Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Local: Mission Eatery, revisited

It's official, I have a new favorite brunch place. Local: Mission Eatery/Knead Patisserie. I've posted about both of these places before, and I just can't get enough. I love that I can walk there, I love that it isn't too crowded, I love how low-key the vibe is. And have I mentioned that I love the food? 

This time we combined the best of both worlds - some eggs from the restaurant and some pastries from the patisserie. The poached eggs were exactly, perfectly the way I like them. We sat at the counter and I was excited that I could watch the chef make the eggs, so maybe I could learn her technique.  Turns out her technique consisted of cracking an egg directly into the not-quite boiling water, leaving  it alone to go deal with some other food, and then coming back to scoop the egg out.  My eggs must smell my fear.

The croissant was also insane - so crispy on the outside but so soft and buttery on the inside. I realize that just sounds like a description of any old croissant, but this is something else entirely. You just need to try it for yourself, ok?

Both egg dishes were great, but I particularly liked the one with farro and tomatoes. I'm on a roasted tomato kick right now, so this really hit the spot.

I loved this breakfast so much I'm already planning on returning this coming weekend for my anniversary brunch. Save me a croissant!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beast, Portland

And... we are back to Portland. I didn't take any photos this weekend in San Francisco, so here's some more great Portland food.  This was actually our last meal there, a six-course dinner at Beast.

You may have heard of Beast or it's chef, Naomi Pomeroy, if you watched the last season of Top Chef: Masters - she made it to the final four.  That was how I first heard of the restaurant and why I originally wanted to eat there.  As I started investigating where to eat for this trip I noticed that every list seemed to mention Beast, which sealed the deal for me.

The restaurant is run a little differently than most.  For example: there are just 2 seating times (6PM and 8:45PM);  all guests are seated at one of two communal tables; there is just one prix-fixe menu; and the chefs work from a buffet in the room where the meal is served. Literally you can have a conversation with them as they prepare your meal.  While I think it would have been great to be inside to watch them cook, we chose to sit outside at this table for two, since it was such a nice night (and also because there was a very loud party of 12 inside and I was feeling anti-social).

Here's where my memory gets a little fuzzy.  This meal was a month ago and I admit, I don't take notes. Bringing my giant camera out at meals is enough of a distraction, not only from the food but from whomever I'm dining with.  I kind of feel I need to draw the line there - whipping out a notebook and pen just feels like too much.  However what that means for you is a sort of hazy recollection of this meal. 

This soup was a cold tomato soup with garlic bread croutons, almonds and cucumber (that's a borage flower as well). We cleaned the bowls and thought it was an excellent first course. 

The charcuterie plate came next. This was a crazy dish of (starting at 12 o'clock): foie-gras bon-bon with sauternes gelee; chicken liver pâté on a leaf-lard cracker; steak tartare and quail egg toast; pork pate en croute and aramagnac  poached prune; and lastly, a couple of pieces of salami.  It was fun to get to try all the different flavors and my favorite was the steak tartare and quail egg toast.  (Side note: we were instructed to start at 1 o'clock and finish with the foie gras bon-bon, since it is almost like a dessert in itself).

The main dish was pork shoulder. I love pork shoulder and was happy that this was the entree. The crust on it was insane - it was some sort of whole grain mustard rub. All of the flavors were amazing, and this was the highlight of the meal for me. 

This is a good example of how my non-note taking doesn't do me much good when I am writing a post a month later. I remember that I liked this salad and thought it was really  nicely dressed. The cheese course I sorta just picked at, because I was already ridiculously full and obviously needed to save room for dessert. We did particularly like the hazelnuts and honey.

I snuck back into the restaurant to take some pictures of the dessert plating . This is how they do it for all the courses - line up all the plates on the buffet and get them plated at once for serving.

The dessert was a tart  topped with some cream and then some vanilla salt.  I was very proud of myself for recognizing that the salt came from The Meadow, another awesome Portland place that we had been to the day before known for salts, bitters and chocolates (hey NYers, there's one in Manhattan too - you should check it out).

Truth be told, I had tried to cancel our reservations  the morning of this meal.  I was worried about eating six-courses - I was food-ed out from the week and I didn't think I could manage it.   We were unable to cancel without a charge since it was the day of the meal.  Looking back,  I'm glad that policy was in place because it really would have been a shame to visit Portland and miss out on the unique charm of Beast.

5425 Northeast 30th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211

(503) 841-6968
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