Pieces on Briana, her book Northern Hospitality, and her restaurants the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club and Little Giant.
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Because if anyone knows how to make cold weather living look good, it’s the husband-and-wife team behind Portland, Maine hotspots Portland Hunt + Alpine Club and newer sister restaurant Little Giant. Through their inspiring book, the Volks share secrets to getting hygge-with-it (sorry) Northern-style, blending inspiration from their Maine lifestyle and Briana’s Scandinavian heritage.
“Northern Hospitality” is like an invitation to a party that fights the raging blizzard outside with hot buttered rum, oven pancakes drizzled in warm maple syrup, and Swedish meatballs served over homemade spaetzle.
Swing by Little Giant, the sophomore effort from the team behind local favorite Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, which gets clever with dishes like lobster chips with serrano ranch and Moxie-braised pork belly. The sister market next door sells local beers and groceries and daily specials (don’t miss Friday and Saturday’s roast chicken and biscuits).
"Finns, like most Scandinavian cultures, are very good at being by themselves," says Briana Volk, the half-Finnish co-owner of thePortland Hunt + Alpine Club, a Scandinavian-influenced cocktail bar in Maine, and the co-author of the forthcoming book, "Northern Hospitality with The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club: A Celebration of Cocktails, Cooking, and Coming Together." Volk, fluent in Finnish, was raised in Astoria, Oregon where she was part of strong Finnish community.
On the menu since day one, this cocktail from Portland Hunt + Alpine Club is an easy-to-make aperitif that pleases even the pickiest drinkers. “This drink is great because it’s low in alcohol; it is a great spacer when you feel like you don’t want something strong, and it’s wonderful to sip when you’re just not in the mood for stronger spirits,” Briana and Andrew Volk explain in their new book, Northern Hospitality With The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club.
Inspired by her NBC interview, KABC radio in Los Angeles came calling. Doug McIntyre of the “McIntyre in the Morning” show interviewed Briana Tuesday to talk about her book — and to elaborate more on the meaning of päntsdrunk. If this keeps up, she’ll sell lots of books and inadvertently become an authority on the topic.
Of course, the book will be a cocktail guide, and will also feature New England and Scandinavian-inspired food. The Volks will also ruminate on life in cold climates—imagine pieces about how to build a campfire, and how to get your kids to eat oysters, Briana says.
“We will also be diving into things like Aquavit,” a distinctive Scandinavian spirit, “the lure of Allen’s Coffee Brandy, and building a killer smorgasbord,” she says.
Briana’s Finnish roots are evident throughout the home with its inspired approach to Scandinavian design. “We wanted it to be Scandinavia meets Palm Springs,” she says. “Winters are so long and brutal, and I am a warm weather person. Even during the winter, I wanted to create the simplicity and warmth and energy you can find in a midcentury home.”
Although the couple owns both a nationally known upscale cocktail bar and a highly regarded restaurant, dinner at the ballpark with the Volk family looks like dinner at the ballpark with just about any other fan: two franks with mustard and relish, a slice of pepperoni pizza (for their daughter, Oona), a jumbo pretzel with yellow mustard, a souvenir batting helmet stuffed with fries that are smothered in Creamsicle-colored nacho cheese, and a single Sea Dog Biscuit to be shared among the family of four. The cheese-topped fries are by special request of Briana, who calls them, affectionately, Sea Dog poutine.