On Saturday, October 5, the first-ever Battledish event took place, organized by Eugene’s ambassador of Dishcrawl, Rosalie Ruff. Selected to be one of the judges, Battledish is an international chef competition that takes place in cities around the world. Here in Eugene, six chefs from six different restaurants concocted some incredible dishes and drinks for participating food enthusiasts and our panel of six judges – all in hopes of being crowned the Battledish King.
Meeting up at the first restaurant, Tokyo Tonkatsu on Broadway, I received a judge ballot and a map of the restaurants that were a part of Battledish, including a description of the dishes and drinks that were soon to be imbibed. After being introduced to the other judges, Eugene food blogger Ghio Imbergio of AKitchenTakesRoot.com, Register Guard Tastings Editor Joel Gorthy, KMTR’s Joel Porter, freelance writer Sophia McDonald of sophiathewriter.com and freelance writer Jackie Varriano who writes for multiple publications, we sat together to bite into our first dish of the day: Pork Tonkatsu.
Prepared by chef Hiro Kamazuka, the Panko Fried Pork Tonkatsu was served over cabbage and drizzled with Katsu Sauce along with two spicy tuna rolls. Deliciously fried to a crispy golden brown, the pork was tender and the Katsu sauce was creamy and tasty. The spicy tuna rolls offered a nice punch of flavors with its spicy sauce, and the tuna was fresh and moist.
We made our way to the next restaurant, First National Taphouse, where we were given a Taphouse Manahattan made with Ransom Whippersnapper Whiskey, Carpano Vermouth, Fee Bros. orange bitters and finished with a orange peel zest. Created by mixologist Franco D’Amico, I loved the orange accents added into this Manhattan and enjoyed every sip. Two super fresh and tasty Marinated Pork and Brisket Tacos were prepared by chef Jason Landis. Amber Marinated Brisket and Pear Cider Marinated Pulled Pork were piled high inside corn tortillas with black beans, corn salsa, shredded lettuce and sour cream. The side of house made hot sauce was absolutely delicious poured over the tacos, and the pork and brisket were flavor packed, juicy and tender – I especially loved the brisket.
From First National Taphouse, we walked a short block away to Belly where we were served one of the best fall inspired cocktails I’ve ever had – Apple of My Rye. Prepared by Mel Mikell this blend of spiced apple cider, rye whiskey, fall spices and hazelnut milk was warm and soothing. Juicy, yet creamy and full of delectable palate-pleasing flavors, it was outstanding The Basque Piperade, prepared by chef Brendan Mahaney, was house Andouille sausage and fresh red and green peppers served over polenta and topped with a fried Quail egg – packed full of savory, delicious flavors.
The next restaurant on our list was The Cannery, housed in the old Bier Stein location on 13th near campus. We had two cocktails coming our way at The Cannery, and the first cocktail to arrive was the Basil Julep. Served on the rocks and prepared by mixologist Morgan Pharis, this delicious concoction was made using Kentucky bourbon, muddled basil, fresh squeezed house sour and egg white. The second cocktail, also prepared by Morgan, was my favorite of the day, the Bucha-cha. A mixture of vodka, Ginger-Cardamom simple syrup and fresh lemon juice were shaken and served in a martini glass and topped with Brew Dr. Lemon, ginger and Cayenne Kombucha with candied ginger garnish. Light and refreshing, the ginger flavors dominated the drink and I absolutely loved it. Our dish, prepared by chef Michael Wares, was also my favorite of the day – Parmesan Crusted Reuben. Grilled corned beef, house made sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and house sauce was piled high on the most delicious thick and savory parmesan and fennel crusted rye bread. I couldn’t get enough; in fact, it’s a sandwich I’m seriously craving and must have again soon – I can’t wait to return to The Cannery.
The two remaining restaurants that participated in Battledish were Cornucopia and Rye. Because I was attending a Fall Harvest Dinner at Red Ridge Farms in Dayton, Oregon (I’m looking forward to writing about this spectacular event), I wasn’t able to try the dishes and drinks that were being served up at Cornucopia and Rye.
With today’s announcement of the Battledish King; as well as, gold, silver and bronze winners in the five different categories, I know I missed out on some incredible food and drinks. Cornucopia’s mixologist, Kristine Cain, served up Dolce Venezolada, a blend of top shelf Tequila, mango puree and lime garnished with cilantro. Chef Jeff Alvarado prepared Bacon wrapped petite pork shanks in Mole, roast turkey and butternut squash empanadas, red pepper Coulis and a ceviche made with bay scallops and mango with corn orejas. At Rye, I missed out on chef Jeff Passerotti’s much-talked-about Portuguese Stew made with Carlton Farms braised pork with mussels, onion, paprika, saffron and piri-piri served with smashed sweet potatoes and the Wry – rye whiskey with Cocchi Americano.
GOLD: Chef Brendan Mahaney at Belly for his Basque Piperade
Silver: Chef Jeff Alvarado at Cornucopia for his Pork Shanks, Empanadas and Ceviche
Bronze: Chef Jason Landis at First National Taphouse for his Marinated Pork & Brisket Tacos
GOLD: Chef Jeff Passerotti at Rye for his Portuguese Pork Stew
Silver: Chef Jason Landis for his Marinated Pork & Brisket Tacos
Bronze: Chef Jeff Alvarado for his Pork Shanks, Empanadas and Ceviche
GOLD: Chef Michael Wares of The Cannery for his Parmesan Crusted Reuben
Silver: Chef Jeff Alvarado for his Pork Shanks, Empanadas and Ceviche
Bronze: Chef Jason Landis for his Marinated Pork & Brisket Tacos
GOLD: Apple of My Rye by Mel Mikell of Belly
Silver: Bucha-cha by Morgan Pharis of The Cannery
Bronze: Basil Julep by Morgan Pharis of The Cannery
MOST DELICIOUS AND WINNER OF BATTLEDISH
Chef Michael Wares of The Cannery for his Parmesan Crusted Reuben
Chef Jeff Passerotti at Rye for his Portuguese Stew with Smash Sweet Potatoes
Chef Jason Landis at First National Taphouse for his Marinated Pork and Brisket Tacos