Slushy Program

In the heat of August and mid-summer, what sounds better than sipping on an ice cold slushy on the rooftop?  Not a whole lot, so in mid-July we rolled out an incredible slushy program, featuring local ingredients as well as showcasing trends like the ever popular Frosé (and infused with chamomile syrup from our garden to make it unique)!

 

We run two new slushies every night, and have 50 recipes already written that we are experimenting with including a frozen signature Seoul Spring made with house made bamboo syrup (pictured here) and a very special upcoming Shiso Mint Julep that uses an heirloom shiso specifically imported to Portland’s Japanese Garden that we are lucky enough to grow up on our roof.

 

At $15 for a 15 ounce glass, what’s not to love?

Ice Cream Cones and Summer

Ice Cream Cones and Summer

Happy Solstice!  To gear up for a fun, hot and busy summer Chef Gregory will be rolling out an ice cream cone program starting July 1st.  After months of planning (and waiting) for summer to finally arrive, starting next month the team will be offering two rotating ice cream flavors such as fermented rice and coconut with berries, to roasted banana caramel all served up in gluten free cones. (It almost goes without saying that the ice creams will be vegan.)

Garnishes such as herbs and flowers will come from our rooftop garden, like the cone featured here: Koji and coconut milk ice cream with Marion berry sauce, pickled dried strawberries and freeze dried strawberries, all topped with flower petals from the garden and some gold leaf.  What better way to celebrate the season?

It’s Garden Time!

Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

It’s Garden Time!

Our ever growing rooftop garden is finally in full bloom, and we have just begun using some herbs and flowers on new summertime dishes, including the attached image of Kampachi Avocado with Pansies and Dill.

This year we are sourcing primarily from Zenger Farms, which is a local farm that is part of the greater Johnson Creek watershed, and is an educational and environmental resource owned by the city.  Their statement is that they are “officially and sustainable” a resource for the city and we would encourage everyone to take a look at their website for further information: https://zengerfarm.org/about-the-farm/

We are lucky to have gotten a number of starts from them, including culture, lettuce, mustard greens and red leaf lettuce, and in addition Chef Jon has taken the lead in growing and cultivating strawberries, Ako shiso, 6 types of onions, chamomile, hops and Five Star Akebia, among many others.

On August 19th we are partnering with them for a Farm Dinner and could not be more excited.

Here’s to the continuation of beautiful weather and the beginning of summer!

Spring Has Sprung

Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

Spring Has Sprung

While the sun may not have graced us with its presence yet this season, many spring vegetables and herbs have done so, prompting our Spring Menu change which is full of brightness and vibrancy.  Twelve dishes changed overall featuring items such as ramps (the quintessential sign of warmer weather), asparagus and various herbs.   A new salad that has everyone particularly jazzed is the Cauliflower and Asparagus Salad, with ramps, coconut cream, saffron and garam masala which is a ground spice mixture common in India and Pakistan, and one of the only representations from that part of Asia at the moment.  It is beautiful, flavorful and has a great depth without being too hot or overwhelming.

While the savory dishes are fun, delicious and seasonally focused, Chef Gregory and the team are very excited about the new sweet items as well, namely the Coconut Ash Pudding.  Black coconut ash is the charred and processed remains of the shell, which can then be incorporated into dishes, such as ice cream or in the case, a pudding.  Served with coffee ice cream, whiskey caramel and coconut ice, it not only looks amazing, it is a beautiful combination of rich flavors and light textures.  

 

It may be raining outside, but the team has done an amazing job conveying just how brilliant spring and summer are inside.

 

Namazake Sake

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Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

Namazake Sake        

Spring is upon us, and to celebrate we are offering a Namazake sake flight!

Namazake is an unpasteurized sake that is most commonly seen in the spring after the end of the traditional sake brewing season.  It is distinctly fresh, with a liveliness similar to young wine: a little sharp, with a bright fragrance that somehow “conveys the essence of spring”. Nama in Japanese has several meanings including “natural state” which is precisely what this beverage is.

The three that we are offering are all Japanese.

Eiko Fuji “Glorious Mt. Fuhi”, from the Yamagata region in northern Japan is soft and delicately fruity with a crisp acidity.

Rihaku “Origin of Purity” which is made from Omachi, Japan’s oldest pure rice strain is clean, creamy and complex.

Narutotai “Ginjo Nama Gneshu” was established in 1804 in the Tokushima prefecture, and is a powerful and dry sake, with a slightly sweet aroma and great acidity.

Happy Hour

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Happy Hour

Departure Portland is rolling out some new happy hour items this month, to continue on a centuries old tradition that was referred to even by Shakespeare in King Henry V.  It is thought that in more recent history it has its origins in the US Navy around 1913 when a group of “home makers” held semi-weekly “Happy Hour Socials” aboard the USS Arkansas.

The idea of drinking before dinner in general comes from Prohibition era, when people would host cocktail “happy” hours at speakeasies, before going to dinner where alcohol was not allowed.

Each country has its own version of happy hour, except for Ireland where it has been illegal since 2003, and even in America several states outlaw it including Massachusetts, North Carolina and Illinois until 2015, when a 26 year ban was overturned.

To honor our cities love affair with happy hour we have added a beautiful Vietnamese Noodle dish with aromatics, beef and chili, along with an Onigiri with either pork belly or spicy tuna.

Private Dining at its Best!

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Private Dining at its Best!

Departure Portland not only has an incredible menu by Chef Gregory Gourdet, but we have private dining space to match! Picture yourself in one of our three private dining rooms on the top of the nines hotel, with corporate team members or friends and family! 

Our State room can seat up to 25 guests and has incredible views of the city, with large open windows for our guests. Perfect for a rehearsal dinner, or even a business meeting, we’re here to make your event special with specialty menus for large parties and top notch service. We also have a room called the Sea of Love! Sounds pretty special huh? We certainly think so! The Sea of Love is for a perfect intimate dinner for up to 12 people! And if you’re having a small rehearsal dinner or bridal shower, you can even pick your honeymoon destination on the big map, located on the wall in the space.

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Our third private dining option is called the West Deck and we have great plans for it, come this spring! Inquire soon as the space fills up for the warm spring and summer months! Book this space nightly for three hour slots and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and a hand crafted cocktail to match!

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Looking for additional information on our private dining? You can inquire here.

We hope to see you soon for an incredible event you won’t forget!

600 Years of Peking Duck

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600 Years of Peking Duck

This is our 6th year of Departure featuring Chef Gregory’s Peking Duck and it is off to a wonderful start! 

The tradition of preparing and serving duck in this style has its origins in the Ming Dynasty of China, between the years 1368–1644, and in 1416 it was served at Bianyifang, a restaurant in Beijing that was the first to specialize in the dish.  In what would be its 600th anniversary of that first service this year, Chef Gregory is highlighting the complex practice by curing and drying the duck for 5 days, before serving it with a bone broth soup, duck fat fried rice and the magical accompaniments: candied kumquats, mandarin pancakes, sweet and sour cherries, scallions and cucumber.

We are proud to be carrying on this tradition and look forward to championing it here in Portland for years to come.

Local Wines This Fall

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Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland, OR

Departure is proud to be working with three exciting local wines by the glass this fall; Bow & Arrow’s Melon de Bourgogne, Division’s Cabernet Franc and Jackalope’s Viognier. These wines feature a lovely vibrancy and freshness that complement and enhance Chef Gregory’s cuisine. The selection of these wines is emblematic of an overall wine philosophy devoted to approachable, fun wines that exhibit a sense of place and take you on an adventure. 

Falling For Chocolate

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On November 8th, Erin Koroll, Departure Denver’s own Pastry Chef journeyed to Vail to compete in the Altamira Fall Food Show – Chocolate Competition.  The title was “Falling for Chocolate”, and that’s exactly what happened.

The event was sponsored by Valrhona USA with five competitors from different restaurants within Colorado.  Each competitor was to submit a bon bon for the crowd, a chocolate showpiece and a plated dessert utilizing specific chocolate from the Valrhona collection. 

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There were three judges, all world renowned chocolate masters.  The competitors went in different heats, assembling their showpieces for the judges.  This happened to be Chef Erin’s first competition and she decided to submit a story that tied all of her components together.  Her showpiece was a homage to early childhood camping and chocolate memories, which added a refreshing component to the competition.  However, the build up to the event was anything but easy.  “With so much going on in the restaurant including a fall menu change and the approaching holidays, it was an incredible push to get everything ready” stated Chef Erin.  “All in all, I spent nearly 40 hours on this project and thankfully made it to Vail without any major casualties.  The day of the competition was extremely stressful to start – I knew I was up against a lot of really spectacular talent, so the pressure was definitely on.  When it came closer to my stage time, I felt a shift in my attitude and decided to have as much fun as I could at my first official competition.  Once on the stage, I assembled the showpiece and had a lot of fun with the crowd.  I finished just in time and was able to submit everything along with my inspirations.”

 The judges were so impressed with her positive, relaxed mindset throughout the event and really appreciated her invigorating approach to competing.  “This is definitely something that I hope to do again and I absolutely learned a lot from my competitors.  Overall it was a humbling, exciting experience.  I have to admit it was pretty badass to place in the competition at all, especially when the room was filled with so much talent and chocolate expertise.  I admire all of my fellow chefs and can’t wait to work with them again in the future.”

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