Celebrating at Castagna Restaurant

Instead of throwing a big bash for my fortieth birthday and our wedding anniversary, I scheduled a whole week of quiet festivities capped with the Chef’s Tasting Menu paired with wines at Castagna Restaurant.  Castagna Café is fantastic and serves the best my favorite hamburger in Portland. ( You need to try it.)  But, I’ve been looking for an excuse to splurge on Chef Justin Woodward's tasting menu at Castagna Restaurant and I'm so glad that we did.  It's the best meal that I've eaten at a restaurant. Ever.

Each plate was an edible poem accompanied by a brilliantly paired wine.  
A snack: beet crackers with sheep cheese inside

We nibbled on snacks and sipped wines from around the world.

Egg salad with roe and sprouts on buckwheat crackers
Each course transported us back in time and we told each other new stories.  Stories that we had forgotten until we tasted the sprouts with egg and buckwheat.

Or the shrimp salad on fried bread topped with fresh lettuce. 

We sighed, giggled, and savored each of the twelve individual courses over three and a half hours.

  And cooed over the fantastic whole wheat and hazelnut rolls served fresh out of the oven with fresh whipped lardo.  

At some point, I sat the phone camera down and simply let the meal have its way with me.  And the desserts wowed us.  I gazed into My Pirates eyes and melted,  just as I have these past eighteen years together.  Chef Justin Woodward knows how to coax the best out of food and people.  Thanks for the unforgettable evening!   

Afterthought:  When we stepped out the front door of Castagna Restaurant, we narrowly missed being hit by a couple riding their bikes, who yelled out an apology behind them. I laughed because that was the final flourish on a wonderful evening in Portland and a vacation that had started by almost being hit by a moped.