Inception Hashcapade

Is this really happening or is this an inception? Has someone infiltrated my dreams? Have they set me up for a hashcapade of epic proportions by magically transporting me to The Screen Door? Happily, the answer is yes and yes – Eames was sitting across from me at The Screen Door! And he was hungry!

Eames, er, Nich next to the massive Fried Chicken & Waffles.

In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio infiltrates the chemically-induced dreams of a wealthy industrialist’s son to plant the seed of an idea, an inception. Just as DiCaprio assembled a stellar team to pull off the inception, I needed a first-rate team to do the seemingly impossible: infiltrate The Screen Door for a hashcapade! And as luck would have it, Lindsay’s husband, Nich, looked exactly like Eames!!!

The rest of my entourage were ace foodies – Lisa, Lindsay, Cory, Mary, Liz, Lilly and Dawn. We methodically employed a previously unknown kicker: reservations! It turns out that groups of 6 or more can get reservations only when Screen Door first opens. The nine of us had a strategic win before ever setting foot inside!

Two of The Screen Door’s signature Fried Chicken & Waffle awaiting diners.

Once seated, we had a commanding view of the kitchen and eagerly watched massive plates of scrumptious southern cuisine being staged, then whisked away to hungry patrons. Although nobody in our party was an expert chemist that could induce a dream state, the sight of the food and the tasty Bloody Mary I ordered sufficed. My mind was perfectly prepared for and receptive to their Beef Brisket Hash!

The Beef Brisket Hash – one of the “smaller” servings.

As I tucked into my hash, the smoky, roasted brisket melted in my mouth. The potato, red pepper, caramelized onion and green onion rounded out the dish. I have to say that there was no shortage of brisket, seemingly in keeping with their mo’ better theme. Cory had the same hash and proclaimed that he wouldn’t eat the rest of the month!

Others were enjoying southern classics like the Fried Chicken & Waffles (Nich and Mary) or Po Boys (Liz). Lilly enjoyed her Tofu Hash with potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, spinach and mushrooms. Lisa, Lindsay and Dawn had the Vegetable Hash with snap peas, cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, and potatoes.

The Veggie Hash – loved the flavor of the fennel!

In a food coma by this point, I almost expected music to start playing and to be jolted awake to find myself still in bed. I anxiously grabbed my totem, a Blackberry, spun it, and watched as it lazily rotated then slowly stopped – this was no inception!

When the bill arrived for nine of us, I imagined the total to be roughly the equivalent of Tonga’s GDP, but was pleasantly surprised that it cost so little for so much delicious comfort food and drinks! After two failed attempts, I can now add this to my list of Portland hashcapades and know it really happened – my totem proves it!

Happy Hashcapades,

List of Portland (+ Other Cities) Hashcapdes

I’ve officially reached 20+ hashcapades in Portland (+ other cities) and thought it might be helpful to have a list, a directory of sorts. Need the website for the restaurant? Check! Need to read my hashcapade for the restaurant, if posted? Check! Need to know what kind of hash is served? Check! What? You want to see a picture of the hash? Check-o-rama! See how simple this is? Looking for recipes for Chez Clark Hashcapades? Check! Wondering about celebrity chef hashcades? Check!

Please excuse missing photos and/or hashcapades as some were pre-Catalyst for My Hashcapade Blog post: 🙂 

Happy Hashcapades!


Circa 33
Smoked Trout & Mushroom Hash

List of PDX Hashcapades (+ Other Cities)

Arleta Library Cafe
Pork Belly Hash (Varies)
Hashcapade: Beast Hashcapade

Bijou Cafe

Roast Beef Hash, Mushroom Hash, Neetarts Bay Oyster Hash

Broder Cafe
Pytt I Pana w/ Smoked Trout, Pytt I Pana Vegetarian

Hashcapade: Hascapade at Broder Cafe

Byways Cafe
Mt Rushmore Hash, Meg’s Veggie Mountain
Hashcapade: Byways Cafe Hashcapade

Cafe Murrayhill
Sausage Hash
Hashcapade: Cafe Murrayhill

The Cheesecake Factory
Doug Fir Lounge
Harvest Hash, Smoked Salmon Hash
Hashcapade: None
Fuller’s Coffee Shop
Pastrami Hash

Hall Street Grill

Porkstrami Hash, Duck Confit Hash
Elizabeth Fuss, Hall Street Grill and Hash

Hash Restaurant

Chicken Fried Steak, Corned Beef, Mushroom, Root Veggie
Hashcapade at The Heathman Restaurant

Heathman Restaurant
Corned Beef Hash, Hickory Smoked Salmon Hash

Corned Beef Hash (Beer infused CB)
Urbanspoon Listing
Hashcapde at Jam Cafe & Arthouse

Kenny and Zuke’s
Pastrami or Corned Beef Hash, Salmon Hash

Hashcapade: None
Le Petit Provence Portland
Northwest Salmon Hash, Corned Beef Hash

Milo’s City Cafe

Hash & Eggs: Vegetarion, Carbonara, 
Corned Beef, Smoked Salmon
Hashcapade: Hashcapde at Milo’s City Cafe

Mother’s Bistro
Wild Salmon Hash
Hashcapade: Mother’s Bistro

Ned Ludd


Podnah’s Pit
Smoked Trout Hash, Brisket Hash

Red Star Tavern
House Made Chorizo Hash

The Screen Door
Tofu Hash, Beef Brisket Hash, Vegetable Hash

Tasty n Sons

Morocan Chicken Hash
Hashcapade: None

Three Degrees Restaurant
Short Rib Hash, Golden Flannel Hash, 
Chicken & Leek Hash

Hashes Vary – Bacon Hash this Day
Hashcapade: A Toast to Toast


Wild Abandon Restaurant
Pullled Pork Hash
Hashcapades Outside Portland

Local Mission Eatery (San Francisco)


Lowell’s Restaurant and Bar (Seattle)
Slow-Braised Corned Beef Hash
Egginton’s (Casper, WY)
Andouille Sausage Hash
Fig Restaurant (Santa Monica)
Corned Beef Hash

Hashcapade: LA Confidential Hashcapades

Huckleberry Cafe (Santa Monica)
Niman Ranch Brisket Hash
Hashcapade: LA Confidential Hashcapades

Lon’s at Hermosa Inn (Phoenix)
Short Rib Hash
Hashcapade: Ironic Hashcapde – Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn

Mission Beach Cafe (San Francisco)
Local Mission eatery (San Francisco)

Bacon Hash Wins 2nd Place @ Bacon Takedown in Portland

Ahhhh, the wonderful, bacon-loving people of Portland are awesome! At a post-rapture Bacon Takedown (can you think of a better way to celebrate the non-Apocalypse?) my Bacon Hash won 2nd place for the People’s Choice Awards!!! You may recognize last week’s prototype photo below of my winning entry 🙂

Bacon Hash with Caramelized Onion & Kale in Bacon Bowl with Fig Jam & Dijon

As the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime,” asks, “Well, how did I get here?” I can assure you that “shotgun shacks” have nothing to do with it. Rather, the origin of this hashacapade is a combo of elements from my signature Smoked Salmon Hash, the Alleycat Breakfast Sandwich and a recent hashcapade at The Country Cat.

The Salmon Hash gets its yummy sweetness from the sweet potatoes and its creaminess from the crème fraîche. Fig jam and country Dijon come straight from the Alleycat sandwich. Finally, kale owes its spot in the lineup to the Pulled Pork Hash from The Country Cat and its robust, flavorful character. (I actually told one person sampling our hash that kale is like anti-matter: it has negative calories, thus, our hash was 0 calories, even with the bacon!)

As far as the actual competition preparation, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I agreed to compete in Matt Timms’ Bacon Takedown Tour! Normally, I cook for 2 to 4 people. But for this hashcapade, I needed samples for 250+ bacon-loving strangers – roughly 10x the size of a Chez Clark creation – holy frijoles!

Bacon Takedown Supplies – Fifteen Pounds of Bacon

The sheer bulk of this hashcapade’s provisions demanded an accounting of its excess – 16 BIG potatoes, 15 pounds of bacon, 3 bunches of kale, 6 Vadalia onions, 4 jars of fig jam, 4 tubs of crème fraîche, 4 jars of country Dijon, 2 bunches of green onion, and 2 pkgs of fresh sage. Seriously, a feeling of anxiety slowly developed. Could I make this all in time? How long would it take for the bacon mats? Waaaaahhhhh!!!!! I felt like the little pig crying, all the way home!

Bacon Mat – a.k.a. Woven Porcine Culinary Miracles

Having developed the weaving method last week, I thought the bacon mats would be simple, but my calculations said 15 mats at 30 minutes each would  mean 7.5 hours? Plus almost 2.5 hours for potatoes? My anxiety ratcheted up yet again…there goes Saturday night!

Mercifully, the Rapture didn’t happen, so Saturday night would work and thankfully, my buddy Cory was coming over Sunday to help. All I needed to do was focus, focus, focus…and have a beer or two…

Sunday dawned bright and early as I prepared the kitchen for the onslaught of a massive hashcapade. Cory was nice enough to bring over a 6-pack of Widmer Brothers Drop Top and we were off and drinking, er, hashing. Dicing potatoes, cooking bacon for the hash itself, fabricating 2 more bacon mats (decided 10 was OK), caramelizing onions, and mixing the hash. Showtime!

Yours truly and Cory, a.k.a. not Michael Pollan

We quickly snagged a table near the entrance and set about creating the Bacon Hash. The real trick to this was mixing the crème fraîche into the bacon hash at the last minute, spreading the fig jam and Dijon on the bacon mat and using a pizza cutter to create bite-size samples. We ran out of mats, but the little sample cups worked fine! The best part of the Takedown was having Lisa, Andrea, Brent and Maynard, our running posse, show up and put us over the top!

Bacon Hash – Second Place – People’s Choice Awards – Thanks, PDX peeps!

Once all the folks left, we had a raucous awards ceremony in the basement of The Good Foot. My tweep, Allison Jones (left of Cory above) won the award for the best display with her custom “PORKLAND” sign – awesome! Matt Timms handed me the serious hardware – Le Creuset Iron Handle Skillet, Microplane grater, Edgeware Zester and Knife Sharpener, and Wüsthof utility knife! THANKS MATT & PDX PEEPS!

For those interested in the details, the rest of the recipes and awards can be found on Matt’s blog

What did *you* like best about my Bacon Hash? Leave a comment!

Happy Hashcapades,

Portland Bacon Takedown Hash

They say bacon is the “gateway meat”. For me, it’s now become the takedown meat. To be exact, the Portland Bacon Takedown, spearheaded by Brooklyn’s Matt Timms, is coming to Portland on May 22. Matt invited me to participate after he was referred to my Hascapades blog by his friend – yay! He hooked me into the takedown with his suggestion: a bacon hash. Well, this is just to much fun to pass up, but, now I gotta get my entry figured out – stat!

Bacon Hash with Caramelized Onion & Kale in Bacon Bowl with Fig Jam & Dijon

And voila! That was easy – instant Bacon Takedown Hash – with a mere scroll of the wrist. Sadly, it wasn’t really that simple, but the journey was worth it! My first step was envisioning a vessel to hold my hash. What could be better than some sort of bacon bowl or cup? After a quick Google search, I found Not Martha’s post on making bacon bowls. I was blown away by the delightful instructions and photos – structural bacon certification was within my grasp!

Halved Bacon Strip Weave, a.k.a. The Bacon Mat

Not Martha (her name is Megan) wove bacon magic to create a few different types of bacon bowls – one big, almost like a Dixie cup, and the other, a mini-bowl. You can see how easily bacon becomes a culinary fabric. Too bad I didn’t cover my Bacon-Wrapped Ham Loaf in it! (Pig in a blanket has a new meaning…)

Various Bacon weaves on an upside-down mini-muffin tin.
The finished prototype bacon bowl – bowl lotta love – oink!

Of the many variations Cory (a.k.a. Not Michael Pollan) and I tried, the bacon halved lengthwise, cut in half and then woven like a mat (above) worked the best. Also, at 400 degrees it took nearly 25 minutes in the oven + 5 minutes under the broiler to make the bacon crisper. How in the world would I ever create 200 bacon bowls for the Bacon Takedown? That’s a bowl lotta love…whaaaooooowww!

Hashing up all the main ingredients, before creme fraiche & green onion.

Back to reality, I decided a simple flat bacon “mat” for the Bacon Takedown will have to suffice. There’s no shame in simplicity, especially when slathered in fig jam and Dijon mustard – yum! All I had to do was mix my bacon hash up in the pan and place a big spoon into my prototype bacon bowls. Two bites of sublime bacon, sweet potato, caramelized onion, and kale in the uber tasty bacon bowl and I was in oinktopia! It was an instantaneous takedown of my hunger, a TKO that left me dizzily satisfied all afternoon!

Please pass this post along and I hope to see you at the Bacon Takedown!

Happy Hashcapades,

Bacon Hash in a Bacon Bowl with Fig Jam and Dijon Mustard
1 Russet potato

1 Sweet potato
> Drizzle oil over the Russet and liberally salt
> Place Russet and sweet potato in pan, cover and roast in the oven at 425 for 45-50 minutes
> Let cool, then hash into 3/8 inch cubes max
NOTE: Onion and Bacon can be cooked while Potatoes are roasting

Bacon Bowl
3 strips of regular bacon, sliced in half length-wise, then halved
1 mini-muffin pan
> Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
>  Using 9 of the leanest slices of bacon, weave a mat similar to photo above
> Place over upside-down muffin tin, molding to the contour
> Bake for 25 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes or so to crisp the bacon further
> Remove from oven and allow to cool
NOTE: You can play with higher temperatures, perhaps same time as the potatoes

Caramelized Onions
1 Sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla), coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
> Melt butter in pan on med-high, adding onion at the same time
> Stir occasionally, but don’t let onion burn, until slightly translucent
> Turn down heat to med-low and let caramelize for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally

12 oz thick bacon, (I used a “Stack Pack” Hempler’s Natural Uncured Bacon)
> Chop bacon cross-wise into 1/2 inch or less strips
> Fry on medium until the bacon is fairly crispy, drain any excess rendered fat

Bringing the Hash Together
2 Italian kale leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
> Add the above, plus the onion and potatoes to the pan with the bacon
> Stir an heat through, about 5 minutes
> Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl

3-4 Tbsp creme fraiche
2 green onion, sliced cross-wise
> Add creme fraiche slowly

> It should be just enough help the mixture bind a bit, but not runny
> Add green onion, reserve a bit for garnish

Final Presentation
1/2 tsp fig jam (I use Dalmatia brand)
1/2 tsp country Dijon mustard
> Spread jam into bacon bowl bottom and up the sides, repeat with the Dijon
> Spoon a few spoonfuls of the hash into the bacon bowl
> Garnish with green onion
NOTE: This should make about 30-40 samples

Quattro Patate e Pollo Hash

You’ve heard of quattro formaggi ravioli, right? Well, this here is not four cheese but four potatoes and chicken hash, or quattro patate e pollo hash! You see, I used the potatoes from my last hashcapade at Chez Clark, Dueling Flames of Death.

Quattro Patate e Polo Hash

Now, even though the name is in Italian, the actual hash is more Mexican in its final execution because I had leftover cilantro, roasted red pepper and salsa verde. Hash is, after all, a culinary melting pot, so why not mix up the names too! BTW, you may also want to check out my Oaxacan Chicken, Potato and Chayote in Mole Hash.)

The infamous ramekins of four different potatoes.

So, you may recall that in Dueling Flames of Death, the potatoes I tested were (clockwise from upper left) – Red, White, Russet and Yukon Gold. After roasting, hashing and frying up the quattro patate, Russett came out on top for its earthier, richer, roasted flavor. But what do do with my test subjects? A hashcapade of course!

Mixing and re-heating all the ingredients together.
The finished product – plated, primped and ready to eat!

After reheating the potatoes, adding shredded rotisserie chicken and other yummy ingredients, the hash came together in a snap! I mixed in salsa verde, made a avocado crema, chopped up some cilantro and plated my creation.

I can’t say I could discern all the different potatoes individually, but the overall effect was roasted potato goodness. Besides the taters anchoring the hash, the other flavors – tangy salsa verde, flavorful, moist rotisserie chicken, roasted artichoke, piquant roasted red pepper and a rich, creamy avocado crema – played nicely together on my palate. Molto bene, er, muy bien, um, very good!

Happy Hashcapade,

Quattro Patate e Polo Hash

4 each of Yukon Gold, Russet, Red and White potatoes
> Drizzle oil over the potatoes and liberally salt, cover and roast in the oven at 425 for 45-50 minutes
> Let cool, then hash half of each potato into 1/2 inch cubes
> Fry on medium high in some oil for 5 minutes
NOTE: Save potatoes for other, or double below quantities to make more servings

1 rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed, shredded into bite size pieces
1 greed onion, sliced
1/4 each roasted red and yellow peppers, diced
1 grilled artichoke heart, chopped (I use Napoleon brand)
> Add all of the above into the frying pan, turned to medium, until chicken is warmed through
> Remove from heat and transfer hash to a bowl

1/3 – 1/2 cup salsa verde
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
> Slowly add enough of the salsa verde into the bowl of hash
> It should be just enough help the mixture bind and be sticky for plating

> Add the cilantro and mix

Avocado Crema Sauce
1/4 avocado, finely diced
3 Tbs creme fraiche
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
> Mix above together, salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp diced roasted red pepper
> On the plates, spoon the Avocado Crema on the plate in a circle bigger than the food ring
> Using a 4″ diameter, 2″ high food ring, pack in the hash
> Spoon additional crema over the hash and garnish with cilantro and red pepper
NOTE: Makes 1-2 servings, depending on size of food ring

The Country Cat – Meow!

Timing, chance, circumstance, serendipity. Ever experience the paradox of perfect timing and a missed opportunity? Such were the happy circumstances of my Mother’s Day hashcapade at The Country Cat. The perfect timing part is that I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Sappington yesterday. As Über Owner & Chef at TCC, he teaches at the Portland Meat Collective, where I signed up for his class on lamb butchery. I was excited because TCC was on my hashcapade list and here was *the man* holding forth on an art form that most folks take for granted. The missed opportunity part was that I could have used the newly butchered lamb for my last creation – Harissa Lamb Hash.  C’est la vie!
The Country Cat at SE Stark and SE 80th – Cool cat mosaic – meow!

Paradox or not, I arrived half an hour before opening and was relieved to find that a line had yet to form. That’s right – this guy was the progenitor of the line to end all lines! A cool mosaic cat kept me company for a few minutes. Then, as if by magic, a crush of folks eager to treat their Mothers to a delicious treat appeared. These hungry monsters queued up behind me and stretched around the corner. I can only assume my feline friend was a magnet for adventurous diners in the know!

First in line with the restaurant to myself…for 2 seconds!

Entering the restaurant first was novel – where should I sit? I opted for the bar proper, but later realized I could have sat at the bar in front of the kitchen to watch them create magic. What was I thinking?!?! Anyway, a friendly staffer welcomed me as I quickly explained that I was here for the Pork Pastrami Hash.

Maybe it was the hipster cat that sensed my interest in a quick bite so I could watch Lisa finish the Hippie Chick Half Marathon. Or, maybe it was the fact that I held a placard while standing in line that shouted -FEED ME HASH! Whatever the case, she worked her magic and the dish appeared shortly after my coffee – purrfect!

Channeling “The Cat Returns” perhaps?
Are you kidding me? Pork Pastrami Hash – pre-food coma.
First in line, primo spot, lightning fast service, and a primo dish – the planets were aligned! My hash was nothing short of amazing – two perfectly poached egged atop a melange of pork pastrami, kale, green onion, sweet onion, Russet potatoes, broccoli, country dijon and roasted garlic – omnomnom!
Learning about Adam’s regard for sourcing livestock + butchery made the succulent pastrami taste all the better. The kale and broccoli were genius additions, giving the hash a vibrant visual and savory appeal. Heaven on earth? The Country Cat delivered many times over…MEOW!
Happy Hashcapades,

Dueling Flames of Death

Holy frijoles – flames and death! Ok, not really. I thought this would be a better title than, “A Treatise on Solanum tuberosum,” the potato’s scientific name. After nearly 40 hashcapades, it occurred to me that I’ve seen just about every way to make a potato – boiled, deep-fat fried, pan fried, roasted and grilled. They’ve been mashed, diced, shredded, crumbled, and wedged. But, which potato makes the best hash and why? I should have an informed opinion right?

The majority of my hashcapades at Chez Clark involve Yukon Gold potatoes for two important reasons: 1) I like the yellow flesh that spruces up the hash’s visual appeal; and 2) they hold a lot of moisture. Also, Yukon just sounds badass and hella cold, but that isn’t very scientific! Anyway, I decided to channel my inner geek and bought one each of the following potatoes: Yukon Gold, Red, Russet, and White.

I’m ready to dig into this challenge!

Of the cooking methods above, I had to decide which had the best chance of bringing out the best in all the taters. Most of the time, I pan fry raw, diced potatoes instead of previously roasted ones. For this experiment, I reasoned that roasting develops the more complex flavors. Next, I liberally doused olive oil and salt on the taters, covered them and baked them at 425 for 50 minutes. Whilst waiting, I consulted the bible, “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee and “Starting with Ingredients: Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook” by Aliza Green.

A couple of tidbits from McGee

  • There are over 200 species of potato (Wikipedia above) says 5000
  • Spaniards brought potatoes from Peru to Europe in 1570
  • Spuds are a good source of vitamin C and B
  • Potatoes contain toxic alkaloids that manifest as a bitter tast
  • Waxy potatoes (Yukon) are more moist due to their cell structure
  • Mealy potatoes (Russet) are fluffy and drier as their cell structure breaks down

Green repeated much of McGee’s basic info, but lacked the science info on alkaloids or cell structure! But I found the following interesting:

  • Yukon Gold is a cross between a wild South American yellow potato & a North American White Potato
  • The University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada created the Yukon Gold
First sample after roasting and two reference books.

After roasting, I sampled each several times, noting texture and flavor. The winner was Russet with its roasted, earthy flavors, punctuated by the delicious skin. Next was the White, moister and full flavored. My Yukon came in third, with a more subtle, “planty” flavor. The Red was out of its depth, better for boiling, they say. (It occurs to me that I’m talking about these taters like characters from Reservoir Dogs! Yukon is close to Mr. Orange – Tim Roth, Mr. White – Harvey Keitel!)

Back to the post, please? Ok. But what about the next step in the process, frying up the hashed roasted taters? Using 1 Tbsp of grape seed oil, which is more neutral tasting than EVOO, I fried up the potatoes in two pans at a time – Dueling Flames of Death – on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

Clockwise from upper left: Red, White, Yukon, Russet, post-roast & hashed.
Clockwise from upper left: Red, White, Yukon, Russet, post pan frying.

After frying, I felt vindicated by the Yukon Gold – it was a nice golden brown, still moist and more flavorful, but the texture was a little mushy. Surprisingly, the White tater dropped in the standings, tasting too much like a french fry and lacking the former roasted flavor, but firm – a tie with Yukon. Red browned nicely, but just didn’t do much for me. This left Russet as the winner – nice roasted flavor, firm texture, bold – but not as visually appealing as Yukon. Who knew my photo of mini-me on the Russet would actually show the winner of Dueling Flames of Death?!?!

Sitting here creating this post, it occurred to me that a more subtle potato might be desirable if your ingredients are a little delicate, i.e. crab vs. corned beef. In that case, Russet may over-power the main attraction.What do you think? What’s your go-to tater and how do you prep it for a hashcapade?

Happy Hashcapades,