Day 2.5 Bakeries, Liquor, Lardo to Oven and Shaker
Walked a mile and a half or so from my waterfront hotel for breakfast at Ken's Artisan Bakery. Been there a few times but with his new and really excellent baking book (Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast) just out I wanted to see what they were up to. It's Gallette des Rois time so they had a few sizes of the classic French pastry "cake". I bought croissants and their take on the San Fran Morning Bun with orange spiraled in. It was different from what I'm used to but it was a real standout -wished I'd bought more! I also couldn't resist and picked up one of his large 1.5 kilo loaves of levain bread to take home. He also makes a giant 3 kilo one as well! The bigger they are the better the flavor. It turned out to be good but much lighter textured than I’d expected (even for his Blonde Levain). Anyone know who makes the best levain Miches in town? Little T perhaps?
Walked from there to Pearl Specialty Market and Spirits on Lovejoy (just across from the Lovejoy bakery) where they have a great selection of higher end items (there are perhaps two other stores that carry the higher end whiskys in town (that I’ve found) – the downside to Pearl Specialty is that they directly supply the top bars in town and siphon off the really cool stuff to them without letting it hit the shelves). Still, they have a great selection of bourbons, other whiskys and a great selection of the Italian bitters I had the night before- which seem to be the top ingredient in so many cocktails these days.
From there it was back to Lardo! I had to try a pork based sandwich and their fries (which are cooked in a mix of pork fat and cannola oil and sprinkled with parmesan -or go dirty and they add pork bits!) Went for an order of the fries and brunchy pork belly, arugula and fried egg with cheddar sandwich with more of that great caper mayo. Top notch! All that washed down with a Pfriem Blond IPA from Hood River. They have a nice selection on tap along with a Nitro selection as well.
For dinner I was invited to join my new friends from Ava Gene’s for an early dinner at Base Camp Brewing on SE Oak. Although I had a list a mile long these were really nice folks and I’m always up for a game changer. Base Camp Brewing is another fairly new enterprise and it's a labor of love on the part of its owners who did most of the finishing work themselves. The space is large with very high ceilings and lots of concrete and is a bit on the cool side. They have a full selection of beers with everything from light lager styles to stout (served with a marshmallow). A tasting flight was almost all excellent with the only miss (for my taste) was a Belgian style that didn't quite work. Food is sourced just outside from a couple of food carts- one serving pizza (good but a bit of a chewy crust and a fairly average Israeli cart).
I was on my own after that and had hoped to hit Beaker and Flask just around the corner but…closed Sundays so I cabbed back over the bridge to the Pope House (2075 NW Glisan) which is an awesome bourbon bar located in an old home - you have to sit at the glowing bar for best effect. A huge selection of Bourbons in all categories with a breakdown by prices ($7, $12 etc) as well as flights in different versions. They also serve decent bar food which isn't anything special but a pulled-pork Cubana was very tasty. I was really happy to get the chance to try a 25 year old Rittenhouse Rye which I've been after for a long time. If you ask they will sometimes do half shots of the more expensive items which definitely helps. Open Tuesday to Sunday. Happy hour all day Sunday along with trivia in the evening. If you're a regular you can fill out a record card with your selections and when you get to 50 (however long that takes) you get a plaque on the wall and 10% off forever after!
Monday was a half day. Cabbed over to St.Honore Bakery (2335 NW Thurman) for breakfast. It's a lovely bakery cafe with full production -grab a coffee and a seat in front of the very cool Spanish oven while the bakers shape up dough right in front of you. Had a good apple turnover and a latte before walking back to the Pearl for my final meal before catching the Amtrak back to Vancouver.
Stopped for a quick espresso at the always great Barista on 13th and then went for lunch at Oven and Shaker on Everett. The pizza here was much more to my liking with a nicely charred and not too chewy crust topped with wild fennel pork sausage, potato, tomato, smoked mozzarella and Mama Lill's peppers with a great little $5 mixed green salad and a pint of Boneyard Red Ale from Bend.
As always you guys have a never ending list of places to titillate and amaze the palate. Well done!
Thanks to Greyelf for her input!
Beaker & Flask is definitely worth the stop on your next trip, btw.
There's a brand new bakery that is milling their own flour (those Portlandia sketches come from somewhere, ya know ;o): http://taborbread.com/ My guess is that they make a good levain...but I don't know my boule from my batard, so maybe someone else can shed light on this.
Little T makes great bread and sweets, but I really don't know what they offer as far as loaves...though they make an excellent baguette and terrific pretzel bread.
Also, Fressen, which recently moved into a new (to them) space with a retail shop, makes a lot of old world, Germanic, sturdy breads: http://fressenartisanbakery.com/id2.html They make some great pretzels too.
Thanks for the report, it's always great to hear back!
Great bread suggestions JillO. Thanks. Darn, that I missed on those. I've tried the Little T's baguette which is very good but didn't pay attention either to their larger loaves which I usually don't want to haul around. Next time...
Another place I wanted to try was Pix Patisserie. Just ran out of time....