Tag Archives: cheese

A Night with the Semi-secret Cellar Door Supper Club

This is food porn. If you’re into that kind of thing, read on.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Lately I’ve been waking up on Thursday mornings thinking, “Did that really happen last night?!” And then I realize that that thing did happen, and the kids get frozen waffles while I search for some caffeinated tea since we don’t drink coffee.

Last Wednesday it was the Portland Hash House run. That’s a story involving expletives and nudity that I’ll tell you later.

Last night it was the San Diego supper club Cellar Door’s Portland stop on its now infamous West Coast tour (there should totally be a shirt for this foodie nerd-dom).

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

The Cellar Door dinner club is not a restaurant. It is a donation-based private dinner party hosted by chef Logan and mixologist Gary, a dazzlingly warm couple with other full-time jobs. And you or you-and-a-guest may attend if your heart strings (and stomach) are tugged; and if you can find the special notch in the Hobbit door that tells you you’re in the right place.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Logan and Gary were only in Portland for one night. I found out about their dinner through my friend Lauren… a few weeks ago I got this email from her: Cellar Door is my favorite dining experience in San Diego. They’re coming to Portland. You have to go.

I will eat my way to oblivion/Nirvana/Heaven with Lauren. If I can’t be with her, then I can at least jump on her recommendations.

So that’s how my husband and I followed Google Maps to Tom’s house. Tom was our Bilbo Baggins and we were the trolls arriving to eat him out of house and home.

This is Tom explaining how Extracto is the most wonderful coffeehouse in Portland, because they are both low-brow and high-brow at the same time.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Tom–thanks to a friend who had connected him with Cellar Door–arrived home from work with Logan and Gary cooking and mixing things in his kitchen.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Our hosts for the evening and the shepherds of Cellar Door had prepared for us a beautiful dinner table that was waiting like a cozy, wonderful hug from the pages of Bon Appetit.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

And then we each received half a bottle of house-vintage Gamay wine in a round-bottom flask. The wine was super bright and fruity, With hints of nectarine, the table said.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Which was foretelling of what was to come in the stone-fruit salad. And what wine isn’t enhanced by first meetings with delightful, down-to-earth company and the surprise of four love-filled courses? (That’s Tracie, above, who preserves her own Meyer lemons. She was perhaps hoping to convince us to preserve our own, but we more-likely left convinced we should raid her kitchen.)


The first course was scalded Padron peppers. You’ve seen these lovely green peppers at the farmers market. Padron is a city in Galicia in norther Spain. I lived near there for a few months, and there’s a Padron peppers festival each year where you can buy the peppers, roasted with sea salt. There’s a saying in Spain, “Peppers from Padron, some are spicy, others not.” (It sounds pretty much just as boring in Spanish…)

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Then came mixed greens with Baird Orchards peaches (out of Hood River) and hazelnuts and chèvre. I hadn’t thought to put peaches with greens. Delightful!

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

The main course of braised pork shoulder was operatic. You know how you appreciate when other people do really well the things that are so challenging for you? This. Meat for me is like a prayer that it will all go right.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

Sometimes my prayers are answered, and sometimes they are not. And rarely does a pork shoulder come out so tender and succulent… and then to eat it served over polenta and roasted delicata squash with celery root and scalded red peppers? It makes you fall in love with a rainy night.

Then fig and frangipane tart. I don’t really know how marzipan and frangipane are different. Jordan, one of our partners-in-crime, suggested frangipane is more cake-like. Whatever the case, I fall for anything that has the consistency of play dough and the taste of romance.

When the lovely slice of tart came out, I thought, where is the cream? There was no need for cream, especially with the toasted-almond crust.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

I spend a lot of time feeding other people, and we have a lot of family commitments. So when someone else cooks for me and treats me like family, but with no other demands, it’s pure magic.

Cellar Door in Portland. MomsicleBlog

And I leave sighing and with a sweet glow to everything I see.

Everyone gets burnt-out, everyone suffers; but to go with the lows there are some really satisfying and soul-quenching highs. They don’t have to be lengthy or long-anticipated, just given with love.

Thank you Cellar Door! And thank you Tom, for opening up your beautiful home!


Isn’t this a great idea, Portlanders? Who’s going to start one up?

We’re Back! Live from the Pacific Northwest!

Winter is always a bad time to cross the Rockies in a wagon train. Even though we went with air travel, Nor’easters hit hard as we were making our great escape. Amazingly, our flight was not canceled; so with the help of good friends and family, we fled the Big Apple just in time for the season premiere of Portlandia.

K-Pants and I have spent the last few weeks deciding what we should get first: lip rings, nerd glasses, or unicycles. Your thoughts appreciated.

With the crib finally put back together and our little family safely—if haphazardly—stowed in a cute, suburban house next to a park, Momsicle can finally come back to life. I thought we would be back last week, but it turns out I was crying into empty boxes and aimlessly watching K-Pants throw everything down the stairs, so no dice.

Here’s the new digs:

Cute, right? And there’s a garbage disposal and laundry inside.

It’s harder than I thought to unpack when you are pregnant, watching a toddler, and your husband is at work. (That’s right! BIG NEWS: Momsicle is adding another turtle to the herd!)

I’m used to being able to unpack in a day. But this go round, every box took an hour. I would unpack some things, take a power nap, then collect the items Mr. Pants threw down the stairs during the nap. So when the satellite TV people told me the pricing they had quoted was no longer valid, it was too much for this hormonal unpacker to take. Normally I would demand a manager until I got through to the CEO, but this time I threw myself on the floor and cried giant tears.

So it’s taken a little longer to get back online.

But I’m happy to report that the last box is out and we even have toilet paper. From the house we’re renting, Mr. Pants and I can walk to Mexican food, bagels, pizza, sushi, and coffee. It’s pregnant-lady dreamland. Wait! You might say. You could walk to that stuff in the Bronx. Almost true! But have you checked the temperatures and the snowfall in those parts? Ain’t nobody walking to bagels these days.

And when the walking rounds get old, I can get in my car and drive two minutes to Trader Joe’s where I can fill the back of my car with cheese and pizza dough. I know that Buddha tells us life is suffering, and I’m with you man, but a girl can still get high on a car full of cheese once a week to take the edge off.

Here’s K-Pants doing some grocery shopping:

So here’s a toast on Valentine’s Day to the things you love (cheese), to being at home (wherever that may be), and to family. My husband and I are thrilled to put the Pants down early tonight and enjoy frozen scallops from TJ’s and some Netflix from the comfort of our unpacked family room.

Happy V-Day, and I look forward to catching up with you soon!