West Coast Nordic Porridge Pop-Up

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When Kristen Rasmussen, aka @rootedfoods, is not teaching in the classroom, you will find her in the kitchen. Whose kitchen? Well that is subject to change. Meet the innovator of the West Coast Nordic Pop-Up Kitchen.

Embracing seasonality, locality, and foraged ingredients, Rasmussen's dishes embody the ethos of both West Coast Cuisine (she calls Portland and Oakland home) and Nordic Cuisine. Drawn to her Danish heritage, Denmark is Rasmussen's "home away from home" and she visits Copenhagen regularly to meet purveyors and find inspiration in technique, taste, and presentation.

Partnering with Pizzaiolo in Oakland, California's hip Temescal neighborhood, she took over the kitchen for a pop-up brunch service to dish up her new twist on porridge. Pizzaiolo served their famous pastries and wood-fired oven baked bread on the adjacent counter, so we also made sure to try some of that too.

Arriving at 11am for brunch, we were greeted with a line about 20 people deep. By the time we got to the counter, we literally got the last of 2 of the 3 porridges served. The porridge is justifiably popular.

I loved all of the porridge bowls. Slow cooking heirloom grains, not just conventional oats, invited new textures and tastes that filled me, yet made me crave more. These are the three bowls we sampled:

1. Ginger millet chicken porridge with seared radishes crispy shallots, greens, and wild pickled plum.

2. Kabocha buckwheat porridge with soft-cooked egg, chrysanthemum greens, and purple shisho.

3. Heirloom grains and persimmon apple-walnut crisp with cardamom, maple syrup, yogurt, and bay nut.

As for the pastries, we tried a few of these delights.