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Portland Restaurant Review: The Magical, Whimsical MÅURICE

Maurice Portland Pastry Luncheonette

I should just point you to MÅURICE’s website, and not even write this review. It’s the most charming and beautiful restaurant website I’ve seen, and on a day when I need to be cared for and can’t get downtown, I may spend ten minutes jumping in to Kristen D. Murray’s online universe.

I went to MÅURICE on a Saturday afternoon-evening, overstimulated from a week of gremlin-keeping. Being in charge was corroding my soul. Family-boss-duty has its perks, but it can also destroy you from within, so be careful.

MÅURICE is the antidote. The whitewashed walls, the bleached chevron tiles climbing up the open kitchen, the white wooden tables and chairs: they will scrub your tight-woundedness away like a palate-cleanser for the soul.

And then there’s a hand-written menu, which begs you to order the oysters because the raw fish warning is so sweetly scrawled at the bottom.

MÅURICE Portland Pastry Luncheonette

Yes, I’ll have one of each variety. And then the tastes of the ocean, powerful, wind-whipping my taste buds, whisk me away to the ocean–as easy as I always think it should be to arrive there, until I start packing the car and putting socks and shoes on small people.

Oysters MÅURICE Portland Pastry Luncheonette

I generally eat gluten-free, and this was no problem at all at MÅURICE, even though it’s a pastry luncheonette. My tomato, cucumber, fennel, and edible flower salad seemed bathed in lemony sunshine.

MÅURICE Portland Pastry Luncheonette

A macaroon is a must-order for me anywhere I see one, and the coffee and almond flavors in their mini-macaroons (bottom left) were quite nice.

MÅURICE Portland Pastry Luncheonette

I ordered the lapsang souchong­–tea truffle (bottom right), as well, even though I was skeptical it could beat out the simple, hoi polloi–pleasing chocolate bombs I get at Trader Joe’s (I’m a low-brow truffle-eater), but it had a luscious earthiness that made me feel like I was at a French farm picnic.

The pine-nut, white-chocolate truffles (top) I ordered once, and then once-tried, ordered again to share back at home. I’ve never had a nutty truffle cluster quite like this one. It was oddly-shaped like a trail-mix bite, but soft and buttery and delicately knit together: hazelnuts and walnuts, and perhaps a pistachio, pinned with ganache.

At home, I want my family to know that they are well-cared-for. When I’m out on my own, I want to happen upon the same in return.

Many of the fika, or little treats, in MÅURICE’s lovely glass case at the front are $.75 each. I will stop in and pick up a few whenever I’m in the neighborhood, which will probably be more often now. The pureness of MÅURICE’s blanched decor and the richness of the seasonal flavors made me feel renewed. I want that feeling again.

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