Cooks & Corks
A Food, Wine, and Art Enthusiasts Dream
Nestled in the Northwest district of Portland is Daily in the Pearl; a buzzing café by day, a candlelit, upscale restaurant by night. Many who live or work in the Pearl know the Daily for its seasonally focused and appealing menus. However, many may not realize the monthly rotating artwork decorating the 2000 walls goes hand-in-hand with Cooks & Corks, a special event created for people to meet the exhibiting artist and enjoy a specialized wine dinner at the Daily.
Four years ago, Amy Caplan, owner of Caplan Art Designs, teamed up with Andrea Smith, owner of the Daily, to create a night of wine, art, and a special dinner menu where the attendees could become acquainted with the hosted artist of the month. “Amy was looking for an alternative venue for First Thursdays,” Smith explains, “So rather than people coming to her gallery space, people could come here and have dinner.”
Caplan and Smith’s meeting was organic, “We’ve always had art in our space at The Daily,” Smith says, “We had one of her artists and it just naturally became that she took over putting in the art.” Caplan, who has been in business for fourteen years, represents over 20 local artists with the exception of Nigel Conway, September’s exhibiting artist. “Over the course of the years I have used other peoples’ spaces to hang as a gallery while paying a small rent. I also have six venues I rotate art out of that include three Daily cafes, two window displays, and one other restaurant. I have always focused my business in the Pearl as I feel it is one of the primary art hubs in the city.”
Cooks & Corks dinner menu is inspired by the season and paired with wines recommended by Tony Raynor of Galaxy Wine Company. “We used to play off the artist and what they were doing, but with time constraints it became less difficult to just go off season and price,” Smith says, “As for the wine, we try and select two reds for the entrée. We try to do an old world style and a new world style. To pair something from Italy that is still being made, but made old world style, and pair it with something from Oregon. Something that has the same varietal.”
Danielle Henyon, Head Chef of the Daily, then constructs her menu off these wines. This month she creates two hors d’oeuvres to accentuate a dry, chilled Lambrusco. “For dinner, I chose to start with a raw tomato soup. It is a repeat on the menu, but it is delicious and refreshing and pairs nicely with the Pinot Grigio offered with the soup. For the entrée, Painted Hills beef tenderloin will be seared and topped with fresh cranberry beans, heirloom tomatoes, blue cheese, and crispy shallots. An old world Grenache from Spain and a new world red blend from Washington will compliment this dish nicely.”
As the guest arrive, glasses of Lambrusco are handed out while hors d’oeuvres float about on crisp white plates. The lights are dimmed and the plethora of candles throughout the restaurant provides an inviting atmosphere to speak with Conway and socialize with the other guests. Conway is with his wife, mingling with long-time followers and new attendees. When dinner is ready, the guests sit at communal tables, and while the $55 reservation price may seem steep, the night is well worth the splurge.
For next month’s reservations, contact Amy Caplan at email@example.com or call Daily in the Pearl (503) 242-1916 and ask for Andrea Smith.