house! It’s not fun in the least but we needed to feel comfortable and happy and not always bumping into each other as we are both in the kitchen a lot. The gut started 5 days ago and it is still being gutted. Her are the photos of this kitchen as we go through the gut, very dusty and only one guy doing the whole job but we waited 4 years to find someone that wasn’t exorbitantly expensive and non stop complaining about their timeline.

Next up more demo photos!

Slice the squash and roast for 35 minutes in olive oil, precook the peas in salted water, fry up 4 bacon slices precut into 1/2” strips. Drain out the bacon and add all the vegetables to the pan, cook for five minutes then spread over rice and sprinkle with bacon!

2 eggs
A bit of feta cheese
Six small tomatoes sliced
Green onion
Sour cream
Sprinkled with pomegranate

We have too many tomatoes this year and I was challenged to find ways to use them or let them fall to the ground and rot. This turned out to be easy and can be frozen after baking as well!  Recipe:
I did not use the lemons however but I did use all the garlic!

Remembering Genoa

A magical city….in Italy

Not finished yet, but here are photos of the process….from a vase of flowers to a large acrylic canvas…..

Brian McMenamin

Vice President of the McMenamins chain in Portland, Oregon

Beermeister and Preservationist

we were sitting down outside the mcmenamins market pub at 10th and market in portland

Brian McMenamin, Vice-President

Visnja Clayton’s photo of Brian taken by permission at the time of the interview

About Visnja:  I am not much of a beer drinker, more of a wine and vodka person.  But through getting to know the founders and brewmasters behind these Portland breweries I began a love affair with the whole process as well as the product they created.

I wanted to understand the type of person behind a brewery and I wanted to know what it takes to stay on top, or at least, in the running.  I interviewed a dozen founders/ceo’s/brewmasters.  I sat down with each of them, face to face for about an hour and asked a series of questions I felt were pertinent to their industry and to their involvement in it. I interviewed Kurt Widmer, one of the founders of Widmer Brothers Brewing, Brian McMenamin of the Mcmenamins  chain, the founder of hair of the Dog, Alan Sprints, also John Balfe and Scott Barnum, the CEO of Pyramid Breweries and Mactarnahan, Karl Ockert, the Brewmaster and founder of Bridgeport Brewing, Ron Gansberg the founder of the Racoon Lodge and Mike De Kalb the founder and owner of the Laurelwood Brewing Co.  and a few others.  I have found them to be incredibly intelligent, kind, humble and witty.  It is exhilarating talking to people who truly love what they do.


Interview with Brian at the Market St. Pub downtown Portland.

What direction do you think the Beer Craft industry is going?

“Lately it seems like it’s growing again at a pretty good rate.  It was flat for a while there and it had been growing in double digits for a long time.  In the beginning days, in 1985, the city had 3 or 4 breweries now I don’t even know how many there are.  I think every pub should have a brewery if they could.  We are seeing the industry mature a lot.  The bigger guys are getting bought out and merging but I think there is still plenty of opportunity for the little guy to make this niche.   

Do people approach you asking advice on how to do it?

We get tons of phone calls, which is great but there is not enough time to sit down with every one of them, although you want to, you can’t do that.  You don’t have a chance to retrospect very often because you’re doing stuff all the time. This gives you a chance to think about what and why you’re doing something.

I think it’s healthy to combine brewing and the pub atmosphere, you create your own atmosphere.  We make our own wine too, we grow a lot of our own herbs for the kitchens.  We also grow hops just for fun not for real usage.  

What do you think is the style trend for American micro breweries?

Northwest they like hoppy beer but then in general the mass produced beer has appeal to a lot of people.  As a small guy we have the opportunity to do all kinds of beers. 

We have 23 breweries, one for each two pubs, more or less, different water sources, different age of hops, each brewer tinkers a little bit with the grain, they each like their own signatures on it.  So the beers are all a little bit different in each one of the breweries.

Budweiser would shriek at that because they want their beers to taste the same the world over.  If people don’t like a beer we’ll brew another one.  We are also marketing to a general public but more in our own town, and they can drink any beer they like there, not just ours. Our beer is always associated with food. We are more restaurants than pubs now.  Our food sales used to be 25% or 30% and now they are 65%.  

How do the American craft brewers techniques compare to those of Europe?

I think the basics are there.  People thought we were nutty to have a fruit beer, our Ruby was the first one in Oregon but they’ve been doing it in Europe for a long time. 

Do you see a big difference in beer styles in Europe as opposed to the United States?

“25 years ago Budweiser was not available in Europe, now it is everywhere”

Would you open a pub in Europe?

We’re kind of homebodies.  We do everything ourselves.  We don’t have a team that goes out and opens new places.  Our furtherest outpost I probably 3 hours from ground zero.  It is hard to manage place the farther out it is.  

Have you thought about opening more restaurants in the Portland area?

Yes, we’re always looking.  We just opened one on Killingsworth, the Chapel.

On the website:CHAPEL PUB
We bet you’ll make a vow to return again and again.

We’ve renovated the beautiful and historic Little Chapel of the Chimes (ca. 1932) to become a new community gathering spot for everyone, young and old alike! The main floor houses a family-friendly neighborhood pub with seating for 100 people, along with a picturesque outdoor patio, while the second floor serves as McMenamins company headquarters. While you’re here, check out the beautiful ironwork throughout the property, fashioned by talented craftsman O.B. Dawson in the early 1930s. Look familiar? Perhaps because Dawson’s work is also showcased at Timberline Lodge, the University of Oregon and Oregon State. Read all about Dawson in the Fall 2006 newsletter. You’re also welcome to enjoy our company artists’ quirky murals and portraits throughout, painted in homage to the building’s history and former life.

Local: (503) 286-0372 430 N. Killingsworth St. Portland, OR 97217

What do you think it takes to stay successful?

We have at times barely survived, and even now we have places that don’t make money, places that have never made money.  But we have enough places that make money so it balances out.  We make enough to keep going which is good.  If someone starts this business the first two questions are ‘how much money do you have and then, have you ever worked in the industry’?  We get a lot of calls from people that have no experience with either brewing or kitchens who want to do what we do and we say, quit your job and go work in a brewpub for a year.  They have to have enough money to open it and to float it.  

What was your beginning like?

We had a rough start, our dad helped us out.  My brother owned a restaurant and I managed it when I was 21.  Then we got into business together and opened a place.  We got out of school, we were seven years apart, we were dumb, neither of us had any business experience.  We bounced around a lot. We tried to figure out things for ourselves, the school of hard rocks.  We survived that time, we are still learning every day.  We were political science majors.  I was thinking about going into law school.  I never really knew him when we were little kids, we were far apart in age.  We became best friend when we got older and we would want to go to that pub together, just because it sounded cool.  We loved beer and we would drive all over the planet to try different beers.  In 1978 or 79 there were only 15 beers available on tap in Oregon, total.  We’d go to Washington state and sample different beers, it was fun.  Mike opened a wholesaler caus he was really interested in importing beers and making that work.  It was not successful, he was ahead of his time.  He then got back in the pub business, where we are now.  We were buying old dairy tanks and doing whatever we could just to make beer.  Our first brewery was put together for just a few thousand bucks.  It was a bunch of old stuff, whatever we could find.  Our brewery was one step above making soup on the stove.  It was just a bigger kettle.  It was ‘that tastes good, or that tastes bad, we have to throw that away’.  We had successful pubs before we started brewing.  The brewing was just a side note in 1985, when we started it.  

What is your favorite beer to drink?

IPA, I like hops.  Europe is very malt oriented, lesser hops.  This is the beer I grew up on.  The first Pyramid ale was great, filled with hops.  

What is your opinion on going green?

We’ve been doing it forever, like using windpower for example.  We also use recycled wood in all of our places.  You could find where the wood comes from in all of our places.  Some of our wood comes from a Seagram’s distillery in Kentucky.  Some comes from a tobacco plant.  We just do it, always have.

Why do you think that there are so many breweries here in Portland?

We have good hops close by, good grain, great water.  The weather, brings more people in to drink beer.  So there is the demand.   The spirit up here is a bit more experimental, big companies do test marketing here.  

Do you have a worthy competitor in the Oregon region?

We don’t even think that way.  One would rather be on a street with 30 pubs than one pub.  There is going to be that much more traffic.

Do you spend a lot of money on marketing your products?

We didn’t know marketing from a hole in the ground.  For the pubs that was great.  Then we started getting bigger properties, hotels, now we have a marketing department, although I am still afraid of it (laughs).  Word of mouth has always been our kind of deal.  We do a lot of marketing now, mostly for the big properties.

You have so many properties to manage, what is a typical day like for you?

It’s gotten a little crazier in the last couple of years.  I don’t know why.  We are pretty hands on and we just opened 3 pubs in like 6 months, which is crazy.  Now we just have a bunch of remodel projects.  We do them ourselves.  There are so many projects, just internally.  A typical day is a lot of driving.  Today I was in Eugene, then I stopped in Salem and then Portland.  Tomorrow I have to go to the office, in Portland.  Friday I am up in Seattle and Olympia.

I read that you have a $70 million empire.  Is this close?

That’s an old number. I don’t talk about numbers.  We’re doing better than that.  Numbers are not that important.  We’re getting close to $100.

Why do you think there is the grass-roots spirit here? You grew up here and why do you think it’s here?

Our parents said whatever you do, do it well.  We were not perfect children.  My mother was upset when I told her I was following my brother into the beer business.  So we said we’d name our first beer after her.  She said, ‘I’m changing my name’.  Then she became our biggest fan.  She still goes to pubs, to this day.

What qualities do the CcMenamin brothers possess that make you unique in this environment?

We survived!  I grew up a pretty introverted kid and had trouble in speech classes.  I did learn, eventually how to  communicate.

Yes it is now 2.5 months and the kitchen is still not finished, the contractor has left, and we are piecing together the rest of the story….how to get it all done, it is OVERWHELMING! The one nice thing is the old posts we uncovered during gutting, we will keep them exposed, a bit of history in this old 1885 farmhouse!

these guys do a great job at the mall! form a few little flowers grew this beautiful garden bed!

The quickest pie or tart I ever made!

1 Marie Calender pie crust

a pint of sliced strawberries
5 cups of prepared vanilla pudding from the store
Bake the crust for thirty minutes at 350, cool, pour in the vanilla pudding, add sliced strawberries on top! Refrigerate and serve with whipped cream!

Juicy, sweet strawberries add the perfect summer touch to this breakfast classic.

Close-up of Belgian waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar

There’s nothing that feels more like summer than fresh berries on a relaxing Sunday morning. So for a special Father’s Day brunch, it sounded perfect to dress up our favorite Belgian waffles with strawberries and powdered sugar.

These Belgian waffles come from an Emeril recipe I love and have used for ages—though I halve the recipe for just the two of us.

I’ll also teach you the secret to making sure every bite is perfectly sweet. No sour berries on this plate!


Waffle recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time:

Cook Time: 3 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 8 to 10 (4 by 4-inch) waffles


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • Powdered sugar for topping


For the strawberries:

Sweetening fruits involves a process called maceration, but it’s simpler than it sounds.

  1. Wash and dry your strawberries, then slice as desired and mix in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar. 
  2. Let this mixture sit while you make the waffles. By the time you’re ready to serve, the sugar will have drawn the liquid out of your berries, leaving them sweet and coated in a delicious syrup.

For the waffles:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside for now. 

*Before the next step, make sure to separate your egg whites and yolks if you haven’t already*

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and the eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk. Whisk to combine, then add in your flour mixture and whisk just until blended. Be careful not to over-mix!
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. This takes about a minute. Gently fold the egg whites into your waffle batter, being careful not to over-mix.
  3. Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour in enough batter to just cover the waffle grid. Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook until golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately with powdered sugar and delicious strawberries on top.

I finally made these, daunting as they maybe, Kremsnite, or “Napoleon” Croatian style

Here is the recipe:

2 baked puff pastry shells (trim to square pan after baking)


5 oz cornstarch

8 eggs separated

13 tbsp sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp rum

4.25 cups whole milk


1. Mix cornstarch. egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, rum and a few tablespoons cold milk

2. Heat up milk in double boiler

3. Add egg mixture to warm milk and  stir nonstop with wire neater until thick 

4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold 1/2 into cooled custard, discard the rest

5. Place a layer of pastry on the bottom of the pan.Spread evenly with custard, place second layer of pastry on top, pressing down slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar on top. Refrigerate for three hours before cutting.

Home made pancake mix, blueberries sauteed in sugar and organic grape juices, sprinkle with powdered sugar!

apple galette!

try this at home!

I am producing and directing my own cooking show pilot, with amazing chefs and a secret subject and title, about to be revealed after I edit the pilot! Stay tuned for more, hint: herbs in NY state!

Tomato and onion tart

Home made pate brisee
One large garden tomato
A sautéed shallot
Grated comte
Olive oil
Bake for 30 minutes at 400

This little bowl works perfectly for broiling your piperade! Here is my recipe: Saute 1 sliced boiled potato, 1/2 sliced onion a green or red pepper and cooked corn off the cob for about 15 minutes in olive oil. Spoon into the bottom of the baking dish, add 1/2 cup fresh canned tomatoes, chopped. Add one sliced tomato and a raw egg on top, salt and pepper and a few cubes of mozarella cheese. Broil for 15 minutes on low so the egg gets cooked through. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and extra virgin olive oil from Spain! Serve with toasted sliced bread or baguette!

I used ready made raw pizza dough, just half the big ball, rolled it out and layered it with garlic scape pesto that I made with basil and feta, then layered it with thinly sliced potatoes, shredded speck, olive oil and pepper and salt, bake it for 15 minutes at 450!

sour cherry tartines

These tartines are made with my home grown sour cherries, sugar, cornstarch and storebought puff pastry dough!

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