Posted January 14, 2014

Still Crazy After All These Years

Eat + Drink

Ah, 2004 … what a year. Michael Phelps swam his way to Olympic glory, earning eight medals at the Summer Games in Athens. Janet Jackson had the world’s most famous “wardrobe malfunction.” We lost Marlon Brando and Ray Charles but gained Facebook. NASA landed two rovers on Mars and Britney Spears made it her prerogative to become a serial bride, getting married twice (although to be fair, one marriage only lasted 55 hours). In our world, 2004 also marked when Chef John Eisenhart took over the reins of Pazzo Ristorante in Portland, OR.

Chef John Eisenhart

Capping a culinary odyssey that took him from the strawberry fields of his native Nebraska to some of the most prestigious kitchens in San Francisco and New York City (where he was mentored by cooking mogul Mario Batali), Chef Eisenhart landed in the City of Roses following a year-long trip to Italy, where he immersed himself in the ways of the regional cuisine. When he became executive chef of Pazzo — which translates from Italian as “crazy” — he brought with him a fresh, lean, unpretentious style that merged new flavors with both classic and creative techniques.

Originally opened in 1991, Pazzo remains a cornerstone of the Portland dining scene, and Chef Eisenhart celebrates his 10-year anniversary with a special January menu that includes some of his “greatest hits.” He’s serving up items like his most-requested dish, barbabietola (roasted beets, Brussels sprouts and salted walnuts with horseradish mascarpone); a carpaccio of Willamette Valley lamb with black truffle vinaigrette (which was on his very first Pazzo menu); roasted duck breast with Ruby Red grapefruit and pumpkinseed oil; and grilled pork strip loin with a cauliflower–Parmesan crust, a dish that got Chef Eisenhart featured in The New York Times.

And to really celebrate all things 2004, Pazzo will be pouring glasses of 2004 vintage wines for just 10 bucks all month long. And how crazy is that?


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