This description in Jam’s menu piqued my curiosity: “We slow cook huge briskets of corned beef in beer (yes beer!).” Two of my favorite things combined? In a scrumptious potato hash? Yes, please! So off to SE Hawthorne we drove from the burbs, crossing the “humming” bridge, a.k.a. Hawthorne Bridge, and its steel-grated decks. If you modulate speed correctly, it sounds like “O Canada,” but I digress.
Oh yes I did – Hormel’s iconic Corned Beef Hash in a lovely steel can with the Mary Kitchen logo. My motivation was simple: the entire spectrum of potato hash must be experienced, much as Anthony Bourdain samples exotic eats, although I would fake a seizure to avoid some of them.
After a few false starts – not open on Mondays and being kidnapped by my running posse for breakfast elsewhere – my most eagerly-anticipated Hashcapade finally came to fruition. I’m speaking, of course, about Hash Restaurant, a hidden gem on SE 17th in the Sellwood area of Portland. (Closed in Dec. 2011)
Unless family or friends are about to order a domestic beer, I’m not often catalyzed into the flurry of activity that has possessed me this past week. All it took was one tweet, less than 140 characters, I might add, to catapult me into “action Jackson” mode. (A trebuchet may have been more accurate because the feeling was visceral and medieval, yet exhilarating!)
Simply put, Julia Moskin, a reporter for the Dining section for the New York Times, wrote about potato hash. Her article, “The Humble Plate of Hash Has Nobler Ambitions,” encapsulates in one line the very core of my obsession to see potato hash have its due in the annals of cooking history; to be considered worthy of its own dedicated tome, preferably one I write and publish!
Thus was born this blog, hashcapades, to focus on a culinary tradition mindlessly relegated to breakfast and leftovers. No, this is not to be its legacy, which dates back to at least the 15th century with a Portuguese recipe, Picadinho de Carne de Vaca, or Beef Hash. You see, the legacy of potato hash is being created every day around the world and the article Julia Moskin wrote calls me like a siren song to explore its intricacies and share my interest in the topic, which began in 2007.
You’ll notice that my blog is still thin from those early recipe days and seems to be populated most recently with Hashcapades, adventures to sample potato hash in the amazing restaurant scene that Portland now nurtures. Please be patient. The skeletal structure will be fleshed out, filled in and polished, one post at a time.
Yet another Hashcapade at La Petite Provence on Alberta. Their Corned Beef Hash was stunningly yummy with multi-colored peppers, a creamy horseradish sauce and house-cured corned beef. Had I opted for the decadent patisseries in their display cases, I can assure you a food coma of such epic proportions, you would spend the weekend, dazed, but satisfied. Bon appetit!