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The Taste of Reed

By Katelyn Best ’13 on June 22, 2016 03:59 PM

HOLY CRÊPE. Jehnee Rains ’93 of Suzette Crêperie whips up a culinary delight at Marketplace during Reunions 2016.

A bevy of Reedie entrepreneurs crowded the stately atrium of the Performing Arts Building on Saturday afternoon for Marketplace, the annual festival held at Reunions where alumni sample classmates' creativity in the culinary, mixological, and intellectual realms. 

Carol Fredrick ’83, co-owner of Stone Griffon Vineyard in Carlton, offered tastes of four wines, from a refreshingly dry pinot noir blush to an estate-grown tempranillo. “People think of tempranillo as a warm-weather grape,” Fredrick explained, “but it’s actually grown in coastal regions of Spain, so it can do well in the Willamette Valley.”

Across the room, Minott Kerr ’80 of Clear Creek Distillery had set up shop. Dating to 1985, the Reedie-founded craft distillery is the second-oldest in the country, and that experience shines through in their huge lineup of award-winning, mostly fruit-based spirits. On Saturday, Kerr poured samples of their signature pear brandy—unaged, dry, but exploding with Bartlett pear flavor—as well as an oak-aged apple brandy and an intensely fruity loganberry liqueur. And then there’s the abiding mystery—however do they fit the pears into the bottles?

Several glasses deep and in search of a snack to tide me over, I spotted Jeanie Lee ’16, ringleader of student dining collective /uncommons/, selling two kinds of kimchi. She offered me a sample of one, the fiery orange variety known as tongbaechu, which perfectly married heat, fermented funk, and savory fishiness.

Next, I looked around for dessert. Jehnee Rains ’93, owner and chef at Portland’s Suzette Crêperie, didn’t disappoint. After sampling a dollop of her homemade nutella—dark as the night and deliciously nutty—I sat down with a lemon curd-filled crepe. Rains, who once headed the pastry department at Chez Panisse and has done stints at Clarklewis and Bluehour, was making the thin, delicate pancakes to order.

The Sunny Day Sorbet Society had set up shop next door. Jonathan Perkins ’16, founder and fearless leader of Reed’s only sorbet-making student group, Perkins graciously ladled a taste of each of five flavors into my bowl. He’s a true sorbet innovator, each of his offerings on Saturday a mash-up of fruit and herb flavors. It feels cruel to pick a favorite, but kiwi-rosemary was a highlight.

Not content with two desserts, I made a stop at After Dark Cookies, where Richard Kotulski ’02 was passing out samples of oatmeal, chocolate chip, and snickerdoodle cookies. After Dark is a young business in an ingeniously niche market: late-night cookie delivery. The oatmeal is toothy and satisfying, and Kotulski says he’s gotten a great reception so far. “I had one person hug me when I made a delivery,” he laughs.

My next stop wasn’t food at all, but a display of books published by Wayzgoose Press. Dorothy Zemach ’85 founded the micropublisher, which focuses on genre fiction and literary nonfiction. Zemach is herself a textbook writer, and one of her works is on display: English for Scammers, a (satirical) deconstruction of the language of junk email. “There’s a kind of poetry to spam,” she says.

Nearby, a colorful rack of dresses, aprons, and other printed cotton goods caught my eye. Georgia Kirkpatrick ’08, founded Silvania, a clothing and home goods business in 2012, inspired by her grandmother’s 1950’s fabric business in Lima. Her organic cotton prints take inspiration from pre-colonial Peruvian art.

And there was more—in my woefully limited time, I missed out on photographer Priscilla B. Carlson ’78 of AFEW Reflections, Mai Lon Ross ’85 of Sweet Day Cotton CandyRachel Elizabeth ’88 of Jonny Sport, mixologist Anne Marie DiStefano ’92 of Lucky HorseshoeChristine Herman ’02 of Case Study Coffee, Taya Koschnick ’05 of Tasi Designs, Kim Damio ’10 of Portland Black Lipstick Company, and Gavin White ’02, creator of Yes and No, an improv game about consent.

But I did make one last stop. Outside, the Meat Smoke gang served up free brisket and pulled pork to hungry Reedies, including a gaggle from the classes of 2034 and 2035 who ate gazing skyward at the blobby, iridescent conjurations of a pair of “bubble artists”—the perfect juxtaposition of the carnal and the ethereal.