Naoko Tamura’s kappo-style restaurant Shizuku by Chef Naoko — which usually features Japan’s five traditional cooking methods: steaming, frying, simmering, grilling, and raw preparation — has resumed offering limited takeout such as bentos, onigiri, and tamagoyaki. Tamura’s restaurant has been closed since the early summer, after the chef announced she would “reorganize our operations around the many post-pandemic challenges” and set up a “new format” for the restaurant. At the beginning of January, the restaurant teased that it will get back to resuming regular operations on a gradual basis. The dining room of the downtown restaurant, which was designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, remains closed for the time being, but is available for private dining and other event rentals.
Tamura has been cooking Japanese food professionally for more than three decades, starting with her mother’s organic food business in Japan. Her first Portland restaurant, Chef Naoko Bento Cafe, became a runaway hit, and she became a chef-about-town, catering for places like the lauded film studio Laika. Shizuku opened in 2017, and her work there earned Tamura a spot among the James Beard semifinalists in 2020.
Portland restaurants are serving chocolate desserts for a cause this February
Portland’s Chocolate for Congo event will return this February for its 10th year, as restaurants and bakeries dream up chocolate desserts to raise money for aid organizations in the Congo. For example, Arden has planned a cinnamon and chili chocolate tart, Le Pigeon will serve a chocolate cherry semifreddo, and the Pie Spot will hawk dark chocolate mint mousse pie. Thirteen restaurants will participate — in addition to the aforementioned spots, other notable Portland restaurants include Cafe Olli, Canard, Coquine, Dame, Ox, and various Sesame Collective restaurants. $1 from each dish will go to the nonprofits Eastern Congo Initiative, which focuses on advocacy and financial support for Eastern Congo, and Action Kivu, which specifically focuses on aid for women and children in the country. Chocolate for Congo, which is co-hosted by the Never Again Coalition and Theo Chocolate (which sources 100 percent of its fair trade cocoa beans from the Congo and who is donating all of the chocolate used for the event), was founded by former Le Pigeon pastry chef Lauren Fortgang.
Bend Brewfest cancels its 2023 event
Organizers for the Bend Brewfest have canceled the 2023 event due to current construction on their preferred venue, the Hayden Homes Amphitheater. In 2022, the event was held in May at the Old Mill District, but historically, the annual event took place at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in August. As reported by Willamette Week, the announcement comes a week after the news that the Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland’s flagship summer beer event, will not be held this summer.