This post is in collaboration with Folklore.
For those who enjoy chasing after the best dining experiences in town, make sure you have Folklore popup on your radar. Brought to you by the talented Chef Sean Sigmon, Folklore is a plant-based dinner featuring local agrarian cuisine with a Southern influence. In wine making, winemakers talk about terroir: the natural environment that shapes the character of the wine. With Folklore, there’s a similar approach with dishes that are of the land, highlighting the locality and seasonality of the ingredients. The name Folklore is fitting too as it references storytelling of a culture, community, and place, and this dinner brings people together for an evening of storytelling through local food. It will be interesting to see how the story changes with the different seasons.
You can find Folklore popup at Bad Habit Room on the last Wednesday of every month. If you know the Portland vegan food scene, I’m sure you’re familiar with Sean’s work at The Sudra, Harvest at the Bindery, and Farm Spirit. With that in mind, you know you’re in for an incredible meal that won’t break the bank. Pricing may change in the future, but for reference, the June popup was $35 for 6 courses plus a glass of kombucha. Folklore also does a la carte brunch popups around town, so follow along on Instagram for the latest and greatest updates.
The June popup began with a glass of raspberry elderflower kombucha. The color is stunning, and it tastes of summertime. There’s no shortage of locally brewed booch in Portland, and this is one of the best I’ve had recently.
The amuse bouche was a savory spelt pancake with sauerkraut cream and pickled mustard. My hand is in the photo for scale, but I didn’t eat with my hands. Just kidding, I actually did pick up the mini pancake and pop it in my mouth as that was the best way to experience all the flavors and textures together.
Next up was a garden gazpacho with celtuce, cucumbers, and nasturtium vinaigrette. When I think of gazpacho, red/orange chilled soups come to mind, so it was a refreshing change of pace to see a delicate green gazpacho. Just because it’s a bowl of chilled veggies, don’t assume it’s lacking in flavor and complexity. Perfect for a hot summer day.
Heirloom squash with herb yogurt, lemon balm, sansho leaf, and pistou (similar to pesto, minus pine nuts). It’s rare to come across a vegan yogurt sauce that’s this rich and luxurious. I feel like squash is everywhere lately, and I tend to get bored of it, but this was a really tasty rendition.
Anyone who says tofu is boring needs to try this tofu misozuke ASAP. In this dish, locally made Ota tofu is fermented in miso, creating rich umami flavor and creamy cheese-like texture, before it is slow roasted and accompanied by leeks and cherry tomatoes. Delicious.
The dishes will change at every Folklore popup, but there will always be dumplings on the menu. This month’s dumpling dish is nettle dumplings were served with allium broth, kale, lovage flowers, and porcini. These dumplings are done in the Southern style where you make biscuits, bake ’em halfway, then finish them in the pan. I grew up in Asia, and I was only introduced to this style of dumplings as an adult, but I find this style of dumplings to be so comforting.
Last, but not least, is the berry jelly with smoked fig leaf meringue, blackcap raspberries, and shiso leaf. I’m not a big sweets person, so I normally don’t get that enthused about desserts, but it’s berry season here in Oregon, and anything made with summer berries is fantastic.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Folklore. I was invited as a guest to this popup and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.