Tag Archives: portland

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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Sauvie Island, Portland, Oregon (Summer Wordless Wednesday)

 

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

 

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

Sauvie Island. MomsicleBlog

PHX => PDX (Wordless Wednesday)

PHX. MomsicleBlog

Grand Canyon. MomsicleBlog

In the heavens. MomsicleBlog

Back in the shire. MomsicleBlog

Pattern (Wordless Wednesday)

Ceiling at the Schnitz. MomsicleBlog

Snow on balcony. MomsicleBlog

Milk & food color. MomsicleBlog

Prayer shawl. MomsicleBlog

Ice. MomsicleBlog

Meet Our Northwest Farmers: Lonely Lane Farms

 

Mike Kloft and Patty Bochsler. Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

About a year ago we started to get all of our meat from Lonely Lane Farms out of Mt. Angel, Oregon. It sounds like maybe we’re rich or crazy crunchy. Not so. It’s just that we live in Oregon, and it was easy.

Lonely Lane Farms is an eco-friendly family farm that can be found at the Beaverton Farmers Market (also in grocery stores in the Corvallis and Eugene areas, and restaurants in the Portland area).

Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

When I approached owner Mike Kloft at the farmers market, he was happy to answer questions about pig living conditions and relative animal happiness levels. That’s right, Portlandia is real, people.

Mike and his wife Patty even said the gremlins and I could come down to the farm during the market offseason to stock up if our winter freezer ran low.

It’s pretty easy to run out of bacon and sausage, as you probably know–especially  with the promise of a trip to the farm–so in late January we headed off to Lonely Lane, and we fell more in love than we were before.

Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

This is a small family farm with big ambitions. They started processing all meat on-site for better quality control, and they also grow all their own feed. Soon they’ll start packing meat for other local farms.

Lonely Lane’s pigs and cows are raised with no hormones, no antibiotics, and no animal by-products, which was key for ust.

I’ve come across one-too-many mainstream articles about the deplorable conditions and chemicals in much of American meat raising and processing.

And buying a pound of ground beef that was a product of Uruguay and New Zealand and Australia makes me feel weird. I’m a patriot. My beef should be American. Or at least not so fast and loose with its passport, right?

I never thought we’d be able to get all of our meat from a local farm, but I wanted to see if it was possible.

So we made some trade-offs. We switched to lower cost cuts and preparations of meat—pork butt to roast in the slow cooker, sausage, ground beef, and bacon (of course!). Maybe once or twice a year we will get some flank steak or a tenderloin. We also do more meatless nights, which works well with the fact that I kept getting beaten over the head by articles that said, “Eat more vegetables!”

We are planning to go back to Lonely Lane in the summer to see the cows grazing (they were under cover when we went due to the time of year). In the meantime, you can find them at the Beaverton Farmers Market, which just started back up with its winter market!

Here are a couple more pictures from the farm. (And by the way, it’s worth it to head to Mt. Angel–just southeast of Woodburn in the Willamette Valley–for a day trip. It’s a picturesque small town that also boasts a Benedictine abbey and a couple of cute, family-friendly restaurants.)

The lonely lane itself….

Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

Mike and Patty with baby John (this kid has a lot of real tractors, which was a point of jealousy for K-Pants). Also, he’s adorable.

Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

Our furry bovine friends.

Lonely Lane Farms. MomsicleBlog

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A Beautiful Find in Foggy Forest Park (Wordless Wednesday)

Forest Park Portland. MomsicleBlog

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.)

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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.
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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!

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