A Day in the Life

Caesar has been staying with us for the last few days. Caesar is my dad's pug, and while we refer to the two of them as "brothers," Zeus and Caesar couldn't be more different.

He usually squints his right eye, today it was his left...

Zeus is anxious. Like all the time. People constantly remark about the sadness in his eyes and the worried expression seemingly carved out of wrinkles on his face. Despite this anxiousness he is fiercely loyal, affectionate, and insists upon being spooned (by Evan only) AND sleeping under the covers while in bed.
Despite this cute face, know that I'm a naughty, naughty boy...

Caesar is laid back. Not a care in the world. While Zeus is likely to follow me around from room to room, constantly curious about what "we" are doing "together," Caesar can be aloof, and oftentimes only cares about Caesar (except when his pink toy dog, Lyndsey is involved). The other thing about Caesar is that he is highly mischievous. He's constantly getting in to things or finding things to get in to.

For example, today I came home to find our favorite house plant in this condition:
Caesar, what did the snake grass do to you?

There were telling remnants of the plant in Caesar bed, the couch, and in various undergarments of mine he pulled from the dirty laundry basket in the laundry room.

This dog. OH this DOG! What anger this silly, little dog can evoke. But on beautiful, sunny days in February, like the one we experienced today, days where it's warm enough to go outside without a sweater, days where "Mom" can take her "boys" outside for an afternoon play date, it's hard to hold on to those negative feelings. Even when you're left spending your afternoon deep cleaning dirt and fertilizer from your couch cushions. But this was not even how I started my day.

Today was one of those roller coaster days. We arrived at the cafe this morning only to discover that the freezer was somehow left unplugged, and that not only one, but TWO of my newest batches of ice cream (The Elvis: Peanut Butter & Banana, and Lynn's Vietnamese Coffee) freshly churned the previous day were beyond repair. I swear, I feel as though my luck with the ice cream gods has run out. I just want to know how it's possible that after nine months of crafting beautiful, perfectly churned ice cream, that I've been cursed during the most rare of sunniest periods of winter. Why oh why?

Not all was lost however. I did have a spare ice cream batter awaiting churning in the fridge, but given it's unusualness I wasn't sure how well it would actually sell. You see, I kind of have a thing for Girl Scout Cookies. More specifically, for Samoa Girl Scout Cookies. I was more than elated when I discovered the fact that Dryer's ran a special seasonal flavor of this ice cream in particular. Evan was kind enough to purchase a tub of this for me as a surprise last year. unfortunately, I found the entire packaged good to be utterly disappointing. Way too sweet. Almost gummy and syrupy, with none of the satisfying "crunch" one should or could expect from eating an actual Samoa cookie. So this week when our local Girl Scout distributors delivered our order (5 boxes of Samoas, 2 boxes of Thin Mints, and 1 box of Peanut Butter Tag-A-Longs) I knew what I had to do. I had to out-Samoa Dryers. In complete selfishness, I created my ultimate ice cream batter; a Toasted Coconut base with crumbled Samoa cookies folded in.

Like I said, I had no idea how this thing was going to sell. In all reality I had my doubts. thus far in life and in my culinary quest I have encountered far too many people with a certain disdain for coconut (the horror!), as well as an utter hatred for Girl Scout cookies in general. Combining the two? Could be a bad move for the cafe. But I churned the batter anyway this morning. I didn't really have a choice. I would rather face trial by fire than leave my ice cream menu chalkboard blank.

But alas, the Creamery Gods smiled upon us. We nearly sold out of the entire batch in one day!!!

So while I spent my afternoon "off" cleaning up after a dog that just wont quit, my beloved called home to make my day by letting me know that people like Samoas just as much as me.

*Whew* This is me sighing in relief.

*Sigh* This is me spending my "time-off" working, whipping up a new batch for the weekend.

But hey, at least I can do so feeling some camaraderie with my LRBC Peeps. Thanks for making my efforts worth it. Here's to silly little dogs, Samoas, Girl Scouts, and sunny days in February.

Post Script:
I cannot promise, but I can sincerely swear that my greatest intentions for future ice creams are to whip up the cafe's top-requested flavors for this weekend. Including...

Salted Caramel
Maple & Bacon
Vietnamese Coffee
Peanut Butter and Jelly

Like they say, I'm going to give it the old college try


Two in One Month?

That Pretty Lady Sitting Next to Me in This Photo is Having a Birthday Today

We're all very excited that it's Tara's birthday, today. Yep, that's right. I have two family members who share February birthdays that are only 9 days apart. In fact growing up this was just one of the coincidences my sister used to torture me about. You see, numerically my family member's birthdays are all connected by the number nine. My mom begins the sequence having been born on the ninth of January.
And so it begins...
9 + 9 is 18.
My dad was born on the 18th of February.
18+9 is 27.
My sister was born on the 27th of February.
All of these nines were just existing splendidly being all sequential and all until the birth of the second daughter...Me. Theoretically I should have been born on the thirty-sixth of February. I wasn't (for numerous reasons--the date doesn't exist, I wasn't born pre-mature but was in fact a week late, etc., etc.), I was born on July 8th. And so the torturing began...(please keep in mind that this is a highly dramatized account of a younger sibling referring to her older sibling)

Growing up my sister made me aware several times that I had in fact, ruined the entire thing. I suppose this was her version of telling me I was adopted-- something I never would've believed given I felt like I looked like my mother's twin even back then.
Unfortunately for me it took several years before I realized that it was impossible for me to achieve this feat. Even with time travel. There simply are not 36 days in any month. And so I improvised. I tried to figure out how on earth I could fit into the puzzle.

And then I had it. (Score!)

If you consider the fact that most years, February only has twenty-eight days then I decided we could start over with a new sequence from there. Consequently,
27+9= 8, given there are only 28 days in February. OR, if you're a "math person," Therefore::: 27+1=28 & 28+1=1 when 29...x (that highly scientific symbol there is supposed to signify when 29 and above doesnt not exist)
which leds us to
28+1=1 :::(therefore) 1+7=8 And I was born on the 8th. (hells yeahs, I figured it out)

Am I making sense? Perhaps not...but seriously, this is how I spent too much of my time as a child trying to ensure my security in the family chain.

Anyways, enough of my experience growing up in a family connected by nines. This post is about Tara. The lovely, lovely Tara, my bestest friend, my biggest fan, and my greatest supporter. How lucky I am to have you as my sister and confidant, and how fortunate I feel that we are all grown up and our connection can never again be questioned or doubted.

I can't think of much I like about having my sister live in NYC. Other than the free, cozy place to stay in a cool neighborhood, the rest of it pretty much sucks. T, I wish I was with you so I could squeeze you today and tell you just how much you are loved and missed each and every day. From your family on the western coastline, Happy Birthday, Little One. Make a wish.


Detour Ahead

Perhaps after six months of work it needed a day off too.

It was business as usual as we made our way to the cafe to meet the milkman earlier today. As I went to transfer some salad greens from our large refrigerator to the sandwich prep station photographed above, I noticed the machine was awfully quiet. Not good. I stuck my hand inside to find that not only was the machine off, but it must've been warm for quite some time. Turns out sometime between Sunday night and midday Monday we had somehow blown a fuse.


As we began to fill the garbage can with what had at one time been perfectly good product we both started to feel as though we had once again lost control of our weekly "day off." But we stayed calm and with a focused effort were able to pick up the pieces, get the most necessary prep done, and spend a relaxing day at home complete with a mid-afternoon tandem ride to the Flavourspot. It's days like today which demonstrate to us that yes, we're getting better at this.


Quality Control Part Deux

Tempeh Salad Sandwich w/ Greens

We must admit that the cafe has been a little bit busier these past few weeks. And that is a good thing. We need busy. Busy keeps us on our toes. Busy makes it all a little more exciting. But most importantly, busy is what it will take to keep this whole thing going. Nonetheless, busy has brought with it some difficulties. There is more food to prepare, and its still just little old us doing most of the cooking. And when the orders start stacking up, we have to pick up the pace just to keep up. And that is when we start to sweat.

We take our work very seriously, and when we feel as though we don't have that extra few seconds to make the fruit garnish look just so, or cook that egg to the perfect point between over easy and medium, where the yolk still has a runny clear middle and starts to get solid near its outer edges...well, for us thats downright torture. Its a 'good problem to have' everyone tells us, and a lesson everyone in the industry must deal with at one point or another. But it still can be hard at times.

Case in point: today. Perhaps due to a flattering review we received in this past week's Portland Mercury, we had a busier than usual Saturday. At some point in the morning hours (I couldn't really tell you when) Lynn and a friend stopped in at the cafe to pick up an egg sandwich and the recently blogged about cafe sua da. No question I was excited to make the drink, despite the fact that although a few customers have inquired about it, no one has yet to order one, and I wasn't quite sure I could pull it off.

"Hot or iced?" I confidently bluffed.

"Iced" Lynn replied.

And I was off.

When prepared properly the coffee should take somewhere between three to four minutes to drip, and should produce a strong enough brew that hot or cold water can be added to the coffee/sweetened condensed mixture, to produce a beverage suited to one's personal taste for sweetness. No sooner had the drink finished brewing that three tickets had come into the kitchen, one after the other. As soon as I added water to finish Linn's drink I could tell that it was not the best I could do. The coffee was visibly over diluted, and perhaps a little heavy on the sweetened condensed milk. As I left the kitchen to deliver the drink and egg sandwich I grabbed a cookie from the pastry case. With a peace offering, an apology, and a vow to do a better job next time I sent Lynn and her friend on their way. I knew that I didn't have the time to make the drink again as there was a lot of food waiting to be made back in the kitchen. I took 1.5 seconds to rationalize it all in my head:

The drink not yet officially on the menu, I am the only person at the cafe who knows (or thinks they know) how to use the brewer. We always try to do our best, but it just doesn't come out the way we want it to each time.

My thoughts from this morning still ring true. Sometimes the garnish falls apart during its journey from the kitchen to the table. And sometimes the eggs are cooked too easy, or too hard. So when this happens, we take a breath, and do it over, and if we don't have time, we try to make it all better any way we can.

It's still a lot of fun. And most of the time we feel damn proud of whats coming out of the kitchen. I wish that I could explain to customers that when it gets really busy, the longer they are willing to wait, the better their food will be, but that's not how works. As I mentioned earlier, for now it is a good problem to have.

On a more important note, I noticed today upon closing that the food donation box that has been placed outside the cafe during the past week is not as full as I hoped it would be by now. In case you missed it, the box was brought to the cafe by Ilana and Lily from the Odyssey Montessori School. Donated food left in the box will be taken to the Oregon Food Bank, which just so happens to be dangerously understocked at the moment. If you plan to stop by the cafe sometime soon please consider bringing along some food to donate.

That's all for now. I wish you a happy second half of the weekend, wherever you may be.



Cà phê sữa đá

I have long been a fan of Vietnamese Coffee, or cafe sua da. Whether the final product be enjoyed hot or cold, there is nothing quite like the pairing of slow drip coffee and sweetened condensed milk. I also appreciate the patience required to allow the coffee to brew into the milk. No matter how difficult the wait, the end product never fails to deliver.

Without a clue where I might be able to find the brewing equipment necessary to create this delectable beverage, Ali was nice enough to cater to my cravings by making a downright delicious Vietnamese coffee ice cream. And boy does this stuff capture the flavor of the drink. And so it happened one cold January afternoon that a young lady named Lynn entered our cafe. A student from the University of Portland, Lynn was inquiring to see if we might be interested in donating a prize for the school's annual R.P.S. Competition. Oh I'm sorry, you're not down with R.P.S.? That would be rock-paper-scissors, also known as roshambo. Before Lynn was finished telling me that the tournament is held to raise aid for some of the poorest nations on the planet, I was writing a gift certificate for two ice-cream sundaes or milkshakes to whomever turns out to have the quickest draw.

While I was filling out the gift certificate Lynn's eyes happened to find our ice cream menu, which at the time indicated that Ali had made some of her now famous Vietnamese coffee ice cream. "You have Vietnamese coffee ice cream?!?" Lynn exclaimed. "Uh, yeah." I replied. "And it's pretty damn good." Lynn excitedly explained to me that she loved Vietnamese coffee, and that there seemed to be few if any cafes in North Portland which offered the drink. I then explained to her that I happened to be a huge fan of the beverage, but didn't know where to start looking for the single cup brewers. To my delight Lynn told me that she thought there might be a market near her parent's house which sold the brewers, and that the next time she went home to visit family, she would go to the market to look for them.

A few weeks fly by and it's a sunny and nearly warm February afternoon. It's a Monday, and we're closed. Ali and I happened to be at the cafe, meeting with some new friends who will be mentioned in a forthcoming blog. It can be an uncomfortable thing to be at the cafe on a Monday, watching people unknowingly try to open the locked door. 'Sorry, we're closed' we try to telepathically apologize through the glass and wood door that separates us. I sympathize for the unsettling feeling one gets trying to open the door, only to have all their energy stalled by a deadbolt. The look on their faces cannot help but make me feel as though I have let them down. I want to open the door and try to fix the situation, but I know that I mustn't, Mondays keep us sane.

But this past Monday, Lynn came to our door with a plastic bag at her side, and with a breath I was up out of my seat, my hand unlocking and opening the door. Turns out Lynn got to go home over the weekend and came back with not one...not two...not three...not four...but FIVE shiny new press for the LRBC. And it just so happened that there was some Vietnamese coffee ice cream leftover from the sunny weekend with which we could send with Lynn off.

Until we figure out just the right grind and volume of coffee, water, and sweetened condensed milk ratios, feel free to consider them part of our 'secret menu.'


Happy Birthday, Dad

Yesterday was Dad's birthday so we were more than delighted to be gracious dinner guests for the celebration. Felice worked hard making an amazing birthday meal, which included:

Salad Three Ways
Marinated Lentil, Wild Rice, and Mesculan

Naan with Egyptian Spice

Spicy Chickpea Soup
with Yogurt and Green Onion

And what birthday would be complete without cake? Happy Birthday, Dad! May this year bring you as much relaxation and golf as your heart desires/can take at your old age!!! ;)


Back by Popular Demand

In case you missed out last weekend, or perhaps are hoping to return for seconds, blood orange mimosas are making an encore performance at the cafe on Sunday.

Seize the weekend.


On a Different Note...

I had high hopes for ice cream this week. It was sunny outside, the tandem was itchin' for a ride, and my ice cream maker was screamin' "Put Me to Work." I had great plans. I really did. Based on the excellent suggestion of a friend I devoted a few hours on Wednesday to whipping up a batter for a Violet Ice Cream. In my heart of hearts my elegant Violet Ice Cream was going to be swirled with a beautifully tart lemon curd, resulting in a flavor combination that people would surely "oooh and ahhhh" over. Like I said, in my heart of hearts...

I spent Wednesday morning creating the batter and first thing Thursday morning I began churning this batter, but when we least expected it, the cafe got busy and I mean REAL busy. During a sudden rush I was summoned from the back of the house to the front and left my ice cream maker and more importantly the churning batter unattended. What happened next was nothing short of a disaster. Said batter became over-churned, fat particles froze and consequently seized, and ALL was lost. No really, I lost an entire gallon of would-be-spectacular Violet Ice Cream. *Arrrgh*. Sadness overcame the LRBC kitchen. In my mind I sharply blurted, "I'm soooooo over ice cream." I just found it so frustrating that something that should be so relatively easy became something so hard and I couldn't help but feel like I let LeAnn down. (Even though I know she would never care and if anything would offer me a hug in consolation.)

But even I feel/get defeated at times. I am sad to admit that there will be no Violet Ice Cream this weekend, especially no Violet with Lemon Curd Swirl Ice Cream.

And so we improvise...(like we always do...) with a stunning Brunch menu to quell the defeat...

Some of the items featured this weekend include:

A Fried Egg Sandwich Featuring...
house-roasted tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and olive tapenade

A Turkey Sandwich Featuring...

melted brie, cranberry chutney, arugula, and toasted walnuts
you can add avocado to this for a buck

A Truffled Grilled Cheese Featuring...
applewood smoked bacon, bleu cheese, and pear

A Field Salad Featuring...
organic greens, shaved manchego, Pink Lady apples, and caramelized walnuts

A Bread Pudding Featuring...
dark chocolate with whipped cream and candied orange

We hope to see you...


These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I used to think Valentine's Day was for suckers. Four years ago, while living in Los Angeles a very different me had a lengthy argument with a fellow coffee shop-goer regarding the commercialism associated with this particular holiday. The consumerism plagued my sensibilities. This fabricated so-called-holiday was nothing but a bunch of Hallmark bullshit wrapped in a pretty package. It did nothing but make lovers feel inclined to buy and single people feel worthless. At least that's what I used to think...

Not that anybody asked but today really was one of the best Valentine's Days I've ever experienced. Wait--let me rephrase that; today was one of the best days of my life. It began with me waking up in bed only to find Zeus lying next to me with a heart-shaped "Post-It Note" attached to his fur. It simply read, "I love that you need '5 more minutes' anytime you wake up from sleep." This refers to the fact that regardless if it's a 10 hour night of sleep or a 10 minute nap, I always insist that five more minutes is absolutely necessary. As my own mother can attest to, this is something I've claimed since I was a child. Ahhh yes, my all-too famous line/whine, "just five more minutes."

It made my morning to find this lovingly lovely note from my lover attached to our little dog. Little did I know that throughout my daily routine I would find these notes posted everywhere. I could not help but go through my day being constantly reminded of just how well I am known by the man that I have devoted the rest of my life to. Further, not just how well I am known but how truly loved I am by him, in the deepest sense of the word. A couple of my favorite notes from the day...

  • Attached to the the thermostat: "I love that you need the heat at a constant 73 degrees"
  • Attached to the fry pans at work: "I love the way you can flip not only one, but two eggs without breaking a yolk"
  • Inside the bag of groceries he bought for our dinner that was supposed to be a surprise: "I love that you have to peek"
I left work early to finish up some last minute to-do's only to come home to a house filled with even more notes. There were notes in the fridge, the bathroom, the guestroom, on the mantle, on my magazines, on the computer, the television, etc., etc. And he wasn't done there. When my beloved finally returned from work, he came home to make me a meal that served the purpose of reminding me just how fortunate, blessed, and LUCKY I am that I took the greatest risk of my life at the ripe age of 17 by telling my 18 year old best friend that I loved him more than a friend. We were in the garden of his neighbor's house. We were sharing a beer. I will never forget how he embraced me after this confession and kissed me on the forehead. He reassured me he loved me that night, "just not like that." It would take me another three months before I could convince him he was wrong.

On this Valentine's Day evening my valentine poured me a glass of wine and served me a meal combining the things he knows I love best...
  • A high quality aged balsamic vinegar
  • Oregon pinots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fresh pasta
  • Goat's milk cheese
  • Ice cream
A Meal for Lovers Brought to Me by Mine...
Crostini with roasted garlic, Redwood Hill's Crottin, and an aged balsamic reduction
Arugula Salad with Marcona Almonds, Tart Cranberries, and Shaved Manchego
Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash
Fresh Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Homemade Marinara
White-Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bomb

Really at this point I cannot help but feel like the words, "I love you" just don't cut it anymore. Evan, if this is a dream and I am sleeping please don't wake me up because I don't even think "five more minutes" will suffice. As I explained to you tonight, Forever doesn't seem long enough.

Love is All You Need.

You might remember when we had the opportunity to churn up a few gallons of ice cream for the Odyssey Montessori School's Ice Cream Social last September. Well, since then Evan has developed a close relationship with a couple of those students, including an eager participation in an interview regarding ice cream making the girls had to do for a school project. This week the girls are back and for a very good reason; they are collecting donations for the Oregon Food Bank and they asked Evan if it would be okay to set up a collection box outside of the cafe. Personally, we couldn't think of a better place to do so.

As Ilana and Lily so poignantly point out (as taken directly from their amazing sign):

  • Most people donate a lot of food during the holidays but then stop donating food. People are hungry all the time not just during holidays!
  • 912,000 people eat from emergency food boxes a year
  • Food donated during food drives is some of the most nutritious food the Oregon Food Bank receives
  • 49% of households receiving emergency food boxes are families with children
  • 37% of those who ate food from an emergency food box last year were children
  • Children who are hungry have more difficulty learning in school
Together, let's see if we can fill this thing up!!! We know you can help us do it! On this Valentine's Day we would like to thank Ilana and Lily for reminding us what it's all about. Keep up the good work, Ladies!


It's Getting Better All the Time...

One cannot help falling in love with Morgan from Dovetail Bakery. Not only is she a super rad baker, she is a super rad person. There is not a Friday that goes by that we do not eagerly anticipate the arrival of our vegan-baker-friend extraordinaire. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Morgan came in last week with some new samples of what she's been working on in her kitchen. The bait was planted and we immediately succumbed. Who wouldn't?
The LRBC is happy to introduce the latest magical creations outta the Dovetail line, Wheat-Free Scones and Wheat-Free Upside-Down Cake. This week we're stocking Lemon Cornmeal Scones with Raspberry Preserves and Cranberry Pear Upside-Down Cake. FYI: The fruit on the cake changes seasonally (as though we would expect any less from this goddess).


She Dreams of Spring

Some people have expensive hubcaps that spin...we have an ice cream maker that spins and churns one gallon every 20 minutes. Different strokes for different folks.

Due to recent weather forecasts calling for clearer skies and warmer temperatures this week, the LRBC ice cream machine (and Ali) will be very busy whipping up tantalizing treats to help cure your winter blues.

Flavors to be disclosed upon churning.

Send in your special weekend requests now...


Wedding Vendor #1

So what if I'm going to use the cafe blog to help me organize things for the wedding? Given that wedding stuff is, without a doubt, simultaneously happening along with cafe stuff and the two are invariably intertwined, I figure this is a good way to let all of you in on the "behind the scenes" action while also affording me another resource in my quest for sanity as a "wedding planner."

I'm not even sure when we officially met Elizabeth and Dan. In fact, I believe it's quite possible that we met their children first. Tess and Ivan, since the beginning of the cafe day, have enjoyed eating their breakfast at the counter. Many mornings the two of them can be seen playing with the gourds in the window sill while sharing a Paperboy and/or one of Greg's cinnamon rolls. Their presence immediately caught my attention given how polite, well-mannered, and respectful of each other they were. As a former nanny I am aware of the trials and tribulations young children can go through with their siblings and these two don't seem to show once ounce of resentment towards one another. At least not in the cafe, that is. Granted I do not live with them but based on my experiences I have absolutely zero reservations about spending time with them. In fact, I am not ashamed to admit that I am completely enamored with these children. Tess is, as I'm sure anyone who knows her will tell you, ferociously smart. She's sharp, inquisitive, amazingly eloquent for her age, and no doubt incredibly hip. She once gave me her thoughts on Nina Simone's See Line Woman and I have to say I loved her from that moment on. Her little brother Ivan is working with a boundless amount of cuteness factor. His laugh and coy smile are enough to melt anyone's heart. In fact, the day he slipped and cracked his noggin on the bike rack outside of the cafe nearly broke my heart. Seeing him hysterically cry (the complete opposite of his demeanor) was enough to send me into a panic, but I'll never forget how calm Dan remained throughout the ordeal. His composure most certainly squashed the drama and within seconds Dan had Ivan calmed-down and smiling again, despite the blood and the considerable egg forming on his little forehead.

Tess, Ivan, and their pup outside the cafe on a Snow Day

As the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and the case couldn't be more clear than with this family. Aside from admiring their obvious parenting skills, their adorable children, their endless kindness etc., etc., Dan and Elizabeth are genuinely sweet people who have been without a doubt, some of our biggest supporters since the day we opened our doors. For that we will never be able to thank them enough. As luck turns out these people are not just cool parents or cafe customers, they are food-lovers and producers in their own right. Elizabeth, is one part of the two parts that make-up Two Tarts. We were first introduced to Elizabeth's talent at City Market, where we picked up a sampling of her treats for a Father's Day dinner. We were mesmerized by the undeniable sweetness of the miniature goods and before we knew it we had several in our basket. We only hoped these little guys tasted as sweet and good as they looked. We were not disappointed. We immediately became huge fans so imagine our surprise when we later discovered this talented baker was a cafe customer!!! Needless to say we were beyond flattered. As time passes we continue a great friendship with this family and we look forward to every weekend and their impending arrival to the cafe.

On Saturday after their meal Elizabeth took her kids on a walk and somewhere along the way they picked these flowers for Evan and me. Er--well, it went something like that...
Flowers given to us by Tess and Ivan

I was outside delivering food to a table when I heard...

Elizabeth: Well, there she is. You can given them to her right now!

I turned around to see the trio walking towards me with flowers in-hand.

Ivan: These are for you

: Why thank you! They are so beautiful!

Tess quickly interjects: One of them is for Evan

Me: Well of course one of them is. Which one shall we give Evan?

They both center in at the flowers they have just handed over; each giving a considerable amount of thought into who deserved what. After some consideration they both point to the one they had hand-picked. Translation: Each one wanted Evan to have their favorite one, the one they especially picked. In all honesty my feelings weren't hurt. In fact, I can't blame them. I would want Evan to have my favorite, too.

For these reasons and so many more, I am honored to say that we are delighted, overwhelmed, and unbelievably excited that Two Tarts will represent one element of our wedding day. Many thanks to Elizabeth, Dan, Tess, and Ivan for the joy you bring into our lives. We feel blessed to know you and we can't wait to share your greatness with our friends and family.


How Did Your Sunday Go?

This list was made at approximately 4:30 pm on Saturday

This list was crossed off at approximately 7:54 am on Sunday

Yup...It went about like that. And when that happens we start our "weekend" feeling pretty good.



Blood orange mimosas are coming the cafe tomorrow. Say what? Yeah. I said it. We've got a liquor license and we're not afraid to use it. We did a mini-test run of this treat this morning and we've decided to bring it full throttle for tomorrow morning; just in time for Sunday's Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas. You know, sometimes it feels good to be this bad.

In other exciting news we had a memorably great Plate Special this morning: The Dixie.

Two-Fried Eggs, Grits with Goat Cheese & Chives, Dressed Greens with Honey-Roasted Pears, and Buttered Toast with Jam. Get your grub on.

While Dixie's time and place on the weekend brunch menu has sadly now since passed, I am pleased to inform you that not all hope is lost. As if the Blood Orange Mimosas and Pancakes weren't enough, Mom has whipped up a batch of her famous Cream of Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup. I grew up on this soup as a young child and I am convinced it gave me special powers over the years. Every time she makes it I am instantly transported back to my childhood kitchen table, sitting wedged in-between my mom and sister, all of us using the edge of the spoon to scrape the bowls of soup clean, with my dad always leading the charge. To this day I can't help but stick my paws in her soup pot and fish out the red potatoes during the cooking process. So velvety and warm...It really is that good. See for yourself.
Note: You do not Have to be Irish to Enjoy This Soup


What's for Dinner...

Eating For One

Tonight's "What's For Dinner" could easily be renamed "Eating For One" or "The 5-Ingredient Gourmet." You see, I am eating dinner tonight sans my beloved because he is out running errands for the cafe (Think: Cash & Carry, New Seasons Market, caramelizing onions, roasting tomatoes,... etc.) Poor guy. After the week we've had we're starting to feel like we can't catch a break. And the week's not over yet. Far from it. *Sigh.* But these are the moments where we know we have to dig our heels into the muck and have faith that we'll get through it. Always have...Always will (fingers crossed).

So...I am left at home to my own devices and as usual that creeping feeling came the minute I removed my jacket and took off my shoes: "I"M STARVING!!!" Oh, that's right. I haven't eaten a thing all day. Not because I'm on a diet (ha!), not because I'm fasting, but because Evan's alarm went off at 5:15 this morning and we haven't had a moment to stop since then.

Today was crazy. Fridays always are. But today was extremely busy given that Kealani called in sick (Poor Girl, we hope you don't have the flu!) and we ran the entire morning one short. Deep breath taken here... My mom came to the rescue (as she always does) around noon, hightailing it back from McMinnville, OR, where she works (yes, that's a one hour trip, each way, that she makes daily. God bless her) to come fry up some eggs, wash dishes, and garnish plates. (Did I already say God bless her?!?!) Mom came just in time as we experienced a pretty fantastic rush that lasted from noon until 2:02 pm. At the end of the day Evan, AnnMarie, Mom, and I felt pretty darn good about ourselves, like warriors who were able to prove themselves out on the battlefield. Seriously, when 3:00 rolled around I literally felt like a battle cry was in order. We totally rocked it. No one got too stressed, no one yelled too loud, or felt too overwhelmed. Food went out in a timely fashion, looked great, and people left happy with promises of a return. It was just a solid day both in the front and back of the house and you've gotta love days like that.

Although one does end a day like that completely exhausted and left wondering, "How the hell am I going to get through the weekend?" Well, the answer to that question in still yet to be determined but one thing I am sure of is that a good dinner the night before sure can't hurt. Which left me foraging through the bare-bones existence that describes the state of our cupboards and fridge at home.

Hummm...what to eat? What to eat?!? The ongoing saga -er- more like battle between me and my kitchen at home. The great irony of my life right now is that my kitchen at work has everything in the world you could possibly think of ( and yet I want none of it) and my kitchen at home is completely stark in comparison yet all I can think of doing or wanting is food. Ever since cooking became my full-time job the idea of making a meal for one (and that one being me) became all the less appealing. Which is sad because I absolutely love our kitchen at home. Our house was built in the 40's and our kitchen came with a small hood and the greatest original tile (in butter yellow with black detailing) in the world. I immediately felt at home with it. I loved it so much that I ignored the fact that the range was/is electric (arrgh) and that the floor was/is an "off-white" ie. dirty-colored linoleum (double arrgh).

I hate cooking for one. Aside from the fact that I find it horribly depressing I never seem to get the proportions right. I always end up with leftovers which would be fine if I actually ate them but instead they kind of have a tendency to grow fur in our fridge...a fact Evan knows all too well. Sorry, Love! I'm working on it!!!

So tonight my rummaging granted me: Leftover spaghetti squash, Trader Joe's Organic Sprouted Wheat Pappardelle, and spinach. I reconstituted the squash in the oven with some thyme oil (fresh chopped thyme soaked in olive oil for 20 mins.), sauteed the spinach in olive oil and pressed garlic cloves, and topped the pappardelle with both. I finished the dish off with some pecorino we had in the fridge, and I must say this uninspiring start to the night led to a simple but beautiful dinner...for one. And to be honest, it wasn't all that bad eating alone. However, much love does go out to E tonight as my guess is that he still hasn't eaten today and is all too consumed in cafe-business to do so. Thanks Lovin' for working so hard for us, for the cafe, and for all of them. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. In fact, they make all the difference. XOXO


Date Night

Every now and again E and I are fortunate enough to remind ourselves that we are in fact, "real people," in-love, in our mid-twenties. When this sensation occurs we try and find an opportunity to take ourselves out on the town; and tonight happened to be one of those one of those nights. We had the great fortune of seeing one of our favorite groups, Rodrigo Y Gabriela at the Ballroom. We actually made ourselves dinner, met friends for drinks, and danced the night away. Yes, yes and yes! Hooray! And here's to being humans. Cheers!

Those Knives Are Hot, Continued

The Sprockettes Breakfast Sandwich, The Next Episode

Last weekend we had yet another chance to play on the Hot Knives breakfast sandwich creation. This time around Ali whipped up a sun-dried tomato polenta to compliment the mouth watering collection of smoked tempeh, garlic sauteed spinach, and dill aioli. Vegans rejoiced! Once again the sandwich was a huge success...so much so that we ran out of polenta, making it a Saturday-only weekend brunch special. We'll let y'all know ahead of time when we are going to go for round three on this recipe.


As of Now...

My morning tea consists of:

A blend of Foxfire Tea's Genmaicha (a Green Tea w/ puffed rice) and Peppermint (a caffeine-free herbal infusion of NW mint)

You are more than welcome to come in and make up your own special blend of tea if you are having a hard time deciding on just one. Trust me, I know how it can be.


Just in time for 'Super Tuesday'..

Gratuity is not included...and with your help we aim to keep it that way.

The cafe tip jar has experienced yet another reincarnation, this time thanks to two very lovely and creative ladies (Alice & Annmarie aka your weekend barista tag-team.) It's probably about as political as the LRBC will ever get (we hope). May it cause at least a few customers to laugh, while simultaneously helping to lighten the load of those ever so cumbersome pocketbooks. See, your health and wellbeing is our utmost concern.


LRBC Little-Known-Fact #22

During a given week the cafe is likely to go through 360 eggs. That's just one reason why we proudly serve cage-free and organic eggs from Stiebrs Farms.



Pain Au Chocolate and Banana Bread Pudding

Oh, you didn't get the memo? Well, apparently the cafe was all about celebrating a bananathon this weekend. Without much planning this weekend's Brunch Specials featured: Southern Banana Pudding Ice Cream, Pain Au Chocolate & Banana Bread Pudding, as well as Caramelized Banana Cottage Cheese Pancakes. Looks like somebody is ready to shake these winter blues and eager to move on to springtime. This was NOT a test. We sincerely apologize to any banana haters out there. We knew not what we were capable of...


And Then There Were Two...

Southern Banana Pudding Ice Cream

We started the day offering four flavors of ice cream and wound up with only two left: Southern Banana Pudding Ice Cream with Pepperidge Farm's Chessmen Cookies and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip.
Outside the cafe @ approx. 10 am this morning

Who says you can't sell ice cream on a Snow Day? Or a milkshake for that matter? Today's milkshake totals: 4 Chocolate, 2 Chocolate Malts, and 1 Vietnamese Coffee. Booya.


Those Knives are Hot, The Next Episode

Coming Soon to a Cafe Near You?

Why yes, yes it is. Awhile back Evan and I wrote about the fine contributions of our dear friends, The Hot Knives in our mutual quest to create and conquer the ultimate vegan breakfast sandwich. Well, the results are in and Evan and I are happy to report that after some tinkering The Sprockette* Sandwich is finally ready to grace the LRBC menu...at least as a special for our weekend brunch.

Without further ado...

LRBC Brunch Specials

The Sprockette Sandwich
Sundried Tomato Polenta patty, Smoked Tempeh, Organic Spinach and
Vegan Dill Aioli on toasted Ciabatta

Three's Company
Pesto-Grilled Cheese Sandwich made with Beecher's Flagship Cheese served with
a cup of homemade Fried Garlic & Tomato Soup and
Organic Mixed Greens tossed in a balsamic-molasses vinaigrette

Fresh off the Press
Kenya Ruera Rueru followed by Sumatra Mandheling
courtesy of Courier Coffee Roasters

or alternatively

Draper Girl's Farm Fresh Hot Apple Cider

courtesy of our good friends, Kevin and Erin

Current Ice Cream Selection
Key Lime
Vietnamese Coffee
Southern Banana Pudding
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip

* In case you were wondering, yes indeedy this little number was named in honor of these local kick-ass women. Check them out and show your support if you haven't already!!! We'd also like to clarify that no Sprokettes were hurt during the creation of this sandwich...