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Beer and fruit tart challenges, pop-up dinners and more

After two weeks in Hawaii, I came back to a mountain of tasty Bread & Brew tidbits in my inbox worth sharing.

In May, I took over the Trib's longrunning food and drink column and have revamped it to suit my style.

Bread & Brew runs every other week in the Thursday Tribune. One column per month is an impartial restaurant review (no freebies accepted), and the other is a column on a food or drink trend, interview with a chef or other foodie figure, event preview, or cookbook review.

As always, send your best local food and drink tips, questions, and trend spotting notes my way for investigation. And follow me on Twitter, @jenmomanderson.

• • •

With that out of the way, drumroll please for the results from New Seasons' monthlong Neighborhood Beer Challenge.

The competition was heady, as always.

But four out of 13 Portland neighborhoods chose The Commons Brewery's Urban Farmhouse Ale as their favorite brew.

The annual event invites shoppers to cast their votes for their Oregon beer of choice.

Shoppers at the New Seasons Concordia, Seven Corners, Arbor Lodge and Hawthorne stores gave their vote to Urban Farmhouse.

Raleigh Hills went gaga for Klamath Basin Brewing Company's vanilla porter; Sellwood opted for the refreshing Burnside lime Kölsch from Burnside Brewing Company; Orenco Station dug Mazama Brewing's Belgian-Style Blonde Ale; Mountain Park went for Hop Valley Brewing's 541 American Lager; Cedar Hills loved Deschutes Brewery's Fresh Squeezed IPA; Happy Valley chose Flat Tail Brewing's Tailgater Kölsch; Progress Ridge gave it up for GoodLife Brewing's Descender IPA; Fisher’s Landing jumped on the kolsch bandwagon with Double Mountain Brewery's Kölsch; and the North Williams store showed their allegience to Logsdon Farmhouse Organic Ales' Seizoen Bretta.

Funny, even as the IPA capital of the United States, so many neighborhoods went with much lighter beers in the heat of the summer.

• • •

Another sign that summer is still in full swing: Portland's annual fruit tart contest is just around the corner.

The 7th annual Concours de Tartes aux Fruits, a competition of the region’s top pastry chefs, is set for Aug. 7.

The event is set for 5:30-7 p.m. at Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 S.W. Salmon St.

It'll bring together the French tradition of a culinary concours (competition) and the chance to sample a showcase of tarts prepared by local chefs who trained France or studied with French chefs pâtissiers. Competing chefs come from Noble Rot, Whole Foods, Paley’s Place, St Honoré, the MAC, Bees & Beans, Cocoa N’ Lola, Black Rabbit, The Town Club and Rawdacious Desserts, among other local institutions.

Judges will include Barb Randall, food editor of Lake Oswego Review and West Linn Tidings.

Besides tarts, guests will sample sparkling wines, Lillet aperitif wines, and French cheese and charcuterie.

All-inclusive tickets are $30; $25 for members of the Multnomah Athletic Club and Alliance Française. The event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit alliance, organized by the MAC and Oregon Culinary Institute.

For more: www.afportland.org.

• • •

Restaurants are continuing to host pop-up and collaborative dinners at a feverish pace.

Ryan Roadhouse, former executive chef at Masu, just announced that his four-month-old pop-up Nodoguro series will be inspired by the food-filled works of Haruki Murakami for their August dinners.

Murakami is a bestselling fiction author in Japan debuts his latest book, "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage," next month to U.S. audiences.

Nodoguro began in April, offering several nine-course Japanese dinners each month at Evoe/Pastaworks, 3735 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

Tickets are $85, excluding drinks and gratuity.

For more: www.nodoguropdx.com.

Not far from Evoe, a collaborative Mexican-Asian dinner is set for Aug. 6 at Xico.

Chefs Johanna Ware of Smallwares and Barwares, and Kelly Myers of Xico (prounced chee-ko) will host a four-course meal including three ceviches, chawanmushi (a Japanese egg custard), a carne asada platter and dessert.

A la carte vegetables and drink pairings will be available for an additional charge.

Xico, 3715 S.E. Division St., serves regional Mexican cuisine with fresh masa stone ground in their kitchen daily.

Smallwares, 4605 N.E. Fremont St., serves small plates of "inauthentic Asian cuisine" meant to be shared, as well as eclectic wine, sake and cocktails.

For more on the dinner: www.xicopdx.com.