Archives for posts with tag: oregon

Easter 2012: many many calories, many many old friends, many many car sing-alongs. Three of my very favorite things. On Friday I headed down to Corvallis (after a bowl of gelato, to kick off the mini-vacation) to meet Logan (old friend #1) and Storey (old friend #2). On Saturday morning, Logan and I drove out to Gathering Together Farm, just ten or so miles from town, to meet Tayler (old friend #3) for brunch. A sign that I don’t remember any of except “fresh pastries” guides you down the little road to the farm; a sweet farmhouse amidst just enough fields, situated across the street from a fuzzy little llama herd.

The restaurant is in an old house, the main area shared with a mini-market, where produce from the farm and meats from the charcuterie guy associated with the farm and honey and jam and salsa are all for sale. The dining room spills out into a warm green house-y space, filled with big tree-slab tables topped with flowers and kitschy saltshakers.

Logie, Tayler, and I sat down at the sunniest table, but got right back up when the waitress told us the pastries were inside. Rhubarb gallette… croissants… chocolate croissants…doughnuts…lord. Swoon. Wound up with a doughnut (Me: “What kind do you want?” Log: “Well…the kind covered in sugar…obviously.”) They were potato doughnuts though, so healthy for sure. And a blueberry almond Danish. Danishes…usually not ym favorite. This Danish: just sweet and doughy enough center, ringed by a halo of crispy, burnt-sugar-y, cinnamon blessed pastry.

Okay, then brunch. Log got eggs benedict (with farm-y sausage subbed for ham) and Tayler and I got omlettes: she a yummy bacon one, me a yummy mushroom one. Lots of kale on everyone’s plate. Delight. Lots of chatting and catching up and having just one more tiny bite of Danish. Then Tayler and I went on to the Corvallis farmers market, the last winter market of the season before it moves back to its usual place by the river (dang it.) Lots of beautiful produce (the drawback of going to markets while traveling, want to buy vegetables…) like chard rabe, collard rabe, every rabe ever, and gigantic leeks. And lots of handicraft type things; soft scarves and verrry stylish barrettes made out of pine needles. And charming beeswax candles in all kinds of shapes (from om to asparagus) and …hazelnut brittle. Best ever. Also: crepes. We walked around the market enough times to earn ourselves a marionberry crepe, which we enjoyed in the sunshine, delightfully catching up and making plans to see each other so soon. Then Tayler headed back to Eugene and I headed up to Portland. Where Logie and I (and Hayden, old friend #4) ate at a McMinnamins then got a pound or two or three of Whole Foods fruit gummies for dessert. And played with the Redmonds’ impossibly sweet and cute new puppy, Soleh.

Then woke up to a sunny, warm Easter Sunday with the Redmond clan, aka old friends #5, 6, 7, and 8. Kicked off the morning by eating a couple seriously just-out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls (…crack) and dyeing eggs (with natural dye- onion skin brown, red cabbage blue, and tumeric yellow…all with pretty little flowers and ferns pressed on them) then headed over to the neighbors’, where we kept on eating. German bread with a thick layer of blueberry jam, fruit kabobs (fruit made fun), and baked eggs filled with everything good (kale, mushrooms, creamy creamy cheese.) We had a whole brunch of our own waiting back home… but who can resist a big slice of braided bread or colorful fruit on a stick… Really. No one. So we walked for about fifteen minutes (fifteen very strenuous minutes) to work up some hunger for the real brunch. Joy:more cinnamon rolls, a big bowl of berries, ham, and caper-ed asparagus. Sweet sweet, salty salty. Yum. And then much lounging and chatting and belly rubbing, and eventually even sunshine napping. Then sort of happy-because-we-live-so-close and so-full-of-cinnamony-goodness goodbyes and off we were, back on the road for three hours of old family favorites sung fantastically well by two full happy girls.

Thank God Tasty and Sons is family-style, because there is no way we could have dealt with the stress of choosing just one dish each. Sweet Biscuits? Yes. Fritatta loaded with roasted vegetables? Yes. North African stews and sausages? Yes. Platters of beautiful house-cured meats? Yes, yes, yes.

Sitting at the thick wooden table amongst bunches of elated diners delighting in their perfect dishes, we ordered a breakfast board (a neighbor inspired choice,) Erin’s sweet biscuits with berry compote, Moroccan chicken hash, and a cast-iron frittata.

The breakfast board: sweet crisp apple slices (my one true love,) one perfect hard boiled egg, a hot pink mound of house-pickled beets, tough and tasty slivers of beef jerky, two intense bits of bacon, a smidge of chicken pate, a cloud of yogurt cheese with a tiny lake of olive oil, soft crusty bread, and crusty little crostinis. Yogurt cheese was so tangy and sunny, and thankfully Mark Bittman says it’s not so hard to make. Hallelujah, for I need it in my life.

Next, the sweet bitty biscuits with warm blueberry compote and a dollop of unidentifiable yet heavenly creaminess. The texture of a good ol’ fashioned southern biscuit, crunchy top and soft flaky innards, with the quiet sweetness of a high-tea scone, crumbling into a little sea of warm blueberries.

Then the Moroccan hash, a mish-mash of sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, olives, and chicken; topped with harissa cream and an over easy egg. All vegetables slightly crispy, the cream holding the tiniest bit of yogurt bite and that dark harissa spice, the egg providing a bit of an amalgam with the excellently runny yolk. Plus, brussel sprouts for brunch, could I ask for more?

A frittata, perhaps. Generous chunks of butternut squash, sweetly caramelized onions, long strips of swiss chard, and salty feta resting in airy eggs in a heavy skillet. Kate had a small out of body experience, Caroline won best restaurant finder award, and Anne just felt extraordinary bliss. Tasty and Sons, we love. Brunch version of Michael’s Genuine. Perfect shared plates in a lovely place. Sunshine streaming in from Williams Ave, hip and smiley waitresses in vintage black blouses bustling about and chatting, long open kitchen with a team of loud happy chefs plating our beautiful brunch.

I’m in Portland! Land of chunky spectacle, Dansko clog, Patagonia puffer jacket wearing peoples and a hundred funky, fancy, food carty restaurants to explore. First one: Ken’s Artisan Pizza. To celebrate Gabey’s eleventh birthday we ventured to this packed little pizza place, lauded as the best pizza in P-town. The entire kitchen operation is right there in the open, slightly sweaty kitchen folk packing hotel containers with soon-to-be pizza toppings and dodging spinning wheels of pizza dough in front of a big ol’ blazing wood-fired pizza oven, the ground scattered with errant bits of prosciutto and kindling.

After a not so long wait our four much-anticipated pizzas showed up; two margheritas, a soppressata, and a fennel sausage. All thin and bubbly and a little deliciously burnt around the edges, tasting of Italy, the charred crust and the milky mozzarella reminding me of little cobbley plazas and dark waiters, their arms loaded with piping hot pizzas. The margherita was of course topped with the traditional simple tomato schmear, dots of stretchy snow white mozzarella, and wrinkled basil. The soppressata a margherita plus thick, chewy, house-made sopressata, spicy slices of something infinitely better than pepperoni.

The last pie topped with that classic base again, this time alongside fennel-heavy sausage and soft onions, the fire engine red and fuego hot Calabrian chilies on the side in a tiny, inconspicuous little bowl, inviting you to pile on some of the enticingly crimson bits and burn the inside of your mouth out. Then a delightfully citrusy Caesar with gigantic croutons, ordered out of neighbor envy. Then a second Caesar, for we loved it so. And then, so full and content we could hardly bear it, we managed to order a dessert to top off the birthday dinner; butter pecan ice cream that tasted of straight fresh heavy cream, dotted with the occasionally sugary pecan crunch, layered with soft sweet caramel, topped a generous dollop of airy whipped cream, a couple perfect pecans, and a birthday candle.