To Toast or Not to Toast

Murray's Everything Bagel with a Shmear of Scallion

That really is the question. Murray's doesn't toast their bagels. For this very reason my friend Diana refuses to go to Murray's, "What? Do they think they're too good to toast?" Dan, the love of my sister's life and long-time, die hard New Yorker retorts, "Toasting is for people in Ohio."

In my sister's opinion toasting ruins the texture of the bagel, although she also admits she "just can't do an 'everything bagel' without toasting."

Frankly, I so thoroughly enjoyed my bagel yesterday morning that I didn't think about whether or not it was toasted. It didn't even cross my mind. I mean what is the true point of toasting?

Weigh in on this one, Folks. Does a authentic NY style bagel loose all of its integrity once it enters the broiler? Do certain bagels require toasting in order to be enjoyed? Help us settle this debate.

***Just to be clear, we've got nothing against people in Ohio. They were his words, not mine.***


Because I Love You

As those of you who work at the cafe know, when he's not drinking espresso there are few things that give Evan more pleasure than the traditional macchiato. Oh, the macchiato. Whose identity was stolen and pitifully ripped off by Star@ucks. I can just hear the macchiatos out there now, "I am not a 16oz. drink!" Oh, how they wail, "Please, do not stud me with caramel sauce!"

Every weekend morning my beloved sweetly asks me, "May I make you a macchiato, Love?" To this day I'm not even sure what he likes more; drinking them or the challenge of making them. Macchiatos are difficult because they require a delicate balance; even after you've manged to pull a great shot, the rest of the work requires the perfect milk temperature, the perfect foam, and when you're really going for it, perhaps a fancy little art piece on top. And though I'm trying to decrease my coffee consumption I can rarely resist his offer for the simple reason that I love the look of persistence of his face as he gracefully attempts to master the heart detail on top. "I will first master the heart before moving on to the rosetta," he tells me.

So Love, yesterday I obtained a few more cups and saucers to add to your collection. May you continue to find joy in meeting the challenges of your passion head on. It's been an absolute pleasure watching you grow and drinking the fruits of your labor.

P.S. Thank you for picking up the slack and letting me go on this trip. Believe me when I say, I'm thinking about you every day. XO


Yet Another Reason Why...

We love Dekin.

Dekin is the one you have to thank for those dangi donuts (his grandmother's Okinawan recipe) we have on the weekend. Dekin is also the one we have to thank for continuously bringing in specialty, dank, goodness to the staff. The above comes courtesy of a joint effort between him and his lovely wife, Veth:

Sticky rice cooked in sweet coconut milk and banana, rolled in banana leaf and steamed.

This is one item the kitchen was just not willing to share.


8 Questions with... Alice

Name: Alice
Position at the Cafe:
Cook, Disc Jockey, bookkeeper, Jill-of-all-trades

If you were a bike, what kind of bike would you be?
Well, I would be the bike that I ride. Bits and pieces from all over put together to make a lovely bike.
One of your favorite books?
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughter House Five

Gioconda Belli The Country Under My Skin

Favorite condiment/spice/herb?


One of your favorite movie quotes?

Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision-making process, which rules out human meddling, the Doomsday machine is terrifying and simple to understand... and completely credible and convincing." –Dr. Strangelove
Your Dream Pet?
I got finks, now we need doors that close
Great Show you saw…
Electrelane: Triple Rock Social Club
This summer you’ll find me…
on my bike, not being bit by mosquitoes, amassing my empire
Where would you like to live and why?
Santiago, Chile. My family is there.


Before I Walk the Plank...

...I get to spend a week in NYC celebrating my last days of singlehood.
FYI: We prefer NOT to say bachelorette party

Beginning tomorrow, I will be spending the week...

  • love, love, loving my big sister
  • relishing in culinary inspiration found around every corner
  • playing kissy face with friends I've been away from for way too long
  • eating cupcakes at Billy's Bakery and bagels at Murray's
  • taking my niece Matilda to Pug Hill in Central Park
  • on the lookout to thank and shake hands with Danny Meyer for blowing my mind
  • walking miles and miles in large sunglasses and fashionably uncomfortable shoes
  • staying up waaaaaay past my bedtime
  • getting rowdy by demanding "dance-offs" in dimly lit bars
  • and anxiously wondering how much my LRBC Family misses me (only to drunk-dial them late-night just to find out)

Strip clubs, Chip n' Dales, cheesy games, Vegas references, stupid-silly hats, and/or edible underware need not apply.


On the Menu...

Chocolate-Blackberry Pudding


What's New With You?

Where have you been? Well, to keep it short:

During the month of May I've Been...

Saturday Morning Breakfasts Consist of: macchiatos and dangi donuts
  • Downing My Breakfasts When I Get the Chance
  • Customizing Bridesmaid Hair Accessories
  • Making and Churning Banana Colada Ice Cream Batter
  • Reaping the Rewards of our Kick-F’in-Ass Groomsmen Attire Selections
(FYI: if you need a fashion guru in your life then I’m you’re gal…that is of course if I wasn’t running a cafĂ© or planning a wedding and all…)
A Welcomed Surprise of Zoo Bombers
  • Greeting Zoo Bombers
  • Watching Window-Sill Succulents Bloom
  • Pug Sitting
  • Drawing Up Blueprints in My Mind
Making an Appearance During Cocktail Hour After Our Ceremony: Mint Juleps Served in Mason jars
  • Dreaming About Our Wedding
  • Planning a Trip to NYC to Spend Time with Sisters
  • Vacuuming the Living Room
We Love it When the Sun Shines at the LRBC
  • Drinking Tecates With Lime When the Sun Shines
  • Doing it Tandem Styles
  • Playing Vinyl on a Regular Basis…Finally
  • Reuniting With Best Friends Who Have Been Living Abroad
Who Could Resist a Date With Him?
  • Making Dinner Dates
  • Receiving Fabulous Fabric Swatches for an Upcoming Art Project
  • And Last But Not Least, I've Been On the Hunt for Blue Tinted Mason Jars…of the Xtra-Large Variety
So...What about you?


The Buds of May

It's that time of year folks, and it has arrived not a moment too soon. The sun is rising earlier every day, the birds are chirping, and nearly everywhere you look there are colorful blossoms which signal that the seasonal changes we have been awaiting for months have taken effect. This fact can even be witnessed at the Little Red Bike Cafe, where our cacti and succulents appear to be operating on a similar cycle to one another:

Equally as exciting is the creative spirit embodied by our coworkers. Case in point, these lovely beauties you see pictured below:

"Hard as Nails" Hacker's Rosemary & Parmesan Scones

Yes, waiting for spring this year has certainly been hard work for all of us, and it seems that all of that work is beginning to pay off. We are not the only ones reaping the rewards of a busy fall and winter. Tomorrow night, Jason, a loyal customer and all around great person will be able to celebrate the fruits of his labors when his Roosevelt High School band will take to the stage for their annual spring concert. One of the great pleasures of owning and operating a cafe in our neighborhood is that we get an opportunity to meet the many wonderful and unique individuals who make up our local community. We first met Jason shortly after opening, and since then we have had the great pleasure of learning a little bit about what he does. Jason is a teacher at Roosevelt High School in North Portland, where he has single-handedly revived the school's music program. You see, similar to most major public school systems, the PPS has been forced to withstand major budget cuts over the past couple decades, and as a result, arts programs such as music education have been the hardest hit. If not for people like Jason who have chosen to take matters into their own hands, schools like Roosevelt wouldn't have music. Coming fresh off a debut at the St. John's parade, the band is amped for this concert. Jason describes the sound as a mix of funk, reggae, and blues. They've worked hard, very hard and one cannot help but to be inspired.

Kill three birds with one stone; thank Jason for all of his hard work, congratulate the kids on their efforts, and show your support for the return of arts to the Portland Public School System by going to see the performance tomorrow night. You won't be sorry.

7:00pm, Thursday, May, 22nd
Roosevelt High School Auditorium
6941 N Central St
Portland, OR 97203
$5.00 suggested donation


Without Further Ado...

My New Bff:
Fried Egg, Applewood Smoked Bacon*, Gorgonzola, Oregon Growers and Shippers Strawberry Pinot Noir Jam, Onion Relish, and Mesclun Greens

Conceived by true culinary artists, executed by lunatics (yours truly), and thoroughly enjoyed by numerous customers during the past weekend.

*Substitute Tempeh Bacon at No Extra Charge


Come 2pm this Sunday...

I'll be enjoying one of these:

Our current beer float:
Rogue Chocolate Stout, Espresso (CCR's Yemen Sanani), and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Though I may have to do without the coffee and ice cream portion of the drink, and stick to the important stuff.

We did mention earlier in the week that it was going to get hot, and it did. It's been in the 90's yesterday and today and as for the cafe kitchen...well it has felt about 20 degrees warmer, which makes the cooks feel a little loopy and do strange things:

Moo's Garnish, Otherwise Known as the Origami Boat

Oh, and we've also created an Oatmeal Stout Shake. Yes, I typed beer milkshake (Steinbeck fans take note). Though the the heat is taking its toll, we're doing our best to keep our menu exciting as well as tasty:

Ali's Muffaletta:
White Bean Hummus, Olive Salad*, Pepperoncini, Provolone Cheese and Spinach, on Ciabatta.**

As for the weekend's breakfast special, well, that is a different blog post all together, and we are going to have to take some pictures that do this sucker justice. For now let's just get it out in the open and let y'all know that this newest breakfast special had nothing at all to do with us, and was completely ripped off by yours truly from some people you may have read about (with their belated approval of course; thanks, friends XO). Until then, try to stay cool, Portland.

*What's in this delicious "olive salad" you ask? Okay, so you didn't ask but Ali wants to tell you anyways. Her olive salad includes: Roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, toasted pine nuts, fried garlic, harissa, olives, olive oil and lemon juice.

**And yes, without the cheese this sandwich is fully vegan and it still totally kicks ass without it. Although we had some pretty nice sopressata lying around earlier in the week which we offered to those who were looking to get a little pork on their plate.


It's Beginning to Heat Up

The cafe is calm right now, but things are going to get pretty busy these next few weeks. We just realized that we have a post workday engagement every night of the week this week except for Sunday. The following week Dylan will be away on vacation Tuesday through Friday, which means that we will be at the cafe all day, each and every day...just like old times, right? The week after that Ali will be away visiting friends and family, yet another chance to test the true powers of that drug we all know and love, our friend caffeine. By that time "the wedding" will only be about one month away...

...did I mention things are going to get a little busy?


Liam's Leeks

Grown in a garden near you

Today after work the ladies and I had the great fortune of paying a visit to our friends, Liam, Lynn, and Ben. You remember Liam, right? The wonder-boy who is partial to Maple and Bacon Ice Cream, particularly on his fourth birthday? (FYI: he's back on the 11 am). So yes, our hosts graciously showed us around their adorable house (conveniently located just blocks from the cafe) where we got to see Lynn's inspiring studio, Ben's incredible handy-work, and their thriving garden. AND while the adults talked business, Liam and I were even able to sneak away to his room to play Lincoln Logs and trains. (Turns out we both got a thing for Lincoln Logs and trains. Who knew?)
It was such a nice way to end our fairly hectic (St. John's Parade) day. To top things off, upon our departure a brown paper sack full of leeks were passed my way. Wow! What a treat. And talk about perfect timing!

Tomorrow's Special:
Julia Child's Vichyssoise

As she so pointedly states in her The Way to Cook, "
Here is the mother of the family in all her simplicity." Consider it my little way of paying tribute to all the moms out there on this forthcoming holiday. A perfect soup comprised of no more than five ingredients. Deliciousness at its best. Many thanks to our neighbors/friends for the kind offering. You have a beautiful home, an amazing child, and because of you my passion for cooking was rekindled just in time.


Beautiful as Aphrodite, Wise as Athena, Swifter than Hermes, and Stronger than Hercules

Mac 'n Cheese, O'Malley Style

If you think about it, she's a lot like a superhero. Think Wonder Woman with multiple personality disorder. She's an author, artist, cyclist, photographer, poet, teacher, student...oh, and in her free time she pours your coffee and has been known to whip up some mighty tasty grub at the drop of a hat. Case in point, the mac 'n cheese pictured above. Three cheers for the one of the hardest working ladies 45° north of the Earth's equatorial plane. Thank you for everything AnnMarie. Your courageous efforts enrich all of our lives.


R.I.P. Yemen Matari, Bienvenidos Yemen Sanani

Last of the Yemen Mocca Matari
And It Really Was Good 'Till the Last Shot

The Yemen Mocca Matari is no more. I pulled my last shot of this coffee on Wednesday morning, with full knowledge that by the time I returned from running errands for the cafe, we would be out. Sad. I really enjoyed this coffee. I first tried it as a single origin espresso almost two months ago. I had never tasted coffee from Yemen and didn't really know what to expect, my only advice from Joel coming in the form of a warning, "Watch out for those rocks!" Was it love at first slurp? Yes, I guess one could say that. Whether I pulled it as a single origin or drank it as an espresso blend paired with Rwanda Kinunu, it was always interesting. At its best it was a complex full bodied coffee that had strong berry notes, underlined by subtle earthy/chocolate flavors. At its worst it was a little bright with an oil-in-water, large, bubbly crema that didn't like to hang around for long. More often than not it behaved like the former, and was a beautiful introduction into how fun a "single origin" espresso can be. As for those rocks...aside from the occasional unhappy sounds that our grinder made, they were never really a problem.

The Newest Arrivals

But cafes need coffee and there is no time for the coffee roaster or barista to mourn coffees of the past. What lies on the horizon? A new Yemen! Perhaps a chance to fall in love all over again. Yemen Sanani is the current espresso at the cafe, in addition to a new Sumatra Mandheling (organic) for your drinking pleasure.

Be sure to sleep in tomorrow. After all, as the "captivating" R. Kelly once said, "its the freakin weekend," go and have you some fun. And when you finally decide to get out of bed, mosey on down to the cafe where we'll do our best to help you get your day started on the right track.