BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘Portland

Donuts in Maine and Oregon

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A $5 shift’s end grab-bag from Voodoo Donuts newish location in downtown Eugene, conveniently near the KLCC studio.

I’ve never been much of a doughnut girl. Sure, I’ll indulge in an occasional airy Krispy Kreme or a coconut-frosted from the 24-hour Donut Pub when I lived in Chelsea (as featured in Louis CK), but they generally don’t seem worth the calories. Not my go-to vice. However, Dan (and his dad) love a good donut, so I’m wont to buy them to be a good wife.

While working at KLCC, I once came home with a nasty $5 bucket from Voodoo Donuts. That’s how they clear out the inventory at the end of each shift. It was chock full of Capt’n Crunch, Double-Bubble Gum and rainbow sprinkle-clad donuts, way too syrupy-sweet for my palate. Dan gifted most of them to the OSU economics student lounge, where they were appreciated. The Voodoo thing is more about shock-value than flavor. We did enjoy their Neapolitan (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, tangy strawberry sugar and marshmellows in whole) and the huge Memphis Mafia (glazed banana fritter topped with peanut butter, nuts and chocolate). Voodoo can not be judged by its mediocre glazed donut. And just say no to Voodoo’s gimmicky Bacon Maple Ale, brewed by Rogue. It’s expensive and supposedly nasty.

OId-school Tony’s Donuts in the other Portland (Maine) is a favorite of my father-in-law’s. Tony’s is known for its molasses donuts, both cake and glazed. Delicious with coffee!

So far, Maine donuts are more my style, with old-fashioned, uncomplicated flavors. I hit up landmark Tony’s Donuts on the drive back from the Portland airport last week. Tony’s kept my father-in-law warm and happy when his Visicu work took him to Maine Med. The sought-after glazed molasses is my order at Tony’s.

Nothing says New England like molasses. They put it in their baked beans, their cornmeal-studded Anadama bread and brew it into dark rum. Tony’s Donuts in Portland is famous for their molasses donuts, both cake and glazed. They’re like a cakey, fried, spiced molasses cookie.

Now, it’s rare that I’ll have two donuts in one week. This is not a habit I’m looking to acquire. But Dan came home from a downtown eye appointment today with two donuts from Frosty’s, whose reputation seems to exceed Tony’s, at least here in Brunswick. The blueberry one tasted artificial, but the glazed buttermilk one, yes buttermilk!, was a revelation. So light and creamy and not at all cloying. Almost like the famous Mrs. Yoder’s sourdough ones at the Richmond Farmer’s Market. These buttermilk donuts won’t help in the ongoing quest to lose the baby weight (sure, blame it on the baby even though you had those pounds to lose before he was even conceived). I was already worried about the freshman fifteen with the stellar dining hall food, which we do partake of here.

Food Factory Miyake

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Seaweed Salad with tiny, salty Japanese sardines (those little dots are eyes).

This one-man food factory slices up some ultra-fresh fish, including local Maine shrimp.

A refreshing sushi meal really started to appeal to me, with all the heavy eating we’ve been doing during this month of travel. We especially loved the food we had in Portland, Maine: the pillowy Sicilian slices at Micucci’s Italian grocery, the crispy duck fat-fried fries washed down with the Allagash wheat beer/homemade lemonade shandy I custom-ordered at Duck Fat, the addictive, buttery financiers from Standard Baking Company, the fine lobsters and steamer clams you crack open at any seafood joint. What we didn’t realize is that Portland is also great spot for sushi.

Micucci's stellar pizza.

My parents raved about Food Factory Miyake and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Chef and owner Masa Miyake is a one-man “food factory,” churning out inventive maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi combos in his 25-seat brick storefront space (with a Chinese takeout-sized kitchen). But diners misunderstood the restaurant name, so now it’s just Miyake. And apparently a second ramen-focused restaurant is in the works.

For lunch, the $15 sampler is the way to go. It began with a mesclun miso salad with grape tomatoes. Next, instead of the standard chalky miso soup, we sipped on bowls of sesame oil-and-scallion-dotted, umami-rich dashi broth. Then came a hamachi (yellowtail) scallion roll, topped with grated daikon (perhaps, I couldn’t identify it) and garnished with beet-red micro-greens (amaranth, maybe?). But first, I now remember, our waiter (who blogs at portlandfoodcoma.blogspot.com) brought us an amuse-bouche of delicately fried butterfish.

The hamachi roll.

Lagniappe butterfish.

For those squeamish about raw fish, try the Spicy Maine shrimp roll, coated with plenty of Japanese Kewpie mayo. In fact, our waiter recommended using Kewpie (because of its higher egg content) to make your own lobster rolls. He also punches up his lobster rolls with fresh tarragon (take that, Dad!). Miyake does its own version of a lobster sushi roll that’s drizzled with truffle oil, but weren’t looking for food that chichi. My mother-in-law also enjoyed her Salmon Lady roll with seared salmon and umeboshi plum paste. Also, tuna takaki appetizers may be a dime a dozen, but the pink gems are gorgeously presented in a salad here.

And if the sushi doesn’t fill you up, there’s always the old-school Tony’s Donut Shop (my father-in-law’s favorite). Though I hear the glazed chocolate cake donuts taste even better fresh-baked, at 6 a.m., on a frigid, Maine winter morning.

Tuna Takaki Salad.

Sushi sampler.

Written by baltimoregon

July 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

Food Carts Galore

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Eugene's new pod in Kesey Square downtown.

Hopefully this fair-weather, intermittent blogging will become more regular again, now that my spring classes have come to an end. Plus, after one of the rainiest June’s yet, it’s finally sunny in Oregon, so I have no excuse not to write about the bounty finally revealing itself in our gardens and farms. Now we have the al fresco dining scene to look forward to, too, and what defines outdoor eating more than mobile food carts?

Portland is world-renown for its ubiquitous carts and Eugene is trying to grow its base of them. Even in Salem and Bend have food carts. But restrictive regulations means Corvallis has next to none, apart from those who vend at our two weekly farmers’ markets. But folks, including a local crepe stand, are hoping to change that. I plan to follow the issue for KLCC.

There in Eugene today for a news meeting, I ventured over to the new pod for lunch. My indulgent Cuban sandwich (with braised local pork belly) from The Nosh Pit lived up to its reputation. For you stoners out there, on late nights the cart even plans to serve a burger on a glazed cruller from the new Voodoo Donuts just ’round the corner. Dropping by Voodoo everytime I’m at KLCC could become a bad habit I start justifying out of love for my husband. The Neapolitan one I had today (old-fashioned chocolate cake doughnut topped with strawberry sugar and marshmallows) could become a new favorite.

Speaking of fatty food cart fare, look no further than to the SE Hawthorne pod in Portland. I had wanted to try Potato Champion ever since glimpsing on a chalkboard list of favorite spots at Naomi Pomeroy’s Beat. But I was underwhelmed. Maybe I didn’t order right, getting the PB&J (Thai peanut and raspberry sauce), which sounds gross as I retype it now. Next time I’ll try the poutine or a truffled or anchioved sauce. Then for dessert there’s the neighboring Whiffie’s fried hand pie cart, the winner of the Willamette Week’s Eat Mobile fest this year. I prefer my fat calories for in the form of fries. But the savory-sweet Hawaiian ham and cheese was a nice savory-sweet compromise.

Beast's favorite spots.

Fried food rules here: The famous Potato Champion cart in Portland's SE Hawthorne pod.

Don't forge the fried hand pies at neighboring Whiffie's.

Written by baltimoregon

June 16, 2010 at 1:06 am

Wild Oregon Salmon and Fiddlehead Ferns

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First of the spring wild Oregon salmon.

Fiddlehead ferns fresh at the Hillsdale Farmer's Market in Portland.

No energy to write now, as I’m still recovering from an early a.m. flight back from my first (and likely last) trip to Vegas. Somehow a meal of foraged and native Oregon ingredients seemed the perfect antidote to Sin City’s tawdriness.  So I mustered all the strength I had to get to the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market after the flight landed in Portland. Friend Rebecka from Gathering Together Farm was there and co-host Miriam met me at the market, there in her neighborhood. The fiery coral, first-of-spring salmon called to me, and the freshly foraged fiddlehead ferns and mushrooms. The salmon I rubbed with cracked juniper berries (listening to The Splendid Table inspired me), and then sealed with creme fraiche a la Molly Wizenberg. For the side dish, I sauteed delicate yellow foot winter chanterelle and shitake mushrooms in my home-cured guanicale with onions and garlic, then added the blanched ferns. A simple antidote to a place of excess. Something about being in Vegas makes one want to fast, maybe with one of those lemon juice cleanses. We’ll see if I have the will-power.

Written by baltimoregon

March 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm

My Willamette Week Restaurant Reviews

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Trout salad at Kir.

Trout salad at Kir.

Kir's pickle plate.

Kir's pickle plate.

(My three reviews that made it into the Willamette Week’s excellent Portland restaurant guide. Sorry, Giorgio’s, the editor and I decided you didn’t make the cut.)

Kir

This shabby-chic space feels like an old friend’s living room. In a flyspeck kitchen, chef-owner Amalie Roberts, the former wine director at Clyde Common, works her Mediterranean magic, assembling generous plates (a cornucopia of Manchego and cured meats, fragrant bowls of steamed mussels) for $10 or less. Sit at the Art Deco slab of bar and let bartender Russell Smith guide you. The chalkboard emphasizes affordable Old World vintages, particularly rosés. Or sip a cava-elderflower liqueur kir royale. Stunning late-summer surprises included a new pickle plate and large slabs of smoked trout beside a sunny salad of cherry tomatoes and haricots verts. Save room for the homey desserts, like the delicate plum hazelnut cake. Then find yourself becoming a regular here.

Kir flexes its muscles.

Kir flexes its muscles.

Order this: Mussels steamed with corona beans and chorizo.
Best deal: Charcuterie and cheese plate.
I’ll pass: Mixed olives, toasted pistachios (the least alluring of the snacks).

LAURA MCCANDLISH. 22 NE 7th Ave. 232-3063. kirwinebar.com Map

Happy hour pizettes pretty good deal during Fratelli's happy hours.

Happy hour pizettes pretty good deal during Fratelli's happy hours.

Fratelli

This cucina has staying power. After an 11-year, inconspicuous run in the Pearl, chef Paul Klitsie’s still at the helm. Fratelli’s Bar Dué boasts a happy hour offered not once but twice daily: first until 6 pm and again after 9 pm. Deals from the mesquite wood-fired oven include pizzas (though the green grape, olive and rosemary one lacked verve) and mix-and-match antipasti (pick the chicken-liver mousse and the better-than-hummus chickpea purée with arugula pesto). Among small plates, try the tangy, tender boar ribs; skip the porchetta sliders (all bun with little pork). The dinner menu trumpets local sources: grilled baby romaine with albacore tuna Caesar dressing, a Mountain Shadow Farms strip steak. How solid is Fratelli’s locavore street cred? Co-owner Tim Cuscaden even grows some of the produce himself, such as the beets braised with the black cod.
Order this: Braised boar ribs with balsamic glaze.
Best deal: $5 happy-hour pizzas and antipasti.
I’ll pass: Mixology (e.g., the Cello Drop) isn’t stellar. Consult the polished wine list instead.

LAURA MCCANDLISH. 1230 NW Hoyt St. 241-8800. www.fratellicucina.com Map

Clarklewis

Lunch and happy hour—that’s when to frequent the former capital of the fallen Ripe food empire. Sure, you’ll miss seafood starters (scallops with sweet corn and chanterelles), toothsome antipastos (arugula, burrata, yellow beans and grilled peaches) and heartier entrees (roasted pork shoulder with figs), but you can still sample a decent menu for a lot less cash. Try these sandwiches: peppery lamb bacon with grilled eggplant or in a BLT on the blue-plate special; roast chicken salad with Gruyère; an Italian grinder with olive dressing. Salads (watermelon with feta) seem less bold these days; most desserts don’t wow.
Order this: Any housemade pasta, like tagliatelle with lamb ragu. The smaller plate is ample.
Best deal: $6 happy-hour hamburger.
I’ll pass: Insipid soup and plain sorbet don’t beef up the lunch special. Get the sandwich alone instead.

LAURA MCCANDLISH. 1001 SE Water Ave. 235-2294. www.clarklewispdx.com Map

Written by baltimoregon

October 21, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Brined Pickles Day Five/Fermentation Fest

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They already almost look, smell and taste like real kosher dills.

They already almost look, smell and taste like real kosher dills.

Best ever cardamom-pu-erh fermented kombucha tea at the fermentation fest.

Best ever cardamom-pu-erh fermented kombucha tea at the fermentation fest.

What a difference five days makes. The stewing pickles have been transformed: an acidic broth has formed and infused the cucumbers’ once-firm flesh with a lactic tang that teams with life. Their color has change from vivid green to gray. Though delicious and aromatic with the essenses of garlic and dill, the brine has the off-putting look and clarity of dishwater.

At least all hope isn’t lost. I thought some of the top pickles were turning and going soft, so I lugged the full five-gallon jug down to the basement, which promises temperatures more consistent with the 75 degree threshold for problem fermentation to take place. But now they are safe and sound. My paranoia melted away as I sampled one, two, no five or six pickles this evening (bet you can’t each just one!). The whole basement smells like slightly-stinky pickles.

But it’s just a faint aroma compared to the scents wafting from the Ecotrust Building out towards the Thursday farmers market in Portland yesterday. We went up to check out the city’s inaugural fermentation fest, organized by Liz Crain, a fellow food writer there who is finishing up a Food Lovers’ Guide to Portland and specializes in wild-crafting and fermenting her own pickles, cider and dandelion wine. The main attraction: an appearance by the generous and gregarious Sandor Ellix Katz, or “Sandorkraut,” the guru of raw fermented foods and author of popular books on the topic.

The pungent smell of kimchi, krauts, kefirs and kombuchas perfumed the humid air in the Ecotrust gathering space. Most of it was delicious, though the tiny samples left you wanted for me. Hey, this was a free festival. But I had the rare experience of actually discovering a food I don’t like: natto. These gooey fermented Japanese-style soy beans stew in their own viscose sauce that has a (there’s no other way to put it) disenchanting semen-like consistency. I’ll just stick to my tempeh and tofu. But really anything to help me narrow my food choices down is a relief. Apparently, even in Japan, one-quarter of the population doesn’t care for the native food, so I’ve got good company. Sounds like another polarizing Asian delicacy: the spikey-on-the-outside, mushy-within, offensive-smelling durian fruit.

Not so into natto. But some folks swear by it.

Not so into natto. But some folks swear by it.

Coconut water kefir.

Coconut water kefir.

The drinks were what really stayed with me. Really delicate kombuchas, such as the one with spicy cardamom and aged pu-erh Chinese tea. Kefir, which normally describes fermented milk/yogurt drinks, as water-based drinks, such as the super-refreshing coconut water one at right. Hard ciders, which ran out before I got there. And unique professional-grade home brews fermented with special local ingredients, such as Douglas Fir tree needles and blackberries. The brewer gal is coming to OSU apparently in the acclaimed fermentation science program here. On our trip home, we schemed of having our own fermentation festival right here in Corvallis.

This brewer is coming to study fermentation science at OSU. What more does she need to learn?

This brewer is coming to study fermentation science at OSU. What more does she need to learn?

Written by baltimoregon

August 29, 2009 at 1:50 am

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Bing Cherry Brown Betty

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DSC03475DSC03482Thankfully cherries have come full into season just before we quit town. We’re having our fill. Instead of a lemonade stand, a little boy down the street sells Bing cherries, $1 a pint, from the family’s backyard trees. What a steal. I’ve bought six pints worth.

What a sweet yet firm flesh the Bing’s have.

I’ve also had delicious first-to-ripen French Burlats here, which taste like Bings but have much more fragile flesh.

So what to make for dessert with such luscious, fleeting fruit? Luckily, my review copy of Rustic Fruit Desserts arrived just in time. If you, like me, always order fruit over chocolate at the end of a meal, this book is for you. Better yet, it’s written by Portlanders Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. Looking forward to having them on the radio show to discuss the book.

Immediately, their Rhubarb and Bing Cherry Brown Betty appealed to me for its simplicity. Spring rhubarb and summer cherries to bridge the seasons. I took a shortcut by using store-bought Lorna Doone Shortbread for the topping but feel free to make your own. And Grand Marinier was a fine substitute for kirsch or brandy. Nor did I butter my pan, but since it was silicone nothing stuck.

Here’s the recipe (from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, June 2009):

Baking Time: 45 minutes/ Serves 8 to 12

2 tableslespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan

1 pound vanilla bean shortbread, crushed (approximately 18 cookies, or 4 cups crushed)

1 cup (7 ounches) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/4 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 6 cups or 1 1/2 pounds prepped)

2 cups (12 ounces) Bing cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted (can substitute any other sweet cherry variety)

2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 3-quart bakign dish.

Rub the sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, then add the rhubarb and cherries and toss to combine. Stir in the liquor, then let sit for 15 minutes t draw some of the juices from the rhubarb and cherries.

Evenly spread half of the crushed cookies in the prepared pan, then add the rhubarb mixture and all of its juices and gently spread it over the crumbs. Top with the remaining crushed cookies.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and, using the back of a large offset spatula or something similar, gently press down on the betty to ensure the rhubarb mixture is submerged in its juices. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Test the rhubarb with a paring knife to ensure that it is soft. Cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with a dollop or Chantilly, whipped or ice cream.

Storage: This betty is best served the day it is made, but any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature 2 to 3 days.

Written by baltimoregon

June 29, 2009 at 12:38 am

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