This past weekend, The Velvet Underground Dining Experience (VUDE) featured a rare dinner by chefs Caprial and John Pence. The cooking duo has ties with Washington, with Caprial once working at Fullers and even winning a James Beard Award for Best Chef, Pacific Northwest during her time there. Over the years, the Pences have made their mark on the Portland dining scene with restaurants such as Caprial's and Basa Basa. They have also written a number of cookbooks and have made television appearances. Currently, the pair run Caprial and John's Kitchen in Portland where they host cooking classes and supper club events.
Caprial and John's dinner at The VUDE was a pork-themed ensemble dubbed "Porklandia." The multi-course meal featured some form of pork in every dish. We were particularly enticed by the roasted tomato soup with pork belly confit and arugula oil--so delicious!
Porklandia Dinner Menu
Ricotta prosciutto cakes served with herb pate au choux filled with braised mushrooms and garlic.
John's smoked salmon on fried corn and pancetta pancakes with house-made mascarpone cheese and basil syrup.
Roasted tomato soup with pork belly confit and arugula oil.
Seared radicchio with bagna cauda dressing and crispy copa.
Pork brisket cooked Pastrami Style with cream braised leeks, slow roasted peppers, and jus.
Cinnamon encrusted bacon cakes with seared Apples in caramel sauce topped with house-made Greek yogurt and candied hazelnuts.
This was not only our first time dining on tasty meals prepared by Caprial and John, but it was also our first visit to The VUDE. It's easy to say that we may have experienced among our best dining experiences here! First, The VUDE's convenient location in South Lake Union is relatively close to downtown and has ample parking spaces. Second, the venue's spacious yet intimate interior consists of two long communal dining tables with assigned seats, making it very easy to meet and greet with other fellow diners.
Now on to our favorite part: the huge open kitchen at The VUDE! The open kitchen faces the dining room, making it viewable from every seat. Guests are encouraged to venture into the kitchen and snap some photos or chat with the chefs. It's this unique ability to watch your meal get prepared that really makes The VUDE a particularly special place.